Blue Apron

So a couple of months ago Marlboro Man and I tried the meal delivery service Plated; a few weeks after trying Plated a friend of mine mentioned that he used a service called Blue Apron and was able to ‘gift’ free meals because of his subscription with the company. So my friend gifted us a box, Marlboro Man and I selected the 3 meals that we thought looked the most delicious and waited for the box to arrive.  In case you were wondering we picked, 3-Chile Beef Chili with Red Kidney Beans and Pepper Jack Cheese, Tilapia Veracruzana with Yellow Rice, and Roasted Chicken with Jalapeño-Herb Salsa, Mixed Citrus & Cracked Wheat Berries. Yum!!

 

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When the box got to the house it was pretty similar to that of Plated. The packing was sturdy and insulated; the day our food it arrived it was pretty hot outside and we knew we weren’t going to be home for the devilry. I was pretty skeptical that anything could be kept fresh in the heat that we were having that weekend, but when we got home and took the box inside everything was still cold and showed no signs of spoilage; to my surprise.

Everything was similarly packaged with the Blue Apron service. One thing that Plated did differently that I rather liked was the way they packaged the produce. Plated used those green vegetable bags that you see in the market that keep your produce fresher, longer. In the Plated bags was the produce as well as all the ingredients to complete the dish. Blue Apron kind of just had the veggies all loose in the box; with the exception of herbs and some of the more fragile veggies which were placed in ziplock bags.

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As I mentioned before Plated packed all the ingredients for one recipe in a green produce bag, Blue Apron had all of the odds and ends things in little brown paper bags labeled with what dish that they were for; “knick-knacks.”  Blue Apron and Plated both had their meats packaged the same way; at the bottom of the box with extra ice packs or gel packs to keep the meat from spoiling.

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Blue Apron also gave recipe cards, which were beautiful. The Blue Apron cards were much cleaner looking, the directions were more straight forward; I messed up a recipe in the Plated box because it was simply too complex to be a single step. It appears that Blue Apron not only looked at the recipe in terms of ease of making, they also considered the aesthetics, weird to think that recipe cards can even be talked about in terms of looks but these were just much nicer to look at.

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Unlike Plated I don’t know what happened but I did not take step-by-step pictures of the process. I do however have pictures of the end results of two of the dishes; we never got around to making the Roasted Chicken with Cracked Wheat Berries.

The 3-Chile Beef Chili was so delicious and seriously so simple to make, it too me maybe 20 minutes of so. I actually made this chili again this past weekend but changed a couple of things around. Here are two pictures of the chili, unmade all ingredients from the box and then a finished picture of the meal.

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All of the stuff that the company sent was easily enough for 3 servings of the chili, Blue Apron absolutely did not skimp on ingredients and possibly took into consideration that people might have more than a single serving when they are eating the chili.

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I have to admit that the recipes in Blue Apron were much simpler and they were things that I would make again. I am not a fish eater, I don’t care for the texture and consistency of cooked fish so with that being said I have never cooked fish, ever. The fish dish was super easy to cook and the fish was very tasty; not what I was expecting at all. Blue Apron took an ingredient that maybe not all people are comfortable with cooking and paired it with common ingredients to make a very simple, yet delicious dish. I would most certainly make the Tilapia dish again.

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So now that I have tried both services I can make a judgement based on my experience.

If I was someone who was going to do this on a regular basis I would go with the Blue Apron service for several reasons.

I felt that the recipes, although both realistic, were much more a real dinner dish concept with Blue Apron. They were things I could easily make again and feel comfortable doing so. The recipes with Plated felt a little more fancy, something that you would’t do every night. Blue Apron recipes max took me 30 minutes, Plated however took me more time depending on the dish; I remember when I did the roasted chicken on Plated that took me upwards of 45 minutes. Marlboro Man and I both agree that that dishes from Blue Apron were much tastier than the of Plated. Plated dishes tasted bland, although they had spices and ingredients to make a nice flavor we both found ourselves feeling like the dish was missing something and ended up adding some other ingredients to the dishes. Blue Apron’s dishes were nicely seasoned and flavored and except for a bit of salt or pepper they did not need much else.

Blue Apron offers more bang for your buck. We got 3 meals, 2 plates each for free but if you paid it would have been $59.94; which comes out to about $9.99 a plate. The price per plate on Plated depended on the dish that was made but ranged from about $12-$15 per plate, if you signed up and paid a membership fee you got a slight break on the price of the plates. With the Plated service we got 2 meals, 2 plates per meal for $20 because of the promo that I used but if you were to use this service in real life it would cost around $80-$100 depending on the meals that you selected not to mention the $20 shipping fee that the company charges. For the average person Plated is just too expensive especially considering that you don’t get as many meals as you do with Blue Apron.

A few more reasons why I like Blue Apron is that if I skip a week of food I am still able to get those recipes off of their website. Say for whatever reason you want to skip your meals because of financial reasons, being out of town, or whatever your reason but you see something on the site that looks like something you would like to try you have the option of getting the recipe and just flying solo with it. I think that is pretty awesome. Although we have not used either service again I do still peek the recipes on Blue Apron to see if there is anything that I want to make for dinner. Plated does not offer their recipes up for the taking.

Plated charges you a membership fee to get a ‘discounted’ rate per plate. Blue Apron does not require a membership to get a better rate, all of their plates cost the same price across the board. Like I mentioned before Plated also charges shipping while Blue Apron does not. I felt that Plated had a bunch of rather unnecessary charges, maybe they need extra funding to keep their momentum or maybe they just feel that these are things they should charge; I am not really too sure, but if you are like me you like to save money where you can and as much of it as you can.

One other thing I would like to mention is that although I enjoyed using both services and clearly I favored Blue Apron of the two I wish that the companies could both figure out a way to be less wasteful when it comes to preparing the boxes of meals. Everything is bagged separately in ziplock bags, or plastic containers, and even little bottles for items like vinegar and soy sauce. That is an excessive amount of waste, and then take into consideration that box that they ship it in. Although the box is easily tossable, all of the insulation and ice packs are things that it would be nice to be able to reuse. I would not be surprised if a third company emerges who cuts down the cost even more and is able to figure out a way to recycle the items they send out, whether it be having the consumer mail back a reusable cooler type package or even if they were to use less ziplock bags I am sure that there is a way to figure that out.

Have you tried Blue Apron? or maybe even Plated? Which did you prefer and why? Let me know

Until next time

r

6/11/14

 

Also it is worth noting that neither company paid for me to write about them, nor did they give me anything, so my opinions are solely my own and without preferential influences.

Ninja

So I have been wanting to sit down and blog for quite some time now, anyone who knows me knows that I think a lot (more often than not too much), I figured this would be the perfect outlet to get my thoughts, rants and raves out there. I am not sure which direction thing will go but I hope that it is worth your while. With that being said….

Lately I have been RIDICULOUSLY obsessed with my new food gadgets (I realized just now that my blog’s name really isn’t the most appealing when it comes to writing about food… bare with me on that one). I recently bought myself a the Ninja blender… I am getting ahead of myself. The girls at work decided that we wanted to shed a few extra pounds by doing a biggest loser style competition, so I decided to participate, in my mind though this competition is more than just losing the extra weight I wanted to create habits that last and make my body as healthy and happy as it can be. With all the drama that my body went through the tail end of last year I decided that it was time. I did my research and decided that I wanted to adopt a whole foods diet more or less. I watched the Forks over Knives documentary and picked up The Green Smoothie Revolution (Victoria Boutenko) book, with a little bit of information in hand I decided this is what I wanted to do, BUT I needed a fun, new, efficient gadget to help me out. In comes the Ninja blender. It is awesome to say the least, it blends, chops and purees; honestly it probably does more than I need it to.

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I have been doing this juice/smoothie thing for about a week now and at the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE knowing what EXACTLY is going into my food. Although sometimes it is a little daunting to come home from work and still have to make dinner, but I have been finding it to the most worthwhile experience AND I am way to excited to do it. I find myself always online looking for new recipes to try, today I found one for spinach ice cream that I am looking forward to mixing up this weekend.

But back to what I was saying… I considered for a while doing juicing, but then learned that juicing really isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, because you are not getting all parts of the fruit and veggies, this is why I turned to smoothie-ing??

so far this is my favorite recipe (from The Green Smoothie Revolution)

2 cups spinach

1 cup strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 banana

1 cup orange juice

I find that freezing some of my fruit gives it a better end result texture and gives it that thick smoothie feel without the adding of ice. In the book she recommends not adding anything else to them but I went to the vitamin shoppe and picked up some plant based (hemp) protein to make sure I am getting that extra amount since I have been trying to cut out the animal based proteins.

Being that I am not someone who really has an easy time fitting in all my fruits and veggies this has been a super convenient and tasty way to do it, the fruits tone down the bitterness of some of the greens and most importantly it keeps me full so I keep from snacking.

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As I try more recipes I will definitley share them, I can’t promise that what I like you will like but you can’t knock it til you try it. Until next time…

Namaste