Friday, July 21, 2017

Blue Apron Meal Delivery Review (With Honesty + Deliciousness!)

An honest and personal food delivery service review of Blue Apron I listen to a lot of podcasts, and it feels like all of them are sponsored by Blue Apron. Intrigued by the idea of a ready-to-cook food delivery service, I decided to grab a trial run offer, and see what the hype was all about.

There were 2 minor hiccups right off the bat.

Honest Blue Apron Review from a Stay at Home Mom

One, I didn't realize I could change my meal options. I mean, I sort of did? But when I attempted to, it wasn't totally clear how I'd do that. So I felt like I got stuck with a meal or two I wasn't going to love.

And Two, there were no allergy-free options. You just got what you got. Thankfully our allergies are not of the life-threatening variety (in fact, they are not allergies at all - they're sensitivities.) So it was easy enough to make our meals gluten free (even if that did decrease the value of what we spent a little.)

Getting the box was kind of thrilling. I dunno, am I easily amused? Perhaps. But there was something novel about all of this random fresh yummy stuff in their adorable, perfectly measured out servings.


I mean this regal little egg in its own little carrying case, amiright?

The first thing I did was make the whole kit Gluten Free, and I took out everything made from wheat products.


I gave those things to family and made a note on what I'd need to replace them.

I was pumped to test drive this, so we picked a recipe to make that night. We went with a chicken tender recipe because it was the least out-there from our normal cooking.


So I pulled out the ingredients for this one, plus our GF replacements.




The recipe wasn't terribly difficult, but it was a little more complicated than I'm used to. There were a lot of steps - breading chicken is always an ordeal (plus there were two "extras"...a dip, and a dressing), and I would have made things in a different order than the recipe instructed me to. I could have made the dip and dressing ahead of time, and not had to deal with that extra mess and busy-ness. In fact, I burned the chicken a little bit while trying to get it all done in order!

However, it was GOOD. I loved the dip (like a lot!), and the dressing to add to the zucchini was so great! Everything was delish.



If it weren't for the mass of dishes and my exploded kitchen, I would have been over the moon with this! But really...it was a disaster area. It just wasn't an efficient process.

I was excited to try the other recipes, though, and I was totally jazzed about the new dip and chimichurri in my cooking repertoire.


The next meal was beef with sauteed peppers and a quinoa side that had zucchini, feta and olives in it. I'm not much of a beef fan, but this was really good, and I looooved the quinoa. It inspired me to get a little more creative with that as a side.

I was reeeally skeptical about our third recipe.

It had smoked fish as one of the ingredients to a salad that also included asparagus (which I like, but seem to fail at cooking every single time) and potatoes. Which, who doesn't like potatoes but...on a salad?


Well joke was on me, because this was amazing. I would have preferred more of a dressing, but it totally surprised me with how much I liked it. See? This is a total Blue Apron score...I neverrrr would have tried this otherwise.

So we finished our box, with great success, and because we were super busy over the following weeks, and also didn't really want to spend $60 a pop on meals that only fed me and my husband, I skipped as many weeks of deliveries as I could.

Truth time:

I totally thought I had another week or two before I had to make a decision...but we came back from our family vacation, totally oblivious, and I noticed a $60 charge on my account from Blue Apron. Doh! The worst part was, since I totally thought I had more time on my side, I didn't even get a chance to alter our recipe choices (which I'd figured out how to do since the last time), and one of the recipes being sent to us was a sandwich with bread we can't eat.

It was also a little annoying that there was no warning or reminder about it. Why no text or email to let me know my deliveries were starting again? Or that I had a day or two to edit my recipe choices?

I searched my inbox, and there was something in there from July 5th (a few days before my next shipment was scheduled). I was out of the country with almost no service, so it makes sense that I missed it, but even so! The subject of the email was "Next Week on Blue Apron" which would not have prompted me to think a shipment was coming my way (I'd gotten one of these every week that I'd skipped, too) and the first half of the email just showcased pictures of the upcoming recipes. It wasn't until the bottom that it reminded me of the deadline to make changes.

There should ABSOLUTELY be a reminder of your shipments picking back up after having skipped a week or weeks.

Fail, Blue Apron...big fail.

But I made lemonade out of of the situation (or, well, delicious recipes) and got excited about trying some new things again.

This entire meal - seared chicken breasts, rice with vinegar and golden raisins, a veggie mix, and fresh tomatillo salsa - was amazing. This is a prime example of where a heads up would have been nice, though...we don't eat corn normally.


It was a messy one, but it was insanely delicious. It disappeared quickly!

The next one also had to be altered since we can't eat wheat bread, and I feel as though the lack of a decent roll downgraded this meal a little bit. Not that it was bad by any means, but the only decent GF rolls around are from a bakery with few hours, so we didn't have time to properly replace them.

So we used run-of-the mills grocery store GF bread, and it turned out soggy and torn up, and the whole thing felt a bit greasy (though the sandwich filling was delicious.)

It was ugly, and unworthy of a picture ;)

The final meal in this box was steak with a spicy butter, parmesan roasted potatoes, and sauteed kale. I am not much of a beef fan, but we both really enjoyed this one.


After writing most of this post, I decided to explore the app even more deeply and see if there was a less expensive option to continue this service. Despite the added mess and expense, my husband and I were really enjoying trying new meals that we wouldn't have otherwise discovered, and having a few nights of meal planning off my shoulders was pretty great, too.

I discovered that you can get just 2 meals a week for a cheaper price, but after editing my options to reflect this...the app had turned the next week's shipment on. I didn't realize this, and it wasn't my intention. I had actually just started a 3-week fitness challenge and wanted all shipments delayed until after. Again, I was not notified...and ANOTHER unexpected box was charged and shipped to me.

Sigh.

However....I was pretty jazzed about the recipes we were getting. The first one was a Caribbean style chicken curry (we loooove curry), and not only was that part delicious, but the sides were, too. Who would have thought to make rice in coconut milk?? Not me, but holy delicious! And fried plantains?? (Which were actually roasted in the oven.) Delish! (This meal won the award for favorite of all the shipments!!)


We have actually not yet made the final recipe in that box (smoked gouda burgers - which sound amazing, and we will eat without the bun), but I feel as though we've had plenty (much more than expected!) experience with this service to really know how we feel about it.

So, overall? Here are my thoughts.

Pros:
-The $20 trial is nice and affordable.
-The food is delicious! Like, really delicious.
-The prepackaged portions are not only perfect, but kind of adorable, too.
-The new recipes and techniques I've picked up are great.
-I've gotten to try (and enjoy) things I normally wouldn't have chosen to.
-Everything was farm fresh, and in many cases, organic.
-Any meal delivery service takes the guess work out of meal planning at least a few nights a week.


Cons:
-The $60/week for 3 meals that serve 2 people is too much for us. It's a great deal if you compare it to dining out, but we don't do that very often, so it's actually more pricey for us considering we have to feed our 3 kids something else.
-There's no allergy adjustments. We live in a Gluten Free friendly world, baby, catch up!
-Making recipe changes isn't totally obvious.
-The reminders about shipment dates and change deadlines are not obvious/helpful enough.
-The time the recipes take and the messes they make are beyond normal, familiar cooking (tough for busy families.)
-The recipes don't mention anything that can be done ahead of time to make things easier, and the order is a little "off" for how I would do things efficiently.


Would I do it again? I would....but I don't know if I will.

I love the food, and I love how it takes a few days of meal planning off my plate (ha!), but it's a bit pricey and complicated to do every week. I'm still considering keeping a 2 meals/week shipment for the cheaper $45 price, but I wish the $60 for 3 meals covered my kids, too...that would be more worth it to me. Cooking a second meal at the same time adds to the busy and complicated nature of these meals.

By the way - I have two credits to give out for a free meal from Blue Apron, if you'd like one. Let me know...all I need is your name and email and I'll send it off! First come first served ;)

Or, click here to get 3 Meals Free on Your First Blue Apron Order!*
*affiliate link



This post contains affiliate links, though my review of this service is honest and based on a fully personal experience. Thank you for your support! xo
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1 comment:

  1. I did Blue Apron for years and generally liked it. But I recently switched to Green Chef and like it much more -- we do a Paleo version which is GF by design (I think). It's about the same price as Blue Apron, and it's way healthier.

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