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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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 🙂

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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!

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“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.

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“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.

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“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!

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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?