Blue Apron.

Earl and I are a couple of busy guys. I like to think of us as a “Power Couple”, however, neither of us wear “Power Pearls”, which many of the women I worked with did back in the 1980s.

Even though I work from home, I don’t have a lot of time to devote to meal preparation. Earl is rarely in the mood to cook a gourmet meal after ten or so hours at the office. In the past, we’ve ended up eating a lot, which hit our budget quite hard and hit our waist lines even harder.

Enter Blue Apron. We subscribed to the service back in January and have been thoroughly pleased with the experience.

If you’re not familiar with Blue Apron, here’s how it works. Earl chooses three meals for a menu presented at each week. Blue Apron recommends the three meals based on our profile. Every Thursday morning we get a box with all the ingredients, pre-measured but not fully prepared, for the three meals we have selected. They include everything. If you need a tablespoon of sugar, there’s a little bag with a tablespoon of sugar.

Each meal is outlined on a recipe card, complete with projected preparation time, cooking time and the like. The recipes are wicked easy to follow and so far the results have been absolutely delicious. One of the best things about this arrangement is that the meals are between 500 and 800 calories per serving. That’s a heck of a lot less than what we would eat at a restaurant, but the portions are a hearty size and enjoyable.

One of the things that I have really enjoyed is the time Earl and I are spending together in the kitchen preparing the meals. It gives me a chance to improve my cooking skills, it is yet another opportunity for the two of us to spend time together and in the old American tradition, we are able to enjoy a nice little family supper at home with relative ease (though with Jamie in Chicago, the entire family isn’t here at the moment).

The meals feature things that we wouldn’t normally eat. Last night we had Triple Pork Mazemen, which was as fun to prepare and eat as it was to pronounce.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your home meal time experience, I highly suggest Blue Apron. The cost is reasonable (around $20 per meal for the two of us), the food is delicious and together time is always a good time.

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Fat.

While I was in Greenville for work I ran into a former co-worker who now works for the same company that I do. Life works out that way. We shook hands and hugged on the street of the beautiful downtown area and then he commented on the fact that I had gained weight. Apparently it made him do a double-take.

I hadn’t gone on a bike ride since before my surgery during the first week of July; the comment about my weight inspired me to get back on my bike this morning. I enjoyed a nice 13 mile bike ride through the local SUNY campus and around the quiet streets of suburbia. I feel good after my bike ride and I’m planning on finding the stamina to get back into my routine this week. Hopefully my body will cooperate and not go all wonky in my sensitive parts. I’m determined to not have that surgery ever again.

On the road for work this past week I discovered that it’s nearly impossible to eat healthy at most restaurants scattered throughout this fine country of ours. Portions are gigantic and I always give into the temptation to clean my plate. Whenever I watch one of those foolish food competition programs, where the judge eats one spoonful of a gorgeous plate of food, I want to slap the taster right across the face and/or throw a living room lamp. The waste of delicious food, right there in technicolor.

I hate to admit it but the comment about my weight gain stung a bit. I’d like to think that I fit into the growing popularity of the “Dad Bod”, but to label myself in such a way would be silly since I’ve never really been that fit in my life. Yeah, I can put a thousand or so miles on my bike during a riding season, but I’ve never been one to be that muscular; I’d rather throw the aforementioned lamp instead of hurling a Volkswagen or something.

Nevertheless, I’m going to try for the bajillionth time to eat healthy again. The trend should last a day or two until I start reading another article about the acceptance of the Dad Bod.

Rationalization is beautiful.

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Cake.

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In the mood for a dessert I went through the cupboards to see if Old Mother Hubbard was there holding a cake mix. Though the frosting had expired long before healthcare.gov went south the cake mix was still valid for six days. What could go wrong? Right?

So it’s a carrot cake mix and one of the required ingredients is a cup of carrots. Who keeps carrots in their house on a Thursday night? We certainly don’t and it’s all because we can see things in the dark.

I’m rambling.

Anyways, no carrots but we did have tomato soup in the house and I remember a woman named Peggy that I used to work with saying something about tomato soup and carrots and I thought “whoo-hoo!” I bet a can of condensed tomato soup is the same as a cup of carrots. So I dumped in the mix and then added the two eggs and the can of soup. But the recipe called for water and condensed soup called for water, so I decided to be crazy and I added a 1/2 cup of water instead of the full cup. This made the batter into tomato soup. Ugh. So I added unbleached wheat flour because we didn’t have anything else that resembled flour. Then I figured the flour would be kind of bland so I threw in some nutmeg. Because I think in metric (we were going to switch when I was in elementary school!), I’m pretty sure that I didn’t add a hectare of nutmeg. It was a healthy amount but I didn’t sneeze because I was sure that pepper was not in the question.

The cake batter started looking like cake batter again so I mixed it up good, put it in the greased cake pan and baked this slight foray into experimental cuisine. 50 minutes later, voila! It was time for the big test.

Earl tried the cake. I tried the cake. And it turned out to be quite delicious. We now have a little dessert for the weekend.

Tomato soup cake. Excitement for an otherwise boring Thursday night.

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Good Start.

I was a little groggy this morning as I stumbled around the house getting ready for my day.  I had just jumped on the scale, and while my weight went up, my BMI went down quite a bit. I’m a bit of a gambler, I can negotiate numbers when I need to. The most important thing is I’m feeling good and that’s what matters. Maybe my grogginess kept me from drop kicking the scale.

When I opened the refrigerator to start breakfast assembly, I instantly noticed that Earl had already prepared my lunch for the day.

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It was delicious. 🙂

Satisfries.

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Last night I was watching the evening news when Brian Williams announced a “major fast-food industry break through, after the break.” I was intrigued enough to sit through commercials and see what was involved with this major breakthrough.

Yesterday, Burger King restaurants across the United States began selling “Satisfries”. As a new addition to their menu, Satisfries are touted as a healthier alternative to the traditional french fries that remain on Burger King’s menu.

Burger King won’t divulge what changes they made to the recipe that makes these fries, but the did tell that they use the same potatoes, cut to the same size as the traditional offerings and that they use the same oil to fry the Satisfries. There’s something different about the batter, apparently they’ve shifted ratio of ingredients around a bit, and the result is the batter is thinner and it doesn’t hold as much oil.

The result? 30% less fat and 20% less calories than BK’s regular fries.

While I am trying really hard to avoid fast food and, for that matter, fried food, I must admit that I am probably intrigued enough to give these Satisfries a try this weekend. At first I was going to avoid these things at all cost, as I was certain that there were secret ingredients like O-Lean (Olestra) involved and I certainly don’t want to relive the experimental no-fat Lays incident of 1995.

Burger King has been at this new recipe for a decade. I figure if I don’t feel satisfied with Satisfries, I can feed them to the seagulls that seem to be always hanging around at BK.

Source information from USA Today.

Tayto.

So all of a sudden I am having a really strong craving for Tayto crisps. I haven’t had these in a very long time and when I did enjoy these delightful crisps, it was only on one occasion at a convenience station somewhere near Limerick.

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So now I am on a mission to find a case of Taytoes (or is it Taytos?) here in the United States. Unless a gentle reader from Ireland would like to help a fine lad out.

One ironic thing about this sudden craving is that apparently the Tayto people recently announced a Tayto chocolate bar!

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I am very intrigued by this and am eager to try it. Even if we have to fly to Ireland to do so. (That might get a bit pricey, though).

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Lunch.

Must husband made me a salad for lunch today. There is much rejoicing.

Yes, I’m one of those geeks that uses the Internet to share what he had for lunch.

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Bread.


We had polished off what was left of the cookies. The box of Reduced Fat Wheat Thins? Yeah, that was history. There wasn’t a bag of Doritos or pretzels or even a vat of Heluva Good French Onion Dip to be found in the house. This is what happens when you skip a week of grocery shopping. However, all of this being said, I was still in the mood for a treat. More specifically, I was in the mood for scent of a treat, I didn’t know if I’d eat it or not, but I needed to be stimulated in a culinary way.

Looking through the cupboards I found a bottle of Beer Bread Mix I had picked up on a whim at a local card shop a while back. Now that I think about it, I don’t know why the Hallmark shop was carrying Beer Bread Mix (maybe the clerks needed an occasional pick me up) but nevertheless it had caught my eye so I had bought it and then stored it for a special occasion.

Last night was that special occasion.

Finding the beer to go into the beer bread was not an issue. I like beer. I swore off alcohol for quite a while a few years ago, mainly because I was getting drunk on some really cheap swill and doing things like making an ass of myself in public (or grabbing ass inappropriately, but that’s a different story), but I have been responsibly trying some better beers for a little while now and we have a good selection to choose from in the fridge.

We may be out of groceries but we are not out of beer.

I decided to go with the Lake Placid IPA (India Pale Ale) as my beer of choice for this little beer bread mix I had. The instructions were simple, mix the beer with the mix and bake it for 60 minutes at 350F.

Done.

The need to smell something cooking was easily satisfied, the bread tasted delicious. I had a small piece before bed last night (and I shared some with my husband, who commented that it was good). I just had a slice with some tunafish for my lunch.

It might not be the healthiest bread in the world, and after all, what bread is really healthy, but I rode the bike this morning and all of my clothes are too big so I feel comfortable risking the beer bread at lunch time.

And who knows, maybe that’ll give my afternoon just a touch of the kick it needs.

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Chobani.

So I have been eating more yogurt. This is an attempt to get a little healthier in my eating ways and for the most part I think it’s helping.

Now, I’m not eating that stuff that Jamie Lee Curtis talks about incessantly on those ads because quite frankly, that stuff comes very, very close to the unfortunate incident I had with a tree on the Thruway due to eating some fat-free concoction called “Olestra” back in 1995. I’m sure Jamie Lee Curtis is a very nice woman but that is some very evil stuff she’s always saying is so great.

My yogurt of choice is made by Chobani.

Chobani is Greek yogurt and it comes in a variety of flavors and low-fat and non-fat varieties. I always opt for the non-fat variety and I try to vary the flavor selection as much as possible. Today I tried the “Blood Orange” flavor for the first time and I have to admit that it’s not my favorite. It’s not awful but I don’t know that I’ll go out of my way to enjoy another serving of this particular variety. I tend to like the vanilla flavor the best. Perhaps my tastes are bland.

The last time I was in North Carolina I noticed that there was a wider variety of flavors of Chobani available down there versus what we have here in Central New York. Honestly, I find this kind of odd, because Chobani is made not that far from here. The founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, bought an old Kraft plant in New Berlin, New York back in 2007 and started producing Chobani. I’ve been by the plant on numerous occasions both by car and by bike. It’s growing by leaps and bounds and is kind of in the middle of nowhere. I think that’s neat. So I feel good about supporting the local economy by choosing Chobani.

I just have to prioritize my flavor selection better.