While I admit a vacation involves privilege and is a completely predicable catalyst for detaching from life’s stresses, our summer escape to Michigan represents a significant unpacking of feelings for me every year. I call it my annual “defibrillation of soul” where I recalibrate my intentions and desired habits, shedding unpleasant behaviors that accumulated by the end of the school year–things like morning hustling and slapdash dinners–and restoring routines and rituals that connect us and keep us grounded in purposefulness–the art of lingering, big breakfasts on the back deck, nature walks, book reading, hammock naps, crafting and cooking and setting the table with pretty dishes. I think a lot about how much I want to keep the calm restorative vibe alive back home as we emerge back into reality early August, but it’s amazing how easily the hustle sneaks back in. The demands of schedules, home and back-to-school responsibilities are jolting, but I know that I can create a home where both halves of our life can peacefully dwell together–Motivation & Responsibilities with Rest & Rituals.
A great way to keep our intentional dinner commitment alive was setting up a Blue Apron delivery for our first week home. There are a good handful of Blue Apron posts on this blog, so it’s not the first time I’ve talked about it, but if you’re new here, here’s what Blue Apron is…figuratively, it is an invitation to the table, an all-call to the kitchen for chopping and simmering and sitting together to enjoy a good, nutritious meal. Literally, Blue Apron is a service that delivers all the farm-fresh ingredients you need, right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions (no grocery store trips! No waste from unused ingredients!), to make a delicious meal for your family from chef-designed recipes. There’s no commitment–you can skip or cancel service at any time, and there is a large selection of recipes to choose from. Blue Apron adds new dishes to their menu every week with vegetarian options and plans for different family sizes.
Our favorite thing about Blue Apron though, is that it encourages us to cook together as a family, slow down and enjoy the process, and it gets us out of the rut of our same old meal repertoire. We’ve introduced so many new foods and spices and ways of preparing things to our kitchen because of Blue Apron, and this week one of those was the most delicious Lo Mein sauce. I am all about the sauces in life, and this one is now a favorite. And, can you believe I’ve never made Lo Mein before? It was so easy, and the added marinated cucumber and scallions made it interesting and flavorful.
Dash helped me make our meal this time, and with the easy-to-follow how-to steps with beautiful accompanying photos, Blue Apron recipes are a great way to teach kids to follow recipes and get involved in meal prep.
We cooked our chicken in a pan (you can also grill it) and added it to our cooked pasta with broccoli, but the secret to this meal’s amazingness is in the sauce.
We added together (all proportioned and provided in our Blue Apron delivery): the white bottoms of scallions, tahini, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce and 2 tablespoons of water. That’s the magic Lo Mein sauce. You know the secret now, you’re welcome.
We tossed our sauce with our pasta and broccoli, added our chicken, chili sauce and marinated cucumbers, and behold, the result:
Best part? The entire family loved it, especially the kids (“Can we have saucy noodles again?”). From the cooking together to the gathering at the table to enjoy our meal, our Blue Apron night was exactly what we needed to remind us that even amid our new busy schedules, our home base is what matters most.
Blue Apron ships to most of the country and arrives in a refrigerated box so ingredients stay fresh even if you’re at work. Busy schedule? Want to try? The first 50 readers to sign up with from this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron!
The most important rule with the craziness that is back to school? Don’t forget to nourish yourself!