From the category archives:

living on less

Is a meal subscription service right for you? I'm sharing my honest thoughts today in this Blue Apron review. Be sure to scroll all the way down for a link that will save you $30 off your first order!

My Honest Blue Apron Review -- is a meal subscription service right for you? I'm sharing my honest thoughts in this Blue Apron review. Click over to the post for a coupon that will save you $30 off your first order! | blue apron recipes | blue apron meals | blue apron delivery | blue apron box | blue apron coupon | find the details on unsophisticook.com

Meal subscription services are all the rage these days... I feel like I get a postcard urging me to try this or that company in the mail every few days. But I've remained mostly on the fence, wondering if the cost is really justified and whether a meal would actually be enough to feed my family. Well, at least feed most of MY family -- I have yet to find a subscription company that offers meals for larger families like ours.

So when Blue Apron contacted me and offered to send me one of their boxes, I figured why not give it a try? It was the perfect way to answer my own questions and would also assist me in answering honestly when I get the occasional reader email asking about my thoughts on these services.

My Honest Blue Apron Review -- is a meal subscription service right for you? I'm sharing my honest thoughts in this Blue Apron review. Click over to the post for a coupon that will save you $30 off your first order! | blue apron recipes | blue apron meals | blue apron delivery | blue apron box | blue apron coupon | find the details on unsophisticook.com

What is Blue Apron?

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that provides customers with farm-fresh ingredients to prepare a delicious meal in exactly the right proportions. You receive all of the ingredients for each recipe as a ready-made "kit" -- that is everything but the olive oil, salt and pepper. You do still need to do all of the chopping, dicing, sautéing, etc., but Blue Apron provides a detailed full color recipe card for each recipe that guides you step by step through the process.

I opted to try one of the Blue Apron Family Plan boxes, which included 2 recipes that would each feed four people. I've developed a severe shellfish allergy within the past couple of years, so I was pleased to see that they offer options that accommodate many food sensitivities, although it did limit the number of recipes I had to choose from in a given week. I chose to receive the ingredients for the following two recipes:

  • Seared Chicken & Mustard Pan Sauce with Summer Squash & Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Roasted Pork & Soba Noodles with Sweet Chili-Glazed Vegetables

My Honest Blue Apron Review -- is a meal subscription service right for you? I'm sharing my honest thoughts in this Blue Apron review. Click over to the post for a coupon that will save you $30 off your first order! | blue apron recipes | blue apron meals | blue apron delivery | blue apron box | blue apron coupon | find the details on unsophisticook.com

What Are The Pros of Blue Apron?

I always like to start on a positive note, so let's talk about what I think Blue Apron has going for it first.

Blue Apron eliminates all of the barriers of meal planning. You simply select the recipes you want to receive in a given week, and they ship everything you need to prepare it right to your doorstep. Yes, you still need to do much of the prep work and actually cook the meals, but it totally eliminates the 5:00 pm "What am I going to make for dinner?" panic.

The ingredients are high quality. Everything I received was very fresh and healthy in appearance. While not all of the ingredients are organic, Blue Apron does have high standards for every ingredient, including meats, and they are completely non-GMO.

The recipes are very detailed. You receive a glossy full page recipe card with each recipe, which includes step-by-step instructions, along with color photos that demonstrate key steps. This would be especially helpful for cooks that want to boost their confidence in the kitchen by trying new ingredients and/or techniques with limited chances for an undesirable outcome.

Blue Apron encourages you to try new ingredients. I can honestly say I've never tried gai lan (Chinese broccoli) before, and I highly doubt that I would have ever picked it up on a whim at the grocery store. But it turns out that I love it, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for it to make it again!

My Honest Blue Apron Review -- is a meal subscription service right for you? I'm sharing my honest thoughts in this Blue Apron review. Click over to the post for a coupon that will save you $30 off your first order! | blue apron recipes | blue apron meals | blue apron delivery | blue apron box | blue apron coupon | find the details on unsophisticook.com

What Are The Cons of Blue Apron?

And now for the aspects of Blue Apron that could use a little improvement...

The cook time seems to vary wildly from the stated time on the recipe cards. I was skeptical about being able to cook a pork roast in 26 minutes, and I was right. I use a meat thermometer to cook pork and chicken, and it took about 15 more minutes to reach the proper internal temperature. Same with the seared chicken recipe -- it took much longer than 12 minutes to cook. Normally, I wouldn't be too annoyed, but since the Blue Apron recipes include a protein and a side, it can also affect the timing of the side portion of the recipe.

I felt like the portions were on the small side. Based on other reviews, I certainly didn't expect to have leftovers, but I was surprised to feel like I needed to add something more to each meal. I was satisfied with a serving, but my husband and two teenage boys were still hungry after eating. I'd say the portions would be perfect for a family of four that includes two small children, but 4 adult portions is really stretching it.

The amount of packaging feels very wasteful. Since each ingredient is packaged individually, you end up with a lot of little bottles, bags, and wrapping after preparing a recipe. I'm happy to say there's at least an acceptable solution to this con. Blue Apron offers free return labels to send back all of the packaging for recycling. Just know that they will only recycle packaging that has been rinsed clean.

My Honest Blue Apron Review -- is a meal subscription service right for you? I'm sharing my honest thoughts in this Blue Apron review. Click over to the post for a coupon that will save you $30 off your first order! | blue apron recipes | blue apron meals | blue apron delivery | blue apron box | blue apron coupon | find the details on unsophisticook.com

And What About The Price?

Overall, we really enjoyed our Blue Apron experience. Would I order meals from them on a weekly basis? No -- it's just not a practical way to feed my entire family. But I have to say that, as a busy mom, the time savings on meal planning and grocery shopping is extremely appealing, and I'm willing to pay a bit of a premium for that.

I feel like ultimately the price is pretty fair for the ingredients balanced out by the time savings. As the box options currently stand, I'd say the Blue Apron service is best suited for recent college grads, newlyweds, small growing families, busy executives and empty nesters. But if they ever add the option to select the number of servings you want a recipe to serve, I'll absolutely consider using it more often.

My Honest Blue Apron Review -- is a meal subscription service right for you? I'm sharing my honest thoughts in this Blue Apron review. Click over to the post for a coupon that will save you $30 off your first order! | blue apron recipes | blue apron meals | blue apron delivery | blue apron box | blue apron coupon | find the details on unsophisticook.com

If you want to try out Blue Apron for yourself, you can get $30 off your first order! Just click on the orange "Redeem Offer" button. After your first Blue Apron order, there's no long-term commitment. You can cancel your subscription or skip weeks at any time!

If you've already tried Blue Apron, I'd love to hear about your experience. Please share in the comments!

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Blue Apron via the SheSavvy Influence Network; all opinions and text are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this site!

{ 0 comments }

Good morning, and Happy Mother's Day!!! I just wanted to make sure you all don't miss out on this fabulous FREE Mrs. Meyer's Summer Chef's Set from Grove Collaborative.

Basically you get ALL of the following free with any $20 purchase:

  • Free Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap (my fave is lavender!)
  • Free Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Spray
  • Free Grove Collaborative Bubble Up (a $15.95 value!)
  • FREE Shipping
  • FREE VIP Trial (totally amazing!)

FREE Summer Chef’s Set -- grab this FREE Summer Chef's Set of Mrs. Meyer's hand soap + dish soap + multi-surface spray + a Grove Collaborative Bubble Up with your first order from my friends at Grove Collaborative. It's everything you need to make cleanup effortless, from salsa to full-on summer barbecues!

Get the full details on how to take advantage of this exclusive offer in my Fresh Tomato Salsa post! But before you hop over, I just wanted to quickly give you an idea as to what I'd put in MY cart to score this deal:

  • Grove Collaborative Kitchen Towel - Single Pack, $5.95 (super high quality!)
  • Full Circle Be Good Dish Brush, $6.95
  • Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap, $3.89 (my fave is the lavender scent!)
  • Mrs. Meyer's Hand Lotion, $4.99 (a Grove exclusive!)

Your total will be $21.78, qualifying you for the FREE Summer Chef's Set! This offer ends at 9pm EST tonight, so hurry to place your order.
 

{ 0 comments }

Easy DIY Basketball Treat Bags -- this fun basketball treat bags craft is SO quick and easy to complete! How cute would these be for a basketball-themed party? Or maybe a March Madness game day get together?! | diy basketball goodie bags | basketball party favors ideas | basketball treat bags ideas | basketball party | march madness party | march madness ideas | find the tutorial on unsophisticook.com

This RARE Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP printable coupon won't be around for too much longer. Print it now to pick up a bag for right around $2! The Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn is a favorite of mine, but then again, I have yet to try a flavor that I haven't loved.

Just sayin' -- it makes a fabulous March Madness snack... Especially if you use it to fill up a few of these cute basketball treat bags I shared a few weeks ago!
 

{ 0 comments }

Do You Have A Daily Kitchen Cleaning Routine?

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 10, 2017 · 0 comments

Daily Kitchen Cleaning Routine -- having a daily kitchen cleaning routine is key to making our mornings run smoothly. It's easy to start the day off with a smile when you walk into a sparkling clean kitchen! | unsophisticook.com

Having a daily kitchen cleaning routine is key to making out mornings run smoothly. It's so easy to start the day off with a smile when you walk into a sparkling clean kitchen!

Not to mention, it's such an overall sanity saver... And us moms need ALL the help we can get in that department! Am I right?!

Check out my routine here -- it's just 4 steps!

P.S. Be sure to check out how you can get a FREE Kitchen Cleaning Essentials Kit from Grove Collaborative.

{ 0 comments }

Spicy Sriracha Sausage Cheese Balls For The Big Game

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 3, 2017 · 0 comments

Sriracha Sausage Cheddar Balls -- a kicked up take on the Southern classic sausage cheddar balls recipe… These easy sausage balls are made from scratch and totally kid approved, a MUST for game day! | unsophisticook.com

Looking for something a little new and different to nosh on during the Super Bowl this Sunday evening? Check out this Sriracha Sausage Cheddar Balls recipe!!! These literally flew off the plate when I made them.

They're a kicked up take on the Southern classic sausage cheddar balls recipe… These easy sausage balls are made from scratch and totally kid approved, a MUST for game day!

What's your favorite game day recipe?!

{ 0 comments }