Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Snack: Pretzels & Fruit

Planetbox Shuttle packed for busy afternoon of errands: pretzels, apple slices and peanut butter dip.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lunch: Easy Grain Salad

What I love about this lunch is that you can mix and match it: in this salad, I used  brown rice, chickpeas and Asian dressing tossed with shredded greens, but you could vary the grain, legume, dressing and vegetable. Nectarine on the side. Yum!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lunch: Taco Dippers

A quick, easy and tasty lunch today. Bean dip and rice crackers with half a sliced apple, packed in my Planetbox Shuttle.

Extra: Pantry Tour

I always love seeing bloggers post these! I am proud of my pantry/dining room because I was inspired by a photo on a decorating blog, and I actually managed to copy it pretty well! The only difference was the original pic was not in the kitchen, and it had a desk in between the bookcases, instead of a freezer,

Anyway, here it is:

I like the symmetry of the whole arrangement a lot: the books across both sides, then the rows of mason jars, then the big containers, then the odds and ends. Here are some close-ups. First, the mason jars with seeds, raisins and other small bulk goods:

Here are some larger bulk goods, and then my lunch containers: Easy Lunchboxes for the boy, my Lunchbots, glass ones and thermoses underneath for hot things, Planetbox Rover on its side and Shuttle underneath, and the shelf organizer with snack and dip containers.

That's actually all of my lunch stuff, believe it or not! I have two laptop Lunchboxes in storage elsewhere because I don't really use them but am saving them for a rainy day, and a drawer in the kitchen with sandwich cutters and a few odds and ends. But that's it! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lunch: Simple Sticky Rice

I still feel delicate, so I am taking it easy. Leftover steamed rice mixed with a few edamame for protein, grapes and a few chocolate fishies for a treat. Still using up a few things before I go soy and wheat free for awhile...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lunch: Tummy Trouble

Ate something yesterday that didn't agree with me...following a painful morning, I am trying to get some fluids and very gentle solid foods back into my system. In the Planetbox Shuttle, I have:

- A grilled cheese sandwich (with one slice of rice cheese and white bread!) cut into manageable portion size for my current delicate state with a cutesy sandwich cutter that's supposed to be for the nieces and nephews

- A few lentil chips for protein, and a tiny portion of comfort food chocolate pudding. This is my first time using the Shuttle's tall dipper and I was surprised at how much it held---just over half a pudding snack cup!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Experiment: Stainless Steel Palooza!

I sometimes like to pack wetter things in my lunchbox---oatmeal, fruit salad, soup etc. I have been trying to both go plastic-free and to minimize the quantity of containers I carry on a day to day basis, so I had a look today at everything I have so far to see what my options were. I started with:

From left to right, here is my Planetbox Rover, my Lunchbots Uno and my Planetbox Shuttle. In front, I have the Planetbox Big Dipper, the Ecolunchbox Pod and small dip containers from Lunchbots and Planetbox.

Experiment 1: Ecolunchbox Pod

It fit, with lid on, in the Lunchbot and Shuttle. It rattled around a little when I shook the closed containers, but if you had other food in there, it wouldn't shift. It did fit in the Rover's big spot as well, but with the lid on, it was slightly too high. You could use it as a divider with the lid off though.

What would these configurations lend themselves to? My first thought was yogurt. There is plenty of room in the Lunchbot for fruit to go with it. In the Shuttle, you could put fruit in the side compartment and toss some granola in beside the yogurt pod.

Experiment 2: Planetbox Big Dipper

It fit in all of them! A little snugly in both of the Planetboxes, and with room to spare in the Lunchbot:

Although the Lunchbot does have that extra room, the side compartments on the Planetboxes give you more options. I'd happily use this in the shuttle for something like taco dip or sloppy joe filling. You could use the side compartment for chips or crackers to dip, or put fruit in it and pack the crackers in a snack bag (I did experiment with putting them on top, since there appeared to be room up there, but it was awkward and didn't quite work out).

Experiment 3: The Dippers

This one was easy: other than the taller one, which only fit in the shuttle, they all fit in all the boxes.

So where does this leave me? Well, since I am not doing sandwiches anymore, it opens me up for taco dip, hummus and other dip plus rice cracker combos. And it strengthens the Shuttle's place as my new favorite lunchbox! I can fit a whole meal in there and pop it into the sleek little case or if I need snacks, use it in one of my other carry bags.

For sheer versatility, the Lunchbots offer more options for certain things. I think that between them and the Shuttle, I truly can ditch the plastic.

So, when will Planetbox come out with a glass insert that fits in the Shuttle for microwaving?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gear Review: Planetbox Shuttle

I am so excited to have a new box! I really love my now-usual Lunchbots but I find that sometimes I want something with a little bit more leak-proofing between compartments. It's hard to pack a wet thing in one half of a Lunchbot and a dry thing in the other unless you use silicone cups or somesuch, which is just more to wash. So I splurged on the new two-compartment Planetbox Shuttle.

It was with some trepidation, too---their Rover model was my big, expensive (very expensive!) lunch gear regret. I felt awful because it seemed every bento blogger in the world loooooved the Planetbox, and there it sits on my shelf, looking pretty, taking up space and never getting used! It's just so cumbersome to pack and wash and use. There are too many compartments, and they aren't quite the right size for me. The big one doesn't really fit a sandwich, the dipper doesn't really hold enough for a soup or salad, and it just never seemed to come together for me. And since the lid doesn't come off, it takes up so much room on the table. I was sorry I bought it, but shipping (both for them to send it, which doesn't get refunded, and for me to mail it back) would have equaled the cost of the lunchbox, so I've kept it hoping for the day it would click for me...

...and then I fell in love with the Shuttle! It's perfect---it's slightly higher than the rover, so two sandwich halves would fit in the big compartment, and the side compartment is big enough to fit a whole cut apple (as I did below) or a smaller fruit portion and something else! I got the model which came with the big dipper (not pictured) and carry case. I am thrilled with it!

I love how self-contained everything was. Nothing leaked between compartments! And it's a flexible system. I found several containers---with lids, even!---which would fit in the big compartment, including my stainless steel ecolunchbox pods. The one downside for me was that the sleek little carry bag didn't have space for any extras like drinks or snacks. But the box did fit in several other carry bags I have so I am not worried. In the summer, I tend to buy snacks on the go (coffee shops won't let you work there unless you buy something!) and during the school year, I can just use another bag (or stick a snack container in the water bottle pocket on my backpack). And it's much smaller than the Rover, so easier to wash, even with the lid to deal with.

In summary---if it's just lunch I am taking and I don't need a full kit, this is my new go-to box. I may even order a second one for the boyfriend, who never packs snacks and only likes one side item to go with his peanut butter sandwich. Now, if only Planetbox would trade in my unused Rover for the second Shuttle so I don't have to pay again...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lunch: Vegan Lunchable

Doctor says I have to cut back on the wheat and soy, so I will be experimenting with some new lunches. In my Lunchbots Quad, I have a 'lunchable' style feast of brown rice crackers, hummus, grapes and trail mix.

I like hummus better than I thought I did, and feel good about this healthy, portable  and protein-packed feast! I was also delighted to find that my Easy Lunchbox dippers fit perfectly in the Quad. I do try and use less plastic, but sometimes you need a more leakproof seal, and they are somewhat bigger than the metal Lunchbots dips...