Tuesday, August 9, 2016

meal delivery service #2: blue apron

one thing that i must say first and foremost: yes, these meal delivery services are automatically sent out each week on the delivery day of your choosing... but you have the opportunity to "pause" or "skip" the delivery if you're not feeling the recipes or your budget is a little tighter that week. you won't lose your spot and you won't be penalized for it! 

okay, now... onto the good stuff!

blue apron was my second meal delivery box that i received, and i chose this one next mainly because of their stellar reviews and mouthwatering recipes. win/win!

when you order for the first time, your first delivery contains three free meals. another win/win! 

signing up was super easy. after inputting my email and creating a password, i needed to decide which plan was right for me: the two-person plan (2 servings) - which serves 3 recipes per week; or the family plan (4 servings) - which serves 2 or 4 recipes per week. each box tells you the price per serving and what your first week total will be (the grayed, marked through price is the regular price). i chose the two-person plan.

next, you'll choose your dietary preferences. the options are: beef, poultry, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, and 'i am vegetarian'. you have the ability to check which foods you'd like and which foods you wouldn't like, with the option to change later on.

after you're finished inputting your billing and delivery information, you can login to access your account. your homepage shows your meals that were included in your box, so you have the ability to check out each recipe online. they also include helpful videos if you're unsure of a step or how to prepare a certain ingredient, which is quite helpful. if you're still within a certain amount of time frame, you have the option to change your meals if you're interested in trying something different. you would simply go to "delivery schedule" and it shows the weeks of your delivery and what recipes will be included.

your box will ship overnight air via fedex (and it will send you out a tracking number). it is packed very well with reusable ice packs to keep your foods cold. i found out that fedex usually delivers early - so while it was hours before i got home, it was still cold and there was no damage to the box. 

the recipe cards were wonderful! the instructions were precise and very easy to handle. blue apron has an app which i put on my iphone to make things a bit easier while planning and cooking my meals. although the food wasn't in individual containers, i found a few small empty baskets i wasn't using and placed them in the fridge for easy keeping. 

blue apron offers recyclable options for your box and packaging. the website shows how to tear the box down and what the recyclable numbers are for on each product. if there isn't a recyclable option available for you in your town, it allows you to clean the packaging out, repackage, and have usps pick it up on their normal delivery route (reduces carbon footprint!). another win/win!

for my first week, i had the following recipes: 

fresh basil fettuccine with sauteed cherry tomatoes and zucchini
chicken and buttermilk biscuit sandwiches with shredded collard greens and carrot slaw
beef albondigas with sauteed summer squash and pan con tomate

the dishes were simple, yet still conveyed an eclectic taste. the pasta dish wasn't original, but it was nice and easy to prepare on a busy night. i'm not ordering my meals for a variety of recipes i've never heard of, so anything you put in front of me i'll make - happily!

although they were all delicious, i still had issues with two. the beef albondigas were my favorite - yummo! and the squash? delish! the zucchini that i was sent went bad before i had a chance to use it so i just substituted for squash; and the shredded collard greens and carrot slaw were not my thing - so the dogs ate them instead! :)  

the recipes are quite precise, so there's never any time to wonder what the next step is, because it will flow continuously. i was pleasantly surprised at how much time i saved!

{the details}

food quality: {3.5/5} since all of the produce and knick-knacks were squished together in the box, i did have issues with bruising and packaging coming open. it was all delicious except for the zucchini and in one recipe i had to add more tomatoes and butter.

recipe variety: {3.5/5} i had never made beef albondigas before, which is why it was my favorite recipe. but the pasta dish was something i would've already made, and hello, i live in the south - chicken and buttermilk biscuit sandwiches are everywhere!

app: yes! very easy to manipulate. you can schedule and track your orders; change your meals; and glance over future recipes (with the ability to share them!). the app also includes videos and tips for each recipe so you can follow along easily as well as a camera so you don't have to exit the app while documenting your dinner. 

price: 2 people/3 meals = $59.94/week; $9.99/meal

pro: everything is recyclable

con: each meal isn't placed in an individual box; produce wasn't that great; recipes weren't as exciting

i enjoyed blue apron, but i am going to have to order again to contemplate going on my list of possible meal delivery companies. they also have a wine delivery service - which you'll get a coupon for $20 off your first order - where it sends you six 500ml bottles once a month for $60. 

blue apron has a "market", which hellofresh does not, where you have the ability to purchase high quality items such as glass prep bowls, non-stick pans, knives, prep tools, and etc. 

if this isn't something that's in your budget for every week, maybe it could help out when you have your girlfriends over or when the kids are at the grandparents for the weekend or even when your schedule is too busy to think straight. it could help to save time and spend less time at the grocery store - without missing any ingredients. 

pssssst, friends of twofivethree! are you interested in trying blue apron? if you are, drop me your email address and i'll send you a link for a FREE delivery! 


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