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December 2003

Laptop Lunch Times: December 2003

Obentec Newsletter

December 2003

December News!

Well, winter has blown in once again and the holiday season is upon us! We hope that your holidays are filled with love, joy, peace--and relatively little stress! Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2004!

In this issue, you'll find:

  • Hearty one-bowl meals

  • Strategies for a healthy holiday season

  • Tips for creating a low-waste holiday

  • Holiday discounts

  • What works...Success Stories

Hearty One-bowl Meals

The following recipes make 4 servings each.

#1: Asian Rice Bowl

  • Prepare 2 cups short-grain brown rice as directed.
  • Poach 1 pacific wild-caught salmon steak or salmon fillet (or 1 cup cubed braised tofu) in 1/4 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce. Flake salmon and remove bones.
  • Prepare each of the following ingredients: chopped scallions, steamed broccoli, steamed carrots, cubed avocado, and diced cucumber.
  • Put a serving of rice in each bowl, and top with flaked salmon or braised tofu.
  • Add scallions, avocado, broccoli, carrots, and cucumber.
  • Garnish with daikon or alfalfa sprouts.
  • Season with an Asian-style salad dressing, such as Ginger/Miso or Wasabi Lime.

#2: Hearty Peanut Stew

  • Prepare 1 cup cous cous or bulgur wheat as directed and set aside.
  • In 3 tbs olive oil, saute until tender: 1 large clove crushed garlic, 2 cups cubed potatoes, 3 large sliced carrots, 2 cups sliced zucchini, okra or shredded cabbage, and 1 large coarsely chopped onion.
  • Boil 4 cups water in a large sauce pan.
  • Season with 2 tbs vegetable bouillon.
  • Add 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes or 1 large can diced tomatoes.
  • Add the sauteed vegetables.
  • Add one can chick peas, drained.
  • Mix 2/3 cup freshly ground peanut or cashew butter into 1 cup hot water and 1 tbs soy sauce and stir until smooth.
  • Add the peanut butter mixture to the soup mixture and stir well.
  • If you like it spicy, add some chopped jalapenos or spicy sambal. (optional)
  • Spoon a serving of rice into each bowl.
  • Top with the stew.
  • Dig in!

#3: Mexican-inspired Rice Bowl

  • Prepare 2 cups short-grain brown rice as directed.
  • Prepare 2 cups black beans or pinto beans (canned or dried).
  • Heat 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Add 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 coarsely chopped large onion, 1 sliced red bell pepper, and 1 sliced green bell pepper (and cabbage, broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms, if desired) and saute until pungent and tender.
  • Season with juice from 1/2 lime and 1/2 tsp ground cumin.
  • Prepare and set aside the following toppings: 1 avocado cut into bite-sized pieces, 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, 1 cup fresh shredded lettuce.
  • Spoon some rice into each bowl.
  • Top with beans and sauteed vegetables.
  • Add the other toppings.
  • Top generously with your favorite salsa and garnish with fresh diced mango if desired.

Strategies for a Healthy Holiday Season

  • WALK, WALK, WALK-- Don't surrender to inactivity just because holiday travel or visiting relatives has interrupted your regular workout schedule. This holiday season, choose the stairs instead of taking the escalator or elevator. Take a short walk with a family member after dinner. Stretching for a few minutes when you wake up in the morning will help start the day out on the right foot.

  • HOLIDAY TREATS--The holiday season is a time to enjoy wonderful homemade treats! To ensure your children get the nutrients they need, encourage them to eat their "growing food" first. Keep a healthy supply of fruits, nuts, and vegetables like carrots, celery, and cucumbers on hand for them to eat before they fill up on treats. If they're offered a plate of cookies, allow them to take just one or two instead of sitting down with the entire plate.

  • SLEEP ON IT--Don't forget to get plenty of rest this holiday season. Getting enough sleep will not only reduce the risk of illness, but will alsol help you cope with the added stress that the holidays bring.

Tips for Creating a Low-waste Holiday Season

  • Decide that you will make a donation to a favorite charity instead of exchanging gifts this year.

  • Choose practical gifts that you know your recipient can use.

  • Encourage children to make homemade gifts of food or to create something they’ve made from salvaged items.
  • When you go shopping, take your own shopping bags.
  • Wrap presents in reusable gift bags instead of using disposable wrapping paper, or use baskets or interesting containers that can be purchased at yard sales and thrift stores.
  • Instead of wrapping gifts for the children, hide them and make it a treasure hunt.
  • Send holiday emails to family, friends and business associates instead of purchasing paper cards.

  • You can still include a photo, and it's less expensive too.

  • Discuss these tips with the people on your gift list. Decide together that you will reduce waste this holiday season.

Holiday Savings!

Are you shopping for practical gifts this holiday season?

To order, visit

What Works...Success Stories

  • "My 6 and 8 year-olds were looking for ways to personalize their carrying cases. My 6 year-old loves ribbons, so we attached a large purple ribbon at the edge of the handle so she can spot her carrying case easily. My 8 year-old collects key chains, so she decided to attach her six favorite key chains to her carrying case. Guess what? Now most of the third grade girls have key chains on their lunch bags too...and they've started trading them as well."

  • "My 7 year-old has been using a Laptop Lunch for over a year. Before we made the switch, he'd come home from school with his lunch uneaten. Now that he's involved in deciding what we pack and he's using what his classmates call the 'cool box in a lunchbox' he eats almost everything. What a difference it's made in our lives!"    

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

January Highlights

Savory soups, waste-free lunch tips, and strategies for dealing with picky eaters!

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

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© December 2003, by Obentec, Inc.


Feel free to reprint or forward this newsletter with the following acknowledgement and contact information clearly visible: "Thank you to Obentec, Inc. for permission to use this copyrighted material. For more information, contact Obentec, Inc. by email at [email protected] or by phone at 831-457-0301, or visit their Web site at Reprint permission granted with this full notice included."