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August 2007

Laptop Lunch Times: August 2007


August 2007

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Travel Menus
  • Green Opportunities
  • New Retailers
  • Beyond Moosewood: An Interview with Mollie Katzen
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

NEW STORE LOCATOR: We're pleased to announce our new and improved store locator, which is now fully integrated with Google Maps. Use it to find a store near you by typing in your zip code or clicking on the red icons at Don't see your favorite store on the map? Place a request with the store buyer by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

DISHWASHER-SAFE LABELS: If you're looking for a great source of labels for your Laptop Lunches (and other belongings) this back to school season, be sure to check out Mabel's Labels at

ORDER SOON FOR BACK TO SCHOOL: Avoid the end-of-summer rush by ordering your Laptop Lunches as early as possible this year. August and September are our busiest months, so please plan ahead!

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

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

"My 5 year old loves rice and bean dip in his lunch. We top it with shredded cheddar cheese and send along a few whole grain chips for dipping. Raw fruits and veggies are a staple in every lunch."

"When a school mate had cereal for lunch, my 5-year-old thought it was hysterical and had to do the same. We sent an organic breakfast cereal with organic trail mix on the side, as well as the usual fresh fruits and veggies. The school provides the milk and . . . Voila! A healthy breakfast for lunch."

"My husband was bored making our son's lunch. He was looking for something new when he stumbled upon an idea for deviled eggs. When he mashes the yolk, he also tosses in finely chopped apples, pears or veggies. On this day he included a garnish of chopped bacon. On the side we have yogurt covered raisins and organic, dark chocolate-covered almonds as well as the usual fresh fruit and veggies."

"We love our Laptop Lunch Box! Here are pictures of three of my son's favourite lunches."

        --Tina Brandt, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Grapes to Go

This speedy menu takes just minutes to prepare.

  • grapes
  • green beans
  • whole-grain crackers
  • cheese slices

Hummus Rainbow

Make your own hummus or purchase one of the many delicious ready-made varieties--great as a dip for colorful veggies.

  • generous scoop of hummus
  • whole grain crackers or sliced pita bread
  • fresh blueberries
  • sugar snap peas
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sliced cucumbers

Cherries and Nuts

This menu requires no preparation at all. Grab a handful of each ingredient, pour some Caesar dressing into the dip container, and hit the road!

  • fresh cherries
  • baby carrots
  • creamy Caesar dressing
  • whole-grain crackers
  • nuts: cashews & almonds

Green Opportunities

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

  • ORGANIC BRANDS – Have you ever wished for a "family tree" of organic brands showing which ones have been acquired by larger companies? You probably know that Odwalla is owned by Pepsi and that Horizon Milk is owned by Dean Foods. But did you know that Dagoba chocolate is owned by Hershey Foods and Kashi is owned by Kellogg? For an interesting chart showing "the big picture," check out And see the top-selling INDEPENDENT brands at

  • CAR SHARING – Did you know that you can reduce your transportation costs by joining a car share program? Members pay by the hour to use a car only when they need it. Check out and for more information.
  • PRESERVE TABLEWARE – If you're looking for party plates made out of recycled plastic, check out Recycline's selection at They come in a variety of colors, and are dishwasher safe and recyclable.

New Retailers

Elephant Pharmacy
4470 El Camino Real
Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 472-6800
Elephant Pharmacy
1607 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 549-9200
Elephant Pharmacy
909 Grand Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 462-6000
Elephant Pharmacy
1388 S. California
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(925) 658-5300

Home Green Home
215 East State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(617) 229-3759

Real Food
1096 Helena Avenue.
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 443-5150

Tip Top Country Store
8 Central Street
Brookfield, MA 01506
(508) 867-0460

Gone Shopping
100 South Drive
Toronto, ON MAW 1R6
(416) 543-5250
Whole Foods Market - Oakville
301 Cornwall Road
Oakville, Ontario L6J 7Z5
(905) 849-8400
Whole Foods Market - Yorkville
87 Avenue Road
Toronto, ON M5R 3R9
(416) 944-0500
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(888) 928-9473

Hub Home School Supply
West Roxbury, MA 02132
(617) 553-0883

Visit for a complete list of retailers.

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

Beyond Moosewood: An Interview with Mollie Katzen

Mollie Katzen, with over 6 million books in print, is listed by the New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time. A 2007 inductee into the prestigious James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, and largely credited with moving healthful vegetarian food from the "fringe" to the center of the American dinner plate, Ms. Katzen has been named by Health Magazine as one of "The Five Women Who Changed the Way We Eat."Amy Hemmert had the pleasure of interviewing her last month.
Amy: Hi Mollie. I'd like to start with a true confession: I’ve been cooking from the same copy of The Moosewood Cookbook since 1978, and I love it. It’s great to see that you’ve come out with a steady stream of books over the last few years, and I understand that you’re coming out with a new one in the fall. Can you tell us a bit about it?

The book, my 10th in fact, is called The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without. It will focus on vegetable side dishes. I took my 100 favorite vegetable recipes and turned them into a book. I hope to encourage people to fill their plates with delicious vegetables in various colors and flavors regardless of--or I should say in addition to--whatever else is on the plate – including meat, if that’s what you prefer. I want people to realize that if you’re going to eat well, you mostly need to avoid the items that are cheap and abundant in convenience stores, grocery stores, and fast-food restaurants. You need to choose your foods purposefully and, very often, prepare them at home and carry them with you. If you become “a food carrier,” you’ll be more than halfway there.

Amy: How is this new book different from the thousands of other cookbooks available in bookstores across the country?

Cookbooks today are largely celebrity-driven, repetitive, and are filled with colorful glossy photographs. I wanted this book to stand out and beckon people back to a certain "home-spunness." So I’ve hand-lettered the recipes and included my own artwork, similar to my early books, Moosewood and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I hope my audience will feel the familiarity and comfort that I’ve intended.

Amy: You mentioned your art . What role does art play in your life?
Mollie: I was trained primarily as a musician and painter. I went to music conservatory and also got a BFA in painting. Those have always been my primary loves, and cooking was a way to support those activities. Illustrating my books has been a very important part of the mix, but the food writing career has tended to bump my art and music time to the back burner, so to speak. This coming year I plan to take some time off from food writing to get my painting and music back into center field.
Amy: How did you become involved in cooking?

I’ve loved to cook ever since I was a toddler. At 15 I started working in restaurants after school. In college, I was fascinated by the emerging whole foods movement, and that influenced me greatly. My love for all of this continues to this day.

Amy: Food preferences and eating habits have changed substantially since Moosewood was first published. How is your latest book different, and how does it reflect the changes that have taken place?
Mollie: Early vegetarian cookbooks provided recipes for people who simply didn’t want to eat meat and weren’t necessarily focused on incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into their diet. Becoming vegetarian was fashionable, but it tended to express more of a “no” to meat than a “yes” to vegetables. I wanted to create a cookbook that would provide joyful, delicious recipes that celebrated good ingredients and weren’t simply (or at all) dogmatic. I have to say that I’m unhappy with the word “vegetarian” because it still tends to imply “anything but meat,” rather than “let’s eat beautifully from the garden and orchard.” It’s disappointing to go into a restaurant and find that the only non-meat options are pasta and/or risotto. I want to see meals – with or without meat – that pile the plate high with nutritious, beautifully presented fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and other foods low on the food chain, regardless of where the main protein comes from.
Amy: We’re all concerned about the prevalence of childhood obesity, diabetes, and other diseases related to over-consumption. What recommendations do you have for parents who want to improve their kids’ diets?

Kids who don’t eat well get tired and edgy, and lose focus. Here are a few tips for helping kids eat well:

    1. Encourage them to drink water instead of caloric drinks. Or they can make their own “homemade soda” by diluting a little bit of fruit juice with a lot of sparkling water.

    2. Make sure their breakfasts and snacks contain some fiber, healthy fats (like nuts) and protein. Carbohydrates without fiber are a recipe for weight gain.

    3. Don’t let your kids sit around for long periods of time. Put the music on and let them dance. If they’re watching TV, encourage them to move instead of sitting still – or worse, sitting still and snacking. A good way to do this is to invest in a stationary bike, rowing machine, or stairmaster and place it in front of the tube.

Amy: If you look back at how you raised your own kids, what do you feel you did right, and what do you wish you’d done differently?

When my kids were little, I would put out some healthy grazing items, so they could take the edge off their hunger in a good way when it wasn’t yet dinner time. Sometimes these snacks would end up being dinner by default, but that was fine, as they consisted of fresh vegetables (steamed or raw) with nut butter or bean dips, string cheese, cooked whole-grain pasta, and cut-up fruits. This plan worked really well for our busy family. My one big regret is that I sometimes heated plastic bottles in the microwave, and we are now learning that that is an unhealthy practice.


What’s your favorite lunch?
Mollie: A plate full of vegetables - or a fresh-picked salad from my garden. I actually like to eat like a kindergartener: baby carrots, apple slices, raisins, crackers, sliced cucumbers or celery and a mound of peanut butter in the middle of the plate!
Amy: Where can our readers learn more about your books?
Mollie: You can find more information on my Web site at My books are available in local bookstores nationwide (and on I like to support independent book stores so here’s a plug to look there first – not just for my titles, but for anything in print.

What Works...Success Stories

"Thank you sooooo very much for offering Laptop Lunches. The no-waste lunch idea is exactly what I've been looking for! Love the bento box idea. Got one for myself, my partner, and my kids! I'm oh-so-happy with them. Together, we can all make personal efforts to love and care for our mother earth. Collectively, we will make a difference, and a no-waste lunch with Laptop Lunches is a great starting place! Thank you again!"

        -- Amy Scott, Kentucky

"I thought you might like to know how much of an impact my daughter's lunches make at her school.
She started school at 3 and is now 4. She's a very picky eater, and there was no chance I could pack her a sandwich for lunch, so I had to be very creative. I covered all the food groups and packed small plastic containers of organic veggies, cheeses, crackers and fruit. Then.......I discovered your product! Now, not only my daughter's teachers, but other teachers all stop by daily to see what my daughter has for lunch! The teachers jokingly tell me they wish I was their mom and was packing their lunch too!
"Anyway, one of the other moms also got excited about your product and rushed home and ordered one for her daughter. This presented a huge problem, since they are both into pink (for the inside) and ordered the purple cases. We had a lid mix-up one day, where the other child took my daughter's lid home with her. I came up with a solution to make it easier for her to pick out her lunch box. It's my first attempt and a little crude, but it's a huge hit with my daughter. "

        -- Dulcie Sawyer, Sarasota, FL

"My daughter (age 9) loves her lunch box, and because of all the compartments she is packing healthier lunches with more variety--and has lost several pounds. So thanks again for a wonderful idea."

        -- Rachel, Orlando, FL 

"I recently purchased a Laptop Lunchbox for my kindergartener. All those plastic sandwich bags were so wasteful, and my son's lunch bag would usually come home with half of his lunch uneaten. He'd pick the first few items at the top of the bag and leave everything else. He was so excited when his new lunchbox arrived. He loves seeing all the food when he opens up the lid and usually eats everything I pack now. He's started helping me put lunches together and really loves being able to choose which foods go in which little container. The best part is that all his classmates think his lunchbox is the coolest thing ever and have been asking where he got it! So hopefully we can steer some more customers your way. Thanks for such a fantastic product!"

        -- Rachel Mitsourov, Walla Walla, WA

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

Featured Web Site:

EcoBroker is a program designed to help communities promote energy efficiency and sustainable design in real estate properties. Through EcoBroker educational courses, real estate professionals can acquire the knowledge and resources to become Certified EcoBrokers(R) and assist clients in their purchase and sale of properties with green features. The Web site serves real estate professionals, vendors, and the community by carrying out its mission to improve the quality of buildings, while reducing their impact on our natural resources and environment.

Visit to find expert information, property listings, real estate agents, and other property-related products and services.

On this site you'll find:

  • An EcoBroker Locator
  • EcoBroker Affiliates
  • Information on becoming a Certified EcoBroker
  • Tips for greening your home
  • Informative Articles

September Highlights

New Twists on Sandwich Favorites, Green Opportunities, and Grass Roots Moms!


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

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© August 2007 Obentec, Inc.

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


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