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November 2007

Laptop Lunch Times: November 2007

November 2007


In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes
  • Green Opportunities
  • Laptop Lunches in the News
  • New Retailers
  • From Two to Two Million: Angry Moms Changing the School Lunch Program
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site: www.WiserEarth.org

From Our Desk to Yours...

OBENTEC'S NEW HOME: Though our contact information remains the same, we've just moved to a beautiful new office. We apologize for any dropped calls, missed faxes, Web issues, or frazzled responses these last few weeks. Thanks for your patience, and please stop by if you find yourself in downtown Santa Cruz!

Obentec's New Office

PHOTO CONTEST: Calling all Laptop Lunch photographers! We are currently working on an exciting new project and are calling for photo submissions. If you're interested in participating, please email us your best photo by December 31, 2007. If your photo is selected, you'll be eligible to win a free Laptop Lunches gift. For photo guidelines, please visit our Web site at www.laptoplunches.com/photospecs.html. Don't be shy!

GREEN FESTIVAL 2007: Don't forget to stop by and say hi at the San Francisco Green Festival this weekend, November 9-11, at the SF Concourse Exhibition Center. Come join us for this big three-day event, featuring more than 150 visionary speakers, 400 green businesses, great how-to workshops, organic beer and wine, delicious organic cuisine, and diverse live music. Find great ideas, positive energy, abundant hope...and earth-friendly holiday gifts.

PINK LAPTOP LUNCH SYSTEMS AND CARRYING CASES: Thank you for your patience! The pink Laptop Lunch Systems were so popular this back to school season that they've been on backorder for over a month. The good news is that they're scheduled to be back in stock by December 1, 2007. (We had hoped to have them at our warehouse by mid-November, so we apologize for the delay.) If you're interested in pre-ordering for the holiday season, please call us at 831-457-0301, and we'll be sure you receive it in plenty of time.

Pink Laptop Lunch System


Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!
Here's what's in my Laptop Lunch:
  • organic spaghetti noodles with homemade tomato sauce
  • Spinach, grape tomato, carrot, and raisin salad
  • Green grapes
  • Strawberries


"Laptop Lunches are the best product and have completely changed how we approach lunch. Gone are the days of sandwich and chips packed in plastic baggies. Now we eat wonderful, well rounded meals that look beautiful and make you look forward to lunch. We think more about our environmental impact in all areas of our life. Thanks for such a wonderful, well made, well designed product. I tell everyone about it!"

-- Nicole Boarnet, Houston, TX


Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes


Vegetarian Stuffing Balls with Gravy

  • 2 Tbs. butter or olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. sherry or marsala
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 12 medium mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 medium apple, diced
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted and cubed
Vegetarian Stuffing

Makes about 10 servings.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium frying pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions, celery, mushrooms, fennel, and apples over medium heat until onions are translucent.
3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Toast the bread, cut it into cubes, and place it in a large bowl. Slowly add the vegetable broth and stir until absorbed.
5. Add the eggs and stir again. Add the sautéed vegetables and mix.
6. Add the remaining ingredients.
7. Using your hands and pressing firmly, shape the mixture into balls and arrange in a baking pan.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. Top with gravy, and serve warm.


Gravy

  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, diced
  • 1 Tbs. whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup pureed butternut squash
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan.
2. Sauté onions and mushrooms until tender.
3. Add 1 cup vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
4. Mix flour and 2 Tbs. water to form a thin paste.
5. Slowly add the paste to the boiling mixture, whisking to thicken.
6. Add the pureed butternut squash, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.
7. Serve hot over the stuffing balls (above) or stuffed portabella mushroom (below).


Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

  • 6 large portabella mushrooms
  • 6 cups corn bread stuffing (Use recipe above, substituting corn bread croutons for whole wheat or prepare your favorite stuffing recipe.)
  • 2 lbs of sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • cup milk (or soy milk)
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cranberry sauce
Stuffed Portabella Mushroom

Makes Six Servings.
1. Lightly coat baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.
2. Using a paring knife, remove the stems from the mushrooms.
3. Use spoon to gently hollow the undersides of the mushrooms.
4. Finely chop the removed mushroom pieces and set aside to use later in preparation of the stuffing.
5. Place mushrooms hollowed side up into baking dish. Set aside.
6. Prepare stuffing. Be sure to add mushroom pieces to your recipe.
7. Steam sweet potato cubes until tender.
8. Mash sweet potatoes. Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside.
9. Fill each mushroom with 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes, spreading to the edge of the mushroom.
10. Top with corn bread stuffing.
11. Bake for 40 minutes at 425°F.
12. Remove from oven. Top with cranberry sauce and serve.


Green Opportunities

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

  • FOOD FUN NUTRITION CARDS FOR KIDS – This educational game deck looks like a standard deck of playing cards (Ace through King in each suit) but the 4 suits are: FRUITS, VEGETABLES, GRAINS and PROTEINS. Each nutrition card is unique with surprising nutrition facts listed for fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods that don’t have food labels. Play active learning games and learn healthy eating habits at the same time. Eight nutrition card games come with this 52-card deck that teaches healthy eating habits, junk food alternatives and exercise tips. Included with the card deck are: serving size for healthy weight, calorie information for overweight children and teens, and nutrition facts for favorite foods. Available at http://www.foodfun4kids.com.
  • HANDWASHING Current news reports on the dangers of the MRSA infection (Methicillan-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), as well as the onset of the cold and flu season, have sparked Kid Scoop to create a Kid Scoop Special Edition dedicated to helping kids take simple steps to reduce their risk of infection. Check out their "Germ Patrol" page at http://kidscoop.com/section_fronts/newspapers/germpatrol.
  • ZERO WASTE We live in a world of declining resources with unprecedented population growth and resource consumption. The United States, which makes up 5% of the Earth's population, consumes 30% of the Earth's resources. To promote a more sustainable lifestyle, many communities and municipalities are adopting zero waste initiatives. To learn more, watch this very informative zero waste video at http://www.ecocycle.org/zerowastevideo/index.cfm.
  • COMPOSTING POSTER CONTEST Call For Entries! The International Compost Awareness Week Committee announces its first-ever poster contest, open to municipal, facility, and state agency representatives students (grade school, middle school, high school, college), homeowners, commercial composters, green industry businesses, youth groups, everyone! Whether or not you have celebrated or been involved in ICAW in the past, they want you to participate this year by submitting a poster. The Possibilities Are Endless....Compost! The poster contest challenges ALL OF US to express our belief in the importance of composting and the benefits of using compost. The winning poster will be used to promote the 13th Annual International Compost Awareness Week, May 4-10, 2008 Contest entries should include an official entry form and must be postmarked by December 14, 2007. Finalists will be announced and the final winner chosen during the 16th Annual USCC Conference and Trade Show to be held in Oakland, CA, February 9-12, 2008. Complete contest rules and information are available at http://compostingcouncil.org/section.cfm?id=60

Laptop Lunches in the News

Daily Herald

Asian influence puts 'box' back in lunch box

By Deborah Pankey

I applaud my son's school, Winston Campus in Palatine, for its Waste-free Lunch Wednesdays. The program encourages students (their parents, really) to pack a lunch with no sandwich bags, juice boxes, paper napkins or the like that would end up in the trash at the end of the meal.

It's a challenge I eagerly accepted last year and one that I attempted to put into practice five days a week, although admittedly without complete success.

So over the summer, I've kept my eye out for products that would help this green effort. The product I liked the best was a bento-box-style set from Laptoplunches.com ($20.99, and it comes with utensils and a recipe book). [Read the rest of the story at www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=21199&src=141.]

Le Soleil

Bote lunch nippone

By Laurie Richard, Québec

D’origine japonaise, les bentos sont de jolis casse-tête gourmands qui séduisent les enfants les plus difficiles. Conçues comme des coffres à bijoux, avec des divisions et des compartiments empilables, ces boîtes à lunchs asiatiques permettent de contrôler les portions tout en explorant de nouvelles saveurs. Certains en profitent même pour transformer leur casse-croûte en œuvre d’art. Pourquoi ne pas s’en inspirer pour enjoliver la rentrée du petit dernier ? [Read the rest of the story at www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070907/CPSOLEIL/70906219/6685/CPACTUEL]




Tandem

Eco-friendly school lunches: Creating litter-free lunch boxes for your kids

By Benedetta Lamanna

Back to school lunches can be a tricky challenge for parents, especially for those who want to cut back on waste related to kids’ lunches and snacks. But it’s important to remember that you can easily implement more eco-friendly options this school year without compromising the freshness and taste of your child’s meal.

While a packed lunch seems pretty innocuous, lunches are in fact a major source of waste. Plastic, juice pouches and plastic containers all add up to garbage — lots of it. In fact, the majority of household waste comes from food packaging, according to Eco-Cycle, a site dedicated to working towards waste-free communities. [Read the rest of the story at www.corrieretandem.com/viewstory.php?storyid=7655]


MomAppeal.com

Healthy Back to School Lunches made easy with Laptop Lunches!

By Mama Jen

Bento-ware for everywhere, ” is the motto for Laptop Lunches. This company makes phenomenal lead-free, reusable, waste-free bento style lunch systems for your little school-goer! 

The lunchbox comes in a slick looking laptop bag that is adorable!  Inside the laptop bag, there is a lunchbox with differently sized containers within…these are mom invented, mom tested, so the containers were sized to perfectly fit the inner luchbox and contain a balanced and nutritious lunch!  There is also a reusable fork and spoon and safe plastic water bottle—No more baggies and paper lunch bags, and plastic utensils filling the trash and heading for our landfills….seriously, imagine the dent we could make in improving the environment if every kid used Laptop Lunches!!!  Hmmm…oh yes, they thought of that!  They have a mechanism in place should your family decide it would be a good school project…check it out here.  They give you all of the tools to help get your school using a waste-free lunch system! [Read the rest at http://momappeal.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/healthy-back-to-school-lunches-made-easy-with-laptop-lunches.]


New Retailers

Baby Moon
290 Reeside Ave.
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 402-1666

Second Chances Kids Consignment Shop
7 Pomeroy Lane #4
Amherst Ma 01002
(413) 259-9393

Isla Vista Food Coop
6575 Seville Road
Isla Vista, CA 93117
(805) 968-1401
Ecoasis
56 Huron/Cty Rd 450
Breckenridge, CO 80443
(970) 668-5703
www.highcountryconservation.org
Dwellsmart
615 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 856-2282


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 [email protected], and we'll give them a call.


From Two to Two Million: Angry Moms Changing the School Lunch Program

Amy Kalafa has produced award-winning films, television programs and magazine articles in the field of health education. Her production credits include three seasons of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s parenting show, “What Every Baby Knows”, PBS specials, “Our Nation’s Health: A Matter of Choice” and “Healthy Aging”, as well as the Reiner Foundation’s, “The First Years Last Forever”. She has produced food and health segments for “Martha Stewart Living” and has appeared as a guest chef on PBS’s, “Cultivating Life”.

Amy was recently appointed as a Lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine and Psychiatry for her work in the field of health communication, She has worked on numerous training films for Yale University and the US Department of Education.

Amy is also a holistic health and nutrition counselor and a Lyme Disease consultant. a founding board member of the AIDS Treatment Data Network, a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher and an organic farmer.


Amy Kalafa

Amy H: Hi Amy, thanks for joining us. Who are the “Two Angry Moms” and what are you hoping to achieve?
Amy K:

Two Angry Moms is a movie and a movement.  I’m a health counselor as well as a filmmaker, so I’ve long been aware of the connection between what we eat and our health.  I wanted to make a film about the topic for a long time but couldn’t find the funding.  When the CDC began reporting on a national crisis in children’s health, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. 

School food is pretty much representative of what most Americans eat in general, so I chose to focus on school food because every school child is impacted by it.  I went looking for a mom who was doing something to get better food in schools and was eventually led to Dr. Susan Rubin, a mom who had organized outside of her local school district by forming a county-wide coalition.  I had read that the Texas Secretary of Agriculture said that it would take two million angry moms to change school food.  So Susan and I decided to become the first two angry moms.  We’ve gathered many thousands of others and are on our way to two million.

Amy H: Why is your work so important?
Amy K:

As Chef Ann Cooper says at the end of the movie,  “if we can fix school food, if we can change how we feed kids and teach them about food….If we can get them to care about what they eat and understand the symbiotic relationship between what they eat and the planet….we might be able to save the world…”  This is all connected – the health of our kids, the health of the planet, and the great thing about the school food issue is that we can make a huge impact by acting locally.

Amy H: You've explained above why you chose “Two Angry Moms.” How has the anger piece of that worked out?
Amy K:

Susan and I both feel that anger can be a positive energy.  Imagine a mama bear protecting her cubs from danger.  She’s going to get angry and do what she has to do to keep them safe.  That’s who we are, mothers protecting our children’s health.  In reality, you won’t find us angry; you'll find us quite optimistic. This is a movement with real, practical solutions that we can implement in every school district across the country.

Amy H: How did you get started on this project?
Amy K:

I picked up my camera and began filming.  I started by following Dr. Susan Rubin and her efforts in Westchester County over the course of a school year. I also started a website, angrymoms.org as a means to raise funds for the movie.  Several hundred angry parents and several foundations and sponsors have sent us contributions of “lunch money” to help finance the project.  We’re now trying to raise funds for the distribution.

Amy H: What type of outreach activities are you engaging in?
Amy K:

In October, we held a “National School Lunch-In” in conjunction with Susan’s organization, betterschoolfood.org.  We asked parents to go have lunch with their kids at school, to look around the school at the food environment, to taste the food, to ask to see ingredients lists, menus, snack foods, and if they weren’t satisfied with what they saw, to speak up and rally their community for better school food.

Our Web site, angrymoms.org, has lots of really helpful surveys, policies, health information and handouts that you can download to share with other parents and community leaders.

Amy H: Tell me a bit about the film.
Amy K:

The film covers the history of the school lunch program and shows how government policy and private interests are impacting the health of our children by providing poor quality junk food for profit.

It also highlights successful and often inspiring examples of school food programs from around the country. It drives home the point that parents need to make the connection between food and their kid’s health and to take a stand for healthy changes.  We found that when communities support local farms, when kids get connected to where their food comes from in the classroom as well as in the cafeteria, when school buying power is used to promote educated, healthy children, it has a positive effect not only on kids, but on the environment and on everyone in the community.  We found that dedicated communities of people can create change in school food.

Amy H: You have a e-newsletter that you send out periodically. Can you tell me a bit about that?
Amy K:

It’s free – just go to angrymoms.org and click on “join us.”  I try to send it out once a month to keep folks updated on the movie and the movement.  We post a list of where the movie is being shown around the country, along with news about the movement.  I interview an angry mom (or Dad, or school cook, etc.) every month, because our readers often feel isolated and even ostracized (like I did) in their communities.

Amy H: What have been your toughest struggles so far?
Amy K: Keeping up with all the email!!  There are so many parents who want to make a difference in their schools, and they are asking for support and guidance.  Also, fundraising is a struggle for every independent filmmaker.  The costs of making a movie, even in the digital age, are staggering.  We’ve incurred just tons of debt in the making of the movie.  Since finishing up the editing in September, I’ve been working hard to raise funds for distribution.

Amy H: Do you find it difficult to keep the “anger” in balance?
Amy K:

Not at all.  It keeps me motivated, because this is really hard work. You need lots of motivation and passion to get your voice heard in the world of independent media.

Amy H: What steps can like-minded parents take to effect change in their schools?
Amy K:

We’ve got a really helpful handout on the Cool Resources page of our Web site.  It’s called “What can I do?” and it lists things you can do locally and nationally to get better food in schools.  The first step is get organized and get involved!  Eventually, you’ve got to get into the details like reading contracts and creating policy.

Amy H:

What’s your favorite lunch?

Amy K: Ha. I’m pretty easy to please. Except for bell peppers. As long as it’s real food, not processed factory fare, I’ll enjoy it.  As a matter of fact, I’m heading off to eat last night’s leftovers right now – brussel sprouts a la Alice Waters, polenta with swiss chard from our garden, and an egg from our laying hens – I’m pretty lucky to have a lunch like that!


What Works...Success Stories

"I received my Laptop Lunch system a few months ago, and am ashamed to say, I only just broke it out recently. But the inaugural use of the Bento Box was a really fun one! My husband and I were given free tickets at the last minute for an outdoor concert at a Napa Winery. I ran to the grocery store, got some provisions, and came home and packed up a wonderful little picnic for us in my Laptop Lunchbox! I included a sliced mozerella/pancetta/basil roll, whole grain crackers, a yummy pasta salad from the deli, sweet red grapes, and some nice, salty cashews for us to munch. It was the perfect size for a nice little nosh for two under a starry sky, and while everyone else around us was schlepping huge ice chests, we took up very little space on the lawn with our fabulous Laptop Lunch system! The folks sitting next to us thought it was pretty nifty! You gals should include your business cards in every order you send out. That way, your customers can simply pass them out whenever they get a compliment on their cool lunch box!"

"Thanks for coming up with such a great product!"

        -- Kim Oliver, Fairfield, CA

"We just love our lunchbox... My son attends a private school that does not provide a lunch program. Children are strongly encouraged to eat a vegetarian diet. The Laptop Lunch bento box makes it so much easier to send a well balanced vegetarian meal for him.. We love it. This will be our second year to use it!"

"I wonder sometimes if people really understand the social and physical implications involved around children's eating habits. Children begin to develop a life-long relationship with food very early, and this has a tremendous impact on their health. Childhood obesity has skyrocketed from 4% to 30% in the last 27 years so, while the bento box is certainly cute and fashionable, we feel that it has an even greater role to play in obesity prevention.Thanks!"

        -- The Bwoga Family, Tulsa, OK

"We've fallen in love with our Laptop Lunches. I purchased one for my daughter and one for myself. My daughter (and husband) are gluten-free, so our house is gluten-free. These lunch systems are already making life much easier. I've
ordered two more lunch systems – one for my husband and one for my niece. My daughter won't go anywhere without her laptop lunch system. I even have to pack it for her on days that we're not on the go. Thanks for such a
wonderful product!"

        -- Heather, VA

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


Featured Web Site: http://www.WiserEarth.org


WiserEarth (www.WiserEarth.org) serves the people who are transforming the world. It is a community-editable international directory and networking forum that maps out and connects the largest movement in the world – the hundreds of thousands of organizations that address social justice, poverty, and the environment.

WiserEarth provides the tools and a platform for non-profit organizations, funders, social entrepreneurs, students, organizers, academics, activists, scientists, and citizens to find each other, make connections, build alliances, and share resources.

What Does WiserEarth Do?

WiserEarth links organizations and people in new ways by providing:

  • entrepreneurs, students, scientists, consultants and volunteers with a place to construct personal profiles.
  • grassroots groups with visibility and access.
  • funders with a comprehensive selection of organizations engaged in specific activities.
  • academics, students, politicians, and the media with a comprehensive view of global civil society.
  • geographic maps for locating individual organizations, or any collection of organizations, from street to continent level.
  • a translation of the site through Google Translation. This is available by clicking on the flag links above. WiserEarth will eventually be viewable in multilingual interfaces so that information can be entered and understood in users' native languages.
  • free postings for the recruitment of staff, volunteers, and interns and will (in the future) offer a marketplace to share surplus resources and materials.
  • groups for networks that want a place to gather, share resources, collaborate on projects, and grow their network


December Highlights

Grab and Go Lunches, Green Opportunities, and Meal Planning Made Easy


Obentec

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

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November 2007 Obentec, Inc.

849 Almar Ave., Suite C-323
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-457-0301


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