Blue Apron Made Me a Chef

I was sitting at an event at the Marriott Denver enjoying the food. It was a celebration for Marriott and Starwood’s merger. I often go to hotel events (it’s part of my job). We are often given what I affectionately call “parting gifts.” They are typically an item like a notepad, water bottle, or a bag. This time – we were treated to seeing Western Daughters Butcher Shop dismantle a full pig (with a saw) and then getting a chunk of pork. Most were given a pork chop. I told them that I am not much of a cook to give me something simple. So they handed me a larger chunk of pork wrapped in brown paper and told me that all I would need to do it sear it, salt and pepper it and stick it in the crock pot. I wasn’t really even sure what this cut of meat was. I brought it back to my table with a sort of giggle – I’m not a chef. I’m not close to a cook. Simple is good. This is when my friend Leslie told me that she had been using Blue Apron and she had some meals to give away (she had two sets of two meals).

When she sent me the link. I decided to try it. I opt’d for the family meals. There are three of us in my family – myself, my daughter and my teenage (football playing) son. The meals said they would serve four – but I have found that with a teenage boy – what normally feeds four people feeds the three of us just fine. I figured if there were leftovers I would eat them for lunch.

I am an adventurous eater. I will try just about anything. My kids used to be the same way. They were never picky kids that would only eat hot dogs and McDonalds (not that there’s anything wrong with that in my book). But I chose the Moroccan-Spiced Lamb & Beef Tagine and the Blackened Chicken & Rice. I chose those because I was not sure that my kids would eat the fish and the other option was a pasta. I figured if it was free I would go with what seemed more expensive. I could probably make a simiilar pasta dish for cheap.

The package came a few days later. It was packed in ice and in an insulated box. Everything I needed for two full meals! There was a menu sheet for each meal. Simple and easy to read. The front side has a short description of the meal and then the list of ingredients. The ingredients in the box were clearly marked and I could see which items were for which meal.

The first we tried was the Tagine. The smell was delicious. The preparations were simple and easy to follow with just a few steps. (Six steps). It walked me through how to cook, when to add what and even how to finish off the meal complete with a dollop of yogurt sauce and green scallions. The meal smelled awesome and tasted even better…to me. When I proudly served it to my daughter (my son was out with friends). She didn’t love it as much as I did. She ate that but not much of it. I hadn’t even told her it was lamb (if I did I think she would not have eaten ANY at all). I had enough leftovers for several days. I loved the fact that it was a WHOLE meal. Not just the entree (as you might get at a place like Dream Dinners). Complete even with the pita chips served on the side.

IMG_4288

The other meal was the Blackened Chicken & Rice. Again this was a simple and easy to follow directions. The side  was cooked rice with kale, different oranges (mandarin and blood orange) which the chicken was served atop. I thought it delicious. But neither of my kids ate much. They said they didn’t care much for the taste. On the other hand, I loved it. So once again I will be eating for DAYS on the leftovers.

Overall, I loved both meals. There was plenty of food to really serve four people. The recipe choices were unique and something I would certainly not have made on my own. They were both easy to follow and delicious. They made me feel like I really could master the kitchen. But the fact that neither of my kids liked the meals and at the cost – I may opt for once a month doing Blue Apron but just a meal for two – so I can make it for myself and have leftovers for just a day or so. I liked that it was a full meal – not just an entree –  where I need to dream up what to have on the side or how to incorporate veggies.

January’s Learn To Ski And Snowboard Month Also Means Deals

I’m sort of amazed at how few people from Colorado actually ski/snowboard. Most of the time, the people that are excited to be on the slopes are those that have moved from somewhere else. I’m not certain if it is the perception that skiing is expensive or a hassle (it can be – but you can also score deals, spend great family time together, get exercise and more). And some people don’t do it because they never learned how. January is Learn to ski and snowboard month – so take advantage of these great deals and learn a new sport that can be enjoyed with the whole family. Then when you out of town guests come to town and want to go skiing you will be able to show them how!

 

Junior Trade Program. The best deal in town for kid’s equipment is the Junior Ski Trade program at Colorado Ski and Golf (Ski and Sport/Boulder Deals) locations. The easy-on-the-budget program provides deeply discounted prices on full set-ups (skis, bindings, poles, boots, safety check) for both new and used equipment for children and teens who take advantage of this annual update program. The advantage: annual exchange of equipment “grows” with the kids allowing them to be in the right-sized boots and right sized ski or snowboard. The cost for the entire first season on used equipment starts at $99.99 or starting at $199.99 for a brand new equipment set-up. (Normal single day rental is typically somewhere around $30). For every subsequent season the child participates in Junior Trade through Colorado Ski & Golf, customers get a 50 percent in-store credit on their initial purchase price towards updated and re-fitted gear. Early birds get the widest selection of sizes and brands. The program is available to youth snowboarders at a slightly higher price.

 

Ski Area Programs, Deals and Fun:

  • Arapahoe Basin – First timer lessons (1/2 day) Adult (15+) tickets including lesson are just $70. http://arapahoebasin.com/ABasin/lessons/lssm.aspx#sthash.FOv3MjV3.dpuf
  • Aspen/Snowmass – A true family adventure. For $405 you can get a full day lesson for up to 5 people. The whole family can get a lesson together. https://www.aspensnowmass.com/plan-your-stay/lessons/buttermilk-deluxe
  • Copper Mountain – Ski and Ride University at Copper has an amazing offer. Three lessons (including lift tickets, equipment, close parking and lunch on the 2nd and 3rd days) for $249. After you complete the three lessons – you get a Copper pass for the remainder of the year and an opportunity to buy a season pass for NEXT year at 50% off! Serious DEAL! (The current day rate for one day, just the lift ticket is $150) com/SRSU#sthash.FOv3MjV3.dpuf
  • Eldora Mountain Resort – Eldora is offering two different options. One for kids. One for adults. For the kids, The Start with Woodward Children’s Learn to ski package. At just $159 the day includes a full day lift ticket, all day rental, all day lesson with snacks. The adult package is $149 it includes lift ticket, all day equipment rental and a ½ day lesson (3.5 hours).
  • Keystone – Colorado Residents that took advantage of the Epic School Kids program (free for Kindergarten through 5th Graders – but registration closed in October). Can get their free lesson this month. Adults can take advantage of the Adult Novice Ski lesson Buy 2, Get 1 Free deal. This deal makes it just over $115 a day (Normal walk up rate for Keystone is close to $130 for just the lift ticket. https://www.keystoneresort.com/plan-your-trip/ski-and-ride-lessons.aspx
  • Loveland – All first timer adults and children will receive a free season pass when they complete three Level 1 lessons. http://skiloveland.com/rentals-lessons/3-class-pass/.#sthash.FOv3MjV3.dpuf
  • Monarch – Probably one of the least expensive deals that we have found is the Monarch group lesson at just $55 for ½ day junior group lesson (junior is for kids ages 7-12). skimonarch.com/group-lessons/
  • Purgatory – For packages starting at just $74 you get two days of lift tickets, rental gear and full day beginner lessons. On the third day, you get a free lift ticket, 50% off rental gear and 50% off a half-day lesson. You also get a 50% off discount card on lift tickets, rentals and lessons for the rest of the season.
  • Steamboat – (Where I learned when I was in elementary school there). Get two days of lessons, rentals and lift tickets for just $199 January 9-31. This offer is good for adults and kids older than first grade. https://www.steamboat.com/plan-your-trip/lessons/snowsports-school/2-day-learn-to-ski-or-ride.#sthash.FOv3MjV3.dpuf
  • Sunlight – January 6 Sunlight will celebrate it’s 30th Annual Skier Appreciation Day with $20 lift tickets (all ticket proceeds go to United Way of Garfield County). And take advantage of their Teacher/Studen Appreciation Day on Sunday, January 10 with free lift tickets for teachers and $20 lift tickets for students. sunlightmtn.com.#sthash.FOv3MjV3.dpuf

 

5th and 6th Grade Passport. Colorado Ski Country is still offering the 5th and 6th Grade Passport. If you have a student in 5th or 6th grades. You can get the best deal in the state! FREE Skiing/Snowboarding (for the 5th graders) Yes, we said FREE! Or just $125 if they are in 6th Grade. In addition to the skiing at the 21 member resorts you get a FREE beginner level lesson which includes equipment rental on the day of the lesson! Sign up online before the end of January.

 

 

=======

 

If you’re on Twitter follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

 

Awesome in a box goes by the name FabFitFun

I have mentioned here before that I am a bit of a mail junkie. I honestly subscribe to magazines and REQUEST catalogs so that my mail box is full. I love waiting for the mail person to fill my box like every piece of mail is a gift (seriously even the stuff that most would call junk mail).

But this year, I gave myself an awesome Christmas present. I have long wanted to get one of those monthly subscription boxes. I just honestly have not had the money to do it. When you say $50 per month – it doesn’t sound like much. That is until you add up that fee and what you spend over a YEAR it seemed a bit crazy for me (and I’m on a Dave Ramsey – get RID of debt not add more plan).

I found a way in my budget to get the FabFitFun box. And I’m so happy! It really is awesome in a box. @fabfitfun just rolled out their limited-edition Editor’s Box for all of their new customers! There are tons of amazing useful products in this box. One of my favorites is the ModCloth Blanket Scarf (so many ways to style this!) Use code COZY at www.fabfitfun.com for $10 off your first box. #fabfitfun #fffpartner

The products are all full size products. The box is only delivered quarterly – so, it really doesn’t add up to as much…AND I found a code to use to make the first box just $40 (you can use my code too…it is “COZY”). j

Here are the AWESOME things that were in my first box – the Editor’s Box.

Modcloth scarf/blanket. I love this! It is soft and stylish. (normal price $35)

The Created Co. To-Go Coffee Mug. Who doesn’t love being told they are gorgerous by their coffee cup in the morning? (normal price $19)

Adult Coloring Book and Colored Pencils. Apparently it is therapeutic. I just think it is fun. I like to color. It is a fun way to spend some time winding down after a hard day. (normal price $14)

Manna Kadar Lip Gloss Stain. It is a 3-in-1 product with primer, gloss and stain. Making your lips look pretty and feel good too! The color I got was pretty neutral which is awesome for me as I hardly ever wear lip color or gloss. This may be my entry into that world! 🙂 (normal price $24)

Marrakesh Argan & Hemp Hair Oil. My hair gets frizzies. This stuff is great. It keeps the frizzies down and smells great plus, makes my hair shiny! (normal price $23)

O.R.G. Skin Mineral Peel. It says that it will expoliate and brighten my skin. I haven’t honestly used it enough to know. But it is sort of cool to spray on and then massage off.  (normal price $44)

Jook & Nona Necklace.The 18K gold plated engraved necklace (mine says “inspire”). Helps me looks stylish and radiate positivity. YAY…..except, my 15 yo daughter promptly took it and has claimed it as her own. (normal price $65)

Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster. Smooth! That is how my skin feels. Needing to relieve dryness in the Colorado winter – this stuff seems to do the trick. My skin doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. Awesome. (normal price $56)

Zoya Nail Polish. I’m not normally one to polish my nails. It doesn’t stay long and seems like to omuch work. I love this laqcuer as it stays longer than most. I love the color too! (normal price $10).

Definitely a deal when you add up the normal price of all the products coming in at over $200 – and I got the box for $40. PLUS, it came in the mail – making it fun and exciting to get and open. You can get your box here: https://t.fabfitfun.com/aff_c?offer_id=13&aff_id=2586

and use the code COZY to get $10 (20% off) your first box!

Denver Deal: Sonic, JC Penney, Movies and More

Happy Father’s Day! My dad always cheered my sister and me on when we scored a great deal. I always thought that was the girl thing (you know, mom clipping coupons to go to the grocery store). But if we could get a buy-one get-one free or a fun “extra” that we couldn’t really afford, my dad  is always the first one to cheer us on. His birthday is near Father’s Day so we presented him with coupons from a bunch of places freebies this year – he said, “this will be the best week ever.”  I hope this is your best week ever too!

 Kneaders Bakery & Café will open Friday, June 26 at 7:00 a.m.  To celebrate their Grand Opening, the first 100 customers will receive a complimentary meal of Kneaders famous French toast! With 3 locations in Colorado and over 35 locations throughout the west, Kneaders Bakery and Café specializes in authentic European hearth breads that are made fresh daily. The fast-casual restaurant also offers a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and 40-50 different pastries in a charming, family-friendly environment.  Their Arvada location will open at 7945 Wadsworth Blvd and will serve customers Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Michaels’ Passport to Imagination. If you have crafty kids, be sure to take them to Michaels on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays where they can get their craft on from 10 a.m.-noon. Cost is just $5 (or $12 for three sessions) and you must pre-register here. You’ll have time at the end of session to doodle, play and create with the products from that week’s sponsor.

Lakeside Amusement Park savings. Groupon is currently offering the following deal: Admission and Unlimited Rides for Two or Four at Lakeside Amusement Park (Up to 44% Off). There are two options: $27 for admission and unlimited rides for two (Up to $45 value) or $50 for admission and unlimited rides for four (Up to $90 value). The all-access admission allows guests to enjoy the park’s bevy of activities, such as a roller coaster, the merry-go-round, and Kiddies’ Playland.

SportsAuthority Football Field Day.  Sports Authority Football Field Day for kids ages 6 to 14, hosted by Sports Authority and USA Football’s Heads Up Football initiative. The high-energy event will allow participants to train where the Denver Broncos play their home games, Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The training will include a strong emphasis on safety where players navigate through stations dedicated to improving specific skills, such as passing, catching, running, Heads-Up tackling and more. The event is June 28. There are morning and afternoon sessions. Sports Authority Football Field Day is free and open to the public. To reserve your spot on the field and for more information, please click here

Sonic. We know summer is here when I get the hankering (seriously, did I just use the word hankering?!??) for ice cream shakes and other sweet yummy drinks. Apparently, Sonic believes the same as they offer half-price shakes all day on Thursday, June 18!

Bath and Body Works. Bath and Body Works is having their semi-annual sale starting June 1 (going through the month). Great bath and body care including fragrances, lotions and bath soap at up to 75% off!

Free Movie. Best Friend. Hero. Marine. You and your heroes are invited to a special advance screening of MAX on June 22! Visit http://www.wbtickets.com/MAXMamas to download your admit-four pass! Please note that seating is NOT guaranteed, so please arrive early for a chance to get in! MAX in theaters June 26!

Greek Festival. Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21 experience Greek culture, food, drink and dancing at the Greek Festival. The party happens at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Tickets are $5 for adults, Kids 12 and under get in free.

JC Penney Bonus Cash. Kohl’s has been doing it for years – spend $50 get $10 back in Bonus Cash. I recently received an email that JC Penney is also doing the Bonus Cash offer (same deal – spend $50 get $10) through this Sunday, June 21. Plus, they have additional discounts of extra 20% off!

QDoba Buddy Pass. QDoba is offering a buy one get one free entrees this Tuesday (June 16) and Wednesday (June 17). Just say “Mid-Week Buddy Pass” when you place and pay for your meal. Qdoba is also offering a free entree when you put $30 or more on your Q Cash (like the Starbucks phone app where you can pay from your phone).

Ongoing

Free, healthy summer meals for Colorado kids and teens. Summer should be a fun and enriching time for all Colorado children, but for many it represents a time when they are at the greatest risk of hunger due to lost access to school meals. Thanks to a statewide collaboration to address child hunger, 533 community sites across Colorado will provide meals to children up to 18 years old at no cost this summer.  Colorado families can find nearby summer food sites by using an interactive map at KidsFoodFinder.org or calling the statewide, bilingual Hunger Free Hotline toll-free at (855) 855-4626.

Free Outdoors Movies and Concerts. Denver is chock-full of great, talented musicians that play around town for free – and what is better than a movie outdoors on a cool summer night among about 500 of your closest friends? Don’t miss our round-up of free outdoor movies and concerts this summer.

Harkins Summer Movie Fun. Harkins Summer Movie Fun program for kids is back again this year. Kids can enjoy a movie a week for 10 weeks, for less than $1 per film. Make Harkins Summer Movie Fun for kids an annual tradition for your family. All adults must be accompanied by children.  Tickets are on sale now at participating locations. Movies this summer include: Boxtrolls, The Lorax, Rio 2, Dolphin Tale 2, Curious George, Nut Job, Puss in Boots, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and Penguins of Madagascar.

Cinemark Movie Clubhouse. There’s nothing quite like spending a hot day in a cool movie theater.Cinemark has a 10-week film fest of its own: $5 for 10 movies when purchased in advance at cinemark.com.  If you delay and purchase at the theater, movies are still just $1. Most locations start on Wednesday, June 2 with screenings starting at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and/or Wednesday. The film line-up includes The Croods, The LEGO Movie, Dolphin Tale 2, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Penguins of Madagascar, Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chip Wrecked, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and The Nut Job.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading. Kids can earn a free book of their won from Barnes & Noble (one of my favorite stores) in three easy steps. Step 1: Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal (PDF). Step 2: Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. (Find a Store). then Step 3: choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Free Denver Walking Tours Denver parents, kiddos, and visitors alike will be able to see and experience downtown Denver in a new way. They’ll be able to take advantage of Denver Free Walking Tours’ new two hour daily tours that leave at 10 a.m. daily, starting in Civic Center Park, then wind through downtown past more than a dozen of Denver’s distinctive landmarks, and end in front of Coors Field. No reservations needed and tours are every day – rain, snow, or shine.  There’s no up-front cost for this fun, educational opportunity for kids and parents but tipping is strongly recommended. If you’d like a tour specifically geared to your kids, Denver Walking Tours offers group tours for a nominal charge so grab your friends for a fun day of learning this summer!

  =======

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

If you’re on Twitter follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

 

Denver Deals: Starbucks, Mad Greens, Vail and More

I am a fourth generation Colorado native. I am very proud of that fact. I am even more proud when the ideals of our politicians match my personal ideas. I saw that in action this last week when Gov. John Hickenlooper along with the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation challenged Colorado schools, businesses and individuals to collectively perform 10,000 random acts of kindness. The six-month challenge kicked off at Gov. Hickenlooper’s inauguration and culminates at the Biennial of the Americas event in Denver on July. What can you do?Give, receive or witness an act of kindness. Post your photos, videos and stories using #StateOfKind on Twitter, Vine, Facebook or Instagram. Or email them to Glinda@randomactsofkindness.org with the subject line: #StateofKind.

FREE Salad at Mad Greens Westminster. In celebration of their newest location, Mad Greens will have free salads for anyone who shows up at their new location at 120th and Huron on Tuesday, April 28 between 10:30 and 8:30 p.m. The salad can also have chicken added and a free drink.

Starbucks. Starbucks is once again having Happy Hour with Frappuccinos! Nothing could make my teenage kids happier. May 1 (This Friday) through May 10 Starbucks will offer their cold blended beverages for half price between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

King Soopers. King Soopers offers a Free Friday item. If you sign up for King Soopers coupons – you can download a chosen free item each Friday. Items in the past have included Lindt Chocolate Stick, Lipton sparking iced tea, power bars and yogurts. All it takes if for you to click “download to my card” then when you check out they take the entire purchase price of that item off your bill. Also while you are at KingSoopers.com (or the KingSoopers app) you can download manufacturer coupons (so you don’t have to cut and carry them) right onto your card.

Girl’s Night At The Movies. You and your girls are invited to a special advance screening of HOT PURSUIT starring Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon on May 5. Visit http://www.wbtickets.com/HOTMama to download your admit-two pass. Please arrive early as seating is first come, first served, and is not guaranteed! HOT PURSUIT hits theaters May 8.

Vail Announces Epic School KidsFor years the ski areas in Colorado have given free passes to kids in 5th and 6th grade (some make you pay a nominal fee for the 6th grade) but now, Vail Resorts is offering FREE skiing for Colorado kids kindergarten through 5th Grade. Visit any Vail-owned retail locations (Colorado Ski & Golf; Colorado Ski & Sport; Boulder Sport; and Colorado Springs Sport) with your child. Have a copy of their school ID, report card, birth certificate or letter from the school to sign up for the FREE pass which will be good for four days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone plus, one free beginner’s lesson. These are ONLY available in the stores through end of May.

Denver Art Museum. The Denver Art Museum (DAM) recently announced that kids 18 and under are entitled to FREE general admission every day for the next FIVE years thanks to Kaiser and Reiman Foundations.

Free/Cheap Days.

  • The Newman Center at the University of Denver has a mothers day 2 for 1 Special for their final performance of the year.
  • Friday, May 1 Four Mile Historic Park admission will be free.
  • Colorado Railroad Museum offers free admission this Saturday, May 2.
  • Sunday, May 3 is free admission at the Mizel Museum of Jewish Art and culture.
  • Tuesday, May 5 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. is free at the Children’s Museum of Denver (compliments of Target)
Professional Organizing. Simply Put Organizational Solutions for the Home is a full-service company, which helps people focus, simplify, and organize their home or office. They design, purchase, and install innovative space solutions and organizational systems. Products and services are tailor-made, high quality and guaranteed to meet diverse and changing needs. Call today 303.321.2692 – get the first 2 hours of home or office organizing support for the price of one (a $150 value for only $75). Additional hours are 20% off (making it just $60/hour). Plus, the offer is good for new and existing clients on your first project of this year.

Consignment Sales. MileHighMamas has compiled the best of the best in kids consignment sales. The whole list can be found at: http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2015/02/11/denver-childrens-consignment-sales/

=======

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

This is a repeat post of one at MileHighMamas.com.

If you’re on Twitter follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Kids Eat Free Mile High Mamas has rounded up a huge listing of local restaurants where kids eat free or for a discount with a paying adult.