How do I love thee, Blue Apron? Let me count the ways!

I’ve been cooking a lot over the past few months, thanks to Blue Apron. I’ve never really been a “cook”. I’ve sometimes considered myself a baker, at different stages in my life when I was into baking (I’m not right now), but I’ve never been into cooking. I’ve always been more of a, buy a rotisserie chicken for the week, maybe throw some salads together, heat up a can of soup, call for Chinese or pizza, kind of girl.

When I was at my sister’s for Christmas, I partaked (partook?) of her Blue Apron meals. They arrived weekly in a box containing exactly the ingredients needed for each meal, no more, no less. They came with recipes. They were tasty, and totally cost-effective (about $10 per serving). And they were pretty easy to prepare.

In March I finally gave in to the sis’s nudging, and signed up. And I’ve gotta say, it has changed my life. I order delivery far less; I waste far less food (no more buying veggies with all the best intentions, and then not feeling like eating any of them); I spend less on groceries; and I’m eating REAL FOOD. And I’ve actually reached a point where I enjoy the cooking experience.

My very first meal! Seared cod with roasted potatoes and dates. Took just over an hour to prep and cook. Loved the pickled scallions on the salad, and was surprised to learn that I actually like chopped nuts in a salad. Sadly the date sauce wasn’t as good when reheated.

That last part took awhile, until the sis helped me realize it was really the cleanup that I hated. I’d avoid cleanup, ’cause that’s what I do, and then I wouldn’t have anything clean with which to cook the next meal. On the sis’s advice, I threw away my “but the dishwasher must be completely full before I can run it!” mentality, and now I run it every night that I cook (i.e. 3x/week instead of 2x/month). Now I always have clean materials to work with, and I go to bed most nights with an empty sink, which is surprisingly relaxing when I first enter the kitchen in the morning.

Cod Stew. So so yummy!
Pizza Bianca, which was really just pizza dough brushed with olive oil and salted. I ate the whole thing, it was so good!

And possibly the best part is that I’m losing weight. These aren’t low-fat meals. I don’t skimp on the oil or the cheese or the carbs. The meals are just healthier than I’ve ever eaten before–real food cooked from scratch, with all their nutrients still intact, and far fewer preservatives. And each serving is totally satisfying–in nearly three months, I can count on one hand the number of meals where I went back and ate the second serving instead of saving it for the next day’s lunch (and it was usually because I didn’t think it would reheat well, like the quesadillas). Some meals are even so filling I divide them into three servings (the Italian pork pizza, for instance). I almost never snack at night anymore. There’s just no need.

Oh! And how could I almost forget–they’re delicious! I mean, sure, some of them make me go “eh”, and I am so not a fan of slaw of any kind (I always throw the mayo and sour cream away and figure out something else to do), but most of them are yummy, and some of them are OMG SO DELICIOUS I COULD DIE RIGHT NOW!

So yes. Bottom line, I love Blue Apron. It has changed my life in all good ways, and it’s nice to know that even as I approach the big 5-0, this old dog can still learn new tricks.

L.A. Yarn Crawl 2017

I don’t need more yarn. Seriously, I know this better than anyone. And yet, Yarn Crawl has been on my calendar for months, because, it’s an occasion! I can’t skip a once-a-year occasion! So today I hit up Wildfiber and Compatto. Almost $200 later, I have four new skeins of yarn, one new book, and an adorable ceramic cat dish.

Twisted Owl yarn and ceramic cat dish from Wildfiber

The full haul from Compatto: Stephen West’s new book, one skein of Baah’s Aspen, and two skeins of Illimani.

$200 is nothing to sneeze at, so I really should stop now, but I can’t quit until I hit my fave store, The Knitting Tree, which I hope to visit tomorrow. But then that’s it, I swear.

More about bullet journaling

April, and I’m still journaling–yay me! It really helps to have awesome pens, although I’m not being all creative with my pages like a lot of the spreads I see online. My journal is very colorful, though, and it’s giving me a place to use my awesome sticker collection (which previously was just sitting in a binder, unused because I was afraid to let any of them go).

Since my last post, I think I’ve decided to start over with my habit tracker so that good habits and bad habits are grouped together instead of all jumbled. It’ll be easier to see trends, especially when there are too many bad boxes filled in and not enough good boxes.

I’ve started tracking medical stuff, like med bills to be paid (or that I’m waiting for); doctor appointments, both why I had them and what the result was; when I pick up new meds; and even how I’m feeling–there’s a page for anxiety attacks and a page for foot pain, with other stuff jumbled in medical misc until something looks like it’ll require more specific tracking.

I’ve got some project pages going, which is really just showing me how quickly I lose interest in my projects. (Adult ADHD here.)

I have a CAR page, where I’m tracking things I’ve noted need looking into for my car–brake light goes on haphazardly; brake pedal squeaks when released; etc. There’s a page to track my pets–their vet visits, their meds, and whenever someone throws up. I have a page for making notes after my weekly Weight Watchers meetings (first time I’ve ever made notes about meetings!); and several pages now of notes on my Blue Apron meals–what’s good, what’s bad, how long each one takes, how I might have modified the recipe, and whether it reheats ok.

Zeva (gray) and Jack (orange)

One thing I’m noticing is that, keeping track of all this stuff is not actually changing any of my behaviors. I’m not spending less, I’m not cleaning the cat box more often, I’m not getting to that blown-out light bulb any sooner. I’m mostly kicking myself more because I’m writing down all the stuff I’m failing at and acknowledging it, instead of staying in my denial bubble. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Maybe a step in the right direction? I’m not sure, so I made an appointment with my therapist, who I haven’t seen since last summer. That in itself is a positive step, so I guess for now I’m going with, bullet journal = good.

It looks like I love journaling, but really, I love colorful pens

A week and a half in, and I’m still using my bullet journal every day. I think I just really like using my colored pens (so much, in fact, that I bought even more pretty pens (Staedtler Color Pen Set of 36 Assorted Colors), that just arrived ten minutes ago).

For my first week, I tried setting up my dailies in advance, three days per page. That totally didn’t work, when my Tuesday went out of control and I ran out of space for all the stuff happening that day.

This week, I started with a weekly summary on one page, to show the main things I had to remember for the coming week, and my dailies I’m doing per day, so I have the space I need, or can move stuff up when a day (like yesterday) is actually pretty non-eventful. I also have a post-it for the main items I need to keep in mind for next week (like WonderCon), and one for the main items for next month (like taxes and the L.A. Yarn Crawl).

Page lives on last page of journal.

Also, I’m a bit OCD and couldn’t bear the thought of mixing notes and lists with my dailies, weeklies and monthlies, so I put all the non-linear stuff–lists, trackers, notes, etc.–in the back of the notebook, with negative page numbers. So far it’s working out quite well.

Lives on page -10, starting from the back of the journal. Contains my notes on each Blue Apron meal I’ve cooked this week (my first week).

And I keep googling “things to track” and reading other people’s ideas for lists and such, because, as I said before, I like using my pens and want more reasons to write with them. I have a “list of things I could be tracking”, a phone log, daily habit tracker, weight loss and steps/day trackers, list of reasons why I want to lose weight, where I’m spending money and when, etc. I’ve always loved notebooks and have a ton of them, but I’ve always had trouble actually filling them with anything. This time I’m determined to fill every page until my chronological stuff and my non-linear stuff eventually meet somewhere in the middle. In fact, I think I’ll write them down as my goal for 2017.

Bullet Journal, take two

I started a new bullet journal this weekend. I’d taken a stab at bullet-journal-ing a couple of years ago, and even managed to maintain it for a couple of months, but couldn’t keep up with it on a daily basis. Since then, I’ve still used its methods whenever I make up a task list, but I haven’t been taking full advantage of all it has to offer, so yesterday I spent a couple of hours setting up a new one, all official-like.

What is a bullet journal? Have you been living under a rock? It’s a notebook specifically organized to help you maximize your time and help you identify what’s important, and what isn’t. There’s a lovely intro video on bulletjournal.com that can explain it better than I can. And if you’re really brave, you can search for bullet journals on Pinterest, and see all the amazing, creative layouts people have devised (and that I will never achieve myself, fo shizzle).

So far, I have my index, birthday and other annual events in there, plus my monthly reminders and goals for March, and the first week of daily task lists. Looking at all the potential pages on Pinterest, I’m thinking of a Weight Watchers page (tracking weight, days I tracked food, and days I exercised (which so far is none)), project pages for knitting projects, and project pages for work projects. And maybe a page to track how often I blog (ha!). I think it’s supposed to be motivational as well as organizational, we’ll see if it works. The pages of this notebook are thicker and more substantial than the last notebook I’d worked with, so I think that will help. And I’m going to try to keep the book on me, so I don’t forget to put things in it. Maybe I’ll even create a page to track the days I use my bullet journal.

It’s possible this was all just an excuse to use my pretty new pens, but I’m hoping to keep up with this, and I’m hoping it will help keep me from feeling so overwhelmed. *fingers crossed*