Tag: food

My experience with Blue Apron

July 25
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A few weeks ago my husband and I went ahead and tried out Blue Apron meals.  We have been very busy with the buying and selling of our home and figured it would make eating somewhat healthier and homemade a little easier.  We signed up online and were given the option to pick out meals.

My Blue Apron Experience

Because it is just the two of us we went with the three meals for two people box. The meals are $9.99 each so it comes to $59.94 for the box and shipping is free.

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We went online and selected our meals from the six choices. The way Blue apron is set up, you get to pick your meals but not all meal combinations are available. This may be  a cost issue as not all meals cost the same and some ingredients cost more than others.  The three meals we selected were Butter Brown Gnocchi, Sweet Chili Chicken, and  Spiced Shrimp Pearl Couscous.

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Our box was shipped via FedEx one day from New Jersey to our home in Florida.  The box  is designed to be able to sit outdoors in the elements until the evening of the delivery day.  I was home from work that day so I was able to bring it inside and put the items away fairly quickly, but I am sure it would have been fine for  a few more hours.IMG_6054

The box was packed with a thickly insulated inner liner which acted like a cooler for the contents.  The fresh vegetables and other items were on the top of the box and perishables such as meats were on the bottom of the box under a sheet of cardboard and between two layers of ice packs.

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I went ahead and pulled all the items out and stored them.

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All three meals were able to be cooked in a half hour or less and we enjoyed all three of them.  I love that we got to try gnocchi; I had never cooked this before and I doubt I would have tried it if it were not for Blue Apron.  The recipes were all easy to follow and steps were explained.

One thing that I was a little disappointed by was the lack of full nutritional information on the meals.  When you select your meal you shown the calorie count per serving, however no other nutritional information is shared.  We were able to look at the ingredients for the meals to decide if they would fit our needs, but knowing the full nutritional information would be very useful.

Have you tried Blue Apron?  What did you think?

Note:  This is NOT a sponsored post.  I purchased the box on my own and am not being compensated for this post in any way.  All ideas and opinions are my own.

 

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Summer Dinner Ideas

June 17
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delicious summer recipes to try

With summer nearing I am thinking more and more of light, airy, tropical meals. The type of meals that, even if they are warm, are refreshing on a warm summer day.  Here are a few I’ve gathered that I’d like to try this summer.

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Fajita Chicken Kebab– I love making Fajitas year round, but these look super simple and can be made o the grill, perfect for keeping the heat out of the house.

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Springtime Veggie Pasta Primavera– This pasta dish looks like a perfect pot luck side.  Nice and light for a warm day.

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Corn, Avocado, & Black Bean Summer Salad– This is basically all of my favorite things in a salad. I am already thinking I need to make some next week.  This can be eaten alone or with chips.

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Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos–  Fish tacos have been one of my go to restaurant dishes for a few years now.  They are something I love, but am usually too lazy to make.  I think I am going to suck it up and try these out this summer, what do I have to lose?

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Strawberry Bacon Blue Cheese Salad– Light, healthy, and full of nutrients, this salad is the perfect fun summer salad.  It freaking has bacon!

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Grilled Coconut Lime Shrimp in Foil– Remember hobo dinners?  These sound like a perfect summery version.  Perfect for cookouts, camping, or other outdoor events.  Make them ahead and toss them on the coals!

 

Have you tried any variations of these? What did you think?  Have a favorite summer recipe of your own? Be sure to share it with me below!

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Brunch Ideas

April 26
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With Mother’s Day coming up I wanted to share with you some of my favorite and some new brunch recipes. I don’t cook brunches very often, but when I do, I stick to a few staples.

Mini-Spinach-Quiches I’ve been making these Muffin Frittatas for a few years now. I love they are crustless so they are low carb. I use Turkey Sausage and lots of veggies. The best part? You can freeze them and then pull them out one at a time for hearty on the go breakfasts.

overnight-blueberry-french-toast-3 My mother ran across this recipe for Blueberry French Toast Casserole in an issue of Taste of Home magazine back in the mid-1990s. Ever since then we’ve been making it here and there both as a breakfast and a dinner. What I love about this recipe is it is an overnight meal. You put it all together at night and then just pop it in the oven when the time comes. Perfect for entertaining and overnight guests.

sheetpan-hashbrowns-d I am a HUGE Hash Browns fan.  Whenever I am in a restaurant that serves them, I need an order.  However, I am not the best at cooking them.  Mine always come out too crispy or too soggy, its a mess.  Anyways, I really want to try this Sheet Pan Hash Browns recipe and see if it could be my hash browns savior.

Mango-Carrot-Smoothie-Culinary-Hill-3Wouldn’t this Mango Carrot Smoothie be fun to try? Perfect for a quick breakfast for overnight guests. The recipe only takes FOUR ingredients!

What are you go to brunch dishes?  Do you like heavy casseroles or lighter fruit options?  Tell me below!

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Tried and true simple weeknight meals

March 31
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30 minute or less! Tried and true easy weeknight meals. I have tried and loved all of these super simple recipes. 30 minutes or less and slow cooker options. AmberDowns.net

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been going through a huge cooking slump.  I am sick of the meals we make but am not interested in learning fancy new meals.  A few months ago I had an inspired week and tried out some simple new recipes and loved them.  Have I gone back and made them again?  No, because I am not smart sometimes.  Anyways, I wanted to share them here as tested and approved simple meals and maybe remind myself about them so that I can try them again next week.  Wish me luck, won’t you?

 

Anyways, without further ado, here are 5 simple meals that are perfect for weeknights.  They do not require special ingredients and, with the exception of the crock pot meals, can be make in 30 minutes or less.  Myself (and sometimes my husband) enjoyed each of these meals and I am looking forward to making them all again.

 

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Crockpot Enchilada Quinoa

This simple meal has become one of go to ideas for dinners and lunches.  Because this is a casserole  type dish it freezes super easy.  I grab a container of it out of the freezer, grab some sour cream, and am ready for lunch at work.  Bonus:  Check pinterest for a enchilada sauce recipe, its super easy!  Don’t have time for the crockpot? Do it in a rice cooker(this is my method) or cook the quinoa on the stove and then bake for 30 minutes in the oven.

 

 

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15 Minute Lo-Mein

This is seriously the easiest, healthiest recipe ever. I grabbed whatever veggies I had in the house and threw them in.  Super fresh and you can make it a different meal every time by switching up the vegetables.

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Honey Lemon Chicken and Pasta

I love how impressive this meal looks.  Fresh lemon and herbs?  It looks like it took all day but really I was done in less than 30 minutes.  I enjoyed it with angel hair pasta and my husband preferred rice.  If you reheat the leftovers in the microwave at work be prepared for questions from staff who are following their nose.

 

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Four Ingredient Baked Pork Chops

I made this recipe with thin pork loin and it was delish.  I love sliced pork loin for a super quick meal, but I am always looking for a new way to prepare it.  This was moist and hearty.  Pair it with peas and applesauce for a trip down memory lane.

 

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Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken

Crock pot meal?  Count me in.  This was another simple fresh meal that I will be making again and again.  THe fruit  give it a fresh and fancy taste and the crock pot makes it a winner.

 

 

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Simple Smoothies

October 20
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Simple Green Smoothies

 

I get a lot of questions about the smoothies my husband and I make so I figured I’d make a post about our system.  Because it’s so easy we have no problem whipping them up before work in the mornings.  We blend in a Ninja blender with the personal smoothie cups.  This is mostly because someone broke the large pitcher and blade by blending a spoon while sick.  We won’t name names of course.  Anyways, we hadn’t used the personal cups much before so when we switched to them it was new.  Personally, (heh) I like them better as they seem to get a smoother blend.  Basically though, use whatever blender you have, I am not going to go tell you to spend $300 on one.

All of our smoothies are green smoothies.  This means we start with a hearty base of mixed greens.  Our favorites are spinach and kale.  We also use collard greens from time to time.  The kale is a little tart so we do a half and half ratio with spinach.  We purchase these in large bags pre washed and then stick them in the freezer.  You are also welcome to use fresh. The recipe we are going over today is for one 12 oz smoothie.  We use 1 cup of spinach and 1 cup of kale as this green base.

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We then add 1/2 to 1 cup water.  After adding the water you will notice that the greens kinda smoosh (yes, this is the official word) to the bottom.  This is good.  Now you have room for everything else. Make sure you put in enough water to smoosh them and almost cover the greens.  This isn’t a science to you may have to play with it.  You can always add more later.  Now this is always where I get asked about why we use water.  The simple answer is I’m lazy.  Water is free, its right next to the blender, and its 0 calories.  Why not use water?  I mean really.

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Next is your banana.  We use a whole banana in each smoothie.  You are welcome to use 1/2 or less, but this is what we like.  The banana gives the smoothie that good thick texture and its a great source of sweetness next to that kale.

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Now comes the fun part.  This is where you add your extra fruit for flavor. Today I used avocado and mango.  Strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, and apple are other ingredients we enjoy regularly.

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We use chia seeds in all our smoothies as an extra umph.  Curious?  Here is a nice article explaining the benefits.  Around 1 Tablespoon is good. Whatever you do, don’t add these first if you’re using a small blender cup.  They will get stuck on the bottom and never get into the smoothie.

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Now we put on the lid and buzz!  Make sure you run your blender for long enough to get a nice fine blend. This is a smoothie, not a chunky.  Also, if your greens are bunching up at the top of the blender, go ahead and shake them down (with the lid on.)

 

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After you are done blending pour into your favorite up and enjoy!  If your smoothie is too thick add a little water and blend again and you’re good to go.

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So what do you think?  Do you make smoothies at home?  If so what do you do differently?  Any great ideas I need to try?

 

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My Review of the Happy Planner Recipe Organizer

September 23
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My Review of the Happy Planner Recipe Organizer

 

So I have finally gotten my hands on the new Recipe Organizer from Me & My Big Ideas.  I love their Happy Planner so I wanted to give this a try too.   I don’t own very many recipe books, and I generally use Pinterest to store recipes found online. I don’t like cooking straight from a blog post as then I have to move my tablet to the kitchen and keep swiping it with messy hands to keep it on.  (Not to mention, many blog posts are so image heavy its hard to find the actual instructions.) Hopefully with this new recipe book I can write down the recipes I like so that I have one place to go for them all without dealing with all that other stuff.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

The book comes with 10 of these little shopping lists

 

The front of the book has the shopping lists and a three page glossary of cooking terms.  The book is then divided into eight sections with tabs for different types of foods.

The tabs are: Family Favorites, Main Dishes, Slow Cooker, Entertaining, Healthy Fare, Quick and Easy, Desserts, and Misc. Personally I am not in love with their choices so I will make new labels for some of the tabs.

I plan to keep- Main Dishes, Desserts, Entertaining and Slow Cooker.  I will switch the others to Breads, Lunches, and sides.  I think I will keep the misc. until I think of something else I want.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

Don’t you love this table setting chart? Its perfect just in case.

 

One thing I love about this book is that, like the Happy Planner, it uses the ARC system for its pages.  This means that I can take pages out and move them around change them as I see fit.

I immediately got started entering my first recipe.  We always make corn muffins using the recipe from the back of an old Quaker Corn Meal canister.  We no longer have that canister or buy that brand but we kept the recipe from the back.  Each time I go to make these I cross my fingers that I still have the little cup out recipe because I am sure that one day it will get lost or accidentally thrown out.  It’s just too little. This was the perfect recipe to transfer over. I pulled out a sheet and got to work.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

 

I love how the pages have prompts on the side so that you don’t forget to write down the oven temperature or cook time.  The prep time and servings information will also be helpful if it’s been years since I’ve made something, or if someone else is using my book. It comes with enough pages to write down 192 recipes, one on each side of the paper which should be way more than enough for me.

Of course, after I got all finished I noticed that the colored top right corner of the page was unusual.  I then looked at the rest of the pages and realized that this color coordinates with the section of the book that the page is from.  Great. So now I have Corn Bread as a main dish.  (Actually, that would be awesome, but no. )

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

I looked over the rest of the pages and the only other difference I saw between categories was for the Slow-Cooker pages.  They have this nifty little icon which is actually pretty adorable.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

So if you purchase this book keep that information in mind, but otherwise the book is completely customizable to meet your needs.  Below you can see this book on top of my Happy Planner to see the size comparison. They are pretty much the same, which makes since being that they share the same $24.99 price point.

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Overall, I think that I will be getting a lot of use out of this book to record all the dishes that I make from randomly found internet searches as well as recipes that I keep in my head.  Also, this will be a written record if anyone… maybe my husband?  Wants to make one of my dishes.

Interested in purchasing your own?  Currently they are only available on the MAMBI website,but they should be in Hobby Lobby this fall.
Do you have one?  Tell me what you think in the comments!

 

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