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May 2012

  May 2012  

Highlights

In this issue you'll find:


Good
Simple
Fun

What works...Success Stories

Amazing Site

“I'm a new customer and after checking out your site, which I found on Google, I just wanted to say that it's amazing.  I love it and will share it with my friends. I just found a great low-cal healthy recipe that I plan to make tomorrow.  Thanks.”

    -- Kathleen Giles, Harrisburg, PA

My Daughter's Favorite Tote!

“Thanks for helping me order my daughter’s FAVORITE tote! Looking forward to working with you in late summer for more savings school wide!”

    -- Jenny Chodyniecki, Howell, MI

Additional Set Makes It Easier  

"Your product is lovely. I’m purchasing an additional set for my 9-year old granddaughter who loves the set she has now. This additional system will make it easier for her to fix lunch for the next day, as soon as she gets home from school (& will ensure she has a set, avoiding panic and disappointment).”

    -- Jeff Mazauskas, New York, NY

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

Seeds Natural Market
855 East Plant Street #900
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 614-8753

www.tinywiggles.com












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From Our Desk to Yours

Happy May!

Although summer isn’t here quite yet, it’s just around the corner. Temperatures are warming, the kids are looking forward to the last days of school, and summer plans are in the works. And we’re oh-so-very excited to be outdoors once again, digging in the garden, walking along the beach, and enjoying family meals on the patio. We hope you’re enjoying more time outdoors as well and experiencing the wonders of spring!


EASY AS 1-2-3: We’ve streamlined our online store for stress-free shopping in just 3 easy steps! Please take a look at http://secure.laptoplunches.com and let us know what you think!

A LA CARTE BENTO: Be on the lookout for our new a la carte bento line—on our Web site and in stores. Pick and choose only the components you want. Already have the user’s guide? Buy the bento box on its own. Want an extra set of utensils? You’ve got it! Looking for a new carrier or tote, we’ve got a wide selection for you to choose from at www.LaptopLunches.com.

NEW BENTO BUDDIES COLOR COMBO: We’re so excited about the launch of our new primary bento buddies! You can now view all 7 color options at http://secure.laptoplunches.com/items.asp?Cc=BUDDIES_2.0&Bc=.

NEW ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING: Our new ECO-FRIENDLY retail packaging is starting to appear in stores across North America. We’re so excited!

EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND FITNESS MONTH: What are you doing to celebrate? We’ve each come up with a goal, and we’re working together to make them happen! Please follow us and share your goals this month at www.facebook.com/laptoplunches.

INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS: Have you seen our latest YouTube videos? If not, be sure to see what we’ve got at www.youtube.com/laptoplunches.

                

Enjoy!


From Your Kitchen to Ours

"I bought my oldest son the original style Laptop Lunches bento set for the 2009-2010 school year. I bought him a second one, the following year, not out of need, as the original was still in mint condition, but rather because it makes it easier to have one clean and ready to pack after supper. This year my youngest son started kindergarten and was so excited to get his very own! We've been very happy with the quality. We're STILL using that first one! Besides school, we use them for long car rides, picnics... pretty much anything. The boys are proud that they're putting less waste in the landfills, and they love how easy the containers are to open.

Thank you for making lunches fun!"

    -- Stephanie Cooper, Anchorage, AK

Food for Thought: Kiwi

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

Kiwi Fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. They are one of the best fruit sources of Vitamin C and contain as much potassium as bananas. Kiwis have been proven to benefit respiratory health and help prevent asthma. They also help protect against some cancers, age-related macular degeneration and anemia. This vitamin K rich food supports bone strength. As the only fruit supplying calcium, kiwis help build bones and prevent blood clots.

Kiwis are great in fruit salads, with yogurt or cottage cheese, on fruit tarts or enjoy them peeled and sliced. You might consider adding them to salsa recipes, smoothies, savory salads and even in muffins or pancakes.

To learn more about kiwis and for kiwi recipes, visit: http://zesprikiwi.com/kiwifruit-recipes.

Benefits:

  • Excellent Source of Vitamins C, E and A
  • Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties
  • High in Fiber
  • Helps Prevent Asthma
  • Helps Strengthen Bones
  • Good Source of Potassium
  • Protects Against Age-Related Macular Degeneration


This Month's Recipes: Sweet and Savory Pies

Cream Cheese Pie

This pie can be served with or without fruit on top.

Crust:
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup, other)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour

Filling:

  • 1 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese or non dairy alternative
  • 5 Tbsp sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup, other)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • fresh fruit (optional to decorate)

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. With electric mixer, cream together butter, sweetener, egg and flour until well mixed.
3. Spread mixture in 9" inch pie plate.
4. Blend together cream cheese, sweetener and flour.
5. Add remaining ingredients, blending well.
6. Pour mixture into crust.
7. Bake for one hour.
8. Chill, then layer top with fresh fruit if desired, and serve.


Tomato and Onion Pie


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 unbaked 9" pie crust, homemade or store bought
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried basil)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk or nondairy alternative
  • 1-1/4 cup grated cheese of choice (ie. cheddar, gouda, Monterey jack or non dairy alternative)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese

 


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake pie crust for eight minutes and set aside.
2. Sauté onions, garlic and basil in olive oil, until soft but not brown.
3. In medium sized bowl, beat eggs and milk until well blended. Stir in the pepper.
4. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of crust and then sprinkle the cheese to form a layer on top of the onion.
5. Pour egg mixture into the crust.
6. Lay the tomato slices on the very top and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on the tomatoes.
7. Bake pie for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, continue to bake until the filling is solid and begins to brown.

In the Spotlight: An Interview with Michelle Malm – Kelseyville School District


Michelle Malm and the Farm to School Project

About Michelle Malm:
Michelle Malm is the Director of Food Services for Kelseyville School District in Northern California. She has revolutionized typical cafeteria lunch by tossing pre-packaged foods and instituting the farm to school program. The program has proven successful for over 4 years.

 

1. Can you give us an overview of the lunch program that is currently in place at your school in Kelseyville? We serve fresh made-from-scratch meals, focusing on local fresh produce when it’s available. I purchase fresh ingredients and accept all commodity food raw, so we can prepare the food to what the students like. We have 3 serving windows as well as a food cart so we are able to serve more children in a shorter amount of time. In addition to the regular meal and individual salads, we offer a different soup every day, which the students love. Our soups are made from scratch with the local produce that we’ve processed during the summer and frozen. Butternut squash is just one of our favorite soups.

2. What inspired you to implement a program like this at your school? How did you begin the process? I’m not sure I was inspired, but I was disgusted by the highly processed, sugar and fat-laden foods being served to the children.  I watched students bring in donuts, large bottles of soda as well as bags of chips when I first took over, but now I don’t see that happening any longer.  We have fresh hot oatmeal out at the high school every day with honey and assorted toppings.   We have never processed our commodity products, and I have never understood why other schools do so when it is so much better and cost effective to use raw products. I decided to use our new facility as a central kitchen so I could control what was going out to the students. If the food looks good and tastes good, then the students will eat it. I have an incredible staff who works very hard to provide the best food possible to our students. 

3. Throughout the process of putting the program into effect, did you face any challenges that were particularly difficult? How might someone else trying to create a similar program overcome these challenges?
It was a bit hard on the staff as they were used to just opening boxes of food for reheat, but over time they have come to embrace the process and know what they are doing is exceptional. And they appreciate it when the students they tell them the food is great! Cooking from scratch is more time consuming so this may be a barrier for some districts. I have tried to stay focused on the big picture—doing better for our children. Our children eat with us twice a day and sometimes these are the best meals of their day. We should provide the very best we can. I couldn’t have this program without an incredible staff backing me up. I’ve never seen people work so hard to make a difference. We are a team, and that’s what makes it work well. We have bumps and bruises along the way, but what business doesn’t?

4. Now that the program is in place, what are some of the main advantages it has brought to the children and the school? Having a program that encourages student involvement helps them gain work experience. They also see where their food comes from and how it’s prepared. It’s amazing how many kids think that food just comes from boxes, and they’re amazed when they find out how good the food tastes after they’ve prepared it. Our test scores and attendance have improved throughout the entire district. I see that students who were overweight several years ago have lost weight and are more health conscience. I see both girls and boys making better food choices. At the high school we offer a free oatmeal bar with honey, walnuts, raisins, coconut and peanut butter. I was told years ago that the kids won’t eat oatmeal. Today I prove them all wrong. The kids now miss the oatmeal if we don’t put it out. When we offer fresh fruit for breakfast, break or lunch, the students love it. I have watched the changes over the years—kids are eating more fresh produce, and loving it!

5. How has inviting the students into the kitchen and garden areas changed the way they view eating their healthier, locally grown lunches? The students are very interested in the food now. They’re interested in where the food comes from and how it’s prepared.  It puts a piece of the puzzle together for them. They see what the food looks like before it’s used in a recipe. The students that have been involved in the garden have found it hard work, but also a lot of fun. 

6. Are there any other improvements or ideas you hope to bring to the program in the future?
We’ve finished the Riviera School Garden, and I have a volunteer to assist in keeping it up. We’re hoping to put together a summer garden club so students can monitor the garden during the summer. I’m in the process of putting together a group of high school students to start growing summer, fall, and winter produce in the green house. We’ll be planting fruit trees as well. Several students have nothing to do all summer, so I’m going to put them to work.

7. Is there any other information about the program you’d like to share with us? Or, any other advice you’d like to give people thinking about starting a program like yours? Weed out the processed food, begin cooking from scratch a couple of days a week, and then keep moving from there. Many will tell you that it’s cheaper to use processed food than to hire people to cook. I’m proof that this is not true. Teach your staff how to do things more efficiently and to care about what they do. We never stop learning. Feeding children is such an important job. The two or three meals that kids eat at school are most likely the most nutritious food they consume during the day. Help them make good choices.

8. What is your favorite lunch? There are so many, but I think pork posole and chicken enchiladas are my all-time favorites.  We make incredible salads and fresh soup, so I like those as well. 

For more information about the Farm to School program, visit www.farmtoschool.org.


In the News

PA Live - Eyewitness News

Trend Hungry: Holiday Gifts Under $100

PA Live Fashionista, Jessie Holeva shows us some fun holiday gifts to fit your budget. To view the video, visit: http://pahomepage.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=214726.

Business Insider

These 15 Snapshots Of Bento Box Lunches Will Inspire You To Pack Your Own Feast

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: http://babylonvillage.patch.com/articles/back-to-school-2011-10-great-lunch-ideas.


Green Opportunities

GREEN SUMMER CAMPS – Summer is right around the corner. Are you thinking of sending your kids to camp this summer? Why not consider an environment that will teach them how to live green and appreciate the planet while they having fun outdoors? The Mother Nature Network has compiled a list of 15 green summer camps across the country. To read their posting, visit: www.mnn.com/family/babies-pregnancy/photos/15-green-summer-camps/15-green-summer-camps. And Treehugger has put together a list of 7 green summer camps for future environmentalists.


NON-GMO SHOPPING GUIDE – The Non-GMO Shopping Guide provides a handy tool for identifying and avoiding foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) while you shop. This guide features over 150 brands currently enrolled in the Non-GMO Project. To order the pocket sized book, or to download either the online guide or the mobile app, visit: www.nongmoshoppingguide.com.


GET ACTIVE – May is National Fitness month and the Get Active page at Let's Move will help show you how to get started on your individual or family physical activity plan. You might want to encourage the whole family to join you in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge. To sign up for the President's Fitness Challenge, visit: www.presidentschallenge.org/account/index.shtml.


Featured Web Site: Momtastic's Wholesome Baby Food

Momtastic's Wholesome Baby Food features fresh, fast and simple homemade baby food recipes & easy to use guides for introducing solid foods. You'll find details on making organic baby food, nutritional information, tasty and wholesome articles on related topics, and reasons to be making the food your baby eats.

Learn how easy and rewarding (economical & eco-friendly too) it is to make your baby fresh homemade food!

To find out more, visit: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com

On This Site:
  • Homemade Baby Food Recipes
  • Introducing Solid Food Guides
  • Pureeing and Storing Food
  • Allergy Information
  • Wholesome Baby Food Blog
  • Baby Led Weaning Tips
  • Related Articles
  • FAQs
  • Vitamins and Minerals in Each Food

Contact Us

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© May 2012 Obentec, Inc.

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Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-457-0301

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