I loathe meal planning. I love good food and don’t mind cooking but coming up with fresh ideas is torturous to me. I’ve even begged my friend to write down her meal plans and share them with me. So when I was introduced to Blue Apron my initial thought was, “all my hopes and dreams are coming true.”
Blue Apron is a meal service that delivers fresh, pre measured ingredients to your door along with the recipes to cook your own meals. Each recipe is chef designed so you’re not just getting ingredients for pb&j sandwiches. My family and I tried out one week of service which included three meals: za’atar spiced steaks with tabbouleh, Italian wedding soup, and miso yuzu glazed cod. It was an upgrade from our normal menu, to say the least.
Here’s my full review in tidy pro and con list form, or how Leslie Knope would present it.
1. Meal planning and grocery shopping are taken care of. Up there with putting away folded laundry, my least favorite chore is meal planning. And grocery shopping with a toddler is only smooth if there is an ample amount of bribery. To me, this is the #1 pro of Blue Apron. Everything is taken care of and delivered right to your doorstep in a refrigerated box. I was pleasantly surprised they delivered to our small area (check out this map to see if they deliver to your part of the nation).
2. Blue Apron provides meals I wouldn’t normally make (or even dare try) with ingredients I wouldn’t normally have on hand. We often get in the taco, spaghetti, sandwiches rut and it was refreshing to try new things like labneh cheese and rutabega. Plus, there is practically nothing besides chain restaurants here so going out to eat is much less appealing.
3. The ingredients are high quality, locally sourced, and you get just what you need so nothing goes to waste. I’m horrible at eating leftovers so I liked that the meal was well proportioned and I didn’t end up with a jar of curry paste in the fridge that would sit there until it expired.
4. The meals are well balanced and healthy with use of fresh ingredients. Each meal is between 500 – 700 calories per person. Much better for you then going out to eat and you know exactly what is going into your food.
1. Cost. I grew up in a large family so our meals were economical and that’s generally what I try to make for our family. Granted that means a lot of tacos and not a lot of spiced steaks. Taking into account all the pros of Blue Apron, $9.99/person per meal is very well priced ($8.74/person with the family plan). And if I really broke down the cost of each of our meals, it might be fairly close to that. I’m just not sure it would be reasonable for a larger family unless it was replacing meals you would eat out.
2. Not every meal is going to be your favorite and besides a few ingredients you can tell them to exclude, you don’t have much say over what’s going to be in your delivery. We were wowed by two out of the three meals we tried which is good but if you are picky at all, I would probably not order the service.
3. You still have to do the prep and the work. Granted, half of the work is taken care of for you but there is a lot of chopping and the meals took us at least 30 minutes to complete. If you hate cooking, this isn’t going to magically change that.
The final consensus:
Would I subscribe to Blue Apron? Absolutely. I was really pleased with the meals and the experience so I’ve continued the subscription and if we decide it’s not for us, it’s easy to cancel at any time. No contract nonsense.
I think it works well for our family because it’s only Ryan and I (and we give Beck a few bites), we both like trying new things and aren’t picky, we cook at home a majority of the time, and it eliminates my least favorite chore.
Want to try Blue Apron out yourself? The first 50 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here to redeem the offer. I’m genuinely excited thinking about you guys trying it out and not having to meal plan for three days.
Blue Apron is a sponsor of YAMF but I would love their product even if they weren’t.
second photo via Ashlee
I’m at the stage of home decorating where all you really need to do is get stuff hung but you’re so burnt out that the art just sits framed, propped up against the wall. Both those piles and the list of art I want to buy are growing. Here are nine abstract prints I’m fond of at the moment.
1. Dots by Kristi Kohut
2. Crystal Palace No. 1 by Inaluxe
3. Morning River by Lauren Adams
4. Kate by Patricia Vargas
5. Yellow September by Heather J Chontos
6. Hot Red Series by Courtney Price
7. Ultraviolet by Erik Barthels
8. Hump Day by Britt Bass
9. Really by Kent Youngstrom
Get the full details right here on Julep.
I thought it was time for a gift closet update – ideas for items to have on hand in case of gifting emergency.
Crowd pleasing books – a lot of my friends like to craft so Make and Give and Playful are two books that I love to give. Or you could pick up a stack of your favorite, favorite read and gift it to everyone from your mom to your mailman.
Vases for blooms – these Atelier Stella vases are my recent pick.
Fine art cards – put a message inside, they can frame it as art. Boom! Two presents in one. This geometric one is from Inaluxe.
More personal gifts – You might shy away from gifts that are heavily based on personal taste, art and jewelry and such, unless you know the person really well. But I say do it! The trick is to find items that seem really personal but would actually work with a lot of people’s tastes.
If you’re gifting a decorative object, find something that could be purposed in several ways like this faceted terrarium.
If you’re gifting art, try to stay away from anything too big or too narrowly focused. Hillary Butler’s mini abstract paintings are perfect. Colorful, happy, mini and could fit-in with a variety of decorating styles.
As far as jewelry, simple is best. I can imagine my hip niece wearing this bracelet from Megan Auman and it looking equally as nice on my mother-in-law.
I’ve entered the age of kid’s birthday parties and this is what I’ve learned: moms don’t want to compile a lot of stuff. So try to find gifts that will be functional but still fun. For instance:
– books (like the well designed BabyLit)
– art supplies (mini colored pencils)
– cute accessories (headbands)
– toys that are cute even if they’re left out (animal nesting dolls)
Now I need to look at whose birthday is coming up next.
Leave it to me to create a tote for a made up holiday created by a fictional character. I love TV. And party favors. And ladies celebrating ladies.
What’s inside? Chocolate. Loads and loads of chocolate.