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Mademeals Ingredient Focus: Strawberries

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Ah, the strawberry! The world’s most beloved berry. Summer is not complete without a taste of this sweet, red morsel of sunshine. Known to peak to its sweetest in midsummer, its popularity can be seen in features from fresh desserts to salads and seasonal drinks. 

Besides its sweet, delicate taste, what else makes the strawberry the world’s go-to for a luscious accompaniment to dishes? Let’s bite into more of its juicy details. 

Strawberries come from a plant called ‘fragaria’ and are members of the rose family, which can account for its fragrant nature. They are some of the first fruits to ripen in North and South America where they have been enjoyed by indigenous people for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

While known to be able to tolerate almost any garden soil, the richer the soil means the larger the crop will be. Thus explaining why strawberries are grown in every single U.S. state and Canadian province! With an average of about 200 seeds on every strawberry, this fruit proves a sustainable and easy to grow crop.

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The harvesting and cleaning process has remained fairly the same throughout the centuries. The delicate strawberries are still harvested by hand, thus making its harvesting entirely dependant on human hands and dedicated labor. Because of this, we support and source the strawberries in our dishes from local farms that practice fair and sustainable agriculture

Aside from their tasty nature, strawberries are known as one of the fruits with the highest antioxidant levels. Strawberries owe their red color to anthocyanins, which have antioxidant powers by lowering LDL cholesterol levels and thus preventing heart disease. Their abundance in flavonoids are a factor attached to a reduced risk of age-related weight gain- music to everyone’s ears!

Lastly, strawberries can be enjoyed as a light dessert or as an addition to any summer salad, like we do at mademeals. With only 46 calories per bowl of whole strawberries, it’s a sweet treat without the guilt!

To get a full taste of summer, check out some of our strawberry-filled mademeals dishes below:

Baby Spinach Salad w/ Herb Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese & Strawberries

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Mademeals Farm Focus: Coeur et Sol

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Photos: Instagram @coeur.et.sol


One key element of our mission at mademeals, is to help our customers stay away from industrialized farmed products. Unfortunately today, the majority of America’s farmland is dominated by outdated and unsustainable industrial agriculture. At the core of industrialized farming is monoculture practices which focuses production on a single crop in large scale. The impact of monoculture affects not only the environment, but also public health. 

Yet, agriculture does not have to solely exists on large plots of lands, and instead urban farming has risen in popularity as a solution to industrialized farming and to provide sustainable farming in metropolitan areas. As the name suggests, Urban farming is growing or producing food in a city or heavily populated area.  More often than not, urban farming is confused with community gardening, homesteading or subsistence farming. Yet urban agriculture assumes a level of commerce for consumption, that community gardens or personal gardens don’t. 

As a sourcer of locally farmed products, we seek to work with small, local farmers. That’s why we’re happy to partner with an urban farm located here in New Jersey- Coeur et Sol.

Coeur et Sol, meaning “heart and soil,” started their urban farm just two years ago when solo-entrepreneur Chelsea Hernandez left her corporate job and followed her dream of operating her own farm. While initially that dream didn’t include a city farm, after seeing numerous empty urban lots on her long commute to Manhattan every day, she soon realized that her dream of farming could take root in her same county of Essex.

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With goals in addressing food insecurity among city dwellers and revitalizing empty and decaying lots, Coeur et Sol is bridging the gap between the two while building their sustainable food production efforts. As shared in their story, “Nurturing our homestead, raising our chickens, growing microgreens, and building our first farm plot has been a wonderful beginning to our journey to self sustainability.”

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Producing 1/5 of the world’s food, urban farms are rapidly growing in popularity and offer urban residents the quality of food they need while giving them a role of key responsibility within the community by supporting a local producer. These urban farms are a key component to our own plan to stay true to our mission in local, organic ingredient sourcing. To us, both of our missions come full circle when we see its direct benefit to the communities that we operate in and service every day. 

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To get a taste of Coeur et Sol’s sustainably-grown products, check out these current meals we’re offering on our menu: 

Cajun Wild Salmon over Baby Arugula Salad w/ Sweet & Spicy Mango Dressing

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Mademeals Ingredient Focus: Spinach

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Known for giving Popeye his power, spinach has always been thought of as one of earth’s greatest superfoods. Packed with tons of nutrients, this low-calorie leafy green is vital for everything from skin and bone health, to prevention in macular degeneration and cancer.

Originating in ancient Persia, it was then introduced in the 1st century to China, India, followed by Spain, England, France and Germany. It grew quickly in popularity since this tasty and versatile leafy green appeared in early Spring when other vegetables were scarce. It finally made its way to the US in the early 19th century and it is a vegetable widely used today. 

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In reality, spinach is available all year around, while it’s in peak season in Spring and Summer. Whether steamed, fried, or enjoyed raw, its numerous health benefits have made it a staple for healthy eaters around the world.

Chlorophyll, what gives spinach its dark green color, has been known to block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines. And packed with beta-carotene, iron, and vitamins A and K, make spinach essential for healthy eyesight, and strong hair, nails, and bones. 

Regular consumption of spinach can help regulate blood pressure, prevent and help manage diabetes, and help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and hemophilia.

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We use spinach in a number of our dishes and are proud to source it locally and organically for its added health and sustainability benefits. Because of the pesticides used to produce spinach, it’s best to consume the organic version of spinach. 

For a fresh taste of this powerhouse veggie, check out our current meals where we highlight this green leafy king:

Chicken Enchilada Bowl w/ Cilantro Lime Jasmine Rice, Sofrito Baby Spinach & Cilantro Cashew Cream

Chicken Enchilada Bowl
Wild Salmon and Spinach Soup
Tarragon Chicken Spinach Salad







Mindfulness in Practice

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With International Day of Yoga in our midst, we’re joining in on the celebration of this ancient art of physical, mental, and spiritual practice with much enthusiasm. Practicing yoga is practicing mindfulness through movement and meditation. To us, this practice also embodies our message as a conscious food company and what we try to deliver to our community of mindful eaters every day.

We hear “mindfulness” used as a buzzword lately in modern culture, but what does it really mean to be mindful? How do we use it on a daily basis? And why does it matter? We know mindfulness as being the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

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Yoga, for example, helps us focus on our presence by guiding our breathing, thoughts, and movements. With each stretch and breath, we become aware of our body’s sensations, strains, and overall well-being as reactions to what we’re exerting our bodies to currently do. We have to mentally rise above those strains and exertions to try to achieve inner peace in mind and body.

While some just see yoga as a form of exercise, the mindfulness that goes into a practice like yoga doesn’t have to stop there. We can make a conscious effort to see the effects of our choices in all of our daily actions - from how we commute, to the products we buy, and the food that we eat. If our conscious efforts to be better, do better, and feel better aren’t aligned with all of our daily choices, the practice of mindfulness is incomplete. It’s like stepping out yoga class and following it up with a cigarette and some large-chain greasy fast food, and then throwing the non-recyclable packaging on the floor once we’re done. You see the dilemma, right?

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Similarly to yoga, we wanted to create a convenient way for people to eat through their busy schedules and life’s exertions while still rising above that just instinctual need to eat, and instead offer conscious food choices that can positively affect the environment and their community. In a sense, it’s mindfulness through food.

At mademeals, we take mindfulness so seriously, it’s in our motto: “mindful eating made easy”. It’s our mission to serve those who want to consciously make good choices in their meals and those who understand that those same food choices affect their community and the world around them. By choosing locally sourced, sustainably farmed and raised, organic products, each meal we make can help reduce damaging effects to the environment, while directly benefiting our local communities of farmers.

We also aim to reduce food waste through our practices and help hire those in the community that need employment the most, like the formerly incarcerated. We can proudly say that each element of our business plan has gone through the motion of mindful deliberation so that we could stand by our product and our production process.

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So while you’re aligning your chakra through your sun salutation this International Yoga Day, don’t forget to make other mindful practices outside of that and think about what goes into your body and what that food choice can do to the world around you.

Mademeals Ingredient Focus: Asparagus

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Summer is here and while most Americans think of beaches and barbecues, others can’t stop thinking about constant sneezing and watery eyes from the allergy season that it brings with it. But just as nature helps us fight colds in the winter with citrus fruits in season, it’s got our backs in the summer as well with ripe veggies for fighting allergies.

Which brings us to our next mademeals ingredient focus: asparagus! We bet asparagus is on everyone’s top list for veggies to throw on the grill this summer, but did you know that this same delicious green veg can help fight your dreaded allergy season symptoms?

That’s right, asparagus carries a powerful flavonoid called quercetin, as well as isorhamnetin and kaempferol, which can help combat the worst allergy symptoms. These substances have blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer effects, sort of like mini-anti-histamine powerhouses.

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And it’s not only its green variety that has multiple benefits - purple asparagus contains powerful pigments called anthocyanins, that have antioxidant effects in the body. If that’s not enough, asparagus is also known to aid healthy digestion, help lower blood pressure, and help support a healthy pregnancy from its high doses of folate, which help fetal development.

And yet, here’s another great benefit to asparagus - it can also help ease a hangover because of its concentration of minerals and amino acids. So if you have one too many piña coladas this summer, skip the greasy breakfast the next day and opt for a side of asparagus instead.

Luckily for you, we have plenty of mademeals dishes that feature asparagus this summer front and center, like our :

  • Black Lime Chicken Bowl w/ Cilantro Pineapple Freekeh & Blackened Asparagus

  • Puerto Rican Style Lasagna "Pastelon" w/ Spanish Asparagus

  • Chopped Asparagus Salad over Baby Spinach w/ Greek Chicken

We use asparagus in a lot of our dishes for its versatility, great taste, and local availability to ensure freshness and seasonality, always!

Mother’s Day Every Day

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With Mother’s Day passed, those flowers and chocolates may soon wilt and disappear, but the emotions that came with the receipt of those gifts will linger a bit longer in mother’s heart. Having an abundance of gratefulness comes with the nature of being a mom, no matter how simple a gift may be. Many of us may feel some guilt because the gifts we give to undoubtedly one of the most important persons in our life may fall short of what we actually feel for them.

Unfortunately, the aspect missing most from gift-giving nowadays is empathy. Empathy? You may ask. Yes, empathy. The act putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and “trying” to grasp what they’re experiencing. I say “trying” because aside from those who are already mothers, fully understanding the entirety of emotions, responsibilities, worries, and selflessness that goes into being a mother cannot be easily achieved. One thing is seeing it, being in its proximity, or acknowledging it, but experiencing it for oneself is a whole different ball game. So what I mean by missing empathy is that we’re often only sympathetic in gift-giving mom what we “think” she may like, ie. some beautiful flowers to brighten up her day, that mani/pedi she’s been putting off but desperately wants, or maybe even a massage for those aching mommy muscles.

Turns out, that those gifts are all nice, and of course, moms are appreciative of any kind gestures, but those gifts are band-aids to larger underlying struggle of dealing with day-to-day expectations and responsibilities. And they’re not even good band-aids, they’re the kind where the edges don’t stick well and fall off at the slightest sight of water. The greatest gifts that a mom could get are more time and more help. I repeat, time and help! These two gifts are in a way synonymous, because with more help they’d have more time.

As a mother myself, I know that asking for help or support is one of the hardest things to do, especially with modern life expectations of being able to manage a household, sustain a happy marriage or relationship, raise intelligent well-adjusted kids, while maybe working outside the home to help bring in income or managing it all at home - in other words, being “the perfect mom”. Frankly the expectations are completely unrealistic and while you may excel in some, you’ll fail or slack in others. Yet, as business owner and manager or numerous people and endeavors at the workplace, I’m constantly looking to perform better and more efficiently for my own sanity and financial growth. So when I finally resisted to the idea that if I wanted everything done right then I would have to do it myself, suddenly there was more of that elusive free time that mothers dream about. More time for playing with the kids, connecting with your partner, and even personal growth.

While I can’t (nor would) substitute the important roles I play like being a mom or wife, I can substitute the less important, and often times more burdensome, roles like housekeeper and cook. Yet, with food being a vital part to conscious parenting, how could I bring myself to entrust someone else to care as much as I do in what I feed my family? With a private chef no where near our budget, and meal kits frankly not cutting down almost any of the time it takes to cook, I needed to find an alternative to cooking that would take the same care in choosing ingredients that were organic, seasonal, and local to ensure that I was feeding them the healthiest and safest way possible.

Enter mademeals! Being super weary of the safety of prepared meals, I never really thought it an option or alternative to me just spending an entire day meal-prepping for an entire week as the best solution to making sure weekday dinners were quickly served up. But when I heard that their weekly-made organic and locally-sourced meals could be easily heated even in an oven (no microwave needed), the modern, conscious, and tired mom in me rejoiced! No longer did I have worry about whether what I was feeding my family was healthy, and most importantly, did I have to cook! Minutes after my husband or I got home from work and picking up our daughter, a delicious meal that I had to put no effort in creating (besides choosing) was on the table.

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The newly extended time that came after dinner (which was never more than 15 mins in the past) before bedtime routine, was almost as exciting as the sense of calm was to not have to worry about food for the next day, and the day after that. Could it be true? I could now enjoy some free time with my family?! Why, yes it was possible! That same modern, conscious, but now not-so-tired mom in me still rejoices. And I have mademeals to thank for that!

So while Mother’s Day comes but once a year, you can actually give a gift to that incredible woman in your life that cares for other, whether she be mother, caretaker, neighbor, stressed coworker, or family member, that empathizes with their needs on an everyday basis. Go beyond the obvious mani/pedi, massage combo and gift her some help from the everyday cooking so that she can have more time to spend with those that she loves.

By: C.C. Amaya,

Business owner, wife, and MOM



Recognizing National Small Business Week

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This week, we’re celebrating National Small Business Week in our mademeals kitchen! Between May 5th-11th, we take a moment to appreciate the efforts of small businesses in America and the great lengths they have gone to build this country up to what it is today. National Small Business Week has been observed for more than 50 years to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Having just officially launched in March of this year, after putting 3 years of hard work and sweat into making mademeals a reality, we’ve come to learn first hand the obstacles and learning curves that entrepreneurs face in successfully starting and running a small business.

Small is a misleading adjective to describe  the impact that small businesses can have on their local communities and on the country as a whole. As the foot soldiers of crafts, services, and skills, small businesses are the backbone of the “bottom up” change in this country. Through their own unique missions, they help start the innovations, trends, and climate for ingenuity.


Did you know that more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business? In fact, small businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the US each year. However, some jobs are not available to all Americans, especially those who have served time in our criminal justice system. Although their sentences have been served, they may feel as if they’re condemned for life without access to good employment and means to provide for themselves and their families because of their criminal records. That’s why it’s our mission to partner with reentry programs to give an opportunity to those in our community that are in most need of employment.

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Knowing that our choices as business owners not only affect our customers, but our staff and communities as a whole, we’re focusing our business practices towards regenerative efforts for individuals, communities, and the environment. We’ve quickly learned that every business decision we make can have an impact on the world.

So whether it’s your local coffee shop, specialty store, or your favorite prepared meal company (wink), be sure to thank those small business entrepreneurs that help forge our way into the future!



Mademeals Ingredient Focus: Mushrooms

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New season means new seasonal veggies! April is known for the arrival of spring, along with the arrival of fresh new crops at our disposal for our original recipes. One ingredient that our mademeals team is quite fond of and that we use in numerous of our spring recipes is mushrooms! These compact mini vegetables are rich in nutritional value and flavor, making them our ingredient focus of the month.

Mushrooms: Earth’s Greatest Ally

The now warmer and wetter weather makes it the ideal climate for growing mushrooms and even foraging wild mushrooms that pop up throughout the US. Known as “nature’s greatest decomposers,” mushrooms remove chemicals from soil and heavy metals from water far better than any bacteria, animal, or plant. Mushrooms have even been attributed to removing petroleum from soil, aiding to clean-up land-based oil spills.

Mushrooms Are Nutritional Powerhouses

According to the NY Times, mushrooms are a “powerhouse of nutrition” and should not be overlooked as a vegetable to get our daily dose of vitamins and minerals like copper, potassium, magnesium, and B-Vitamins. Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants, the tiny compounds that protect our bodies from damage and free radicals.

There are over 5 million varieties of mushrooms in the world, 10,000 here in the US, but only 50% of those are of the edible nature. Some of the most popular ones that most are familiar with are White Button, Morels, Shitake, Chanterelle, and Cremini.

Lemon Garlic Flank Steak with Mushrooms

Mushrooms in mademeals

As such a versatile and unctuous ingredient, it’s no wonder mushrooms are one of our go-to’s when we’re looking to add that taste of umami in our dishes. Once cooked, mushrooms release an earthy and buttery flavor to its counterparts, making it a great addition to any savory dish. It can even serve as the meaty flavor and nutrient-laden substitute in vegan meals. Currently, we feature mushrooms in a number of our weekly rotating meals. It’s our star ingredient in our popular Lemon Garlic Flank Steak with Mushrooms, String Beans, and Cauliflower Rice.

Stay tuned to our monthly blog post dedicated to our ingredients, where we give you insight on what goes into our dishes! Who else loves mushrooms as much as we do? Which variety is your favorite?

Mademeals For Earth Day

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With Earth Day around the corner, mademeals has a lot to celebrate. As the name implies, the worldwide holiday is meant to honor all efforts in support of environmental protection, and we’re no strangers to those efforts. As part of our mission, we vow to support those local farms where we source our ingredients, that practice regenerative agriculture which among other benefits, helps to reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity.

Regenerative Agriculture vs Sustainability

By building our menus around crop rotations that work best for farmers and supporting responsible growing practices, we help support the replenishment of farm soil while reducing reliance on pesticides and fertilizers. But did you know that regenerative agriculture goes a step beyond sustainability?

As Sound Consumer describes, “Sustainability generally is defined as something that improves the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.” But now farmers around the world are being challenged to think beyond just the sustainable and rebuild what has already been damaged through their agricultural practices. With examples like the regeneration project of the Loess Plateau and Forest Garden Approach (where a collection of trees, shrubs, vines, vegetables, fruits, and herbs are planted and grow harmoniously together), regenerative practices are effectively accomplishing what traditional agriculture can’t and in turn are fixing the problems that Big Agriculture, or factory farming, has created.

Mademeals in Practice

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As a prepared meal company, there is more than one way that we aim to address environmental protection. With other elements to our mission, like reducing food waste, using compostable, biodegradable and recyclable packaging, and donating excess meals to local homeless shelters, we’re working towards those worldwide efforts in sustainability and environmental protection that seem more and more attainable each day. After all, at mademeals, we believe our food choices can change the world. We aim to help busy individuals nourish their bodies, regenerate the environment, and contribute to their community through the healthy, high-quality prepared meals that we deliver to customers every week. We want to continue to build a mindful eating community, to bring more awareness to the idea that we’re not only feeding and nourishing our bodies, but that we also have a role in nourishing the earth with those same choices.

While simple acts like picking up garbage, planting a tree, and recycling still add to the larger picture of environmental protection, few stop to think that even every day decisions like meal selections can have an even greater impact on the environment than they imagined.

Are you participating in any Earth Day events? We’d love to hear from you! Sign up to stay up to date with our latest food news and announcements.

Are You Sustainable?

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What does it mean to be sustainable? What happens to containers once people throw them away? How can the average person truly impact the environment because of food waste? 

 These are all valid questions that everyone could be asking themselves when they eat out or even see one of those social media videos on pollution. But how often do we ask ourselves these environmental questions? The human race is on its way to irreversibly changing the planet because of the lack of understanding of the impact one person can have. Every one of our choices, from the food we eat to how much of that food we end up throwing out, counts as a personal impact to the wellbeing of the landscape around us.

It’s reported that in just 2013 alone, Americans produced more than 254 million tons of trash, but only about 3o% of it was recyclable. This puts an impending pressure on the environment, which simply cannot keep up with rate that people produce garbage. The earth is the home to more life forms than just humans, yet the majority of other species do not contribute to the Earth’s pollution. 

But where does our trash even go? Let’s face it, a large factor contributing to our  high volumes of waste, is the fact that most people have little knowledge as to what happens to their trash. If the general population had more information about how little of their trash is actually biodegradable and recyclable they would consider having more eco-friendly practices. 
 
Less than 85% of household trash is recyclable and can not be dissolved into the Earth. A lot of that is composed of trash related to food waste and everyday household products. The simple act of reducing our food waste would make a great dent on our contribution to the amount of garbage in our landfills. By using a food service like mademeals, the individual can not only bring down their food costs, but ensure that no additional food is wasted since each meal is a single serving. All mademeals containers are also biodegradable and produced from recycled materials, which is one less reason to feel guilty about not cooking.