In this issue, you'll find:
- New Products
- Vegan Lunch
Box Holiday Recipes
- Green Opportunities
- New Retailers
with Jennifer McCann
- What works...Success
Web site: http://hes.lbl.gov
You, San Francisco Green Festival!
The Green Festival (our 5th!) was a HUGE success again this year.
A big thanks to those of you who stopped by just to check in, to
introduce yourself, or to purchase additional products. The Green
Festival each year offers us a tangible measure of how far we've
come in such a short time. We attended our first Green Festival
five years ago with one product, a tablecloth, a banner, and a staff
of kind-hearted volunteers. This year we had two booths, a truckload
of product and display materials, and a paid (still kind-hearted)
staff of six. We'd like to thank everyone who contributed to making
the show a success and to extend a warm welcome to all of our new
subscribers and, hopefully, their friends!
Debi, Tammy, Amy, and Kate posing in Booth 1
Tamara helping a customer at Booth 2
Recipe Books and DVD available at LaptopLunches.com!
for even more lunch ideas?
The Visual Guide: How To Make A Healthy Lunch For Kids
DVD is now on sale at www.laptoplunches.com.
affordable, 90-minute DVD is ideal for busy, health-conscious
parents. It's packed with valuable information on lunch box-friendly
food presentation, healthy lunch ideas, and meal options.
It also includes strategies for incorporating fruits and vegetables
in your child's favorite meals. The entire family will enjoy
watching food and fitness expert Laura Pasetta as she brings
to life the seven essential layers of a kid-friendly, healthy
your copy at www.laptoplunches.com/products.html!
you think vegan lunchtime means peanut butter and jelly
day after day, think again! From the simple to the sublime,
Vegan Lunch Box brings you an amazing array of
entirely meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free lunches.
Transform how you look at lunchtime forever, with…
well-balanced menus to help you pack nutritious, irresistible
lunches that are ready in a flash.
recipes that older kids can make themselves.
themed lunches for special occasions.
lunches made with foods from around the world.
Cooper and Lisa Holmes explain the basics of good childhood
nutrition and suggest dozens of tasty, home-tested recipes
for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The book is also packed
with recommendations for eliminating potential hazards
from the home, bringing gardening and composting into
daily life, and supporting businesses that provide local,
learning about nutrition and changing the way you run
your home will not cure the plague of obesity and poor
health for this generation of children. Only parental
activism can spark widespread change. With inspirational
examples and analysis, Lunch Lessons is more
than just a recipe book—it gives readers the tools to
transform the way children everywhere interact with
available at www.laptoplunches.com/products.html!
Got a favorite
photo to share?
- Peach yogurt
lettuce, tomato sandwich
- Orange wedges
- Dried apple
are a family of 9. We have 3 adult children from my first
marriage. Gary and I have 4 children together--ages 3 to
11. I am a stay-at-home mom, and my dear hubby is in facilities
management as an architect for the hospitals in our area.
All 4 children attend school in our community after being
homeschooled for their younger years. Jason, our oldest,
is a Navy League cadet and plays the drums and the clarinet.
Julie (8) and Katie (6) are involved in German dancing and
play on a city-run soccer team. Christine (3) is in preK
and enjoys play-do and getting into whatever Julie and Katie
are doing. Gary is constantly designing ideas for our home,
creating a great showcase. I am taking German at the German
Language School here in our city and am attempting to teach
our youngsters some of what I learn. We are a busy and happy
bunch most of the time. We love life and getting to know
our province of Saskatchewan by visiting different locales
always include water in the lunches and get the bulk of nutrients
from real food."
fabulous holiday recipes were contributed by Jennifer McCann from her
new book, Vegan Lunch Box. Thanks for your inspiration, Jennifer!
Blend Popcorn Balls
cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels, popped in 1/8 cup
corn or canola oil)
cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
cup roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds (or buy them raw and toast
your own, see below)
cup dried blueberries
cup dried cranberries
cup brown rice syrup
cup packed light brown sugar
Makes 12 balls
toast raw pumpkin seeds, preheat the oven to 350º. Place the
pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast, shaking the pan once or
twice, for 10 minutes, until the seeds are slightly puffed. Set aside.
the popcorn and place it in a large mixing bowl with the sunflower
seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries and dried cranberries. Remove
any unpopped kernels. Set aside.
the brown rice syrup, brown sugar, salt, and ¼ cup water in
a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until
the mixture boils over the entire surface. Stop stirring and adjust
the heat if necessary to maintain this constant boil without boiling
now you have a choice. If you want soft, somewhat gooey, chewy popcorn
balls (my personal preference), boil for about 8-10 minutes (240º
on a candy thermometer, aka soft-ball stage). If you want hard, less
chewy popcorn balls that crackle when you crunch into them (my husband’s
preference), boil for up to 15 minutes (250º on a candy thermometer,
aka hard-ball stage).
the sugar mixture evenly over the popcorn, stirring constantly until
everything is completely coated, being sure to stir from the bottom
of the bowl to catch all those little sunflower seeds that like to
fall to the bottom. Put some margarine or oil on your hands to keep
the mixture from sticking. Scoop up large handfuls and shape into
balls, pressing firmly (if you are packing some inside a lunch box,
make sure you make them small or flat enough so that they fit with
the lid closed).
quickly before the mixture has a chance to cool. If the mixture gets
too firm to shape, place it in a warm (300º) oven for 1 to 2
minutes to soften.
- 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup sweet unsulphured molasses
- ¾ cup water
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. cloves
- ½ tsp. allspice
Makes about 2 to 3 dozen cookies,
depending on the size you choose
the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together
the margarine, brown sugar, molasses, and ½ cup of water.
another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon,
ginger, cloves, and allspice. Add the dry ingredients to the
wet ingredients, adding just enough of the water to incorporate
all the flour and form a dough that holds together well.
the dough out of the bowl and form into four equal balls. Wrap
each ball well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least
the oven to 350º. Line some baking sheets with parchment
and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
with one ball at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured
surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll the dough about
¼-inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out your desired
shapes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared
cookie sheets, placing them about 1 to 2 inches apart.
for 10 to 12 minutes, until the surface is firm. Transfer to
a wire rack to cool completely, then decorate with Gingerbread
Vegan Icing and sprinkles (optional).
about ¾ cup
You may want to make multiple batches of this icing and color each
with a different food coloring for some very colorful cookie creations.
I prefer the look of clean white icing on my little vegans.
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 1 ½ Tbs. Silk Nog or 1
the powdered sugar and vanilla. Sprinkle in the Silk Nog or
water, stirring well with a small spatula and using just enough
liquid to form a smooth icing. It should be soft enough to squeeze
easily out of a piping bag, but not so runny that it runs out
of the bag unbidden. Transfer the icing to the piping bag and
decorate the cookies as desired.
pack some frosting for the lunch box, put a small amount of
icing into one corner of a sandwich-sized ziplock bag, then
twist the filled corner off and secure snugly with a small rubber
band and a piece of holiday ribbon. Cut away the top of the
baggie, then cut a very small hole in the tip of the bag to
squeeze the icing out. Cover the tip with a bit of plastic wrap
so the icing does not dry out before lunch.
earth-friendly tidbits that have landed in our office in recent weeks...
THE VEGETARIANS AT YOUR HOLIDAY TABLE– Whether you are a vegetarian
yourself or you have vegetarians coming to dinner this holiday season,
there's no need to stress over the menu. Roughly one in ten Americans
are vegetarian, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group's Web site.
The traditional holiday dinner has a multitude of vegetarian dishes
innately built-in: potatoes, beans, corn, bread, cranberries... But
for those who would like to offer additional options to their vegetarian
guests, or for those who are preparing a strictly vegetarian feast,
you can find a list of holiday recipes from successful chefs at www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_3399.cfm.
FOR WRAPPING PAPER?
Before you head out to the store, do a quick inventory around the house.
You may already have what you need. Consider decorating brown paper
shopping bags with ribbons made from salvaged materials like old maps
or scraps of leftover fabric or yarn.
- Old scarves
- Travel and
tourist flyers from past vacations
- Photo pages
from last year’s calendar
- Fabric remnants
- Subway or
highway maps you no longer need
- Wooden crates
or cardboard boxes, painted with festive designs
- Pages from
magazines or comic books
- Old posters
or prints you no longer want
- Leftover wallpaper
or contact paper
- Tracing paper
- Paper bags
- The Sunday
If you're looking
for more ways to simplify the holidays, check out the"Simplify the
Holidays" pamphlet at the New American Dream Web site: www.newdream.org.
MEATRIX 2.5– What
happens to Moopheus after being kidnapped in Meatrix 2? What really
goes on in meat processing plants? And what can you do? To find the
answers to these questions, view the latest Meatrix short at www.moremeatrix.com.
THE BEST EGGS– Free Range? USDA Organic?
Free Farmed? Vegetarian Fed? Cage-free? Antibiotic and Hormone Free?
Fertile? Omega 3? Natural? CONFUSED? Deciphering these claims can
be difficult for even the savviest shopper. What do these labels
really mean? Here's a brief summary:
come from chickens that have access to outdoor areas, but there
is no provision for how long they must spend or how much room
they must have outside. USDA regulations don’t require the birds
to actually spend time outdoors, only to have access.
USDA Organic eggs come from chickens that
are fed a vegetarian diet grown without any herbicides, commercial fertilizers
or fungicides. They are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.
Cage-free eggs come from chickens that are
uncaged, though they may live exclusively indoors.
Farmed eggs come from chickens that are treated in a humane manner
with access to clean and sufficient food and water, and a safe and healthful
Vegetarian-Fed chickens are given a more
natural diet than that provided to most laying hens, but this label does
not set standards for the animals' living conditions.
Antibiotic and Hormone Free eggs come from
chickens that have not been fed antibiotics or hormones.
Fertile eggs have been laid by hens that
have lived with roosters and were probably not caged.
United Egg Producers Certified eggs come
from farms that have voluntarily complied with the United Egg Producers
standards. This program permits routine cruel and inhumane factory farm
practices. By 2008, hens laying these eggs will be allowed 67 square inches
of cage space per bird. (This is less than a letter-size sheet of paper.)
The hens are confined in restrictive, battery cages and cannot perform
many of their natural behaviors, including perching, nesting, foraging
or fully stretching their wings.
3 eggs come from hens that are fed a diet containing 10%-20%
ground flaxseed, which produces eggs with slightly higher amounts
of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
"Natural" has no regulated
meaning. Natural eggs do not contain any artificial ingredients.
This label does not say anything about what the chickens have been
fed or how they've been treated.
Market Natural Foods
125 Loring Street
Manchester, NH 03103
531 Middleneck Road
Great Neck, NY 11023
for a complete list of retailers.
Want to see Laptop Lunches at a store in your neighborhood? Email us at
email@example.com, and we'll give them
Packing a Vegan Lunch Box
Tammy recently interviewed Jennifer
McCann, author of Vegan Lunch Box, creator of The
Vegan Lunch Box Blog, and mom extraordinaire. She is also
the winner of PETA's 2005 Proggy Award for "Blog of the Year,"
the 2006 VegWebby Award for "Best Family Blog," and the 6th
Annual Bloggie Award for "Best Food Blog."
on your new book Vegan Lunch Box. Can you tell
us a little bit about the book and why you decided to
you, Tammy! My book features well-balanced lunch menus that are completely
animal-free, i.e. no meat, dairy, or eggs. I start with quick and
easy menus and recipes and then move on to more adventurous, gourmet
menus filled with exciting dishes from around the world. I also include
themed menus for special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and graduations,
and an Allergen-Free Index, which identifes wheat-, gluten-, soy-,
and nut-free recipes for those with food sensitivities--a growing
concern for many families.
long did it take you to come up with all these wonderful recipes?
menus and recipes represent the very best of all the lunches I created
for my son over an entire school year.
did you decide to focus on the midday meal?
My focus on lunch started when my son began first grade. Before that,
we had never packed lunches to eat away from home. We usually ate
hot lunches at home--mostly steamed vegetables and dinner leftovers--so
packing a cold lunch each day was a new adventure. I wanted to make
sure the experience was fun and positive, so before school started,
I began creating vegan lunches that were delicious and well-balanced.
don't have to be vegan to enjoy the recipes in your book. What is
one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about vegan foods?
it's all "sticks and leaves" or "rabbit food," or salad, salad, salad!
Not that there's anything wrong with a good salad, but vegan food
can be warm, hearty, filling, decadent, delicious…and kid-friendly!
dish do you prepare from your book that has vegans and non-vegans
asking for seconds?
I would have predicted that Triple Chocolate Cupcakes would be the
biggest hit. I bake them for all kinds of parties and family celebrations,
and even non-veg members of my family ask for them for their birthdays!
But surprisingly, a lot of people rave about my Tofu Apple Spring
Rolls - rice paper wrapped around gingery baked tofu, tart apples,
cilantro, and nappa cabbage. One cook told me she had to make two
batches of the baked tofu because her "tofu-hating" kids ate the entire
first batch right off the baking sheet!
inspired you to become a vegetarian, and then a vegan?
are so many reasons people become vegan or switch to a plant-based
diet--health, the environment, animal welfare. For me, it was all
about ethical concerns. That's why I feature a link to Vegan
Outreach on my Web site.
advice do you have for someone who wants to change to a vegan diet?
advantage of all the wonderful resources available on the Internet.
I wish I had had access to so much information and support when I
went vegetarian 20 years ago! Today it's easy to find vegan starter
kits, cooking and shopping guides, inspirational food blogs, and great
vegan discussion groups.
your perfect lunch?
actually featured a few of my lunches this summer during our vacation
time. They're very different from my son's. My ideal lunch usually
involves an enormous mixed salad of greens, beans, fruit, and nuts,
packed next to a large thermos filled with vegetable or bean soup,
and some whole-grain bread or crackers. I also like to eat the same
things more often than he does; I'm happy eating the same soup every
day for a week.
Shmoo's perfect lunch?
He likes to have smaller servings of a wide variety of foods, so he
can enjoy several different tastes in one meal. It's got to be easy
to eat, kid-friendly (no onions), and it must include a treat at the
end. Some of his favorites are sushi rolls, vegan fondue dip packed
with a big assortment of vegetables for dipping, and fake veggie meats
like vegan deli slices or "chicken" nuggets.
love, love, love your blog. What inspired you to start a blog just
about vegan lunches?
Oh, and I have
to say, on that first morning when I packed his very first lunch--sushi
nori rolls and edamame, per his request--it was so handsome in his
brand new Laptop Lunch Box. It really does make packing lunch fun!
few weeks before school started, I began jotting down lunch
ideas as they came to me. Then one morning it occurred to me
that I might not be the only vegan mom out there looking for
lunch ideas. I thought if I created a blog and posted pictures
and descriptions of the lunches I create, that other parents
might find it helpful or entertaining. Little did I know!
you share some inspirational tips for making healthy, creative lunches?
so easy to fall into the lunchmaking rut! I remember packing myself
nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks all through
high school, so I know how boring it can be.
With my own son, I wanted to keep things interesting and fun, as I
knew he'd get sick of peanut butter really fast! I started by making
lists of the different fruits, vegetables, and main dishes that he
enjoyed and that I knew would travel well. Then I used them to put
together a variety of well-balanced lunches and to identify new recipes
for him to enjoy.
Don't forget to ask for your child's input and help; kids are more
likely to eat foods that they have proudly helped create.
you recommend a few holiday-themed menus you enjoy making?
the holidays, I love to include treats that are as much fun to make
as they are to eat. We especially enjoy putting together my Native
Blend Popcorn Balls, made with foods that are native to North America,
including blueberries, cranberries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and,
I like to feature some winter foods like chestnuts, in my Golden
Chestnut Soup, and Best Brussels Sprouts, which taste great even
at room temperature. I also bake a big batch of Gingerbread Vegans,
and pack some in the lunch box with a little decorating bag filled
with icing and some sprinkles, so my son can decorate the cookie
at lunch time.
you haven't yet visited Jennifer's blog, check it out at http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com.
just had to write and share our success with Laptop Lunches. My son has
multiple food allergies and autism. He loves to have his food "framed"
for him in little boxes. When we're home, I use a cafeteria tray, but
we've never had anything we could take on the road until now.
"Before we purchased the Laptop Lunch System, I didn't realize how
much we would use it. We've taken it on the town at least half a dozen
times. We've taken it to restaurants, where he often can't eat the foods
available or can only enjoy a limited selection. We've also taken it to
Occupational Therapy appointments, where he has feeding therapy, and to
picnics in the park. He just loves his lunch box. I swear he eats more
than he would with just a brown bag lunch, and I don't have to haul around
a bunch of mismatched containers. Laptop lunches are the best. Now my
husband wants one! Thanks for such a great product that makes our lives
Compton, Camas, WA
newsletter is the ultimate supplement to the product. My company creates
marketing materials for customers and our favorite thing to do is to educate
about how to use the products. Since we are in the business of using paper
(sorry), we want to feel it is put to the best use. I absolutely love
that you show pictures and give suggestions. Creating fun, healthy school
lunches has been a challenge, but you and your product have restore