What is your service area?
I serve Pinellas county from Clearwater to Saint Petersburg and Tampa from Downtown to South Tampa
How long does the food last?
This question has two answers. First, how long the quantity of food you have chosen will last your family is entirely up to you. How much you eat of it and in what stretch of time is unique to each household. That said, the packages are designed to last a minimum of a week and up to two weeks.
Second, storage times vary slightly but generally, cooked foods can be stored 3-5 days in the fridge and 1-6 months in the freezer. For more in depth storage guidelines go here.
How many portions can I expect with each package?
On average each entree is 6 portions however, this varies depending recipes and can also be customized for more or less. For example if you choose the 4 piece package, all entrees, expect about 24 servings. These can be stored to your preference whether for an individual, for two or family portions.
How do I reheat?
My preference is either oven or stove top reheating depending on the dish. Some menu items are prepared in oven ready containers. If, for convenience sake, your preference is the microwave that works fine too. Because your meals are already cooked you are just reheating so how you do this is at your own discretion.
Can I freeze the food?
The quick answer is, yes. Most menu items freeze fairly well. I recommend chilling dishes completely in the fridge overnight. This will slightly improve freezing conditions for the food. Leave enough meals in the fridge for 2-3 days and freeze the rest immediately to maintain quality and freshness. Allow 24-48 hours of thaw time in the fridge when taking things out of the freezer. There are exceptions like quick thawing in the microwave or under cool running water in the sink. Oven ready dishes, lasagna or shepherd’s pie for example, can go directly in the oven but will require at least an extra 30 minutes at a higher temperature.
Where do you shop for ingredients?
I typically shop at Publix. For exclusively organic menus I shop at Rollin’ Oats as I am based in St Petersburg. There are occasional exceptions such as The Fresh Market or other specialty shops.
What is the average cost of groceries?
An average grocery bill is about $125. For a better picture you can expect to pay a lot less, $75-$100, for a small mostly vegetarian meal package or quite a bit more, $150-$175, for a large mostly meat based package. Organic ingredients will effect cost too.
Do you provide the calorie count or nutritional information?
This is not provided via my standard service. No two clients or cook days are alike. Due to the many variations in recipes this makes calculating generally prohibitive as it is a very time consuming process. From a personal and professional perspective I don’t generally advocate calorie counting but, if this an important aspect of your personal protocol there is a $50 fee to have your recipes calculated each cook day.
Do you ever deliver meals or the make the food in your own kitchen?
No. I understand the concern of having a stranger in your home if you cannot be there or the concern that your kitchen may be inadequate. I have cooked in many homes when clients are there and when they are not. I can provide references that will assure you that I am professional and will respect your privacy, home and belongings and I am particularly mindful of keeping very clean. My own kitchen is very modest and small and I have experience cooking in all manner of challenging kitchens. I am undaunted thus far by anywhere I have cooked.
Do you teach classes or give cooking lessons?
Not at this time.
Do you cater or do dinner parties?
I am not an event caterer as I don’t have appropriate facilities or licensing but I really enjoying catering dinners from 2-10 people as I can do this easily in your home and don’t require additional help. You can find more details here.
Do you share recipes?
Yes, I am always happy to share recipes. Feel free to ask!
How do I pay you?
I take any form of payment. Checks can be made to “Mindful Meals, LLC” or I take card payments via Paypal. Prepayment is not required unless you would like to take advantage of a discount package. Payment is required at the completion of your cook day.
- Ways to save:
When you commit to 3 months, either once-weekly or every-other-week, you can take advantage of 10% off my cook fee, starting at $225/day. It’s a total savings of $135-$342! This requires a prepayment of the Chef’s fee at the discounted rate for your chosen schedule and secures your commitment on the calendar. Groceries will be paid each cook day.
Save 10% when you prepay. Keep a minimum of $500 on account towards cook fee and groceries and receive 10% off Chef’s cook fee. Your prepay will cover both the fee and groceries in advance so there is nothing to pay on cook day unless you want to keep money on account. There is no schedule commitment but you will be subject to availability unless you have a standing cook day.
Can I give your services as a gift?
Yes, Mindful Meals has a variety of products that make a perfect gift. Past gifts include personal chef packages, cooking lessons and dinner parties for occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, new babies, wedding gifts and recovering illness or surgeries.