Blue Apron vs Plated

Hey all!

I’m finally taking a minute to sit down and now I don’t want to get up :(. I still need to pack and get in a workout, but it’s also nice to sit and say hi to all of you!

One of the post I’ve wanted to write for a while compares the convenience cooking services of Blue Apron and Plated.

Both services provide ingredients and step by step picture instructions for unique and delicious meals. Menus include seasonal items and both companies provide a brief description about the prepared meal and its origins.  Both also allow for choices in dietary preferences.

However, Plated allows you to choose the meals that will be delivered on a given week while Blue Apron only allows you to skip a delivery if you do not want the meals that are on your menu for a given week.  For me that meant skipping more than a month since many meals featured tomatoes (for new readers, I’m highly allergic to tomatoes). I wrote Blue Apron to ask about allergies and was informed my only option was to skip a week.

Ryan also noted that the quality of meat provided by plated was much better than that from Blue Apron.  He felt that the steak, for example, provided by Blue Apron had more fat and gristle.

Plated meal:

Blue Apron meal:

Blue Apron does provide the cheaper option of meals, at only $10/person which includes shipping. And despite both providing the opportunity for me to cook original meals at home and save time by answering the question what’s for dinner and gathering my ingredients,  I much prefer Plated.  The quality of ingredients and moreover, the option to choose!

Alright, time to pack.


Wine Making Class II-The pressing

When I last spoke of our winemaking endeavors at Make Wine With Us, we had crushed the grapes to make a must. Ryan had a chance to crush some grapes himself last week.

But for the most part this past week’s class was about pressing the must.  We first had to prep our barrel by washing with hot water, soda ash (like baking soda), and finally with citric acid. The barrels used for the class have already been used a couple of times, which means our grapes will not have an oaky smell or taste.  However, the barrels still give the grapes a chance to breath in a way they cannot in steel tanks.

We are using american oak and a range of sizes. Which was new to me, I didn’t realize there were specialized barrels for making a Bordeaux style compared to a Burgundy for example.


Ryan helping to clean barrel. I was the photographer this week.

Next it was time to press the grapes!

The first step, transferring the liquid-using a wire basket and hose.

And then the grape skin must.

It was messy fun!

More liquid from the grapes even before the pressing began!

The packed grape skins after hours of pressing.

We also had the chance to taste at each stage of the process.  The liquid straight from the tube, once put into the press, and the liquid that emerged once the pressing began.  The initial had the highest alcohol concentration, about 6%. Each subsequent taste has less alcohol but more sugar-the yeast still have lots of work to do!

And that’s it! We’ll have chances to come throughout the year to taste and see the progress of the wines.

OHNY 2014

Hey all,

This post is a little late, but late is better than never.

Last weekend was Open House New York, an annual event that:

 “promotes a greater appreciation of the city’s built environment;                                 broadens public awareness by exposing diverse audiences to distinctive                       examples of architecture, engineering and design; educates and                                 inspires discussion of issues of excellence in design, planning and                               preservation; and showcases outstanding new work as well as                                     structures of historic merit.”

-OHNY website

We had planned to visit a few sites but work got in the way. We did however, make it to Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT), which is not usually open to the public, and it was a great tour, learned so much!!

BAT was designed by Cass Gilbert, same guy as the Woolworth building, you can see the similarities in the buildings here.

Can you see the old radiator here? I believe this is the part of BAT they plan to renovate and make available as industrial space in the next few years.

And the view from the pier that brought in so many items through Brooklyn Army Terminal, looking rather ominous in the overcast sky.


Workouts for the week

Sunday-Rest after a very long hike on Saturday

Monday-40 min barre and cardio


Wednesday-Spin, haven’t done that in forever!

Thursday-Barre and cardio

Friday-Hiit and cardio


I’ve had some rather low intensity weeks and with a hike at Table Mountain planned for South Africa I realized I need to make sure my endurance is up.

Ryan’s Birthday Weekend

We celebrated Ryan’s 28th birthday this weekend by going for a hike and enjoying the fall foliage.

We left the city Friday night with a few friends.  On the way to Bear Mountain we stopped by Ambulance Brew House, a dining gem off of the palisades highway.

We ordered a few flights to take a few different items.  My favorite was easily the headless horseman pumpkin.

To eat I had the artichoke and red pepper wrap, Ryan a mixture of tacos.

And the boys, took a few photos to get them both facing me :).

Saturday we went for quite the hike. Not incredibly challenging but rather long. The scenery was amazing and since we weren’t in a rush to return home we took our time and didn’t necessarily stick to a particular trail-not that we let ourselves get lost. By 3pm we made sure we were on our way home.

First, best sight of the day, a turkey in a tree!  I didn’t know they could fly!!

FYI most photos here were by Ryan, check him and his work over at time in moments.

Oddest site of the day, this sign!

The above sign should have been posted about 1 mile before because we heard the guns and had to speculate where they were coming from…I was thinking West Point at first, but realized we were too far away.

Most surprising part of the hike-coming across the remains of Doodletown. The signs were mysterious and far from informative. We had no idea what this Doodletown was or what happened to it, one day there was a community and then by the 1950s it was abandoned. A google search filled in the blanks, but while on the trail we came up with creative ways that described the town’s demise.

After we got back I cooked up a birthday dinner of lemon garlic chicken, purple cauliflower made two ways, and roasted peppers.

Birthday cake was a brownie funfetti cake.  Decadent but so good! Recipe found here.

Waking up in Bear Mountain.

Relaxing Sunday morning before heading to last birthday weekend activity.

Wine making class! Class 1-destemming the grapes.

Pushing down the grapes in the must (freshly pressed juice with skins and seeds still in tub).  Back next week.

Hope you had a great weekend,


Fitbit or Jawbone Up



I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to test out and wear both the fitbit and jawbone up.  The former via Ryan who received the activity/sleep monitor from his job as part of a get moving challenge.  I received the jawbone up about a year ago (so not the most recent version) through a mentor to test for a research study I was developing. Below I will outline the pros and cons of both.



-It comes in several colors and the tracking device can be moved to different bands.  Tory Burch even designs for fitbit providing bracelets and necklaces.  They’re pretty darn cute, but I don’t know how practical they would be in the gym.

-The app updates via bluetooth so the device doesn’t need to be hooked up to a computer or phone

-The device buzzes when you reach daily step goal

-The device can monitor sleep quality/quantity (although this is on a very basic level and based on movement)


-Still rather bulky for me and apart from Tory Burch options, not that fashionable

-I’m not a fan of the tapping means to switch the device from active monitoring to sleep. For example I was clapping earlier today and it switched into sleep mode. The device is sensitive to the wrong things!

-I feel like it’s not as sensitive as other devices I have used in the past, that said I have not run an official experiment to test this hypothesis

As for the Jawbone, I blogged about this device about  a year ago.

Pros (apart from the ones mentioned in the link above):

-I love the button option to switch from sleep to active mode

-Cheaper than the fitbit

-Bluetooth option available but it’s more $$


-Not interchangeable, the color you get is the color you have

But that’s it! I much prefer the jawbone.

So much to say!

I have so much I want to blog about, but right now I just want to share things I’m loving over the internets-it’s been sometime since I’ve done one of these post!

Loving these possible options for birthday cakes for Ryan’s birthday next week.

This cocoa dumplings with bourbon maple sauce.

I think this drunken cake might be the winner.

Also liking the idea of a trifle, so many options, not enough stomach ;).

Or just for a fall dessert.

Catch ya later,


A Low Key Weekend

I feel like I’ve been running non-stop and while I had planned to work this weekend, my mind had other plans and said, “shut it down!”. So I kept it incredibly low key, did lots of baking, and spent some time with friends.

Saturday night Ryan and I had a couple of friends over for a pumpkin beer tasting and tried to make headway on our puzzle.

The tasting ended up being:

1. Shipyard-My favorite of the bunch. It was a light beer, cinnamon sugar on the nose, light but apparent pumpkin taste.

2. Pumpkin IPA (I forget where this was from, we got it on draft)-more like a pale ale, the pumpkin rounded off the hops very well.

3. Pumkin Shandy from Traveler-another win from this producer!, cinnamon sugar, light pumpkin, and lemon zest all blended perfectly.

4. Redhook Port-My least favorite with no pumpkin taste, the coffee chocolate of the port overpowers any possible pumpkin.

5. Dogfish Head-another favorite, a richer beer than shipyard.

6. Magic Hat-A little sweet for my liking, but still pretty decent. Pumpkin taste to finish/at the back of the tongue, as in it doesn’t immediately hit you.

On Sunday I did some baking, tried to prep some food for the week, and canned!

The baking-pumpkin apple bread.

The canning-Grape Jelly, Quince Butter (made with quince fruit), and Applesauce.

Sunday evening we also visited a local food fair and tried a few different items which ended up being dinner.

Sticky Fingers’ Chicken Fingers

And risotto balls from Arancini Bros. We also had a soft pretzel (unpictured).

Last but not least I took Ryan by Central Perk (the Friends coffee place-I probably don’t have to mention that to most). They made a duplicate coffee shop for the 20th anniversary of Friends.

We didn’t go in because the line was crazy long, like around multiple blocks. But I’m happy with the outside.

Okay gotta finish cooking and then bed!



Another Zumba inspired workout!

The 3rd week in a row with a new workout, and I think this one might just be my favorite. Lower body is the target both in the zumba songs and in the workouts in between.  Enjoy!

Warm up:

5 burpees

10 jump squats

15 weighted squats

15 sumo weighted squats

10 jump squats

5 burpees

You’ll have fun with this one!!

10 side lunges to the left with weights

20 walking lunges weight weights

20 curtsy lunges alternating legs

10 side lunges to the right

Cool down! and have a great weekend :).

Random Things

1. I tried to do a juice cleanse last week after an extravagant weekend, oh my gosh was it hard! First of all, I picked the wrong day to start. I was running behavior all day and while I brought all my juices with me and kept them on ice, I didn’t have time to drink anything but a sip from 11am-3:30 pm. Not a good idea.  I had the worst headache which I’m sure was a combination of dehydration, hunger, and sugar withdraw.

Day 2 wasn’t much better although I was able to more evenly pace my drinks out.  After the crazy headache on day #2 and an early bedtime, I gave in and ate on day 3.

Despite the awful headaches, I am glad I made it two days using Jus by Julie. My sweet tooth is like non existent.  I am more easily satisfied after a meal. And I just feel so much better. The juices were also delicious! And unlike many other cleanses Jus by Julie includes fiber and protein, a win win. I’m actually ordering some more to just drink because they are so good.

2. Now on the complete end of the spectrum, I’m obsessed with all of the Oreo flavors. With my sweet tooth under control I’ve been able to try just a couple and feel so satisfied and enjoy each. Root Beer is easily my favorite!

3. Rent the Runway opened a storefront, I may never buy a dress again!

4. Thoughts on clothing for Mei for the wedding?

5. Finally workouts.  I have not been to the gym in forever, it’s been all home workouts. Hoping to make it on Friday after I give a presentation!

Sunday-Upperbody and zumba

Monday-4 mi walk


Wednesday-40 min barre

Thursday-lowerbody and zumba

Friday-60 min cardio, back and shoulders

Saturday-60 min cardio, biceps and triceps




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.