If You Can't Draw a Crowd Put Coke on a Wall
Me vs. Nature, Part Four Million and Three

Our Week Without Blue Apron

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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.

Since we signed up for Blue Apron last summer, we’ve only skipped a small handful of weeks. Usually because of holidays and travel schedules, when we knew we wouldn’t be able to prepare the meals when the ingredients were still super fresh.

We skipped a week this month because we were going to have a string of back-to-back weeknight plans, so it didn’t make sense to have three meals’ worth of ingredients sitting in the fridge until the weekend. Besides, Jason said, he had a few recipes bookmarked he’d like to try the other nights.

Of course, our weeknight plans all fell through in semi-rapid succession, and by Sunday afternoon we were looking at a week with no Blue Apron delivery scheduled and multiple meals to plan and shop for on our own. You know, like 99.999999% of the rest of the adult population manages to do each and every week.

Yeah. Here’s how that went…


We spend a LOT of time on different recipes sites, going back and forth about different recipes and meal ideas. I repeatedly, gently at first, then increasingly shrill-like, point out that every recipe Jason bookmarked requires like, three hours of active cooking time, a ridiculous amount of prep, or is laid out to serve a dozen people and requires complicated math to scale it back to acceptable portion sizes.

Also, we will probably all die of heart attacks by Thursday from all the bacon involved.

Finally, we reach a tentative consensus on our menu plan and Jason heads out to Grocery Store #1. The text messages start not long after he arrives. They don’t have A, B, or C. Think we can substitute X, Y, and Z? How much cornmeal do we have? What about cayenne? Can you check that container of sour cream for fuzz?

He arrives home hours later with a completely new plan for the week and a whole bunch of off-menu impulse buys.

 “THEY HAD RAMPS!” he exclaims. “I LOVE RAMPS!”

“What are we doing with ramps?” I ask.


Jason heads back to the recipe websites. I make turkey meatloaf and forget to make a salad.


Back to the grocery store to buy stuff to go with the ramps, which were stupid expensive. We’ve already spent more on groceries than a week of Blue Apron.

We make a pasta dish with the ramps. It’s delicious, but easily a million calories, and sorely missing a protein. Ike rejects it outright for reasons unknown. I once again am appalled at my lack of side dish skills, because there isn’t one. Just big bowls of carb carby carb carb carbs.

After dinner I go to prep a brisket for the slow cooker and realize we don’t have any onions left. Onions! Who doesn’t have ONIONS?

Us, that’s who. We are winning at life.


Our typical Blue Apron delivery window comes and goes. I am officially wistful.

Jason stops at yet another grocery store for onions. Might as well pick up a few dozen other things while he’s there. We’ve now spent double our subscription cost on groceries.

Since the brisket is a no-go, I remake a Blue Apron recipe we all really liked: Pistachio-Crusted Catfish  with Clementine Salad, Israeli Couscous and Roasted Fennel.


Things our grocery store(s) did not have:

  • Catfish (!?!)
  • Clementines
  • Non-sad looking fennel


We use tilapia and mandarin oranges instead. We have an egregious amount of leftover produce, which I realize could have easily been the missing sides/salads of our previous nights, but it didn’t occur to me to use them because we “needed” them for the fish. 



Maybe next time we'll make a meal-to-meal overlap flowchart.

(No, we won't.)

These inconveniences aside, the end result is amazing.  


The kids eat every bite on their plates, including the green stuff. Okay. Looking better.


We eat the slow cooker brisket, which is good…but tastes a lot sweeter than I remember it. We used to make briskets all. The. Time, so I either borked up the sugar measurement or have just lost my taste for overly sweet sauces.

We serve it with farfalle and the kids all start regressing all over the place, demanding plain pasta with meat on the side, NOT TOUCHING NOT TOUCHING, and no sauce. What? No. Who are you guys, all of a sudden? You’re better than this.

I also make a salad with the leftover produce that no one likes.

Despite all the planning hours and multiple shopping trips, we have no specific meal planned after this one. We are so, so bad at this.



A surprise Blue Apron shipment arrives – part of the compensation for this post. Two Family Plan meals for four people (one beef, one fish) are inside. Enough to get us through the rest of this endless, godforsaken week.

It doesn’t hurt that one of the meals is hands down, the most delicious thing we’ve ever cooked:


There were no leftovers.



When our next regularly scheduled delivery arrived, this was the very first thing I pulled out of the box:



Good news! Blue Apron is opening a distribution center in Texas, which will allow them to deliver to 99% of the country! No need to feel left out any longer, if you were outside previous delivery zones.

Even more good news! First 100 readers will get TWO FREE MEALS on your first order if you sign up via this link. Thanks to Blue Apron for continuing to sponsor my blog and for being totally awesome in general.



I've been resisting the Blue Apron movement for a long time now, and it is probably time to get on board. You hit on several of my dinner pet peeves here--and I love to cook and have multiple awesome grocery stores close by--but I hate long prep times and wasted food. Might break down and try this.


Have you noticed if a lot of the recipes use dairy or eggs? I'm wondering how possible this service would be with a dairy allergy.


Blue Apron question, because I'm totally interested, for a family of 3, what would you order? One of the three is a 10 year boy with an appetite, especially with swim season coming up?


I'm glad you included pictures, because I had no clue what ramps were. I clicked the link for the updated map, but there is still a chunk of the country missing (including TX), so maybe it's not updated yet? I don't expect up north in the middle of the country (ND) to be included anyway, but it would be great to be able to subscribe! Also, I think next time I'm at the grocery store, I'll ask if they have ramps. They'll probably send me to the auto-supply store. lol

Heather Laura Clarke

Can Blue Apron puhleeeeease come to Canada already?! It sounds amazing!


Thank you thank you thank you, Amy! I just ordered and got the discount, yay! We also find our meal planning goes off the rails midway through most weeks. Plus picky eaters... hoping Blue Apron will save the day!

Deb H

As I raised our four kids, I always wished someone would come to my house, fill up my pantry, and tell me what to cook for dinner. I HATED to even think about food and cooking. The kids are grown but cooking and planning were still a chore. We signed up for BA in December, thanks to you. We love it. We happily cook together and try new (vegetarian) things and give out free trial weeks to friends. Thanks so much for introducing us to Blue Apron!


I'm cracking up. I skipped the last two weeks because of too many end of school year activities and HOLY CRAP I NEED IT BACK! I'd forgotten how much money/time I save with it.


Ok I finally bit the bullet and signed up on your assurances that my picky children will eat this. :)
Also its at least that many nights that I don't have to decide what to cook. Best gift to myself ever.


We signed up for BA last fall based on your recommendation and helpful blog posts, and I. Love. It. It is the best thing ever. We both work full time and I have no idea how our parents' generation managed work/life balance without the internet and the various home-delivery services it powers.

Also, to Lea, I'd say at least half of the meals use dairy (most of that is butter, and there's occasionally a little bottle of heavy cream for something like mashed potatoes. Once we got an 8 oz thing of milk, I think for a quiche?). You could probably substitute pretty easily.


We skipped this week too. My man went to Costco and came home with 3 kinds of bacon. THREE DIFFERENT COSTCO SIZED PACKAGES OF BACON! Last night for dinner we had salami and cheese. This post hits so much home to me.


That 99% of America is still leaving out the middle according to the map. Still no delicious foods for me. *tears*


So if I sign up for Blue Apron, I'll forget how to cook, grocery shop, and how to budget? I'm sorry, I love your blog, but this is the first time I'm calling BS. I'm sure it FEELS like the world is much more difficult without the service, but I don't want something that will spoil the rest of my life forever if it goes under, as it inevitably will when we all stop being excited about boxes.

jessica fantastica

Is there a difference between mandarin oranges and Clementines besides a brand name?


Just started Blue Apron for my small family last week, when my son came home from college. I don't mind cooking but despise the meal planning and shopping. Loved our meals last week. Am bummed that I have to come up with something for dinner tonight, because the holiday has thrown off the normal delivery schedule. I've done a similar program in the past and was surprised that it's actually cheaper to do this than regular grocery shopping, due to less waste and fewer impulse purchases. I have a hard time convincing others of the savings, but it's true!!

Sara M

Wait, I clicked that link for 2 free meals and it's only taking $19.98 off my total. Does that mean 100 peeps have signed up already?


Was this reporting on your life, or my life? Because we are a mess when we don't have BlueApron. We have two small children and have become so obsessed with it that we have one box (3 2 person meals) delivered to the house and another (2 4 person meals) delivered to the office. And we rarely do take out now. And I do this thing? It's called? Cooking when my husband has an evening meeting? It's so weird.


I am always tempted to do this but 1) it's only 4 meals so I would still need to shop for 3 other dinners a week and 2) what about breakfasts and lunches? So actually still sounds like a lot of grocery shopping and only skipping the meal planning part. I just have a hard time believing you can actually save that much money on this. What am I missing?


Just commenting to close a stray italics tag... and to mention that Catfish can also be found as Basa or Pangasius. :)


CANADA! COME TO CANADA!! Don't let the Target debacle scare you....

Amy A

Okay, too lazy to google--fellow Amalah peeps, what are ramps??!!


Yup. I'm part of the 1%... Up in ND we are always looking for ways to get good, fresh ingredients especially during the ridiculously long winters so it is a real disappointment that we are still left out. Oh well, I guess I'll just keep dreaming and checking every time you post about them.


Yay! Texas delivery!! I'm gonna need to convince my husband this is a good deal. But the first week discount will help with that! Thanks Amy!


Is there enough for all 5 of you? Or do you have to supplement? I have 3 kids as well and wonder if it will be enough?


It's confusing - they don't mean two free family meals, they mean two individual ones, so about $20 off. I just signed up last week, and was bumming because I thought this was a better deal and I'd missed out. But nope, same one.
I am all for things that make my life easier, even if they seem lazy and stupid to random Emilys on the internet. I tend to either do the planning well, and then not cook for various reasons, or I'm top of cooking, only to find out I'm missing an ingredient or two. So we're giving this a shot. Even if it just adds to our repertoire, I'll be happy.


I have the same questions as some of the peeps above. How do you feed hungry teens and preteens on just four servings? Is there a way to double that?

And can I request dairy/gluten free options? I emailed them and asked on FB but didn't hear back.

Thanks for giving us a coupon!


I'd love to try this, but it's so expensive. Idk, we buy mostly in bulk and freeze (my husband is a master at cooking huge meals and freezing for later) so there is no way it would save money. I don't really meal plan either, just keep the pantry and freezer stocked with staples. Two big-ish grocery trips per month and two or three short ones to fill out meals.


So I went and googled 'ramps' as I didn't recognise them. (If you are in the UK, we call them wild garlic.) We have them in the garden and practically everywhere in woods etc. We eat the flowers and some of the leaves but, who knew you could eat the whole thing! Thanks to the Amalah for pointing this out, will go and dig some of those things up. Who doesn't like free food?!


First, thank you thank you thank you for recommending Blue Apron. We signed up the last time you posted about it, and we. love. it. Alas, my husband cannot eat onions, so I'll be happy to send all of ours to you. ;) (And ramps are kinda like spring onions on steroids.)


I went to the grocery store yesterday, forgot my list at home, managed to get most of what was on the list since it was small which I was happy about, then realized at 4:00 that I had not bought anything for dinner last night. We ended up having hamburgers that I found buried in the freezer. After I cooked them I realized I didn't have any toppings to bulk them up and make them actually filling for the husband and teen boy. Also, the side was an apple because I am pathetic with sides. I may need to break down and try blue apron. Everything looks so yummy.


OMG, I skipped my Blue Apron delivery for this week and I don't know why. WHY WHY WHY. I had this whole system going where I did Blue Apron every other week because it's just me eating three meals for two people and sometimes I get behind and have to throw things away.... but the last month has had the most delicious meals so I let them all come through. If I got behind, I got creative and combined recipes or made something simpler with most of the ingredients so that almost nothing went to waste. It was glorious. And now I have to make it ALL THE WAY TO NEXT FRIDAY, JUNE 5TH WITH NO BLUE APRON BECAUSE I AM DUMB.

P.S. Dear Blue Apron, if some day in the future your systems allow for it, can you create a garlic-free meal option? I refuse to mince garlic because it fills me with hate, so I use the pre-minced grocery store garlic and man alive I feel terrible throwing away bulbs of garlic week after week.


I don't get it...after reading many rave reviews of BA I gave it a go and have to say I was less than impressed. The meals weren't that good. We had the hoisin steaks above and turkey sliders. Meh! Maybe I'm just spoiled by the usual delicous food that happens in my house. It also seems like a big waste of packaging each week. And what happens if ingredients are left out? The steaks that had a carrot side came with one carrot instead of 4 so I had to improvise. No biggy, but if you're looking for a quick dinner answer it's kinda a fail. IMO if you're spending essentially the cost of carryout save yourself the work too!


Hahaha @Kimtoo, the "random Emilys" comment made me laugh. (Maybe because I haven't slept well, probably.)

Anyway, Amy, you guys might want to try a Fresh20 subscription. It's a lot cheaper, and it gives you a grocery list to bring with you and then meal plans out your dinners. (Also, if you can see my email above you can email me and I can send you some of my saved menus because I suck at meal planning.) It would at least save you for the weeks when you have to meal plan yourself. I intended to try it and make a good faith effort and then I never did. Because I fail at meal planning or wanting to eat the meals planned for me.


@Erin, you need to get yourself a garlic press!


For the record, I'm routinely amazed at the lack of onions in our house when I go looking for them, but routinely talk myself out of buying them while at the store, thoroughly convinced we have tons at home because WHO DOESN'T HAVE ONIONS??


AAANNNNDDDD of course I'm in the 1%-no-delivery-zone. Shouldn't be surprised; I live in Alaska. We get nothing. I feel like a wildling beyond the wall.....


I was so going to try Blue Apron, but they don't have a gluten-free option. Ho-hum, guess I'll have to keep making the same five or so family meals we currently have in rotation.


@Elise, do you want to email me at tinab1181 (at) gmail? I can forward you some menu plans that I saved from Fresh 20. I didn't have the gluten free meal plan, but a lot of the meals were naturally gluten free, and since you do the shopping yourself - you could totally get gf stuff/work arounds.


Can I read one blog without being Blue Aproned to death?


The reason I can't do this (and I WANT to do this) is even though BA breaks it down by per person cost, we just are NOT spending that amount per week. $140 for four people? Per week? Nope. Plus, putting out that much and it only being four days -- I can't do it. (And for the record, I first thought Jason was feeding his inner kid, enjoying RAMPS LIKE FOR HANDICAP ACCESS. What? Spring onion. I've never heard it called ramp. Are they totally different? Just a bit similar? I like learning.)


Can I also point out that one thing couscous is NOT is Israeli? It's bad enough for them to claim Palestinian hummus, now they're expanding across North Africa too?


Monica--Adirondack Inspired

Yes, I LOVE blue apron. I had been looking into it, because I believe in the value of everything advertised on my podcasts, but then I saw your family of five enjoyed it. We are also a family of five, with children a bit younger, so it works for dinner AND at least one leftover lunch. Bonus, since starting it a bit over a month ago, I've lost 6 lbs, so yeah, wellll worth it!


Not to crap all over the Blue Apron love here, but I tried it with one of your last deals - and was not impressed. (No hate for the sponsored posts and glad you guys love it - but just to give others who don't live in a "major metropolis" a glimpse into my experience)... I live in Charlotte, NC (not exactly the boonies), and our BA delivery days are Thurs or Fri here. I chose Thursday, and was even home when the box arrived, to put it all straight away - and still the dairy products all arrived at temps ranging from 48-53 degrees. Personally, I can't handle that. The box had been shipped on Monday - and... well... that's just gross. I don't think they've worked out how to get the food here to us, fresh. It's all fairly ick when it arrives. The greens are always slimy, etc. (We threw out the majority of what we received). I can't comment on the meat - as we eat limited meat in our house, and only local - so I chose the vegetarian plan. We are happy to eat veggie and even vegan meals here, but I had a hard time selling the "heirloom carrot salad" for dinner, to my SO. Talk about lack of protein. I love to cook, discover new foods and recipes, (and I swoon over Jason's Instagram); and I just didn't feel like I was the target customer for BA. I wanted to like it, really. But no.

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