Cooking

Blue Apron Meal #2

In continuation of my culinary adventures, tonight I made my second Blue Apron recipe. It’s Seared Chicken & Verjus (sort of like white wine but without alcohol) Pan Sauce. It also contained kale and mushrooms. It’s served over homemade mashed potatoes.

Now, as I said yesterday, I am not known for my culinary gifts. My sister is the type who can whip up homemade individual beef wellingtons for Christmas Eve dinner and still have the gifts wrapped on time. Me–not so much.

I can cook adequately enough. But it’s not really my bag. I don’t like meal planning, grocery shopping, or meal prep (Eating, I’m pretty good at 🙂 So, I went into this Blue Apron lark with some trepidation but agreed to try it out as my sister and I are considering it as a Father’s Day gift.

So, follow along as I make the chicken:

Follow along as I make Blue Apron’s Seared Chicken & Verjus Pan Sauce recipe.

Follow along as I make Blue Apron’s Seared Chicken & Verjus Pan Sauce recipe.

Follow along as I make Blue Apron’s Seared Chicken & Verjus Pan Sauce recipe.

 

As you can see, big hit! The Pilot adored it. He even loved the kale! I’m so thrilled. It reminds me a lot of this Jamie Oliver recipe.

I have one more meal for tomorrow night and that’s it for this week. We’re getting our next order the week of the 31st.

I do really like the service. There are some drawbacks. They don’t allow you to customize for allergies or preferences. For example, Fox is allergic to shellfish. My sister doesn’t really like mushrooms. I generally prefer chicken breasts to thighs. There’s no easy way to handle that other than choosing the meals but the ingredients aren’t always obvious.

Also, I wish that they had more options like paleo or even whole 30 cooking. And the only subscription model is a weekly service. It’s easy to cancel at any time but I’d rather do a once a month service. It’s possible to do by cancelling/scheduling deliveries but it’s not easy to do.

Overall, however, it’s been a great value. The cost is about $20 per meal and we’ve had enough to feed all three of us (two adults and a 7 year old child) plus enough leftovers for one lunch. The ingredients are extremely high quality, the recipes easy to follow (obviously, as I cooked it :-), and very delicious, satisfying, nutritionally sound meals. I highly recommend you give it a try!

Will report back on our meatball adventure tomorrow!

Cooking

Blue Apron Meal One (Red Curry Shrimp Stir Fry)

My sister and I are considering getting Blue Apron’s meal service as a gift for our parents. My sister is an amazing cook and doesn’t need anything like Blue Apron. I am a barely competent cook so I agreed to try the service to evaluate if it would be good for our parents.

I signed up a few weeks ago and we received our first delivery yesterday. I chose the two person meal plan. The only thing I didn’t like about choosing the meals was that not all combinations are available. So, after I chose the top two meals, I had no choice but to pick the shrimp curry. Fox is allergic to shellfish so I don’t usually cook shrimp at home and I wasn’t sure that The Pilot or I would love a red curry. But, with no other option, I picked it.

Our order arrived in due course yesterday. Everything was packaged neatly and easy to understand. However, looking at it, I kept wondering if it was enough food for two people.

I made the Red Curry tonight and OMG! It was fantastic. The Pilot loved it! And it was more than enough for the two of us with at least enough for a lunch leftover. I tweeted the cooking process and thought I’d throw it into a storify for you all.

I have two more meals to make this week but so far, I highly recommend this service. Will keep you posted on tomorrow’s recipe too!

Making our first meal from Blue Apron.

Making our first meal from Blue Apron.

Making our first meal from Blue Apron.

Writing

Requiem for a MacBookPro

First, at the outset, let me acknowledge the first worldly-ness of this problem. Still, it was stressful and traumatic in ways that I think my parents generation would find mystifying. It highlights our utter dependence on technology now, how central it is to all our lives. Especially my life. Not saying that’s a good or bad thing. But there it is.

Fox and the Pilot gave me my MacBook Pro for my 40th birthday, nearly exactly five years ago. I’d been through a series of PC laptops, that constantly seemed to choke at my photo library and word processing needs. Finally, after many tech support visits, paid in pizza, our friend, Jason, said to me, “Courtney, you really need a Mac.” And since I had rather a big birthday coming up, my MacBook Pro arrived in due course.

And I took to it like a duck to water. This isn’t an uncommon experience, of course, especially for creative types. Jobs knew what he was doing and designed his machines with a breathtaking intuitiveness that PCs simply lack. Plus, it had Scrivener which is simply the best novel writing program ever designed.

So, for the past 5 years, I’ve used my Mac daily for everything. I wore out the keyboard and the hard drive. Both were replaced. I wrote all 8 of my published novels on it and most of the 9th. I wrote nearly 400,000 words of fanfic before I got the courage to write my original work. It’s been a very trusty constant companion.

I knew it was wearing out. My penchant for having 72 tabs open and every app running overwhelmed it a lot. It crashed often. I backed up more often. Still, I thought I could wait for my birthday in August–another big one–45! And that maybe, instead of the portability of the MacBook, I’d go for the iMac and go easy on my aging eyes.

Last night, I meant to update Safari and clicked the button for el Capitan by mistake. And poor old Mac just choked. I spent two hours with some very kind people at the Genius bar today who shook their heads sadly over my wheezing machine. They were able to take it back to factory settings but the video card and hard drive are unstable at best.

So, I got a 27″ iMac with all the bells and whistles. And it’s great (if enormous!) And I know I’ll love Big Mac just as much as I adored Mac I. And I’m astonished and grateful for the wonder that is Apple’s Time Machine. I have all my photos and music. All my documents are in Dropbox so the writing is fine.

Still, a little sad tonight for my first Mac and thought I’d storify my tweets as I waited at the genius bar today, just as a memorial for a little computer that done good.

The saga of my MacBookPro’s deathbed

The saga of my MacBookPro’s deathbed

Cupid's Coffeeshop

RELEASE DAY!!!

The fifth book in the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, Cafe Au Lait, is available today! I hope you enjoy Kennedy and Alex’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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To celebrate the release of my eighth (!!!) book, Cherry Blossom Cappuccino is FREE (until 10 May 2016). Grab some cherry blossom goodness for you and all your friends.

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And the next three books are up for pre-order:

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Since I’m swamped with publicity for the release, Friday Favorites will return next week (5/15). See you then!!

Cupid's Coffeeshop

Introducing Kennedy and Alex

The fifth book in the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, Cafe Au Lait, arrives this coming Thursday, 5 May. (Happy Cinco de Mayo!) You still have time to pre-order. Lay in some chips, salsa, and guacamole and have a festive reading party!

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Love that turquoise cup and saucer. My favorite color!

Longtime readers of the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series have already met chef Kennedy Roberts. She runs the Ashford Falls Cafe which is located in the same shopping square as Cupid’s Coffeeshop. She’s close friends with Val, the heroine of Cupid’s Kiss, and Claire, the heroine of Lucky Latte. I imagine her looking like Melissa McCarthy or Molly Quinn (of Castle fame).

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Alex Wells is the hero of Cafe Au Lait. He grew up next door to Kennedy and, as he says in the story, been in love with her since he was six. He’s just graduated with his MBA and is back in Ashford Falls for the summer. I imagined him looking like either Danny Strong (of Buffy and Gilmore Girls fame) or a young Paul Rudd (of Clueless fame).

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So, will Kennedy and Alex finally act on their lifelong crushes? Find out in Cafe Au Lait. 

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