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December 2011

  December 2011  


In this issue you'll find:


What works...Success Stories

What a Terrific Product

"I absolutely love this product!
I just wanted to let you know that I just received my Laptop Lunchbox in the mail today and I absolutely love it. What a terrific product. I am a university student and I have noticed a substantial number of students buying unhealthy lunches from various vendors around campus. This system is truly terrific for teaching university students how to eat healthy and exciting meals while caring for our environment. Thanks for this fabulous product."

    -- Trevi Freeze, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Love the New Website

“I love the new website, and the new products are fun and festive. Makes the kids very excited to carry their bento boxes to school. Keep up the great work!”

    -- Valorie P, Lancaster, MA

A Joy to Pack Meals Each Day  

"Thank you for making such a wonderful product! I have two Laptop Lunchboxes and love them!

Originally, I bought one for myself and one for my husband to help us control our portions and get excited to eat a pretty looking lunch.

These days, my 17-month-old son takes one to daycare every day. I pack it with his breakfast and lunch, and it is really a joy to pack his meals each day. I take a picture every day and post it on Facebook. Actually--it's a work of art. Now, I don't do anything fancy. It's just the look of the meal in the bento box that is just so pretty. My son's teachers all say how nice it is and how very convenient it is to use. They serve him his food and just wash out the containers. Super easy.

I know my son will be using these for a very long time. Also, I have to get another one since my son took my husband's. (I didn't give mine up!) Thanks again!!"

    -- Erin Hill, Pittsburgh, PA

Do you have a success story or photo to share? Email it to us at [email protected].

New Retailers

Earth Fare
3450 Westgate
Fairview Park, OH 44126
(440) 356-2262

Whole Foods
1566 West McEwen Drive
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 550-5660

Whole Foods
270 Pallido Parkway
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 984-8500


From Our Desk to Yours

Happy Holidays!

We hope this holiday season finds you enjoying the festivities with family and friends, good food, and plenty of holiday cheer. December is often a hectic month, so consider simplifying this year and giving yourself permission to sit back, relax, and take time to rejuvenate. We all deserve it!

HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Looking for a special gift that’s waste-free, promotes healthy living, and is MADE IN THE USA? Check out our bento sets, which are currently on sale for only $23.99 (regularly $27.99) at Make it fun and practical this year!

DEALS AND STEALS: If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Deals and Steals section of our Web site, we recommend that you do! You might just find that special something you’re looking for:

MOTHERING AWARDS: Thanks for taking the time to vote for Laptop Lunches for the Best of Mothering Award 2011! If you haven’t voted yet, you can do so at Tomorrow is the last day!
NOVEMBER CHALLENGE: November felt good. Just plain good! Volunteering has been referred to by some as a “selfish” act, and for those who volunteer, we know how rewarding it can be. In addition to our individual efforts, as a group we collected coats and warm items for a local family shelter. (Yes, it does get cold here in California!) Do you like to volunteer? How do you give back? Share your story with us at

DECEMBER CHALLENGE: We’re all in the habit of taking reusable bags to the grocery store, but once in a while we forget. And what about the other disposable bags in our lives? For the month of December, we’re striving to eliminate ALL disposable plastic bags. We hope you’ll take on this challenge and that you’ll encourage friends and family members to do the same. Give back to the planet this holiday season by saying NO to disposable bags!


Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season!

From Your Kitchen to Ours

"I started making my daughter's bento lunches 2 1/2 years ago for several reasons: to provide a tastier alternative to school lunches, to do our part in reducing the amount of packaging waste, and to fill my need for a creative outlet. I love making character bentos and seasonal themed designs but don't always have the time. The Laptop Lunch System is my 'go to' container. Each of the compartments reminds me to pack a variety of food choices and even without any special detail work, my daughter's lunches always look colorful and fun to eat.

My daughter will soon be entering middle school, and I thought our days of "cute" bento lunches were numbered, but one of her classmates recently ordered her own Laptop Lunchbox after admiring ours. I think we will be using this system for many years to come."

    -- Karina Minteer, Sacramento, CA

Food for Thought: Lemons and Limes

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

Lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C. They contain flavonoids which provide antioxidant, antibiotic, and detoxifying properties. Since these citrus fruits act as an anti-inflammatory they may help relieve the discomfort of arthritis and rheumatism. They are known to be of benefit to respiratory health and for the treatment of asthma.

Lemons and limes are easy to add to any diet,. Just squeeze some into a glass of water each day, or throw a slice into a smoothie for a little zing. The juice from either of these citrus fruits is an excellent addition to salads and salad dressings. The zest from these fruits is commonly used to add flavor to cakes, muffins, pancakes and other baked goods.

To learn more about the health benefits of lemons and limes, visit:


  • Excellent Source of Vitamin C
  • Offers Anti-inflammatory Properties
  • Good for Digestion
  • Helpful for Respiratory Health
  • Helpful with Weight Loss
  • Loaded with Flavonoids
  • Has Antioxidant and Antibiotic Properties

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

This Month's Recipes: From Oh She Glows Blog
The following recipes are reprinted with permission from Angela Liddon, author of the Oh She Glows food blog, a healthy vegan recipe blog.

Lemon Basil Cashew Cheeze

Try this luxurious spread in lasagna, on homemade pizza or your favourite sandwich!

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 30 mins
    or overnight
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water (or more as needed)
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (lightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (gives the cheese flavour)
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) + freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)

Photo Credit: Angela Liddon

1. Drain and rinse soaked cashews.
2. With the food processor turned on, drop in your garlic cloves and process until chopped.
3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.

This recipe along with Angela's Vegan Lasagna recipe can be found at:

Sunny White Sangria

  • 2 bottles dry to semidry white wine, such as
    Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay
  • 2 to 3 cups orange juice (freshly squeezed preferred),
    to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 can pineapple chunks with juice
  • 1 large handful frozen mango chunks
  • 3/4 cup natural cane sugar, or to taste
  • Club soda (optional) (l add 1 can before serving)
  • Ice, optional

Note: This recipe makes a double batch. You can always cut this in half, using 1 bottle of white wine.

Photo Credit: Angela Liddon

1. Add everything except the sugar into a large pitcher and stir well.
2. Add sugar to taste and adjust until your desired sweetness is achieved.
3. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Before serving, you may add some club soda & ice if desired. Taste again and add more sweetener if necessary.

This recipe can be found at:

In the Spotlight: Interview with “Mrs. Q” (aka Sarah Wu)

Sarah Wu and the Fed Up With Lunch Project

About Sarah Wu:
Sarah Wu is a public school teacher in the Midwest.  In 2010, she started the Fed Up with Lunch blog, where she recorded her experience eating school lunch every day for a year.  Her blog has been lauded by Marion Nestle, Mark Bittman, Jamie Oliver,, Good Morning America, AOL Health, and more.  She lives in Chicago, IL.

We first interviewed “Mrs. Q” in the June 2010 issue of Bento Living when she was blogging anonymously about her experiences eating school lunch every day for a year.  We recently interviewed her again (as Sarah Wu) to find out how she’s been feeling since giving up school lunches, and how her life has changed since “going public” with the launch of her book Fed Up With Lunch.

1. Hi Sarah. Thanks for joining us! It sounds like you’ve been very busy lately with the launch of your new book Fed Up With Lunch. You must be so excited and tired!
Yes, I am. It’s all happened so fast, and I certainly never expected all of this attention and interest.

2. So you survived on school lunches for an entire year, and now you’ve happily returned to preparing your own lunches. How have you been feeling since you stopped eating school lunches?  Has there been any change in your overall health? Yes, I feel great, both psychologically and physically. It’s really hard when you’re “forced” to eat a particular meal each day. It makes you want to be able to choose what you eat. Now that I’m free to do that, I feel so much better psychologically. Physically I’m feeling better as well. Years ago, I suspected that I might have Celiac’s, so I switched to a gluten-free diet, and I felt great. After a few weeks, I went to the doctor to get tested for Celiac’s, but the results came back negative, and my doctor told me that I could go back to eating gluten again, but then my symptoms reappeared. Last year, when I went to a blogging conference, I met a woman who told me that many people who test negative for Celiac’s are actually gluten intolerant, and she encouraged me to return to a gluten-free diet, which I’ve now done. Since going gluten free, my symptoms have disappeared again. So to answer your question, I’m feeling great, but it’s not all due to giving up school lunch.

3. Now that you’re back to packing lunch every day, what are your time-saving tips for lunch packing?
I prepare lunch for myself and my son every day, so planning the night before is essential. I’m a bit groggy in the morning, so I start by cutting up fruit. Once I get my momentum going, I start on the main course and then a veggie and grain. I like packing hard-boiled eggs, leftovers, and one-bowl dishes like soups, stews, and stir-fries. For grains I like to pack gluten-free bagels, crackers, rice, and gluten-free cereal bars. Last night I made chicken with roasted vegetables for dinner. As I was cleaning up, I sliced some leftover chicken and put it in the medium container of my Laptop Lunchbox. Then in the other containers I packed some of the vegetables and some melon. I’m hoping my son enjoyed it!

4. You blogged anonymously until very recently.  Have you altered your blog posts in any way since revealing your true identity? To be honest, I’m still getting used to seeing my real name and face in the media. It feels strange being out in the public domain. I haven’t yet found my new “normal.”

5. Have you noticed a change in the quality of the lunches at your school since you started your blog? I’m actually teaching at different schools now, but the school lunches are identical to those I ate last year. That being said, I have seen a difference. Schools now also have more raw vegetables, but until they make lunch longer, there will be a lot of food wasted. Twenty minutes isn’t enough time to eat, especially when kids have to wait in line for their food. It looks like we’re going to be moving to a longer school day next year, which hopefully should result in more time for lunch and for recess. Just today, one Chicago Public Schools food provider, Chartwells, announced that they will be serving antibiotic-free chicken drumsticks at some of the schools. Unfortunately, none of that chicken will be served at any of the schools where I’ve worked.

6. The lunches you posted on your blog and featured in your book seem typical of lunches in many schools. While it’s clear that change is happening, what advice do you have for parents who want to make changes in their schools?
Go to lunch with your kids. See for yourself what’s being served. Start a dialogue with members of your school community. It’s often hard for parents to be vocal because they don’t want to be labeled as “that kind of parent.” However, there is much to be done. Consider working to stop candy fundraisers. Join the PTA where you can unite with other parents and teachers to work for change. Talk with the lunch staff and find out what their biggest challenges are. Do they need more time? Better equipment? A dishwasher? A salad bar? Try to find community donations that will help them overcome their biggest challenges. For more ideas, be sure to check out the Guide for a Quiet Revolution on page 159 of Fed Up With Lunch.

7. Since you’ve gone public with your identity, what kind of response have you received from fellow teachers and “lunch ladies”? Nothing has really changed. I’m still able to do what I’m doing. All of my co-workers have been nice and supportive. Nobody suspected that I was Mrs. Q. In fact, few people were aware of the blog, so there was no reason to suspect anything. In spite of the press the blog received, nobody even talked about it. I haven’t been “out and proud” so to speak in my new school, but once in a while someone will say something like “I saw you on TV,” and we have a good conversation about food before we move on to talking about work or something else. Once media appearances for the book have concluded, I plan on digging into the issues at my schools.

8. Now that you can eat whatever you choose, what’s your favorite lunch? I love leftovers and egg salad sandwiches, even though it makes me feel like a grandmother when I say it! I also love honey crisp apples, grapes, and I’ve been experimenting with mini salads made with fresh greens like spinach and kale. I like packing my little salads in my Laptop Lunches bento box because I can use the medium or small container, which prevents me from feeling overwhelmed like I sometimes do with large salads, but I can still get the benefit of fresh green veggies.

To learn more about Sarah Wu (Mrs. Q.) and her new book, Fed Up with Lunch, and to follow her blog, visit:

In the News

Macaroni Kid

Re-think Your Lunchbox. Make it Simple. Make it Fun.

It’s hard to believe that summer has flown by and that our kids are already on their way back to school. While saying good-bye to the warmth of summer may be rough, shifting back into a steady routine is not entirely unpleasant. And once we get beyond the classroom supply lists, back-to-school shopping trips, and lunchbox purchases, we’re left with a moment to sit back and think about what in the world we’re going to pack for lunch this school year. If you’re looking for some wholesome ideas that will jazz up your routine, read on!

Keep it simple: You don’t have all the time in the world, so keeping it quick and simple is a must. To read the full article, visit

Scribd - Tonic

Pack it Up. Lunch with a conscience

Making your lunch at home and taking it each day to school or work is not about cutting sandwiches into cute little shapes. It’s simply about being good to our bodies and our planet.

Swap loose containers for organized ones. This bento-style lunch box keeps all your food fresh and the sturdy and safe containers prevent squishing and make it easy to pack in portions. No loose containers means no lost containers, which also means you are able to keep track of all the yummy food packed for the days so nothing will be missed. Laptop Lunches,

To view the full posting, visit:

Babylon Village Patch

Back to School 2011: 10 Great Lunch Ideas

Here are some great lunch options to help parents get in the swing for the new school year.

A new school year is upon us and it's time for moms and dads to start getting ready for the kids to return to school. Once you have purchased all of the supplies, a new back pack and lunch box, and that first day of school outfit, it's time to think about what to pack the kids for lunch.

Patch has put together a list of 10 great lunches to help give parents in the community some new and fresh ideas for school lunch. So get your lunch boxes ready! The sandwich is the staple of a school lunch, but many moms have given the sandwich a new twist. To read the entire article along with the school lunch ideas, visit:

Green Opportunities

HOMEMADE FOOD GIFTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS – Do you enjoy being creative in the kitchen? Consider treating your friends and family to your homemade creations. has 30 recipes for both sweet and savory gifts that you can make at home. To learn more and see the recipes, visit:

18 FOODS THAT FIGHT COMMON AILMENTS – Try eating foods that help fight diabetes, heart disease, migraines and more. To learn about 6 ailments and the foods that help heal, prevent, or reduce the risk of each, visit:

RENT A LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE THIS YEAR – Why not try something different this year? Consider renting a Christmas tree instead of purchasing a tree that has been cut down and needs to be disposed of after the holidays.There are a growing number of tree rental programs throughout the United States. These programs allow you to choose from a selection of species of trees. They deliver the tree to your door and pick it up after the holidays. To learn more, visit:

Featured Web Site: Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. Their goal is to help charitable givers make donation decisions with confidence. They provide information on over five thousand charities and evaluate the financial health of each of those charities. At the same time, their aim is to help the charities by shining a light on truly effective organizations. In doing so, they believe Charity Navigator can help ensure that charitable giving keeps pace with the growing need for charitable programs.

For each charitable organization, Charity Navigator provides a current rating, financial information, historical data, reviews and news.

To find out more, visit:

On This Site:
  • A-Z Directory of Charities
  • 4 Star Charity Listings
  • Top Ten Lists
  • Individual Ratings and Financial Information
  • Featured Charities
  • Hot Topics
  • World Map of Charities
  • Tips for Donors and Holiday Giving
  • Methodology for Selection and Evaluation

Contact Us

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© December 2011 Obentec, Inc.

500 Chestnut Street, Suite 250
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


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