Summer ’16 Recap

It’s September and even though the weather is still hot (but not QUITE so unbearable) our summer is pretty much over. I didn’t write about most of it but I did take pictures, so here’s what we did during the summer of 2016, in photos:

I already wrote about the ocean-themed tot school we did at the beginning of the summer. (Since then we’ve done a bit if bug-themed school, but it’s been more difficult because so much of our stuff is in storage and I am SO PREGNANT.)

We also stayed at a beach house with Dan’s mom, which was lots of fun (and I wrote about it here.)

Here are some leftover pictures from our old apartment:

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We celebrated the fourth of July in the most American of places, American Canyon (which also happened to have lots of food trucks/free fireworks/activities for kids, and be close to our house, which is why we went there. Turns out it was right next to one of the middle schools I subbed at all the time, so that was kind of weird… I didn’t see any former students though.)

After trying to keep the kids entertained during that horrible space between when the activities closed and the fireworks started (there was live music, but they of course didn’t care), Damien watched about three minutes of fireworks and wanted to leave. (We didn’t let him. Rowen was entertained at least.)

And then, of course, we moved…

While we’ve been staying with my parents, we’ve done a lot of playing in the backyard:

Sometimes it was too hot to play outside and we had to stay inside, or go to the library.

We also went beach camping! We went back to Doran Beach and the boys had a great time. (I, however, got the worst sunburn in memory and literally couldn’t walk for a few days.. but it’s all worth it for the memories, right?)

My parents and all three dogs came with us (you can see Ripley and Molly in the above pics, but for some reason I missed Jethro – he was probably always moving!) Damien learned how to climb trees and was super excited about jumping waves; even though it was chilly, he ended up wet every day. We saw lots of birds, pelicans, and sea lions, and Damien was very excited to hold sea stars!

Dan and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary (and our eleventh year together). We spent the day in town going out to dinner, going to a used bookstore (and yes, coming home with books) and exploring a really pretty outdoor outlet mall.

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I noticed later we’re in front of a phone booth, which is pretty much an endangered species…

For Rowen’s second birthday, we took him to a nearby zoo in Folsom:

We also met Marcia at the Sacramento Zoo


asdf

And that brings us up to now! The next two (very big) things on our plate are: have a baby, and move into our Cabin in the Woods (hopefully not the horror movie; maybe more Little House in the Big Woods, except we won’t use a pig bladder for a child’s toy ball… That part has always stuck with me for some reason, lol!) Because of their timing being so close together, I don’t know which will happen first, but I’m sure I will post about them…eventually.

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Summer Beach Trip

Dan’s mom, Marcia, invited us to spend a few days with her at the coast in a rental house. She and Dan used to do this all the time and even though both Dan and I knew it wouldn’t be the same with small children (for one thing, not relaxing in the slightest…) we thought the boys would enjoy it, and they did! They were also very interested in the science side of hte ocean, since we’ve been talking about that in ‘tot school’/’home school’ (according to Damien, the first is what Rowen does and the latter is what he does, lol.)

We left on Friday around noon with the goal of Rowen napping all the way there (which was a success, even though we hit traffic.) Once we got there we met Marcia at the house, got settled in, and walked to the beach!

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The first beach we went to was called Shell Beach, even though we didn’t really find any shells. Rowen loved digging in the sand and Damien wanted to jump waves the entire time, despite thewater being pretty chilly. Damien also discovered climbing rocks and then wanted to do THAT the whole time – I made Dan accompany him because my balance isn’t the best these days. πŸ™‚

It was a longer walk to the beach than we realized, so on the way back, the boys and I stopped by the playground and Dan went back to the house to get the car.

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Here are some pictures of us at the house, from all the days we were there. I should have taken a picture of the whole house – actually, never mind, just go to this link. πŸ™‚ I’ve stayed in several rental vacation homes in the past year, and I have to say this was definitely the best for kids – the art/knick knacks were up high enough that I wasn’t stressing constantly, and there were toys, a Pack n Play, and a bed rail (which unfortunately didn’t work on the bottom bunk, where Damien slept – he fell out during the second night and scraped his nose. Still, it was a thoughtful thing to have there!)

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Saturday morning was the lowest the tide was going to be while we were there, so we went tidepooling! The best beach for tidepooling was currently hosting lots of mama and baby seals, so we had to go to a different beach (it still had a few seals but we kept our distance.) Damien was disappointed that we didn’t see a sea star, but we saw lots of sea anemones, crabs, hermit crabs, sea slugs, barnacles, limpets, and other shelled creatures.

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After our morning tidepooling, lunch at the house, and a nap for Rowen, we headed back to the beach. This time we took Damien through the tree tunnel that Rowen christened the ‘dragon cave’, and he and Damien rode one of the ‘dragons’ (apparently the trees that bend down toward the ground are dragons.) This is one of my very favorite places around here and I was tickled that my kids loved it too.

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Two last pictures…

Damien “decorating the baby to make him laugh”, and Rowen pouting because I said we had to go home.

Weekend Trip

We recently took a weekend trip up north to our former hometown. It was last minute – Dan got called for a job interview Monday and I thought, if I have to take a day off work, why don’t we extend it to a mini fun trip?

On Sunday, the kids woke us up bright and early to walk on the Sundial Bridge and visit Turtle Bay, a place we used to take Damien all the time. A big part of the park is currently under construction but the kids had a great time watching the fish, “driving” a car, and playing in the water (oh… And saying hi to all the doggies on the bridge. I’m pretty sure that was Rowen’s favorite part!)

On/around the bridge:

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Damien, right before we went wading in the river

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Damien and Rowen try out poses for their album cover πŸ™‚

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Boys on the Sundial Bridge! (Rowen was tired of walking…)

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I had to get in the photo somehow

In Turtle Bay:

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We also got to visit our two favorite thrift stores in the area. There’s just nothing even close to these stores anywhere near our house (that we know of, anyway, and we’ve gone to a LOT of thrift stores) and it was fun to actually have a successful shopping venture.

At Goodwill we found:

  • Clothes: Hurley shorts, a dinosaur T-shirt (from Target), and a Children’s Place button-up collared shirt and sweater – all for Damien, who is growing like a weed
  • Books: Star Wars 123, Ten Apples Up On Top, You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie, So Many Bunnies, and my personal favorite, a pop-up Star Wars book from 1982 (The Ewoks Save the Day, and yes this book totally belongs to me and not my kids lol – I put it up out of their reach on my own shelf and will share sometimes…maybe)
  • DVDs: a few Dr. Seuss stories (we have another DVD like this that the boys love) and Baby Van Gogh (we have a lot of Baby Einstein movies, all from Goodwill; you can sometimes find them on YouTube but it’s nice to have the DVD version for when your kid’s favorite disappears).

At That Baby Store, we found:

  • A raincoat for Damien (he’s been without one all winter and we’ve definitely missed it – we’re probably just about done with rain this year but the coat should fit next year too)
  • A tank top (now Damien owns exactly one, lol)
  • A giant play magnet (basically this, without the rest of the kit – Damien really wanted a toy, and I was so relieved when he found something relatively small, in one piece, and educational – he’s been trying to figure your what’s magnetic and what isn’t ever since!)

At the time I was wishing we knew whether Baby3 was a boy or a girl so I could do some shopping for him/her, but now that I know he’s a boy I won’t be buying that much anyway, especially because Rowen was born right around the same time of year.

Beach Camping

After we visited Doran Beach Regional Park back in April, I noticed there were campgrounds in the park and thought it would be fun to camp there. I checked their website thinking nothing for the summer would be available on such late notice, but there was one lone campsite at a time where both my parents and our family had free, so we made the reservation. The campground was even dog friendly and allowed dogs right on the beach; Ripley was excited to come with us too. (Of course, she’s excited whenever we let her out the front door, haha.)

They were both afraid they were getting left

They were both afraid they were getting left

We took a lunch break in Santa Rosa on the way in

We took a lunch break in Santa Rosa on the way in

Our campsite was beautiful but not ideal for little kids – we were right across from the beach, which was gorgeous, but also close to the road, which was not so good. You’d look down to take off your shoes or something and look up again and Damien is three steps from the road. (To his credit, he never went into the road without someone there, but still, he is three after all.) There’s only one road in and out of the park, and unfortunately the day use parking lot is at the very end of the road while the campgrounds are in the middle, so there was always traffic (even at night, which was a little bright – another drawback of this site.) However, there were lots and lots of good camping sites that were bigger and backed up to the wetlands/bay, where there were no roads or traffic, so we just need to get a reservation earlier next time.

Campsite - our tent is the huge one

Campsite – our tent is the huge one

Doran Beach

Doran Beach – this one is straight out of the camera (phone haha); I didn’t even crop it

The last time we were at the ocean, Damien was afraid of the water and spent all his time in the sand. This time he seemed to have spontaneously overcome that fear – he didn’t go into the water without people with him (the water being fairly cold may have had something to do with that) but he was happy to jump at the edge of the waves and play in the water. That made my beach-loving heart very pleased. πŸ™‚ I didn’t even take Rowen down to the water (it was way too cold for him) so he had a great time playing in the sand and splashing in the water Damien brought back in buckets.

Playing with driftwood

Playing with driftwood

<3

❀

One happy dipdog

One happy dipdog

Damien standing on my shadow-head :)

Damien standing on my shadow-head πŸ™‚

The boys with Mimi at the campsite - I love Rowen's expression here

The boys with Mimi at the campsite – I love Rowen’s expression here!

BFFs!

BFFs!

The first day, it was pretty windy and so we flew our poor cheap kite, which barely survived (although Dan still did a great job of flying it anyway.) There were other schmancy kites that could do cool tricks and were fun to watch, even when ours was done. The next day was hot, so we traded off playing on the beach/in the water and resting in our shady tents. Dan and I left the boys with my parents during naptime and drove into Sebastopol to wander around. We found the cutest used bookstore ever, a really fun toy store (parent tip: it is much more fun to look in a toy store without little people begging for things and pulling toys off the shelves to play with and/or ruin), and a delicious bakery/coffee shop. (We also went to Safeway for more water, because neither our family nor my parents brought enough. Oops.)

Rowen and Ripley with Mimi

Rowen and Ripley with Mimi

Happy beach baby!

Happy beach baby!

Damien running on the beach :)

Damien running on the beach πŸ™‚

More <3

More ❀

A dip paw, a babien foot, and my (sandy) foot

A dip paw, a babien foot, and my (sandy) foot

We had a few typical issues – I totally lost my temper with Damien after he wouldn’t stop harassing Rowen; Damien insisted on sleeping with us the first night so we had four of us squished on one bed (he slept with my parents the second night, thank goodness); despite frequent applications of sunscreen I still burned worse than I have in years (I had one strip of skin on my back that blistered and actually made me sick for a few days) (amazingly, the burns turned to a tan, which hasn’t happened to me in a good 20 years, so that probably means I have officially damaged my skin beyond repair.) But despite the problems we still had a great time, and I definitely want to go back there – hopefully next summer, if we don’t move too far away.

Damien going tidepooling on the rock jetty with Bapa - I had Rowen in the baby carrier so I kept myself planted on dry land :)

Damien going tidepooling on the rock jetty with Bapa – I had Rowen in the baby carrier so I kept myself planted on dry land πŸ™‚

Beach nurses are the best nurses (although Rowen doesn't call them 'nurses' like Damien did, but 'nanas', which is pretty cute)

Beach nurses are the best nurses (although Rowen doesn’t call them ‘nurses’ like Damien did, but ‘nanas’, which is pretty cute)

Playing with sand (hopefully with no one nearby)

Playing with sand (hopefully with no one nearby)

Beach selfies are also the best selfies. Also, beach hair is fun too.

Beach selfies are also the best selfies. Also, beach hair is fun too.

On the way home we all took a detour for ice cream. I put a filter on this picture to disguise my ridiculous sunburn...

On the way home we all took a detour for ice cream. I put a filter on this picture to disguise my ridiculous sunburn…

Past Adventures

I wrote this post twice and WordPress ate it both times. I even saved it at multiple steps the second time, and still it disappeared… So maybe the universe is telling me not to post these pictures, but since WordPress didn’t actually delete them from my account and they’re just sitting there in my pictures file all enticingly, I’m going to try to write this post one more time. Except by ‘write’ I mean ‘post pictures because I’m not writing the same thing three times’…

Calistoga Old Faithful Geyser

The last time we went here (summer 2013) they were in the middle of construction, and it definitely wasn’t worth the money to see the geyser and then a bunch of dirt. (The goats were cute though.) But I saw a Groupon to get the tickets for 50% off and figured we’d give it another shot. Well, the construction is basically done and it looks great! The area is landscaped, there are picnic tables with umbrellas, comfy chairs, covered areas, bocce ball and corn hole, and even a tiny museum (they’re working to enlarge it.) I still think the price is a bit high, but if you can get a Groupon I 100% endorse a visit.

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My attempt of a photo with Damien… This was the best I got, lol

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Geyser!

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The fountain/sky looks like a backdrop, or maybe a really old postcard. No photo editing here!

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Rowen loves shoulder rides πŸ™‚

Rowen and Damien both fed the goats/sheep, but I didn’t get any pictures because I was helping them. We even saw some adorable babies! (Baby sheep that is. I always see adorable Rowen.)

Doran Regional Park

We also took the drive to the Sonoma Coast to Bodega Bay. It’s only an hour and a half from PUC, and yet I’ve never been there before, so it was high time considering I’m finishing up my sixth year living here.

My parents came to visit and we all went together. It was kind of a gray day but the beach was still beautiful and we had a really fun beach picnic. Now we need to go back on a sunny day so we can go in the water!

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Rowen trying to get to the soda

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Damien and Mimi built a hole and covered it with driftwood! (Then we filled it back in, because beach holes are dangerous.)

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Cuddling with a sleepy babersons in the mei tai

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Mmm, delicious sand!

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Family photo! This one is definitely getting framed πŸ™‚

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Love that little face popping out from behind Dada ❀ – he was ‘helping’ him take pictures

Now that school is out (officially on Thursday, but I’m done now… Dan still has a few more tests) I’m excited for even more adventures!

Spring Break Campout

At the beginning of Spring Break we embarked on a Family Camping Adventure. A few years ago (like… five I think?) Dan and I went camping at Manresa Beach, outside Santa Cruz. This time Manresa was full so we camped at Sunset Beach. I didn’t like the campground quite as much, mostly because it was quite a bit further to the beach, but it was still a lot of fun! We had pretty much my whole family there – my parents, Kaeli and Jay, Kassi and Colin, and of course the four of us. We even brought our dogs with us.

Sunset Beach (and beach ball)

Sunset Beach (and beach ball)

So. The drive over there was 3+ hours, but Kassi and Colin rode with us and helped entertain the littles. We stopped twice, for coffee and lunch, and drove right through the area where I used to do pet-sitting/dog-walking (which was a little weird, but at least I knew where everything was.) We met my parents and Kaeli and Jay at the campsite, and while a group went down to the beach Dan, Rowen, and I set up our side of the campsite.

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Smiling behind the pacifier πŸ™‚

Dan was trying out some new lenses and got some really cute pictures of Rowen.

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Hanging out on a blanket while we set up

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…and a picture of a dipley dog

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Happy baby!

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Eventually Rowen fell asleep and got Mimi cuddles

More Ripley faces

More Ripley faces

When they got back from the beach, Damien decided to help Uncle Jay set up his tent. (With a stick, somehow?)

When they got back from the beach, Damien decided to help Uncle Jay set up his tent. (With a stick, somehow?)

The next morning it started raining on us! Of course, the only two days it rained all through Spring Break were the two we were camping.

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Damien was pretending to be a dragon here – this is him ‘breathing fire’, lol

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Rowen discovers that grass is not as tasty as expected…

We tried to think of what to do in the rain and decided to head to a children’s interactive museum in a nearby town. My mom, Kassi, Colin, Damien, and Rowen all played in the museum while Kaeli, Dan, and I shopped (the museum was actually in a mall!) and my dad drank coffee and read. (I definitely had coffee too, of course… haha.) (Jay held down the campsite fort with the doggies.) We went from there to Santa Cruz, where it was sunny and not at all raining for some reason.

Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz!

Damien really wanted to go fishing off the pier with my dad so we split up – Kassi and Colin did some rides/the boardwalk, my dad/mom/Damien went to the pier, and Kassi/Dan/Rowen and I hit the beach! It was Rowen’s first trip to the beach and he was definitely impressed.

Rowen claps at the sand :)

Rowen claps at the sand πŸ™‚

Beach nurses - love how he's holding my hand here :)

Beach nurses – love how he’s holding my hand here πŸ™‚

Pretty!

Pretty!

Getting big enough for shoulder rides!

Getting big enough for shoulder rides!

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Mama & baby feets!

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Love the ankle rolls πŸ™‚

They didn't catch anything but it looks like they had fun!

They didn’t catch anything but it looks like they had fun!

Getting 'buried' by Mimi

Getting ‘buried’ by Mimi

Sand angels

Sand angels

Back at camp, I wanted to visit Sunset Beach so we hiked to a nearby trail. It was kind of a crazy trail with the sand washing out from under the driftwood ‘stairs’ and I was wearing Rowen, so that got a little exciting (I made Dan wear him on the trip back, haha.) It was getting dark so we couldn’t stay very long, but both Damien and Rowen had a great time while we were there.

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Someone made a sand structure around a giant piece of driftwood, and of course Damien had to play on it/dance all over it

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I would make sand castles and then he would knock them down πŸ™‚

When we got back we had a barbeque and roasted marshmallows for s’mores; it was super yummy of course. Damien made everyone sing camp songs with him like something out of a sitcom, but the campground was pretty deserted and the hippies a few sites over didn’t complain. πŸ™‚

The next day was our last at the campground, so we went back to the beach one more time.

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Getting our feet wet

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Group photo, minus my dad and Dan (Dan was taking the picture)

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Beach baby!

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We’ve-been-camping-and-are-gross selfie

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Burying my feet!

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Babien sand foot!

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Family photo ❀

Finally it was time to head home. Everyone was headed different directions so this time the boys had to ride by themselves. The freeway was getting traffic-y so we stopped at a mall I used to hang out at between petsitting jobs, and let the boys play a bit. Damien got to visit his first Lego store (he made me explain each setup like we were in a museum, lol, and we went home with a new Duplo set) and we played on the indoor playground for awhile.

Happy but slightly sunburned baby

Happy but slightly sunburned baby

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Damien made some friends on the playground! I am sooo proud when my little introvert takes risks like that. πŸ™‚

Once we got home we had SO much to unpack! Packing for two adults, two little kids, and a dog is no joke.

Sand dollars - we found so many! (Plus a few shells and rocks)

Sand dollars – we found so many! (Plus a few shells and rocks)

Sandy shoes piled at the door

Sandy shoes piled at the door

Aaaand sand in our car.... which is probably still there.

Aaaand sand in our car…. which is probably still there.

Expanding Our Culinary Horizons

(Note: this is not a sponsored post, as you’ll see when I tell you we hated something… haha. I will, however, always take free food!)

Recently, like every other mom with a blog, I decided to try out a recipe/ingredient delivery service. I thought this would be a good idea because: 1) with my crazy life, I don’t have the time or mental processing available to meal plan and then shop for healthy ingredients, 2) we live in The Middle of Nowhere/a fancypants area (the mountains in the middle of the Napa Valley area) (well, up on the side of the valley really) so the nearby grocery stores are expensive and the affordable grocery stores are 45 minutes plus away, meaning the price point isn’t all that different, 3) I’d love for my family (and for myself) to try some new things, especially my Picky As All Get Out husband (who, to his credit, eats a lot more things now than he did when we first got married.) We’ve stayed subscribed for three weeks now for all of those reasons, plus as it turns out, 4) I really enjoy cooking (!!!) and look forward to my box of ingredients coming in the mail. Weird, right? However, that’s not to say that I love everything about this service, which I’ll get to in a minute.

I decided to go with the company Blue Apron for my experiment for three reasons: 1) coupon (I had one), 2) they deliver to our middle-o-nowhere location (many of the other ingredient delivery services don’t), and 3) they have vegetarian menu options every week. I’m not a vegetarian but Dan is, so this was important. That said, sometimes the non-veggie options look reaaaallly good and I’d love to try them and just use a meat substitute on Dan’s portion (we have pretty good meat substitutes for nearly all meats), but Blue Apron is really picky about your meal combinations so that’s a big downside. So far we’ve had to stick to the all-veggie menu, meaning there’s at least one meal each week that when it comes down to it, I’m the only one eating it, and that sucks/is a waste of money (especially since it tends to be a salad which doesn’t save well.) So that’s Problem #1 with this particular company.

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Ingredients for the Baked Fontina Pasta

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This is what was inside the knick knacks bag… plus a shallot

As for the benefits, I love how the food comes right to my door and is fresh and definitely not stuff I usually buy (especially since most of the produce we buy is frozen…) Like I said earlier, I enjoy making the meals, but there’s definitely a learning curve; most of the meals claim to take 45 minutes or less to make but for the first two weeks it always took me an hour (ALL THAT CHOPPING OF THE VEGGIES). I’m not a very experienced cook and I’ve found most of the recipes challenging but doable (a few of the recipes are easy, and one or two I really struggled with, but in the end everything turned out.) Oh, and one more thing: we decided to go with the two person plan versus the four person plan, which turned out to be a good idea because 90% of the meals have more than enough for three or even four people, and if they don’t you can supplement (adding a side salad/veggie/bread/whatever.)

Here are the recipes we’ve tried so far and what we thought of them:

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My dad gave me this big cast iron pan the week before we started Blue Apron and now I use it all the time (even though BA literally says in every recipe “In a nonstick pan…”)

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Looking at this makes me want to eat it again! Also, the bread wasn’t part of the recipe but we decided we needed it.

Week 1: Baked Fontina Pasta, Salvadoran Black Bean & Cheese Pupusas, Smoky Beluga Lentils

The Baked Fontina Pasta was the first thing we tried and everyone LOVED it! It has brussel sprouts in it which I didn’t think anyone would like, but we all nommed them right up. The lentils were a little TOO smoky for our tastes; if I made them again I’d use half the seasoning. The pupusas were delicious but difficult to make; that said, Damien and I made that whole meal together (Dan doesn’t like beans so it was kind of pointless for him) and it was a really fun experience. He actually chopped some veggies and helped with every step in the process that didn’t involve the stove. The cabbage and radish curtido that came with the pupusas was AMAZING and I will totally make it again. (Note: every meal comes with a full color, step-by-step recipe guide with pictures, which is great to keep and use again, EXCEPT some of the ingredients are super rare or just a collection of spices it would be difficult to track down, so not all of them are reproducible without Blue Apron. Also, as I demonstrated via link, the recipes are all online as well.)

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Everything that went into the lentils. Except that oven mitt. I generally try not to serve my family oven mitts.

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Rowen duel wielding some carrots

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As you can see here, the major difference between their lentils and my lentils is mine were chock full of greens that refused to shrivel up like good greens should, and instead left me chewing and chewing forever… and I didn’t even put all of them in!

Week 2: Mushroom & Vegetable Pot Pie, Warm Golden Beet & Freekah Salad, Whole Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara

Well, there was no crust on the pot pie which was disappointing for me. (There were, however, delicious biscuits on top.) Also, I like mushrooms but there were just too many mushrooms in the pie for me. I would have preferred more vegetables or maybe some potatoes in there, and if I made it again I’d substitute maybe 2/3rds of the mushrooms for something else. The beet salad was surprisingly yummy. I’m not into beets nor am I into warm salad and I still really, really liked it… unfortunately, no one else in my family would go near it, so there’s $8 down the drain (the leftovers weren’t nearly as good.) (Hint for this one: use ALL THE GOAT CHEESE IT IS SUPER DELICIOUS.) The spaghetti, unsurprisingly, was tasty and a hit – it’s hard to go wrong with pasta.

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This really doesn’t look all that tasty or professional, but it’s my only photo from this week. Also I don’t have a pie dish. Does that mean I’m not a real grown-up?

Week 3: Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli & Fregola Salad, Spiced Chickpea Burgers

The first food I made was the chickpea burgers with a side of roasted sweet potato and chickpeas, and holy crap I cannot overstate how delicious and yummy and amazing this meal was. I want to make it once a week for the rest of my life. I also found this recipe more challenging (getting the burger to stick together mainly) so I’ll have to make it on my own and see if I can perfect that. (For the record, Dan really liked this one too, Rowen LOVED the sweet potatoes, and Damien refused to eat so we can’t really take his opinion into consideration since he doesn’t have one.) The Japanese sweet potatoes were also surprisingly good, albeit no match for the burgers. I kept thinking “I don’t know about this” while making the Japanese meal but maybe that’s because I’m unfamiliar with (an American take on) Japanese food; in the end it all turned out good (despite me almost dumping a pan of sweet potatoes on the floor. Oops.) Initially I thought no one would like the pasta salad but me, so I ended up making it for my parents when they were in town, but actually Dan liked it – and no wonder; it was super delicious! This was definitely my favorite week thus far.

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Damien’s plate versus my plate, haha – this was Japanese sweet potato night

Week 4: Brown Butter Spaetzle, Potato & Leek Chowder, Baby Fennel, Grapefruit, and Almond SaladΒ 

This week was rather disappointing. I actually didn’t like the spaetzle at all, which may be a betrayal to my German heritage but it was just boring, and the apple was not a good addition. I didn’t even save the paper version of the recipe this time because there was just no rescuing it. The chowder was good, although we all added cheese and I found it much better that way. Finally, the salad was fine but not all that exciting – it was my least favorite salad thus far. This week was especially sad considering how good last week was…

Next week our menu is Spring Bucatini Pasta (which looks amazing and will probably be a whole house hit, because pasta), Oven Braised Tandoori Cauliflower (I’m ehh on cauliflower but I know it’s good in recipes so I’ll give it a chance), and Miso Tofu Shirataki Noodles (looks fun and also yum). I’m really excited about it, especially after this past week which was kind of a dud.