L'insalata, la marmellata e i prodotti che mi piacciono

Or, the salad, the jam, and products I like... I just could not make it to Italian tonight so am attempting to infuse my evening with l'italiano in other ways. Do you know what I knew but didn't really know? By which I mean I totally knew and know but don't want to acknowledge? That T is out of town, and tomorrow I must pack for the boys and me because on Friday morning at 4:15AM, a cab is coming to pick us up and take us to the airport. When I agreed to a 5:45am flight, I clearly did not do the back-pedal math on what time that meant I'd have to leave the house. With the boys. At that time Tom was going to be in town so it was all slightly more palatable. The upside is that we land in Lake Charles (after two flights) at the youthful time of 9:20am. Can you even believe we will have boarded in DC, deplaned in TX, boarded in TX and deplaned in LA by 9:20am?? I am glad my eager parents are on the other end because I might have to nap. Soon after arrival. l'insalata

But back to il soggetto. The subject. For my solo dinner tonight, I opted for a simple, casually composed salad. And a fair amount of wine. But that's not the main event, so... I love a good, hearty, satisfying salad and served alongside this beauty some multigrain bread and olive hummus. Earlier today I had big plans to make a dessert but those fell by the wayside and instead, I made jam, la marmellata. Really, as I've just acknowledged in just how few hours I'm leaving town, it would be criminal not to manage the cornucopia of gorgeous summer produce I currently have in my kitchen. So, more jam. And tomorrow? More jam.

While it cools and before I wind up this Wednesday, I wish to share with you three new-to-me products that I highly recommend: the reusable, BPA-free snack bag; the non-plastic bulk-bin bag; and the CupCase.

reusable, BPA-free snack bags by Stephen Joseph

I'm lucky that the school the boys attend provides an amazing lunch for them each day, but summertime and field trips are another story; for both, lunch-packing Mom am I. I've found BPA-free tupperware, washable sandwich wraps, the ubiquitous Sigg thermos and so forth, but there are some times when you feel you really need a Ziploc. I'm big on washing, drying and reusing Ziplocs but that plan is predicated on my kids bringing empty ones home. That's not gonna happen. So I was thrilled to discover these Stephen Joseph bags which: can be placed in the freezer; are top-rack dishwasher safe; are BPA-free; and support the No Kid Hungry campaign. This is a winner, in my opinion. At $5.99 for two bags, I will definitely underscore to the boys the importance of bringing these home, but they're really good about doing that with other lunch supplies so I'm not too worried. And in the meantime, I'll have such peace-of-mind in thinking about the plastic bags that aren't heading to a landfill.

I also recently pulled the trigger and bought a 3-pack of these MotheringMother cotton sacks with strong velcro closures (the set was $7.99 or so). I'm a big utilizer of the bulk bins at places like Whole Foods: oatmeal; nuts; dried fruits; the sesame sticks Ol loves. And, as with Ziplocs used for snacks, I always hate to grab yet another plastic bag (even though I recycle them diligently) for a one-off oatmeal purchase. So far, I have been really pleased with these replacements which are sturdy, washable and sizeable enough for everything I've purchased so far. They do come in different sizes though, if you find you are a mass consumer of dried items. I bought them, as well as the S. Joseph snack bags, at my local Whole Foods.

MotheringMother reusable bulk bin bags

Lastly, and this one is for the girls -literally!- I simply must tell you about the CupCase. Do you ever find yourself packing a suitcase and end up vexed about just how to safely pack your (probably expensive) bra? You do not want those cups dented or smashed as your shape will never again look as smooth and you'll forever be peevish about money down the drain. I know I am not the only one to think about this issue on a somewhat regular basis. As such, while in the Container Store last week looking for a bin that would actually contain the seeming millions of markers spewing from the boys' "organizer", when I came across this goodie in the travel aisle (I like to just troll the aisles at the C. Store; know you do too!), I jumped on it despite the what-felt-outrageous $21 price tag. It amused me to no end that it, like bras, is sized: A/B, C/D; and, the rhinestoned zipper cracked me up. Despite the fact that this puppy is sizeable, it really does work and I was not remotely (for the first time ever) worried about my lady slings in transit. Consider it gals (and pardon the mug shot-like photo)!

the CupCase