lunchtote01 Last week I told you about my search for a new lunch box.  I took a look around with *cough* what’s on hand before I ran to the store to purchase new fancy lunch box supplies. It turns out that when I really hunted around, dug things from the freezer, and made a point to wash it out everyday, we have plenty.

I was going to just get the lunch bag, but then realized what I usually do, “Hey, I can make that.” So that was a plan. A lunch tote that would be the perfect size just for me and my food dishes.

A funny thing happened in the last week though. While master minding my new glorious lunch tote, I started using my Shop n’ Ride bag to hold my dishes. And my coffee mug. And my water bottle. It’s the perfect size!

lunchtote05Come the summer, it will be guaranteed to fit in my bike basket too. That’s perfect because it will stay upright even while I’m riding around town. It even has pockets for my cloth napkin and fork/spoon set (camping stores rock!).

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Turns out I should look at what I have on hand before making new things too. :)

I love this bag so much that I was thrilled to find it had another use.

You can get the Shop n’ Ride pattern as a pdf here, or see the original post here.

Check out this sweetness:

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Pictured here is what I have in my box most days: CamelBak Better Bottle with Classic CapMiGo 16oz. Senja Mug (This is the mug I bought after spilling my coffee on my laptop the second time in two weeks. I love it! It’s already saved me and my macbook at least twice.), Rubbermaid 1/2-Cup, 2 pack (These are the only containers I ended up buying outright. I just needed something to hold sauces since my bento box one broke. And they were on sale for $2 for two.), CorningWare 15-Ounce Oval Dish (Jason’s mom made the mistake of packing leftovers for him in these. That was before we even started dating, haha. I think after 5 years, they are officially ours), picnic cloth napkin, and a camp fork/spoon (I like that they lock together).

When I have soup, I pack my CorningWare 20-Ounce Mug instead of one of the dishes.

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My general rule of thumb is to pack one oval dish with just veggies, then the other one with 1/2 protein (meat or tofu or bean type dish) and 1/2 grains (rice, bulgar, couscous, bread, etc).

Then in the little guy I pack either a sauce for the main meal (like salad dressing) or a snack (almond butter for instance). There is plenty of room in the bag for the second container if I want to pack a snack and a sauce or a yogurt container if I want to go that way. Sometimes I slip a cheese stick into the pocket of the bag. If I’m going on a long trek in the summer, I’ll use one of the pockets to house an ice pack.

If I want to keep things separate, I use baking cups to put things in (good for the oval or the snack sized containers). In the little 1/2 cup I can actually fit a little stack of crackers and then a baking cup of peanut butter which is nice.

Once I run out of the paper cups I’m going to upgrade to a silicone set. Those will be nice for baking in general anyway.

The only thing this bag didn’t have already going for it was a sturdy flat bottom, which turned out to be a really easy fix! I just cut one of those “reusable” grocery bag bottom pieces (usually black) to size. I had one laying around that was cracked, so I just cut it from the uncracked side. It works perfectly!

Have a great weekend and happy lunch packing!
Kristin