Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blue Apron Review (Spoiler Alert: love love love)

Hi everyone! I'm here today to share a review of the service Blue Apron, which is freaking awesome!  Basically, it's a service that sends ALL the ingredients for 3 meals to your home.  I mean ALL, Blue Apron only assumes you have olive oil and salt in your kitchen, and everything else you need is provided (pre measured) in the box.  It's pretty amazeballs for someone like me that doesn't have a lot of time to grocery shop or prepare meals.  They send you three meals at $9.99 a person, so $60 for a box that feeds two, and they also send detailed instructions on how to prepare the meals.  Shipping is free, you can skip a week or cancel as often as you want, and you get recipes to feed 2 people or you can opt for more. Also, I'm not compensated by doing this review- I just thought it was super awesome and wanted to share!

I literally have no bad things to say about Blue Apron, I adored the recipes, the box of ingredients, and the entire concept.  Here are a few reasons this service is so awesome

* You can choose a vegetarian option or a meat option (which typically includes one seafood, one beef/pork/lamb dish, and one chicken dish).  I went with the meat option but I will probably try a vegetarian week soon because looking at some of the past vegetarian recipes they really do look delicious and unique.

* Here in CT food prices are pretty high, and I could never buy that amount of food for under $60.  The fact that they only send you *exactly* what you need (sometimes a bit more) saves money.  Instead of buying a whole prepackaged bunch of scallions you can receive and pay for only the two scallions you actually need for your meal.

* So many of the recipes they feature are unique, read: FUN, but they call for specialty ingredients.  I'm not buying a whole bottle of mirin to add just one tablespoon to a peanut sauce, but with this service you can test out unique purchases without buying a whole container or having to scour specialty stores to buy them.

* No more grocery shopping with a toddler that tries to run rampant like a rabid chimpanzee through Stop and Shop.  This is a big perk for me.  Although, I really don't feel like I'm paying extra for the convenience if you know what I mean.  The groceries alone are worth the money, so the recipe planning and shipping are just an awesome bonus.

* The recipes are well balanced, full of fresh and seasonal produce, and the calorie counts are included (typically between 500-700 per meal).

* Robb and I can't eat what Charlie eats, because it's super calorie heavy and also gross, so this makes it easy to serve separate dinners for all of us.  Most meals average about 35 minutes to prepare.

SOOOO basically this is amazing.  It easily fits into my grocery budget and saves me time and still allows me to eat well.  Here's what a Blue Apron box looks like (warning: the rest of this post is SUPER picture heavy)

It's a heavily insulated box (my food was very cold when it arrived, even though I didn't open the box until 6pm Saturday night, when I got home from work....also, it was hot outside since it's August so I can attest that it holds up well).  It included a letter stating what the meals were (I already knew since it was posted on the website and in the newsletter a week beforehand) and also 3 full color and very descriptive recipe cards.  I'm thinking about putting them all in a 3 ring binder since they're very sturdy.

This week's meals were as follows, click on the links to see the recipes, which are available for free!

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Chicken Yakitori with Long Beans and Brown Rice
French Lentils with Sauteed Vegetables and Lamb Sausage

Underneath the cards the produce was neatly stacked and labeled, pre portioned.

Here is it all lying out on the counter.  I actually discovered celery, a carrot, and a tomato after taking this photo so this isn't even all of it.  I like how everything was separated by meal (for example, I had three bags of cilantro, not just one big bunch).  Another cool thing is the produce itself.  I have no idea how to buy fresh long beans, persian cucumbers, or real baby carrots unless I want to scour farmers markets (which is awesome too but not a guarantee they'll have what you need), so it was cool to have those unusual ingredients.

Included in the produce was cilantro, mint, basil, persian cucumber, lemons, onion, scallions, baby carrots, a regular carrot, red lettuce, celery, tomato, and long beans.

Next was a bag called "Knick Knacks"

This bag was filled with pre measured ingredients for all the recipes, neatly and clearly packaged.

Included was fresh ginger, hoisin sauce, paprika, sugar, fresh bay leaves, thai chiles, peanut butter, panko, feta cheese, a head of garlic, soy sauce, mirin, and sesame oil.

Next up was rice paper wrappers, brown rice, cellophane noodles, skewers, and french lentils.

Lastly there was the protein which included lamb sausage, shrimp, and ground chicken.  The name of the meat supplier was listed so I looked it up and it seems like a pretty well regarded meat supplier in NYC that supplies to lots of big name restaurants, so that was cool.

So obviously I was in foodie heaven at this point and wanted to start cooking right away.  First, I decided to make the summer rolls since shrimp spoils the fastest.  These were filled with lots of fresh herbs (cilantro, mint and basil), cellophane noodles, cucumber, carrot, and sauteed shrimp- to be served on a bed of fresh red lettuce with an asian peanut sauce for dipping.

This recipe was super easy to follow, tasted delicious, and was made in under 30 minutes.  I loved everything about it- especially because I would never think to make these on my own, even though I thoroughly enjoy them in restaurants.

Robb was busy shooting a wedding that night so I placed his half in a tupperware container for when he got home.  I was very impressed with the portion size, I was very worried it would not be enough because of our big appetites but it was PLENTY.  I even added 3 shrimp to each roll (instead of the 2 they recommended) and still got 10 full rolls.

I also worried there wouldn't be enough sauce (aka the best part) but again, it was pointless as there was plenty of sauce for my rolls and for the lettuce afterwards.  Also, I appreciated that they gave me 15 rice paper wrappers instead of the 10 called for in the recipe, just in case I tore one or it broke, etc.

Next up was the Chicken Yakitori with rice and long beans!

Delicious, and Charlie helped to put the skewers into the chicken and mix it all up :)  We really enjoyed this one, a perfect alternative to Chinese take out.  I took for granted Robb would know NOT to eat the teeny chile's in the beans but I was wrong lol....

Last up was our favorite: Lamb Sausage with French Lentils and Sauteed Vegetables

This last meal was totally delightful and delicious.  Actual baby carrots (real ones!), tomato, onion, celery, lentils, smoked paprika, lemon juice, cilantro, feta cheese, and lamb sausage.  It was just SO good.

Overall, I LOVED this service and highly recommend it!  Next week's menu looks so yummy, I can't wait :)

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