Days of soup and babies

Rockford and I were trying to count up the number of times I’ve had trips away from home on my own in the last 12 years. It was a very small number — four or five blogging conferences, that time my nephew was born — but it’s about to get one digit larger because this weekend I’m going to my brother’s house to greet my newest nephew! I can’t wait to meet him, and the kids are pleased to get Daddy Meals for a few days.

Monday: Soy-glazed pork & rice cakes
I tried to re-create the Blue Apron recipe that we loved from a few months ago, and it was pretty successful. I used House of Tsang “Classic Sauce” in place of the soy glaze, and I couldn’t find fairy tale eggplant so I just left the eggplant out. It was a little too salty — I need to find a less sodium-packed black bean sauce — but otherwise it was a success. I want to find another use for the Korean rice cakes, too, because I love them.

Tuesday: Butternut squash ravioli
We’re trying Trader Joe’s ravioli this time, with their Autumnal Harvest pasta sauce as a dipping sauce. I’d just toss it over everything, but it’s made with cream so I can’t have it.

Wednesday: Chicken Noodle Soup
I’ve been making a lot of Crockpot recipes on Wednesdays because the alternative is picking something up at a drive-thru on the way home from soccer practice and I’m trying to avoid that as much as possible. It’s been excellent soup weather here so far this week. Hopefully the cool weather holds out until Wednesday.

Thursday: Rockford’s Choice
I’ll bet it’ll be pancakes.

Friday: Pizza
There’s a pretty fair chance they’ll get Papa John’s.

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

yet another menu plan

Monday: Sandwiches
It’s a busy day.

Tuesday: General Tso’s Meatballs
I use a combination of the recipes from Just a Pinch and Serious Eats.

Wednesday: Out, probably
Wednesday is going to be a pretty long one, so in all likelihood we’ll end up at a drive-thru.

Thursday: BFD
I need to not think about how much money we spend on Morningstar Farms veggie sausage links every month, because I keep buying them for breakfast-for-dinner night and then the kids eat them all before breakfast-for-dinner night and then I have to buy them again.

Friday: Pizza
We’ve been doing a lot of frozen pizzas, but I’m thinking I might splurge and order one this week.

Hungry for more? Check out the Menu Plan Monday linkup at OrgJunkie.

In which I accidentally ordered Blue Apron (and I liked it)

A kind friend recently sent me a free trial offer for Blue Apron. I am a big fan of food and an even bigger fan of food arriving on my doorstep, so I gave it a try.

The free trial box came with two meals — Barramundi & Tzatziki Sauce with Summer Vegetable & Freekeh Salad and Soy-Glazed Pork & Rice Cakes with Bok Choy & Marinated Green Beans — each of which was meant to feed a family of four.

I don’t normally cook fish, because I don’t like the way it makes the house smell and also I’m not very good at it but that’s probably because I never make it. I put the barramundi on the menu anyway, though, because it was a free meal that was coming to my house and I thought, “Hey you can do this.” But then I chickened out and gave the whole barramundi kit to my sister-in-law, who took it to her parents’ house and presumably made and ate it there.

I did not, however, give away the Soy-Glazed Pork meal, even though I was a little wary about it, too. I don’t eat a lot of pork. But I’m very glad I made it because it was delicious. The sauce had a lovely, rich color and flavor, and the rice cakes were nice and chewy. I’m holding on to the recipe card so I can make it again, even though I have no idea where to find Korean rice cakes.

I loved having my groceries delivered to my door, and I love all the little pre-portioned spices and the tiny bottle of soy glaze (but I also sort of hate that because it was a ton of packaging). That delivery needed to be the end of our Blue Apron adventure, though, because (1) I can’t afford to spend $80 on two meals every week and (2) there’s no way to say “Hey I Can’t Eat Dairy Please Don’t Offer Me Dairy Meals.”

But that wasn’t the end. Oh no it was not.

I tried to log on to Blue Apron’s website to cancel my trial membership, and I couldn’t remember my password. So I hit the appropriate button and waited. And continued waiting. And waited some more, and hit the button again, and never got a reset email. Eventually I contacted their support team, and they helped me cancel my membership even though they couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting the password email.

But the next box was already on its way, and there wasn’t anything they could do about that. I wasn’t extremely pleased but it wasn’t their fault that I’d waited too long to contact them, and of course this meant there would be more food showing up on my doorstep which is pretty OK even if it was an accident.

So the accidental box arrived, and do you know what was in that box? More fish! As we have previously noted, I don’t normally cook fish, because I don’t like the way it makes the house smell and also I’m not very good at it but that’s probably because I never make it. I put the salmon on the menu anyway, though, because it was an expensive meal that was being delivered to my house and I thought, “Hey. Hey! You can do this.”

And I did.

Seared Salmon & Tomato Fondue with Fennel Rice & Carrots

Blue Apron’s Seared Salmon & Tomato Fondue with Fennel Rice & Carrots was by far the fanciest meal I’ve ever made in Rockford’s absence. The kids and I usually eat very, very simple meals (i.e., cereal, sandwiches, etc.) when he’s out of town, because it’s very discouraging to expend a lot of effort on a meal that no one will eat. But I was feeling courageous about cooking fish so I knew I needed to go ahead and make it before I lost my nerve.

I made a rather impressive mess, but it was also a rather impressive meal. I left the fennel, garlic and almonds out of the kids’ portions of rice because I wanted Poppy to eat something without complaining. I didn’t love the fennel, but it didn’t ruin the dish. The carrots were really simple — just tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted — but they were my favorite part of the meal. It was a good reminder that I don’t have to serve steam-in-the-bag veggies with every meal. I managed to cook the salmon well, although it could have used a bit more seasoning, and the tomato fondue — tomatoes and garlic in a butter sauce — was delicious. (Please note that I’m aware that butter is a dairy product, but I haven’t had any trouble with it so it’s still in the picture.) Pete enjoyed the whole meal, and Poppy suffered through it.

The second meal in my accidental box was Chicken Tinga Tacos with Lime Sour Cream & Cotija Cheese. I made it last night for my dad, his girlfriend, the kids and myself. They were very simple to make and really delicious, so much so that I forgot to take a picture of them to share with you.

In conclusion, I am a fan of the Blue Apron box and I wish I could continue to subscribe to it because it is simple and delicious but I just can’t afford it.