After hearing about Blue Apron (and the many other meal-delivery services out there), I finally decided to try it. I picked Blue Apron because I had a discount code for three 2-person meals for $19.99 ($59.00 regularly) and because I've been in a recipe rut and hate grocery shopping. Note: this is not a sponsored review, just my honest opinion in case you were curious about these meals. Friday my first box of food got delivered in a large box filled with ice packs to keep the food cold. I wasn't home at the time but Jordan unpacked it all and put everything away, so it was in the fridge when I got home. They sent three recipe cards, along with labeled ingredients, indicating what goes with which recipe. Last night I decided to make the Basque-Style Cod. On the back side of the recipe card, there are step-by-step instructions on how to cook the meal. I followed it as I would a normal recipe, it was super easy. If you have any basic cooking knowledge at all, it will be be a breeze. The grain in this recipe was freekeh, something I had never heard of before. Similar to farro, it is an ancient grain made from durum wheat. Freekeh is a good source of protein and fiber, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important for eye health. It is also great for the gut--it's a prebiotic that can increase the healthy bacteria in your intestines which improves digestion. While the freekeh was cooking, I chopped up the pepper, onion, garlic. Unfortunately when chopping the pepper I found some mold inside. Yikes! But I actually had some peppers in the fridge so I didn't have to miss out on that ingredient. I took a picture of the mold and immediately emailed Blue Apron. They responded quickly and provided me with a $9.99 discount on my next delivery. That was pretty awesome of them! Next I made the parsley and almond relish. The directions said to chop it up into a paste-like consistency, which I found difficult to do with a knife, so I threw it in my food processor to get the appropriate texture. The relish called for olive oil, but I didn't have any on hand (that's one of the few ingredients they don't give you, along with salt and pepper), so I used almond oil instead! Then I made the sauce, cooking the onions, garlic and pepper, adding in the vinegar, spices they provided, and oil. It called for olive oil and since I was out, I used avocado oil instead. It came out great! Next I added the can of tomatoes they provided. Then I quickly cooked the cod with a little bit of salt and pepper. In about 45 minutes, the meal was complete! The verdict: it was delicious! The flavors were bright and everything was very fresh. The meal served two very generous portions. I plated them both and put one in the fridge for Jordan and enjoyed mine for dinner. Overall, I was really happy with my first Blue Apron meal! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to cook and wants to try new recipes but hates shopping for random ingredients.
I meant to publish this post a few weeks back, but time got away from me! I wanted to do a quick review of the gear I used during our trip this past July. Here is what I loved. I was on on the fence about getting new hiking shoes just for this trip, but I am SO glad I did. My usual hiking boots are big, clunky and hot. These Salomons were perfect for this trip. Most of the hikes we did were on well-worn paths. Some were on Utah's slickrock trails. Since it was so dry, I had no problem in these shoes. They were comfortable and supportive and did not weigh me down! hike in Muir Woods. It is now my go-to outer layer when out and about! Hiking in a skirt is not something I thought I'd ever do, but this one was so comfortable, I decided to try it (It was toward the end of the trip and was low on clean laundry...) So, not only did this skirt serve its purpose for going out to dinner in the evenings, I hiked it in it to Delicate Arch--a 3.2 mile hike in Arches National Park. Disclaimer: I am a tasc performance brand ambassador! tasc provided me with clothing in exchange for my review and social media posts. All opinions are still my own, though! Everything else I purchased. 🙂
I have some exciting news! I was recently selected to be a brand ambassador for tasc Performance! Some of you may have heard of tasc before. They are a New Orleans based company that uses a bamboo-organic cotton blend in their workout clothing. This clothing has all of the same features of traditional performance clothing-- moisture wicking, anti-odor and UPF protection. Also-they use no chemicals on their fabrics. Their bamboo source is Forest Stewardship Council certified as organic. And the biggest difference I've noticed--the clothes are so soft and comfy. I received the Northstar Fleece, which has to be one of the most cozy tops I own! I can't wait to wear it on my next hike or run. I really like the long length, the soft fleece lining and the fact that is has thumbholes with fold over mittens! This will be perfect for marathon training this winter. I also got the infinity scarf. I love the pop of color it adds to my outfit and that it's lightweight, which will be perfect for the spring-like weather we've been having lately. I'm also wearing the performance headband, which I wore last night to bootcamp. It stayed in place the whole time--which is a deal breaker for me when it comes to headbands. I also opted for the district pant, since I don't own any loose fitting casual pants like this. I love the rouching on the side and the fact that there are cords on the legs that make the hem adjustable. They have a wide, comfortable waistband, and are flattering all round. Love them! I am really pumped to be a brand ambassador for tasc. They have a motto that I can really get behind, Freedom to Pursue the Adventure of Life, because as you know, I love adventure! My biggest passion in life is spending time outdoors and living life to the fullest, whether it be knocking off some more of the 46 high peaks or mountain biking in Vermont. What adventures are you going to be taking on in 2016? Stay tuned for some exciting giveaways. In the meantime, check out tasc! Disclaimer: As a brand ambassador, tasc sends me clothing to review. All opinions are my own.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday weekend! It really is still summer because the weather here has been quite hot and amazing. Yesterday, Christine and I wanted to do an easy hike so we decided on Indian Head, a spot in the high peaks that is not a high peak but has an amazing view. We left Albany at 7:30 and drove up to the Ausable Club Parkin lot in Keene since that's where the trail for Indian Head starts. The hike begins at the AMR gate (like many of the other hikes I've done). The hike itself is mostly just a dirt road walk. It wasn't too exciting. Until the Ausable Club shuttle driver pulled over and told us that there was a BEAR up ahead in the beaver pond! He said the bear was young and wouldn't bother us because it was far enough away. Sure enough, we continued down the road and when we got the beaver pond, there he was! Its hard to see, but the black blob in the middle of the picture is a black bear! It was the first time I had seen a bear hiking. I knew it would happen sooner or later because I'm out in the woods a lot. Bears are active in this area so it's good to be cautious! He started running away and climbed right up a tree. Too funny. I can't believe we saw a bear! Anyway, four miles of walking down the road later, we came to a trail on the left right before we got to Ausable Lake. The trail to Indian head was less than a mile up and soon enough we hit the junction for Gothic Window. Gothic Window is a clearing through the trees where you can see Gothics. But there's a much better view just head on Indian Head itself. Christine and I had both been dying to get to Indian Head. The views from the cliff are iconic and we've seen them for ages all over the internet. One photo was even my iPhone background. Steeping onto the lookout cliff was surreal. You can't even believe what are you looking at! Its just breathtaking. You can see upper and lower Ausable Lake, along with Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong, Upperwolfjaw and Lower Wolfjaw on the right. Gothics and Pyramid. Also, Cloudline sent me a pair of their technical hiker socks to try out on my hikes. What I love about Cloudline wool socks: They are made of premium merino wool. Their merino wool blend naturally regulates moisture, temperature, and has antibacterial properties that resist odor. Also, they are made in the USA which is always a nice bonus! The socks are thick and cozy! They may have been a tad bit too warm for a hot 80 degree day in the mountains, but I can't wait to wear them when snowshoeing and hiking this winter! Their technical hiker socks run $20 a pair on their website and are currently having a free shipping promo for labor day weekend! Extremely happy feet! These socks are also available on Amazon! Anyway, Christine and I sat at the top of Indian Head for a while, ate our lunch and took a bunch of crazy pictures since we had the summit to ourselves the entire time. It was a day well spent! I would HIGHLY recommend this hike. The hardest part is the distance since you are walking: 8 miles total out and back on the dirt road. The trail itself up to Indian Head was easy. Indian Head Total Distance 9.3 miles RT Total hiking time 5 hours 13 minutes (includes long break on top) Ascent 1,552' Elevation 2,634'
Last weekend Jordan, his sister Hayley and I went out to their family's camp on South Hero Island on Lake Champlain in Vermont. It was a fabulous day! The camp has some amazing views of the Adirondacks! The same weekend we also went to Jordan's friends camp in the Adirondacks at Sacandaga Lake. It was the perfect time to try out a new natural mineral SPF 30 sunscreen from Block Island Organics. They recently sent me a bottle of their sunblock to try. The main ingredient in this sunscreen is Zinc Oxide, which acts as a UV filter when applied as a layer on top of the skin that is said to scatter, reflect, and absorb broad spectrum ( UVA and UVB) rays and is the most popular ingredient in natural sunscreens. After trying it out, I really like that this sunblock is natural and free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, dyes, and fragrance. Also an added bonus: it's made in USA. A little bit more about the product from their website:
- Organic and natural ingredients - zinc only
- SPF 30 & broad spectrum protection decreases the risk of skin cancer & aging
- Gluten & nano free, vegan formula, eco-friendly (no ingredients shown to harm reefs)
- Ultra lightweight and non-greasy formula, can be worn under makeup