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.

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*