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Summer Salads: Pack in a Glass Food Storage Container

glass food storage container

Summers are made for salads. With so many fresh fruits and veggies available at your local farmers market, it’s fun to experiment and play with different recipes and flavors. Pick a glass food storage container to pair with the following ideas to keep all ingredients fresh for lunch and beyond.

Superfood Strawberry Salad

3 cups raw kale
1/2 cup cabbage
1/2 large cucumber
1/4 red onion
5 strawberries

Dressing
1/4 avocado
1 Tbs. olive or grapeseed oil
1 Tbs. white rice vinegar
1 tsp. honey
pinch sea salt
(optional 3 Tbs. Greek yogurt)

Directions
Chop kale, cabbage, and onions and pack in your glass container. Top with cucumbers and strawberries.  To make dressing blend all ingredients in a food processor. Pack dressing on the side in a stainless steel mini container or pour on top of salad.

Garbanzo Citrus Salad

1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/4 cup cucumber, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbs. onion, diced
1 Tbs. grapefruit juice
Juice from 1 tangerine
1 tsp. tangerine zest
1 tsp. red wine vinegar

Directions
Toss beans and veggies together in a glass container. Combine liquids in a separate bowl. Drizzle the juice mixture over the veggies and mix until equally covered.  Store in the glass food storage container until ready to enjoy.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

6 red grapes, halved
1/2 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
3-1/2 oz boneless, skinless lean chicken breast
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. sunflower seeds, unsalted and shelled
2 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Directions
Heat olive oil in a small skillet. Season chicken with basil, pepper and any other seasoning you desire. Cook seasoned chicken on medium heat for about 6 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Cut cooked chicken into small pieces and toss with other ingredients together in a bowl. Enjoy on a wrap or on a bed of lettuce.

Salads are something the whole family can enjoy. Take a look at more of our favorite salad recipes on our Pinterest page and enjoy packing in our glass containers. Happy cooking!

Home Composting: Go Green in your Garden

go green

Are you ready to go green in your garden?  If you’ve been buying ready-made organic compost, it’s not too late to learn how to make your own nutrient-rich soil. Not only is it inexpensive, but when you feed your soil properly you’ll see all your plants truly blossom before your eyes!

Home composting is nature’s recycling service, allowing households to recycle a substantial amount of their waste – including vegetable peelings, fruit waste, tea bags, grass cuttings, cut flowers, paper kitchen towels, egg shells and cereal boxes – without it ever leaving your home.  Start with the following 4 steps to begin your home composting journey today:

Step 1: Start with a container

Nothing fancy here. Use a compost bin or wooden crate to make sure that your ingredients will hold together and that your pile will retain moisture and heat.

Step 2: Use a mix of brown and green products

Composting is rather low-maintenance. Make sure that your pile has a combination of brown and green plant matter, and enough moisture to keep the good bacteria happy. Newspaper, wood chips, and dry leaves make for excellent brown add-ins while kitchen waste and grass are great green additions.

Step 3: Activate your compost

Taking care of a compost pile is very basic, but requires a little effort on your end. Feeding and watering your compost every week or two by adding material and regular moisture is a great way to provide your garden compost the happy bacteria to consume and keep the process warm.

Step 4: Don’t forget to turn!

Turn your compost with a pitchfork to make sure that all of the elements are working together. After you’ve mixed your pile, check that it’s slightly damp. Too little moisture will slow the decomposition process. Too much will result in a slimy mess.

In a few months, your compost should be dark, crumbly and smell like fresh earth. Want to learn more about what to compost in your garden? Earth Easy provide excellent content with tips on what to add to your pile for the best results.  Happy go green gardening!

Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box Ideas for Summer

stainless steel bento lunch box

With the temperatures rising outside it’s time to lighten up your lunch! Salads, fresh fruits, veggies, sandwiches, and wraps fit perfectly in our stainless steel bento lunch box. If you’ve got kids heading to summer camp filled with a full day of activities, try these new ideas to keep their lunch box full all day long.

Vegetable Rainbow Rolls

Ingredients:
Rolls
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup quinoa
8 sheets of rice paper

Peanut Sauce
2 1/2 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon German mustard
1 teaspoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes

Directions:
Rolls
1. Cook quinoa set aside and let cool
2. Slice all vegetables for the inside of rolls, then set aside.
3. Soak the rice paper once piece at a time in room temperature water for around 20 seconds until soft, place the rice paper on a dry wooden board
4. Place a small handful of cabbage, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, carrot, avocado and quinoa in the middle of the rice paper.
5. Fold the paper from the bottom and top, then fold in the sides, and finish rolling tightly.
6. Repeat with the rest of the rice paper and vegetables until finished.
7. Slice each vegetable roll diagonally into two pieces and pack with peanut sauce in a mini container.

Peanut Sauce
For peanut sauce, combine tamari, oil, peanut butter, mustard, vinegar, ginger, honey, chile flakes and 3 tablespoons water; set aside.

Note: There are endless options for this recipe! Mix and match veggies, add lunch meat, dip into your favorite dressing… Get creative and have fun with it!

9 Ideas For PB&J

  1. Almond butter, strawberry jelly, and apples on cinnamon raisin bread
  2.  Crunchy peanut butter, grape jelly, and coconut shavings on whole wheat bread
  3. Sunflower seed butter, strawberry jelly, Nutella and banana on gluten-free bread
  4. Crunchy peanut butter, strawberry jelly, and fresh strawberries on gluten-free bread
  5. Almond butter, grape jelly, honey and pretzels on cinnamon raisin bread
  6. Peanut butter, strawberry jelly, coconut shavings, and strawberries on  gluten-free bread
  7. Sunflower seed butter, Nutella, apricot jelly, apples, and pretzels on gluten-free bread
  8. Crunchy peanut butter, strawberry jelly, and banana on cinnamon raisin bread
  9. Peanut butter, strawberry jelly, coconut, and pretzels on whole wheat bread

View the inspiration for the recipe here

 

When you’ve filled your stainless steel bento lunch box, pack it in our insulated lunch tote to keep it cold for hours! BPA-free and made from recycled water bottles it is the perfect compliment for all of your stainless steel lunch containers. Interested in more lunch ideas? Head on over to our Pinterest Page for some of our favorites!

Make At Home Doughnut Recipes

doughnunt

It’s here! Each year on the first Friday of June is National Doughnut or Donut Day! This day celebrates the doughnut and honors the Salvation Army Lassies, the women that served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI. In preparation, we have compiled two of our favorite recipes that are baked versions of the classic treat.

Lemon Glazed Baked Doughnut

Makes about 14 doughnuts

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (1%)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly coat a doughnut pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine flours and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
3. Combine buttermilk, eggs, honey, butter, and vanilla, stirring well with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; whisk just until combined.
4. Spoon batter into doughnut pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake in the middle of oven until doughnuts spring back when touched and are golden on bottom (about 8 minutes). Let cool in pan slightly (about 4 minutes); turn out.

Lemon Glaze
Combine 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, stirring well with a whisk. Dip 1 side of the cooled doughnuts into glaze; let cool on a rack, glazed side up.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Bites

Makes about 24 bites

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
3/4 cup (2 percent) Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 – 4 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set it aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the egg, oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla and brown sugar until the mixture is fully combined. It will be a little thicker than a muffin batter. If it’s too thick, add in a bit of milk.
3. Using your hands, roll the dough into little balls and place them in the greased muffin pan.
Bake donuts for about 10 – 11 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Let them cool for about 1 minute.
4. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Using a pastry brush, brush each donut with melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Repeat until all of the donuts have been covered and enjoy!

 

Store all leftovers in our stainless steel food containers to keep the freshness of the doughnuts for the next few days! Enjoy making these recipes with the whole family as a way to celebrate.

Four Tips for a Waste-Free Road Trip

road trip

With the summer season upon us what better way to kick it off than with a waste-free road trip! While enjoying the scenery of a new place, it’s important to be mindful of your impact. By taking these few extra steps you can cut your trash in half while on the go.

Plan and pack food and snacks

Most of the stops you make while on the road will be for food. Cut down on some of that time by packing plenty of snacks and drinks in reusable containers to keep your family energized. Trail mixes, energy bars, fruits, and veggies are easy-to-pack snacks that will keep your car full and happy. Stopping for lunch? Pack your favorite blanket and make a picnic out of it! Many routes have rest areas or scenic pull-offs that double as great places to stop and eat while stretching your legs.

Stay Organized

When packing the car try putting all overnight luggage in the back and set up crates or reusable bags near the front of the trunk for all food and drinks. This way you will have all of your necessities easily accessible. Also, don’t forget extra water, on-the-go containers, utensils, and small towels or cloth napkins for any spills. Throw in some extra reusable bags for anything you pick up on the road!

Be mindful of your garbage

This can be tricky while on the move, but by packing an extra glass jar you can “carpost” any of the food waste from the trip! Choose a sealable container to keep in the trunk and dispose of all scraps. Keep all non-compostable items together and discard them when appropriate.

There’s an app for that

Running low on food or interested in taking a detour to sample the local cuisine? Farmstand is a free app that will connect you to more than 8,000 farmers and local markets nationwide. You can sort markets by location and opening times.

Bulk is a new app by our friends at Zero Waste Home to connect you with package-free locations across the country. Find different markets and shops to refill your reusable containers or jars while traveling. Help continue the movement by adding locations not already listed.

Our friends at PLAN Post-Landfill Action Network took the above picture on their latest waste-free camping trip in the Moab Desert to spread the word. Check out this blog post covering their latest update from the zero-waste road trip and more tips for on the road.

Pack a Waste-Free Picnic!

waste-free picnic

Picnics are a great way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and nature around us this time of year! While enjoying the great outdoors it’s also important to be mindful of our impact on the environment. Read on for our tips on how to enjoy a waste-free picnic!

Make getting there an adventure

Save energy and increase the fun by opting for low-impact transportation and exploring your local community for outdoor gathering spots near you. If you can, ditch the car and bike, walk, or take public transportation to your picnic destination!

Set the scene

Pick out some fun blankets, beach towels, or sheets laying around the house to sit on while enjoying your waste-free picnic. Sitting at a picnic table? Bring a fun linen tablecloth to lay overtop with matching cloth napkins. Use a basket that you already own to pack your food in or pick one up at a vintage market for an authentic look. Reusable tote bags and backpacks are also great options!

Use what you have

Did you know that 50 percent of the plastic used in the U.S. is used just once then thrown away? Minimize impact by opting for items you already own instead of single-use plastics. Bring along your own utensils, pack drinks in reusable bottles, and use our food kozies as plates! If you’re looking to purchase re-usable options we recommend:

  • Utensils: Choose Bamboo! Our version is lightweight, multi-functional and easy to clean
  • Plates: We love these options from VerTerra which are 100% compostable and made from fallen palm leaves
  • Food Containers: Our stainless steel divided series are a great option for packing different varieties of food in a single container.  Bringing along hot or cold food?  These insulated jars will keep food at the perfect temperature for hours.
  • Water Bottles: Pack drinks in glass water bottles or mason jars with sealable lids.

Be Prepared

Pack some natural bug spray, sunscreen, and hats to protect you and your family from the elements. Remember to bring along a football, frisbee, or your favorite games to play together and enjoy the afternoon outdoors!

 

Happy waste-free picnicking!

Energy Bar Recipes for the Whole Family

energy bar

With the weather heating up outside and summer upon us, what a better way to celebrate than getting outside and going on a long hike or heading to the beach. Today we’ve picked two of our favorite no-bake energy bar recipes for quick on-the-go snacks that you can easily pack in your reusable containers.

CHOCOLATE CHIP ALMOND BUTTER GRANOLA ENERGY BAR

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey (sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (if unsalted, add a healthy pinch sea salt)
  • 3/4 cup raw nuts (such as pecans and almonds)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (GF for gluten free eaters)
  • 1/4 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (dairy free to keep vegan)

INSTRUCTIONS

OPTIONAL: Toast oats in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes to give a toasted flavor. Not necessary but recommended.

1. Place dates in a food processor and mix until small bits remain and they form a ball. 2.Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add oats, nuts, and chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking down the dates so they disperse fairly evenly throughout the ingredients. Small chunks are OK.

3. Warm honey and almond butter in a small saucepan and pour over dry ingredients. Stir quickly to evenly coat. The chocolate chips will get a little melty – that’s fine and even desirable.

4. Transfer to a shallow pan (such as 8×8 or loaf pan) lined with parchment or plastic wrap and top with another piece of plastic wrap and use your hands to form the mixture into a tight square (keeping in mind you want them about 1/2 thick and you’ll cut them into 10-12 bars) with a uniformly flat top. This will take a little work but the warmth of your hands will work well to shape them.

5. Still covered, pop them into the freezer to set for 15 minutes. Remove and cut into 10 bars. Store in an airtight container or bag in the fridge to keep fresh, or in the freezer for longer term storage.

View the inspiration for the recipe here

CHOCOLATE CHIA COCONUT ENERGY BITES

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups oats – old fashioned or quick cooking
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter and honey until smooth. Stir in cinnamon and salt.
2. Add oats, chia, coconut and flax seed meal to the bowl and stir until evenly incorporated.

3. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all ingredients are combined then stir in chocolate chips.

4. Use a small/medium cookie scoop to form into bite-sized balls. Can be served immediately or chilled if you prefer them cold. Energy bites can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

 

View the inspiration for the recipe here

 

Interested in more energy bar recipes? Check out all of our favorites on our Pinterest page .

The Last Straw: How to Eliminate Plastic Straw Waste

plastic straw

It is second nature when handed a drink to grab a plastic straw. From grabbing an iced drink in the morning to going out to eat with friends single-use straws are all around us. Americans use 500 million single-use plastic straws every day, enough to wrap around the Earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day!

 

Why switch to reusable straws?

 

The plastic we throw away every day is polluting our cities, open spaces, oceans, and bodies. Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage: manufacture, use, and disposal. The solution goes further than avid recycling or refusing to litter because the problem is a society built on disposable, single-use plastic.

  • Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it photodegrades, which means the material breaks into tiny toxic pieces but never breaks down completely.
  • Animals frequently consume plastic thinking it is food: 86% of turtles, 44% of marine birds, and 43% of marine mammals have plastic in their guts, says the Oceans Program at World Wildlife Fund Canada.
  • Recycling is not a sustainable solution to the crisis. Not only do plastic straws have a short lifespan and rarely get reused or recycled, but they usually come with plastic/paper wrap.
  • Plastic straws can be made from questionable plastic with unknown health effects and can poison our food chain and our bodies.

 

One reusable straw can replace thousands of throwaways. With options ranging from our stainless steel version to glass and paper, there are many fun alternatives. So ditch the plastic straw for good this summer and opt to B.Y.O.S (bring your own straw) with you when you leave the house. Interested in taking further action? You can sign the pledge to go strawless with our friends from the Be Straw Free Campaign and learn more ways to get involved!

 

This post was inspired by one of our previous newsletters. You can check out all of our past newsletters here and sign up to receive our monthly newsletter today!

Know Your Plastic: Plastic Numbers Explained

plastic numbers

 

Plastic is a part of our daily lives. From the clothes we wear to the utensils we eat with, plastic has become a staple in the products we buy daily. But what plastics are safe to use and what plastics should we avoid? Follow this guide for an overview of the different types of plastics, the plastic numbers they are classified under, and where you can most commonly find them in everyday products.

 

To start why does plastic follow a coding system? The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) established a classification system to help consumers and recyclers properly recycle and dispose of each different type of plastic based on its chemical makeup. Below we touch upon the most commonly used plastic numbers in the market.

Plastic numbers explained:

 

#1 – PET or PETE—polyethylene terephthalate is used in many water and juice bottles. It’s commonly recycled, and accepted by most curbside programs and recycling centers.

 

#2 – HDPE—high-density polyethylene is common in milk jugs, detergent and shampoo bottles. It’s usually accepted by most curbside programs and recycling centers.

 

#3 – PVC —vinyl or polyvinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen, often contains phthalates and is not recyclable. Phthalates add flexibility and durability to PVC and vinyl. They’re present in products like toys, food packaging, plastic wrap, shower curtains, lotions, perfume, air fresheners and candles. Phthalates are listed as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program, and are considered a probable human carcinogen and endocrine disruptor by the EPA. Even though phthalates have been banned from some baby toys and baby gear, they are still allowed in lunch bags and food containers, so always choose phthalate-free.

 

#4 – LDPE—low-density polyethylene is common in plastic bags, cling wraps, baby bottles and reusable drink and food containers. It’s recyclable at most recycling centers and some curbside programs.

 

#5 – PP—polypropylene can be found in baby bottles, yogurt containers, and many reusable food and drink containers. It’s recyclable in some curbside programs and most recycling centers.

 

#6 – PS—polystyrene is used in takeout food containers, Styrofoam containers and cups, and plastic cutlery. It has been found to leach styrene, a neurotoxin and possible human carcinogen, and has been banned in many U.S. cities. It is not easily recyclable.

 

#7—This catchall category includes polycarbonate which has been found to leach bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that mimics estrogen. Bioplastics (plant-based) are also in this category but cannot be recycled and are usually sent to landfill unless directed to a bioplastic-specific composting facility.

 

We use PET #1, LDPE #4 and PP #5 plastics in our products. We advocate for using plastic safely (not microwaving or heating), and getting to know your plastic numbers. There are possible health risks with some types of plastics, so we only use plastics that are safe for food storage. All of our products are tested free of BPA and phthalates. Still have questions? Take a look at our product information page for more facts on our entire product line.

 

Want to learn more? Our strategic partner Healthy Child, Healthy World has created an informative resource called Know Your Plastics that can provide you with more information on the topic as well as more information on how to reduce your use of plastics. As you learn more about what types of plastics you are bringing into your home, the more you can cut down on your plastic consumption and make safe choices for your family and the planet.

Choosing Simplicity in a Modern World

simplicity

 

As parents, we go above and beyond to make sure that our children have everything they need, receive the very finest education, feel safe and taken care of.

 

Yet, it feels at times that the more we try to make them happy, the more challenging it becomes. Today’s society seems to largely promote material accumulation over authentic experiences that can help ourselves and our children achieve happiness. Rather than fall prey to the consumption trap, a growing number of families are embracing a simpler way of life.

1- Turn off the electronic devices!

Teaching your children to embrace simplicity is a lot easier than you think: start by bringing back the basics – trade iPads and smartphones for books and board games, encourage them to go play outside rather than sit in front of a computer or video game, and limit their TV time.

 

Don’t rush into it: your children may feel like it’s a punishment and may not agree with this choice. Lead by example. Start by introducing these healthier activities on the weekend, and progressively reduce their interaction with electronics. Changing old habits takes a little time, but it’s well worth it!

2- Let go of old baggage

Take a fresh start by de-cluttering and really asking yourself what is essential to your lifestyle. Living minimally is life-changing. It will fill your home with a burst of positive energy that is conducive to productivity and new endeavors.

 

For children too, less is more: ask them to regularly put away or, better yet, gift toys that they haven’t played with for over a month, clothes that don’t fit, or books and manuals that they are no longer using.

 

Use this example from The Minimalists as a way to get the whole family involved and see what you really could live without!

3- Promote family time

Carving time for positive human interactions is the root of a happier family lifestyle. During the week set aside a night to have game or movie night. Use weekends to start cooking together, run or bike as a family, learn a new instrument or experiment your arts and crafts skills. Try it and see how it works wonders!

 

Simplicity is a core component of sustainable living. It is the decision to act and consume with intention and mindfulness; choosing items and thoughts that align within your value system. Rise to the challenge and prepare to be happily surprised.