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.

Cleaning day!

Today is the first day of my vacation. The family is arriving tomorrow morning, so today is CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! day. I’ve been putting things away all morning in preparation of the professional cleaners arriving at 12:30. I spent last weekend getting rid of as much as I could (FIVE BAGS OF YARN!), and after getting rid of an entire bookcase, the place has a nice less-cluttered look. I am reminded that even though my apartment is small, I still love it. The walls are painted bright colors, and the white walls are hung with my own photography and paintings. The balcony door lets plenty of light in, as well as a wide view of the sky, and the couch is a comfy throne of hominess that fits me and both cats with plenty of personal space to spare.

I do indeed love it here.

It’s the bunny weekend, but more important, it’s the weekend of the return of The Doctor!

My weekends have been very full, and it’s starting to make me anxious. Freelance work, car repairs (new brakes! new axle! woo!), birthdays, and Woo!Doctor!Who! are filling up all my time, so there’s hardly a minute to slack off anymore. I fantasize about painting, but don’t actually do any (even skipped an already-paid-for Wine and Canvas last night, boo!). Next weekend I have to have to have!to! get my taxes ready for my accountant. I still have to schedule the cleaners to come and sanitize my apartment before cutiehead nephew arrives (three!weeks!). And get my tires fixed. And other stuff. In fact, right this very second I’m procrastinating on working on the slideshows for my client by writing this very blog post. I really need to get started ’cause I have the twins’ birthday bowling party this afternoon. And have I mentioned the stack of dirty dishes in the sink, even though the dishwasher is totally empty and prepared to receive said dishes?

Apparently I was in the mood for a stream of consciousness kind of brain dump. Sorry about that. In “at least this is amusing” news, the password at the coffee shop I was hanging out in yesterday while my brakes were replaced was “surfyourballsoff”. I need a more amusing password for my wireless.

Oh, and happy Easter to them’s that celebrate it.

Pimp My Balcony! Please?

My balcony is a woefully neglected place. I love it, but I live three blocks from the construction nightmare that is the 405 freeway, so keeping up with the dirt and dust is a full-time job that is usually too much for me to deal with.

However, this past Saturday was a gorgeous day that demanded to be enjoyed, so I pulled out the vacuum cleaner (after a failed attempt at sweeping) and tackled the thick layers of ick. Of course, the job was still pretty big, so I skimped a bit in the corners, but I took care of the area around the bistro table set, including the bistro table set, and even wiped down the poor gas grill that used to have a cover until it blew away in a windstorm about a year ago. As much as I hate cleaning, there’s something really satisfying when you see a black area turn light gray with just a swipe of the vacuum brush. It’s a shame it’s such a bitch on the back muscles.

But I got the important stuff done, and I rewarded myself with lunch on the balcony, and kitties on the balcony, and web surfing on the balcony, and even just staring at the clouds from the balcony. It was a great afternoon appreciating the glorious day, and I didn’t even care that the kitties of course crawled around the dirty corners that I couldn’t be bothered with.

Jack checking things out
Jack checking things out

Zeva enjoying the view across the street
Zeva enjoying the view across the street

I look forward to more spring days spent thusly, but the balcony could definitely use some beautifying, and not just in the more-cleaning kind of way. My wishlist includes sparkly lights, and pvc pipes for curtains, and maybe even something on the floor more comfy than cement. I’d love to add plants, but I know I’d just kill them. I wish there was room for a comfy chaise. And the extra microwave cart in the corner definitely has to go.

Just more things on the to do list that will never get done.