Becoming parents scared us at first.  I’m not “adult” enough to take care of myself, what says I can take care of another human?!  The Mr. and I have been worried that my cooking skills have always been sub-par and highly inadequate.  Even with Weight Watchers recipes, and my mom’s attempts to help.  I am the worst student ever.  I burn, the smoke alarm is a constant thing, and, well, despite my obsession with the Food Network on weekend mornings, my plates NEVER turn out as beautiful, delicious or as easy as the chefs make them out to be.

Enter Blue Apron.

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As a new mom, all the blogs, Pinterest posts, advice and other suggestions all said: “Get your freezer ready before the baby comes.  You’re not going to want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen cooking when the baby gets here.  You’ll be too tired to think.”  Ha!  At 8 and 9 months pregnant, the LAST thing I wanted to do was stand in the kitchen all day and meal prep.  With my storage systems, everything I put in the freezer gets really ridiculous freezer burn!

Then there are the voices in my head that said “Be sure to ask the doctor when you can go back on Weight Watchers.” (She said I can go back the second she stitches me back up post C-Section!)  But, who wants to constantly go food shopping every other day with a newborn?

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Heeding this advice, back in February, the Mr. and I discovered and attempted Blue Apron. Skeptical, we bit our tongues and just ordered.  The box came at 11am, we both work til 5:30.  Our doorman who keeps the packages til we get home, called me saying “This is a heavy box, there’s two bricks of dry ice in it.”  The box and food stayed cold all day, and literally EVERYTHING was packed in nice and organized.

Veggies were all nicely labeled, the “knick knacks” were packaged adorably in brown paper lunch bags, neatly labeled, and the meats went right from the package into the fridge.  We were ready to go.

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Now this is where I struggled.  WHAT THE HECK WAS I GETTING MYSELF INTO?  But thankfully, the written instructions were so clear, basic and easy, even the worst cook (myself) could follow the visual and written instructions.  I don’t have an iPad yet, but I’m sure if I did, I could easily follow along the tutorial videos.  (Helpful, but pausing while your fingers are busy chopping/slicing/dicing/pouring Olive Oil in a pan on medium-high heat probably isn’t easy).

I read the directions aloud.  Thankfully, the Mr. understands my quirks.  I literally am teaching myself how to cook.

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Blue Apron honestly makes the process easy.  AND!  I love how they are foods that I’d normally eat anyway (chicken, fish, red meat, vegetarian options) but prepared in ways that I would NEVER EVER be able to attempt.  Because, sure, they look amazing on the Food Network shows, but in my kitchen, they would never ever be replicated as is.  All the meals take no more than 45 minutes from prep (I’ve mastered the art of finely chopping), to plating (which is still a skill I’m working on), and are no more than an average of 500-700 calories.  BAM.

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After week one, we knew this was the right thing for us.  I didn’t set the smoke alarm off,   I only needed one or two pans, the gas stove was not burning on high, my mascara was not streaming down my face when the Mr. walked in the door,  my neighbors did not hear me swearing and screaming at the stove, I was able to understand what I was doing, and we were fully satisfied with a delicious meal, and clean-up was a breeze.  (I cook, he cleans). All I needed was salt, pepper, EVOO and the tools.

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So we kept going.  And as we keep looking ahead (since the menu is available online 4 weeks out), we know what weeks we are “skipping” and what weeks I am “cooking.”   I’m becoming a little more confident in my cooking skills.  As you can see on Instagram, I’m beginning to become a little OVER confident…I’m ready for a YouTube channel or a television show.

Side note:  we even are saving the recipe cards we enjoy- and by enjoy, I mean “Which meals are tasty, easy, quick, and less frustrating for Clare to cook on a consistent basis.”

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Yes, this picture is posted twice. But this was my absolute favorite meal thus far. BBQ Rubbed Salmon, Sweet Potato rounds (which roasted in the oven and didn’t burn!) with an Arugula, Apple, Toasted Walnut salad with a Dijon Vinegarette (yes, I made the dressing too!) Next time, I’ll add some feta to the salad, and call it lunch!

What’s even better?  The Mr. actually is eating my cooking!  From 6 years ago when me “cooking” was taking him to the on-campus dining hall for dinner, to now, a baby on the way, I think I’ve grown up a lot. My plating process is not as pretty as the Blue Apron pictures, but at least I no longer cry, and reach for the “take out menu drawer” instead.  (I even used to order take out, plate the meal, and take credit for cooking!  Shh!  Don’t tell! ) I guess I am more “adult” than I thought I was.  YIPPEE SKIPPIE!

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This cooking thing is more of a long-lifetime learning process rather than an overnight success.  No one became a “good cook” on their first try.  (If you know anyone that did, please put me in contact with them, I want to learn their secrets!)  Sometimes you need some coaching from a box service like Blue Apron.  Whoever thought of this concept deserves a big hug from me and the Mr., they may have saved my bank account from endless mascara shopping!  They make shopping, cooking and eating so easy, you’ll never want to go back to the grocery store again.

signup-intro-bg-priceless-1108772c5309dfa35c838893f1eafc27The baby is coming next week.  So I probably won’t be participating with that week’s box, but knowing that a week later is “Greek Pizza” with FETA (which I’ve totally missed the last few months) and “Springtime Chicken Carbonara,” I think I’m ready to get back on my feet and into the kitchen again.  I’m learning that cooking can and will be therapeutic and calming (when you allow yourself to let it be!)

Side note:  I was not compensated or asked to recommend Blue Apron to everyone.  I’m merely reflecting on how my Instagram feed is changing and how I am becoming more of an adult, now that the baby is almost here!

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Enjoy today.

live life in the front row

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