Sometimes I find myself a person of contradictions – I swear I hate running but have started putting my sneaks to the pavement lately for weight loss purposes. I swear I’m not a cat person but can’t help but force snuggle any feline I can find (strays aside). I proclaim I’m an anti-fast food eater yet sometimes find myself 2 cars deep in the drive through for Chick-fil-A. And really most importantly, I say I’m a chef-to-be who doesn’t use printed recipes but then find myself cooking at home with Blue Apron.
Now, it’s okay to be contradictory at times – we’re not perfect. Running, felines and Chick-fil-A aside, there’s some pretty legitimate reasons for me putting my heart and my brand behind Blue Apron – connivence. I’m busy – like, around the globe in 8 different countries in 3 weeks busy, and I just don’t want to spend my free, fleeting hours at home trying to be on Chopped. I want to prepare a locally sourced, fresh meal that takes less than 40 minutes, doesn’t require 2 hours on Pinterest and results in a meal I’m not just proud of, but my husband devours.
When they asked me to try out a box to review, that was why I agreed. I’ve had success with others in the past, I’m juggling 3 careers and my wasitline just can’t take another batch of takeout. What I didn’t expect was how true to life their claims on TV were. The ingredients are fresh – actually fresh. The kale is crisp to the bite, the meat looks like it was just pulled from the butcher that morning, the apples have not even the slightest inclination of a bruise. Now, I have to say, this was just my box, and yours could be different – but from first glance, their “fresh, local” claim seemed to stand up.
Beyond the ingredients, which I proudly photographed like a fool with my studio window open, the neighbors staring in with the ut-most-confusion, I found the recipe cards easy to follow. You chop this, mince that, stir this, whisk that. Plus the photos help even the most novice of chefs prepare it without any problems. After the box was opened, the cards poured over, I decided on the fish for the first meal – for one, always cook fish first. And two? I just got back from Austria and couldn’t stomach another piece of red meat, pork or the like.
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I followed the step by step, chef created instructions and much to my delight, dinner was done, plated, styled and ready to eat in less than 40 minutes.
Now, as a cook – I’ll admit, it was HARD to not add my own flair to the dish as it was being created. So, I added a bit of this super spicy chile infused olive oil I picked up on a recent trip as a drizzle to the end – just to add a touch of Claire and a bit of heat for my spice loving husband.
So here’s where the contradictions come back – it’s a complaint in you have only the ingredients you need for the dish so there isn’t much wiggle room for creativity – however, I had no problem adding my own spice kick and addition despite the pre-portioned set-up. I think you can be as creative or as strict as you want with these. If you have some tomatoes in your fridge, nothing is stopping you from tossing them in to add more juiciness. Or nothing is saying you can’t add in some grainy mustard or a loaf of crusty bread. You can do as little or as much as you’d like to make each your own if you’re more experienced.
What I loved most about Blue Apron, and this meal, was it gave me time to actually set the table, grab some flowers for the garden and create a date-night at home that’s actually ready when my husband’s done with work.
He was shocked to see a beautiful table set, wine chilled on the table and two delicious meals ready to enjoy. When I cook from scratch, it plays out two ways: i’m still knee-deep in frying onions when he walks in the door or dinner is cold because I had to photograph it at 3pm. Blue Apron, in a way, gave us a date night at home.
I’ll have to say, one of my favorite parts of this meal was the calorie count (which was just 525 for the entire meal), the ease of preparation and the freshness of ingredients. what I love most about the service is their commitment to recycling (you can find a recycling center near you that’ll pick up the boxes and recycle them for free with USPS); the endless array of recipes you get week after week (finding ending the bland chick breast dinner monotony) and the ease for busy families. Whether there’s just two of you or four, Blue Apron gives you some of the freedom of meal planning back so you can, you know, actually sit down and enjoy dinner again.
For me, it gave us a night to celebrate. It wasn’t an anniversary, a birthday or a special date at all – it was just a Tuesday. But we made it special, much in part to Blue Apron. And that’s why I’ll stand behind it – it really has the ability to turn any night into something just a little more extraordinary.
Now, as fun and lovely readers of mine, Blue Apron is offering you an amazing discount to try it out yourselves.
- First 25 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here: http://34.gs/x52t
*NOTE: Blue Apron sponsored this post, but in no way are my opinions persuaded by this. My thoughts are 100% my own.