Becoming Rachel Ray

Not everyone is a [insert favorite chef] in the kitchen. John and I often joke that if I lived on my own I would probably starve to death or survive off of Chinese food – preferably Merry Land. Despite loving food like it’s my favorite hobby, my fridge usually holds condiments and liquids rather than food itself.

It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s that I despise the act of cooking. The idea of cooking reminds me of a 1950s housewife and that doesn’t fly in this household. I’m all about equal rights for men to express themselves artistically in the kitchen. As I sit on a throne. Drinking a glass of wine. We all have our fantasies.

Months back, my doll of a friend, Sarah, offered me a week of free meals from a website called Blue Apron (click to see website). Blue Apron packages the supplies and directions necessary to create three fabulously impressive meals. Though I was initially apprehensive to the idea, I’ll try anything that’s free. What did I have to lose? Worst case scenario: I make a horrific meal, I throw it out and call up Merry Land. Have the number ready to dial and everything. Sesame chicken emergency option.

It turns out I am stellar at following directions because I made some banging meals. Meals good enough that I continued my account through Blue Apron- now, it’s not cheap, but it’s definitely less expensive than a night out on the town. Three meals are sent each week totaling out to $60, or $10 per person per meal. Each week you can choose to accept the order or decline the order for the week. If you are like me you will possibly forget to cancel a week and find an order on your doorstep like I did yesterday.

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And now my fridge looks a little more like I’m 26 and less like I’m 18!

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And I get a little street credit from my boyfriend- we were so excited to dig into the stuffed poblano peppers last night that I forgot to take a picture after they looked perfectly plated.

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So, now that I’ve spent enough money (unintentionally forgetting to cancel weeks) I get free meals to give to friends! Two meals have already been given away, but I have one left. I’m looking to pay it forward to one of my readers that are interested and will genuinely use it only- I want to hear about what you cooked! Background on the website- You do have to put in credit card information into the website so after you get your free week they can begin sending you meals- meals which you can choose to cancel, or you can cancel altogether if you are not satisfied. I chose to continue to use Blue Apron, most weeks I do not select. I have received three weeks worth of meals in the months that I have been signed up for it.

So, friends! Let me know – take one week free from me! Tell me why you want it… Are you also a delivery only person that survives on ketchup and mustard? Are you a world class cook that wants to see what this is all about?! Leave a solid comment and it’s yours!

Gifts for a Badass

People always want to know the level of Jew you are when you’re Jewish.

Real life questions I’ve received: so, does your dad have curls on his head.
Real life answer: roll my eyes.

While we weren’t the most religious part of the tribe, my family was never Hanukkah Bush Jews, meaning, we didn’t decorate for Christmas or exchange gifts, and there was never a Santa in my household. Or a Hanukkah Harry if you were curious. In actuality, we loved being stereotypical Jews on christmas- hang out, get Chinese food, and see a movie.

Now, as a Jewish girl in a predominantly Irish / Italian catholic town, you would think I would stick out like poor old Rudolph, but unlike Rudolph I never needed to cover up my true identity. What I’m saying is, I was invited to play the reindeer games! Lucky me! I spent quite a few christmas eve’s with my best friends family enjoying the most delicious foods you have ever tasted and spending quality time with wonderful people. I think they were prepping me for my pseudo Christian life in the future. Everyone knew it was bound to happen that I would wind up with a nice Christian boy. Even in the Jewish pre school I went to, the only boy I wanted to play with was Hunter, the only little Christian boy in class. Thank you for just trying to prepare me for my future of christmas dinners, a Christmas tree (even though I am totally calling it a Hanukkah bush), and misleading my unborn children about that guy in the red suit- don’t get preachy on me about that statement, folks. Its my blog. I will offend Santa if I want to. Now I spend the holiday with John’s clan but those memories are always so special to me.

On Christmas Eve we go out to dinner at a place we go to every year. This meant that unlike Christmas morning where no makeup and pajamas suffice, I had to get ready.

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My big decision for Christmas Eve. What color, what color? When your most challenging decision of the day is lipstick, it’s going to be a damn good day!

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Lipstick decided. Fur is fake.

We met up with family and friends and had a table going with thirteen people. We laughed, ate, fought over politics, and possibly offended nearby patrons of the restaurant- it was a great time.

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John and I headed home to exchange gifts with each other. As a girl who loves bling I have to admit that I requested no jewelry- true statement. And he held to it and bought me gifts that any person that has a blog about running and staying active would want. A nike fuel band! A package for kick boxing! An SD card for my new camera! He’s the best! Athletic gear is a girls best friend! And boxing gloves – with a special note attached if you saw my previous post. For John, I got him new running sneakers and snowboarding gloves. An active couple? Us? Not one year ago.

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I immediately sat down at the computer and set up my new toy- the fuel band. The fuel band measures and tracks your daily activity as you set up goals. So I got some kind of jewelry. I will do a full review on it next week I want to see how it works this week. We tucked in early and got ready for Christmas Day.

I love christmas morning because it means no fuss. I showered, threw my hair up in a wet bun, put on my casual clothes that could simultaneously look cute and fit an expanding waistline, and headed over to John’s family’s home for French toast and eggnog with an extra special treat in it. After filling our bellies we sat around to unwrap gifts prior to heading over to our next location for Christmas dinner.

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Of course he gets the crock pot. No one trusts me with cooking devices. He also got truffle oil! Cooking time!

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I know this season can be a huge challenge despite the message it brings with it. As much as we adore our family, the pressures of running around, cooking, cleaning, and purchasing can take a toll on us. And as much as we adore our family, they can drive us crazy and they usually do. More crazy than we knew was possible. But I love family. And that’s why I’ve always loved Christmas. And clearly it’s not a religious holiday for me, and I understand that for many it is, but I love the message. I love love, and I love family, and I love togetherness. Isn’t that what this season is all about? That and food. Love, food, happiness, togetherness, and family. It doesn’t matter what religion you were born into, you can appreciate those things.

Happy holidays everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas- I know I did.