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January 2013

  January 2013  


In this issue you'll find:


What works...Success Stories

Lunches are Fun, Healthy and Easy

“THANK YOU! The Laptop Lunch systems have reinvented my lunchtime life! We use them daily, and my daughters LOVE, LOVE having their bentos. I have had them for over a year now and they have both held up perfectly. The containers, lids, spoons, and forks all look brand new still.....after THOUSANDS of uses and dishwashing! The bento system has really made me think outside the normal lunch bag for meals. My two daughters, ages 9 and 4, have been in love with the lunches I am now packing. My 9 year-old daughter actually voted me 'best lunch maker' in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. I take pride in the healthy foods my children eat, and now how it is presented is just as great! I use your website on a weekly basis to get fun, new ideas for lunches. Thank you, thank you, for helping lunchbox moms like myself to make lunches fun, healthy, and easy!”

    -- Hollie Morris, Land O Lakes, FL

Great Lunch Box and Great Ideas!

“We battled for healthier school lunches, in our town, and finally gave up. So we pack lunch every day. Thank you for the great lunch box and the great ideas!”

    -- A Happier Mom, Kelley

Love Our Laptop Lunches  

"Thank you so very much. We love our Laptop Lunches®, and your great customer service makes your company even more wonderful. We have recommended Laptop Lunches® to countless friends and we will be customers until we no longer have a need for lunchboxes.”

    -- Tara T. Cypress, TX

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

Photo Credit: Chrystal Johnson of


From Our Desk to Yours

Happy New Year To All!

Thanks so much for your warm and wonderful support in 2012 and for all you do to promote healthful, eco-friendly, on-the-go meals! We hope 2013 brings you much health, happiness, and prosperity. A big THANK YOU, too, to everyone who took the time to respond to our newsletter survey last month. We appreciate your feedback, and we look forward to launching our redesigned newsletter in 2013. Keep an eye out for our new look!



Wishing you a good year!

From Your Kitchen to Ours

"We've had our Laptop Lunchboxes for a few years now, but this school year is the first that I've made "fancy" lunches for my children. They tell me that their friends are anxious to see what they have each day!"

    -- Kathy Lewin, Great Mills, MD

Food for Thought: Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants. They contain more antioxidants than blueberries and are always in season. They also supply more Omega-3 oils than any other plant source, which supports the heart, reduces blood pressure and lowers cholesterol. Their anti-inflammatory properties are helpful to those with arthritis. Chia seeds are an excellent choice for weight loss. They have very few calories and can be added to almost any food to add bulk, leaving you feeling full for hours. Chia seeds are a high energy food and a good choice for athletes because the seeds are high in protein, balance blood sugar and help with staying hydrated longer.

Chia seeds can be added to almost any food. They have very little flavor so they do not alter the taste of your food. Try adding some to shakes, smoothies, dips and dressings. Whole or ground chia seeds can easily be sprinkled on or added to salads, cereals, pastas, eggs and sandwiches, baked goods and anything else you'd like to try it on.

For some recipes for using chia seeds, visit: and


  • Excellent for Weight Loss
  • Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties
  • High in Antioxidants
  • Supports a Healthy Heart
  • Loaded with Omega-3 Oil
  • Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
  • Energizing
  • Help Balance Blood Sugar
  • Good for Digestion and Colon Health

This Month's Recipes: Breakfast from Two Peas and Their Pod

These two yummy breakfast recipes along with the accompanying photographs are reprinted with permission from Maria and Josh Lichty, authors of the Two Peas and Their Pod Web site. To view more of Maria and Josh's recipes, visit: and Facebook.

Asparagus, Spinach, and Feta Cheese Frittata


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 asparagus spears, tough ends removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Yield: Serves 4

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and egg. Set aside.
  2. In a small frying pan*, heat up the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Add the asparagus, spinach, and green onions. Cook until the asparagus is tender and the spinach is wilted.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus, spinach, and onions. Sprinkle in half of the cheese. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on low heat.
  4. When the eggs are mostly set, sprinkle the frittata with the rest of the feta cheese. Put the pan into the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the frittata is firm and the cheese is melted.
  5. Cut frittata into wedges and serve.

*Note-make sure you use an oven safe pan.

This recipe can be found at:

Whole Wheat Kefir Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain kefir, plus 2 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry Sauce:

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp corn starch

Yield: 6-8 pancakes
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together kefir, canola oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a spatula until combined. Don't over mix.
  4. Heat a griddle pan or non stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 of a cup of pancake batter onto the hot griddle pan, spacing out the pancakes a few inches from each other. When the pancakes start to bubble up, flip and cook until pancakes are lightly browned.
  5. To make the blueberry sauce:
    Cook blueberries, agave or honey, water, and corn starch on medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve warm over pancakes.

This recipe can be found at:

In the Spotlight: An Interview with Lisa Leake

Lisa Leake and 100 Days of Real Food


About Lisa Leake:
Lisa Leake is a wife, mother, foodie, and blogger who chronicles her family’s journey on as they seek out the real food in our processed food world. Projects include a 100-day pledge to avoid all processed foods and refined ingredients as well as another 100-day pledge on a food stamp budget. Leake's award-winning blog has received national attention from big names like Yahoo!, The New York Times, and Jamie Oliver.


Whether you’re brand new to cutting out processed food or you’re a real food veteran, you’ll find great value in Lisa Leake’s blog. In the beginning of 2010 she had never before read an ingredient label, bought anything that was organic (at least not on purpose), nor had she stepped foot in a farmers’ market.

After reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, she decided that it was time to overhaul her family’s eating habits. It wasn’t easy at first, but over time it became their “new normal.” After struggling for some time to find resources to help her understand how to apply Pollan’s principals to their everyday lives, she created her real food blog as a way to help others interested in eliminating processed food from their diets. We were pleased to have the opportunity to interview Lisa for this month’s newsletter!

1. What prompted you and your family to cut out processed foods? After seeing Michael Pollan on Oprah, I went on to read his book In Defense of Food. It made me realize that a lot of the choices I thought were healthy (based on Food Industry claims) were actually highly processed.

2. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced? Taking our 100-day pledges (especially our “100 Days of Real Food on a Budget” pledge) were of course challenging for many reasons, but what I didn’t expect were the challenges that came after our first pledge ended. During our pledge, we got used to saying, “Oh, that food is against the ‘rules’ so we aren’t going to eat it,” but afterward I suddenly had to make a decision each and every time we were faced with processed junk food. After seeing my daughters go more than 3 months without eating a gram of refined sugar (and being mostly fine with it), it was hard to then decide when they would/should have treats going forward. We finally settled into a new routine and have become comfortable with eating treats about once a week -- and treats can be anything from birthday cake at a friend’s party to donuts at school to homemade ice cream or whole-wheat cookies at home.

3. What advice would you offer families who want to eliminate processed foods in 2013?
If you want to cut out processed foods, the most important thing to remember is that even small changes are better than none. It would be a shame to feel so overwhelmed that you decide to give up altogether. So start small with either one meal a day (like breakfast) or one food group (like switching to whole grains) before moving on to other areas. The transition can be difficult at first, but over time it becomes your new normal. Also, the reason I created my blog was to help others, so be sure to check out the resources we provide, including our Start Here page and free Real Food Meal Plans.

4. Have your kids ever been picky eaters? What tips you would give to parents of picky eaters hesitant to drop processed foods? I have one daughter who is on the picky side, but after working with her for over two years now, she has made so much progress. One of the key things we did was to continuously offer her new foods over and over again -- as opposed to saying, “She doesn’t like that so don’t give it to her.” It can take many months or even a year to see changes in your picky eater, so it’s important to be patient and use “gentle persistence” along the way. You don’t want meals to become unpleasant, but I think repeated exposure to a variety of whole foods is critical. For more information, check out our post on Picky Eaters as well as our recent post on Problem Feeders.

5. What is one of your New Year’s resolutions? There is actually something I’ve already been working on this year that I want to continue with in 2013. Inspired by the Zero Waste Home/Family, I am trying to be less wasteful. And a key component is to take in less “junk” in the first place. After all, “refuse” is the first step before reduce, reuse, recycle. For example, for some gifts this year, we’ve tried to include “experiences” (like tickets to a concert or an overnight trip together) instead of “stuff,” but I am the first to admit that we still have room for improvement in this department!

6. What’s your favorite lunch?
I am a hot lunch girl. Even before our switch to real food, a cold deli sandwich almost never sounded appealing to me. It’s hard to pick one favorite, but I do love either a grilled Caprese Panini sandwich or leftover Mexican food (like refried beans or tacos).

For more information about Lisa and 100 Days of Real Food, visit

In the News

Frugally Green Mom

Laptop Lunches Make a Great Lunchbox!

I’ve known about Laptop Lunchboxes for a long time, and I’ve always thought they seemed incredibly fun! One of the first blogs I read featured vegan lunches made to go in the Laptop Lunchbox. So of course I was more than happy to give it a try when offered!

Little Miss loved the pink and purple colors that I chose. As soon as she saw it she had to take it with her! We were heading out for the day, so wepacked it up for her. It held one of the freezer sticks from one of her cups very well.

I really like the cute veggie pictures on the largest lids, reminding you that the largest portion of your meal should be plant-based. Now I just need to convince Little Miss to go along with that! Hopefully as she gets older that will become an easier task.  I also like that the dressing box is very small – a friendly reminder that we don’t need to drown our food in dressing!

To read the entire review, visit:

Consumer Reports: Greener Choices

Healthy Lunches Kids Will Love

Making lunches at home can help you ensure kids' school-day meals are healthy and delicious. The do-it-yourself approach also can help picky eaters get something they really like to eat.

Sure, it takes time. But we have good news: By following the guidelines below, you’ll not only shave precious minutes off of your lunch-making routine, you’ll also get new ideas for healthy, palate-pleasing meals—plus expert tips on food safety and cool gear to transport lunch to school in style. To read the full article along with time saving tips for lunch preparation, visit:

Green Opportunities

1001 USES FOR WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR – Did you know that white vinegar is one of the most versatile products you could have in your home? It can be used in gardening, cleaning, laundry, health and more. In addition, vinegar is all natural, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic. To learn about the many ways to use vinegar, visit:

WHOLE GRAIN GLOSSARY – Here's a wonderful reference guide with introductory information on twenty different grains. The list includes grains that are commonly eaten and those that you may be unfamiliar with. To learn more, visit:

35 WAYS TO WINTERIZE YOUR HOME WITHOUT POISONING THE FAMILY – There are hundreds of tips on the Internet for winterizing your home but many of them are not very eco-friendly. If you don't want to huff toxic chemicals all season check out these tips for a warmer home and healthy breathing all winter long. To learn more, visit:

Featured Web Site: Health Castle

Health Castle is the most comprehensive nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians on the Internet. Spreading the goodness of nutrition is their passion. Their mission is to empower people to better manage their health through healthy eating.

To find out more, visit:

On This Site:
  • Articles on Eating Smart
  • You Can Cook Video Series
  • Cooking Smart Articles
  • Packaged Food Comparisons
  • Featured Super Foods and Supplements
  • Health and Nutrition Information
  • Vegetable Gardening
  • Sustainable Eating
  • Nutrition Tidbits Podcast Shows

Contact Us

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© January 2013 Obentec, Inc.

500 Chestnut Street, Suite 250
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


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