Plastic-Free and Reusable Lunchbox Containers

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In the new year, I am trying to bring my lunch to work again every day, so there's a lot of lunch packing going on in our house! A while back I wrote a post about how I pack my workday lunch in reusable, non-plastic containers. And while I still swear by the products I mentioned at that time, I have a whole new list of favorites that I use for my toddler son's lunch (and in turn my own). These items are also great for storing leftovers.

Here are my go-to plastic-free and low-plastic lunchbox containers:

I have two sets of these U Konserve round nesting stainless steel containers. They're leak-proof, easy to clean, and the perfect size for little kid snacks and meal components. The company sells replacement lids (because you will lose them.) Plus, my newer set is marked with the tare on the bottom—handy if you're a bulk shopper. $18 for three.

I bought a Planet Box, but it was way too big for my toddler (and too heavy for me to schlepp to work each day). The LunchBots Trio is a better size and weight for my kid and it's 100% plastic-free (though not leakproof, FYI!). $25.

We did, however, really like the Planet Box accessories: the Little Dipper (great for small-portion things like hummus or raisins) and the Big Dipper (the right size for portioning out yogurt or applesauce). The bigger ones are great plastic-free, leak-proof alternatives to the U Konserve containers I love. $5.25 for small and $10.25 for large.
We have a Kleen Kanteen water bottle, which our son loves, but for those on the quest for totally plastic-free option, the Pura Kiki 11 0z. water bottle, which converts from baby bottle to sippy cup to straw cup is make from only stainless steel and silicone. $20 to $25 each.

And here are the things I'm still working on:
I'm still trying to find my ideal alternative to zip-top plastic bags, so any suggestions are welcome. I have some Lunchskins, but they are a pain to launder (the Velcro always sticks to something). The Stasher silicone bags (above) are good, but also tricky to clean (especially for those of us without dishwashers). 

As an alternative to disposable bags or wraps, I am very curious try Bee's Wrap; my sister-in-law uses these for her kids. 

Finally, I dream of a plastic-free sippy cup, similar to the wildly popular Munchkin Miracle cup. Maybe I need to manufacture it myself? What are your favorite plastic-free ways to pack kids' and grown-ups' lunches?

Digest 12.8.17

Friday, December 08, 2017

Here's the latest round-up of things that have inspired me: thoughts on living sustainability, a few links for holiday cheer (and boy, we could use some with the national news), and some home and recipe inspiration. Enjoy!

The best budget kitchen makeover I've seen in a long time (above)!

The problem with too many tote bags.

Fewer toys. 

Where is all the good affordable furniture?

 season is here.

Ideas for holiday cheer.

Millenial pink.

"Handcrafted, authentically-sustainable goods" make great gifts.

Superhero muffins for a true superhero.

Villa Slow.

sneak peek inside a house around the corner from my old apartment.


Pegboard Inspiration

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I'm thinking about a future kitchen project (more about that to come), which has had me saving images of pegboard wall organizers. Yes, pegboards have been trending for the last couple of years, but I think they're more than just a passing trend. Case in point: Julia Child's famed pegboard pot rack in her Cambridge kitchen. Plus, the original architectural plans for the kitchen I'm scheming about indicate that a pegboard was to be included in the kitchen (though no signs of one remain today).

Here are a few DIY pegboard ideas that have caught my eye:
Inspired by both Julia Child and the Eames Hang-It-All, Food52's tutorial for this pegboard uses off-the-shelf pegboard and peg hooks that have been dressed up with wood balls to give it the Eames look.

Featured in Est Magazine, an Australian publication, this entryway designed by the architectural firm Heartly is paneled in floor-to-ceiling pegboard that has been painted black.

In this kitchen, a panel of pegboard covers the side of a refrigerator, making clever use of the vertical space. Remodelista notes that the "pegboard hides the gap behind the fridge, which wasn’t deep enough to meet the wall."

Remodelista is also using a shot of a desk organizer pegboard to promote its new site The Organized Home and their new book of the same title.

Read on for even more do-it-yourself pegboard projects:

Eat Beans for Climate Change

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

A while back I read this article on about how swapping our beef consumption for bean consumption would make a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions. According to the article, "If every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef. They found that if everyone were willing and able to do that—hypothetically—the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals... That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target."

This statistic has stuck in my head, and I've been striving to eat more vegetarian meals at home (even though we rarely cook beef, I figure replacing beans for other animal protein also helps the cause!). I know it's hard for people to make the switch from the standard meat + starch + vegetable = dinner equation, so I thought I would share a few favorite bean and lentil recipes that make great main dishes for weeknight meals.

Deborah Madison's Lentil Salad (above) from the original Greens Cookbook is a classic. Find the recipe on (photo by Mark Weinberg).

I've been making Heidi Swanson's White Beans and Cabbage for years—it's a great one-dish meal. (Also a great way to use all the cabbage I got in this year's CSA!)

Pair this chickpea and cauliflower dish with a big green salad and you've got a hearty dinner.

Another long-time favorite is Melissa Clark's Red Lentil Soup with Lemon. Read her commentary, if you need convincing.

Melissa has a ton of bean and lentil dishes in her new book Dinner: Changing The Game that I am dying to try, including this Black Bean Skillet Dinner.

A recipe inspired by the late great Chickpea Sandwich that used to grace the menu at 'wichcraft, and a excerpt of the original recipe from Tom Colicchio's book.

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