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02.02.16 / A Great Gift Idea

blue apron jan 4

Want to know what I gifted nearly all the adults in our lives over the holidays? Yep, Blue Apron. If you’re a long-time reader, you’ve heard me tout the food delivery service in the past. (Keep reading further though because I’m not simply regurgitating all the things I’ve mentioned before.) If you’re new here, let me fill you in briefly.

blue apron jan 1

Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients in a refrigerated box right to your doorstep. The ingredients arrive in the exact proportions along with a recipe card and detailed instructions which include photographs of steps to give even novices in the kitchen the confidence to churn out a delicious meal. Typically, the cost is less expensive than dining out or ordering takeout. Simply sign up online for weekly orders. You can skip or cancel deliveries at any time! An online “cookbook” is free to anyone so you can replicate meals at home with ingredients from your local grocery if desired. (We recently tried the cajun fried catfish with collard greens and mashed sweet potatoes. It was a hit!)

blue apron jan 2

I’ve been subscribing to Blue Apron going on two years now ever since our friends in Nashville recommended it. I especially love to use the service during weeks that Steve is out of town (this week!) and also while on vacation. In fact, I had a delivery sent to our vacation rental in Asheville this past fall. I was a little worried because our location was nearly off the grid and tricky to find – especially after dark. After we arrived at the cabin, I called Blue Apron to relay better directions and they were super helpful about forwarding the information on to UPS. Even with the new directions, our food arrived after 9:00 p.m. the day of delivery so my account was automatically credited for the full amount. Nothing was wrong with the food (it was still fresh and we ate it) but the company was great about upholding its promises of timely delivery and quality ingredients. And I talked to a real live person on the phone who was super nice, easy to understand and not reading from a script!

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In the last year alone, there have been several improvements made to increase customer satisfaction. You can now view weekly menus weeks in advance of ordering and select which meals you would like to try. There is also a new recycling program available and plenty of tips and ideas for reusing the packaging. (We have reused the ice packs for picnics and packing coolers for road trips.) The company is working to provide more sustainable food by working directly with farmers. I would like to see organic produce offered, but overall I am impressed by the company’s efforts to listen to and address customer feedback by implementing change.

blue apron jan 5

blue apron jan 6

At the end of 2015, I was surprised to discover that I had accrued free meals which I gifted to some friends and family members at no cost to me. I also purchased some meals to gift. Blue Apron is a great gift idea!

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If you’re a Blue Apron virgin, you can score two free meals on your first order by clicking here. Offer is only good for the first 50 readers so act fast!

*This post sponsored in part by Blue Apron. In order to remain transparent, I would like to mention that I pay out of pocket for my own subscription. Blue Apron provided the meal seen in this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

18 Comments

02.February.2016

I typically love your posts Dana, but the Blue Apron posts are really repetitive. How about a post on a recipe from a great new cookbook instead?

Food for thought from a regular reader.

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02.February.2016

My dad gifted us a few months for Christmas and it has been the.best.gift.ever (well after the car starter a couple years back – but that’s just a necessity up here in NEO)! I’ve added so many new foods to my diet, when I’m usually a picky eater, and we’re eating out a lot less when there’s fresh complete meals ready to make at home. I plan to continue my plan after our gifted weeks run out, it’s that good!

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02.February.2016

The discount only seems to be $20 off…does that mean I missed the 50 first readers who got it?

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02.February.2016

Wow! This looks so good! Definitely need to try this for weeknight meals!

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02.February.2016

I LOVE Blue Apron. I love to cook, and most of the time don’t mind meal planning, grocery shopping and all of the other stuff that goes along with it – but I still love it for the variety it offers outside of what I would normally make, plus the fact that it all comes delivered conveniently right to your front door ready to go is just the icing on the cake. Plus, since I do like to cook, I love that you are still doing all the prep and cooking the meal yourself. I get it usually about once a month, so I love the feature that you can view the menus in advance so I can pick which week we think we will like best. I tout it to everyone, and also have recently gotten some of those free boxes to pass along which I think is awesome (and of course everyone I give one too thinks it’s pretty awesome too).
I definitely tried the service because I saw it on so many blogs that I read, which is one of the main reasons I always read sponsored posts because I never know what gem you guys are going to tip me off to next! So cool and convenient that you had it delivered on vacation – will have to consider that in the future!

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02.February.2016

We have been Blue Apron subscribers for about a year now, and I am super excited to see some of the meals that we have really enjoyed coming back into the selection rotation! Our box arrives tomorrow with Manhattan fish chowder (in our top 3, and my husband’s favorite!), and a hoisin-glazed pork roast with stir-fried peanut noodles. I have been impressed with the quality of the ingredients, especially the produce, bread, and pasta products. In all the packages we received last year, I only had one issue, and their customer service folks were quick to handle it. Big Blue Apron fans here!

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02.February.2016

I got introduced to Blue Apron through your blog and have used it nearly weekly for a year now. After working 10+ hours per day I used to dread cooking, but with Blue Apron I really enjoy it and the food is delicious. I also use Plated for weeks when I’m not feeling the Blue Apron menu but stick mostly to Blue Apron. We actually save money on groceries because I don’t guess incorrectly on quantities of food for recipes anymore and I’ve learned lots of new cooking skills.

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02.February.2016

I absolutely love Blue Apron. We gifted weeks as well to family members. The packaging has improved so much, and the ice packs are perfect for camping. Their customer services is excellent as well.

I always recommend the vegetarian meal plan to everyone, even meat eaters. If you are thinking of reducing the amount of meat in your diet, then cutting it out for three meals a week is a good start. I’m blown away by the variety of their veg meals. It’s completely transformed the way we structure our diet and how we cook even when we’re not preparing BA’s meals.

(They do not pay me to say these things, I just honestly feel this way about them.)

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replied on February 3rd, 2016

Thanks for sharing your experience!

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02.February.2016

I learned about Blue Apron from your blog and signed up last year. I am in love!! I’m a newly single gal just learning to cook real food for myself and BA has made it so so easy and delicious. The 3 meals for 2-people last me all week, so I’m saving a ton of money as well. I gotta agree that the customer service is unmatched… They are so friendly, responsive and helpful. I’ve signed up everyone in my family and all my close friends, and totally agree it’s a great gift. Thank you for making the introduction– I think this is a relationship built to last :)

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02.February.2016

Excellent. I’ve been using Hello Fresh off and on for the last couple months, but when they send seafood or beef, they send very, very small portions – so much so, I’ve taken to picking up extra at the store before I cook their meals…which kind of defeats the purpose. I think I’ll have to try out Blue Apron! That fish looks so good in your pictures!

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02.February.2016

Thank you so much for the Blue Apron discount. I have already placed my order!!!

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02.February.2016

I did finally subscribe to Blue Apron a few months ago, and for the most part my husband and I liked it. There were a few meals that were duds in our opinion, and a few ingredients that kept showing up that we really weren’t fans of and ended up tossing. Unfortunately I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I realized I would just not have time/energy to cook all those meals from scratch, so I paused our account. I did really like the feature of being able to have more meal options if you wanted to swap, but I didn’t realize I could do that until too late! And I didn’t realize I could change my delivery day either. I’m excited for a few months from now when our account activates again, to see if it will be beneficial to me with a new baby around!

Also worth mentioning, is that there are several different companies that do this same thing now, and I’ve looked in to each one I’ve come across. Blue Apron is the least expensive!

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03.February.2016

Thanks a lot, Dana, for this lovely blog!!
Since I live in Germany Blue Apron is not that interesting to me (although we have similar possibilities) but i love your leather coaster. Is there any chance you remember where you got them?
Thank you in advance!! Have a lovely day ;)
Jennifer

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replied on February 3rd, 2016

The leather coaster is vintage. I found it on etsy. I use it all the time for so many things! Makes a great coaster for my Chemex ;)

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03.February.2016

I must admit it looks soooo yummy and your presentation was on-point…but I went online to look at the menus and so many (maybe most) are upwards of 600-700 calories per serving! YIKES. The fish options were slightly lower but not much. As a busy mom with four kids – I have been thinking of joining but after looking at that I must say Im a little bummed.

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replied on February 5th, 2016

Honestly, 600-700 calories is not that many for a hefty dinner meal (coming from a dietetics major) especially when you consider the types of food they are providing are mostly very beneficial nutrient dense options. And in addition, my husband and I have the 2 person option and often have a hard time eating all the food. It’s usually enough for 3 people to get their fill! So maybe that reduces the calories you would actually consume. I’ve actually noticed that the recipes are very healthfully crafted. They use very little oil, little dairy and other calorie-rich ingredients. Most everything is whole foods seasoned with salt and pepper and other spices, often pan cooked in 2 tsp oil. I would encourage you to give it a chance and see for yourself! No commitment required.

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06.February.2016

I’m glad that the Blue Apron service is working for your family! I did not have the best experience with them–several times, they sent the wrong amount of ingredients, and twice the boxes arrived with the bottom or top unsealed (and thus with things inside in disarray, and not necessarily cold enough, because the shipper had to store it upside down.) Some of the recipes were good, but a few were extremely bland. We’ve put it on hold indefinitely.

I did like the idea of mixing things up with new foods, but the recipes were a little repetitive (perhaps because I’m not a red-meat eater, and that limited our options?)

I would still say it was worth trying! Perhaps we just had a run of bad luck.

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