Homemade dinners in our house have been a bit of a struggle lately. With launching our side business and other work-related projects, finding the time to plan meals and go to the store (with two kids in tow) to pick up ingredients is challenging. So lately we’ve been either eating super simple meals that don’t require much planning or just throwing our hands in the air and picking up takeout. And while it’s easy to still keep Sally’s meals simple and healthy, Johnny and I haven’t been making the best food choices as of late. We’ve been able to stay on budget for food most months, but it wasn’t until we posted a full month of meals that we realized we could probably do a better job of adding more flavor and nutrition to our meals without increasing our budget.
Not a day or two after lamenting our recent food predicament, Blue Apron reached out about trying their service. In a nutshell, Blue Apron delivers all the fresh ingredients you need in perfect proportions to your doorstep with accompanying recipes and cooking instructions to make really really quality, chef-inspired meals at home. In New York, a bunch of our neighbors and friends used it on a regular basis, and it seemed like a really nice solution for people who are pressed for time. Because they deliver freshy fresh produce and ingredients, I had no idea they’d be available in Utah of all places, but it turns out they ship to most of the country.
This should come as no surprise, but we were especially interested in knowing how the service would fit with our food budget. After running the numbers, we realized that Blue Apron could replace a decent portion of our eating out spending and still keep us on budget. Finances probably shouldn’t be the motivation for cutting back on eating out, but whatever. The main draw to eating out was saving whatever precious time we had at night. And in that regard, Blue Apron also delivers.
Blue Apron offers two plans, 2-Person and Family. We decided to try the 2-Person plan in place of our usual not-so-healthy takeout. Seeing our Blue Apron box on the doorstep felt like the future. Everything comes neatly packed, labeled, and proportioned. After we put the girls down, we got to our eating-in date night. It actually wasn’t going to be a “date night” until Johnny volunteered to make it. All by himself. (Okay, I minced the garlic.) Johnny’s so busy with his work and our business ventures that he doesn’t have the time to help in the kitchen most nights. His contribution is usually picking up a pizza :). But having all the ingredients in front of him already in perfect portions with really detailed cooking instructions made him feel up to the task.
And there’s something therapeutic about both of us being in the kitchen together. It forces us to slow down, focus on something without a screen, and just enjoy each other’s company. It probably shouldn’t have taken this review to help us find that joy in slowing down, but we’ll take it. We also really liked that it gave us the opportunity to try meals we’d never normally try ourselves. For instance, the first meal we tried was North African-Spiced Shrimp & Couscous. It was delicious, and we were savoring every single bite. We also really want to try their Chicken Pad Kee Mao (always wanted to make Thai at home!) and Lamb and Beef Shawarma.
We were really impressed with our Blue Apron experience. The ingredients were extremely fresh, and we loved all the little details, like how the items that were packaged had an easy-to-tear strip. From opening the box to following the recipe, every part of the process was maximized to make it easy for us. And all their meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less. That’s speaking our language.
We avoid contracts like the plague, so one of our favorite features of Blue Apron is that there’s no commitment. We can use it when our life is busier than normal, and we can skip it when we go on trips or cancel it at any time. And the costs are all up front. The shipping is free, so you just pay for your meals.
We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the experience. It was shocking and hilarious how delicious these meals tasted that Johnny cooked all by himself. If Johnny (who includes “Top Ramen cooking” as a LinkedIn skill) can cook chef-designed recipes at home, anyone can. Meanwhile, I’ll just be sitting back and taking on the title of Head Taste Tester.
And here’s something cool. Blue Apron is offering two free meals to the first 50 OFB readers who make their first order. Just click here to snag it.
Just a heads up, this post is sponsored by the folks at Blue Apron. This should go without saying, but all opinions are our own and came straight from our own noggins.