Plan #19 – Host a dinner party

Blue Apron

I just realized I have not written a single thing about Blue Apron since I started doing it this summer.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, Blue Apron is a company that sends you a refrigerated box filled with everything you need to cook two fabulous meals (including the farm-fresh, pre-portioned ingredients), as well as the recipes to go with them. Katie Bower had written a few sponsored blog posts about Blue Apron (how does one get sponsorships like that?! This is definitely not sponsored in any way…) but I hadn’t paid much attention because I DON’T KNOW HOW TO COOK. So there wasn’t much point, right?

Ah, but then she wrote a post about how Blue Apron’s recipes were so easy, even her husband could cook them.  That put a whole different spin on things. A non-cook could do this? Hmmm… Maybe I should give it a try. I signed up for the meals-for-four plan, where they send you two boxes a week, just to give it a try.

Oh. My. Gosh.

You guys, it was like going to cooking school. The recipe cards break down every single step so clearly (and you can go to their website or phone app to watch videos of the steps if you want more clarification). They even teach you how to time things so they come out together. Imagine that! Your main dish, side dish and salad course all ready at once?! For me, that would be a miracle. I mean, Lori + cooking = smoke alarm, most of the time, since the timing thing is soooooo hard for me.

But take away the stress of meal planning, the stress of shopping, the stress of not having skills, the stress of not knowing what to do when, and suddenly I am a whiz in the kitchen. You wouldn’t believe me now, with the chopping and the coordination and the making salad dressings from scratch. I am amazing.

Right this second I am on a Blue Apron hiatus as we actually got backed up on food because a) their portion sizes are generous, and b) we were getting the meals for four, and there are only three of us. (I planned one to be a next-day lunch for David.) Taking a break is no problem, either. I just go into the app and click “Skip This Delivery” and – bam! – it is skipped.

I was wishing I hadn’t skipped this week, though, when Q unexpectedly had three friends over (my little Hannah plus two newbies) and I invited them to stay for dinner. We didn’t have the ingredients for a proper meal in the house, but I knew we could make pasta, so I ran to get salad makings, some garlic bread, and something for dessert.

It wasn’t a fancy menu. What was cool, though, was that I made a separate vegetarian pasta sauce (complete with fresh sauteed veggies) from scratch.  Scratch, mind you. Because that’s how fancy I am. Pasta, two different sauces (meat and vegetarian), Caesar salad, and garlic bread, with pie and ice cream for dessert. We all ate our fill, everyone liked the food, and we hung out and swapped embarrassing childhood stories. I got tons of compliments from the kids about the food. It just made me happy to be able to serve a meal to strangers and friends and have it go well. The vast majority of my stories about entertaining end badly.

(To be completely honest, I did leave the garlic bread under the broiler a little too long, and I had to scrape off the burnt parts. But it was still good, and I was able to laugh at it. Just as I am laughing at myself now: I just fell asleep with my hands on the keyboard and typed “m” a thousand times. Apparently I need to get even more sleep! Good night!)

First #healthy #food delivery from Blue Apron. All locally grown. #learningtocook #chef #gettingmyeaton#supportsmallbusiness  by Jon Lee Clark / CC BY

Plan #12 – Make time for friends

I’ve become something of a hermit over the past few years.

This is entirely my own fault. I have been spending the bulk of my time doing two things, both seemingly worthwhile: getting rest when I need it, and catching up on all the chores I ought to have done when I’ve been resting. This makes for a pretty monotonous and stressful life.

My health is a reason for not getting out more, but it should not be an excuse. I can choose – anytime I want – to use my energy to see people and have fun. Yes, the chores will pile up a bit, but they are piling up anyway, and I’m not getting any enjoyment out of it!

So today, on my day off, I didn’t clean my house. I didn’t sort all the piles of stuff in my bedroom that need to be sorted. I didn’t pay a single bill. I didn’t take a nap, and I didn’t go in to work for the day as I was tempted to do since I was home sick on Tuesday. (Disclaimer: I actually did go in to work, but that was only because Ina called to tell me that someone sent me flowers. I couldn’t let them sit there until next Tuesday!)

What did I do instead? Continue reading “Plan #12 – Make time for friends”

Plan #5 – Play more games

Some of you might be aware that David likes to play board games.

Yeah, I know – that might be the understatement of the year. He loves games. For the past eight or nine years, he has been in regular weekly game groups (something that I support and encourage, in case anyone wonders). Since school started this year, though, he has hardly played games at all. His friend Kevin, who has been hosting on a weekly basis for ages, hasn’t started back up this fall, and David – who usually hosts a couple of times a month – hadn’t scheduled anything this school year either.

Games here

Tonight, though, we had games over here! And – miracle of miracles – I actually played TWO GAMES. They needed a fourth for the first game, High Society, and then our friend Rachel lured me in to the next one by pulling out a word game. (She knows my game preferences well.)

Codenames

It was cool. More of a word-association game than anything, really. I am in love and want it for my birthday or Christmas, but naturally it is out of print. (Of course, as our friend Ben commented, “out of print” has never kept David from getting a game.)

Codenames cards

Lessons learned tonight: Be open to playing games on game nights. Do fun things with David. Enjoy the friends who come over. Get Thai food. Make the effort. Don’t just hole up in the bedroom doing boring paperwork or cleaning or reading fan fiction. Be present.

In completely unrelated news, I got to go to the incredibly fun Blazer game last night, where we crushed the Memphis Grizzlies and were just plain awesome in almost every way. I say “almost” because I don’t like the sleeved jerseys. (Except perhaps on Meyers Leonard.) One million thanks to our friend Jon for taking me along!

PORvsMEM

The team that was predicted to be the worst in the NBA after losing four starters is now on top of the Northwest Division. Ha! RIP CITY, BABY! Go Blazers!