Hey there busy friends! I know you have lots going on, and I do too, so I’m sure you’re looking for time-saving tips and shortcuts. I just met with a group of moms last night for our summer book study, and the consensus was that we just can’t get it all done! (book spoiler: you don’t need more time, you need more Jesus ;-)) All that aside, though, exploring practical helps is definitely worth it. Here’s my lowdown on the Blue Apron meal service – you decide if it’s for you or not.
(I am not paid for this review, and we did pay for every week we used the service.)
Who/what: Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that provides a box of pre-measured natural, farm-fresh (not organic) produce and pantry items for three meals.
When/where: Weekly, if you like, or skip a week or two and jump back in when you’re ready! It comes right to your front doorstep in a medium size box (for two person portion) and nice big freezer packs that can be saved. The box will be fine to sit outside/inside a couple of hours if you are away, but I wouldn’t let it sit all day.
How: You get a box in the mail that contains everything you need to make three meals for either 2 people or the family size. I am speaking to the smaller size that we got. Meals come with a handy 8×11 stock paper meal sheet, that gives a summary of the meal on one side, with the items sent for that meal, as well as the prep and cooking directions on the back side with photos. I really liked their meal sheets, but the size is a little large when your counter is full of foods. (I like the Hello Fresh half size card a little better.)
Why: You want to have home-cooked meals and quality family time, but the meal planning, prep and grocery shopping takes more time than you have.
Now I’ll give you a little free-form blurb on what I LOVED, liked, and didn’t like so much, and my final verdict on if we will continue this service. We both loved the gourmet taste of the meals – totally worth the price to get such amazing meals almost every time, and we both agreed it was tastier and cheaper than going out. Who doesn’t love getting real mail!? I especially like mail that helps me avoid shopping, because even though P is a better shopping passenger than a few months ago, with two naps still some days, it can be hard to get out. Finding time to plan meals can be tricky too, although there’s several apps that help! (More on Mealboard.com another time.) I loved getting a box of yummy fresh food in the mail. That excitement never wore off, and it was such a relief to know the planning, prep, and shopping were all done for me!
What I LIKED: the packaging for what they call ‘meal knick knacks’ was cute, which involved tiny bottles and packages of pantry items that were pre-measured for that particular recipe. Think, speciality oils, vinegars, créme fraîche, and other goodies that I would never buy otherwise (or buy and only use a small amount, thus wasting much of it.) I also liked the meal inserts with helpful cooking tips, such as how to wash cast iron, the pollen crisis, or instructions on flash cooking green beans. It was always relevant and very interesting, leaving me feeling like a more experienced cook. Nice touch, Blue Apron!
What I DIDN’T LIKE: The meals are time-consuming, more time than I would prefer, though not more than I would expect for a gourmet meal. When I say gourmet, I must add that I would still consider these easy/intermediate meals, and you don’t need any special cooking knowledge or paraphernalia to bring the yumminess to your table.It’s not difficult to skip meals, and they send you reminders that your meal is coming, however you have to stay on top of it because I just forgot to skip one and am getting some things this week we may not like! (You get to choose from a few meals each week, as to which you’d prefer to receive.) Blue Apron has added some quick/easy meals each week, so I was able to use those near the end of our trial period. I also didn’t like the cost. As I said previously, when you consider that these meals are easily gourmet-quality meals, and I learned so much (and made my husband a very happy man) while using this service, they are more expensive than I would pay on a regular basis.
Final verdict: We did end up deactivating my account recently, and I would say the main reason was the cost and time involved. If you love cooking, but not the shopping, and you have plenty of expendable income, than I would say go for it! But at $59/week for only three meals and most meals taking at least 30-45 minutes, I’m happy to get back to my Instant Pot and spending less on my total grocery and household budget.
What about you? Have you tried a meal service that you like? Please share in the comments!