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October 2008

Laptop Lunch Times: October 2008
October 2008

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Mom-a-licious Lunch Recipes
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Mom-a-licious: An Interview with Domenica Catelli
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

As we ease into fall and the excitement of Halloween approaches, many parents are finding ways to add some "green" to the traditional black and orange. Lisa Borden of Borden Communications recently shared some quick tips for treading a little more lightly this year.

  • Purchase pumpkins at the farmers' market. Buy organic if possible.
  • Trick or treat on foot close to home; leave your car behind.
  • Make costumes from salvaged materials instead of buying them new.
  • Avoid lead-based face paints.
  • Say no to masks and other accessories that give off toxic fumes.
  • Hand out low-sugar treats, organics, or treats without artificial colors and flavors. Consider halloween stickers, pencils or other items made from recycled materials.
  • Gather treats in a reusable bag or pillow case.
  • When choosing your flashlight, opt for a shaker, a wind-up, or one with rechargeable batteries.
  • If you're packing water for the kids or a warm beverage for yourself, use reusable water bottles, thermoses, and mugs.

And most importantly...have a wonderfully safe black, orange, and GREEN Halloween!

Laptop Lunches in Australia

LAPTOP LUNCHES IN AUSTRALIA: We are very pleased to announce the availability of Laptop Lunches in Australia at The Nourishing Cafe Web site: Committed to offering the absolute best products available on the market, the Nourishing Cafe is a natural fit for Laptop Lunches. If you live in Australia or New Zealand, you'll be happy to know that Laptop Lunches have arrived!

LAPTOP LUNCHES IN YOUR AREA: We've received a large number of emails from customers looking for Laptop Lunches in their home town. Rest assured, we are working hard to bring our product line to a store near you. Please let us know if you'd like us to contact a particular store. You know your neighborhood better than we do... and remember, we do have a product request form that you can fill out and take to a store near you.

Laptop Lunches RSS feed RSS FEED: If you haven't had a chance to subscribe for our new RSS feed, featuring a weekly Laptop Lunch photo and menu, you can do so by clicking click HERE.

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!
Halloween Lunch
  • Yogurt
  • Rice Krispie Treats (with mini spider)
  • Ghost Sandwiches
  • Carrot "Fingers"

"Use cookie cutters for sandwiches; decorate them with a toothpick and food coloring. Put fingernails on carrots, a mini spider on Rice Krispie treats, and an eyeball in the yogurt. Perfectly GROSS and funny to kids. And don’t forget to include a napkin. Even better…include a KidsLunchBoxCard and watch your kids head off to school with enthusiasm.”

"Why do kids love Lunchables? It's not the taste--remember TV dinners? Fun, but yuckkkk!. Kids love little compartments. So when I discovered Laptop Lunches last year, my ultimate lunchbox dreams came true. My kids LOVE them, and I can do away with plastic wrap, ziplock bags and juice boxes. I get to pack waste-free lunches, buy snacks in bulk, and save money. It's like sending a 'hug in a lunchbox.' Thanks!"

                     -- Gina Flanagan, Westlake Village, CA,

Mom-a-licious Recipes

Looking for some nutritious lunch ideas? Try these two recipes from the Mom-a-licious Cookbook.

Three Bean Salad

"Beans are one of the few foods out of a can that I will use," says Domenica Catelli. "It saves hours of cooking time and the beans retain their nutrients. This recipe is crunchy, fresh, and full of protein and fiber."

  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo) beans
  • 2 ribs celery, finely minced
  • ½ small red onion, minced
  • Handful, flat leaf parsley, minced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
    or 2-3 Tbs. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. celery seed (optional)
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch salt and pepper

three bean salad

1. Drain and rinse beans and place in a large bowl.
2. Fold in celery, parsley and onion. Remember, you can add this at the very end if you want to omit for kids.
3. Stir in juice or vinegar, celery seed, salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
4. Taste and adjust for lemon and salt and pepper.

Lunchtime Lentil Soup

Don’t be intimidated if you've never cooked with lentils. These tiny legumes are full of flavor, are nutrient dense and cook in just 15 minutes. Find them in the bulk section or in the aisle where you find rice and beans.

  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, minced
  • Handful cilantro, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tsp. mild curry powder
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 ¼ cups dried red lentils
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomato
  • 2 carrots, peeled and minced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • Lemon (optional)

Lentil Soup

1. Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
2. Add garlic, cilantro and spices and cook for a few more minutes.
3. Add lentils, tomatoes, and broth and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
5. Finish with celery and carrot for a surprising crunch, and a squeeze of lemon.

Green Opportunities

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

  • GREEN CITY REPORT CARD – At, you'll find information on the greening of the 50 most-populous cities in the US. The report benchmarks each city's performance in 16 areas of urban sustainability. Now in its third edition, the peer-reviewed Rankings track the unfolding story of cities working to improve quality of life. Some cities are becoming more self-reliant and better prepared, while others have been slow to take advantage of green opportunities. Check back periodically as the pages are continually updated with stories from the field.

  • ENVIRONMENTAL STREET ART – In recent weeks, a growing number of polar bears have been sighted on the streets of Washington, DC. The bears are part of a collaborative art project between Greenpeace and street artist Mark Jenkins. The art installations are designed to highlight the shared plight of polar bears and humans in the face of global warming. Photos available at
  • IDLE FREE – Did you know that 10 seconds of idling uses more gas than restarting your car? The folks at Idle Free You and Me are reminding drivers to turn cars off when stopped, especially near schools and playgrounds. Do we really want our kids breathing in all that exhaust? The New Jersey Environmental Federation has created a very informative Web site at They offer great facts and statistics and provide resources that can be used to spread the word in your community, for example, signs that can be placed in front of schools and other places where drivers tend to idle. Their message? "Turn the key. Be idle free."

Idle Free Campaign
  • ONLINE MAGAZINES – Looking for a paperless way to enjoy your favorite publications? Check out to learn more about their two delivery methods: the no-software-required "Instant Access" option and the "Take Them With You: Zinio Reader" option.

Laptop Lunches in the News


Recipes for healthy, tasty packed lunches

September 11, 2008

A lunch box of tricks: Xanthe Clay lifts the lid on the secret of how to enjoy a taste of home while sitting at your desk

Packed lunches are back in fashion and it's about time, too. It's taken a worldwide financial crisis, but at last we are abandoning the dubious pleasures of plastic-wrapped sandwich-bar paninis, overpriced sushi and dodgy cartons of tired salad from the chiller cabinet. [Read the rest of the story at]

Wondertime Magazine

Good Eats: Think Inside the Box

August 2008
Laptop Lunches in Wondertime Magazine
Laptop Lunches in Wondertime Magazine

They're pretty: so sleek and stylized. They're green: no plastic bags here. They're sensible: the small size yields reasonable portions of finger foods, cozily presented. And they keep foods from touching (shudder). Born in 11th-century Japan, bentos (literally "something useful now") are still an excellent way to lunch. In modern Japan, kyaraben (or character bento) competitions result in wild, over-the-top food creations of famous people or events (think Commodore Matthew Perry rendered in a pink rice ball with yellow-pepper hair). Impressive as it is, we like to keep our bento menus simple and, yes, something useful now.

Positively Green

Lunch That Makes Sense

Fall 2008

Amy Hemmert, co-creator of Laptop Lunches (with Tammy Pelstring), offers up a Bento box system that includes plastic containers within a larger plastic container within a fabric lunchbox. It includes stainless-steel cutlery and a reusable drink container and all fits together like a perfect puzzle. Part of the pleasure of these lunchboxes are the myriad menus inspired by the lunchbox--visit to see what I mean.

Hemmert offers up some tips for a greener lunch:

  • Get kids involved with packing the lunch - they're more likely to eat it.
  • Think beyond the bread: Try wraps, English muffins, pitas, bagels and rice cakes.
  • Pack fresh, organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables when possible.
  • Offer a variety of colors, textures, shapes, sizes and food groups.
Laptop Lunches in Positively Green

For more information about Positively Green or to subscribe to this inspirational new magazine, visit When you subscribe, you'll save 30% off newsstand prices, and they will donate $2 to the eco-charity of your choice.

New Retailers

Mamas Earth Baby
955 NE 118th St.
Biscayne Park, FL 33161
(305) 892-0412

Classic Catering
99 Painters Mill Rd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117
(410) 356-1666

The Natural Home
36 N. Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 285-9442

Busy Bees Play
2900 King Street E., Unit 2
Kitchener, ON N2A 1A7
(519) 896-PLAY

Nature Kids Mercantile
7660 S. Northshore Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 247-7301

Whole Foods Market
225 Lincoln Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 566-9480

G2 Green Gifts
St. Vital Shopping Centre
1225 St. Mary's Road
Winnipeg, MB R2M 5E5
(204) 255-0086

G2 Green Gifts
Polo Park Shopping Centre
1485 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3G 0W4
(204) 786-1832

G2 Green Gifts
Kildonan Place Shopping Centre
1555 Regent Ave. West
Winnipeg, MB R2C 4J2
(204) 654-9907

1754 Avenue Rd.
Toronto, ON M5M 3Y9
(416) 783-8073

Roam'n Around
616 Main St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-1660

628 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M6J 1E4
(416) 368-6328

The Organic Hearth
Brookline, NH 03033
(603) 765-7995

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.

Mom-a-licious: An Interview with Domenica Catelli

Domenica is a recurring Iron Chef judge, spokesperson for the Organic Trade Association's "Go Organic for Earth Day!" campaign, chef to celebrities, inspirational mother and author of the cookbook, "Mom-a-licious." Her mission is to educate and empower mothers to make healthy choices in the way they feed and nourish themselves and their families. Domenica's career flourished and her passion for organic and whole cooking soared when she opened "Ravens" at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino, California. She has been a guest on "Oprah and Friends" on XM radio with Dr. Oz, and has been featured in Vegetarian Times, Kiwi Magazine and Her second cookbook is scheduled to come out in fall of 2009.

Domenica Catelli
Amy: Hi Domenica. Congratulations on putting together such a beautiful and informative cookbook. Can you tell us a bit about it?


Mom-a-licious is a compilation of recipes, tips, techniques and inspiration that I have gathered in my lifetime. The recipes are all tested and tweaked by busy non-foodie moms to make sure that they are approachable, tasty and kid-approved. The recipes take 7 steps or less (many being 3 or 4), so they are time friendly as well.

Amy: What events in your life led to the creation of this cookbook?


I grew up in a restaurant family in the wine country of Sonoma County, California. I started cooking professionally at age 18 in Southern California. When my daughter, Chiara, was born I started to take a serious look at what foods were available for infants and toddlers. I found that healthy, organic children’s food was difficult to find. I started to make my own baby food and pack Chiara’s lunches in ways that had other moms asking for recipes. When my family moved to Chicago a few years later, I saw that the middle of the country didn't have the same access to round-the-calendar seasonally fresh food. I understood that families in the rest of the country could be empowered by my knowledge. The seed for the book was planted then, but it took many years for it to come to fruition.

Amy: I couldn't help noticing that the title Mom-a-licious: Fresh, Fast, Family Food for the Hot Mama in You! is somewhat provocative. Can you talk a bit about why you chose that title and what led you to choose the "Hot Mama" theme?

Domenica: You are the first person to ask that! A good friend in New York who is in the publishing business helped create the tag line…Mom-a-licious was the title, but it needed something else. It is a bit tongue in cheek. We were considering “from one hot mama to another” but I couldn't go that far! As women and moms we still want to feel "hot." We tend to put everyone before ourselves and can get really removed from the experience of feeling sexy or feminine. It's a playful reminder that we all have that spark in us, and hopefully there are moments in the day when we can own that. Whether it comes from putting something delicious and healthy in our families' lunch boxes, or taking a night to reconnect with our girlfriends, being "mom-a-licious" is about strength, inspiration and fun.

Amy: Where do the recipes in the book come from?


The recipes come mostly from my daily life. I am not a recipe person, so it was difficult for me to be precise with measurements. I am all about throwing together something tasty from what's in the garden and refrigerator. I hope to provide techniques for--and instill confidence in--those who feel unsteady without an exact recipe. I always encourage people to make the dishes their own. I love when someone writes in to the Web site or comes up to me at an event to share their experiences going out on a limb and giving chard a chance. They discover that they love it, and in addition, added something to it that they are really excited about. (Yes, people CAN get excited about chard!)

Amy: Can you point out some recipes in the book that you consider particularly "lunch-friendly"?

Domenica: There are tons of options in the book. Some great lunch choices are: Lunchtime Lentil Soup, Three Bean Salad, Chiara's Lunch, Quick Quinoa Tabouli, Crunchy Veggie and Hummus Sandwich, Veggie Sticks with Creamy Dill Dipping Sauce.

Amy: What does your daughter think of the book and the "Mom-a-licious" phenomenon?

Domenica: It depends on which day you ask! (I have a teenager, you see.) When I'm not around, I think she feels a sense of pride. Chiara has always been one to share her style of eating with her peers. And many mothers have come to me after school over the years to share what they've learned from their children. For example, when Chiara was in second grade, one mom came up to me said, "Chiara told my daughter that she should not get the Oreos with the hydrogenated oil because there are brands that don't have that."

Amy: What tips do you have for parents who are looking for ways to pack more nutritious lunches for their kids?

  • Freeze your sandwiches! This saves both time and money. You can't freeze lettuce or tomato, so pack that on the side. Try peanut butter and jelly, turkey (or veggie meats) and cheese, hummus and cheese, etc. Make a week’s worth, pop in the lunch box in the morning, and it is thawed out by lunch (and not soggy).
  • Bringing homemade soups is always delicious, filling and nutritious.
  • Have something "live" at lunch, such as fresh raw fruit or veggies. This helps give sustained energy for the afternoon.
  • Finally, get the kids to help pack and prepare their lunches. They're more likely to eat what they've helped prepare.


And finally, what's your favorite lunch?

Domenica: My favorite lunch? From the book: the lunchtime lentil soup or the quinoa tabouli. If I'm going out: sushi.

For more information about Domenica, her books, and her work, visit

What Works...Success Stories

"I am not your usual demographic--I did not buy the lunchbox to be environmentally friendly, to feed a vegetarian, or to feed a kid with allergies. I bought it because my daughter was having tummy aches all the time and all the doctor visits, lab work, ER visits, etc, left us with no real diagnosis. I still don't know what is wrong, but I do know that eating food prepared out seems to upset her stomach, but home food never makes her sick. I bought 2 of the lunchboxes so i could have one in the dishwasher and one in use. I have started sending one with my hubby for dinner because he now has two jobs with no time to eat in between. He is overweight and stressed out, and I need him healthy, so I make sure he gets a healthy meal instead of burgers and fries. He is sooo happy. Anyway, thanks for the great solution to our food situation."

        -- Julie

"Just received my Whimsical Lunch Box set and just wanted to say how much I love it! Beautifully packaged and so fast. I'm a grown up (to all intents and purposes!) but wanted to start working on portion control. I just know I'll be the envy of the lunch room at work. I'll send all compliments your way I promise. Thanks again!"

        -- Carol Downes, Vancouver, BC

"My 5 year old daughter was so excited to get her new lunchbox, and I really like preparing something for her every day. The Laptop Lunchbox makes it easy to keep everything separate, cut down on waste, and I don't worry about what she's eating at school! I am thinking about ordering one for me and my hubby as well. Thanks for a great product!"

        -- Callista Salazar-Cobb, Pineville, LA

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

Featured Web Site:

Laptop Lunches and Big Green Purse

Big Green Purse was conceived upon the belief that the fastest, easiest, most direct route to a clean and healthy environment is to shift spending to environmentally-safe, socially responsible products and services.

Global warming has become an international crisis. The places we treasure and the wildlife we love are threatened. We need to protect our health and the health of our kids and grand kids, and laws and regulations will only do so much.

Big Green Purse focuses on women. Why? Because $.85 of every dollar in the marketplace is spent by women.

That's a lot of power packed in a purse...but only if it's used in a way that can't be ignored.

Big Green Purse is encouraging A MILLION WOMEN to shift at least $1,000 of money they already spend for an initial $1 billion Big Green Purse impact.

Big Green Purse has strolled the shopping aisles and browsed the search engines in order to save you time. They've identified products that are really green (not just "green washed") at prices you can afford.

For more information, visit

On this site:

  • Green Living Tips
  • Top Ten Lists
  • Green Shopping Principles
  • Big Green Purse Blog
  • Book Store
  • Purse Alerts
  • Green News

November Highlights

Pizzas with Pizzazz, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Interview


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

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© October 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."