** Thank you to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are my own.
For Bjorn and me, the kitchen is the heart of our home. Sure, we love spending time in our living room or watching a movie together, and I love the peaceful haven of the bedroom, but we always seem to gravitate back towards the kitchen!
I’ve been blessed to marry a man who is just as excited about cooking as I am, and what’s neat is that we are equally competent in the kitchen! That makes supper time fun. We love watching Food Network shows like “Master Chef” or “Chopped,” because they remind us just how much thought and creativity can go into the cooking process!
Despite loving to cook meals together, Bjorn and I are also really busy – Bjorn, definitely more so than me! We both teach full-time – him, as a middle school history teacher, and me, as a Title I (small group reading and math) teacher in the elementary school. Besides that, I manage this blog, of course 🙂 and I’m an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields! Now, Bjorn is also an officer in the Army Reserves, he farms our own crop of soybeans every year, he’s working on his masters degree, and he’s the mayor of our town!
Wow. It makes me a little tired to list it all out! I think I need to go lay down. 😉 But Bjorn loves all that he does, and so do I. He would back off of these commitments and activities if he felt it was too much for it to be worth it, but he’s managing it all very well and I’m proud of him!
However, all of this makes meal times and time management very important! If meal planning and meal prep fall by the wayside (which I mentioned here can happen with me), then life gets a lot more difficult. I end up tired and scrounging around for silly snacks instead of a legitimate supper, or I grab whatever I see at the grocery store – not a good plan!
Blue Apron has been really fun for us to try out, because they take the hassle, the list-making, and the grocery shopping out of meal planning!
Like Blue Apron says on their site, “food is better when you start from scratch” and I totally agree! All of the meals I like to make most around here (like our favorite Thai Red Curry) start from scratch!
If you’re not familiar with them, Blue Apron sends pre-selected and perfectly-proportioned groceries right to your door, customized for the particular meals you’ll be making! Recipes with easy-to-follow instructions are included.
Bjorn and I have now enjoyed 2 weeks’ worth of Blue Apron meals (we went for the 2-person plan, at 3 meals a week) and it’s safe to say that we’re impressed after trying 6 meals.
Pre-planned meals like this allow us to experience new foods and try new recipes, so it has been fun to see creative ways to prepare meals that we wouldn’t have come up with ourselves! I’ve definitely made note of several interesting or creative new food ideas for us to remember in the future.
Some of the recipes we tried:
Spiced Beef Pitas & Garlic Labneh, with Arugula & Date Salad // This could very well be our favorite of the bunch! We never eat labneh (a rich, creamy type of cheese) so it was exciting to try something new! It was amazingly delicious! The spice blend provided for the beef strips really brought an extra depth of Middle Eastern flavor to the meal.
Seared Cod & Creme Fraiche Sauce, with Potato, Cabbage, and Olive Hash // This recipe was a close second favorite for Bjorn and me. We don’t often buy cod even though we do love fish, so again, this recipe helped us branch out of our comfort zone. We also discovered a new love for creme fraiche sauce! I don’t even know if it’s available at our local small-town grocery store, but it is such a unique, creamy addition to recipes. That’s why I really appreciated Blue Apron bringing us new flavors and products to try – even in small-town Minnesota!
Taiwanese-Style Chicken, with Jasmine Rice, Crispy Shallot, & Cilantro // This was another neat recipe to try. It seems Blue Apron was really enjoying cabbage that week because a couple of our recipes highlighted different kinds of cabbage! (Good thing we like cabbage!) It was a good way to get some important nutrients in us. I feel that recipes like this remind Bjorn and I of the importance of using layers of flavors and textures in a dish; things like chopped nuts or fresh herbs on top of a dish can really make a difference!
The only “con” that I thought of regarding Blue Apron is just a downside of them having those perfectly-proportioned ingredients (i.e., only 3 olives in a container, or only a tiny little bottle of apple cider vinegar): I was telling Bjorn that if I were to ruin part of the meal by burning it or even by dropping part of the ingredients on the floor, there’s no replacement! If I let the 3 olives roll to the floor or something, then we’d just have to forgo the olives! 🙂
Luckily, the instructions are laid out in a very clear way, making it easy to thoughtfully accomplish each step of the recipe without (hopefully) any mishaps! Bjorn and I are accustomed to moving recipes along a little faster, too, so we would “leapfrog” the different steps of the recipe in order to have one of us accomplishing Step 3 while the other still worked on Step 2, for instance.
It’s also super cute that Blue Apron had a little bag of what they call “knick knacks” to go with each recipe. It’s the little brown paper bag you see in some of these photos. Inside the bag are the smaller items that are needed for the recipe, such as fresh garlic, the little container of creme fraiche, a tiny bottle of apple cider vinegar, etc.
All in all, we were both really quite impressed with Blue Apron! I loved the creativity in the recipes, Bjorn loved that we weren’t wasting money or ingredients by buying too much at the grocery store, and we both were big fans of the flavor!! (And I think creme fraiche in recipes is our new friend 🙂 )
If you’re a busy family, and you don’t like to spend time making lists or grocery shopping – or if you feel stuck in a rut with your meal ideas – then Blue Apron is a really great option! Below, I’ve got a generous offer from Blue Apron to share if you if you’d like to give it a try!
A Special Offer For Just Bee’s Readers!
Blue Apron is giving my readers 3 meals for free with this link!
Click HERE to take advantage of 3 free Blue Apron meals!!
Note: the coupon is only eligible for first-time customers.
How do you simplify meal prep without losing creativity and quality? Have you ever tried Blue Apron or another meal-prep service like this?