{Dee-tales} Roses are Red...My Apron is Blue

It's pretty much official....

Please tell me you've heard of them! I'm all lovey dovey right now about Blue Apron, so you know what that means! Grab a snack, kick up those Manolos and put that cellie on mute, darlin'. Mama's got a tale to tell!

{The Story}

Several months ago, I heard about this colorfully-named company while browsing through YouTube. Somehow it made its way onto other social media outlets, my interest was peaked and the rest is history. {You know how I do.} I added 'Ol Blue to my Bucket List and moved her right toward the top.

{The Scenario}

Blue Apron is a seriously cool, ready-to-cook meal delivery service. Its foundation is to make life easy peasy for you. {I'm quite sure of that!} They take the guesswork out of chow time by sending you perfectly-portioned, chef-inspired, fabulously FRESH meals right to your doorstep. Our first package was a complete ray of sunshine on a rainy Friday afternoon.

See how she is totally ignoring those rain spots? #adorbs

{The Steps}

Ordering up your own helping of happiness is just a few clicks away. First, browse the bright + beautiful Menu section of their website and let the pictures speak for themselves! Once your belly starts to make you a little hangry {Oh, I'm not judging, sugar-pie. Right there with you.} pop on over to the Learn More section {You know you want to!}, take a video tour of this uber neat meal planning concept and study up on other super fly details. Next, saunter over to the Market page and buy a little "just because I love you" present for your kitchen. Finally, wrap up your little trip by visiting the Pricing page. Here, you can choose which option floats your boat.

{The Selection}

You can choose a 2-person or 4-person plan. Based on your choice, you can then pick how many meals you'd like to receive each week. Shipping is totes FREE and you can skip a week/cancel at any time. No strings attached! If you're even slightly interested in giving this gem a try, select the 2-person plan to test the waters. Invite me over the week after though, because I know you'll soon want to have enough on your table for 4! {I'll bring the vino!}

{The Surprise}

Once we selected the 2-person meal option, we were asked to list our dietary preferences. {Well, thank you, BA. So caring!} We chose beef, chicken and fish...but there is an option to change these choices in future shipments. The menu changes each week based on seasonal ingredients, and Blue's Menu section and Facebook page {Click Here!} both give you a little sneak peak into what's in store for ya. It's always different! Always. This is a nice change of pace from our fam's good 'ol weekly stand-bys: Breakfast for Dinner {Pancake Night!}, Sketti {Little Italy Night}, Nuggs + Fries {Dance Class/Scandal's on in just a few hours Night}.

{The Shipment}

Ordering was easy and our box arrived RIGHT on time! Ours happened to show up on a weekend when our brother-from-another-mother {Kev!} was visiting from Michigan. He pulled up to our driveway juuuuust when I was turning the corner and the FedEx truck was driving away. Who the heck do we run toward first? The Twinados' Godfather or that 15lb. cutie cardboard beauty sitting on the top step? {Bah!} That scene was just way too good to be true! {Kev won...but Blue, you were totally a close second, doll. I swear.}

Anyhoo! Opening the box was like Christmas morning...but instead of visions of sugarplums dancing in my head...they were nicely nestled in insulated packing and set on top of 8 ice compartments.

Seeing all of those specially-picked, healthy ingredients snuggled all together on our table was so much fun. So gourmet! So fancy schmancy!


Included with the delightful delicacies were a welcome letter and 3 gorgeously detailed recipe cards. The description of the dishes practically JUMPED off the pages. Love, love, LOVE the step-by-step instructions.

{The Sizzle}

We decided to first make Short Rib Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Hoppy Cheddar Sauce and Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds. Those precious little rolls had us at hello!

{Ahem} Nice buns. 

Here are some of the ingredients that went with it. Everything had a lovely label.

I can't even handle the adorableness of this little splash of Heavy Cream. Can't even deal. See for yourself!...

Look at the color of THESE sweeties. Are they even for real?

I went all Rachael Ray-ish when they asked me to slide the leaves off the fresh thyme stems. I always thought it was so neat when she'd do this on her show. I'm usually a .99-cent dried seasoning bottle kind of gal, so this was such a fun twist.


We were certain that we'd have to add ingredients from our fridge. SURELY they wouldn't send us something like the cutest block of cheese in the known land, right? "Oh, Shirley, you jest," said Blue Apron...

The Hubs helped with the short rib burgs. I love that he's just as smitten with the kitchen as I am. He's sooooo longing for grill season so this was such a nice treat for him. The whole process took us about 30 minutes. It might have gone even faster, but we kept referencing the recipe cards to be SURE we followed everything to a T!

Here's how it turned out!

{The Savor}

I stole a sweet potato disc and thought I'd clean up a few things before heading to the table. Before I knew it, The Hubs wolfed his entire burger. Every last onion. Every last ooey gooey drop of hops-infused cheese. Every last bit of pretzel dough goodness. He stared at mine. {Sigh.} I took a tiny bite and packed it up for his lunch the next day. {Him and those ridiculous doe eyes!!!} In that tiny smidge I was able thief, I tasted a mouthwatering, super juicy burger smothered in unique gourmet cheese, topped with crispy reds and smoothly capped off with a crunchy, yet chewy bun. #Perfection. #WifeyOfTheYear

{The Skinny}

Blue Apron meals range from 500-700 calories per plate...so there's PLENTY of room for dessert! {A girl's gotta have her red velvet, honey. Right?}

{The Sweet Spot}

The Hubs grew up on a farm and he comes from a LONG line of farmers. While he ended up taking a financial/accounting path, he will always have a huge soft spot in his heart for another kind of field. My dear brother-in-law is a farmer, so we appreciate the lengths Blue Apron goes to in order to partner with local purveyors. The Learn More section of the BA website even highlights their suppliers and their operations. {Nice touch!}

T-1: Mom's so...corny.    T-2: I find her to be rather a-maze-ing, actually.

{The Scraps}

Wondering what we did with all the packaging? Well, we recycled, of course!

{The Sadness}

The only thing we were missing was a darn BLUE apron!!! Tsk, tsk on moi. Looks like I better get back in the game and buy one for the next round! {By the way...BA's name was inspired by the apron color worn by apprentice chefs in France because it stands as a symbol of a lifelong learning in cooking. True story.}

{The Summary}

So! I’m giving Blue Apron the official CoCo’s Daughter Seal of Approval...which is a high-five, batty eyes, a hug and a smoochie wooch on both cheeks. As a busy mom of active Guidettes, I’m always trying to find ways to cut down time in la cucina, while at the same time trying to pep up our plates...so Blue Apron will definitely come to the rescue every now and then. We’re planning to call on Blue Apron if our schedules call for it...and especially when the in-laws are in town {Hi GoGo + Papa!}. It just makes sense!

{The Steal}

Blue Apron is offering 100 lucky CoCo-Nuts a deallio! The first 100 readers who'd like a discount code for 2 FREE meals with their Blue Apron box... can CLICK HERE to activate a special link. You'll save some mighty moolah on your first order...if you are a first time customer!

Mangia, Mangia loves!

{Extra special THANKS to Blue Apron for this opportunity to review your marvelous meals...and double thanks for being so kind to my CoCo-Nuts!}


{Dee-tales} I'd Like to Make a Toast!

They're changing your lunch one gooey grilled cheese at a time!

Yep, the name is punny.
Yep, it's totally gadgety.
Yep, it sounds too good to be true.

We have my MIL {Grammie GoGo} to thank for this perfect product. She found these in Kroger, but we later found them on Amazon. {Click here!} If you don't buy these, I may just cry. We don't want that to happen. So give these gems a chance!

When you buy this 2-pack, you'll get 50 uses out of each magically designed bag. You assemble your sammie, pop it in one of the bags and toast it to your liking. No butter, no frying pan, no half cooked soggy mess. Just bread and cheese, please! This is a healthier option for your little sweeties {or even YOU!} It tricked the Twinados...and you sort of know them by now...so that's major, right?

Clean-up is a cinch. Some melted cheese might make an escape every now and then, but for the most part, everything stays nicely nestled in between 2 slices of whole wheat bread. Hope you'll try these!

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{Foodee} Savor the Flava!

Happy F-R-I-D-A-Y!

For those CoCo-Nuts practicing a Lenten vibe this month, here's a fun family fave to add to your recipe box: Savory Seafood Linguine.

I'd type out the recipe for you, but I thought I'd let my dad, Big Mike, do the honors. {Check out his stylish writing. Is this dude for real?! #LovelyLeftie} I re-named this little honey over the years because of, ya know, the whole alliteration addiction and all.

He gave me this secret recipe at my Bridal Shower. My sweetie friends + fam showered me with hundreds of recipe cards {#LuckyLady}, and my Dear One decided he wanted to join in. {Oy! He ruins my mascara! I love it.}

Hope you're try this, loves! Feel free to share!

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So...Are The Dogs...Of My Life

Yesterday was National Puppy Day!

I'm having a "ruff" time realizing I didn't get a chance to post about it {womp, womp}.

I'm uber happy to have been able to grow up with Barney and Max. Later on in life, Baxter joined the family and I soon became Auntie to Roxy and Godmother to Lola-Dee. Here is how each of them made an impact on my life.

Barney {Mutt!}
Nicknames: Beans, Barn

He was a Boss.

A Foodie.

A Photobomber.

An Academic.

CoCo and Big M welcomed this big bad mamma jamma into the family right when they were married. 3 years later, Beans had a spunky little human sister to watch over.

He was a bad ass you-know-what...and that's putting it mildly.

He seriously had a swagger when he walked.

'Ol dude would stare strangers right in the mug and not blink an eye. We all learned proper intimidation by this pup!

100% alpha.

One of my favorite things to do was make a Lady Gaga-style monster claw motion at him. This is the best way I can describe it! He'd show all of his teeth when I'd do it. He'd never think to lunge at me...but he'd basically tell me to cut the sh%# by adding a squint eye to the whole scenario.

Like this one {from Page Six}.

I begged for months to take him on a walk on my own...my parents said whatever happens, DO NOT let go of his leash...as I look at the tiny scar on my knee today, I fondly recall being dragged up the street as he chased a squirrel. #ilistended

I once "ran away" and set up camp in the screen house in our backyard. I took barney with me. Turns out I'm not exactly the Thelma to his Louise. He tore through the screen and ran out when I tried to hold him hostage. Guess I'm pretty boring company!

He witnessed Tippy the Clown throwing me in the pool at my 6th Birthday Party. Pretty sure he developed a phobia/annoyance after that stupid incident, too.

Yeah, apologize all you want, Red. Just keep your machete on that side of the pool.

He despised one of Grandma Kay Kay' robes because it had a fox on it.

SheShe once fed him a lollipop. Barney: 1. SheShe's hand: 0.

He lived 17 long, gangsta-filled years.

Maximillion {Golden}
Nicknames: Max, Mark, Maxi, Maxers

Max soon filled the void after Barney's passing. He was such a cuddly little golden. SheShe and I got to sleep next to his crate in the kitchen when we first brought him home.

He sat in Barney's spot for years. We always thought Beans was staring down at him. Glaring. Squinting. Judging.

He was such a chill little guy. He watched countless hours of Days of Our Lives, Full House, Clarissa Explains It All, Fresh Prince, 90210, Blossom, Roseanne, Martin, My So Called Life, Golden Girls, Empty Nest and many more stellar shows alongside us. He was a total couch potato.

He rarely barked. Not kidding! Every so often, if something gave him the spooks, he'd let out this ginormous, bottom of the belly-style bark...and then he'd be good for several months. He was perfect!

He saw Sheesh and I through the teen years. Oh, the freaking stories that sweetie could tell!

Maxers passed when I was in my early 20s. No matter your age...damn. Doggies sure make such an imprint on your heart.

Baxter {Golden}
Nicknames: Bax, Baxi, Baxterd

See what my parents did there? A little name combo of Barney + Max...gets you a Baxter! I lived in the Midwest when Bax was brought home. I got to know him (and instantly loved him!) through stories and visits.

He was bat shit crazy!

BARKED like a nut job. At NOTHING!

He'd run around the coffee table at high speed for 4-5 minutes at a time.

He stole food.

He was bigger than Barney and Max COMBINED. The Andre the Giant of his time.

He, too, sat in the same spot as his former "brothers" Beans and Maxi. We always thought that was so neat. Such a fun connection.

For 3 and a half years, he knew the Twinados. The rode him like a horse, styled his hair, propped dolls up against him, invited him to tea parties, snuck treats to him, took over his cage, etc. I'm praying they don't read this post until they're 90 year old ladies enjoying fresh lemonade on a porch swing together in their mu-mus and curlers...because we totally dodged his passing by telling them he went to college to be a professor. Whoops. We freaked! We were weak! Didn't have the heart to explain what happened. {I'll crawl into a hole someday if we're on a college visit and one of them asks if Baxter teaches a course there. #iwilldie}

Roxy {Pitbull}
Nicknames: Roxanne, Foxanne

 Photo shoots run in the family.

This is my fur-niece. SheShe's first daughter! Have to admit - she scared the shiz outta when I first met her. I stereotyped. {Shame on me.} Leading up to our first meeting...I was terrified. I sucked it up and put on a brave face. I was smitten.

She was a little more nosy and forward than the other dogs of my life, but she instantly grew on me.

A few years later, we told her I was expecting twins - her first cousins! That darling dame was my homegirl during pregnancy. Every time I'd see her, she was right by my side. Always walked wherever I walked. Stood guard every step of the way.

The gals eventually adored her. Roxy is the curator of many Twinado masterpieces. Coloring pictures for Roxy was one of the girls' very first hobbies.

When Roxy would visit Baxter, she'd bring her brother Taz along. Taz is a psycho cat. Adorable...but psycho. The 3 of them together was a sitcom in and of itself. We called them The Butterscotch Triplets.

She sleeps in a toddler bed.

Lola-Dee {Husky}
Nicknames: Miss Lola Dee

Aunt Dee needs some help. 

This is my God-dog and namesake {check out that middle name!!!!}. Biffie Ange adopted this Heavenly Husky into her life just 1 year ago. I truly see how much love a dog can add to someone's life. Ange lives over 500 miles away from me...so I'm glad Lola is there to stand in as a BFF and attend Skype visits every now and then.

Scruffy {Sibling}
Nicknames: SheShe

And now...for my favorite pick of the litter? SheShe as a dog named Scruffy for Halloween.

I'm gonna get it for this one.

Tell me about your pups! Leave a comment below or head over to the CD Facie page and let's dish. Don't make me "hound" you! {haha}

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{Dee-tales} The Orgreenic Ceramic Frying Pan

I'm an As-Seen-On-TV addict.

Who's with me?!

As much as I fast forward through infomercials, when it comes down to it, I'm a sucker for a gadget! Especially...a kitchen gadget. Each year for Christmas, my sis happily presents me with a new ASOT product. Now, I use the term "happily" quite loosely...because I completely hound the poor girl for an entire year on what I'm wishing for for the next holiday season.

I'll text her photos of me and the item in Target...I'll post love notes to her Facebook wall from the product...I'll tell the Twinados to bring it up to her every now and then...I'll sneak magazine pages into her purse. I'm ridiculous, annoying and weird. Rude, crass and cheesy.

I'm also the proud owner of one of THE most kick-ass frying pans. {Holla!}

{Meet: Orgreenic!} This green goddess I'm about to tell you about, has been biffies with my stove for about 2 years now. I wanted to spread the good word to you today because this one's a game changer. And...I genuinely heart you.

Here she is...making a cheery little breakfast.

She's so egg-cellent, I can't stand it.

I mentioned that you can find this at Tar-zhay, but I've also seen these in drug stores and "general merchandise" sections of grocery stores. She'll run ya about $9.99-$14.99-$19.99 at most {depending on if you can snag one of these babies on sale}.

Food pretty much SLIDES right out of the pan and meals have been cooked evenly perfect. I hear it's oven safe, so I'll soon try that. The handle stays chill {nice!}. I've yet to see any scratches on the ceramic bottom and clean-up is a cinch. That's pretty much it. No long back story or extra fine details. Just a big double thumbs up from dear 'ol me.

Oh, wait!!! {p.s. See those pretty red, yellow and orange pepps up there? I bought those sweeties in a handy little bag. They're also perfect for snacking...especially when paired with a big pat 'o cream cheese. Try 'em!}

Buy me!

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{Dee-I-Y} Memory Maps

I know you've seen this little cutie floating around Pinterest and the Blogosphere! Have you tried it yet? I made this a year or so ago and thought I'd share it with you. 

Memories, man! 

It was cheap and simple. {Gotta love when those two words collide, right?!} A perfect way to show love to places that put smiles on your faces.

{Memory Map Supplies}

Maps of your favorite places
Wrapping paper
A frame
Glue stick or double-sided tape
Stencil shape {optional}

Basically, just decide on some special places, cut around them in a desired shape and size, glue them to a gift-wrapped piece of cardboard and place it in a frame. That's all! {I added punny titles to the bottoms of ours just for kicks, typical cheesyness, and extra zhoosh.}

{Map tip!} Remember that part about "cheap" a few paragraphs ago? So, yeah...about that...hop on over to your local AAA if you're a member, and request some for FREE. Boom!

Since we're celebrating St. Pat's Day this week, and because I'm feeling as nostalgic as usual, I'll leave you with this little Irish travel/homey thought today...

Happy Wednesday! {The weekend's almost here, 'peeps!}


{Foodee} Irish For A Day

This weekend is HUGE for my area. We're all happily blanketed in green because St. Patrick's Day celebrations are already in full effect over here. A 3-hour big parade spanning our entire downtown area took top bidding today and it was even broadcast on t.v. One of the yellow lines in the middle of the street has a green line painted right next to it today. Not sure how far it goes, but I think it stretches into the 'burbs!{See? Huge!}

I'm not Irish. Not a wee bit. But, I've always admired the excitement surrounding this holiday. My fam didn't really make a big deal out of it because, you see, in the forest of life, my Italian family tree is a BIG old giant sequoia, with one lone teeny tiny little Polish branch.

Where I grew up, it was normal though to talk to people about their nationality. After I'd meet someone, conversations sometimes went like this...

Me: Nice to meet you!

Person: Are you Italian?

Me: Yes! You too?

Person: Yes! What's your last name?

Me: {I'd tell them}

Their next reply, a few days later, was one of these several selections...

1. OhmyGod! You're my 5th cousin, twice removed and 3 times extended!

2. OhmyGod! My Grandfather grew up with your Grandfather. We're practically cuginos!

3. OhmyGod! As in {Insert my Grandpa's name here}? He's my cousin's Godfather!

4. OhmyGod! So your Grandpa...the mayor's bodyguard, right? Tell me more!

I loved trying to find out if my family was connected to another family somehow. LOVED it. Loved it so much it hurt! Still love it to this very day. {I love meeting new people/ seeing how small this world really is!} It was neat to grow up in an area with such a huge Italian population. I learned so much about my heritage because I was surrounded by it 24/7. {Looking forward to sharing some stories on St. Joseph's Day soon.}

The Grandfather I just mentioned a few lines back...{Papa M}... was so incredibly Italian and so incredibly proud of his ancestry. So much so, that he LIVED for March so he could lightheartedly razz his Irish friends during the week of St. Patty's Day...

- He'd give them packages of pasta throughout the week and display an Italian flag across the back seat of his station wagon.

- He wore red on the big day...and pranked people in a leprechaun accent. {Last year I did this for a dear friend's kiddos, and I was so ridiculously honored! Not sure if she knew exactly how much that meant to me to be able to do that!}

- He'd leave antipasto trays on friends' door steps the morning of the 17th. He'd then ring their doorbells, run back to the car and speed away. {They all knew it was him!}

- He'd bring proscuitto, salami, pepperoncini and mozz platters to work for lunch...for the whole week. He'd make up care packages for Irish friends to take home.

The list goes on and on. I laugh when I see Leprechaun Pranks on Pinterest these days. Lord, that gem would have had a FIELD DAY making a board! He was a scorch and a half! He thought he was so damn funny. Ohhhh, how I miss him terribly. {I am still so deeply heartbroken over his passing. So completely bummed. Sigh.}

Anyhoo, I always smile around St. Patty's Day because I remember all of the hijinx that Papa M used to partake in around this time of year. The hubs laughs as well, because he was immediately grilled when he first entered the scene. When my Gramps met him, one of the first things he asked him, naturally, was about his nationality. Now...the hubs grew up on a farm. Cornfields in his backyard. Midwest through and through. I had to pronounce his name several times to a few family members because they had never heard of it. {Papa re-named him Cosmo. Ya know...to be more "paisano." Good grief!}

I thought it was neat that "Cosmo" had a speck 'o Irish in his genes. It's even more neat that because of that...the Twinados are Irish! As the years have gone by, I've been able to partake in this holiday so much more. This morning, we went over to a bestie's house to have an Irish Breakfast. Her sweetheart is a nice Irish lad, so they were absolutely adorable hosts. They had all the fixins - hashbrown potato casserole, an egg bake, sausage, bacon, a rainbow fruit tray with dip and rolo pots of gold, Lucky Charms, cinnamon rolls, a mint trifle and more!

Note: Scroll back a few paragraphs...see the conversation section?...see response #2? That's her. Our Grandfathers go way back. Waaaaay back. And, right about now, if Heaven has Internet service, those 'brothers from other mothers' are reading this blog post and rolling their eyes at what I am about to show you! 

Here are some goodies we brought to add to the Breakfast Buffet. Hope you'll try these Pinterest finds sometime! They were pretty easy to make/ quick to fix in a no-green-wearing pinch!

Here's the scoop...

{Rainbow Cupcakes}

Use any cake mix, frost it in blue, arch an Airheads Xtremes rainbow/press it into the cupcake, add a Rolo on one side and some marshmallows on the other.

Soooooomewhere, overrrr the ....

{Leprechaun Nutter Butter Cookies}

Saw these and did a lil jig. Too fun! The only thing I changed from the original recipe is that I added orange sugar crystals to the beards just before they dried...for more zhoosh {see below}. I also used plain flower sprinkles for the hat, eyes and nose. I found it quicker to use tube frosting with a #2-tip from Wilton for the hat's black stripe. For all the fine deets, Click Here! T-1 and T-2 had fun making fun of these "men."

Careful! These Gingers...Snap!

{Fruit Loop Funnies}

Melt 1 stick of margarine, add in a bag and a half of mini marshmallows {about 14 oz.}, swirl it all together quickly. When JUUUUUUST mixed together, add in 12c of Fruit Loops. Spray a pyrex casserole dish with cooking spray, and roll out this bad boy mixture into it. Pat it down with a spatula to make it all even. When slightly cool, cut into bars and store on top of wax paper.

Welp, Irish you all a Happy early St. Patrick's Day. I think this is as far as I can cross over this year. Time to go take a shot of marinara to balance out all of today's shenanigans!