Recipes, Restaurant, Tips

Blue Apron First Impression

Hello friends! Over the weekend Alex and I tried out Blue Apron for the first time. I wanted to review it for anyone who has never tried it as well as give my opinion of it. Have a great day 🙂

A few weeks (month?) ago, Erinn was talking about Blue Apron. She said she had a week of free meals and whoever commented about it first could have it. I guess I was first because a few days later I received and email from Blue Apron. So I did not pay for the box we got but all opinions are my own.

img_5903

When Alex and I were talking about which size to get we ended up going with the family plan which feeds 4 people. Now you’re probably thinking why would you get that if there’s only 2 of you which is totally fair. Leftovers are the way I keep my sanity on weeknights so by going with the option with more food, some weekday dinners would be taken care of already. Since the power was being weird Monday and Alex had a late work event Wednesday, I ended up not having to cook at all. That’s a win in my book!

I opted to get the box delivered on a Friday. Unfortunately that ended up being the Friday right after Winter Storm Grayson which meant no mail was being delivered and FedEx was closed. So instead of getting it on Friday the box arrived on Saturday instead. I was a little concerned only because there was meat involved with one of the meals so I wasn’t sure how long the box would keep it cold. Well the worry was unnecessary because the box came and everything was still cold. There was a giant hunk of ice in the bottom that the meat was packed on top of.

img_5861

The first meal we tried was broccoli and mozzarella calzones on Saturday night. I had never had calzones before but I like pizza so why wouldn’t I like calzones. The recipe card was so detailed and all of the ingredients were labels so it was so easy to find what I needed once it was all in the fridge. Everything was so detailed and there was nothing I was confused about at all. Alex helped me by working the pizza dough. If you have a rolling pin then it would’ve been easier but he kind of man handled it. It got the job done though!

img_5867

When I put the pan in the oven to cook, I was shocked at the size of the calzones. They were honestly as big as my head. I wish I had a picture but it was either risk breaking the dough before baking or touching something that had just come out of the 475 degree oven… The dish was to be served with a Caesar salad. Making the dressing was so easy and delicious. We split a single calzone in half and it was filling without making us stuffed to the max. The salad was the perfect side and so light compared to the heavier main dish. Meal 1 was a success!

img_5872

Sunday night, we made the second meal which was hoisin glazed pork chops with wonton noodles and vegetables. This recipe allowed me to work with a new to me ingredient – ginger! To my knowledge I’ve never had ginger and definitely have never cooked with it. I peeled it with a spoon which made it so easy (thank you Google for that tip). Again, the recipe card was detailed and it was very easy to follow. Nothing was incredibly hard to make or prep and I was able to complete multiple steps while certain parts cooked.

img_5873

The vegetables were cabbage and carrots. I wasn’t sure how I would like this meal because I’m not a cabbage fan. Well with the sauce and all of the flavors, I was converted to a cabbage person, at least for this meal ;). Like with the calzones, Alex and I kept commenting on how good the food was while we were eating it. Everything worked so well together and it was all so delicious.

Overall we had a fantastic first experience with Blue Apron! It’s something we both said we would buy again although it will not be a regular purchase for us. The only reason it won’t be a regular thing for us is for budget reasons. It’s definitely a great way to get new recipes and learn new techniques or make you work with certain ingredients. Blue Apron does offer some recipes online in their cookbook and I will definitely be checking it out for recipes ideas in the future.

Thank you again Erinn for sending this to us! We both give it to thumbs up!

Question of the day: Have you ever tried a meal delivery service?

Books, Tips

How Much Did The Library Save Me?

Hi friends! Thank you for stopping by the blog today. Have a great day 🙂

Today is a little bit different of a post. As you know, I’m an avid reader and take many trips to the library. A few weeks ago, Alex and I were talking and the topic of reading came up. We were talking about how getting books from the library instead of buying them saves a bunch of money. While I know it saves money, I didn’t know how much. So for the month of August, I wrote down every book I read and the price. Although the books may be cheaper now, I took the price from what was on the book. If no price was visible I looked at Barnes and Noble’s website for their current price.

I wrote a summary of the story (without spoilers!) so you can see if any of these books are of interest to you. Enjoy 🙂

img_4330

“Defending Jacob” $28.00

Andy Barber is an assistant district attorney who is assigned a boy’s murder case. While murder cases are nothing new to him, the boy, Ben, is from his hometown and in the same class as his son Jacob. When Jacob is arrested for Ben’s murder, Andy tries to protect and defend his son.

img_4344

“Big Little Lies” $26.95

“Big Little Lies” follows three women with children in the same kindergarten class. One, Jane, is new to town while the other two, Celeste and Madeline, know each already. Each of the woman are dealing with their own set of problems. Celeste and Madeline befriend Jane quickly which impacts their lives more than they thought.

img_4356

“Eat Move Sleep” $24.95

Thomas Rath organizes different studies and gives his personal experiences with health. He describes how what we eat, how we move, and our sleep habits are all related. In order to be healthy, it’s important to work on all three aspects. If you’d like a more in depth review you may find it here.

img_4364

“The Opposite of Love” $25.00

Julie Buxbaum writes a light hearted novel about a girl who is afraid to commit. Emily breaks up with her boyfriend when he hints at a proposal. Thinking that she is fine, she throws herself into work and convinces herself that she’s better off alone. If you want a feel good, easy read I recommend this!

img_4378

“A Friend of Mr. Lincoln” $27.95

Stephen Harrigan tells the story of a friend of Abraham Lincoln before he became the president. Cage Weatherby is a poet who is there with Lincoln while courting his future wife Mary Todd, ups and downs in his law career. I do enjoy historical fiction but I’ve read some by other authors that I enjoy more.

img_4397

“All is Vanity” $24.95

Christina Schwarz takes a different approach to a story about friendship. Margaret is a teacher who quit her job to write a novel. She finds it incredibly difficult to get a good story. Her best friend since childhood, Letty, lives in California with her husband and four children. Letty and Margaret tell each other about their lives but Margaret takes a lot of interest in Letty’s life. The entire story, I was curious how their friendship would end. There was never a part in the story where I found it boring or predictable. I enjoyed Schwarz’s writing style and will be checking out more of her books in the future.

img_4425

“Luckiest Girl Alive” $25.00

The novel follows the story between present day Ani and when she was a teenager. According to Barnes & Noble’s website, critics said that if you like “Gone Girl” then you would like this book. I got tired of “Gone Girl” but loved “Luckiest Girl Alive”. I was really curious how the past would affect Ani in her current life. To be honest, I was not expecting for a reveal that came towards the end at all. The ending I thought would happen didn’t. If you want a suspenseful novel but not one that is super creepy or violent, read this!

img_4435

“The Obsession” $18.06

I forgot to write down the price of this before returning to the library. $18.06 was the price for a hardcover copy on Barnes and Noble’s website at the time this was written. 

I had never read a book by Nora Roberts but I will read more after this! Naomi found out a terrible secret her father was keeping right before her 12th birthday that completely changed her life. She is a photographer that lives with her mother’s maiden name instead of her fathers. Naomi tried to distance herself from her father’s crimes but they have always followed her. Part suspense, part love story, the novel is a story of someone who has to face the past with part that she did not choose.

img_4459

“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” $8.99

I adored everything about this book. I tend to have a hard time picking favorites of things but this book is 110% on my list of books that I think everyone needs to read. John Boyne tells a story of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child who doesn’t understand what is happening in his world. His father’s job promotion uprooted his life and he doesn’t understand why. You probably recognize this title since it was made into a movie. I want to watch the movie but I have a feeling I will cry during it. If you haven’t I truly think you should read this.

img_4463

“All the Light We Cannot See” $27.00

I first heard about this book a few years ago when my mom received it for Christmas from one of her sister (or their husband I don’t remember). We’re big readers in the family ha! Anyways, this is another historical fiction based on World War II. It follows Marie-Laure who went blind at a child and her father built her a to scale model of the city she lives in so that she would be able to venture out on her own without getting lost. Warren was in an orphanage who rebuilds radios and other items that is then recruited to help the Nazis. Their lives intersect during the war. Anthony Doerr beautifully writes about two people who are extremely different with different paths but their good people underneath everything.

img_4485

“Secret Daughter” $13.99

Somer is a doctor in San Francisco who discovers she cannot get pregnant after suffering two miscarriages. Khavti is a mother in India who gives birth to a daughter she cannot care for. These women go through difficult times to provide a life for the child they want but can’t have the way they want to have one. Told in a 20 year span, as their lives change and through different hardships motherhood is still their top priority. Shilpi Somaya Gowda tells the story about a mother and daughters bond whether biological or through adoption. It’s a heart warming story that I really enjoyed.

img_4514

“Calico Joe” $24.95

I had never read a book by John Grisham but I will check out more after this. Calico Joe is a nickname given to Joe Castle, a rookie who gets called up to the Chicago Cubs and captures all of baseball’s attention. Paul is just a child when this is happening and his father plays for the New York Mets. His father and Joe had one meeting and it ended someone’s career.

Total Saved: $275.79

Over the month of August I read 12 books which I got for free through the library. Had I bought a copy of them all, I would have spent just $275! Don’t get me wrong, I love buying a new book to read but I would go broke very quickly if I bought ever book I read. If you don’t utilize the public library near you, start! Aside from just books, I use the library as well to rent movies so we don’t have to pay a few dollars if we want to watch one on pay per view.

Question of the day: What’s the best book you read last month?

Health, Tips

The Importance of Listening to Your Body

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by today. I just want to give a quick shout out to Alex. He woke up at 4:30am, drove 3 hours down to Delaware to see my parents and younger brother, then drove in the pouring rain for almost 5 hours. He deserves a giant cookie…except he doesn’t like sweets very much. I’m taking suggestions of a non-sweet version of a giant cookie 😉

 

While at the tournament yesterday it was HOT. The feels like was over 100 degrees. It was hot just standing on the sidelines in a tank top and shorts so I can’t imagine how hot it felt for the players. If you’ve never seen a lacrosse player, they look like the person below (courtesy of Google). That is the gear they wear plus an undershirt (to prevent chaffing) and a jersey. During the last game, a player collapsed on the field. Thankfully he was okay and just overheated. But it was scary because when I ran over with water seconds after it happened, the boy was unresponsive before coming to.

14371003-mens-lacrosse-player

Seeing this happen got me thinking about how important it is to listen to your body. It can be hard to tell someone whether it’s a friend, parent, coach, etc. that you need a break from whatever you are doing. Your body is constantly telling you how it feels and it’s out job to listen.

For example, a few years ago my family was in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at a local parade. Even though I was just sitting in the sun watching, I started to overheat. At the time I was young so I thought that telling my parents I was hot would mean that I had to miss the parade which was not fun. So I stayed silent and started to feel worse. There was a group of girls next to us either late high school or college age that were doing each others hair. I asked my mom if she could get a ponytail holder from them since I didn’t have any and neither did she. Just simply putting my hair in a high bun on top of my head made me feel much better.

As a 22 year old, I’ve learned the signals that my body is telling me. If I start to feel hungry, I drink some water to see if I’m actually just thirsty. When the water doesn’t help the feeling then I eat a snack (or a meal if it’s a meal time). If I’m hot and outside, I put my hair in a bun on top of my head and drink some cold water.

Listening to your body doesn’t just have to deal with food and drink though. It has to deal with working out as well. If it’s hot and you’re on a run, it’s more important to realize that you can’t hit paces and slow it down so that you don’t collapse. Your health is so much more important. As my high school cross country coach told the team on multiple occasions, you are your best self advocate.

I don’t care who you feel responsible to whether its a teammate, coach, boyfriend, girlfriend anyone. They would rather you go slower than the paces scheduled or cut a run/workout short or not workout at all. It’s so much more important to be healthy and safe than to push yourself to the point of collapsing or injury.

Now I’m not saying this and having you all think that I do this. I need to take this advice myself sometimes. I guess seeing someone else, a 16 year old boy none the less, push themselves to that point and seeing how scary it was puts it into perspective. While I don’t want any of you to see someone get to that point, it’s important to take the necessary precautions so that you stay safe in the heat and humidity (or the cold!)

Going forward, I’ll be sure to assess any signals my body is telling me. It’s important to be sure that I’m not trying to ignore a bad signal telling me to stop or slow down. I would much rather run 4 miles instead of 6, a 9 minute pace instead of 7:45, or whatever my workout may be than push myself to needing time off or, god forbid, medical attention.

Tips

21 Things I’ve Learned in 21 Years

Today is my 22nd birthday! I thought it would be fun to share 21 things I’ve learned in the first 21 years of life.

1. Mom and Dad are usually right.

It doesn’t matter what it is, but they are probably right about it.

2. Never underestimate a phone call.

With texting being so common and easy today it can be easy to forget to call someone up. I can always tell when I call my grandparents that they appreciate it much more than a text to them.

3. People will be in your life if they want to be.

The best relationships are ones that aren’t forced. If someone wants to leave your life let them! You’ll have healthier relationship because of it.

4. Just because you don’t talk all the time does not mean your friendship is over.

This is something I learned while being in college. Being 800+ miles away from my best friends from home meant I not only saw them less but I didn’t always talk to them. Most of them I have been friends with since 1st grade! That friendship didn’t just end because I was on the East Coast. Whenever I go home, we pick up right where things left off.

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 6.12.38 PM

5. Always be prepared.

Whether it’s keep an emergency granola bar in you bag or desk at work, having an extra tampon, or an external battery charger. Be prepared, you never know what life will throw at you.

6. It’s okay to ask for help.

Whether it’s help with school or work items, people want you to succeed. If someone is unwilling to help I would

7. Know your worth.

Now this can be taken a few ways. With other people if they are not treating you the way you think you deserve to be treated, get out of that friendship or relationship. It is not worth your time and energy. Don’t be afraid to speak up at work. If you get a job offer that is under market value, (politely!) ask to be fairly compensated. After working for a company for a few years, speak up about being paid more. If a company is not willing to fairly pay you chances are they are not the right fit.

8. Don’t take a job just to have one.

I was offered a job at another company before accepting my current position. Both offers had me working part time while I finished the semester. The first company had no guarantee of a full time position after graduation. They were just testing to see if it would work. My current company had a guaranteed position. Had I accepted the first offer, I don’t know if I would be employed right now.

9. Treat Yo Self

When you reach a new milestone like a promotion or new job then treat yourself! Go get a new purse/shoes/shirt/etc.  or grab dinner with friends. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating you.

IMG_0905

10. Have me time

When life gets incredibly busy or stressful it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Spend 10, 20, 30 minutes or however long you choose to spend some time alone. Take a bubble bath with candles and a glass of wine, put your phone in another room and read a book, get your nails done, go for a walk. Whatever you want to do to spend some time alone to reset and recharge is important.

11. Drink water

I used to not like water but once I started consistently drinking it, I realized that I was probably dehydrated before. Figure out what works best to get you to drink it whether it be fruit infused water or a certain type of water bottle (I drink more water when a straw is involved for some reason). Always have your bottle on you as well so you can just take sips periodically.

12. Don’t deprive yourself

Whenever I would try to get back on track with healthy eating, I would not let myself eat certain foods like sweets or chips, whatever it was. This led to cravings and binges which was doing the opposite of what I wanted. Now if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie. Chips and salsa? Bring it on! I enjoy them more since I don’t have them as much and I don’t see it as cheating or that I’m no longer eating healthy.

13. Have a consistent routine

I was always the person that loved being on break from school because I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. That was great for a few days until I got bored and restless. I thrive on routines. I enjoy having a semi set day to day schedule. Don’t get me wrong, changing up your routine every once in a while is important but being consistent with workouts, going to bed and waking up makes scheduling things much easier.

 Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 6.21.21 PM

14. Say no.

As important as it is to say yes it’s equally important to say no. If your friends are all going to a movie and you really don’t want to see it then it’s okay to say no! Say no if you have a lot of things on your plate at work and your boss wants you to do another task. It’s better to say no and give quality work that is on time than sloppy work that is late.

15. Continuously learn new things

Even though I just finished college, learning is something that is important to me. I always want to learn something, whether a new word or a hobby. Whenever I come across a word that I don’t know while reading I look it up. I learned to knit when I was younger (I don’t remember how or who taught me) except I spent years not doing it. Over winter break I picked it up again and ended up making a scarf as a Valentine’s Day present. Learning new things helps me stay sane.

16. Work hard, play hard

It is so important to work hard, especially when you have a goal you want to achieve. But don’t get so caught up in chasing that goal that you forget to have fun. I used to think it was so important to get all of my work done as soon as possible but I realized that focusing on this too much had me missing out on fun outings with friends. Your goal will still be there in the morning (unless it has a midnight deadline!) so go out with you friends and have a few drinks. You will never remember the nights you spent inside doing work but you will remember when you saw someone overindulge and make a fool of themselves.

17. Try new things

It could be a new workout, new food, new type of music. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to branch out. But at the same time know your limits. For example, I have a very picky eater. One thing I have tried multiple times and do not like is seafood. I will not eat it because I just don’t like it no matter how good some one tries to tell me it is. I’ve been at a meal before where people try and pressure me to try it but I stand my ground and just say no until they get bored and change the subject. Now if it was a new kind of dessert they wanted me to try it would be a different story 😉

18. Talking is best

When you are in an argument with someone its so easy to just be silent and not talk. This never helps the situation! It just lets you and the other person stew and get more upset with each other. It’s so much better to agree to meet or talk on the phone if you’re too far away to meet. Texting lets someone else put the tone to your words which doesn’t help in an argument.

19. Eat the cake

Or cookie, brownie, chocolate, whatever it is your craving! Life is short so why not indulge a little every once in a while! If you ran 5 miles and want a piece of candy after dinner have it. Everything in moderation!

20. You are your biggest critic

Whenever I try a new recipe, I get anxious when I let other people try it. I’m not sure why because no one has ever told me they hate it (to my face 🙂 I’ll sit there an think about ways to make it better the next time. And while that is 110% okay to do, I shouldn’t  let that stop me from sharing new recipes with people! Before anyone tells me what they think I just assume it’s awful when that’s not the case at all! This goes for anything in life, how fast you run, how quick you read, etc. You are the only person who is dwelling on it, so stop critiquing yourself and live your live!

21. Be yourself

Never conform to how people want you to be. Social media can make you think everyone else is living this perfect life and that you have to be like them but you don’t. It’s like your parents would say when you were younger “If everyone else was jumping off a bridge would you jump too?”. The answer is no! You’d be doing cartwheels on said bridge instead. Always be yourself, it’ll make people like you more since you’re being genuine.

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 6.05.42 PM

Daily Happenings, Fitness, Tips

Target Trip Thursday

Happy Friday! I’m so excited for this weekend because it’s almost the Fourth of July which is my favorite holiday.

Thursday started out in a rushed note. I woke up late for work so I was rushing around to get ready. Luckily I had breakfast premade so I threw it in my purse and ate it at work. The morning was a little busier than normal which is fine by me! Personally, I’m more productive in the morning.

After work, I ran to Target to pick up a few things before heading home. I have a new cake recipe I want to try this weekend so I picked up a few ingredients for a recipe I’m trying this weekend and Epsom salt. If you have sore muscles or blisters, I highly recommend an Epsom salt bath! I swear its how any blisters I get from running go away so quickly.


We decided to have burgers for dinner so I decided to read a bit and relax before heating the oven up for fries. Although I prefer roasted potatoes (something about the burnt-ish flavor) I was a good girlfriend by making fries instead. While that cooked I made my lunch for tomorrow. Making lunch at night lets me sleep in a few extra minutes in the morning which I love.


I’m currently reading one of JoJo Moyes novels, “The Ship of Brides”. Last year I read, “Me Before You” by her and LOVED it. It was so good. And yes I did cry on an airplane while watching the movie. Maybe I just assumed this book would be just as good as the other one, I’m not sure. Just a little disappointed in it, but it’s still a good book! I read for the rest of the night before I fell asleep.

 

After work I think I’m going to go by the pool. It’s supposed to be hot in New Jersey this weekend. Have a great day!