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Well, I am a little disheartened to admit that week two of the Sun Basket subscription did not go nearly as smoothly as week one. First, our delivery day is supposed to be Wednesday, and when I checked the tracking info on Wednesday to find out where my package was, the delivery date was listed as Thursday and still classified as being “on time”. I wasn’t overly worried, things happen, but when we finally received the box, it was merely cool, and the bag of greens had partially liquefied from the heat. Even better, the spoiled bag had attracted those teeny fruit flies, and they have gleefully taken up residence in my kitchen despite my best efforts.
Aside from the arugula, everything else seemed to be more or less undamaged.
Shrimp scampi with romaine salad
The scampi turned out to be much better than I anticipated; lots of garlic, lemon and some fresh herbs. Really, really good. I even liked the salad, which was a super simplified Cesar. We tucked the recipe card away to be used again.
Roasted salmon with red chermoula and seared endive
This was the best meal we’ve had from Sun Basket yet. I had never tried chermoula sauce before and was a bit doubtful to be honest, but I LOVE it, like whoa, big time, didn’t-want-to-share-with-Andy love it. We had a little left over after cooking, and I demanded that we make un-box related food the following night so we could use the rest of it.
Quinoa fritters with arugula-strawberry salad
These should have been the simplest to prepare, but while tasty, the fritters were time consuming and problematic. The end result was delicious, but ultimately we both agreed the they weren’t worth the effort. Andy did hide the rest of the tahini sauce in the fridge and is plotting to procure falafel in the near future so he can justify consuming the remaining 3/4 of the container.
Not quite as wonderful as week one, although the food was better. The bloom has gone of the rose a bit, and instead of feeling like “yay, two more weeks!”, we’ve settled into more of a “fine, I guess we’ll finish this out”. Who knows, maybe things will shift back the other way.
Two weeks into this Blue Apron thing, and I have to tell you guys that, the stress of the delivery schedule aside, I am loving having groceries delivered to my door every week. Our package was late again, but it made it to us much earlier in the day this time around and all of the cold packs were still cold. The box was a little mushed, but everything inside was in good shape.
The other thing that I am really enjoying about this service is the seasonal recipes. I don’t think I’ve eaten as much squash and zucchini in the last year as I have in the last couple of weeks, and you know what? It’s awesome. We even been eating it outside of our Blue Apron meals.
Crispy Cod & Summer Squash
Like last week, we went for the seafood dish first. I was having an off day, so Andy whipped up this recipe all on his own, and he did a very good job. I am not a huge fan of cod, but the panko breading was kick-ass, and the marinated summer squash was amazing. I even stole an extra bite of Andy’s.
Summer Squash Quesadillas
Best meal yet! These quesadillas were everything you want a quesadilla to be. Toasty, melty, and full of perfectly seasoned goodness. The corn was, and I don’t say this lightly, smack-a-bitch good. As in Andy and I took one bite, looked at each other, and in unison murmured “oh my god” around a mouthful of corn perfection.
Zucchini & Cherry Tomato Quiches
The meal above may have been the best overall meal, but this quiche was the best single item out of all of the recipes. Unfortunately, Andy and I weren’t great about eating at home this weekend, so the zucchini and tomatoes for this recipe went bad, but we’d already picked up some more summer squash to recreate the recipe above so we subbed that in instead. Still amazing!
Overall this week was so much better than last week. The food was incredible, and while we were on the fence about keeping this service going at the end of the first week, we are down right giddy about what the rest of the month is going to bring.
To change things up a little bit for Round Three of Thinking Inside the Box, I decided to review a subscription service that delivered weekly vs. monthly, Blue Apron. You’ve probably seen it all over the internet, but in case you haven’t, Blue Apron is a service that delivers recipes and ingredients for three meals to your door each week. You fill out a quick and easy form about the things that you will and won’t eat and then select the 3 meals you’d like from a list of 6. Each week new recipes are available.
We had some issues with our first order. Fed Ex delayed our package overnight and then delivered our box battered and bruised at the end of the day (where we’d been assured we’d get shipping priority). To top things off, they left our packaging outside in the 90 degree heat without ringing the doorbell or knocking. Fortunately, Andy and I were keeping an eye out, and we spotted the box.
On first glance, there didn’t seem to be much of a problem; the food was still cool (although not the refrigerated cool we’d been promised), and we quickly unloaded the contents so they could be stored properly. This is where we ran into the biggest issue. Many of the items had been damaged in transit. The container holding our seafood had been punctured and had leaked into the bottom of the box. Fortunately, the dividers had kept the rest of the crate from being tainted. The produce was nicked and bruised from the can (pictured), but luckily, only one item actually was too damaged to use. We bought a replacement so we could still try out all three recipes.
I will say the food was pretty good, and it was nice to cook with my husband, since it’s usually an either/or situation. The recipes were easy to follow and gave very detailed instructions, plus pictures, which I think is always helpful.
Spiced Shrimp & Pearl Couscous
This was the best meal of the three, and it helps me do something my doctor has asked me to do recently which is add seafood back into my diet.
* We’ve recently discovered I have some odd food allergies; my body has trouble processing beans/legumes, and it’s left me fumbling a bit for vegetarian protein options. I’m not exactly thrilled by this setback, but it’s temporary, and I’ve added more vegan meals into my breakfast and lunch to help me feel a little better about the situation.
Brown Butter Gnocchi
I loved this so much! I am going recreate it with a few minor tweaks maybe even later this week.
This last one I wasn’t a huge fan of, but Andy went nuts for it. He ate the rest of mine and the little bit left over in the pan. All and all, not a bad first week.
One thing that I want to make sure to tell you guys about is the amazing customer service I received after the delivery fiasco. I was really pissed with the way that the entire situation had gone down and was very close to calling this experiment a huge failure, and when the Blue Apron people reached out to ask me about my delivery, I sort of let them have it. Not in a bitchy way, just letting them know what happened and that I was really disappointed. Not even 24 hours later, I had an email from an actual person who was almost as upset as I was; he wanted all the details of everything that had gone wrong and after getting the list, I was issued a full refund and an additional credit on my account. And before you get all skeptical, I never once mentioned that I was a blogger or that I was reviewing the service.
This was another service that went out on a really high note. My June Bookish Box was without a doubt my favorite of the three I received. Theme-wise, it was the most on point, and all of the products were things I found useful. A little teaser: Wonderland!
What I got:
- Out of Print Socks – Admittedly, these are not a color I would pick for myself, but they have the white rabbit on them, so I’ll be wearing them anyway. Since we are still in peak sandal weather, these are currently tucked away in a drawer with the rest of my “cold” weather pieces.
- Baugaboo Bear Designs Notebook – I like the Great Gatsby, and I like pocket sized notebooks that I can tuck into my bag. This one has the added bonus of being very light so it won’t weigh my bag down. Plus, the brown cover should hold up well to wear and tear.
- A Cute Geek Ampersand Ring – This is such a cute little piece; I put it on as soon as I was done photographing it. I made the mistake of putting it on my nightstand, and Oliver grabbed it and scuttled under the bed with it. I know he didn’t eat it because I could hear him batting it around; I just couldn’t get to him. At some point, I will have to crawl under there and retrieve it.
- Appraising Pages Shirt – Hands down my favorite shirt from these boxes. It’s pretty, and it’s Alice themed. I am considering turning it into a tank top so I can get more use out of it.
- Magnetic Book Mark – This wasn’t on the insert page so I have no idea where it came from, but it’s useful. You can always use a good bookmark.
This is a bit mixed for me. Do I like the service? Absolutely. Do I want to order more boxes in the future? Yes. Do I want every single box they put out? Eh, not so much. I think unless you are a HUGE bookworm, there are going to be boxes that aren’t really “you”. My advice would be to subscribe to their email list and determine whether to buy the monthly box after hearing the theme. You’ll still end up with some cool stuff, and it’ll feel more personalized.
These bookish boxes are really growing on me. I only wish that this particular box existed a couple of months ago when I was preparing for my Universal Hogwarts adventure. None the less, I had a blast going through the box contents, and my mom, who is also a Harry Potter fan, got to go through them with me. We both agree that this box is the teeniest better than the Villain Box I received last month.
What I got:
- Butterbeer Salt Scrub – Holy woah-ness was this stuff strong. As soon as I opened up the box, it smelled like someone had dumped in a case of butterbeer. Nostalgic Potter-related sentiment aside, I am not a huge butterscotch fan, and considering how the scent lingered in the rooms that the open box just passed through, I am disinclined to try it out. However, if unlike me, you do want to smell like you bathed in a cauldron of the Hogsmeade brew then this is the scrub for you!
- Hogwarts Coffee Tumbler – I like this tumbler quite a bit; I am a big fan of useful geekery. Thus, why I have a Totoro clock in my kitchen and cat butt magnets on my fridge. I haven’t used it a whole lot yet, but it seems pretty sturdy, and I know it will get a workout this summer.
- Expecto Patronm Print – I haven’t decided what I want to do with this yet. I really like the colors, and it is small enough that I can frame it and put it pretty much anywhere in my house.
- “The Stories We Love Best” Necklace – As I huge bookworm, the saying on this little pendant (The stories we love best live in us forever) really resonates with me. If I don’t end up wearing this, it will most likely end up hanging on my rear-view mirror.
- Dumbledore Quote T-shirt – I don’t wear a lot of white, but I have mad respect for Hogwarts former headmaster. I will probably add this to my “around the house” wardrobe.