Stasher reusable silicone bag

I’m working on reducing the amount of plastic we use in our kitchen. I’m particularly concerned with using plastic free school lunch containers, so I bought a silicone storage bag to review. If you’d like to know more about why, please visit my previous post about this.

Today I’m reviewing a reusable, microwavable silicone bag called the Stasher. This is not a sponsored post, but any Amazon links below are referral links since I’m an Amazon affiliate.

The research out there indicates that silicone is safer than plastic, and specifically, it’s heat-safe. One negative is that it CAN hold onto odors. I wash our silicone containers, plates and bowls with unscented dish detergent. That seems to do the trick so far, but we’ve only been using these containers and dishes for a couple of months.

A web search will show you that there are tons of blog posts dealing with removing the smell from silicone. I guess that’s good and bad. Good because people have solutions; bad because it must be a common problem!

Some people use baking soda or vinegar. Others have success just putting the silicone in their ovens for 15 minutes or so there are different things you can try if you’ve discovered your silicone is starting to smell.

Stasher reusable silicone bag:

The Stasher bag currently comes in a snack size, a sandwich size, and a half-gallon size. They’re not cheap. It’s $11.99 for a sandwich bag, but you can use it over and over indefinitely, so eventually it pays for itself since I’m not buying plastic throwaway sandwich bags anymore.

Our Stasher filled with grapes. The green container is a Lifefactory glass container…review coming soon!

There are cheaper silicone bags on Amazon, but I chose Stasher for a couple of specific reasons:

One, silicone needs to be 100% food-grade silicone without fillers; otherwise the silicone could contain plastic fillers, the one thing I’m trying to avoid in the first place. There are nearly a thousand reviews on Amazon of people using Stasher, and many of the reviews mention doing a “pinch” test on the silicone, and that Stasher passes.

Now, I don’t know that the “pinch” test is entirely scientific. Basically, you pinch the silicone, or bend and squeeze it, if you see white, then the silicone has fillers in it.

But even if it’s not a scientific test, the Stasher is sold at Crate & Barrel, the Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond, Bloomingdales, etc. It’s been reviewed by the Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, the Food Network, and so many more. Because of this, I do have faith this is quality silicone.

Two, the Stasher closes differently than most other silicone bags out there, and it’s easy for my 6 year old to manage. It’s a little difficult to explain, but if you look around at silicone bags on Amazon, you’ll see that most of them have a plastic stick-looking thing that slides over the top of the bag to seal it.

I read reviews saying that type of top was tricky for kids to handle on their own, so these kinds of bags may be better suited for food storage in the home than a school lunch container.

The Stasher closes almost like a throwaway plastic sandwich bag. It’s pinch-lock seal, and my son can open it and close it on his own.

We use the Stasher to send sandwiches and burritos to school. Occasionally I’ll put something like grapes in it. Since many people use Stasher for sous vide, I could probably put things like mac ‘n cheese in it, but I haven’t tried that yet.

The Stasher is microwavable. I explained to my son that first he needs to make sure the bag is opened to allow steam to release, but then he or his teacher can put it in the microwave. The first few times he used it at school, I wrote on it with a dry-erase marker, so his teacher would know that it’s microwavable. I also emailed her about it. We’ve had no issues using the Stasher as a plastic-free school lunch container for us.

Our Stasher with a burrito inside. The green container is a stainless steel container by LunchBots. I’ll be reviewing that one too.

I usually wash the Stasher by hand with unscented dish soap, but it can go through the dishwasher. When my son comes home from school, I immediately rinse the Stasher even if I don’t wash it right away. I think that probably helps keep the silicone from picking up a food scent.

For drying it, I use a spatula to hold the Stasher open to air out, and then I place it upside down overnight in a sink drying rack. I read a review online about a Stasher growing mold inside, but I think as long as you keep it open when it’s wet, that’s not going to happen.

I use a wood or silicone spatula (nothing sharp) to hold open the Stasher while it air drys.

So yeah! We like the Stasher! It’s also available in different colors and patterns, so that’s fun too!

Disclaimers again:

As I said up top, this review is completely independent. I did a lot of online research myself, scrolling through product reviews before I ended up purchasing this item at full price. I recommend this product, but that’s just my opinion, and you may find that this product doesn’t work well for your family. Also, the Amazon links are referral links. That means if you purchase anything through the links, I’ll receive a small amount of money from Amazon. When that happens, I save it all up until I have enough to buy…well, things like silicone bags and glass food containers to review!

Do you use silicone in your kitchen? Do you have any plastic-free products you really love and want to share with us?

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Terra’s Kitchen unsponsored review

Since I’ve been using the Terra’s Kitchen meal kit delivery service for a couple of months, it seems like time to review them. I’m not an affiliate; I don’t work with this company in any way, but I do like writing reviews for services that I appreciate and think others may as well.

Why I started ordering meal kits

Several years ago I reviewed Hello Fresh, another well-known meal kit delivery service, and I actually really liked it but decided the expense didn’t make sense for our family at the time.

Then a year or two ago (I don’t remember exactly when), my job was getting really, really busy, and I decided to try meal kit delivery again. I was willing to pay the money if it meant more time with my family and better food. We were eating a lot of pizza at that point.

I’d already used my free box from Hello Fresh, so I decided to try Marley Spoon, Martha Stewart’s company. I used that service for at least a year, and the food was really, really good. When I had issues with the way the meat was arriving, customer service actually listened to me. They ended up changing the way they delivered meats in their kits. But eventually, it was taking too much time. I was still spending an hour in the kitchen not including the multiple pots and pans that needed washing. I’m slow at chopping things.

I was exhausted. I stopped that service for a few months, and instead I tried making more slower cooker meals and easy things like pasta. But I still found that we were turning to delivery and takeout more than was good for us. All that sodium! And the cost. Yes, a meal kit service (especially Terra’s Kitchen) is pricey, but around the DC-Baltimore area, take out and delivery restaurants are expensive too. It’s normal for us to spend $10-15 a serving on food around here, not counting taxes, tips and/or delivery fees.

Why I chose Terra’s Kitchen meal kit delivery service

A local friend of mine was using Terra’s Kitchen before she moved to her new duty station on the other coast. She had a newborn, an elementary age child, and she was active duty military with her husband overseas. Terra’s Kitchen was letting her get home cooked meals on the table for herself and her kids, so I knew it might work for us too.

For me, the selling point of Terra’s Kitchen is that the veggies already come washed, peeled and chopped, and the meals themselves are simple and can be prepared in 15 or 20 minutes. I realize I may sound lazy to some of you all (she cant even chop her own vegetables- what!?), but until you walk in my shoes, you shouldn’t judge.

How it works

Terra’s Kitchen delivers the food in a reusable insulated box (super fancy!) the company calls a vessel. Ice packs are inside. Even during the heat wave this summer, I never had any issues with the food staying cold. The vessel gets left on my steps, and then as soon as I get home, I take the vessel inside, unpack it, and put the food in my fridge.

I get both email and text notifications when my vessel has arrived.
The food containers sit next to ice packs on little drawers that slide out of the vessel.

After the vessel has been unpacked, I pull my shipping label off the top and the return label is already underneath. Then I put the vessel back on the curb the next business day, and the shipping company comes back and picks it up.

I use either the website or the phone app to select my meals. You can select dinner, lunch, breakfast, dessert and beverages. A little tracker on the site tells you how much room is in your vessel, so you can keep adding more food if you want. The price changes depending on what you select. Some meals are as cheap as $9.99 a serving; some are as much as $16.99 a serving. Some meals are for 2 people; some are for 4. You can search by the number of servings, or by an allergen (corn-free, dairy-free, etc.) or by eating style (paleo, gluten-free, weight loss, etc.). So there are really a lot of options for people.

Here are screenshots: the app is on the left, and the website is on the right.

If you’re in a hurry, they also have bundles that you can select. One bundle I saw recently includes salads, entrees, cold brew coffee, juice and fruit. I also noticed a keto bundle and a cleanse bundle. Both were around $100.

Orders $100 or more qualify for free delivery. If you order less than that, you will have to pay $6.99 for shipping.

It’s a subscription service, but it’s really easy to use the website or the app to skip a delivery.

I had one meal from Terra’s Kitchen that I didn’t think tasted very good, but every other meal has been delicious and easy to make. Every meal comes with a recipe card with a number on it. The food has been separated into little containers that have the corresponding number on top, so it’s easy to figure out which ingredient goes with which meal.

Notice the number on the top left of the recipe card? The food containers have a corresponding number, so if you order multiple meal kits, you don’t get confused.
Cheeseburger pizzas
Loaded turkey nachos
Korean bibimbap- so tasty! Next time I’ll add an egg on top.

One of my favorite things about Terra’s Kitchen (or really any meal kit delivery service) is that you can adjust how much sodium or spices you want to add to the meal. That’s another thing that I like about meal kits more so than delivery or takeout from restaurants.

That one thing…

The only thing I don’t like about Terra’s Kitchen is the number of plastic containers they send. According to their website, the FDA requires cut ingredients to be sealed in individually packaged containers. The company is actively trying to reduce the number of containers. Again, according to their site, they’ve recently started shipping lemons and limes without containers. We try to up-cycle and reuse the containers, but if we don’t, then we recycle them.

Other than that, I love Terra’s Kitchen and don’t plan to stop using the service any time soon! If you visit their website, new customers currently get $35 off their first delivery if they sign up for the Terra’s Kitchen email list.

How about you? Have you ever used a meal kit delivery service? If not, would you want to give it a try?

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Campfire pizza log


It’s almost Labor Day -a busy camping weekend- so I wanted to share one of my new favorite camping meals, a campfire pizza log!

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went camping at our favorite place to travel to and camp at, Shenandoah National Park. This time we went with a co-worker of mine and his family. We decided ahead of time to share some meals, so I started researching online different yummy meals for camping. I wanted to up my game since I was cooking for people other than my family!

One meal I came across was the campfire pizza log, but I couldn’t find a site that gave step-by-step instructions. Without instructions, we had to wing it, and we definitely have some lessons learned, which I thought I’d share.

To make the pizza logs, I used:

  • Refrigerated pizza dough (the kind you roll out from a can)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded cheese
  • Olive oil spray (okay, I didn’t actually use this, but I should have, and I will next time)
  • Nonstick foil

The logs are pretty simple to prepare. I made three large pizza logs (three cans of the refrigerated pizza dough), which is what you’ll see in my photos; HOWEVER, because the larger logs didn’t cook evenly, I recommend doing smaller pizza logs, so two logs from each can. I’ve written the directions below to reflect what I will do next time.

Directions for two small pizza logs:

    1. Cut two large pieces of nonstick foil. They should be large enough that you can completely wrap up the pizza logs. It’s better to cut them too big than too small. You can always trim off the excess with some kitchen shears or scissors!
    2. Have the nonstick side facing up off the counter (you’ll want the pizza logs on the nonstick side) and spray the nonstick with an olive oil spray or something similar. This will help keep the pizza log from sticking to the foil when you unwrap it after it’s been cooked.
    3. Before rolling out the pizza dough, cut the dough log in half. You’re going to make two smallish pizza logs from each can of dough.
    4. Place each piece of dough onto its own piece of foil.
    5. Roll out the pizza dough on the foil until each piece is in a rectangle.
    6. Spread the pizza sauce on top.
    7. Layer the pepperoni and cheese. (Obviously you can use whatever toppings you want.)
    8. Roll the pizza back up into the shape of a “log.”
    9. Fold the foil over top of the log and secure all the edges by rolling them in.

Camping Food

Camping Food
I didn’t do it, but cut this in half! Make two pizza logs from this sucker.

Camping Food

Corn and Pizza Logs
The smaller rolls to the left are pieces of corn on the cob. The three long rolls on the right are the campfire pizza logs.

That’s it! I actually froze ours in the freezer since we didn’t intend on eating them the first day of camping. Once they were frozen, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in our camping cooler with ice. I was hoping that as the ice melted, the plastic wrap would help keep any water out of the logs, and it did seem to work.

Camping Food
The two longer rolls are the pizza logs. The small and medium rolls are corn on the cob.

When it was time to cook the pizza logs, we got a nice fire going, and then we placed the pizza logs on the flat griddle above the fire. As I mentioned above, the pizza logs didn’t cook evenly. The logs were getting a nice char in the center within 20 minutes, but these larger logs that I made were so long that the edges were too far away from the fire and weren’t picking up heat. That’s why I suggest making two pizza logs from each can of refrigerated pizza dough. That will get you a more evenly cooked pizza log, and they should be done around 30 minutes.

Camping Food
You can see that the center part of the pizza log is a little more cooked and charred than the edges. That’s why I recommend making smaller logs, so the edges can also reach the fire.

The cooking time is going to vary depending on how hot your fire is and the proximity of the pizza log to the fire, so keep that in mind. You’ll want to peel back the foil about every 10 minutes to check the logs. Use tongs to help you check safely, and if you wear fabric oven mitts … keep them away from the flames!

Camping Food
So tasty inside!

The three cans of refrigerated pizza dough ended up making enough pizza logs to feed 4 adults and 3 small children with leftovers. I also served up some fire-grilled corn on the cob.

Have you ever made a pizza log? What is your favorite camping food?

 

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