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May 2005

Laptop Lunch Times: May 2005

The Laptop Lunch Times

Cool-iscious
May 2005

Spring has arrived!!!

New Feature: The Monthly Menu - We're pleased to announce the addition of a new Laptop Lunch Times section: The Monthly Menu. A busy, conscientious mom suggested we include this feature for lunch-makers needing easy-to-prepare menus. Let us know what you think!

May Special: In Partnership with SunRidge Farms - SunRidge Farms and Obentec have teamed up to help families pack healthy meals and snacks on the go. SunRidge Farms has generously offered a free package of organic trail mix to the first 48 Laptop Lunch customers who order online this May! To take advantage of this offer, simply place your order online at www.laptoplunches.com/products.html.

Earth Day Success: Internet Special Extended - In support of the many organizations that provided us with free publicity this Earth Day, we are extending our Earth Day Promotion until May 15th. To receive a 10% discount on your online Laptop Lunch purchase, type the following code in the discount field when checking out: ed906.

New Parent Letter Available for Download - Are you looking for an easy way to inform parents at your school about the benefits of packing nutritious, waste-free lunches? We now have a 2-sided parent letter available at www.laptoplunches.com/articles/PackHealthyLunchesFlyer.pdf. Feel free to print it off and share it with others, or take it to school and ask that copies be sent home to parents.


Amy and Tammy
 

In this issue, you'll find:

  • Monthly Menu
  • Nutritious Desserts and Treats

  • Special Offer from Sunridge Farms
  • Green Opportunities
  • Yard Sale Strategies
  • Featured Web site: www.oceansalive.org
  • What works...Success Stories
Laptop Lunch Photo with Food
www.laptoplunches.com

 


Monthly Menu


Nutritious Desserts and Treats

Instead of serving prepackaged desserts, which tend to contain hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredients, try some of these more wholesome choices!

#1: Apple Ole’ Dessert Quesadilla

  • 3 large Fuji apples (peeled, cored & sliced)
  • 1 Tbs. of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ½ Tbs. butter
  • 1 ½ Tbs. maple syrup
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • cooking spray

1. Place the apples, lemon juice and cinnamon in a bowl and toss.

2. Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat.

3. Add the apple mixture, cover, and cook on medium heat until apples are tender.

4. Stir in the maple syrup and set aside.

5. Lightly spray (or oil) skillet and place on high heat. Place a tortilla on the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes--until light brown. Flip over and cover half of the tortilla with the apple mixture.

6. Cook for another minute until crisp.

7. Fold tortilla in half. Serve as is or sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar or serve with vanilla frozen or fresh yogurt.

 

#2: Frozen Banana Dessert

    Makes 4 servings

  • 4 bananas
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen berries
  • ½ cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • 6 oz. dark semisweet chocolate

1. Cut bananas on a diagonal. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and arrange in a semicircle.

2. Place in the freezer for 1 hour or until frozen.

3. Puree berries and set aside.

4. Place chocolate in a double boiler and melt on low heat.

5. To arrange the dessert, place ¼ cup of berry puree on a plate. Arrange the banana pieces in the center of the puree. Drizzle chocolate over the top of the banana and sprinkle with chopped almonds. Garnish with a mint sprig.

 


#2: Absolutely Delicious Dark Chocolate Vegan Cake

    Makes 4 servings

  • 1 ½ cup unbleached flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup decaffeinated coffee

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray or oil an 8” square pan and dust with cocoa.

3. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar.

4. In another bowl, combine the vegetable oil, coffee and vanilla.

5. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.

6. Add vinegar and stir until just blended, do not over mix.

7. Pour batter into baking pan.

8. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve plain or sift a small amount of powdered sugar on top. (For a fancy design, sift through a doily.)

 


The Childhood Obesity Crisis, Laptop Lunches, and You!

Submitted by Bruce Brinker of SunRidge Farms

 

One does not need to look far to see or hear news stories relating to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. Our nightly news, major magazines and newspapers are now all reporting on the latest findings related to the crisis. Some of the more recent stories have centered on the alarming fact that this generation of children may quite possibly be the first that WILL NOT out-live their parents' generation!

One leading cause of the obesity epidemic is poor eating habits. Many of the poor eating habits can be attributed to the marketing and accessibility of junk food to our children. These poor eating habits are not only lending themselves to the obesity epidemic, but are also leading to increases in obesity related illness and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Other effects of eating a poor diet of non-nutritious and nutrient deficient junk food include the inability to study, to concentrate and to learn, along with discipline challenges.

The question is asked, "So what can a parent do?" We must first offer that ALL LEARNING begins in the home. It is the examples that are set and enforced daily that will allow your children to hopefully make smart choices when the enter school and begin to make choices for themselves. These examples can be traced to the very first "adult" food children are given from infancy. And it is our duty as parents to realize that even though we may be busy and are doing the best we can, cutting corners and choosing prepackaged foods may only be helping ourselves in the short term. However, in light of the current obesity crisis, cutting those corners may be setting the stage for possible long term and possibly irreversible obesity and obesity related illness and disease.

One solution to choosing healthy and nutritious foods, including snack items, is to shop in the bulk food isle at your natural foods store. By choosing natural and organic products, you will be choosing foods that are free of preservatives, pesticides, dyes and food coloring, which are now being shown to adversely affect children--even more so than adults. The symptoms can range from allergies, auto-immune illnesses, attention and learning challenges as well as chronic disease. Natural and organic foods in most instances will not have added fats and sugars, which lead to obesity, diabetes and obesity-related illnesses. These foods may appear at times to have a higher amount of fat or sugar than highly processed commercial foods, but it is important to not confuse naturally occurring fats and sugars that can be easily digested, assimilated and used by growing and ACTIVE bodies.

SunRidge Farms is a manufacturer of high quality natural and organic foods that can be found in your bulk isle. SunRidge Farms is committed to offering a complete line of certified organic and naturally grown nuts and seeds, dried fruits, grains, beans, and snack mixes. Our goal is to offer ecologically respectful, highest quality and optimally fresh foods to the community at reasonable cost. It is our desire to create a winning link between consumers, retail stores, farmers and suppliers. The SunRidge Farms natural and organic products embrace contemporary concerns about farming practices, manufacturing processes, freshness, packaging, proper nutrition and respect for our bodies and the earth.

It is these aspects that make the SunRidge Farms natural and organic foods the perfect foods to be packing in your Laptop Lunches - for school, work, summer camp, plane and automobile travel, picnics, trips to the park and other summer outings.

At SunRidge Farms, we are working closely with Obentec to provide parents with the tools to pack these healthy meals and snacks for your personal and your children's on the go lifestyle. SunRidge Farms has agreed to provide a free package of trail mix to the first 48 Laptop Lunch customers who order online during the month of May!

For more information on the SunRidge Farms product line, or to find out where you can purchase SunRidge Farm products in your area, please visit our Web site at www.sunridgefarms.com.

 


Green Opportunities

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

  • Do you cringe every time you open your mailbox and find a pile of unwanted junk mail? Of course most of it is recyclable, but eliminating it altogether is certainly better--for the earth and your peace of mind. Reducing the amount of junk mail you receive is not as difficult as you may think. For a detailed description of who to contact and how, visit www.junkmailstopper.com.
  • If you haven't had a chance to check out the new USDA food pyramid, you can do so at www.mypyramid.gov. You'll find a wealth of information, including what the new pyramid looks like and how you can make it work for you. They've got tips for incorporating more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, and you can even personalize the pyramid for your age, gender and activity level.

  • If you're looking to "close the loop" on your electronics and electronic-related purchases, check out the products and services at www.greendisk.com. They'll recycle your cell phones, pagers, CDs, cassettes, video tapes, 3.5" diskettes and more.

  • Project Open Hand in the San Francisco Bay Area saved $22,000 by implementing a comprehensive recycling program. To read more about how they achieved this goal, visit www.openhand.org/pages/Mealtimes61.pdf.

  • Nonprofit E Magazine contains valuable information and in-depth stories on all aspects related to the environment. For a free trial , click here.


Yard Sale Strategies

Holding a yard sale is a great way to de-clutter and get rid of those unwanted items you have laying around. Get other families in your neighborhood involved, and you'll not only increase your sales, but you'll have more fun too! Here are some tips for making it a success:

  • BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED AND DON'T NEED. When you're looking for yard sale items around the house, ask yourself these questions about each item: Is this important to me? When was the last time I used it? Will someone else be able to use it more than I will? If it's not important to you and is rarely used, put it in the yard sale pile.

  • ADVERTISE. Place a classified ad in your local newspaper. If you have more than one family participating, be sure to mention that you're holding a multi-family yard sale. Post large flyers around the neighborhood. Tell all your friends. Put up flyers at school, work, and other places you frequent. Post an announcement online. Craig's List at www.craigslist.com is a great place to start.

  • MAKE SURE YOUR ITEMS ARE CLEAN. Customers prefer buying items that are clean and look well cared for. They may be willing to pay a higher price too.

  • HANG CLOTHES. If you can hang your clothes, your customers will be able to see what you've got.

  • MAKE SURE ALL ITEMS ARE VISIBLE. If customers can't see your stuff, they can't buy it.

  • GET THE KIDS INVOLVED. Kids love to sell lemonade, slices of watermelon, or homemade cookies. This is a great way to get them involved--though don't be surprised if they consume more than your customers do!

  • DONATE THE LEFTOVERS. When the sale is over, donate what's left to a local charity. Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and www.throwplace.com are all great options.
 

What Works...Success Stories

  • "A parent at my sons' school raved about the Laptop lunchbox and then organized a mass order for those interested, so a lot of the kids have your product! We're really happy with them, and my sons eat all of their lunches these days."

       -- Rachel Beser, Oakland, CA

     

  • "My son, who is 6, was upset that his lunchbox didn't have any 'cool pictures of superheroes.' After putting stickers on the outside, he reluctantly took his Laptop Lunch to school. During lunch, several kids commented on the 'neat little boxes.' He came home very excited to pack his lunch for the next day, and he always has fun trying to come up with new things to fill each compartment.

    "I've loved the versatility and ease of use from the beginning, now I'm happy that he likes his lunchbox as well."

       -- Karen Rueff, Louisville, KY

     

  • "We're putting Laptop Lunches in our Waste Reduction Traveling Trunks that teachers borrow from us (the trunks contain all sorts of activities, lessons, etc.). We thought this would be a great way to get kids thinking about packing zero waste lunches. We'll be putting lesson ideas with the lunch kits as well. I don't know when we first heard about Laptop Lunches, but we've been talking about them around our office for quite a while. We think they are a FANTASTIC idea!! Keep up the great work and the GREAT website. We get so much good information from it. And we'll be sure to keep spreading the word. The world needs more companies like yours."

       -- Courtney Marschalek, Waukesha County Recycling and Solid Waste, Waukesha, WI

    Posing for a photo...

    Off to the skate park!


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


Featured Web Site: www.oceansalive.org

 

Are you concerned about mercury, PCBs and other contaminants in the seafood you eat? Learn which types of fish are considered "Eco-best" and "Eco-worst" at www.oceansalive.org. Download their handy pocket seafood selector and take it with you to seafood stores and restaurants. You'll also find a buying guide, sustainable recipes, and fish consumption advisories. The following is a list of substitutions they recommend.

 

  • Substitute wild Alaskan salmon for farmed salmon. (Atlantic salmon in US stores and restaurants is always farmed.)
  • If you live in New England and want to serve cod, serve hook-caught instead of trawl-caught Atlantic cod. If you live on the West Coast, sablefish/black cod is a good replacement.
  • Farmed striped bass can be used as a substitute for many species of depleted fish such as Pacific rockfish, groupers, snappers, orange roughy and Patagonian toothfish (often called Chilean seabass).
  • Catfish can also be substituted for orange roughy.
  • For meaty warm-water fish like grouper, try mahimahi instead.

  • Most shrimp production outside the US entails considerable habitat destruction or bycatch. If you want to serve shrimp, California trap-caught spot prawns (also excellent frozen) and northern pink shrimp from Newfoundland are the best choices.

  • Dredging or dragging for shellfish can damage the sea floor habitat. Replace dredged mussels, oysters and scallops with farmed shellfish raised off-bottom on ropes or racks.
  • US Farmed crawfish make an excellent and less expensive replacement for spiny lobsters, which are overfished in many places.

June Highlights

Monthly menu, summer potluck dishes, and the secrets behind locally grown produce!


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

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© May 2005 Obentec, Inc.

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

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