Cooking Lately

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Blue Apron Recipe: Ratatouille Tarts with Marinated Summer Squash

Alright…let me give an update on my cooking adventures as of late.

But first, a life update!

…it all ties in…I promise.

So…the last time I was blogging I was living in a different city with a different marital status and a different pace of life. Since then I am now married to a wonderful man, David, who is my audience for all said cooking adventures. He’s the best kind of audience you’ll get  when it come to cooking for someone. He eats everything I put in front of him, even if it’s terrible. If he doesn’t like something he says…”It’s okay” when I ask him how it tastes as he continues to shovel it in his mouth. I love him :) He’s great for my cooking and creative ego!

David and I got married June 24, 2016 and right in the midst of enjoying marital bliss we find out 3 months in that we’re having a baby. OMG. We knew we wanted to have kids early in our marriage if we were going to have a family, but that was WAY sooner than we had in mind. We’re not exactly young anymore so in retrospect, the timing was perfect. However, it’s a wild ride to be a newlywed trying to work through the transition into marriage while also thinking about being a parent. This past year has been a mix of marriage conferences and parenting/birthing classes…which is just a lot and confusing on many levels. Spoiler alert…we’re still married and happily at that. Work though…it takes lots of work :)

David and I made it to our first anniversary in June! Our goal of making it a year before having kids was achieved….just in time for our daughter, Ellie Grace May, to come a week later on July 3rd, 7 lbs 11 oz and 19.25 inches. I love Ellie to pieces and wouldn’t trade this life for any other!

….but…let’s be honest…this life looks so much different then it did just a short while ago. And motherhood was a much harder journey to begin then I had thought.

Needless to say, I literally feel like a beginner at just about every area of life these days. And that includes figuring out what to do in the kitchen when having a newborn in the mix.

The weeks after we got home, we were immensely blessed with meals from our church and work communities. That took such a weight off of me trying to figure out what to cook and when to cook it. However, that blessing was of course only meant to last for a few weeks to help us transition before we jumped into a new routine….or new normal…for our family.

It’s hard guys! I feel like we had just gotten into our groove as a married couple and that includes kitchen roles, household chores, shopping responsibilities, etc. Babies interrupt everything as you might know if you’re a parent or have even watched someone else go through a new addition to their family. And I guess they really should. When a new person enters the house it really should interrupt things to make space for the new life that’s residing with you. It’s not always easy, but it does feel important. Well…let’s say it feels important on the other side of figuring things out! The process of it is rough, rough, rough.

Part of that rough was acknowledging that cooking needed to happen by someone in our house if we were going to live long enough to take care of Ellie and since I enjoy it, it was definitely up to me to figure this ish out!

Before Ellie came we decided to try Blue Apron, one of the many meal services out there. It seems very faddish and I’m not always one to jump into a new thing like this but I’ll try anything if someone give it to me for a discount or free! So, we gave it a try…

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Ingredients for Blue Apron Recipe: Tomato-Saffron Risotto 
with Sautéed Summer Squash & Baby Greens Salad

This pic is a pretty good brief on how the ingredients come. They arrive fresh from a local source and are pre portioned, ready for you to work with when your box arrives.

The box we receive includes 3 recipes for 2 people a piece and the price for those 6 meals is just under $60. It’s probably a little steeper in price then I would spend cooking for David and I on a regular basis. However, the trade off is the taste, freshness, variety and healthy factor of these recipes. That alone is a win for someone like me who likes to not eat the same things over and over.

Honestly, I’ve had SO MUCH FUN cooking these recipes you guys! For a novice cook like myself, I have learned a lot about cooking with different ingredients and flavors and I feel like my chopping and food prep skills are sharpening a bit with all the things you do to work on the meals. They give you the produce but you usually are doing the washing and chopping to get it ready before you get cooking.

Some of the major benefits for us include….

  • Not going to the store! Which is perfect for us because we only have one car!
  • Not needing to come up with new recipes to cook. Don’t get me wrong…I love new recipes, but this totally meets that need without me having to do all the research. I would much rather be catching up on sleep or loving on my Ellie then meal prep most days.
  • Cutting down on excess ingredients that build up from trying new recipes that call for the things you don’t keep on your shelves on a regular basis, but use a  teaspoon of, only to have it sit on your pantry shelf for 3 years until you realize how old it is….can I get a witness…??
  • Healthy portions…these recipes makes hardy portion for each person but no extra. That is a major win if you tend to overeat like David and I have been known to do. We need to get healthy for our baby girl who needs her parents to stick around for awhile and we’ve actually lost weight with this meal plan too.

Don’t get me wrong, I still kind of miss doing some “regular” cooking, but I can’t deny how much better we’re eating with smaller portions and healthier ingredients. I really don’t think he and I could eat this well, with this much variety, and this much tastiness for $60 if I tried.

Downside…there is just 3 meals for us so we do have to come up with something for the other nights we’re not doing Blue Apron. However, it always seems to work out with having these meals stretch because we’re out and about on the weekends or with family who feeds us at other times…thanks mom and dad :)

David and I are in the hopeful process of trimming our budget, moving towards a single income lifestyle so I can stay home with Ellie more when maternity leave is over.  This means we’re not sure if this will work for us long term. But for now…Blue Apron for the win!

If you’re at all interested on giving Blue Apron a try, you can pass along your email. I get free meals to give away and I can plug in your email and send those to you. I don’t get anything from it (discounts or free product), so all the benefit is to you. I vote you give it a try since it’s 6 free meals for a week!

That’s it guys. My life and foodie update. I’ve got more to share, but this is good for now.

Happy cooking everyone!

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