One time when I was 23, my mother-in-law asked me to set the table and I had to whip out my phone on the sly to google ‘how to set a table’. I love food and eating with family, but growing up the fourth out of nine brazen kids, it was more about spearing as much as we possibly could on our forks than the proper place to set them. Even though over the years I’ve taken great pride in the fact that we DO eat together every night, and that there IS something to eat on that dang table, I’ve never made it too far past the super casual manners of my youth, hashtag raceforthefood.
I remember a few years back a good friend and I were sewing together, and she was working on cloth napkins for her family and I was like SAY WHA? People use those at home?? And with curiousity, I decided I’d go home and just see if were fancy enough to handle that level of civility. I cut up some cheap muslin I had on hand, zipped around the squares with a smart little coral rolled hem, and boom. It upped our dinner game immediately to like a 3 out of 5! Not only did my kids love it, but it kinda changed the way I ate too, slower and more mindfully. Three years later and they’re still helping us wipe our mouths and feel proper.
Along with manners, I’m always working on cooking side of things as well. Cooking is really not my thang thang; I mean I don’t mind it once I get going, but I would rather do pretty much anything else in the world besides start dinner. And I absolutely dread grocery shopping and meal planning and honestly resent the time it takes me do those things. But I value so much the quality family time that I grit my teeth and do it. Every. Single. Night. And I go through lots of phases. Sometimes I’m out there like a culinary MacGyver, searching pinterest and library cook books for delicious healthy meals, and other times it’s weeks of grilled cheese and Costco staples. When Blue Apron reached out to me I was really interested in giving their meal planning and prep services a try, because anything that cuts those two steps out of my life sounds amazing to me.
Most of you probably already know how they work, but it was new to me. You sign up for a certain meal plan (2 person 3X/week, or 4 person 2X/week, $8-10 per person) and then browse from a large selection of recipes and select the meals you want to try, pick a drop off day, and then magically receive an refrigerated box full of fresh ingredients for your meals (so no worries if it arrives when you’re not there!) The ingredients are proportioned exactly to the recipe, so there’s no waste, and it makes it really easy to have your kids help and not make a massive mess because they don’t have to measure anything out (my kids often want to help me, and I firmly believe it’s the most saintly act we do as moms, hashtag martyr.) They also really liked following along with the picture step-by-step instructions, and it made giving them little tasks to do really simple.
We tried two different meals, and both were really delicious and successful enough among the offspring that they made into my recipe box for regular meal rotation (big deal with all the HIGHLY particular palettes around here). What you see here is Miso Honey Chicken with sweet Potatoes and Bok Choy, it was great.
I was really impressed with Blue Apron, and think it would be especially amazing for specific times when cooking becomes to overwhelming to do or to do decently. For example, how guh-rate would it be when you just have had a baby and it’s been a few months and your back on your feet and technically cooking again, but your brain and hormones are a sloshy soup of survival, and the thought of meal planning or shopping make you want to jump off the empire state building hoping to catch your eyelid on a nail so you’re eating a lot of crap quick meals like box mac and cheese, and all that baby weight is just hanging out like BAM. I would absolutely pay Blue Apron to say HERE cook these delicious meals and I’ll leave everything for you on the doorstep. DONE. Something else I really enjoyed was learning new techniques and ingredients to cook with. For example, I’m sort of just rubbish with meat, and over the years I’ve always been intimidated by anything beyond ground beef/turkey or chicken breast.. My two recipes I tried both taught me how to cook different meats than I’m used to (steak and bone-in chicken thighs) and I was like, whoa. That was easy. I was thinking a subscription for 3-6 months would be a pretty rad pitch-in-for gift for a newly married couple or anyone who is needs to/wants to learn how to cook. The hardest part about my first year of marriage was learning how to cook and fighting about food preferences. This would make the whole process SO much less intimidating to whoever is going to be doing the cooking. You would learn how to cook, familiarize yourself with ingredients, get the hang of how to meal plan (what goes with what), and sample a variety of foods and flavors. And it would be fun to do together, who doesn’t love a good couples cooking sesh? Blue Apron is offering my first 20 readers two free meals in their first order! And you can cancel your subscription anytime, so it’s a pretty great time to try it out. Sign up here!
In other news, I had a rather amazing week creatively, and I’m am feeling this sort of cosmic click! into what direction I want to head artistically. The shop, friends, is technically OPEN, and by the end of the month I’ll finish tweaking the web design and filling it up with all my art and stuff. More on this soon!
This post was sponsored by Blue Apron, all opinions are obvs my own.