Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lunch: Miso Soup

We've been getting some instant noodle bowls at the health food store, and this new-to-me flavor (Miso Soup) seemed like just the thing on a cold, rainy day. It was ready in about 2 minutes, it was hot and filling and tasted okay, but I felt itchy about 15 minutes later, which is usually a sign I have passed my threshold for corn by-products. I will stick with the teriyaki flavor next time!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gear Review: Eco Lunchboxes

The Ecolunchbox 3-in-1 was on my covet list ever since I tried their lunchpod snack cups, but I was put off by their high shipping. So, imagine my delight when I saw this baby retail! I was anxious to try it out; I am still looking for the perfect container to woo me away from plastic, and I have not found any to rival my Easy Lunchbox for versatility in use and ease in clean-up.

And...I still am looking. I really hoped this would work for me, but alas, it is just a hare too small. The lunchbox has an ingenious design, with two layers---a bottom layer for sandwiches and main items, and a top layer for sides which is slightly deeper and can fit the lunchpods side dish container for sub-dividing. Great idea in theory. In practice...

Firstly, as you can see, the sandwich didn't quite fit in the bottom compartment. I had to put it in a wrap mat, which is fine but doesn't exactly get me away from plastic! So then I thought I would use the bottom compartment for my afternoon snack. I cut up half an apple, which was fine, and then put my lunchbots dip container in. The dipper, with lid, seemed to fit fine but turned out to be slightly too high when I tried to close up the lunchbox. I was able to use it if I left the lid off, which is fine because I pack my lunches in a bag where they stay upright.

The top container was great for snacks and sides. The side pod fit with the lid or without, and the container was nicely compact and sturdy. I have read in a few reviews that many people use the top container separately as its own item, and that is probably how I will use it. The pod fits perfectly and this might become my go-to snack container for my afternoon snack, where I like to pack two things, a fruit and a crunchy item.

So...I did get a new snack container out of it. But I didn't get the complete stainless steel lunch system I was hoping for. I'll have more to wash tonight than I would with my two-piece Easy Lunchbox, and I wish that sandwich had fit in the box as advertised.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lunch: Apple-Cheddar Salad

This was inspired by a great salad I saw at a cafe called 'Apple-Cheddar Salad.' It sounded so good! Alas I did not have any cheddar so I used soy veggie shreds, and I added some leftover couscous and a handful of edamame for heft. Other than those small changes, it's fancy salad, cafe style!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lunch: Rice Noodle Salad

I was playing with a new vegetable slicer and got carried away! Rice noodles mixed with cucumber ribbons, carrots & edamame is the main dish. Sliced apples and chocolate goldfish on the side.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gear Review: Ecolunchbox Pods

I picked up these 'lunch pods' because I had been finding my Lunchbots a little big for just snack stuff and was looking for a plastic-free alternative to my well-used Sistema containers, which have become a little TOO well-used and are starting to feel a little grubby and gross. These stainless steel 'pods' from Ecolunchboxes started out as part of their 3-in-1 container and are, by popular request, now available separately.

I was attracted to this product because I like stainless steel stuff and I was looking forward to having a small little extra I could tuck into a lunch bag if I just wanted to pack a little something extra. I liked the portion control of the 1/2 cup serving size, and I liked that this could be a modular component to a bigger lunch system (I did investigate just buying the 3-in-1 kit but Reuseit doesn't have it yet and shipping off the ecolunchbox site costs more than the lunchbox does!)

So, what did I like about these containers?

1) They are gorgeous. I just love the way stainless steel looks, and it really does set off the colours of the food and make it more attractive to look at and eat.

2) The portion size is perfect. In a larger container, I do tend to over-serve sometimes. I really do like that I ca easily pack a proper portion, and toss it into a bag without having a big, clunky thing to wash.

3) Held up well to hand-washing so far. This is the big issue with plastic for me, even safe plastic feels fine at first but then reaches a point where it feels like it can't really get clean anymore.

4) Works well with my other containers. It fit into my Laptop Lunchbox, Easy Lunchbox and Lunchbots even with the lid on, and fit into my Planetbox without the lid, as a divider.

5) The lid fit perfectly. They mentioned on their website that it is not water-tight, but I felt it was plenty snug enough for carrots, grapes, dry snacks and so on. I would have no problems tossing it in a bag.

What didn't I like?

1) The bottom was rounded, not flat. This meant it did not lie perfectly inside my other containers (although height-wise, it fit) and it meant they could not stack neatly on a kitchen shelf.

2) The barcode sticker on the bottom was extremely well-affixed and was very difficult to remove. I messed up the first one, left the second one on and will have to go at it with goo-gone later.

3) I do feel their website shipping is extremely unreasonable. I got the two lunchpods from Reuseit and paid $4.50 for shipping, but they don't carry all the ecolunchbox products.

4) I would love to see a divided container like the Sistema one, but in stainless steel. I really do prefer two-part snacks, so packing two of these instead of one of those will give me more to wash.

So, my final verdict? This meets my needs for a stainless steel snack container and I am pretty happy with it. Leaving aside the shipping issue which prevented me from trying the more complete 3-in-1 system, I do think the lunchpod is a well-made option for what it is. I like the durable and healthier stainless steel and look forward to using these for years. I do wish they could tweak it to make the bottom flat though. I hate that I can't stack these neatly without them toppling over, and I think that this design flaw will force me to stop at two and not buy others, because they are just so fiddly to store.

Overall, I would give these a 3.5/5 and recommend them---with the caveat that you comparison-shop on shipping, and have ample space to store them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lunch: Couscous Salad

Salad with leftover couscous, edamame and carrots plus half a plum and a strawberry cookie on the side.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lunch: Potato Knishes

Wanted some comfort food today :-) Potato Knishes from a local bakery, fruit chews and grapes.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lunch: Croissant & Fruit

Went grocery shopping yesterday, so my lunch today includes a treat: a croissant topped with soy cheese, an in-season plum and ye olde standbye, grapes.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Snack: Fruit of the Season

Snack box packed for a long staff meeting! Plum from the fruit market, and a handful of whole grain crackers.