Trying Out a New Way to Cook for the Family

I had never heard of Blue Apron before seeing it on some of the blogs that I read, but it sounded good and I was certainly up for trying it out. My friends here hadn’t heard of it either, but when I was in New York, I mentioned it to a couple of people and they knew all about it. Apparently it’s a big thing out there already? And it is available for free shipping nationwide to over 80% of the country, so chances are good that you’re in one of their delivery zones. So far we’ve tried one week of the service (three meals), and everything we’ve cooked has been great!

Blue Apron Ingredients

Brandon does more of the cooking than I do, but we were both in the kitchen to make our first dish: Filipino-Style Beef Picadillo. (Because duh, one of us had to hold the camera. How do food bloggers do this on the regular?) The recipes are designed by chefs to be delicious and good for you, and you can choose portions for two, four, or six people. The meals are $9.99 per serving with free shipping and we went with the four servings size, but they’re generous so we had leftovers for lunch from each recipe.

Preparing Ingredients from Blue Apron

Brandon, Cooking

There is a lot of packaging, which is understandable — the boxes are packed to keep things cold during shipping so the food stays fresh. Everything arrived in perfect condition though, even potentially squishable foods like the tomatoes. The ingredients are sent in just the right amounts, so you have everything you need all planned out for you with no trip to the grocery store and you don’t end up with random bottles of stuff you’ll never use entirely. (Like the giant bottle of fish sauce that has been sitting in our house, mocking us for not finding more uses for it.)

Cooking

Cooking

By the way… ever wonder how multiple pots and pans fit on our antique stove? Answer: not very well. The left half is wood-burning, so only the right half with gas burners is functional as cooking space. It’s a challenge. The stove looks cool, but it’s pretty apparent that cooking technology has changed a lot since 1918.

Cooking on an Antique Stove

Even with our ancient stove, we do make almost all of our meals at home. We fall into ruts though, making the same meals over and over again, so it’s nice that Blue Apron helps us learn new recipes and lets us try out new foods. (I’d never had chayote squash before using it in this beef dish.)

Blue Apron Filipino-Style Beef Picadillo

The meals are really good, and the kids liked them too. We even garnished for presentation, which we usually don’t do. So you know. Fancy.

Kid-Approved Dinner

I’m glad we got the chance to try the service because we’re looking forward to using Blue Apron again, for sure. There’s no commitment; you can sign up and get a week’s delivery, then skip or cancel at any time. I think it could be particularly useful for us when baby number three arrives, so we won’t have to do the meal planning and shopping.

If you’d like to give it a go too, Blue Apron is offering two free meals with your first order to the first 50 readers that sign up.

Teal for the Entryway?

I like the way open-concept homes look but I prefer to live in a house with separate rooms, and Victorians are certainly known for having lots of rooms. Ours has the entryway, double parlor, and dining room all open to each other with wide doorways (the pocket doors of which are nearly always open). If you sit in the center of our teal sofa, you could see all four rooms, and into the kitchen too.

I See Everything!

I like thinking about the design for the first floor as a whole, since you do see multiple rooms at once. The dining room will likely get Fornasetti’s Chiavi Segrete wallpaper once we can afford to do it. (The nursery and second floor renovation is getting top priority right now.) It would look a little something like this.

Dining Room

Now that both parlors have been painted and I know what’s likely going in the dining room, I’ve been trying to decide on a color for the entryway. The window and door face East, but the porch and large tree out front block a lot of the light for much of the day. And there’s a whole lot of oak paneling and trim. I’ve had it in my head all along that I want to bring in more teal to that side of the house to reference the sofa, but I was going to do it through accessories and keep the walls neutral. Maybe teal on the walls is the way to go though?

BHG Teal Paints
BHG Teal Paint Colors

Another option is Sandberg’s Raphael wallpaper in dark blue.

Sandberg Raphael Wallpaper

I have a sample and it looks perfect, but it doesn’t work with the other wallpaper. I think that between the two, I’d rather go with papering the dining room — which brings me back to teal for the entry. I’ve been playing around with my design boards in Photoshop (you’ve seen them in various stages on the blog before), virtually rearranging things and trying out different combinations. I shared this screenshot on Instagram the other day.

I would probably go a little deeper and darker than the paint colors in that BHG palette above, but not so dark that it competes with the black in the back parlor. What do you think?

Favorite Room Essentials Pieces

Favorites from Target's RE Line

I’m all for great design that’s accessible and affordable, so I’m happy to be sharing some of my favorites today from the Target Room Essentials line. The pieces below would mix with a huge range of styles, making it easy to incorporate each item into your home and really make it your own.

  1. Gooseneck Desk Lamp
    Such a cute little desk lamp, and it comes in black, gray, pink, blue, yellow, or white.

  2. Large Coiled Rope Baskets
    Just one of these would look great on its own, but I love the look of the three together.

  3. Plus Sign Bath Rug
    The black and white palette makes it easy to use this bath rug in most bathrooms, and the design is simple but with a nice graphic punch!

  4. Wood Pole Scholar Lighting
    So digging these. How cute would a floor lamp and table lamp in different colors look in the same room?

  5. 6 Drawer Dresser
    This one comes in three colors, and the angled feet are a small but noticeable style upgrade over the chunky blocks you usually find on affordable furniture.

p.s. I just helped my sister choose new bedding and we went with this quilt and sham set, which is the best yellow. I want her to add some of the lamps from above into her bedroom too!

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