I Tried Blue Apron (and Didn’t Get Paid To Do It). Here’s My Review!

Hanger_20Steak-3842_splash_feature

They say that the more you see an advertisement, the more inclined you are to buy it, try it, or talk about it with other people. And after seeing Blue Apron reviews on about a million blogger’s sites, the power of advertising took me over.

I really thought it was a bad idea at first, but the positive reviews got me curious enough about it that when I saw a 2-Meals-Free promo on Facebook, I went for it. Since everyone who got the meals for free seems to have a glowing review, I thought I’d add my two cents after having no incentive to give a positive review.

Continue reading

Meals I Met and Liked: Kicking off Fall Cooking

I’ll take all the inspiration I can get for meal planning, so I thought every so often I can share what’s been on our weekly menu. But there are definitely some failures every once and while, so I’ll only share the keepers!

lemony-chicken-soup_05-09-14_5_ca

This past week I went fall-crazy and made a several meals of all fall-ish ingredients. Can’t say I regret it!

1. Butternut Squash Risotto (had people over for dinner and it was a huge hit!)

2. Kale + Arugula salad with Blue cheese, Pomegranate, dried cranberries, candied sunflower seeds and poppyseed dressing (no recipe, just threw it together)

3. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff (substituted cauliflower rice for real rice)

4. Lemony Chicken & Spring Veggie Soup (opposite of fall – but at least it’s soup!)

5. Apple Butter, Applesauce and Apple Crisp (we picked more than 40 pounds of apples from my cousin’s tree!!!)

6. Roasted Pumpkin 5-Spice Ice Cream (I just used canned pumpkin and pumpkin spices. It was amazing with the apple crisp!)

Photo via The Cozy Apron

Anatomy of a Dinner Party

Last week our cool new neighbor Kevin invited us over for dinner. As Mormons in Mormonland, UT, it was honestly the first time a non-Mormon person has ever invited us over for dinner, and it was a, well, much hipper experience.

dinner party

Mormons love having people over for dinner. Having people over for dinner is our go-to social activity. But these dinners usually take place in the late afternoon on a Sunday and involve pot roast, mashed potatoes, big desserts, board games and playing with babies on the floor. Not exactly the hippest.

Here’s what we learned from Kevin about hosting a true dinner party (not just having people over for dinner):

  • Don’t eat before 7 pm. As new parents, we’re usually heading home from any social functions just after the clock strikes 7 pm. But since Kevin lives literally 3 feet away from our door (on the other size of the hall), we went wild and accepted the invite for a dinner party that started at 7 pm. It felt much more adult-like and cool.
  • Have fancy appetizers. Though we went at 7 pm, we didn’t eat right away. Instead we relaxed, got to know the other party guests and sampled fancy dips and pita bread to kick things off.
  • Turn the lights down low. None of the main lights in the house were on for the entire night — not even in the kitchen. Instead, Kevin had lower lights on and candles to create an atmosphere more like a nice restaurant.
  • Create an awesome playlist. Even if there are some lulls in conversation, commentary on the great music can always save the day.
  • Reduce portion sizes, increase courses. Instead of having a ridiculous amount of food that leaves guests feeling over-the-top full, there was just enough food for each course. But the key was to have multiple courses — appetizers (cucumber mint yogurt dip), salad (arugula in light vinaigrette), main dish (lemon risotto and shrimp) and a cheese platter. Fancy and guilt-free!
  • Linger longer. Rather than rushing into dessert right after a big meal, we lingered and chatted about music, traveling, food, work and shopping at DI in Utah. It was leisurely and a nice break from our typical weeknight reading in bed or watching Netflix on the couch!
  • Eat cheese. Kevin didn’t even serve dessert. Seemed like a tragedy at first, but he did serve a platter of assorted cheeses. And suddenly we felt very European and cool and in control of our sugar addiction.

(Photo via Chefstro)