My Love For Meal Deliveries

I know I’ve written about Blue Apron on here a couple of times. I think we originally signed up for it over two years ago or something. I still love it. (Also they deliver wine!) But there are a whole host of companies that do similar meal/recipe deliveries now. And I think I’ve tried most that deliver to the Seattle area.

Blue Apron seems like the originator, or at least the first one I remember, but we’ve also tried HelloFresh, Plated, SunBasket and MarleySpoon. They’re all basically slight variations on the same thing. HelloFresh and Plated were boring enough for me to cancel after the first week, but here’s a few thoughts on the others.

Blue Apron was the first one I tried. I like it a lot, but it’s not perfect. A few of their meals seem complicated for the sake of appearing more complicated. I think that’s because their original mission was to teach chef’s skills to home cooks, but I feel like I already know how to cook so I guess I don’t appreciate that aspect of it.  Also I don’t love that you have to be an omnivore, pescatarian, or vegetarian. They have six meals per week but you can’t just choose which three you want. I like choices! But I think BA is the most reliable for us in terms of recipe time estimated and us enjoying the meals. A friend of mine has mentioned their recipes can get a bit repetitive sometimes, and I suppose that’s true, but I guess I don’t really mind or even notice that much because my own dinner creativity went out the window a long time ago. So as long as I don’t have to think about what we should eat for the week, I’m happy to let Blue Apron send me as many tacos as they want.

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These spiced pork tacos with crema and eloté were easy and delicious. The cheesy stuffed peppers we got two weeks ago were also easy but a bit boring.

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SunBasket is, I think, only available on the west coast and I think the big advantage I’ve noticed with it over Blue Apron is that it has more options for specific diets – in addition to vegetarian they also have paleo, gluten free, soy free, etc., which seems helpful for a lot of people. My biggest complaint is that I definitely thought their meals were a bit more boring. But that probably depends on your specific tastes.

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Above: Seared Salmon with Lemongrass-Coconut Curry and below: Seared Steak with Arugula Pesto.

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SunBasket tends to pre-make all the sauces and such. So while Blue Apron might send you the ingredients to make the arugula pesto, SunBasket just sends you a container of the pesto already made, which makes the recipes quick and easy but also less interesting to me.

Marley Spoon (this is the weirdest named one) is one we just tried for the first time a couple weeks ago. Some of the meals have been hits, but some have definitely not. I feel like Marley Spoon, in my opinion, has recipes that are the closest to what most busy people want to cook. There are a lot of one-dish meals and super easy assembly.

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This pita pizza? So meh. It was more like an after school snack. These enchiladas though? Lick the pan-worthy. So I’m willing to give it a few more tries.

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The other food kit we get is our monthly Foodstirs kit, which Cormac and I both have fun with. Yesterday, with record high temperatures, I decided we should lock ourselves in the playroom in front of the portable AC and have a movie day. To accompany our movies, we dove into our Foodstirs popcorn cupcake kit.

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I thought these were adorable and definitely not something I would have thought of on my own.

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Cormac loved them, obviously. Total win.

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But seriously, maybe I’m just not a bargain shopper when it comes to groceries (Brent will totally be the first to make that claim), but at this point in my life, going to the store for dinner ingredients will nearly always cost more than $20. And that’s just if I make it to the store with these two crazy boys running me ragged! I love the convenience and the not having to come up with what’s for dinner aspect of it, but I like actually cooking, so for us the meal delivery kit idea is a winner. Especially since we have virtually no delivery options over here in Issaquah.

Oh, and Blue Apron and Marley Spoon both allow me to give free trial weeks to friends and family, so let me know if you’re interested in trying one of these services!

Making Progress

You guys, Cormac had such an awesome day in occupational therapy yesterday! Oh man, it was the kind of session that made me think, “Yes! Maybe we’re doing this thing right!” Right, of course just meaning right for us, or maybe even just right for right now. But nonetheless, it made me so happy and hopeful and PROUD!

I’ve mentioned before that we spend a lot of time schlepping to and from therapies, which isn’t all that great, but it isn’t always the drag I make it out to be. Cormac gets genuinely really excited when I tell him it’s time to go play with Miss Toddie (speech) or Miss Su (OT).

He’s been working with Miss Toddie since March. His goals in speech therapy are much of what most of us take for granted – focusing on social interactions, like greeting people, and making eye contact (so hard for him!). A lot of that includes just building a rapport with him – which means they definitely spend some time at the beginning of session comparing Pokemon.

She’s really great about being silly with him and getting him comfortable, and she’s always able to make him laugh.

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They usually do a lot of play based activities, while she asks Cormac opened ended questions about what he’s doing to encourage him to talk more. Last week he decided they were baking “yummy Pokemon cookies” with the play dough.

And Cormac also likes playing games, like identify the animal sound bingo.

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He’s gotten so comfortable with the office and the staff, that he has started interacting with the kids there (we usually see the same families that have their appointments before Cormac’s every week). It’s been great to see him enjoying his time there and then actually see it translate to a lot more talking at home and in public social situations!

At his birthday party last week, he was super social (for him) and asked a couple of his friends directly if they wanted to play with him. Yay! And to see him actually greeting his friends spontaneously and smiling and making eye contact with people has been great. He’s also started even talking more to my family on Skype, which I know makes them happy. He’s also going to start a social skills speech therapy group in September, so I’m sure he’ll really progress in social interactions with his peers.

In occupational therapy (probably Cormac’s current favorite weekly activity), he works on core strengthening, and some basic skills like ball catching and throwing, and grasp strength and coordination for writing and using scissors. At the beginning of every session Miss Su has him do full body balance and strength activities like climbing around in these Lycra hammocks hanging from the ceiling, or propping himself up on his belly while swinging.

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The pic above does not adequately capture the joy Cormac has while climbing and rolling around in that bouncy fabric.

That board swing above swings back and forth while Cormac tries to keep his balance while doing activities like racing cars or assembling puzzles. I think the practice is really showing up in his everyday life. He’s able to swing on the big kid swings (mostly) by himself now, where he had previously kind of just fallen backwards off of them when he tried.

The second half of his weekly OT session is usually focused on fine motor skills like writing and cutting. He’s made so much progress in this in the past month!

I’ve started trying to reinforce it by having him practice at home – he helped make a birthday banner for Brent by tracing all the letters, and I think he’s improved a ton!

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He’s also gone from just yelling and getting frustrated at even trying to get his fingers into the scissors to just yesterday being able to cut across an entire sheet of paper! Ahh! Such a small thing, but I know he had to focus and try really hard to make it happen. I really wish I had a photo I could frame and stick on my wall of the super proud face he made. It was so fun to have a big cheer session with the staff when he did it for the first time!

I love how much Cormac seems to enjoy spending time with his therapists, and I love how excited they get for him when he’s able to do something new for the first time or I let them know we’re seeing big results at home. I’m getting a little bit nervous about him starting school in September, but I’m so hopeful he’ll keep blossoming the way he has so far. Seeing him grow and act generally happier has definitely started making this whole transition easier on me too. I still get caught up on how bummed I am we are further from friends, or how much I miss our old neighborhood, but I’m really able to see what a big improvement I think this will be for the boys.