Last weekend I took a trip to Disney World. I’ve been an annual passholder there since we moved to Florida at the end of 2016. I’ve taken a trip there for MLK Jr. Day every year since. It’s a good weekend to go – nice weather, and I get the holiday off from work. So I’ve just always taken advantage of it for a trip up to see the mouse. I did the same again this year. But while Disney World is HUGE, and I’ll likely never really see it all, I have seen and done a lot of things there since I’ve been a passholder in the last 2 years. So I tried to make my trip a bit different this time.
So if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I started using eMeals and Safeway Grocery Delivery sometime last year. I’ve been pretty happy with it, for the most part. Usually I pick out about 4 meals (out of the 7 recipes sent) each week and order the groceries for them. I pay a bit for the groceries to be delivered, and I often end up with a lot of extra food. Also, I’ve gotten kind of bored with the recipes from eMeals lately. They’ve used some repeat things some weeks, like for example, the side for 3 meals one week was sweet potato tater tots. Not that I don’t like sweet potato tots, but who wants the same thing 3 times in one week? So I decided to look around and see what other options were out there.
Enter Blue Apron. Blue Apron covers both the recipes and the grocery delivery all in one. You sign up for their service, which is $59.94 each week and includes 3 meals, each including 2 servings. That might sound expensive, but honestly after including the cost of eMeals for a year, plus the cost of grocery delivery, it’s really not that much more than I’ve been paying. And $9.99 a meal is still quite a bit cheaper than eating out at most restaurants, especially those that would serve the kind of meals that Blue Apron provides. Also the serving sizes for the Blue Apron meals are actually a bit bigger than what I was getting with the eMeals recipes. One of the reasons we started with eMeals was to eat low-calorie meals at home, which means we chose the 500-calorie eMeals plan and all our recipes are just 500 calories or less per serving. The Blue Apron servings seem pretty healthy too, but (probably because the serving sizes are a bit larger) they tend to be between 500-700 calories per serving so far. The cool thing about this is that I’ve actually been able to get 3 servings out of each recipe and it’s about the same amount of food we were getting from each eMeals meal. It also means we can get 8 or 9 meals out of the Blue Apron delivery each week instead of the 6 meals that it’s supposed to be.
So far, I’m actually pretty impressed with Blue Apron. Ricky’s comment about it was that the meals seemed like they were a bit of a higher quality. The recipes certainly seem fancier to me, using some ingredients that you wouldn’t normally use when cooking at home too often, and some that I’ve never even heard of. The Blue Apron meals also seem to have a lot of flavor so far, which is something that was sometimes lacking in some of the eMeals recipes. Some of them just didn’t have much of a taste to them, really. Ricky especially complained of this a lot. He basically puts Sriracha on everything, and he did that with pretty much everything I made from eMeals. With Blue Apron, I’ve at least gotten him to try a few bites of the meals before adding Sriracha, and he even seems pleased with the flavors.
I really love Blue Apron’s branding and the ease of use of their website and recipes. The website looks very clean and is easy to navigate. Signing up is an easy process, and once you do, you can easily find what your next meal delivery will be. You get the option to select what kinds of meat you don’t want in your recipes (I opted to not get any with lamb) and then Blue Apron picks 3 recipes for you to get that week. Once the recipes show up on the website for a week, you can choose to pick from certain combinations of 6 different ones, so you do get some options each week. You can also choose to skip weeks, which I did for next week, since I will be gone and I don’t see Ricky cooking the meals on his own.
You choose the day that you get your Blue Apron ingredients and recipes, and I chose Friday, because I work from home that day and it’s the day I was used to getting groceries delivered anyway. Blue Apron also sends you everything in a cardboard box that’s packed really well with ice packs in a refrigeration pack, so even if you’re not home when the delivery is made, the food will stay good. The featured image on this post is all of the ingredients laid out for all 3 of our meals from Blue Apron for this week.
Tonight I made our third and final meal for this week from Blue Apron. So far they have all turned out pretty well, honestly. Despite Ricky complaining how there’s not enough food (because I split them into 3 servings instead of 2), it’s actually about the same amount we were each getting with a serving of an eMeals recipes. (He always complained there wasn’t enough food with those too.) Tonight we were both pretty hungry, so I actually just did 2 servings of tonight’s recipe, and it seemed like a lot to me.
Overall, if you want to cook healthy meals at home, and you are not big on all the time it takes to plan meals and shop for groceries, I’d definitely recommend checking out Blue Apron. As an introvert (that lives with a very social extrovert!) who needs her free/down time pretty often, I’m always looking for ways to save time, and I know that can’t be fast food or eating out all the time. Blue Apron seems like a good fit for us so far. I look forward to seeing what’s on the menu next week!
I’ve had enough people ask me about this that I thought I would write a blog about it. Lately I’ve been posting pictures of some of the meals that I make at home on Facebook and Instagram. Honestly, up until this year, I was not really much of a cook. I can follow a recipe ok, but usually because it’s easier I just buy something frozen or already made or I eat out or order pizza. But this year, I have been trying to eat better and also save some money. So I looked into what my options were.
Somehow I came across emeals. I happened to find a Groupon for them for $29 for a year’s worth of dinners. Basically, what emeals is, is a recipe service. I paid for a year with the $29 Groupon, and now each week (on Wednesday morning) they send me an email with a PDF attached that contains my recipes and shopping list for the week. The PDF has 7 dinner recipes, one for each day of the week. Each recipe usually contains an entree and a side and serves 2 people. And each recipe is always 500 calories or less for one serving. There are several different emeals plans to choose from, including paleo, Mediterranean, and plans for specific grocery store chains (i.e. if you shop at Fry’s or Safeway or Kroger, you know that everything on the list will be at that store). Since I am trying to lose weight, I chose the 500 calorie plan. I’ve not had any problem finding almost all of the ingredients at either Fry’s or Safeway.
The shopping list part of the PDF is also numbered so you know which ingredient on the list goes with each recipe, which makes it a lot easier to eliminate recipes that you decide not to make. I tried my first week to buy all the ingredients for all the recipes and just ended up with a lot of food. So now, I usually only buy ingredients to make 4 or 5 of the recipes each week, which saves money and helps keep from wasting food when you know it’s likely you might make other plans 1 or 2 days out of the week.
One of the best things about emeals is that they have an iPhone app. The app lists all 7 recipes (both for the current week and last week) and you can choose which ones to skip in the app. Once you skip them, they are no longer displayed and their ingredients are taken out of the shopping list. The shopping list on the app also allows you to easily check off ingredients as you buy them. I pretty much use the app all the time and never print out the PDFs at all. I do, however, save all of them and keep a spreadsheet with a list of the recipe names. That way at the end I will have a year’s worth of recipes, and if I want something specific I can just find it in the spreadsheet and see which PDF it is in.
When I first started using emeals, I would take a trip to the grocery store to buy what was on the shopping list. This became pretty time-consuming since it is pretty much a week’s worth of groceries and you get them from various areas of the store. And especially since sometimes I didn’t always know what an ingredient was (not a cook before, remember?) and/or didn’t know where to find it in the grocery store. This time-consuming shopping trip each week became a bit of a deterrent to using emeals. Between time for cooking and time for shopping, it was just taking too long. So I started to look into grocery delivery.
A friend of mine uses a service called FreshDirect, which I looked into but is not available where I live. So I checked to see what was, and came across Safeway’s delivery service. It’s possible there are better or cheaper grocery delivery services out there, I don’t know. But I have had pretty good luck with Safeway so far. After I get my new emeals menu each Wednesday, I go through and pick out which 4-5 meals I want to make that week. Then I use the shopping list on the app to search for and order all of the ingredients on Safeway’s website. Every now and then I find something I can’t get, but usually I am easily able to find all of the ingredients or something similar. Then I schedule my delivery for Friday during the day. It’s easy to do this because I work from home every Friday, so I know I will be there all day. Safeway sometimes emails out coupons for free delivery and/or free products which come packed with industrial machines specially made for this, check out rtgpkg.com to find more about this for your products, and still if you schedule a 4-hour window for them to deliver in (like 11a-3p on Friday for me), delivery is only $7. Not too shabby, IMO. Then, sometime in that window, your groceries are delivered to your door. This saves so much time for me since I usually go shopping by myself and have to carry a week’s worth of groceries up the stairs to our second floor apartment.
I’m a pretty big fan of this setup. I get my meal plan on Wednesday, order groceries on Wednesday or Thursday, and they are delivered on Friday. After that, I am all set and have all the ingredients I need to make any of the meals! Plus, I always know they will all be under 500 calories. Eating healthy has never been this easy.
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