Speak softly . . . .and carry a big lunch bag

Hello, Dear Readers:

Yes, a post so soon! Count the blessings. . . .

So, yesterday was my pesto-makin’ day. The basil plant was two feet high! And on the way home from work on Friday, I stopped at the HEB up the street from the Park & Ride and picked up a few things, including some fresh basil. ‘Cause I knew I wouldn’t have enough for a full batch. I now have three containers of my favorite frozen pesto, one of which contains parsley from Suzanne Somers’ Appetizers book. A quick tidy up of the freezer and I discover that I also have a partly used container of Buittoni that I bought earlier this year when I didn’t have any pesto. So, I’m good. I’ll see if this basil plant will produce any more, and if not, call it a day. I didn’t take any pictures, because, well, it looks just like every other pesto-makin’ day I ever had.

Next year, I’m planting two or three basil plants in that bucket. I want more pesto–faster.

As you might imagine, I’m a big-time brown baggin’ lunch kinda gal. Been doing it for years, for a number of reasons. One, up until a few years ago, eating out for lunch every day was out of my budget. However, I also came to realize that when you brown bag it, you can have anything you want. Rachael Ray will remind you that you can control the quality of ingredients, which I kind of knew already. If you’re in an area with not a lot of variety for lunch, you’re stuck with whatever is available. So, I prefer brown bagging, and also carry milk for coffee and tea.

Finding the perfect lunch bag has been a challenge.

Last weekend I ordered this baby from Lands’ End, one of my favorite shopping venues. I actually wanted the denim model, but this canvas one is, at the moment, on sale for $9.99. (I don’t do pink.)  I’ve paid about $13 for some in Target, and they’re OK. I actually saw someone in my building at another company with this lunch tote, with her initials on it, of course.

Yesterday the lovely lunch tote arrived from Lands’ End, and it looks like this with my initials on it:

Lands' End Totes #!

I’ve had nearly every bag I’ve bought from them monogrammed with my initials exactly the same way, except for a suitcase I bought from Lands’ End in 1993. That one will be going to a repair shop one of these days to get a new zipper. (I also have two smaller travel bags I bought from them two years ago with, again, the same initial configuration on them; but they’re red, and the thread is black).

Their lunch totes are all made like their regular tote bags, of course, and oh, this other bag was a gift.

Well, two years ago, Lands’ End had a contest on Facebook, and I was one of ten people who won a tote bag with BOO for Halloween. I have used it many times outside of Halloween, but then I realized how great their tote bags are, and I’ve bought more. (They now make tote bags just for Halloween, too.)  Two bigger tote bags are in the closet holding stuff, although they have been used in transit. This lovely wine colored one I got last year with a warm winter shirt when someone gave me a gift certificate for my birthday.

Lands' End Tote Bags #2

So what about the rest of the lunch bags? Well, I still have them, and these came from Target, including that little black one with Rachael Ray’s name on it, although that’s not why I bought it. I need to stitch one end of it, too. I got it about 3 weeks ago.

Lunch bags 1

Lunch Bags #2

This was bought on sale at, I think, Bed, Bath & Beyond or Sur La Table for some ridiculous price like $1 each, so I bought two. They’re nice, but they’re too small for everyday commuting, so I use one when I go on day trips and carry some nibbles.

Small Green Lunchbag

Being the seamstress, I’ve also attempted to make them. This book, Lunch Bags, is one of my favorites, and I just love all the neat projects. Neighbor K, a competitive athlete, as well as an SGI member have been the recipients of the Bicycle Lunch Bag, and I also made this one for myself. It’s actually lined with felt, the stuff you buy for projects and hats. The handles unbutton to loop around the handlebars, and it hangs in front. One of these days, my bike will be getting fixed, too.

Mind you, I’d love to show you what that looks like, but I can’t find the picture. Or the bag. Darnit.

Note: the SGI member didn’t actually have a bicycle, she saw the pic on Facebook and just wanted one. I made it for her anyway along with a few other things. Neighbor K told me she uses it to take her lunch to work everyday; I don’t know if she’s ever put it on her bicycle. When I gave it to her, she was already looking for a little something to carry stuff in when she rides, so that was a good thing.

Out of some remnants I bought, I made this model, the Zipper Top Lunch Bag:

Zip Top Lunch Bag

Not made to spec, but you can’t tell from this picture. I have another just like it that’s halfway finished, but I don’t yet know who to give it to. See, I was able to find something called Thinsulfleece that’s called for in the book, but it does not keep everything cold. Because it’s cotton, an ice pack, my usual method of chilling, will soak through. So you have to keep it in the office fridge until lunchtime. This kind of defeats the purpose of making the lunch bag, but it’s nice to have, anyway.

My favorite out of the book is The Hobo Bag, and I made two using up scraps and just a little cotton belting. They’re great, but because they’re unstructured, well, it’s not a good commuting bag, but great for a day trip or a picnic for two. The Southwestern bag went with me to both Albuquerque and Arizona last year, and the blue one has made many trips as well; I think I took it to Delray Beach last fall, too. One thing I need to do if I ever make another one is to buy more of the belting and pre-wash it, since it shrunk when I washed the blue one, It’s fine, it just sits right under my arm. So if I can remember how to do math, I’ll figure out the right amount to buy next time, pre-wash it and then make it.

The original reason I bought the book was for The Executive Lunch Purse, but I haven’t made that one yet, either. It’s just cut. I was able to find the same fabric used in the picture; and it’s also unmade. One of these days.

If you’ve found the perfect lunch bag, let me know where I can find one, please. For now, I’m going to use the Lands’ End model, and hopefully it’ll fit in my bag just fine and I’ll be able to keep stuff cold most of the day.

Anyway. . .we live for lunch.

Happy Dining!

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