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December 2005

Laptop Lunch Times: December 2005

The Laptop Lunch Times

Cool-iscious lunch ideas
December 2005

Our new products have arrived!

The cool new products we debuted at the Green Festival are now available online! Scroll down for details...and remember to order early this holiday season.

Bento Boxes
Amy and Tammy

In this issue, you'll find:

  • Monthly Menu
  • Hot Lunch Soups
  • Cool New Products
  • Green Gifts
  • New Retailers
  • The truth about Plastics
  • Featured Web site:
  • What works...Success Stories
lunchboxes, bento boxes, bento bags, and stainless steel drink bottles

Monthly Menu
nutritious lunch menu

Hot Lunch Soups

Winter's here, and we're awfully excited about our two new lunch jars for hot it seems only natural for us to share two of our favorite soup recipes. Enjoy and stay warm!

#1: Tortilla Soup

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups water or broth
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ Tbs red chili powder
tortilla soup
  • 3 cups Mexican-style cooked golden hominy (available in the ethnic foods section of most supermarkets), drained and rinsed (or substitute cooked corn).
  • Garnishes (optional)--tortilla chips, lime wedges, chopped onions, cilantro, dried oregano, cubed avocado, crumbled queso fresco

Makes 8 Servings
1. In a 6-quart pan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
2. Add 8 cups of water/broth and diced tomatoes (with juice).
3. Add carrots and celery.
4. Add oregano, salt and chili powder.
5. Let cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
6. Add hominy and cook for 15 minutes more.
7. Serve with a twist of lime and garnishes.

#2: Minty Lentil Soup

This minty soup is both hearty and light all at the same time. Be generous with the cumin and garlic for a stronger flavor. We like to add 1/4 cup goat feta or 1/2 cup goat yogurt to each bowl to achieve an earthier flavor.

  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped coarsely
  • 12 cups raw spinach, washed thoroughly and chopped coarsely
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • plain yogurt (cow, goat, or soy) or feta cheese

1. Cook the lentils in about 4 cups of water until tender but not mushy (about 25 minutes).
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, and saute until soft (about 5 minutes).
Add the spinach and garlic and cook until soft.
4. Add 2 cups of the vegetable broth, put the mixture in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Return the mixture to the pot, add the rest of the vegetable broth, the mint, the cumin and the lentils, and heat.
Top with yogurt or feta cheese, and serve warm or cold.
hot foods jar

Cool New Products

Our long-awaited new product additions have finally arrived--just in time for the holiday season! Many thanks for your patience...

We're pleased to announce the very stylish and practical "Lunch Date" for adults in search of the ultimate in lunch carriers. It's perfect for packing nutritious lunches for work or school.

We've also got two stainless steel water bottles, a travel flask for hot drinks, and lunch jars (for hot or cold foods) in two sizes. And don't forget to check out our made-in-San Francisco Bento Bags and Bento Sleeves.

Tammy Pelstring

Here's a photo of Tammy sporting our wares at the Green Festival. For more information or to place an order, please visit our Web site at .

Green Gifts

Here are a few green gift opportunities...Just in time for the holiday season!

  • LAPTOP LUNCHES are great for encouraging friends and family members to waste less, spend less, and eat well. Check out our new line of products at

new products

organic cotton bedding
  • Native Organic Cotton manufactures quality organic cotton bed and bath products. They contract with small family-owned American farmers for U.S. Certified organic cotton. Native Cotton manages to make organics affordable by selling direct to the consumer. Their motto? "From the Dirt to the Shirt." Click on the logo to visit them online at
  • The Seva Foundation's mission is to build partnerships that address locally defined problems with culturally sustainable solutions. By purchasing one or more of their gifts of service, you can support community self development, sight programs, and Native American community wellness. Visit their Web site at
  • A Greater Gift works to alleviate poverty and empower low-income people to improve their lives. They follow internationally accepted fair trade principles and practices, including a commitment to fair pay for labor, no child exploitation, long-term relationships, concern for the environment, and equal opportunity for women. You'll find a large selection of products, including baskets, textiles, food items, art, wood products, games, puzzles, jewelry, musical instruments, Christmas ornaments, and candles. You'll find them on the Web at
  • "Hand Made, Home Made, Maine Made" GRANDY OATS is an organic treat, created in the foothills of the White Mountains by company founders, Aaron Anker and Nat Peirce. Grandy Oats makes all of their bulk and packaged granolas, roasted nuts, and trail mixes by hand, using quality organic ingredients. If you'd like to try it, they're offering our readers a 15% discount. To take advantage of this offer, call or place your order online and then send an email to [email protected] asking them to apply the 15% Laptop Lunches discount to your order.

healthy granola
    We tried some of their granola at the Green Festival last month and took some home to the kids, and it was a tremendous hit--perfect for lunch as a yogurt & fruit topping.

    GrandyOats has been making granola since 1979. The business has grown, but they remain committed to quality living and environmentally and socially friendly, sustainable business practices. Check them out online at

New Retailers

New Leaf Community Market
1210 41st Avenue
Capitola, CA 95010

831 479-7987

Organic Alley
23 Cottonwood Lane
Pittsford, NY 14534


The Truth About Plastics

Plastics have become an integral part of our everyday lives. They're unbreakable, light weight, colorful, inexpensive, and easy to mold. But recent studies have shown that some plastics may cause adverse health effects, especially to children whose small bodies are still developing. While much of the evidence concerning plastics and food is still inconclusive, we'd like to provide you with some guidelines for using plastics safely.

CHOOSE FOOD GRADE PLASTICS. Choose food and drink containers that have been FDA-approved for food use. Plastic items not intended for contact with food might contain harmful materials. (Our plastics have all been FDA-approved for food use.)

CLEAN CONTAINERS THOROUGHLY. Thorough cleaning between uses prevents bacteria from growing.

plastic bottles

MICROWAVE RESPONSIBLY. Never heat food in plastic containers not intended for food use. If you microwave in plastics, make sure the containers are FDA-approved for microwave use. Choose polyethylene or polypropylene, which do not contain plasticizers. Do not microwave in polystyrene (Styrofoam), single-use plastic containers, or plastic wrap.

STORE FOOD SAFELY. Let food cool completely and then immediately store it in the refrigerator. Pack hot foods and drinks in vacuum lunch jars and flasks. (See for examples.)

PURCHASE THE SAFEST PLASTICS AVAILABLE. Plastics can be identified by their recycle codes 1-7. The following is a summary of what we know about plastic safety and recyclability:


#5 - Polypropylene (PP) has no known adverse health effects. (All plastic Laptop Lunch containers are made of high quality PP.)

#2 - High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) has no known adverse health effects.

#4 - Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) has no known adverse health effects.


#3 - Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) often contains plasticizers which are added for flexibility. PVC contains phthalates and other suspected endocrine disrupters. PVC is used in many products including plastic wrap, bottles, and children's toys. Some PVC contains lead. PVC is difficult to recycle because of its high chlorine content and high levels of toxic additives. Separation and collection costs are high, material quality is greatly reduced after recycling, and the demand for virgin PVC remains high compared to the recycled material.

#6 - Polystyrene (Styrofoam) contains suspected carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals. Consuming fatty foods or alcoholic drinks from these containers is not recommended. Polystyrene is generally not recyclable.

#7 - Polycarbonate (PC) contains Bisphenol-A, a known hormone disruptor. It can damage reproductive organs and have adverse effects on breast tissue and prostate development. PC, or lexan, is used in some Nalgene brand water bottles (the hard colorful ones), some baby bottles, and in the lining of some aluminum cans. It is also found in dental fillings and sealants, including some used to prevent tooth decay in children.

#1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET) is used mostly in single-use drink bottles--like those containing water, soda, and juice. These bottles are not intended for re-use and should not be stored for long periods of time or exposed to heat. While these bottles are highly recyclable, in reality few actually make it to the recycling center. According to the Container Recycling Institute, in fact, 50 billion single-use plastic bottles are used annually, but only 10 billion are recycled. The other 40 billion end up in landfills, incinerators or as roadside litter. Please make the switch to a reusable bottle.

We hope that this information will help you make educated purchasing decisions. Please keep in mind that research on these materials is ongoing. We will make every effort to update this article at as we learn more.

What Works...Success Stories

  • "I bought my son a Laptop Lunch box, and I love it. I'm writing to say what a great job you do on your newsletter. I really appreciate all the work that goes into it. It's very well done. Thanks for all the information."

  •    --Shannon Ross, Chico, CA

  • "As a mom, former flight attendant and 'green consumer,' I was immediately enthusiastic about the Laptop Lunch System. My thoughts were 'what could be better, a healthy meal with virtually no waste that's easy to carry?' I hope by selling Laptop Lunch kits, I'll be able to help spread the word about this wonderfully sensible product. If you live in the Philadelphia area please contact me!"

       --Sally Metzger, West Chester, PA, 610-738-9579, [email protected]

  • "I'm glad to tell you that the Laptop Lunchbox has arrived in Germany. It is really a wonderful product. My 17-year-old daughter is very happy. She is a vegetarian, and for the first time in her life she is really interested in healthy food! She says that this box is absolutely right for her last years in school and university. Thank you so much for making the shipping possible."

    --Sibylle Hoffer, Germany

  • "Thank you for the lunch box. I really like it, very creative." Monique, age 13.

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

Featured Web Site:

    Is there a hybrid vehicle in your future? Visit for a list of all hybrids on the market. Learn to differentiate between a "full hybrid" and a "hollow hybrid." Find out how various hybrid vehicles measure up, and which ones might fit into your lifestyle. They've got detailed comparisons of hybrid technologies, reviews, comments from current hybrid owners around the nation, and a list of all federal and state incentives for prospective hybrid owners.

hybrid information

eco-friendly vehicles

January Highlights

Wholesome Snack Ideas, Green Opportunities, and an Eco-Interview.


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

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December 2005 Obentec, Inc.

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


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