This post is sponsored by Blue Apron, and SPOILER ALERT: There's a code for free meals at the bottom, if you prefer to skip my ramblings and get right to the good stuff.
The best part about being asked to write about Blue Apron is that — as anyone who knows me in real life can attest to — ALL I DO SOME DAYS IS TALK ABOUT BLUE APRON.
I have converted my sister, several close friends, a bunch of Facebook acquaintances, at least one coworker, and also this one girl I met at a party one time, who accepted my referral email invite probably out of fear for her life.
“BLUE APRON,” I’ll say, wide-eyed, while grabbing your arm in a way that makes you a little uncomfy, “IS THE GREATEST THING ON EARTH.”
I mean, don’t mind me, but here are just some photos of my three and a half year old eating Chef Mei Lin’s winning meal from the season finale of Top Chef: Crispy Chicken Thighs with Braised Lettuce, Kimchi and Maitake Mushrooms.
And here is a photo of him LIKING IT.
And here is a photo of my plate, which looks a little fancier but still induced some pretty dorky chair dancing:
We ate that meal on a Monday night, after yet another snow day, a snow day so pointless and crazy-making that I couldn’t even be bothered to make Ike change out of his pajamas by dinnertime, but I cooked that entire meal with pleasure, including homemade kimchi, which I’ve never attempted before. It took about 30 minutes and dirtied up all of one pot and two bowls. I came in under my calorie count for the day, although I may have promptly blown that with an extra glass of wine while the kids unloaded and loaded the dishwasher.
This is the way we eat now. Although we can skip weeks anytime we want, we’ve only done that twice. We went away for a weekend with some friends this winter, and after confirming that our rental accommodations included a full kitchen, we simply loaded our Blue Apron delivery into the car, still in the boxes, along with the only things NOT provided: salt, pepper and olive oil.
(Oh, and a citrus zester, because I am not zesting any fool citrus without that thing.)
My refrigerator is free of wasted squishy herbs, extra produce, containers of specialty condiments growing fuzz because I bought them one time for one recipe six months ago. We spend zero time menu planning and practically no time shopping…while eating better, with more variety. Jason and I have completely crushed our weight loss goals. And my children are just like, “oh, it’s a salmon burger, I dig salmon burgers.”
Meanwhile they don’t even care that I’ve spread hoisin mayonnaise on them and topped them with a cabbage-pear slaw. This, from children who previously would freak out over the presence of ketchup. KETCHUP.
Salmon burgers mise-en-place, from a Blue Apron family-style, four-person box.* I swapped two of Blue Apron’s full-sized buns for three of our patented, go-to Stupid Tiny Buns to make five burgers, and of course added the classy touch of leaving the SALE price sticker on my wine.
*Full disclosure: We are paying Blue Apron members and have been since late last summer/early fall. We receive two boxes a week, each containing three meals for two people, at $9.99 a meal. The chicken dish at the beginning of this post is from that plan. As part of this sponsorship, Blue Apron sent us an extra box of their new family plan membership, which contained two meals for four people, including the salmon burgers. While we are technically five people, the four servings is always more than enough, and we usually have some leftovers. Calorie counts are between 500 and 700 calories per serving across both plans, yadda yadda.
No lie, the last special “kids only” meal I made for them included leftover tempura-battered acorn squash from this amazing taco meal. We had a BOUNTY of fried squash, so I froze it, and now just heat the pieces up like chicken fingers in the oven.
(The kids may or may not dip them in ketchup. Whatever.)
Point is, Blue Apron really has changed the way we shop, cook, eat…and how spend our family meals together. That’s probably where all this effusive praise really comes from.
Jason and I love cooking together now — we used to clash and bump elbows all the time, tripping over each other as we pursued separate tasks, stressing over overly complicated recipes that sparked our interest but had no place being made on a weeknight. (Or just making the same rotating list of meals over and over, zombie-style.) Now we look forward to making dinner. We’ve very much found the rhythm and flow of the Blue Apron recipe cards and instructions, and are of course giant food dorks about learning a new technique or popping open a wee container of some crazy weird pepper sauce or a cheese we’ve never heard of.
It took about a month on the service, but the kids aren’t thrown at all by the appearance of something New or Green — you tell ‘em it’s a taco, or beef/chicken/fish, or has some kind of rice or noodle or grain, that’s familiar enough. The meal battles have all but come to an end.
And watching Noah, who struggled with texture or oral motor issues that made mealtimes SO CHALLENGING for SO MANY YEARS, delight in the discovery that actually, he’s NOT a picky eater, and is PROUD of his ability to try new things and find that he likes them, most of the time…well. I’ve lost my grip on the grammar this sentence but trust me: It’s an amazing thing.
Anyway, that’s probably enough from me, especially since writing this is making me hungry and it’s still HOURS away from dinner time. (Tonight’s menu: Tilapia Meuniere with Moroccan Beluga Lentils and Rainbow Chard.)
This post was sponsored by Blue Apron but all unhinged fangirl opinions are most certainly my own. Sign up for Blue Apron using THIS LINK and the first 100 readers will get two free meals on their first order. So what in sam hill are you still doing HERE? Go! Order! Cook! EAT!