Blue Apron

This past week we tried out some Blue Apron meals from a friend for free! They offer two-person and four-person plans and we just got the two-person and split it between the three of us.  Our box included a fish (Hake) meal, a turkey meal and a steak meal. I think the turkey meal was my favourite because it seemed like it made the most and I thought it was pretty tasty! It had ground turkey that was turned into little patties with barley, spices and vegetables and then served with a yogurt-mint sauce.  The fish was tasty but the pieces were pretty small compared to what we would normally make and the same with the steak.  Blue Apron is definitely portion controlled which is both good and bad!

I think if we were to get it regularly we would probably have to get the ‘Family of 4’ plan because then the meals would be slightly bigger and/or we would have a bit of extra. That comes out to almost $40/meal though for one supper for the three of us and maybe a bit leftover for Joe’s lunch and that is quite a bit so we probably won’t get it regularly but maybe once in awhile for something fun! It is nice that they offer a big variety of foods, especially things we just can’t get here so we wouldn’t get to eat otherwise. It was also nice to get all the ingredients right in the mail (and all of the packaging is recyclable – even up here!) and the recipes didn’t take too much time or too many dishes to make so supper prep and cleanup was also pretty quick.

I didn’t take too many photos of our meals because my plating still looks pretty ugly compared to theirs but I did take a couple pictures of some of the ingredients etc.  All of our ingredients were nice and fresh except for two items which were questionable!

IMG_1213This was one of the questionable items… I can’t even remember what this is called but it is some kind of green.  Some of the leaves were starting to fade and it had a giant flower in it. Not sure if it was supposed to have the giant flower or if it had grown a bit past its prime picking stage! The photo definitely did not include a flower.  This was part of the Hake recipe that we ate right away on Wednesday when the box arrived so it isn’t like the plant sat in our fridge for awhile. Everything else was tasty and we had mushrooms and some daikon radish in it, neither of which we eat very often.

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An example of what the recipe card looks like.  It is all split up by steps and easy to follow! I did have one problem with this little block I took a photo of… It should tell you to snap the woody ends of asparagus off because you start cutting them up! I did that myself anyways but if I was exactly following the directions I would have cut my asparagus into 2 inch pieces and then had to snap ends off some of the pieces!  Otherwise all the cards were really nice with good pictures and good instructions! And they are durable/nice so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hang onto them and save them to make again.

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This was our second questionable produce.  We got our box on Wednesday and cooked this steak meal on Saturday.  So it was 4 days later and probably at least 6 days since the plant left the field.  The tops were getting all mushy and wilted so I couldn’t use them and the roots (which you cut off for the recipe anyways) were getting kind of rotten.  We also found a worm on it! I had cut it up it was in the bowl and Joe was looking at it and he found a little white worm crawling around. Ick.  He removed it and I still cooked it but that was kind of gross.  I do know that produce in the fields, and a lot of products we eat, are technically full of bugs and bug bits but it was weird to find a worm right in our food. We weren’t sure if that meant it was so fresh the worm was still alive, or if it was getting old so the worm had enough time to hatch from an egg!  Since the top and bottom of the plant was going bad I’m thinking maybe the worm hatched from an egg. We did cook the good parts though and we are still here!

  20150523_191315 Our finished steak meal! This meal didn’t make a bad amount, there were quite a few potatoes and enough asparagus salad but the steaks could have been maybe a bit bigger.  I just used smaller plates… the big ones are like salad/small lunch sort of plates and the small one for James is a dessert plate 🙂

I wish I had taken photos of the turkey recipe because like I said it was my favourite! Not sure how I missed taking at least one photo of some part of it.  I had absolutely no problems with that and everything was fresh and good looking for it and I think it made a pretty good amount of supper too for being split between three of us and for two of us it would have probably been perfect.

So all in all I guess our review of Blue Apron is mixed! It was nice, convenient, easy to prepare and cleanup from and you can’t go wrong with delivery right to the house with recyclable packaging as an added bonus. Plus the variety of foods you get to eat is better than what we can get locally most of the time. But then the portions seemed a little bit small, they could at least plump them up with more veggies or greens even if the protein stays the same size, and a couple of our produce items were questionable by the time we got/used them!

Best Mother’s Day Weekend

Happy Mother’s Day to our moms today!

Today (and this whole weekend really) was really great.  Joe made sure to make it fun and special for me and of course James helped!

Yesterday actually wasn’t Mother’s Day related but Joe did a ton of work for me/us/the house.  I’m the one who was wanting to power broom the yard right away but Joe is the one who ended up doing all the work.  He got the powerbroom and brought it up the hill home and then it ended up being pretty hard to push/handle so he did all of it.  He swept all of our pavement/drive/park area and then the entire front yard along with scooping up a lot of the gravel and hauling it off too.  James and I made it outside to do maybe 3 wheelbarrowsfull but that was it for our yard work for the day besides cutting down a bit more brush and hauling one load of it to the back.

These first four pictures are the same ones I posted several days ago for Before pictures:

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And here are some After pictures! We still need to replant some grass, haul a ton more wheelbarrowsfull of gravel from the very edges of the yard and finish digging out the driveway to our tiny garage… but most of the work (and all of the hardest/worst of it) is finished and the actual yard looks a lot better (flatter) and is at least mowable now.

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This last photo is just showing how much gravel is covering our little driveway to the actual garage (which is not the driveway we actually use to drive on).  It has been years and years since any of the gravel was cleaned off…sometime before we moved.  Joe couldn’t even brush this, we need to just shovel it off and haul the gravel away there is so much of it.

After Joe did all of the powerbrushing he then worked on the truck getting the new wheels on and getting it to the gas station and up and running so that we could use it to haul trash soon (which is also basically for me since I’m the one who made a giant pile of trash outside for us to deal with).  Then he spent the late afternoon mowing the yard so James and I have a nice place to play all week and finally he went on his own training run!

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I told James to “Go sit by the dog!” and he did! Super cute! Too bad the light was behind them and Cora has her leash/collars on or it would have been extra sweet.  For anybody who doesn’t know… Cora is wearing a gentle leader. It is not a muzzle, she can still eat/drink/bark etc. with it on, it is just meant for walks to help stop her from pulling so much.  I use it anytime I take her on a walk into Dollar Bay with James and many times when I bring her outside with us to wander in the yard.  It makes her a bit easier to handle if she gets excited so I can manage to watch her and James.  She also has her normal collar on (which is not attached to her leash at all but she wears it with her tags on it) and then a third thin collar which I attach to her leash with her gentle leader.  It doesn’t do anything, it isn’t tight or constricting but I use it as a backup in case her gentle leader were to ever break or come off we would have a small back up collar so she couldn’t run away.  So it looks like she has a lot on but she really doesn’t and she would pick to wear her gentle leader and come for a walk any day over not wearing it and staying home!

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Then this morning Joe got up early and snuck out to the store at 6:30 before James and I were even up.  He almost made it home but we were just heading downstairs and he borrowed James for a little bit before he let me come downstairs.  He surprised me with pretty tulips, cards from him and James (ha, James signed his own card…and his shirt, and his belly somehow!) and chocolates (which James and I ate all day) and then he made me a supper tasty all homemade breakfast (I can’t remember the last time I didn’t make breakfast so it was a really nice present!).  The rest of the day was spent hanging around here at home playing and napping.  Joe went to the gym to get his swim in and then we all had a super-bad-for-us Taco Bell/Dairy Queen supper.  James also had grapefruit on the side.  We rarely eat out anymore (except for James and I who do tend to go to McDonalds once a week with Eleanor for breakfast) and we’ve been talking about getting ice cream for awhile so we decided that would be fun and easy tonight.  Cora got to come on the car ride with us and James was so antsy it almost turned into a tantrum because we weren’t handing over the food fast enough even though he has only had Taco Bell once or maybe twice so he really had no idea what it was.

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Pretty flowers (these are super cool, they are in a special vase so you can see the roots and bulbs too!) and sweet cards from my men!

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James wearing socks on his arms and acting all silly this morning.

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For breakfast Joe made homemade bialy’s Eggs Benedict.  A bialy is like a cross between an English muffin and a bagel.  Super tasty! And then topped with proscuitto, eggs and homemade hollandaise with asparagus on the side.  Yum! Eggs Benedict is one of my favourite breakfasts and this was really good… I had two breakfasts technically (and then a bunch of chocolate). Yum!

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After nap James insisted on getting this bounce house out.  He was sobbing and wanting it so badly so I hauled it out and downstairs, even though everytime we get it out he is terrified of the darn thing.  We set it up and sure enough he cried when it came out.  Joe climbed in and finally James reluctantly agreed to climb inside.  I gave him candy while he was in there and they played with a bouncy ball and he agreed to jump a few times but in the end he was still not a huge fan and 10 minutes later I was stuffing it back into the bag.  Maybe someday when he is a bit older I’m guessing he will love it.

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And finally a great family selfie to end the day.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day/weekend!

Our Menu 5/2/15-5/8/15

Here is what we all ate this week.  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted much about our food so I thought I would try and do a week’s worth of photos and then maybe I will go back to at least documenting some of our tastiest suppers after that.

Saturday

IMG_1151Breakfast was some last-minute apple oatmeal cups.  I thought some sort of baked oatmeal would be tasty and it could cook while I was working out and when I searched Pinterest I found these little baked oatmeal cups.  Unfortunately, they weren’t very good so I’m not going to link the recipe since I’d feel bad linking to someone’s site and saying it wasn’t very good! Also, who knows… maybe I did something wrong and it was my fault and not the fault of the recipe… either way, not the greatest, although we did eat them.

IMG_1164Lunch for James and I was some peanut butter and jelly tortillas with almonds and carrots with mustard.  James loves mustard although I give him a more mild Dijon and I tend to eat spicy mustard or horseradish mustard with mine.  James isn’t quite there yet… but give him some Dijon and he will go all out.  Joe was outside working so he just had some chips/salsa as a snack when he came inside and before he went on his training run.  He tends to eat less for breakfast and lunch than James and I do.

IMG_1166Supper for Joe and I was chips, homemade salsa and homemade guacamole out by the fire (although we snacked on it all evening inside too).  James had snacks for supper as well but they included cheerios, nuts (cashews/almonds), apple, and some tortilla chips with a bit of guacamole.

Sunday

IMG_1168We had breakfast tacos on Sunday.  They had turkey bacon, egg, spinach, tomato and homemade salsa in them and then James and I also had grapefruit. James loves grapefruit and always wants more.  I got a couple packages of turkey bacon last week to try and it’s alright but it really isn’t much healthier than real bacon and it is definitely way more processed.  I don’t mind it, and it is one-third to one-half the price of regular bacon but it isn’t really bacon to us! We still like the real stuff best.

Lunch on Sunday was from the grocery store.  We ran to town for a handful of things and got chicken/bacon wraps, some macaroni salad and some grocery store sushi to try.  I forgot to take a picture but it was all pretty good.  The sushi was a bit dry but that’s because I picked out a package that was $1 off because it needed to be sold 🙂 James liked everything except he picked out the seaweed from his sushi and walked over and placed it into the trash can.  I guess James doesn’t like seaweed yet. 🙂

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Supper on Sunday was an aromatic chicken stew with onion/cilantro/seasoned rice.  It was very tasty and Joe even ended up with a bunch of homemade chicken stock after cooking the chicken so it was a bonus. This chicken was our first Halal chicken.  We tried it because most of the regular store chickens have a bunch of added juice/solution and Halal chickens can’t have that… they are just plain chicken. I think it was tasty and they aren’t much more expensive than regular chickens so maybe we will buy these instead. Luckily our grocery store has a little section of Halal meats for the (very) small population here that needs them.

Monday

IMG_1170Monday breakfast was oatmeal.  It doesn’t look like much but oatmeal is one of James’ favourite foods and I can pack a bunch of other stuff into it.  Today there was cashew milk, sun butter, chopped walnuts, raisins, a bit of flax seed and a little bit of brown sugar.  Sometimes it is more or less plain than this and depends on what we have on hand.  We like raisins, all kinds of nuts, flax, coconut, maple syrup/honey/brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice/pumpkin, nut/seed butters, nut milks, and sometimes fruit (mostly apples).

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 Lunch Monday was a bit weird for James and I.  Sunday we went shopping and we let James pick out a little ramen package at the store because it was little and shiny and he could carry it around and I promised to make it for lunch for him on Monday so James had ramen noodles and applesauce and I used up some leftover homemade bread from last week with sun butter and applesauce.  James took an unheard of 2.5 hour nap so we had a super duper late lunch.  Joe took chicken stew leftovers for lunch this day.

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Supper on Monday was pork belly tacos from this cookbook and chicharron from this cookbook. The tacos had corn tortillas and then tasty pork belly… I’m not sure what all was in it except I know there were some guajillo chiles. And then we had it with pineapple, onion, cilantro and leftover homemade salsa on top and then a few pieces of chicharron (pig skin but it is cooked/dehydrated and then fried so it puffs up) on the side.  We all liked everything… I think James’ favourite was the chicharron! Yum!

Tuesday

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Tuesday James and I had grapefruit and apple with peanut butter ‘muffins’. They aren’t exactly muffins because there is no flour in them.  They are made with banana, peanut butter, vanilla, agave/honey, eggs and baking powder.  You can substitue different nut or seed butters for the peanut butter… we have used peanut, almond and sun butters alone and in combination with each other and they all work fine.  And then there are a bunch of additions you can make to make them unique. Today I added some coconut to the top. They are super easy and fast to make and James likes them… that’s why his breakfast isn’t pictured.  He couldn’t wait until I was done working out so he devoured 4 muffins plus half a grapefruit and a bit of apple and his plate was pretty empty and not worth photographing!

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Tuesday lunch James and I took some leftover rice and added corn, black beans, green onion, tomatoes, red pepper and lime/cilantro and made sort of Mexican-style bowls with it.

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 Tuesday night we were originally possibly going out for supper with some friends but then we changed our plans so I searched on Pinterest and came up with this recipe that we had all the ingredients for.  It is more Asian-style with a lot of ginger, garlic, green onions, soy sauce/rice wine vinegar and then there was a bit of peanut butter, carrot and ground pork too. It turned out alright anyways.

Wednesday

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Wednesday was our day out with Eleanor and we always stop at McDonalds for breakfast because she likes to see her friends and have her breakfast there.  James usually has some hashbrowns and a sausage McMuffin although once in awhile he will have some oatmeal. I used to get him apples but he would prefer to eat hashbrowns over apple so they always got rejected and it isn’t fair to let him eat nothing because he wants to be eating what Eleanor and I are eating… so he get some of what we have too!

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Lunch on Wednesday was leftover noodles from last nights supper, plus banana and James had some of his leftover sausage biscuit from breakfast too (which Cora was ridiculously jealous of and stole the leftovers as soon as James was done).

 Supper Wednesday was a little weird.  I was supposed to soak black beans and make a Mexican salad but I totally forgot so instead we had roasted tomato and garlic pasta for the main part of supper and as a pre-supper snack we had chips and homemade guacamole because the avocados I had gotten for supper were very ripe and needed to be eaten.  I forgot to take a picture at all!

Thursday

20150507_093329Breakfast Thursday was some egg, turkey bacon, spinach and tomato tacos with banana and grapefruit.  James hasn’t been into eggs much recently, he used to eat them but I guess he doesn’t like them right now.  He definitely likes tortillas, turkey bacon, grapefruit and sort of banana.  I don’t really like banana either but for some reason I always buy them!

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Lunch Thursday was some leftovers from Wednesday night that I added tuna too and cut up some carrot sticks.  Nothing fancy, just easy!

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Thursday supper was supposed to put pulled beef sandwiches in homemade pita bread, but I forgot to roll the pita bread into pita shapes before I let it do its final rise… so it ended up being more like supper rolls that I flattened out.  I wasn’t paying attention to the directions good enough! I’ve made them before and they have worked fine. They still tasted alright and we just had them next to our beef instead.  The beef was another recipe from Pinterest that I added  extra spice to because what was supposed to be in it didn’t seem like enough! In general it was just a 2lb roast that went into the crockpot with cumin, cayenne, salt, all spice, onion, lots of garlic and a can of tomatoes and then some zucchini on top at the end. Nothing special but it was simple to make and it was tasty enough! We just had salad on the side with it.

Friday

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Friday breakfast we had oatmeal and bacon! Kind of a weird combination but James hasn’t wanted to eat his eggs lately and I know he likes oatmeal so we mixed them together.  Our oatmeal today had apples, raisins, cinnamon and a bit of agave in it.  James liked it but I think a bit less than when I put brown sugar in it… it wasn’t as sweet as normal.

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Lunch on Friday was more leftovers! The same rice we had earlier in the week was lunch again today.  This week was kind of weird because we had so many leftovers… usually we don’t have that much so James and I eat random lunches with things like carrot, sweet potato, peas, almonds and fruit… just sort of all on a plate to choose from.  This week we had a ton of actual lunches!

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Lunch Friday was really really late so supper was sort of a bedtime snack for James just so he didn’t wake up hungry.  I don’t really care if he doesn’t want to eat one of his meals during the day… he knows when he is hungry, but at supper I like to try and find something he is willing to eat or that looks tasty and he wants to eat it… just so he has a fully belly for the night.  This meal he gave the leftover meat to the dog, devoured the grapefruit and ate half his sun butter sandwich.  This kid really loves grapefruit.

So there was our week in food! Kind of a strange week… we usually don’t eat so many tortillas and we usually don’t eat bacon during the week either… normally bacon (especially real bacon) is reserved for weekend mornings when Joe is home with us.  We also don’t usually have so many leftovers to eat up!

Snacks for the week included graham crackers (I’ve only bought them 2 or 3 times but James absolutely loves them), some cheerios, almonds, cashews, walnuts, carrots, apples, grapefruit, tortilla chips, pita bread with sunbutter, raisins, and a little bit of strawberry banana juice. I’m sure there is something else I’ve forgotten but those are the most common ones anyways!  James especially has a love for nuts and will often come out of the pantry carrying a bag of them and asking for some.  He does have a tendency to try and stuff as many as possible in his mouth though and then he can’t  chew very well so he ends up spitting them out so we have to give him just a couple at a time!  He also really loves his new Mickey Mouse vitamins, which are not a snack, but if you offer him one he will always accept.