I am into…

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life15 Comments


Not at all unlike Oprah’s Favorite Things, from time to time I’ll share a few products or services that I’m really into and today seemed like the right time. Shall we?

BLUE APRON—After much cajoling, my California bestie Tara Whitney convinced me to try one free week of Blue Apron and I have to say this: holy cooking fun! Blue Apron is one in a long and growing line of companies who deliver cookable meals right to your mailbox and I figured it would be fun to try and also to mix up my usual meal-making routines. I picked last week for my trial which worked for two reasons: 1. I had no idea what to make for dinner, and 2. Cole got his wisdom teeth out so I knew I’d only be cooking for two. So that’s what I did. I selected their meal plan for two people and had at it. All three meals were good, save for a complete disaster with the Japanese Black Rice Bowls, wherein the black rice never actually cooked. Not even after one hour. At that point, I ditched and threw in some microwavable Trader Joe’s white rice to save the day.

Blue Apron has a strong angle on teaching cooking and you can go online for even more info on techniques and processes for the meal you are making, plus read comments from other users, which I found helpful in regards to the black rice. I would say if you’re a complete newbie, it might be a little overwhelming at first. These do not strike me as super fast, kick it out meals, but if you like to cook (and I really love to!), it’s a fun way to play and eat some new things. I also like that you can skip any delivery which I have skipped the next three because of the upcoming holiday and I didn’t love what they have coming. The price for two-person meals is $59.99. Not bad for three complete meals. I will try a few more weeks in December, and see what shakes out. I’m presently only cooking for three and there are so many days when Cole has sports or school stuff and misses the dinner hour and then I end up making him a sandwich. This isn’t the kind of thing my son would enjoy, so I will say this: perfect for families who like to break out of the norm, or households with just two people. I think this would be ideal as a wedding present for newlyweds! Send them a one year subscription and watch them learn to cook.

HYDROFLASK—I’m officially obsessed with Hydro Flask! I saw my first Hydroflask last summer when one of Cole’s best friends brought a ginormous one into our house following an ultimate practice. Cole eventually asked me to get him one (I did) and then I had to order one for myself and I am IN LOVE!

Using MyHydro, I ordered a 16-ounce wide mouth with a white flip top lid in Mint with an orange boot. (Note: I didn’t like the orange boot and wish I had just ordered black or white, so I took it off.) I’ve used it for coffee, which it kept piping hot for as long as I was drinking it, and I’ve used it to carry ice water, which it kept icy cold for three hours at a tournament I went to over the weekend. Long story short: it’s a great mug for all purposes! I seriously want more and the color of this mug is so… how do I say, CZ Design!

BROOKLINEN—A few weeks ago, while Googling “softest duvet cover ever” I happened upon a company called Brooklinen, and now I’m afraid I’m going to slowly give them all of my money. I recently picked up some new down comforters and duvets from IKEA and while I think their comforters are a terrific value, their duvet covers, while attractive, are a little on the less soft side. So began my search and I found Brooklinen and decided to start by ordering a duvet cover for Aidan’s bed. True, she’s away at college but her comforter was in need of a new duvet.

Long story short: I love it so much I just ordered one for my bed. Their selection is carefully curated.  You’re not going to find a bunch of crazy patterns. What they have is elegant, minimal and gorgeous. After getting Aidan’s duvet, I went ahead and got her the matching sheets (in Smoke Stripe) after realizing her current fitted sheet had a big old hole in it.

Brooklinen also has a ‘sleep for 60 nights and if you don’t love it, return it’ policy. Can’t really beat that with a stick, now can you? If you’re in the market, check them out. I am now awaiting a new duvet cover in the brand new Smoke Dot pattern.

SAVE $15 FROM BROOKLINEN! Use this link to save $15 on your purchase!

SPICY PORK FRIED RICE—I posted something about this recipe that I love (and also got from Miss Tara Whitney) on my CZ Design Instagram account and told people I would post the recipe here. It’s simple and satisfying. Also, you can play around with the ingredients as much as you like. I like to add extra ginger and extra eggs. I skip the Sriracha sauce. It’s all good.

Spicy Rice:
4 tbs Cooking Oil
6 Cloves of Garlic
4 tsp Grated Ginger
6 Eggs, with 1-2 tsp Sriracha, and pinch of salt and pepper
3 bunches of Green Onions, whites and a few green parts chopped
12 oz. Ground Pork
4 cups (cooked) Jasmine Rice

Spicy Rice Sauce:
8 tsp Soy Sauce
8 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce
8 tsp Chili Oil with Chili Flakes

1. Set rice to cook.
2. Cook oil, garlic, green onions and ginger first.
3. Add pork, cook well and even brown it up a bit. I like it to be a bit crispy.
4. Whip up eggs with siracha and salt and pepper.
5. Make sauce.
6. Push the pork aside when it’s done and put eggs in until they cook. Scramble them up. Stir all together.
7. Add rice and sauce, stir well to combine.


Cathy ZielskeI am into…

15 Comments on “I am into…”

  1. #1

    Cathy are you ordering the standard sheets (270 thread count) or 480 thread count. And if the latter are they that kind of satiny feel? It’s a shame the Ikea ones are so rough but at the same time I don’t like the satiny feel.

    1. #1.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I ordered her the Luxe set, not the standard. I feel like yes, it has a smoother feel… I don’t know if I’d call it satiny… they are cotton… but they are really crisp and comfy even after one washing.

  2. #2

    I have a meal delivery service and love it. Originally I did it to test to see if my mother-in-law would benefit from it, she got ill and there were weeks of visiting the hospital and a care facility then she passed away and to know that I could have a delicious healthy meal ready to cook when I got home was so comforting and one less thing I needed to think about. Previously when she had been in the hospital we had resorted to going out a lot which translates to poundage added. This time I felt like were caring for ourselves as well as her. Over the course of 6 months there have been maybe 2 meals that we haven’t liked. Another thing is that I don’t skip because I don’t like the recipe because that forces us to try new things. I had no idea I liked bok choi or fennel.

    1. #2.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yeah, I’ve never cooked with a persimmon before! That was part of the first recipe so that was cool. 🙂 I’m skipping the next few weeks because of Thanksgiving and my girl being home for break. She’s gluten free right now, though I know I can do gluten free with Blue Apron (or at least I think i can!)

  3. #3

    some good ideas as Christmas time approaches. I have fallen in love with the sheet and towels from Bollen Branch…..the cotton sheets are so soft and silky. I will have to also check into your suggestion.

  4. #4

    $60 for 3 meals for 2 doesn’t seem like a great deal to me… but then I love to cook and shop for all the ingredients. I do like the fact that you really only get as much as you’d use for the recipe so no buying a large container of some exotic spice only to find it stuffed in the back of the cabinet 3 years later.

    I am a hydroflask devotee. Here’s why: 32oz dark blue hydroflask (regular lid, black). Filled with ice and cold water at 8 am. Working outside at Death Valley. May. 100+ degrees. At noon? You could hardly touch the outside of the stupid thing it was so hot but inside? Ice cold water with ice cubes still rattling around in it. I now have 2 and have seriously considered picking one up for each family member. Next on my “I want” list is a Yeti 20 oz rambler. I like that it has a more traditional travel cup feel. (I’d throw in a couple low ball Yeti’s too if my budget could handle it.)

  5. #6

    Thanks for the enabling, CZ. Linens (my holiday gift to me) are on their way and I can see how I can spend a ton there! Fortunately I was able to save some money as MyHydro doesn’t ship to Canada 🙂 xoL

  6. #7

    Love my hydro flask too. Check out this handle at Amazon: World’s #1 Paracord Handle for Hydroflask. Pricey, but very handy going to and fro with precious flask:)

  7. #8

    HI Cathy – thanks for the above.

    On another topic – will you be running the FIT class next year? I didn’t make the most of it this year and really feel more motivated to get on board next year. I have a dress hanging in my closet that I would dearly love to fit into (again)! Hope all is going well in your world.

    1. #8.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Indeed I am! Working on the class this weekend and through the next few weeks. : ) The core class cards and content will be the same, but of course, the message will be recorded each month as a new message. 🙂 I’m also thinking of adding some things to actually simplify the documenting process! Stay tuned!

    1. #9.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Fun! I ordered another set too, for one of our twin beds. They have great service if you are not happy with them in any way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *