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November 2008

Laptop Lunch Times: November 2008

November 2008

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Pizzas with Pizzazz
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • Economic Crunch? Look to the Weekday Lunch!
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

November is a month characterized by change and gratitude. We're enjoying the change in the weather, adjusting to the fall time change, and looking forward to expressing our gratitude with our families on Thanksgiving Day. We're also anticipating the crisp days, the cozy evenings, and the promise of change that our country is embracing.

We'd like to take a moment this month to express our gratitude for the wonderful support we receive from the Laptop Lunch community every day. We are so appreciative of your loyalty, your creativity, your enthusiastic lunchmaking, and your eagerness to communicate with us--and we're extremely impressed with your commitment to packing nutritious lunches and making a little less waste each day.

Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with good food, laughter, and a little something to be grateful for.

ALL ITEMS ARE BACK IN STOCK: We are very pleased to announce that all items and all color options are currently in stock, including our large lunch jars, small drink bottles, and inner container sets. Thanks for your patience!

HOLIDAY ORDERS: Please order early this holiday season for the best color and product selection. Laptop Lunches have been extremely popular this fall, so if you're in the market for particular items or colors, we recommend placing your order as early as possible.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL: We're currently offering a 20% discount on our signature LUNCH DATE this holiday season--a perfect gift for someone who appreciates good food and values sustainable style! Available in hemp and designer fabrics. To take advantage of this offer, please place your order online at using coupon code LD208 when checking out. (Offer valid through December 15th only.) Lunch Date
Laptop Lunches Gift Certificates
GIFT CERTIFICATES: Please consider Laptop Lunches gift certificates this holiday season. We offer a range of denominations to meet your budget and gift-giving needs--particularly convenient if you've waited till the last minute to do your shopping!
Laptop Lunches on Facebook FACEBOOK: Please join us on Facebook! Share photos, recipes and lunch ideas, meet the Obentec team, and connect with other Laptop Lunchers.
GREEN FESTIVALS: We’ll be exhibiting at the San Francisco Green Festival ( from November 14-17th. Laptop Lunches at Green Festival
If you're planning to be in the area and would like to attend, we have a few free tickets available on a first comefirst served basis. Please email Tammy at [email protected] if you're interested. Please stop by and visit us in booth 118. We won't be at the Green Festival in Washington, D.C., but a limited number of exclusive Green Festival Laptop Lunch bento sets will be sold in the Green Festival booth. If you're planning to be there, check them out. Your purchase supports the Green Festival.

Amy and Tammy

Enjoy the rest of this newsletter at:

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!
Happy Day Brunch for 5 year old Aidan!
  • grated mozzarella and whole wheat crackers
  • smiley face made with hard boiled egg eyes, a kalamata olive nose and a strawberry slice mouth
  • vegetarian sausage patty
  • grape tomatoes

"We love the Laptop Lunch System. I have two sets of inserts so I can stack two lunches at a time in the refrigerator and just pop one into the insulated carrier in the morning. It couldn't be easier."

                     -- Jeanine, Sacramento, CA,

Pizza with Pizzazz

Just about everyone loves pizza but, nutritionally speaking, it's not always the best choice. Make it a bit healthier by using whole grain dough and low fat cheese. Top it off with fresh vegetables and herbs. Making pizza is something the whole family can enjoy, especially when you're looking for an indoor activity this time of year. Make your own whole grain dough, or if you're pressed for time, use whole grain English muffins instead.

Pizza from Scratch

Start with your favorite whole grain pizza dough recipe or use ours on page 62 of The Laptop Lunch User's Guide. Top with your favorite sauce, veggies, herbs, and low fat cheese.

homemade pizza
  • Marinara sauce with roasted red bell peppers, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • Olive oil with fresh garlic, fresh parsley or basil, and pitted kalamata olives.
  • Pesto sauce with pine nuts, mozzarella, and romano cheese.
  • Tomato sauce with fresh mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and jack cheese.
  • Tomato sauce with bread and butter pickles, onions, and extra sharp cheddar cheese.

English Muffin Pizza

This English muffin pizza takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and it tastes great!

  • Whole grain English muffins
  • Marinara sauce
  • Shredded parmesan or romano cheese
  • Shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh chopped herbs (Your choice!)
  • Fresh chopped vegetables (Your choice!)

Spelt Pizza

1. Slice in half and lightly toast the English muffin.
2. Spread marinara sauce on top.
3. Sprinkle with herbs and/or vegetables.
4. Top with shredded cheese.
5. Heat in the toaster oven or oven to melt cheese.

Pictured above:

Mushroom barley soup
English muffin pizza with herbs and marinara sauce
Sliced fresh organic pear
Toasted pumpkin seeds

Green Opportunities

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

  • GOOD FOOD AT SCHOOL – Looking for a way to connect with parents, teachers, food service personnel, others interested in improving school food? Check out the Good Food At School network at
  • REINVENTING THE SCHOOL LUNCH – Whether you've read Ann Cooper's Lunch Lessons, visited her Web site at, or are just hearing the name "Ann Cooper" for the first time, you will certainly want to see this very informative and passionate video clip at Take a moment to learn what awaits American children in the school cafeteria.
Ann Cooper

Carpool with Friends
  • CARPOOLING WITH GOLOCO – GoLoco is an easy way to share trips with your friends -- and friends of friends. GoLoco uses a system of alerts to notify you when someone is going someplace you want to go. GoLoco helps you share travel and expenses by putting your cars, friends, trips, and expenses together. Visit for more information.

  • FARM TO SCHOOL – As farmers struggle to mitigate the increasing cost of transporting produce from farm to store, and schools face smaller budgets and increasing concerns over the nutritional content of the lunches they provide, farms are finding ways to deliver their fresh produce directly to the lunch table. To learn more, visit
farm to school

Laptop Lunches in the News

O Magazine

Let's Redo Lunch

November 2008

A sinking economy, rising food costs: What's a girl on a budget to do? Suzan Colon dusted off the old brown bag and discovered fresh ideas about bringing homemade meals to work...

"Shaped like a computer case, the Laptop lunch bag has its own containers, silverware, and a water bottle."

Lunchbox in O Magazine

Oprah and Friends Radio: Meet the Peetes

Reducing Trash from School Lunches

Laptop Lunches on Meet the Peetes The single-serving packages and disposable drinks you put in your child's lunch box may be convenient, but they're adding to the enormous amount of waste that school lunches produce, experts say. Holly and Rodney talk to Obentec co-founder Amy Hemmert about ways to be eco-friendly and reduce the amount of garbage your child's lunch makes. [Listen to the conversation at]

CoastViews Magazine

Healthy Halloween: Waste-free meals with Laptop Lunches

By Heidi Trilling, October 2008

"Witches, ghosts and goblins may be spooky, but for some people, coming up with appealing, nourishing lunches every school day or workday is the scariest prospect of all! 

Imagine packing lunches for your schoolchildren and yourself — on Halloween and every day — that are nutritious, delicious, beautifully presented and waste-free, too. 

Well, you can! Thanks to Tammy Pelstring and Amy

Halloween Lunch

Hemmert, co-founders of Obentec, Inc., the company that has produced Laptop Lunches since 2001." [Read the rest of the story at]

Metro Montreal

Les boîtes à lunch du XXIe siècle

Jessica Dostie, August 27, 2008

"Exit, sacs de plastique et autres emballages individuels jetables! En 2008, l’heure est aux contenants réutilisables et écolos, une tendance dans laquelle s’inscrivent tout à fait les boîtes Bento, pas nouvelles mais des plus alléchantes." [Read the rest of the story (in French) at]

Laptop Lunches in Metro Montreal

New Retailers

Sparrow Organics LA
3266 N. Cahuenga Blvd. West
Los Angeles, CA 90068
(323) 512-7122

The Hole Kid
35 W. Delonay St.
Jackson, WY 83001
(307) 733-2151

Rainbow Natural Foods
2118 N. Decatur Rd.
Decatur, GA 30033
(404) 636-5553

Maryland Natural Health Center
10806 Reisterstown Rd. #1E
Owings Mills, MD 21117
(410) 356-4600

The Green Egg
19 Central St.
Manchester, MA 01944
(617) 610-0855

Whole Foods Honolulu
4211 Wai'alae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 738-0820

Whole Foods Market
14598 Clay Terrace Blvd.
Carmel, IN 46032

Good Natured LLC
209 S. Raleigh St.
Martinsburg, WV 25401
(304) 262-9978

My Best Friends Closet
658 Speedwell Ave.
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
(973) 539-9800

Kimberley Kimber
Hollister, CA 95023
(831) 634-0650

21 Vaughan Road, Unit 103
Toronto, ON M6G 2N2
(416) 652-0808

Whole Foods Market
270 Greenwich St.
New York, NY 10007
(212) 349-6555

Lanky Lizards Baby Boutique
RR #5
Clinton, ON N0M 1L0
(519) 482-9058

1952 S. Industrial Suite C
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 714-3000

3419 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 371-9929

Paranoid Parents Stop Worrying Shoppe
2625 E. 3rd. Ave. Ste. A
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 379-3796

Baby Grow Safe
P.O. Box 73
Bilambil, NSW, 2486 Australia
(402) 779-975

The Baby Garden
3 Kent Street West
Lindsay, ON K9V 2X9
(705) 878-1208

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.

Economic Crunch? Look to the Weekday Lunch!

With prices up, the economy down, and families looking for ways to cut down on costs, many in the workforce are trading in their daily restaurant fare for a lunch brought from home. Web sites providing lunch recipes and lunchmaking and tips have become increasingly popular as lunch packers strive to add their own personal touch to the lunchmaking routine. This, in turn, has led to a renewed sense of community among those packing lunches from home.

In fact, a market research study conducted by the NPD Group found that in 2007 adults over the age of 18 took 8.5 billion homemade lunches to work, three more per capita than in 2006.

Cash Savings

Packing a lunch from home is a great way to save.  According to, creator of interactive Web calculators, “a simple change such as bringing a bagged lunch to work a few times a week can make a difference.” To help us calculate our own personal lunch savings, they’ve posted an online lunch  calculator at Simply type in your lunch expenditures, number of lunches per week you carry to work, and the expected period of time you plan on packing your mid-day meal, and you can determine what your savings is likely to amount to. And it’s easy to experiment with various scenarios.  For example, if you pack your lunch five days a week instead of eating out, you may be able to save $100,000 over the course of your career, assuming the savings is reinvested. And that’s just the first course. While the financial savings are clear, the health and environmental benefits are an added bonus.

Improved Health

Lunches served at the typical American restaurant tend to be high in fat, carbohydrates and salt, and their substantially-more-food-than-you-need portions can lead to overeating and weight gain. Preparing your own lunch provides an opportunity to pack appropriate quantities of foods your body needs most—fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat sources of protein.

To receive a free creative lunchmaking menu each week, consider subscribing to the Laptop Lunches RSS feed at A nutritious lunch menu with photo and preparation notes will arrive in your in-box or appear on your Google or Yahoo home page. You can also find some inspirational lunch menus and photos at:

Smaller Environmental Footprint

When packing a lunch from home, it’s possible to select foods that are grown organically and/or locally. If you eat out, you’re most likely to receive conventionally grown food that has been shipped thousands of miles before it reaches your plate. Reducing agricultural chemical use and burning less fossil fuels benefits us all. And packing your lunch in reusable containers, like those found at , instead of using lunch eatery plastics, polystyrene, and paper, will go a long way towards reducing landfill and incinerator waste.

Whether you’re feeling the economic pinch or just looking for ways to cut costs and improve health, home-packed lunches could be just the recipe you’re looking for.

What Works...Success Stories

"My adorable 8 year old daughter is on the autism spectrum, and has trouble figuring out how to initiate casual interactions with her classmates at school. Little did we know that since Santa brought her a Laptop Lunch System last Christmas, "lunch bunch" has not been the same! The kids she invites to lunch (facilitated by the school's speech therapist) have all been going 'ga-ga' over her cool lunchbox in its totally cool carrying case. And since she has some fine motor challenges, the other kids are clamoring to help her open the box and water bottle! It's turned into a great interaction starter for her! Thank you so very much!"

        -- Sabrina, Arlington, VA

"My twins LOVE their Laptop Lunch bento boxes. Whatever I put in their bento box, they eat up. And if anything's left over after lunch, they snack on it when they get home. In fact, as soon as we get in the car after school, they ask for their lunchboxes so they can snack on any leftovers. They can manage all the lids themselves and can open and close the bento box easily. They even don't mind that I stopped giving them juice boxes since they like the water container.

"I bought a Laptop Lunch for myself, and will soon order one for my husband. I've gotten into a routine of lining up the bento boxes at night and filling them up with leftovers and healthy snacks. The plastic also washes very well in the dishwasher. Thanks for the great work! "

        -- Jen Chingwe, Matawan, NJ

Washing Lunchboxes

"It's fun to clean our Laptop Lunches after a yummy lunch."

        -- Amelia and Maddox, Petaluma, CA

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

Featured Web Site:
Fluorescent bulbs can be four to five times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent lamps reduce energy consumption, which saves money and cuts down on power plant emissions that contribute to climate change, acid rain and smog. However, it's important that these energy-efficient bulbs, which contain mercury, be disposed of properly. was developed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to provide a one-stop source of information on recycling fluorescent and high intensity discharge lamps. Under the federal hazardous waste laws, lamp users are responsible for complying with disposal standards.

Requirements differ depending on who generates the spent lamps, which state that person is in, and whether the lamp is considered a hazardous waste. Even where existing regulations exempt users from spent lamp management regulations, NEMA encourages businesses to recycle their spent lamps.

It's interesting to note that lamp recycling in not self-supporting. Spent lamps have no intrinsic value or embodied energy, and the recovered mercury has minimal value. The cost of recycling lamps, however, is relatively small compared to the cost savings associated with using energy efficient lighting.


On this site:

  • Benefits of Recycling
  • Handling Broken Fluorescent Lamps
  • State Lamp Recycling Regulations and Contacts
  • Information about Federal and state regulatory spent lamp management requirements, and state information contacts.
  • Lists of companies that are in the business of handling and recycling spent lamps.

For more information, visit

December Highlights

Lovely Latkas, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Interview


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

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© November 2008 Obentec, Inc.

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


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