Blue Apron Potluck Party

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Hey Cleveland, how’s your week going? Where did these cooler temps come from? I mean, I think we still have many a beach day left but the early morning chills feel like fall for sure. I pulled out a handful of sweatshirts and jeans last night just to have on hand these next few days. As you may know…I LOVE fall, fall fashion, fall food…it is honestly my favorite time of the year. However, for now we need to hold onto summer…so let’s bring back the warmer temps for the next few weeks and then slowly layer in those sweatshirts when it makes more sense…ahhh

Onto today’s story…My recent relationship with Blue Apron.

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Have you heard about the delivery meal service called Blue Apron? I feel like many of my Cleveland friends have been subscribing to this service for a handful of months and I am late to the game. After many evenings of coming home to “what are we making for dinner tonight?” I decided it was time to try it out. I got all signed up, choose my weekly delivery preferences and waited eagerly. When the first meal arrived I was thrilled to know exactly what we were having for dinner, amazing greek-inspired meatballs with a squash salad and garlic toasts, sounded delicious, right?

Well friends, after about an hour of cooking, ten different dirty pots and pans and a toddler running around wreaking havoc during what was supposed to be a relaxing, no-fuss meal prep evening, I decided maybe I am not the right buyer…not right now in the phase of life we are in. You see while many of my friends love the service because it is like having a date night in, I felt as if Mr. C. and I were almost more separated as I had to focus on the recipe rather than just whipping up a quick quesadilla or the like. We would take turns eating this slightly more fancy weeknight meal so one of us could eye on the roaming toddler and then there was the clean up…like I said before, I am currently not their audience. Honestly, I kinda was bumming about it as I kept hearing everyone rave about it but more so because I had ordered another week…now what???

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Enter my genius friends (and lovers of Blue Apron) and their idea to have a “Blue Apron POTLUCK PARTY” for 6 people!!! So Saturday night, I hauled over my box of goodies along with Mr. C, Baby Ninja and a few bottles of Rosé for an evening of prepping, cooking with friends and enjoying our feast on a rooftop patio. I have to say, it was the BEST way to use the meals, to have a great evening of exploring new recipes together and most importantly I now have a great new love of the service!

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We split up the three meals, each of us went to town prepping, chopping, sautéing and simmering. We stepped in to help one another when there were recipe questions or when I had to rock little fella to sleep (that is a whole process unto itself!) We tried our best to clean up as we went so our hostess with the mostess didn’t have a days worth of cleaning the next morning. The men folk pitched in and helped bring everything up onto the roof so we could all kick back and enjoy our cooking and summertime views of our city. Seriously ladies, that potluck was such a great idea! This might just be a new use for the Blue Apron service…packaged up potlucks…don’t you think?

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So, to those of you who may have struggled to find the beauty in this service…and even to those of you who LOVE it, this is adjust a creative new way to think about potlucks in general. So while I might not be the every-week type of customer, next time I’m thinking about a cooking party (or when Baby Ninja is going to college)…I might just sign myself up again. You never know? Cheers!

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Thanks to Danielle, Suzanne and our men friends for being willing to eat chicken, pork and fish in one sit down meal. And extra Thanks to Danielle for hosting our dinner party at her home. Love you both!

  a visit to Choolah

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Hey friends! Hope your week is panning out nicely and your plans for the weekend are shaping up to be filled with summer fun…it’s still summer!!!

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The other day we found ourselves on the east side around lunch. I had been wanting to check out the new indian barbecue hot spot; Choolah and so we decided to give it a go. The branding and well designed interiors were a welcome surprise as we entered the bustling restaurant. The space is filled with lots of natural light, amazing graphics, happy employees and an open concept kitchen where you can watch grills “Ennie, Meenie, Minne and Moe” cook your barbecue. So sweet.

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We all ordered similar things, a rice dish with either grilled lamb or chicken, complete with a piece of Nan bread and lots of spices and relishes. So yummy! We shared a sweet Mango Lassi drink to take down some of the spicy temps a notch or two. If we stop back some evening around dinner they also serve beer and wine, could be a fun spot to grab an early dinner with Baby Ninja & Mr. C some day. The food was excellent, the service supered, next time we are in the neighborhood we are for sure going back!

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Founded by the 5 (Indian) guys who founds 5 Guys Burgers & Fries, this Choolah location is the first of it’s type. Word on the street has it that they are expanding the concept to southern Ohio and to the Pittsburgh area this year, seriously so yummy! You should for sure check it out.

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Have a great rest of your day. Just a little reminder as our kiddos head back to school watch out for them at crosswalks, on buses and perhaps riding their spanking new bikes to and from school. Happy back-to-school PSA everybody.

  Lakewood Garden Center

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Hey Cleveland! How was your weekend? All good here. Finally finished planting some succulents and herbs…I mean it is almost Labor Day right? Nothing like waiting until the last minute. On a positive note, I guess what I mean to say is that it’s not too late to finish planting those summer pots and planters that you keep meaning to fill, get out and get gardening.

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To pick up my last-of-the-summer plants, flowers and soil I decided to swing into the super charming Lakewood Garden Center on Detroit Rd in Lakewood. The staff was very helpful and the selection of flora offered was super different from any of the other area garden centers. It was like I had discovered a tiny urban garden shop, it truly is delightful.

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I especially liked their pre-planted succulents gardens. If you are in need of a hostess gift or something for that person who has everything, these mini gardens are a complete package.

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So, if you are like me and are still holding onto planting for the summer, swing by the adorable Lakewood Garden Center and explore all that they have to help your green thumb flourish. Happy planting, happy summer to you!

  A family visit to the Cleveland Zoo

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Happy Friday everybody. TGIF right? We had such a busy week, I am looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with my boys. Do you guys have big plans? Summer weekends are the best!

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Last weekend we signed ourselves up for a fmialy membership at the Cleveland Zoo and boy was it a blast. Baby Ninja loved watching the elephants give themselves dust baths, he enjoyed a bit of a stare down with a baboon and I couldn’t take my eyes off the elegant and trés chic flamingos.

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I hadn’t been to the zoo in such a long time. Honestly the last time I think I can remember going to explore and play with the animals was during a Twilight at the Zoo event back in 1999. As a new parent, it was a great place to get out, do some walking, enjoy the birds and beasts and let’s not forget the people watching…incredible!

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Looking for something to do with your family this weekend? Don’t forget how cool the zoo can be. You’ll probably see us there from time to time and it might just be our new family hangout.

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  Jack Flaps

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A few weekends ago we found ourselves leisurely exploring downtown on a Sunday morning, that alone was awesome…and then it happened, we stumbled upon the new location of Jack Flaps, The Luncheonette in the 5th Street Arcade. Immediatley we were smitten.

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I had these amazing eggs with homemade sausage, a spicy green salsa and jalepeno’s. Add my bottomless cup of Rising Star coffee and it seriously made for the best surprise brunch I’ve had in months.

IMG_3753IMG_3747So, the moral of this little story is if you are looking for a great brunch with amazing architectural views of the historical arcade than look no further to the new-er “Luncheonette” by team Jack Flaps!