review: blue apron

Ohhhhh, Blue Apron. You make dinners so fun!

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

What is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron delivers all the ingredients you need for three chef-inspired meals to cook at home. (Enough for two people.) So they plan the menu, they send you the ingredients and you cook some really delicious meals at home.

How does it work?
Each week (that you don’t opt out of) you are sent a box of three meals (for two people, though I’ve heard there is enough for small kids too) and recipe cards to go along with all of the ingredients. They literally send every single ingredient you need (with the exception of olive oil, salt and pepper). Have no fear, it’s all kept cool in an insulated box with freezer packs so even meat and fish are kept cold.

Pros | Blue Apron:

  • You can opt in or out of poultry, pork, beef, lamb, fish and shellfish.
  • You can also opt in or out of weeks as you like. There is no commitment.
  • It comes in a cooler box that keeps things at a safe temperature. My first box arrived when it was over 90 degrees in LA and I was a little worried about the salmon, but it was cold enough and the freezer packs were still frozen solid.
  • Every meal has a fresh vegetable component, which I love.
  • Ingredients are all ‘mise en place’ meaning everything you need is either ready to go or needs only a small amount of chopping or prep.
  • No waste: because you are receiving the exact amount of ingredient needed, there is nothing extra that can go bad in the crisper drawer.
  • It brought us out of our dinner comfort zones and was so fun to just spend time cooking in the kitchen.
  • I wouldn’t ordinarily buy numerous fresh herbs for one meal, but they make such a huge difference!
  • Oh, and everything was absolutely delicious.

Cons | Blue Apron:

  • Lots of packaging. I know there really isn’t away around it, but I cringed at the amount of packaging that was used. I was able to save a lot of the baggies and I’ll reuse them, but I still felt a little guilty.
  • The meals take some time. These are not 15 minute meals. We tried to embrace the multiple steps and pans by cooking together and making it an event, not just a chore. (Which worked pretty well!)
  • Price: $9.99/person/meal seems like a lot, but it actually helps us not eat out as much so in actuality it might save us money? We’ll see.
  • I would love to see the exact nutrition facts. Or at least something a little more specific. They give estimates, but they seem a little on the low side to me.

Would I like it?
If you are someone who is new to the kitchen or needs some new cooking inspiration, I think you would love it! It’s also a great way to have date nights at home – you and your love can cook together!

What did we eat?
The first week, I opted for only vegetarian + fish meals only and loved them, but felt like it was a better use of money to opt into the meat options as well so in our second week we had a chicken, salmon and a vegetarian meal.

Sample Meals:
These are the meals we received our first week.

Pizza Panini with Green Lettuce Salad:

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

This vegetarian meal was so cheesy, comforting and filling! It’s definitely not something I would normally make (Richie says that I never buy bread…) so it felt like a treat. The fresh oregano added so much pizza flavor and though our paninis were a little soggy, they were still delicious!

Coconut Curry Salmon Steaks with Celery & Bok Choy over Barley:

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

I was a little nervous about this meal…only because we had recently returned from Thailand, and I just figured it wouldn’t compare. I was wrong. Was it the best curry I’ve ever had? No. But it was so good. The salmon was crispy, the sauce flavorful and the barley chewy, it was a fun departure from rice.

Braised Heirloom Carrots & Crispy Goat Cheese:

Blue Apron Review | A Nutritionist Eats

I’m sorry that this is the worst picture (late dinner) …because it was one of our favorite meals! Every component was better than the last, it’s definitely something I want to make again.

This week was another Blue Apron week (yay!) and we had Salmon Rolls with Baby Beet and Pea Shoot Salad, Chicken Supremes with Sautéed Ramps, Sugar Snap Peas and Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Fried Green Tomatoes with Cajun Rémoulade Sauce and Boston Red Leaf Salad on the menu. So far, the salmon rolls left us both saying, “So good!” no less than seven times throughout dinner.

Want to try Blue Apron?

Sign up here for two free meals!

lately i’ve been…xviii

(Oh, hello! It’s been a while. I hate going this long without blogging, but sometimes life gets in the way.)

photo 3

working on the Thailand post. All blogging was put on hold for a while, but I’m trying to gather my thoughts. If there is anything in particular you’re curious about, let me know!

reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right HookThe Husband’s SecretIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?Crunch Time (part of a food/murder mystery series), Crazy Sexy Diet, and The Kind Diet. (affiliate links!)

crafting!!! Not really, but making my own food photography backgrounds. Or attempting is probably a better word.

photo 1

doing lots of fun research: chilaquiles!

working on some backend blog stuff. My site should be faster for you all now, and I apologize that it has been so slow lately. Ugh.

photo 2

eating at PettyCash Taqueria. It’s a beautiful space with creative nachos: pig ear and a vegetarian crispy kale and cauliflower. So it means we’ve been there twice already and have tried both nacho varieties.

stitch fix

trying out stitch fix. (affiliate link!) I’ve always been curious about this “online personal styling service” and since I’ve been seriously hating everything in my closet, it was time to try it out! I’ve only gotten one “fix” so far but was pleasantly surprised. A lot of the things I’ve seen in reviews aren’t my style so I honestly wasn’t expecting much. I ended up keeping one sweater (that I love) and would have kept a few other items but they didn’t fit right/were a little too much money. Getting surprise clothes in the mail is amazing. :)

social media, social media, social media! I put together a presentation for work and then did a slew of learn.ist boards on social media for business. It was really fun.

lately i've been... | A Nutritionist Eats

having some of our best friends in town (+ godson) for a long weekend full of LA activities, lots of food and many hours staring (and smiling) at the baby.  

so excited to have no plans this weekend and get back into the kitchen!

What have you been up to lately?

guide to sayulita, mexico

When we returned from our vacation – bronzed and so relaxed – and everyone asked us how the trip was, I always responded with, “It was absolutely wonderful. Sayulita is kind of like LA, but in Mexico.” And I really do mean this in the nicest of ways. At times, I felt like there was more Mexican culture in LA, which was then confirmed by three things:

  • a recent trip to East LA
  • the churro man in Sayulita who told us he spoke more español in LA than he does in Sayulita
  • and the “market” with its organic greens and small batch kombucha, all complete with post-yoga lululemon ladies, coffee and yoga mat in hand

But in all truthfulness, we loved it. Richie and I would go back again (it was an easy three-hour flight from LAX) but I’m not sure the rest of my family would – they appreciate a more authentic experience. Though no matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for, I think it would be nearly impossible to have a bad time in Sayulita. Here are our favorite spots!

Sayulita Mexico | A Nutritionist Eats

Where to Eat in Sayulita: Let’s start with the food, shall we? We ate really, REALLY well in Sayulita.

Where to Eat in Sayulita | Guide to Sayulita, Mexico

ChocoBanana: A popular coffee and breakfast spot. I wasn’t blown away by the food, but grabbing a coffee before heading to the beach to watch the morning waves is recommended. (The chocobanana-flavored coffee drinks are good but sweet!)

Panino’s: A french-ish artisan bakery and cafe that’s a great spot for breakfast or lunch. (Also where I fell in love with mollettes!) They offer delicious coffee drinks and a wide array of breakfast sandwiches and baked goods.

Tacos y Mariscos: These fish tacos were some of the best I’ve ever had (shown left). This lunch spot served mostly seafood…I think, there aren’t really menus.

Cheyo’s Tacos: Tacos y Mariscos turns into Cheyo’s Tacos at night and are both worth a visit. We ordered rounds and rounds of tacos and they’ll grab you cold drinks from the neighboring store which I find absolutely charming.

Sayulita Mexico | A Nutritionist Eats

Burrito Revolution: Often described as “Gringo Burritos” I had read that this place was the place to go for burritos – gringo or not. And while the gringo description was spot-on, the burritos were amazing and everyone was a fan. We went twice during our trip.

Mary’s: This was one of my favorite spots for dinners – so good we went twice! The fish is fresh, flavorful and reasonably priced (around 120 pesos) for a large serving. Order the ajo (garlic) filet or the whole hauchinango, shown right.

Where to Drink in Sayulita: There was a great mix of bars for the spring break-type scene and more upscale spots with mixologist-type drinks and decent wine lists. Something for everyone!

Sayulita Mexico | A Nutritionist Eats

Bar Isla: This beach-side gem was a favorite of ours. It’s tiny and unassuming but they made a great margarita and there are plenty of hammocks for lounging. (By far my husband’s favorite!) It’s hidden in the trees!

Sayulita Public House: A cozy bar with a rooftop (and a great view of the “river”) that is just begging you to play corn hole or cards against humanity during happy hour.

Hostel: Is it legal to say that I love a hookah bar? I’m not sure. The restaurant/bar section of this hostel (literally named hostel) had kitschy decorations and tons of hookah options and the breakfast we had there was pretty good too! You’ll know just what I’m talking about when you walk by.

Hotel Hafa: This wine and margarita bar is connected to a hotel and I loved the vibe. They offer inventive and homemade margaritas that feature flavors like cucumber, chiles and fresh fruit and wine options that go beyond vino blanco o rojo.

Escondido: Another evening/more upscale place that had a great list of cocktails and decent wine selection. It’s perched on a corner of the main square. Competing bands from the bars down the street playing at the same time was our only complaint.

What to Do in Sayulita:

What To Do in Sayulita | A Nutritionist Eats

Playa de los Muertos: A smaller and less-popular beach that is just behind the cemetery (hence the name) and it’s quite stunning. It gets busy on the weekend with locals, so go during the week! The fish and shrimp skewers by a local vendor are amazing.

Yoga: Sayulita is a yoga-haven and you’ll be able to easily find classes offered. The studio at Hotelito Los Sueños was beautiful and they offer a lot of classes.

 Sayulita, Mexico | A Nutritionist Eats

Marieta Islands: You MUST do this! There are a few options on getting there, we went with a fishing boat instead of the catamaran option and I’m so glad we did. We saw a LOT sea life (stingrays, whales) on the way to the island and we were so close to the humpback whales that I was getting a little nervous. (Have you seen Blackfish?!) But then we made it to the protected island – which you have to swim to because the boats have to stay back – and it was just amazing. There are caves and a private beach. Go in the afternoon when it isn’t as busy with the big boats from Puerto Vallarta. Oh, and don’t be scared when you’re on the way home and the swells are so big you think the boat is going to capsize. Sip on some Pacifico and hold on tight.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding/Surfing: We made a big mistake and waited until our last full day to go stand-up paddle boarding and the waves were so big that the beach wasn’t safe for swimming so we weren’t able to go out. Now we’ll have to go in Marina Del Ray and pretend we’re in Sayulita. I’ve heard from others that the SUP-ing is awesome and its a great place to learn how to surf.

Sayulita Mexico | A Nutritionist Eats

Cooking Class: Since I’m obsessed with food, I tracked down Chef Daniel at Mexotik and we had an incredible time cooking, drinking and eating. We made Aztec Soup with Corn Dumplings, Mahi Mahi in Achiote Sauce with a Papaya Chutney, and an Avocado and Chocolate Mousse. All was absolutely delicious. 

Friday Market: If you love farmers markets, it’s worth checking out and if you’ve ever been to one in California, you’ll know what to expect. As “annoyed” as I was, we picked up some food for lunch (from the four locals with stands) and it was great. It was also a hilarious experience for me that makes it into most conversations about Sayulita.

Circo: The circus just happened to be in town during our stay, so obviously we had to go. It was a mix of slightly sad and slightly horrifying…but I’m glad we went.

Where to Shop in Sayulita: There are a ton of cute shops in Sayulita. I was on a mission to find revolucion del sueño but other than that, didn’t do much shopping other than the window variety.

Where to Shop in Sayulita | Guide to Sayulita, Mexico

Revolucion del Sueño: A really cool store. The vibe, the style, the white walls and bright colors – I loved it. They had a little something for everyone and we came home with some postcards, necklace and t-shirt. (You can buy online!)

Gypsy Galeria: This store also had a lot of eclectic Mexican folk-art and is a great place to pick up some inexpensive keepsakes and gifts.

Where to Stay in Sayulita: We stayed at an AirBnB house (which we heard there are lots of airbnb places) but there are a number of hotels, resorts, campgrounds and hostels. The house/AirBnB route was really nice because there were six of us and we had access to a kitchen (good for coffee and ceviche-making), wifi and a home base.

 

5 ways to get healthier

March is National Nutrition Month and while the activities on the eatright.org site leave a lot to be desired, I’m always game to talk nutrition!

Their theme this year is: Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right and I must say, it’s one that I can fully get behind. “Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another. While social, emotional and health factors also play a role, the foods people enjoy are likely the ones they eat most.” – eatright.org Ummmm, YES! Nutrition is a field based on science, but I’ve always thought that if it was strictly science, no one would be overweight or struggling with other nutrition-related diseases. We know that vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are healthy for us, but we still love pancakes, cheeseburgers and cupcakes. Food has got to taste good (and I think look good) to be satisfying.

And thankfully, it is possible to enjoy eating right and still enjoy the fun food. Part of “eating right” (in my opinion) is adding nutrition/health/wellness – instead of always focusing on what to remove – and it’s why I came up with my five favorite ways to get healthier. Most of us, no matter how healthy we are, have room for improvement when it comes to health. I know I do! Instead of grandiose plans to completely overhaul our diet and fitness, make some small improvements every day.

Download infographic here. (Made using piktochart <– affiliate link)