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Low-Level Antics

The (Not-So) Dreaded Green Stuffs

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron

Once upon a time, my children did not eat Green Stuff. Well, wait. Once upon a time, they all totally DID, back when everything was pureed and mashed up and I was the one holding the spoon and making airplane noises like an idiot. Only Ezra retained any affection for green vegetables past his babyhood, but even he typically preferred them in a whole or easily identifiable form. Otherwise, he regarded Green Stuff with the same amount of suspicion as his brothers. 

Green flecks of fresh basil in spaghetti? NOT SO FAST.

A bit of spinach in scrambled eggs? SACRILEGE. 

Microscopic dots of broccoli in mac-and-cheese? YOU'VE RUINED EVERYTHING, MOTHER.

Beige was the ruling acceptable color in our house, and while we always tried our hardest to keep dinner from revolving around toddler whims and general childhood pickiness, our successes with green vegetables remained pretty rare unless I was up to serious sneaky-cheffing to mask their presence completely.

Plain green peas were generally acceptable to everybody, and eventually I could make tiny-but-visible bites of broccoli palatable to Noah in mini pot pies or macaroni and cheese. Ezra would eat steamed broccoli or fresh salad by the bowlful, then pitch a fit over a delicious batch of creamed spinach because he didn't like his "greens mixed with whites." 

Ike, on the other hand, would just go full nuclear boneless melt mode at the table at the sight of anything green. I could drown it in cheese, pack it into meat, cover it with bacon -- basically making it as non-healthy and barely-qualifying-as-a-vegetable as possible, and he'd still bring dinner to a grinding halt of Green Stuff Suspicion. 

Thankfully, you'll notice I'm using past tense here. 

I've testified to Blue Apron's picky-eater battle power in the past -- it forces us (in a good way) to go Full Satter and stick with it. We cook what we get and the kids eat what we get. Every meal contains plenty of vegetables (way more than I was traditionally serving/eating on my own before) that aren't hidden, but are presented along with something that my kids find acceptable. 

I was definitely skeptical at first -- sure, my kids might eat the glazed carrots, but you've gotta be kidding me about mixing up some collard greens in there. Rice/barely/quinoa are always winners, but you've now made me contaminate it with spinach/kale/arugula like some kind of monster. And do you really think my kids are gonna fall for tacos full of zucchini? 

SPOILER ALERT: Yuuuuuup. 

Obviously, we set the Satter-style no-short-order-cooking rule in place long before we joined Blue Apron, and our kids already understood that dinner was dinner was dinner. If you're hungry, you need to it, because the Beige Fairy isn't going to magically appear with plain pasta or grilled cheese just because you're whining over some veggie-flecked meatloaf and green beans.

But even though Blue Apron was technically presenting them with things that were unfamiliar or new night after night, they all quickly figured out that there was always going to be SOMETHING they liked or recognized -- even if it was just the tortillas wrapped around the veggie tacos -- and would just sort of...roll with it and branch out from there.

The salad has raw apple slices in it. The sauteed greens are topped with crunchy nuts. Mmmm, thinly-sliced fresh Parmesan cheese put it on EVERYTHING.

And in time, the dreaded Green Stuff became not-so dreaded. Okay, it was tolerable. Okay, it was no big deal. Okay, it was pretty good. Okay, I liked that a lot. Can we make that again? Can I have the leftovers in my lunch? 

Case in point, Ezra asked to see our recipe cards this week and pick out which one to make first.

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His choices: a classic cheeseburger with balsamic-glazed onions and roast potato wedges, a chicken and kale Caesar salad, or a spinach and ricotta pizza (served with a cauliflower and clementine orange salad). All things he generally likes, albeit each with a slightly different -- and kid-challenging -- twist. 

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I admit I was still pretty surprised that the burger (aka the one non-Green-Stuff-centric option) was the first to be eliminated. 

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The salad was a impressive close second, but in the end he decided the pizza looked more fun to make. 

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Plus, the salad had orange slices in it. And Ezra lovvvvvvvves orange slices. 

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Also peeling and sectioning them. I let him eat one as a pre-dinner treat for helping. 

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"It looks just like the picture!" he said approvingly of our final result.

(We used a pre-heated pizza stone in our oven. Highly recommended for perfect homemade pizza.)

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Everybody loved it. I mean, it was pizza, and a really delicious one at that, with a whopping half-pound of spinach per pie. Ike ate two full slices.

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Although he did choose to eat them beige-side first. 

Eh. I'll take it. 

Want to give Blue Apron a try? Or gift it to someone else just in time for the holidays? Use this link to get THREE (3) free meals added to your order. (New customers only, limited to first 50 readers.) Cancel or skip anytime, and Blue Apron will even recycle all your packaging.

Comments

Rachel

I have been going back & forth on trying Blue Apron since the first post you wrote about it... but back then there wasn't delivery in my area. Now there is! AND they offered 75% off 1st order on Black Friday (the only shopping I did on Black Friday was to sign up!) Our 1st delivery was scheduled for yesterday (our area only has Thursday or Friday as delivery options). Unfortunately, we had a blizzard on Tuesday (16 inches of snow!) so our delivery did not arrive yesterday. =( I know this is not Blue Apron's fault. I am concerned about the ingredients sitting on my step for a few hours in subzero weather if it is delivered while I'm at work (not today but very possible over the next 3 months in North Dakota). I so wanted to fall in love with Blue Apron, but because I live in the ridiculous tundra, I'm not sure it will work for me. Fingers crossed.

monica

Longtime reader here and I really, really like your blog (still waiting for another episode of deodorant wars!), but I am really tired of hearing about Blue Apron!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I KNOW you love it, and am guessing you are contracted to post monthly or whatever - it just sees like it is pretty often lately.

Lauren A

I don't mind your sponsored posts, man- youse gots ta pay the bills- I dig it.

I LOVED Blue Apron when I had a newborn- it helped me avoid risking RSV for her in the winter by saving me from dragging her to the grocery store everyday and so we stayed holed up safely at home more. It gave me healthy foods when I really needed it, and gave me 30 minutes to bond with my older girls while we made the meals together- so important when I spent what seemed like the entire rest of my life focused on a newborn or had her latched on lamprey style to me boobage. I'd have no qualms about giving it as a gift to a new Mom- actually think it'd make a rocking Baby Shower gift.

But. Every once in a while I'd have raw food fall through the divider and be in contact with the raw meat packages... it skeeved me out. I worry about cross contamination, and I had 3-4 times where that concerned me with the boxes. Also, it's just kinda pricey... $35 a day for dinner? Meh, I can do better than that. So I suspended my account. But I'll reactivate it for a week if I'm on a business trip so my husband (who is a teacher) doesn't have to shop AND cook or if I'm bored with what we have in regular rotation- it's nice like that.

And the boxes and cards... they're magic for the kids. My girls are good eaters, but nothing compares to the gusto they dig into weird stuff from a Blue Apron box. Lamb. Ramps. Arugula. Cabbage and Apples. etc. And I still find 5-6 of the recipes are still in really regular rotation now for weeknight dinners.

And I'm just... I'm a better cook from how I learned technique and how to multitask from those cards and recipes. I really am.

Heather Laura Clarke

I'm dyingggg for Blue Apron to come to Canada so I can take advantage of codes like this. I want to try it so badly!

Anne

Making this tonight! We got the same recipes this week that you did - loved the burgers but didn't care for the salad. Really looking forward to this pizza! Hoping we can get our 4.5 year old daughter to at least try it!

Deb H.

I signed up for Blue Apron two years ago after hearing about it on your blog and using your discount. We are still enjoying it two years later! It's just my husband and me now, and we get the vegetarian option. I cannot tell you how much we love it. We live in downtown Portland and can easily walk to hundreds of restaurants. We found ourselves always eating out, even though we can also walk to about seven grocery stores. Blue Apron has saved us a ton of money and introduced us to things I would never eat otherwise. (I'm a bit of a picky eater.) I can honestly say there have only been 2 or 3 meals over the two years that I didn't absolutely love. And I've learned how to chop veggies quickly. We invested in two great Global knives and good cutting boards, a zester, a great rocking garlic mincer and a lemon juicer. Those have made prep work super easy. Thank you for introducing us to such a wonderful company!

Emily

I've tired both BA and Hello Fresh. I like Hello Fresh better. But if I don't have a discount code, I don't order. It's way too expensive with a code.

Cheryl S.

I really like Blue apron. I tried it based upon a code you gave a few months ago. I've learned to be very vigilant with checking it, so that I don't end up with meals I don't want. It really does save money and is a great way to add a few new things to your "standard" meals. I personally love all the Asian inspired dishes. The only thing I don't like is the fish. Honestly, I think that's because I live in FL and we are SO spoiled down here when it comes to fresh seafood.

Chi

I dig your Blue Apron posts! I love seeing how excited your kids get about cooking (something I aspire to) and it's fun to imagine Ezra possibly becoming a chef someday. :) I also like the posts from a purely food porn standpoint. :D

Jacquie

Rogue orange reference alert ;)

Valerie Gibson

The pizza this week was soooo good!! I'd make that again for sure and the cauliflower and clementine salad was a delightful surprise.

Jenn

I tried Blue Apron 2(!) years ago because of you and loved it for a little over a year. Then it started getting a little tired and not always worth the cost. We still order here and there but honestly they need to step up the game. I love reading you but I have to agree with those above who are tired of the Blue Apron posts. I get it you gotta pay the bills but these posts are actually turning me off of Blue Apron.

KristenSue

I love that your family does Blue Apron and it inspired me too!
But it got to the point that my daughter would eat nothing for dinner. Days in a row. My husband (the cook) was making these beautiful, adventurous meals that usually took 45 minutes.... only to have it rejected by both children over and over again. So we stopped. I hope some day to start it up again. because, DANG, it's convenient!

Beth

I tried Blue Apron because of your blog (which I love and have been reading forever) and I enjoyed it. It's just so nice not to have to THINK about what's for dinner. And I really enjoyed making them together with my husband. Everything was so well organized that it was peaceful rather than chaos, which dinner prep can sometimes be around here. I also felt like I learned so much about cooking and tried things I never would have otherwise.
We eventually had to cancel because we bought a new house and really have to rein in the budget for a while. I hope to go back someday!
For what it's worth, Amy, I don't mind the sponsored post at all. I enjoy hearing about your family, and it's still you, talking about something that works for your family. You do you.

Sarahd

I'm always happy to see Blue Apron posts! It means recipes (one of my favorite things!) and usually bonus Ezra (also incredibly awesome!).

caree

I use mostly Plated, and have tried HelloFresh & Sunbasket in the past. I look at the meal offerings of all 3 each week, and usually end up going with Plated. Generally we have been pleased. I very much like the idea of the Slater method with getting my 4-almost 5 yr old to try new things and using the meal kit delivery service to do so, in theory. However, it's now a year later of eating dinner this way and still, he will only eat the dinner maybe 10% of the time and rarely touches a vegetable. I'll usually throw in some almonds or cheese slices as a side so he has something he'll eat, but he usually just eats those almonds & cheese slices (i'm talking maybe 8 almonds and 2 little cheese squares) and then says he's done and refuses to try the rest. Then cue the negative attention seeking antics, before he finally gets kicked out of the kitchen. Occasionally he'll surprise me and eat roasted-to-a-crisp broccolini one night, but then the next night turn his nose up at crispy white rice from an asian dish. Gah are we ever going to depart the era of chicken nuggets and mac & cheese???

Nicole

I did not care for Blue Apron. Way too expensive, required way too many dishes to prepare and I honestly did not like either dish I tried.. but I do like reading about your Blue Apron experiences with your sweet boys.. and if it's a sponsored post too good for you! Keep on keeping on! Love the blog.

CJ

I'm going to finally try it. I got annoyed with the company back when you first wrote about them because their website said they delivered to "most" of the country and I went all the way through the process of signing up only to learn at the end that really they just meant the coasts. I had some sour grapes feelings when you wrote about them after that, but it was easy to simply not read those posts...friendly suggestion for some of your readers...now they deliver to Minnesota and I'm placing an order!

KImtoo

I'm still with it. And hey, ain't nobody forcing anyone to read the sponsored posts - take yourself off somewhere else if you don't like them, and come back when she's posted something else. Ain't like you're paying her anything.

I really do like Blue Apron, and have liked a huge percentage of the dishes. And I am never going to be tired of Ezra in a chef apron. It's been a year and a half, and my kids still don't eat anything interesting, but there is a variety of food available to them. They get unlimited vegetables (mostly snap peas and cucumbers) and a serving of two of bread, and nothing else unless they eat the small amounts of the BA meal I've put on their plates. Sometimes my oldest will choke some down in order to get dessert. They'll get there. And frankly, my husband and I appreciate the leftovers.

Lately, though, my youngest has been getting more serious about being a vegetarian. I mean no disrespect by this, but she has been a vegetarian of convenience for a long while now - no meat I don't like, thank you, but I'll eat deli turkey and pepperoni and fish sticks and the occasional cheeseburger if it means my meal comes with a toy. So I am reluctant to change the way everyone else eats when she's mostly a pain about food in general. It means I have gotten more creative - I'll give her a cheese stick or some almonds and serve her the sides.

JenVegas

We use Blue Apron and I had high hopes for it to get my kid to be more open to new foods. Alas, not so much. The grown ups in my house love it though. That burger was on point! We didn't get the pizza that week but now I really want it.

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