Food for Thought #11: September & October.

1.// You guys! It’s November! How did that even happen? My bebe is 4 months old and she pretty much brings out the best in all of us. Also: my oldest turned FIVE and I get to do fun things with her like relive my childhood through Shrinky Dinks (affiliate link).

2.// I made this Apple Steel-Cut Oatmeal from Cookie and Kate the day after she posted it and it was a big hit with Jay and the girls, too! And by big hit – I mean my oldest said things like, “This is so delicious, Mommy,” the whole time she was eating it. And then she volunteered to do the dishes while wearing an apron. Is this real life now that she’s 5? It’s amazing how much sweetness the apples add – you barely need to add any, but a little brown sugar OR OR OR Trader Joe’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup make it extra amazing. I know I converted some of you to Scottish oats this time last year, and they really are my favorite form of oatmeal. The good news is you can make the apple oatmeal with them, too – just simmer the apples in water for 15 minutes before whisking in the Scottish oats. :o) If you want simple steel cut oats for the whole week, try this recipe! We have some in our fridge right now.

blue-apron-package

3.// I tried Blue Apron! A friend had sent me a coupon for a free week (we did the 4-person family plan). It was such a fun adventure! Getting that box full of lots of tiny little tasty presents was pretty magical. We had Roasted Chicken & Teriyaki Vegetables with Shiitake Rice one night, and Late Summer Beef Bolognese with Cherry Tomatoes & Crispy Garlic Bread another night. I’m going to break it down with my pros and cons list!

Pros:

  • Food. Delivered to your door. Yay edible mail!
  • It’s great to have just the amount you need of ingredients like fresh herbs that could go bad before you use them up if you buy a bunch at the grocery store.
  • I loved not having to think about what to make for dinner, go to the store, or accidentally not buy something I needed.
  • I like that you can skip a week and customize what meals you receive when you order.
  • Both the meals we had were tasty, and I love the commitment to seasonal ingredients.
  • At first I cringed a little at the amount of packaging – like an individually wrapped carrot – but later I found out you can recycle it and even send it back to Blue Apron for free!

Cons:

  • If you’re cooking for picky eaters, you don’t have the flexibility to change up a recipe the way you would if you were shopping for ingredients yourself. For instance, the chicken and rice meal only came with 1/2 cup of (uncooked) rice. I would have cooked waaay more than that for our family, since my kids will happily eat it.
  • I think part of the point is that you’re still cooking for yourself – it’s not pre-made meals. But I admit that I thought things like – I mean, it would have been okay if you had sent me this broccoli already cut up into florets.
  • The meals were a bit time-consuming to cook. Partly any new recipe takes a little extra time vs. a familiar one…partly I have a 4 month old, a 2 year old, and a 5 year old…and partly I’m not usually, you know, plating and garnishing on a typical weeknight. (Not that I don’t appreciate a nice garnish, it’s just that I’m over here shoving aside the coloring books/mail/school papers on the kitchen table and refereeing who gets the pink spoon.)
  • Especially when I’m cooking a more involved dinner, I want it to have leftovers, at least for lunch the next day if not for another dinner or a freezer meal!

I think Blue Apron would be perfect for the following people/situations:

  • someone who likes to cook but doesn’t have time to grocery shop
  • someone who doesn’t know how to cook and wants to learn with step by step instructions
  • someone who travels for work or only eats at home a couple of nights a week, who wouldn’t use extra ingredients quickly or need/want leftovers
  • someone who likes to try new recipes but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time meal planning

blue-apron-butter

Bottom line: since I generally like to grocery shop and meal plan, and I want the flexibility to tweak recipes to fit my family’s tastes, I won’t be a frequent orderer. But I can definitely see us doing it again – maybe for a week when we’re getting ready to leave town and I don’t want a fridge full of partially-used ingredients – or just for fun! Because I still smile when I picture that cute little round pat of butter. :o)

4.// I’m behind on many things…floor mopping, bed making, phone call returning, moving the baby up to her own room (but waah, so many stairs)…and also blogging. I love fall food and had lots of ambitious ideas for ya that might have to wait until next year – but here’s a list of things I wish would appear in my kitchen from some of my favorite bloggers!

Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon Maple Butter from Half Baked Harvest

Maple Chai Apple Pie from Foodie With Family

Brown Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Harvest Pasta Sauce from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese from RecipeTin Eats

5.// Have you tried Blue Apron or a similar meal delivery service? I’d love to know your thoughts!!

 

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4 comments

  1. Christen Marshall

    Thank you for such great feedback on Blue Apron. Some of my concerns are what you listed as cons. My hubby can be a little on the picky side, and I know he wouldn’t necessarily love everything they send. I’ll have to think on it a little bit, but I love the meal planning and cooking part, too. 🙂

    And I LOVE your blog. I am so thankful for it.

    1. Christen, I would love to know what you think if you end up giving it a try! It was definitely fun even though it didn’t make me a consistent customer! :o)
      And thanks for your encouragement – means the world!

  2. Hey Bet! Will you do a post on your thanksgiving menu? Even just a list? Since I don’t get to eat with you, I want to at least imagine what your fam will be enjoying ????

    1. Jess! Do you know I have never been responsible for the Thanksgiving meal? This year we are with Jay’s family and I’m not even contributing anything! ???? Other than adorable grandchildren, I suppose. My side of the family keeps it simple with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, a plain veggie like green beans, cranberry sauce from a can, and usually a citrus sweet potato dish that I’m not actually a fan of! ???? And ALL the gravy – my mom makes amazing gravy! Maybe next year I’ll get it together in time to post our stuffing and gravy recipes! #goals Miss you, friend! ????

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