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November 2009

Laptop Lunch Times: November2009
November 2009


In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Gluten-Free Recipes
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Fun Gluten-Free School Lunches: by Connie Sarros
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site: www.idealbite.com

From Our Desk to Yours...


We hope you had a safe and enjoyable Halloween and that you’re easing into the fall-to-winter transition. We’ve been enjoying a slightly slower pace the past few weeks following the very busy back to school season. We’re now gearing up for what’s expected to be an equally successful winter holiday season.

If you’re pleased with the way Laptop Lunches have helped you waste less, spend less, and eat well, we encourage you to recommend them to family and friends. A gift from our new Laptop Lunches 2.0 line is certain to please!


GREEN FESTIVAL 2009: Come visit us at this year's San Francisco Green Festival, November 13-15th. You'll find us at Booth #122 in the Organic Food section. The Green Festival is a three day event filled with over 150 speakers and 400 green businesses, with green films, kids' activities, live music and delicious organic, vegetarian cuisine. For more information, visit www.greenfestivals.org/san-francisco. If you attend the festival, please stop by and say hi.





ORIGINAL PERIWINKLE LAPTOP LUNCH SETS: We have a limited number of original periwinkle Laptop Lunch Systems left in stock. This item is being discontinued; available while supplies last. For more information or to place an order, visit:
http://secure.laptoplunches.com/AMAZING/items.asp?Cc=SYSTEMS&iTpStatus
=0&Tp=&Bc=
.


WISH LIST: Did you know that you can quickly and easily create a Wish List at www.laptoplunches.com? Step 1: Click Wish List on the right-hand side of the page and type in a few details. Step 2: Click on an item you’d like to add to your list and then click Add to Wish List. Step 3: Click to email the list to family and friends. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!





MARIEL'S KITCHEN ON SALE: Purchase Mariel Hemingway's latest book for only $29.99 (regularly $32.99) at: http://secure.laptoplunches.com/AMAZING/itemdesc.asp?ic=340080&eq=&Tp=. The photos are inspirational, and her recipes are nutritious, delicious, and fun to make.

BLUE INSULATED CARRYING CASES: Does your bento set need an insulated carrier? Our blue neoprene carriers are on sale this month for only $15.99 (regularly $17.99) at http://secure.laptoplunches.com/AMAZING/itemMatrix.asp?ic=310010-BLU&eq=&Tp=&MatrixType=2&sGroupCode=310010.


Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at newsletter@obentec.com, and we'll publish it here!


  • Turkey & Swiss Sandwich
  • Carrots, Olives, and Celery Sticks with Ranch for Dipping
  • Summer White Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  • Yogurt with Strawberries

"I received my Laptop Lunch box a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely love it. I was looking for a convenient way to pack my lunch, in addition to being able to pack a variety of foods in controlled portions. This kit turned out to be wonderful.

Now For A Tip: I love flavored yogurt, but I hate buying the individual cups; it's just too expensive. So I buy bulk yogurt, or make my own. Instead of using pre-made preserves, I purchase frozen strawberries, and let them defrost. I mash them up, add a little bit of lemon juice and sugar to taste, and let them sit in the fridge for a few hours to macerate. Then I put about a tablespoon of the berry sauce into the cups of an ice cube tray, and freeze them. I place one cube of berry sauce in the smaller, lidded container, fill the rest of the container with yogurt. By the time lunch rolls around, the berries have defrosted. It's much better than the individual cups, and much less expensive. Thanks for making a great product!"

                     -- Amy, Columbus, OH


Gluten-Free Recipes

These recipes were provided to us by Connie Sarros of Gluten-freeCookbooks.com.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

These gluten-free cookies are shaped by hand. In order to make cut-out cookies, cover and refrigerate the dough for one hour. Roll the cookies out on a flat surface.

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk (use casein-free vanilla soy, rice, or coconut milk for dairy-free diets)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour mixture*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2/3 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

*My flour mixture contains xanthan gum. If you are using a different flour mixture, add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum to the dry ingredients.


Yield: 58 Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2. Break eggs into a large bowl. Using a wire whisk, whip eggs until frothy. Add the oil, 1-2/3 cups sugar, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon extract. Whisk together till blended.
3. Add the flour mixture, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly blended.
4. With wet hands, take tablespoonfuls of dough and roll each into a ball about the size of a large walnut, then place on the baking sheet.  With the bottom of a wet glass, slightly flatten each cookie.  Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the 2 tablespoons sugar.
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until no imprint remains when center of cookie is lightly touched. Let cookies set on baking pan for 1 minute before removing them to a cooling rack.

Potato Salad

This potato salad recipe includes steamed potatoes. Connie uses 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) whole potatoes to make it easy for young chefs to cook this for their families.

  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, steamed till soft - but still firm
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • paprika


Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings
1. Put the potatoes, onion, green pepper, and eggs into a medium bowl.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. When blended, spoon this mixture over the potato mixture and blend well.
3. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and sprinkle the top with paprika. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend.



Green Opportunities

Some earth-friendly tidbits that have landed in our office in recent weeks...






  • SEASONAL FOOD GUIDES – Want to find out what fruits and vegetables are in season in your local area? Eat Well Guides has an easy to use resource online that covers the USA and Canada. Go to www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?id=Seasonalfoodguides to get started.



Monterey Bay Aquarium


  • SEAFOOD WATCH ON YOUR iPHONE – The Monterey Bay Aquarium has now made it possible to get the latest Seafood Watch recommendations at your fingertips, on your iPhone or iPod touch. Don't have an iPhone? Seafood Watch recommendations are available for all mobile devices with an Internet connection. Visit www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_iPhone.aspx to download the app.

Laptop Lunches in the News

Chicago Tribune

Schools Promote Waste-free Lunches

By Karen Ann Cullotta, September 27, 2009

In the lunchroom at Stowe Elementary School in Duluth, Minn., forlorn piles of half-eaten sandwiches and bruised bananas are transformed from trash to treasure.

Instead of tossing their uneaten school lunch scraps in the garbage bin, Stowe students donate their leftover fruits and vegetables to the school's worm compost. Items that aren't as compost-friendly, such as breads and potatoes, are donated to area farmers, who feed the free and tasty slop to their pigs.

"Knowing it won't all be going into a landfill feels good," said 10-year-old Bradley MacDougall, a fifth-grader at Stowe. "Most of the kids at our school are pretty good about it." [Read the full story at www.chicagotribune.com/features/health/chi-tc-fam-lunch-waste-0924-0927.ar0sep27,0,3407767.story.]


Suite101.com

Pack an Easy, Healthy Bento Box School Lunch

By Jennifer Mueller, October 3, 2009

Laptop Lunches Kits Include Recipes and Ideas for Fun Kids' Meals

A single school child taking a disposable packed lunch to school can generate 45-90 pounds of garbage each year, according to the New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation. Kids carrying the Laptop Lunches system or other bento box style container could make little to no trash that same year.
[Read the full story at http://greenliving.suite101.com/article.cfm/pack_an_easy_healthy_bento_box_school_lunch.]


Redlands Daily Facts

Low-Waste Lunches for Montessori Students

By Christee Lemons | October 8, 2009

To cut down on food waste, students at Montessori in Redlands tote around the same lunch containers.

Laptop Lunches are five small plastic containers that fit into a plastic box, which snaps closed. The entire laptop-style box can be placed next to a water bottle and into an insulated cloth lunch bag that zips shut.

"It really is great on portion control," said Brandi Jennings, president of Parents and Teachers of Montessori. "They usually don't eat anything more than what's in the box." [Read the full story at www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/news/ci_13520128.]


Examiner.Com

Beyond Plastic Bags Part I: Pack a Budget Friendly,
Fun-to-Eat School Lunch

By Melissa Newby, September 21, 2009

If you pack your child's lunch every day of school, you could use over 200 plastic bags over the course of a school year. Using


reusable packaging to pack school lunches is not only good for the environment, it's good for your wallet. While purchasing these items means you might have to spend money to save money, the long term benefits are worth the initial expense. Reusable containers also encourage purchasing foods in bulk, sending homemade food, and including lots of finger foods, which all help you provide your child a nutritious meal while not spending a fortune. Laptop Lunches offers an entire lunch box system that lets you customize and vary your lunches, all while using reusable containers.  [Read the full story at www.examiner.com/x-2508-Frugal-Family-Examiner~y2009m9d21-Beyond-plastic-bags-Pack-a-budget-friendly-funtoeat-school-lunch.]

New Retailers

Earth Goods General Store
1249 South 900 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
(801) 746-4410
www.earthgoodsgeneralstore.com

Bella Studio
9389 Clover Lane
Athens, OH 45701
(740) 591-0758
www.fortunebella.com


Wegmans Collegeville
600 Commerce Drive
Collegeville, PA 19426
(484) 902-1500


Wegmans Leesburg 
101 Crosstrail Blvd
Leesburg, VA 20175
(703) 669-2044


Kids Town
10 Farrell St.
South Burlington, VT 05403
(802) 865-6870
www.kidstown.com

 

Visit www.laptoplunches.com/retail.html for a complete list of retailers.

Want to see Laptop Lunches at a store in your neighborhood? Email us at info@obentec.com, and we'll give them a call.


Fun Gluten-Free School Lunches: by Connie Sarros

 

Connie Sarros is the author of several Wheat-free Gluten-free Cookbooks.
She gives speeches to dietary support groups throughout the country. These talks center around cooking and baking in a gluten-free kitchen, with a focus on the special dietary needs of celiacs, and an emphasis on healthy eating. Connie not only writes her cookbooks, she edits, publishes and promotes them as well. In addition, she has produced a 72-minute DVD, "All You Wanted To Know About Gluten-free Cooking". 

It can be challenging to pack school lunches that offer variety and that your kids will actually eat. If you have celiac children, the problem is compounded because you need to pack a lunch that is 100% gluten-free (no wheat, rye, barley, or spelt), yet can still be fun to eat. Even picky eaters are more likely to eat what you've packed if it's a fun lunch. It's also more likely they'll eat their lunch if they help to make and pack it. With a little pre-planning, your task is limited only by your ingenuity. First, no matter what the age of your celiac children, educate them about their diet restrictions. Remind them daily that they can't exchange foods with friends.

COLD LUNCHES
The variety of cold lunches is endless. For entrees, pack baked or fried chicken or chicken wings (made with a gluten-free coating), or cherry tomatoes stuffed with tuna fish. If you prefer sandwiches made on gluten-free bread, break the routine of deli lunchmeats with meatloaf, egg salad, or Reuben sandwiches. Any sandwich cut with a large cookie cutter is more fun to eat than a sandwich that's just cut in half. Using a cookie cutter also eliminates the crusts, which makes the sandwich look special. Use fun cookie cutters like an elephant, dinosaur, or gingerbread man. If you don’t want to use bread… no problem. Wrap lunchmeat around a piece of string cheese. Skewered food is fun food. Let your child select what he wants to thread onto a toothpick: cubed lunchmeat, cubed cheese, slices of green pepper, pineapple chunks, olives, pickle slices, cherry tomatoes, orange slices... the choices are unlimited. To keep foods from spoiling, add an ice pack to the lunchbox.

SALADS
Salads make a perfect cold lunch, whether it's chicken, ham, potato or egg salad. Kids love pasta salad; using gluten-free macaroni, add cut up veggies to make the salad more nutritious. Kids are more likely to eat cottage cheese if you fold in some chopped fruit (pineapple or peaches are especially good).

ESCAPE FROM BREAD
There are other viable sandwich ‘containers’ besides bread. Corn tacos are a crisp, fun holder for a multitude of fillings. A taco lunch will be the envy of their friends. In a divided container, pack shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, and shredded rotisserie chicken -- Don't forget to include the corn taco shell. Gluten-free tortillas make great wraps. Spread your child's favorite sandwich filling on a rice tortilla, roll it up, then slice it into smaller pieces creating circles. Even pancakes and crepes make wonderful wraps. If you pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with gluten-free waffles instead of bread, it's guaranteed that lunch will be a hit! -- Or get even more daring and replace the jelly with slices of banana or apple slices drizzled with honey. Belgium lettuce leaves are shaped like little boats and make a fun holder for tuna or chicken salad. Cracker sandwiches can be fun, especially when you layer the crackers with lunchmeat, cheese, and add a surprise like sliced black olives or sliced sweet pickles. A smiley face is easy to create -- Spread a rice cake with peanut butter. Make a smiley face using raisins or any cut up dried fruit. Add a full head of hair with coconut flakes. Occasionally avoid the bread or wrap altogether and pack gluten-free muffins instead.

ADD VARIETY
Variety is the key. Switch foods and alter combinations to make lunch an event of anticipation. One day add deviled eggs; the next day add celery sticks filled with peanut butter. If time is a factor, add ‘no-fuss’ items like a small container of applesauce or yogurt; or pack a few gluten-free crackers to have with cheese slices or to spread with hummus. Kids like small things that fit in their hands, so send one or two miniature gluten-free muffins with a hard boiled egg, sweet pickle, ham and cheese cubes, and a small container of cole slaw. Trail mix is a favorite with kids and it can be varied from week to week, including options like dried fruits, Chex cereals, mini chocolate chips, nuts, gluten-free pretzels, or even popcorn. In a recent survey, it was found that kids love to find granola packed in their lunches -- so make up some gluten-free granola to have on hand. If using oats in your granola, make sure they are "pure" oats processed in a dedicated facility. (Creamery Hill offers pure oat products.).

KIDS LOVE TO DIP
Kids love to dip foods. Use cookie cutters to cut rice tortillas. Bake the cut outs at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes or until crisp. Send along a bean dip or salsa for dipping. Pack carrot, celery, and green pepper strips with a ranch dressing, or string cheese and rolled lunchmeat slices with a dip of honey mustard dressing. For a dipping dessert, cut a rice tortilla with a cookie cutter. Brush with a very small amount of olive oil then sprinkle with cinnamon and/or honey and bake at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes or until crisp; pack a container of applesauce for dipping. Send a few gluten-free sugar or shortbread cookies with a small container of yogurt for dipping. Cut up fruit and toss it with pineapple juice (to prevent browning), then pack some cream cheese to use as a dip. Bake meringue cookies in the shape of bread sticks, then pack a container of pudding for dipping.

DESSERTS
Sure, you could pack fruit cups or a piece of fresh fruit, or gluten-free cookies or cupcakes, but dessert can be more ingenious than that. Mandarin Orange Salad or Waldorf Salad makes a refreshing dessert. Or make stacked apple slices (dipped in pineapple juice) filled with layers of peanut butter and honey. Core an apple and fill it with peanut butter and raisins. Air-popped popcorn is a hit, especially when you mix in a few chocolate covered raisins. When you're short on time, you can toss in a gluten-free protein bar.

ANOTHER FUN IDEA
Pack by color for holidays. For Halloween, consider black bean chili with gluten-free crackers, shredded carrots with raisins, bat-shaped cheddar cheese slices, a small bag of dried apricots and chocolate covered almonds, with orange juice to drink. Add a Halloween napkin for a finishing touch. Choose red foods for Valentine's Day. Patriotic holidays will be red, white, and blue foods.

Don't forget to add a funny note or draw a picture on the napkin. These little touches help to make lunch a time to look forward to for your child.


Wheat-free Gluten-free Cookbook for Kids and Busy Adults
by Connie Sarros

Fast, easy recipes for all ages.
Perfect for Moms and Dads who don't have a lot of time to cook.
Newly Revised. Recipes can now be easily converted to dairy-free!

Includes: Meals that may be assembled in advance, Recipes with 5 ingredients or less, Foods prepared in 35 minutes or less and Recipes younger readers can prepare all by themselves.

This book may be ordered at: http://gfbooks.homestead.com/kids.html

For more information about Connie's Cookbooks, visit Gluten-Free Cookbooks at http://gfbooks.homestead.com/index.html.


What Works...Success Stories

"My daughter was diagnosed with food allergies, so school lunches were out. She doesn't like her food mixed up or "smashed," but a lunchbox full of containers was too much. I was excited to find a product which had its own containers. We are on the third year with the same Laptop Lunch box; her brother wanted one for kindergarten this year, too. This past winter, Laptop Lunch was put to the ultimate durability test. My daughter left hers behind the car, and I, of course, backed over it. Guess what? Her water bottle was a pancake, but her lunch box still looked brand new--not a ding or crack to be seen! I was amazed."

        -- Susan Spitzer, MD

"I have always adored bento box meals, but since I've used your products, I have lost four dress sizes -- 5x down to 1x -- and I am still losing weight slowly, safely, and definitely without feeling deprived at all.

I have recommended your product line to my patients for losing weight without feeling guilty or deprived. Some very nice studies done in Europe show that the more variety you have in a meal, the less you eat, the more satisfied you feel, and if you mean to lose weight, the better and safer the weight loss. Your system is also a great means of keeping the refrigerator clean and preventing food waste. Great products! Keep up the crusade for better eating!"

        -- Dr. Ann Hupe, D.O., Kenai, AK

"In case you didn't know, your lunch boxes are especially nice for autistic children (who are often treated with the gluten-free, casein- free diet), not just because these kids are even more visually-oriented than their normally developing peers, but also because the containers keep all the food from touching, which is (my son tells me) very important. Thanks for making such a great product!

I added a post to my blog about packing GFCF lunches in my favorite Laptop Lunchbox. You can find it at: www.thegfcflady.com/2009/06/28/a-week-of-lunches. "

        -- Jennifer Noonan, Austin, TX

Half a turkey sandwich on rice bread with mayo, peaches, raisins, and potato chips.

Do you have a success story or photo to share? Email it to us at newsletter@obentec.com.


Featured Web Site: www.IdealBite.com




IdealBite.com offers bite size ideas for healthy, light green living - ideas for real people who lead busy lives and want to make small changes that add up to big results. The Daily Tips provide recommendations, insight and inspiration, covering everything from biodynamic wine to eco-pet products to organic cosmetics. This is a site to find out which products are environmentally friendly and which aren't, or what a label means when it says "organic," "natural," or "sustainable."

The mission of Ideal Bite is to create a more sustainable world by connecting enlightened companies with responsible consumers who are ready to make small changes that add up.

To find out more, visit www.idealbite.com.

On this site:

  • Daily Green Living Tips
  • Mama Bites - Tips for Mom's on Food, Fun and More
  • Tips on Food, Living, Health, Home and More
  • Informative Guides on Everyday Life
  • Daily Weblog and Videos

December Highlights

Salad Dressing and Dip Recipes, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Article


Obentec

Comments, questions, concerns? Please email us at newsletter@obentec.com.

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© November 2009 Obentec, Inc.

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