Tag Archives: thinking inside the box

Thinking Inside the Box: Blue Apron Week 4

Sadly, this is my last Blue Apron review. I don’t think I’ve ever had a subscription service that invoked such a range of reactions. As you guys remember in Week 1, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to be able to stick with this service for an entire month since there were so many issues that it seemed like it was a waste of money. Then things started to get better -the food, the services, the delivery-, and now I am going to be genuinely sorry to hit that “cancel subscription” button.

I did roll my eyes a bit when I opened the box and realized that I was going to have to find, wash and repack all of the tiny tomatoes, but nothing was damaged and I’ve had similar things happen in the trunk of my car on the way home from the grocery store so I decided to give it a pass.
The food was absolutely phenomenal this week.
Spicy Ponzu-Glazed Catfish
Asian style catfish with garlic rice and veggies? I’d eat it every week if I could.
Corn & Green Bean Empanadas
I was sure there was no way I’d like these, but man, they were good. We are already planning on making them again.
Fresh Basil Fettuccine
I knew I was going to love the zucchini and fresh basil pasta, and it did not disappoint. It’s one of those dishes that make you wonder why you’d ever settle for dried pasta when you could be eating fresh herb infused noodles instead.

The Verdict: I would absolutely recommend Blue Apron; in fact, Andy and I are considering going back to it after I am done with this round of subscription service reviews. I would warn all first time users that the service is only as good as your local delivery guy and to be aware that there may be a little bit more effort involved than you initially think, but the food is pretty darn good and is something that can be an interactive family experience. I’d give it one and a half thumbs up.

Thinking Inside the Box: Blue Apron Week 3

Before I get into all the posts from my Savannah, I wanted to give you guys a Blue Apron update. We just finished our third week, and things have gotten so much better!

Blue4Our box actually made it on time for the very first time. It was waiting at the door when we got home, perfectly chilled, and relatively unscathed.  Blue5One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about this service is all of the seasonal ingredients that are showcased in the various recipes. This week the focus was on corn, endive, and tinkerbell peppers, and the food was absolutely fantastic.Blue3The skill level required this week was a bit more than in previous weeks, but Andy was a champ and even made his very first jam for the grilled cheese recipe.

Shrimp & Squid Ink Spaghetti
I’d really been looking forward to the squid ink pasta; it looked so cool, and we really enjoyed the dish. I think I typically enjoy my pasta with a bit more sauce, but with a few minor tweaks, this is something I can absolutely see us making again.
Sweet Corn & Tinkerbell Pepper Pizza
I dropped the ball a bit with this recipe. I didn’t get enough oil on the baking sheet, and our pizza ended up practically glued to the pan. I managed to chisel it out with a very sharp spatula, but it wasn’t the prettiest plate. The kale salad that actually topped the dish was so good. It took the whole dish from, “pretty good” to “we HAVE to make this again”.
Grilled Goat Cheese & Plum Jam Sandwiches
This was the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had. The goat cheese was smooth and creamy; the shallot plum jam was so perfect I actually ate the left overs out of the pan with my fingers. The tart crunchy salad kept the meal balanced and fresh. So good. I can’t even.

I am really loving this trend of the boxes getting better every week. With such a rocky start, I was wondering whether we’d even want to use the service for a full month, but now I am going to be really sad when the month is up. I can’t wait to see what is coming our way next.

Thinking Inside the Box: Blue Apron

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.
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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.

Thinking Inside the Box: June Birch Box

This months’ mail is going to be sad; it’s my last of all my three month subscription services. I am excited to try out some new services, but it’s always sad to say goodbye to something you’ve had so much fun with. Things went really well with this month’s sample selection, and I feel like this service is really ending on a high note. Here is the breakdown:


What I got:

  • Benefit Gimme Brow Gel – This sample is the reason that people get subscription services like this. It’s that new shiny product that you never knew you needed. I’ve used brow pencils or my Julep brow tint for a while now, and they get the job done, but this stuff is a game changer. Two or three quick swipes and your brows are brushed, shaped and filled in. It’s knocked like 2 minutes off my morning routine.
  • The Beauty Crop PBJ Smoothie Stick – Nope, nope, nope. Color – Meh, Texture – Meh, Longevity – Minimal, Smell/Taste – Awful. I could have let the other aspects slide and chalk it up to not being a huge fan of lip crayons/sheer tints/that particular color, but the smell and taste were awful. I wanted to wipe it off as soon as I put it on. *shudder*
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant – I haven’t tried this yet; my usually good skin is having a rough week, so I don’t want to introduce anything that might exacerbate the situation. I am excited to try it out though. I like to use a more serious exfoliant once a week, and I am almost out of my usual choice. Fingers crossed.
  • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray – I am still on the fence about this one. I have certain products that I use every day, and this doesn’t really fit into the current line up, nor does it work as a replacement for one of the other products. I am going to have to play around with it a bit more before I decide definitively one way or the other.
  • Coola SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint – I wanted this one to work out so badly! Even though they sent me the “light”, it was about two shades too dark for me. I tried a bit on my wrist anyway, just in case, and it was indeed too dark. It felt incredible though; I don’t think I’ve ever used anything with a comparable texture. It came out of the tube like a cream, but when you smoothed it into your skin, it felt soft and velvety like rose petals. I gave it to a friend to try, and she was equally enthralled with the texture.

The Verdict:

Overall, the Birchbox subscription was just “okay”. Heck, my favorite part about it was the interesting packaging the samples came in every month. It was cool being able to try out new things, but I would have liked more control over what I was getting. Especially since a lot of the issues I had were that the products didn’t work with my coloring or skin/hair type. Comparing it to the Julep Box I was getting last round, I would go with Julep hands down.

Thinking Inside the Box: May Pop Sugar Mini Box

After being so please with my first PopSugar Mini last month, I was pretty excited to see what they had in store for May. I know the regular box was loaded with wellness products, and I was curious to see how that would translate into the mini.

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What I got:

  • Zing Anything Zingo Tritan – I am a pretty big fan of infused waters in general. Tap water is perfectly fine on its own, but throw in a few sprigs of mint and some citrus or strawberries? Takes things to a whole new level. I’ve had parties where I go through three pitchers of infused water before the guests even begin to reach for other beverage items. As nice as it can be keeping “fancy” water in the fridge, it is a little more difficult to do when you’re out and about or at the office. This bottle makes it a lot easier to do. Fill up the bottom with herbs and fruit of your choice and just refill your bottle throughout the day. Easy peasy, lemon squeezey.
  • H2O+ Beauty Oasis – Okay, I am going to go ahead and say that I haven’t used this yet, but I am working up to it. I kind of have a thing about using creams or lotions that are blue. Bright blue may look like crystal clear water (which is what I am guessing the manufacturer was going for), but it isn’t really a naturally occurring color when it comes to actual compounds and ingredients. I fully intended to add this to my night time routine, but then I saw the color and I balked. I’ve opened the container a few times since then and it seems to be getting less and less scary, so I am optimistic about trying it relatively soon.