Blue Apron Review

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Hope your week is getting along a little better than mine. Seems like the weekend food poisoning bandit is at it again – I have been feeling all stomach-funky since eating a weird shrimp sandwich for lunch yesterday and poor Chris was sick all last night from something he ate after work. Apparently, Tia and CJ have not been feeling too hot either. What is going on???

sick

I have a feeling we’ll all be sticking to blander eats for the time being.

While the ultra-flavorful meals available through Blue Apron will not be making an upcoming appearance anytime soon, I thought we could live vicariously through my recent experience with them. My sister sent me a code for a free one-week trial a few weeks ago, and I am never one to turn down free food, so I signed up.

If you’re not familiar with Blue Apron, they are a meal delivery service that sends recipes and the fresh ingredients needed to make them right to your door. My one-week trial included 3 meals for two:

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Tilapia Meuniere with Moroccan-Spiced Lentils & Rainbow Chard (wine not included!)

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Lamb & Beef Shawarma with Creamy Radish Salad

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Crispy Chicken Thighs with Braised Lettuce, Kimchi & Maitake Mushrooms

Pros:

  • I loved being introduced to different types of ingredients and cuisine that I wouldn’t otherwise attempt to use or make on my own.
  • Each recipe, despite seeming a little daunting at first, was detailed with step-by-step instructions and visuals that made preparing everything fairly easy. There are even additional videos online you can access that will walk you through tasks like zesting a lemon or mincing garlic, if you have never done them before.
  • All ingredients are proportioned out for the recipes you will be making. This is my biggest pet peeve when buying ingredients on my own for a new recipe. Usually, I’m forced to buy a whole bunch of fresh herbs or something, when a recipe only calls for one teaspoon, so this method definitely solves for that issue.

Cons:

  • While Blue Apron will recommend a meal selection based on any dietary restrictions you provide, you cannot always choose exactly which 3 meals they will send you. You can switch out some of their recommendations, but some combinations of meals cannot be selected, I’m guessing because they take in account ingredients that can be used across different meals. I found this a little frustrating, but I probably would have chosen “safer” meals if given the choice, too.
  • Blue Apron provides all necessary unique ingredients for the recipes, but some “basics” are not included. Namely, household items like salt & pepper and olive oil were called for in each of my meals, but weren’t included in my delivery box. I’m sure this won’t be a huge issue for most participants, but I happened to be out of olive oil that week and had to steal Chris’s bottle.
  • I felt like there was a lot more preparation and effort involved in making each recipe than I was led to believe from the website. From perusing the available menus, it seemed like they claimed about 25 minutes of preparation was needed on average to make each meal. I probably spent closer to 45 minutes working on the recipes, even with Chris helping me. I’m sure more experienced “chefs” could fly through these, but expect to be in the kitchen a little longer if you’re more of a basic cook like I am.

Overall, I was satisfied with my Blue Apron experience, but I’m not in a hurry to try it out again. Unless it’s the weekend or I’m making something really special, I hate spending more than 20-30 minutes cooking if I can help it (less is better!). I’ll probably keep an eye on what kind of food they’re offering, but would have to be really intrigued by something to actually purchase another delivery. Who knows, though? I will say that I think cooking these meals would be a great date idea for new couples to see how their kitchen chemistry is 🙂  Working on these with Chris reminded me of when we first started dating and he learned what a terrible onion chopper I was.

Anyone else ever try Blue Apron or another meal delivery service like Plated? What did you think of it?

~Tina

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Dinner Party + Game Night

Hi Everyone! How was your weekend? I had a nice little staycation today, since I had a summer day to use up. I basically just ran errands and did laundry, but it was nice to sleep in!

My weekend started on Friday, when my company loaded us up on school buses to go to a nature museum for a camp-themed party…with an open bar. We were specifically asked not to post any pictures from the event on social media.

On Saturday, Tina and I had the following convo on Gchat.

Tina: what are you guys up to today?
Tia: no plans
Tina: if you want to hang out, chris has a new board game and we can play CJ’s game
Tia: do you guys want to come here?
Tina: sure
Tia: do you want to get dinner first? or dinner down here? or i could make dinner
Tina: ooh, making dinner sounds fun
So dinner and game night it was! I threatened to make my amazing quinoa dish, since Chris claims to hate quinoa, but I settled for a version of my 10 Minute Tilapia & Spinach with Yukon Gold Potato Fries with black pepper, garlic, and truffle oil.
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Awkwardly posing with a box of chicken stock….
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Pretending to smash Tina in the face with said box of chicken stock?
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 Tina brought 2 bottles of wine (and brownies!)…and posed for pictures while I labored away at our meal. Just kidding.
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 After our tummies were full, we broke out the board games.
CJ and Chris always get super competitive, so Tina and I jokingly claim that we don’t like playing with them.
First up, Munchkin, a humorous game that involves fighting monsters.
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And then, Pandemic, a cooperative board game where all players band together to prevent four diseases from wiping out the world.
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Tina made faces while the boys were bogged down with figuring out game rules/details.
A successful night! Sometimes the best nights are the impromptu ones!
Do you make spur of the moment plans with friends? Do you have double dates at home, and what meals do you  serve? What’s your favorite board game? 
~Tia

10 Minute Meal: Tilapia & Spinach

Now it’s raining in Chicago…and all the snow is melting. You’d think I’d be thrilled, but now there are puddles the size of Lake Michigan EVERYWHERE.

Anyways, I couldn’t wait to rush home. Here’s a super quick dinner idea.

Throw some tilapia into a pan with the spices of your choice. I used chili powder, minced garlic, black pepper, and another seasoning blend I had on hand.

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To help it cook quickly, I stirred it up.

Tonight, I decided to serve it on a bed of rice with some sauteed spinach.

Another idea…top some tortillas with the spinach and tilapia for easy fish tacos.

10 minutes – That’s it!

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What’s your favorite quick meal?

~ Tia