about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Summer Dining Al Fresco.

As we roll into summer, our garden is blooming and there is fresh produce everywhere.  It is one of my favorite seasons for food because there are so many healthy seasonal options – like dinner salads, grab and go berries, and chopped veggies thrown on the grill.  That said, this season is also BUSY – swimming lessons, gymnastics class, preschool play dates, family swim at the neighborhood pool, evening runs, weekends out of town, and much more.  All really fun, wonderful stuff – but busy nonetheless.

And a lot of days, even when we have nothing officially on the schedule, we are drawing chalk garbage trucks or making homemade water slides in the backyard.  It is the season of being outside ALL the time.  Sun up to sundown, and before I know it it is 6pm and the kids are starving and I have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner.  So I end up throwing together leftovers, or raw veggies and hummus, or other quick meals for them to eat at the backyard picnic table, and I tell Casey we will worry about our own dinner later.  And on those types of weeks, I am so grateful for Blue Apron.

I’ve talked about Blue Apron plenty here before, so I won’t rehash all the details.  Here are a few key points for those who are new, and a few changes for others who have used it in the past:

  • Refrigerated ingredients and beautiful recipe cards delivered to your doorstep – no meal planning or grocery shopping required. 

  • Two types of plans:  the 2-person plan and the family plan.  I had originally hoped to switch to the family plan a few months back, but discovered there is currently not an all vegetarian plan for families.  Hopefully soon!

  • All recipes available (for free!) online as well as seasonal cookbooks released.

  • Blue Apron just launched in Texas and now ships to most of the country!

We’ve been using the service for a year now, and we typically get one box each month – I choose based on how delicious the upcoming menu looks (I’m a sucker for anything with an egg on top) or if we have a super busy week on the calendar.  I was so excited for last week’s menu, as all three meals looked delicious and not like anything I typically make.

Our first meal was the Seared Halloumi Sandwiches on Focaccia – OMG!  What a way to kick off the week!

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I would never typically make sandwiches for dinner, so these felt really fun and different.  The combo of gooey cheese with roasted eggplant and bell peppers was ridiculous – so, SO good!

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There was a nice little apple arugula side salad too, so I didn’t feel quite so badly about eating fried cheese and bread for dinner.  :) 

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Like I said before, one of the best parts about living here is that this time of year we can literally just live outside.  There is no humidity or bugs, and the temps are warm enough to be pleasant but mild enough that you aren’t (usually) melting.  My favorite place in our house is this back patio we built last summer, and it is currently the main dinner hub for me and Casey as well!

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Casey and I split the cooking duties on this one.  He got it started while I was out running, and then I took over when I got home so he could finish up a few other things.  Then we took our plates outside, along with drinks and music – the perfect way to enjoy a delicious dinner at the end of the day.  

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Note the ever hopeful pup looking to snag a bite – ridiculous!

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Our second meal of the week was the Fresh Fettuccini Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas & Arugula Pesto!

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I made this one while Casey tackled bedtime duty with the boys, and it came together really quickly and easily. 

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We took this one out back to the patio too, and it was the perfect amount of food.  While I was cooking, I ended up adding extra snap peas that we had on hand in the fridge because they were so tasty and went so well with the yummy pesto. 

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A veggie pasta like this is such a step up from basic marinara, and is perfect for summer.  I’m planning to make a lot more dishes like this over the summer, and I’ll definitely try making an arugula pesto again – so simple and tasty. 

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And last but not least, the Beluga Lentil & Asparagus Salad.  Casey made this one while I went out on my final training run for my half marathon.

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In addition to our patio area with the pretty twinkle lights, we also have an actual outdoor dining table.  This is typically where we eat our family meals when we all eat together – I love the lights built into the umbrella and these amazing solar-powered mason jar lights I found at World Market.

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But mostly I love sitting down with Casey after the chaos of the day and enjoying fresh air, all our pretty plants and green space, and a delicious meal that was fast and easy.

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This dish was the perfect balance of fresh and filling.  We eat a lot of lentils in our house, but I rarely turn them into a salad type of dish.  I loved the pairing of blanched asparagus, thinly sliced radish, and piave cheese (something I would never typically buy!).

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We ended up frying our eggs instead of poaching them because ours weren’t peeling very well.  That’s the nice thing about these meals – you can add extras, omit ingredients you might not like or that you are sensitive to, and you can always change up a cooking technique.  The work is mostly done for you, but you can still make it your own.

Like I said before – anything with an egg on top is a winner for me.  (Check out the savory ricotta & snow pea fritters and the spring miso ramen for more delicious egg-on-top recipes!)

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If you are interested in trying Blue Apron yourself, please enjoy a special discount for Daily Garnish readers!  Use this code to get two meals off of your first Blue Apron order (a $20 value!). 

Next up – the Rock N Roll Half Marathon recap!  Happy cooking!

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.  I have a limited ongoing partnership with them, but also pay for additional Blue Apron meals out of pocket because we really enjoy using the service.  As always, thank you for continuing to support Daily Garnish. 

Snacking In the Friendly Skies.

Hi friends – hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!  We just got back from a whirlwind trip to Ohio for my mom’s wedding (!!!) and I am planning to write a big recap of our trip as soon as I finish editing the four billion photos I took.  But first I thought I’d share a bit about our travel!

We don’t do a lot of road-tripping from Seattle since it is so far up in the Northwestern corner of the country.  But I like to think that in 3.5 years, we’ve really honed the art of air travel with little ones.  I’ve written tips and tricks on this before.  Our kids are currently 3.5 years and 19 months old, so with the baby phase behind us, things are definitely starting to get easier. 

Graham isn’t super into TV or screens yet (and really, he shouldn’t be) but all rules go out in the window on an airplane.  He does love Elmo , so he was willing to sit and watch Sesame Street for a bit which provided a nice break.  Cullen used Casey’s work iPad and we have an old dinosaur iPad 1 that has most of our kid apps – and we have two pairs of these fun kids’ headphones that they boys both love. 

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I packed a bunch of stickers, paper, water coloring books, new Usborne books, and other miscellaneous stuff (mostly for Graham) but what it really came down to were the iPads and the SNACKS.  So. Much. Snacking!

For this trip, I prepared a little differently than I usually do.  I grabbed some snack bars (mostly for me and Casey) and a few little baggies of bunny crackers (Graham’s favorite) and tossed some fresh fruit like bananas and apples into my bag.  But instead of seeking out a million different little snacks, I used NatureBox instead! 

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I’ve explained the basics of NatureBox before (like here and here!), so I won’t dive into all the small details again.  But essentially, it’s a subscription service that delivers hand-selected healthy and delicious snacks to your doorstep each month.  There are over 100 snacks to choose from, and each box includes five full serving sized snacks that are all made with the same nutritional requirements: no HFCS, no partially hydrogenated oils, no trans fats, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors – all things we do our best to avoid in our daily life too. 

For this particular box, I focused on kid-friendly snacks that would be easy to eat on the airplane – low mess and easy finger foods.  I avoided things like small nuts, seeds, and granola and instead looked for things like power bites and pretzels.  I also opted more on the sweet side because I worried that the savory stuff would make the kids really thirsty, and I wanted to avoid forty trips to the bathroom if at all possible.  Here’s what we chose!

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The Pistachio Power Clusters were totally delicious, but a bit crunchier than I expected.  These ended up being great for me, Casey, and Cullen but I didn’t offer them to Graham.  They were a great alternative to munching on granola bars all afternoon!

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I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I don’t know if the kids liked the Apple Pie Oat Clusters because Casey and I ate the whole bag – oops. 

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Our flight there was not an ideal itinerary and involved spending SEVEN hours in the air (in addition to airport and transit time).  By some miracle, both kids ended up passing out for close to two hours on our second flight.  I was wedged up against the window and afraid to even breathe, let alone reach for a snack.  Casey fed me Apple Pie Oat Clusters one by one, and they were almost as amazing as the nap itself. 

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The Blueberry Greek Yogurt Pretzels were definitely my favorite.  Once I opened the bag we ate the whole thing in one sitting – seriously addictive. 

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Graham loved them too and they were perfectly bite sized for him.  The Greek yogurt coating was delicious and surprisingly low mess.  I can’t wait to try these in other flavors!  Can you tell this was like hour six?  :) 

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The Probiotic Power Mix was probably the “messiest” thing I picked, but really only because it contained some small pieces.  It was an awesome mix of dried fruits and nuts along with yogurt covered pieces that tasted like candy. 

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The Mini Belgian Waffles were the biggest hit for the boys.  Cullen thought it was hilarious that they were little waffles, and they tasted very cookie-like, which is never a bad thing. 

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I ended up having to take the bag away after a few minutes because they were literally shoveling them into their mouths and fighting to jam their hands into the bag. 

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When I asked Casey for the rest of them on the return flight, he told me they had all been eaten during the wait for the wedding ceremony to begin.  Apparently they were the only thing keeping Graham and his cousin, Levi, occupied while guests arrived at the church.

It was really nice to pick out our travel snacks online and have them arrive easily and ahead of time.  Usually I find myself at Whole Foods or Fred Meyer at 9pm the night before our trip, when I really need to be packing instead.  This was a fun way to use our NatureBox a bit differently this month, and I’ll definitely do it again for some upcoming road-trips we have coming up later this summer. 

And now a little something for you guys!  You can join NatureBox today and get a FREE sample box of some of their most loved snacks! Click on this link to get started!  Free trial is available for new and US and Canadian subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers.

Last but not least – a GIVEAWAY!  Two lucky readers will each win a free 6-month subscription to NatureBox.  You can enter by clicking here to browse what snacks NatureBox has to offer, and then comment on the post letting me know which snack you’d like to try.  Open to US and Canadian readers only.  Giveaway ends Thursday, June 4th at 12pm PST. 

Good luck and happy snacking!  Back tomorrow with the wedding recap!

Thanks to NatureBox for sponsoring this post, and thanks to you for continuing to support Daily Garnish.

The winner of the Seedling giveaway has been emailed – thanks to all who entered!

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