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Newsletter Archive


April 2008

Laptop Lunch Times: April 2008

April 2008

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Fantastic Frittatas
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Julie Cole: All About Mabel's Labels
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

NEW OBENTEC TEAM MEMBER: We are very pleased to welcome Laurel Hillerson as the newest member of our growing Obentec team. A native of Santa Cruz, she brings to the company: a warm heart, a big smile, a smart brain, and a drive to succeed--all wonderful qualities that we embrace. Welcome aboard, Laurel!
Laurel Hillerson
waste-free lunch poster

WASTE-FREE LUNCH POSTERS: In response to the growing number of requests for additional waste-free lunch materials (especially from schools!), we've decided to create a new Resources page at Look for new additions in the coming months,
including handouts and PowerPoint presentations.

New waste-free lunch posters will be available in our Web store at beginning April 15, 2008.

PHOTO CONTEST: With so many fabulous submissions to consider, determining the winners has been a very difficult decision for us. We're in the process of contacting each of the winners and will make an announcement in the May issue of this newsletter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!

  • gyoza
  • hum bao
  • edamame (steamed soy beans)
  • sticky rice
  • Trader Joe's ginger snaps

  • "Yum!!!."

                         -- Elizabeth Miller, Portland, OR

    Fantastic Frittatas

    Enjoy these delicious frittatas for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Frittatas are a wonderful way to add fresh seasonal vegetables to your weekly fare.

    Asparagus Fennel Mini Frittata


    • 1 medium red potato, julienned
    • ½ red onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 8 asparagus spears, chopped
    • 4 Tbs. fresh fennel, thinly sliced and chopped
    • 3 eggs, beaten well
    • 3 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Asparagus Frittata

    NEW black and red bento sets now available online:

    1. Coat a small frying pan with the olive oil.
    2. Add the julienned potatoes and chopped onion, and sauté until just cooked through.
    3. Add the asparagus and fennel and sauté for about a minute, stirring occasionally.
    4. Beat the eggs.
    5. Mix the parmesan cheese into the eggs.
    6. Pour the egg mixture into the frying pan and stir once or twice to combine with the vegetables.
    7. Cover and cook on low heat until the eggs have set. Remove from the pan and enjoy.

    Rice and Veggie Frittata


    • 3 cups cooked brown rice
    • 2-3 cups sautéed vegetables
    • 1 cup grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar or monterey Jack)
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 ½ cup milk
    • 3 oz. neufchâtel or lowfat cream cheese
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    Rice Vegetable Frittata Recipe

    1. Sauté your favorite vegetables in 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Two great combinations are: 1. onion, red and yellow bell peppers, rainbow chard, and 2. spinach, mushrooms, zucchini.
    2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
    3. Lightly oil a 9 x 11-inch baking pan.
    4. In a blender, puree the eggs, milk, Neufchatel cheese, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
    5. Spread the cooked rice evenly inside the baking pan, forming a 1-inch layer.
    6. Place the sautéed vegetables on top of the rice, forming another 1-inch layer.
    7. Spread the grated cheese over the top of the vegetable layer.
    8. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the frittata.
    9. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden, the frittata is firm, and all of the liquid has evaporated.

    Green Opportunities

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

    • COMPOST AWARENESS WEEK – Compost Awareness Week (May 4 - May 10) is a fun and educational week of events. Compost Awareness Week provides an opportunity to learn more about the many benefits of composting while engaging in fun activities. To find out what's going on in your area and for a list of resources to plan YOUR event, visit
    Green Video Network
    • GREEN VIDEO NETWORK – ViroPop is NOT a new virus-flavored soda. Think of it as a salad. It’s green, sure, but also cool, fresh, crisp and tasty. And full of surprises. And good for you. ViroPop is the first network on the Internet to treat the new environmental pop culture with a sense of irreverent fun.
    ZapRoot, ViroPop’s flagship show, is a quick weekly zap of usable news that goes straight to the root of some of the most intriguing environmental issues of the day. View their short videos at
    • FLIP-FLOP DOOR MATS – Clean your feet - and the environment - with colorful and durable mats from the Uncommon Goods Web site. Sandal factories have always generated surplus foam rubber in the production of their flip-flops. Instead of heading to a landfill, that flip-flop rubber is now made into these doormats. Check them out at
    • FOREST DEFENDERS TOOL KIT – Student, parents, teachers, and school administrators all play an important role in helping stop the clearcutting of endangered forests for use in single-use paper products like toilet paper and Kleenex. GreenPeace provides a resource guide outlining small steps you can take to make your classroom and school ancient forest friendly. Learn what you can do to make a difference at
    • EARTH DAY IDEAS – At, you'll find loads of ideas for Earth Day activities and events. Click on their world map to locate or list an event in your area. You'll also find informative articles, green campaigns, and timely action items. Be sure to check out the Earth Day in a Box, "all the information you need to organize your own event, get involved, and help combat climate change."
    • Earth Day Network

    Laptop Lunches in the News


    Packing a "Green" Lunch

    Caitlin is sold on the Laptop Lunch System ( Now that she's in middle school, a laptop (even a pseudo one) is way cooler than a lowly lunch box. For me, the advantage of the flat case is twofold. One, the case lid fits tightly enough to serve as a cover for all but one of the removable inner containers, meaning there are fewer parts to wash and store (or go missing). Two, it's easy for kids to see and access every item in the lunchbox at once. No more "Oh, there were carrots in there?"


    bento set

    Z Report

    BPA: Obentec (Laptop Lunches)

    Obentec is the California-based company behind the Laptop Lunch System, a bento-style lunch box system. Because of the utility, uniqueness and environmental impact of their lunch box system and the BPA-free status of all of their products, including water bottles and food jars, we are naming them to our Top Picks category based not on an explicit commitment to remaining entirely BPA-free but on the company heads' solid track record for ensuring that their products meet parents' evolving expectations for safety. [Read the rest of the story at:]

    bento sets

    New Retailers

    Whole Foods Market
    7390 SW Bridgeport Road
    Tigard, Oregon 97224
    (503) 639-6500
    Whole Foods Fresno
    650 W. Shaw Ave
    Fresno, California 93704
    (559) 241-0300
    Eany Meanie
    The Woodlands, TX
    (832) 585-0690

    Green Logic
    261 Linden Street
    Fort Collins, CO 80524
    (970) 484-1740

    S & S Produce
    1924 Mangrove Avenue
    Chico, CA 95926
    (530) 343-4930

    Whole Foods Laurelhurst
    2825 East Burnside Street
    Portland, OR 97214
    (503) 232-6601
    Whole Foods Market
    4800 El Camino Real
    Los Altos, CA 94022
    (650) 559-0300

    Visit for a complete list of retailers.

    Want to see Laptop Lunches at a store in your neighborhood? Email us at [email protected], and we'll give them a call.

    Julie Cole: All About Mabel's Labels

    Mabel's Labels, created by four moms, is a company committed to providing parents with all the labels they need to ensure that all that kidstuff makes it home again. We recently interviewed co-founder, Julie Cole, to find out what they have in store.

    Mabel's Labels
    Amy: Where does the name Mabel’s Labels come from?
    Julie: We wanted a character that would personify the company. We had a vision of who she was but needed to name her. The name Mabel just 'came to us.' We thought it was cute and unique in a way that would stand out. It has been a winner – everyone remembers our company name.
    Amy: How long has Mabel’s Labels been around?
    Julie: We just celebrated Mabel’s fifth birthday last month. We have been selling labels for just over five years now. However, prior to launching, we spent a lot of time doing research and testing.
    Amy: I understand that the company was started by a team of moms. Can you tell me a bit about how it came about?
    Julie: I started this business with three other women. We were having children and looking to move away from the traditional work-force as a means of striking a more balanced lifestyle. We often gathered with our children and noticed that belongings were getting lost or left behind. It was time to create a cute and durable product that we knew other moms would love and need as much as we did. We have not looked back! Since we are four partners (who are all related) we bring many opinions and ideas to the table. We are never short of feisty conversation about our business, but we provide each other with a tremendous amount of support.
    Amy: What types of labels do you offer?
    Julie: In five years, our product range keeps on growing! After lots of research and testing, we’ve developed the perfect labels. Our dishwasher and microwave-safe stick-on-labels can be used on cups, bowls, toys, books, lunchboxes, wipes containers, show-and-tell items, and more. The stick-in shoe labels are extra-tough, because shoes are tricky to label. Our iron-ons and peel and stick tag-mates make labeling clothing a snap. We have bag tags that jazz up and identify any school bag or camp back pack. Parents are delighted that we’ve introduced a range of household labels that will keep even the most unorganized families in order!
    Amy: Why do you think Mabel’s Labels have become a popular choice for parents?
    Julie: Mabel’s Labels are durable and cute, both are qualities that parents love. Our products our innovative and our customers come first. We feel very connected to our customers because most of them are just like us – busy with children and trying to get through each day! Many of our new products are the result of requests from our loyal customers and our customers do an amazing job of spreading the word about Mabel’s Labels to all of their networks and connections.
    Amy: Have you branched out into other products as well?
    Julie: The very first product we launched was our Sticky Labels. Since then we have added new products on a regular basis. Our most recent product was the Write On! Stationery Kit. Mabel’s Labels “Write On!” Stationery Kits come in a choice of six different bright and whimsical designs. Each pack includes 40 sheets of paper, 30 envelopes, 30 return address labels, 30 personalized name stickers to put on the stationery sheets, and 30 sealers to add a special touch to the envelopes. We want kids to get excited and feel proud of their letters.
    Amy: What are your top-selling products?
    Julie: Our top selling product is our classic Sticky Label, which was also our original product. However, when camp season or back to school season are around the corner, most customers like to order one of our combination packs so that they get a variety of different types of labels to suit all of their labeling needs.
    Amy: What do your kids think about Mabel’s Labels?
    Julie: My kids are pretty young, but Mabel’s Labels has been a part of their culture for as long as they can remember. Because it is a family effort, many conversations at picnics, birthday parties, weekends at the cottage inevitably turn to discussion around our business. All of our friends and extended families are enthusiastic and encouraging. On one occasion my daughter saw a group of children, all of whom had Mabel’s Labels on their belongings. She turned to me and said “Mommy, you are SO nice to give Mabel’s Labels to all these children.”
    Amy: I know that a large number of Laptop Lunchers use Mabel’s Labels to ensure that their containers make it home again. Why do you think they’ve chosen Mabel’s Labels?
    Julie: I’m quite sure it is because they value their Laptop Lunch systems! I have five children and we’ve been using the Laptop Lunch System for ages. I value all my containers and do not want them going astray at school. We have not lost any containers and after countless washes, the Mabel’s Labels still look perfect so I know their containers will keep making it home! My children take litterless lunches to school every day with the Laptop Lunch System. Mabel’s Labels means containers get re-used and my children are not bringing in pre-packaged snacks.





    What’s your favorite lunch?

    Anything that is made for me! A beautiful salad and fresh sandwich is always welcomed!

    You've accomplished a lot in five short years! You have a lot to be proud of!

    Mabel's Labels Sample
    Julie: Thanks! With 11 kids between us and a growing business, we ARE proud of what we have created. We have a business that reflects our commitment to quality, innovation, and style! We are proud to have won the Savvymom Mompreneur of the Year award, and delighted to have been featured on The View, Canada AM, Breakfast Television, CBS Early Show, as well as having been featured in countless parenting magazines and Web sites. .
    To learn more about Mabel's Labels, visit

    What Works...Success Stories

    "Packing these ingenious lunch boxes every morning addresses my own compulsion for order and organization, which I need before I go to work. It's truly a Zen experience! Thank you for developing the product."

           -- Stephanie Maslansky, NYC

    "Thank you so much for a superior product.  I have been using your lunchboxes for at least 2 years now and am thrilled with them. I have told everyone I know about them, and urged my local co-op and a friend with a healthy food business to start carrying them. This year my son is in kindergarten  (an all day program) and so I now pack a lunch for my daughter and my son each day.  After about 3 days of school, the teacher came out to tell me how well my son is doing, and also mentioned that he has amazing lunches!!  She and the lunch aides, who come into the kindergarten classroom to watch the kids during lunch period, all want me to be their mom and pack their lunches too. Well, it is mostly due to your AWESOME Bento Box Lunchboxes.  It makes it easy to pack a variety of healthy foods and make the presentation super.  He takes water to drink most days and loves to eat organic PB and raw honey sandwiches on homemade bread.  The presentation is what makes it extra special!!!

    "Thanks for creating such a great product. My kids love to help decide what to put in their containers and the whole family uses Laptop Lunchboxes.  We have 5 Laptop Lunchboxes and 1 Lunch Date for our family of 3 kids, my husband and myself.  We get a lot of use out of them.  Whenever we go on a car trip where we will need snacks or a meal, we pack up a lunchbox for each family member, and then we have healthy food for them to nibble on and eat when they want.

    "Your stainless water bottles are my favorite too and we always have at least one of our four with us everywhere we go. Thanks!!"

            -- Lisa Immerman, Waterford, MI

    "We love our bentos (my 7-yr-old and I), and I second the request I read in your newsletter comments for a 2-compartment snack bento. Maybe something that can fit in the outside zip pocket of the neoprene lunch bag. We've really enjoyed assembling the "puzzle" pieces of bento lunches the night before, and the presentation the bento allows really does make a noticeable difference in what my son eats now. Thanks for changing my life, in however small a way!"

            -- Anne Doehne, Pasadena, CA

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

    Featured Web Site:

    Green Your

    Recently created by a community of environmental experts, journalists, and new-media veterans, offers users a smart and easy way to make everyday green choices. Their tag line, “Your Guide to a Greener Anything” says it all. At you can fill in the blank for whatever aspect of your life you’re seeking to green. Whether it’s your lighting and your heating, or your dating and your voting, GreenYour will return an easy-to-use list of timely recommendations from leading environmental experts and organizations, important facts, actionable tips, and cutting-edge products.

    “Finally there is a place that connects people with the best products and the latest research on what is best for them and the planet, all in an encapsulated, easy-to-use format,” says Elizabeth Rogers, Senior Advisor to GreenYour and author of the New York Times best-seller, The Green Book.

    With more than 2,000 pages of facts, tips, and products, GreenYour is destined to become the trusted stop on anyone’s path to living an eco-friendly lifestyle. From natural cleaning products and energy-efficient appliances to Fair Trade coffee and organic cotton jeans, users can find thousands of ways to align their purchasing power with their environmental concerns.

    GreenYour was conceived by GreenOrder, a sustainable business strategy firm that helps big companies go green and small green companies get big. GreenOrder’s mission is to make environmental progress profitable. Visit them online at

    On this site:
    • Expert Recommendations
    • Green facts
    • Actionable tips
    • Cutting-edge products
    energy efficient light bulb

    May Highlights

    Delicious Dips, Green Opportunities, and School Eco-Tips


    Comments, questions, concerns? Please email us at [email protected].

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    © April 2008 Obentec, Inc.

    849 Almar Ave., Suite C-323
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060


    Feel free to reprint or forward this newsletter with the following acknowledgment and contact information clearly visible: "Thank you to Obentec, Inc. for permission to use this copyrighted material. For more information, contact Obentec, Inc. by email at [email protected] or by phone at 831-457-0301, or visit their Web site at Reprint permission granted with this full notice included."