...because home doesn't happen overnight.

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I don’t know about you but after a sugar-filled weekend I’m ready for some homemade food. I recently made a butternut squash & caramelized fennel pizza that was a delicious, seasonal meal.

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Steve is away on an extended business trip so I signed up for another Blue Apron delivery. I tried Blue Apron for the first time earlier this year after Steve’s appendectomy and it was a lifesaver during that busy, stressful time. I knew it would come in equally handy during a week of single-parenting. Skipping a grocery trip with kids in favor of farm-fresh ingredients delivered right to my doorstep? I’ll take it! It’s a little ridiculous how excited I am to open the refrigerated box and read over the three yummy, chef-designed recipes for the week.

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The ingredients are pre-measured to avoid waste. Even the smallest amounts of herbs and spices are included. (You only need olive oil, salt and pepper on hand.) It’s pretty foolproof.

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I’ve said it before… cooking isn’t in my wheelhouse. I’m not like my mom. I can’t scan ingredients in my pantry and fridge then whip up a meal in minutes with little mental effort and lots of cheery humming. Cooking doesn’t come naturally to me that way. (I wish it did.) I need a plan of action. Thankfully, Blue Apron includes a detailed recipe card for each meal.

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My kids are little foodies and they enjoy helping me prepare meals. It’s fun to see them discover new foods. Confession: I had never cooked a fennel bulb before trying this recipe. Eek!

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I also learned a little more about goat cheese. Did you know goat cheese has only become a popular food in American cuisine within the last 30 years? Did you know that when a recipe calls for crumbled goat cheese, it’s best to buy it in log form and crumble it yourself? The log is creamier and less dry than the pre-crumbled bits. (A reader recently brought this to my attention.) Choosing a high quality goat cheese is a good idea, too.

Vermont Creamery supplied the goat cheese for this recipe. The dairy is located in Websterville, Vermont. Allison Hooper and Bob Reese invested $1,200 each to start the company in 1984. They hired Adeline Druart, a native French woman and cheese expert (naturally), as an intern originally then later promoted her to general manager. Allison’s son oversees Ayers Brook, a nearby farm that supplies the dairy with goat milk. I love hearing the stories behind businesses like this. And I like knowing where my food comes from. I’m so happy to know Blue Apron supports local businesses and farmers. You can learn more about Vermont Creamery and see how they make great goat cheese by watching the video above.

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Anyhow, the pizza was so good… and beautiful. Not being anything close to a chef, I would have never thought of combining these ingredients to make a rustic, autumnal dish. Two out of my three kids loved it. (One has aversions to onions and parmesan cheese so it was a no-go for him.) And, of course, I devoured it. The fennel-parsley salad and spiced honey drizzle were the perfect final toppings. The recipe claims the pizza serves three but we have half of it left over. I know what I’m eating for lunch this week! I am a total leftover dinner for lunch eater.

Are you interested in giving Blue Apron a try? The first 50 readers to sign up here will receive two free meals on their first order! Shipping is available to most of the country and it’s free. There’s no commitment and you can always skip or cancel your service at any time.

Happy eating!

*This post sponsored in part by Blue Apron. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

32 Comments

03.November.2014

After this holiday weekend I swore I wasn’t eating all week long, trust me, the sugar reserve in my body could sustain me that long. But now.. I may be making this amazing pizza! Blue Apron looks so fun.

Side note, where oh where did you find the wood paddle you’re goat cheese landed on?

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replied on November 4th, 2014

Wayfair!

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That sounds pretty darn yummy! Especially the goat cheese! Luckily, I live in NH, so I get Vermont Creamery goat cheese all. the. time. =)

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03.November.2014

Looks so good! I’ve made something similar and and was loving the fall flavors together on a pizza … from here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/03/roasted-acorn-squash-and-gorgonzola-pizza/

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replied on November 4th, 2014

That looks YUMMMMMMM…

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03.November.2014

Just signed up, thank you for the perk! That pizza looks delish.

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replied on November 4th, 2014

Enjoy!

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03.November.2014

Being an Ohio girl you should check out Mackenzie Creamery. Love their goat cheese….
http://mackenziecreamery.com/where_to_buy_goat_cheese.html

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replied on November 4th, 2014

Thanks for sharing!

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03.November.2014

Tried the beans + chipotle sauce + bacon recipe you wrote about a little while back. Very yummy! Loved it.

Nicole B.

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replied on November 4th, 2014

Oh, great! I’m glad you liked it.

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03.November.2014

I love goat cheese! It’s my absolute favorite way to add creaminess and a slight tang to a dish — I use it on all salads, eggs, pizza, pasta, soups…well, you get the picture. I also love that most folks with an aversion to dairy can still eat goat cheese (the protein is different!).
This pizza sounds delicious. We make one similar with caramelized red onion, kale, butternut squash and chicken. It’s sooooo good. In fact, I think I need to make that this week now. :)
Also, I know lots of bloggers do reviews for Blue Apron, but you’re one of the only ones that it makes sense for to me and doesn’t sound like a advertisement! :)

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replied on November 4th, 2014

Thanks Jen. I first starting eating goat cheese a few years back when I had to restrict dairy from my diet because I was nursing and Mabrey was dairy intolerant. Love it, too!

I know sponsored posts aren’t the most popular types of posts but one every now and then is necessary to cover costs and compensate me for the time I spend doing the blog thing. It makes me really happy to hear that you don’t find them jarring. I really try to feature only those sponsors that I would support whether I had a blog or not. Blue Apron is such a great company and service. I wish I could give all the single parents a week’s worth of meals to lessen the chaos of juggling it all.

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03.November.2014

We lived in VT until last month and can attest to the high quality of VT Creamery products. Total aside: Is that a piece of Hmong cloth? Whatever it is, I’m loving the imprecise geometric patterns and gorgeous blues.

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replied on November 4th, 2014

Yes, it’s vintage batik!

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03.November.2014

Where did you get the board in the top picture? It’s so pretty!

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replied on November 4th, 2014

Wayfair!

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03.November.2014

Yay, it was my suggestion to crumble it from a log! I win the internet today!

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replied on November 4th, 2014

You WIN!!!! x

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04.November.2014

Your comment about never cooking with fennel made me think of this recipe and I just had to share (if you like salmon): http://www.marthastewart.com/316579/mediterranean-salmon-cooked-in-parchment. I had never cooked with it before this recipe either but have since gotten hooked. It’s become one of our favorite family meals and it is so incredibly easy…it was like the gateway drug to my fennel obsession!

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replied on November 6th, 2014

We love salmon over here, so I’m definitely going to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

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04.November.2014

I’ve been wanting to try Blue Apron and the discount from your post pushed me into signing up! Now I’m really excited to get my delivery :)

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05.November.2014

Two other ‘fall friendly’ pizza topic combos I love:

– thinly sliced potato on a base rubbed with olive oil, crushed garlic, rosemary and then sprinkled with some more rosemary and a bit of salt and pepper

– Saute some assorted mushrooms with a leek (or onion) and garlic. Top your pizza base with a little tomato sauce, some baby spinach and the mushroom mixture and sprinkle with crumbled goats cheese. If you are feeling particularly lush scatter with some pine nuts too.

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replied on November 6th, 2014

Mmmmm…those sound delicious.

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06.November.2014

That does look so delicious! I guess for people who don’t know how to cook and don’t mind spending $50+ for dinner a few times a week this would work out great. Although to me this seems pretty ridiculous. It’s just depressing to me that someone would pay that much for probably $10-15 worth of groceries and a recipe card. You don’t even have to know how to make pizza dough! You can probably buy it at your deli counter for less than $3.

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replied on November 6th, 2014

I believe this pizza was $20. Not too bad I think considering everything showed up at my doorstep and it actually provided my family with a dinner plus several leftover lunches!

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replied on November 6th, 2014

Yes, it does sound very convenient, and I’m sure on a rare occasion it would be nice. I was just going by the $10/ per person guidelines for my 5 person family. At 500ish calories a person per meal my family wouldn’t have enough to eat splitting a 1000 calorie pizza, so I would have to buy the pull 5 person meal. 200 calories for dinner per person would leave them coming back for more in about 10 minutes. And if I’m going to be paying $50 for a meal, I’d rather not be the one making it and cleaning it up. If it was just my husband and I and we both worked I would probably use this all the time, it just seems crazy expensive for a family.

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07.November.2014

Funny timing – I’m doing a giveaway today for Blue Apron, although it isn’t sponsored. (They have no clue who I am.) Every couple of months they give me three weeks to share with friends, and after spreading them around to close friends, I now offer them up on my blog.

I really, really like Blue Apron. We get the vegetarian meals, and they have completely changed the way we think about eating. I actually love the process of prep work and cooking – it’s a good bridge for me from my busy work day at the office to home with the family. And I love cookbooks – I read them like I’d read a novel, cover to cover, and then I really dive into making as much as I can from them. We don’t use them every week – I skip the weeks when I know we’ll be out of town, but I also skip when there are ingredients I know we don’t like – strangely enough, it’s fennel! I also try to steer clear of recipes where tree nuts seem to be an integral ingredient to the recipes because of my oldest daughter’s allergies. That means we maybe use them once or twice in a six week period.

There have been six recipes that were so over the top good that they’ve become regulars in our house now. I actually did a little test at the grocery store and compared my receipt with the $20 I would have spent on that dish from BA and I really do think they are a good deal – particularly when you think about all the unique and exotic ingredients that might render a similar recipe in a cookbook undoable – do I really want to buy two $12 spice jars to get the 1/2 teaspoon spice blend I need? I agree that it’s not for everyone. I think it would get very pricey for a larger family for sure. But it really has been a game changer for us.

My husband is a vegetarian, and we eat vegetarian at home (although I always, always eat meat or seafood when dining out and my girls eat meat at school). I have found it a challenge to stay inspired in the past. When we first married we ate a lot of pasta and sauce and steamed veggies – cheap grocery bills, but not very exciting, and not always the healthiest either. Several years ago we really started to challenge ourselves to get out of the same rut, and we’ve been making a serious effort to put good, healthy, filling dinners on the table every night. I think sometimes it’s assumed that having a meat-centric plate is more expensive than a meatless one, but putting together a balanced and delicious vegetarian meal takes some work and it’s rarely inexpensive. Produce, spices, good cheeses, they can quickly add up in price. I think Blue Apron is worth every penny.

My last two cents – even if you eat meat, try out their vegetarian dishes. The really are terrific.

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09.November.2014

The pizza looks amazing! We make pizza all the time, so it’s nice to learn a few more recipes. I’ve never heard of Blue Apron. Will have to check it out.

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10.November.2014

Hey – great mention for Vermont Creamery – Allison is the “real deal” – and they make fantastic cheese — try Bonne Bouche sometime! Mmmmmmmm . Also, thanks for this post – looks intriguing to me to have everything ready to go – shopping is my nemesis!

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mmmm looks delicious. Do your little foodies what Master Chef Jr? My son loves it! Those little humans are amazing. Maybe you’ve got a future chef on your hands.:)

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replied on November 17th, 2014

We’ll have to check it out! So far, he enjoys eating MORE THAN cooking ;)

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