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December 2010

  December 2010  


In this issue you'll find:


What works...Success Stories

Love Your Web Site

"I just wanted to say how much I love your Web site and products. I recently bought my son his first Laptop Lunchbox, and we both can't wait to use it. I really like how we can pack healthy nutritious meals for children to enjoy. Thank you for all the great products and recipe ideas."

    -- Mary, Gulf Breeze, FL

Amazing Product

"I have 4 kids, 3 in school, and I can honestly say that I am in love with these lunchboxes! They make me pack better lunches, and they make it easier. By looking at the compartments it makes me think about what types of foods and the variety I am packing. The amount I spent buying the 3 lunchboxes is nothing compared to the amount I would be spending on bags, not to mention the fact that I feel so much better about not using and throwing away all those baggies! Thanks for creating such an amazing product.

We had an unfortunate turn of events last school year, starting with my son leaving his rolling back pack behind (actually almost under) my 12 passenger, one ton van. In backing up, we ran over the backpack. Devastated, we opened the mangled pack and to our surprise the bento compartment, had only a mark where it was run over but popped right out and was good as new! Amazing! "

    -- Ashley Gaffney, Everett, WA 

Healthy Meals Every Day

"My daughters' Laptop Lunches are another year older. They have survived sitting in the Arizona heat while my kids happily play at recess, they have stayed complete and there are no missing pieces. My girls have healthy, well balanced meals every day thanks to these trusty little boxes. One box has seen Kinder-Second grade. It will be entering its 4th year. The other will be entering its second year. A new kindergardener was comforted by homemade lunches with little hidden notes from mom. I see these original bento boxes taking us all through grade school. While an initial costly investment was necessary, they have paid for themselves. Thank you Laptop Lunches for making such a reliable, reusable lunch container. "

    -- Jessica Pretz, AZ

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

New Retailer

Satara Baby
5621 Odana Road
Madison, WI 53719


*Via FedEx Ground within the continental US.

From Our Desk to Yours

Have A Wonderful Holiday Season!

It’s hard to believe that yet another year is coming to a close and it’s time to reflect back on the Laptop Lunches highlights of 2010. What an amazing year of accomplishments! First of all, we expanded our line to include a wider range of bento items, including our cool new bento tools, bento totes, and bento kits. We added two new options for work: the Casual Lunch Date and the new Designer Lunch Date, and we’ll soon be offering a broader selection of cloth napkins. In September we launched our new Web site with enhanced functionality and navigation. And in October, we won the SheKnows award for best lunchbox! What an honor! Thanks so much for being part of this very exciting ride, and have a wonderful holiday season!

HOLIDAY THEMED BENTOS: Treats abound this time of year, so be sure to add some balance to your mid-day meals this holiday season with creative holiday-themed bentos like this. We’ll be sending out 6 more of these menu photos over the next few weeks via RSS. If you haven’t had a chance to sign up, feel free to do so at (Click on the “Weekly Menu” icon in the upper right-hand corner.) We hope these fun holiday photos bring a smile to your face and inspire you to keep wholesome food choices close at hand..

NEW BENTO COLOR COMBO: With the Casual Lunch Date proving to be a much sought-after work bento option, we’ve taken the next step: a black & avocado bento set sold on its own. Be sure to check out this new arrival at:

MIS-MATCHED SETS: This very popular case of 24 assorted bento sets is finally back on the scene—but now in the 2.0 version! Why the low price? After we’ve assembled our regular bento color combinations, we’re often left with containers in quantities that cannot be assembled into any of our standard sets. Instead of recycling them, we mix and match them and pack them 24 to a case. It’s a great way to get a unique color combination, and it’s the best deal in town!

SAN FRANCISCO GREEN FESTIVAL: A good time was had by all at this wonderful sustainability event! Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and said hello. And a thank you to all who purchased Laptop Lunches, and joined the Laptop Lunches family. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again in 2011!


Healthy Holidays!

From Your Kitchen to Ours


"Our family has been using the Laptop Lunchboxes for over two years and they were the first step in our family’s goal of “no trash” lunches. My kids love their Laptop Lunchboxes and are excited each day to come up with new creative ideas for lunch. The latest obsession has been “make your own" sub sandwiches. I start them off with a basic meat and cheese sandwich on a roll, then provide all the toppings on the side so they can make their own sub. They eat every bite and love putting it together at school.

It has been so helpful to see other family’s ideas on your site and Facebook page. I will continue to tell friends about Laptop Lunchboxes. They are durable, convenient, green, customizable,they cure picky eaters, and so much more! Thanks."

    -- Wendy Mirbod, Santa Barbara, CA

Food for Thought: Sweet Potatoes

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

Sweet Potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C. They are rich in antioxidants and act as an excellent immune booster. The anti-inflammatory properties of a sweet potato, help offer relief from conditions like asthma and arthritis. The high quantity of vitamin C, along with iron and other nutrients, helps heal bronchitis. They are also good for diabetics because they help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Sweet potatoes are popular around the holidays and are often served in pies, roasted or steamed and mashed. Sweet potatoes make a healthful addition to soups casseroles and stews. Although they are not in the same family as potatoes, they are an excellent substitute for white potatoes in almost any recipe.

For more information on sweet potatoes, visit:


  • Excellent Source of Vitamin A
  • Good Source of Vitamin C
  • Rich in Beta-Carotene
  • Loaded with Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
  • High in Vitamins and Minerals

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

This Month's Recipes: Sweet Potatoes

The following Sweet Potato recipes, along with the accompanying photos, have been reprinted from

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tempeh

Sweet and savory, this side dish casserole is perfect for simple entertaining. Roasting the sweet potatoes brings out their inherent sweetness, while the marinated tempeh imparts a savory note with tamari, mirin, garlic, and onion. Dressed up with a bit of ginger and cinnamon, this dish will be a holiday sensation. (Serves 6)

1. Put tamari, mirin, granulated garlic, onion powder and sesame oil into a wide, shallow dish and stir to combine.
2. Add tempeh, toss to coat, cover and set aside to let marinate for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, ginger, cinnamon and 1-1/2 Tbsp of the marinade from the tempeh.
    Set the sweet potatoes aside.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
6. Drain tempeh, then add it to the skillet and cook, turning frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
7. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish, toss with sweet potatoes, salt and pepper, then cover with foil and bake until
    sweet potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
8. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Hummus

This variation on traditional hummus will add vibrant color and flavor to your holiday table. Rather than using chickpeas, this dip features lentils and sweet potatoes cooked with onions, garlic and spices and seasoned with white miso and lemon juice. Enjoy it with triangles of warm pita bread or raw vegetables for dipping. (Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer)

*White miso is has a mild flavor. Other varieties can be used instead, which will add more flavor.

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, 5 to 7
2. Add garlic, sweet potato, cumin and paprika and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more.
3. Stir in water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until lentils and sweet
     potatoes are soft, 15 to 18 minutes.
4. Transfer contents of pot to a large bowl and set aside to let cool.
5. Purée lentil mixture in a food processor along with miso, lemon juice, salt and pepper, until smooth.
6. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and garnish with cilantro and a drizzle of oil, if you like.

In the Spotlight: Article From Whole Foods Market

Planning a Holiday Menu for Special Diets

These days, just about everyone knows someone with a food allergy, sensitivity or special diet need. This holiday season, don’t get caught off guard by dinner guests with specific dietary restrictions. From vegetarian to dairy-free to gluten free, people have a variety of needs when it comes to food — some that are personal choices and others that are medically necessary. Whatever the reason, you’ll want to make sure all of your guests are well-fed and satisfied. I’ve got some special tips to help make this easy and delicious!

First, you’ll need to inquire about special dietary requirements your guests might have. If you are sending out invitations, just include a note requesting an “RSVP with dietary restrictions, please.” If speaking directly to your guests, let them know ahead of time that you haven’t set your menu yet and would like to know if they have any special requests or restrictions. Believe me: By doing this ahead of time you can save yourself and your guests much embarrassment! It’s a great relief for a guest to enjoy a wonderful meal without feeling like a pain and without leaving hungry!

Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to set your menu — bearing in mind a few tips:

  • For simple vegetarian changes, use vegetable broth instead of chicken or turkey broth when cooking.
  • For gluten free changes, choose a stuffing made from gluten free stuffing mix or a rice dish.
  • For dairy changes, bake and cook with unsweetened almond milk or other popular non-dairy milks. Have an option for non-dairy “sour cream” or “whipped cream” if appropriate. Check out our dairy aisle and freezer for a slew of alternate options.
  • For more elaborate menu changes and options, check out our recipe pages for gluten-free holiday recipes and dairy-free holiday recipes. You can also use our advanced recipe search to look for recipes that meet other special dietary needs.

And a few cautions:

  • Some allergic reactions can be life-threatening. It is critical that you think through all aspects of your cooking for a guest with a serious allergy – or ask them to help you.
  • Cross contamination can be a problem, especially with allergic foods such as gluten, peanuts, shellfish and tree nuts. That means if you chop nuts on your cutting board for one dish and then chop celery for a “nut-free” dish without washing the board, you are not really nut-free. Same goes for stirring spoons, serving utensils, blenders, food processors, etc.
  • Be aware of hidden ingredients. Adding flour to gravy may be so automatic that you don’t stop to think that the flour contains gluten. Don’t worry, there are substitutes!
  • If you are making dishes that include packaged foods, check labels for “hidden” ingredients such as gluten, nuts or dairy.

You may want to consider serving your holiday meal buffet style. This is a great way to please all guests and keep the food separate. It will also introduce many of your guests to new food choices! Remember that not all of your dishes need to meet everyone’s requirements. Serving at least one protein choice with a couple of side dish options is fine. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • If you are serving a turkey or a ham, present a tofu or lentil dish for vegetarian guests.
  • If you are serving bread stuffing, offer a rice stuffing for gluten-free guests.
  • If serving whipped cream, pick up a non-dairy whipped topping as well.

Buffet-style meals are perfect for setting out small cards, like place-setting cards, that include the name of the dish and the ingredient listing. If your meal is not buffet-style, your guests will appreciate a quick private rundown on the dishes that meet their needs and those that don’t.

Click on the following links for some delicious “alternative” holiday dishes you may want to try:

Gluten Free Holiday Recipes
Dairy Free Holiday Recipes

We have included two recipes from, in This Month's Recipes, above.

To learn more about Whole Foods and find more recipes, visit their Web site at:

In the News

USA Weekend

5 Ways To Pack a Healthier Lunch

Want to give your child's lunch a deliciously nutritious makeover? Try these tips from Disney FamilyFun:

Use a bento box. Japanese-style bento boxes and their nesting compartments are perfect for kid-size nibbles. Best of all, when your child pops the lid, the entire spread is at her fingertips, which puts the carrots on par with the PB&J and grapes for super-easy grazing. (You can find boxes at To read the rest of the article, visit

Examiner - Santa Ana

Laptop Lunch Box: An American Twist To The Traditional Bento Lunch Box

The makers of Laptop Lunch boxes have turned the tables on the well known Japanese reputation to mimic and improve. Tammy Pelstring and Amy Hemmert are two American entrepreneurs who have adapted traditional Japanese bento boxes and redesigned them to assist families in providing nutritious and environment friendly meals, for an on the go lifestyle.

Bento is the Japanese version of a packed lunch, usually taken to work and school by adults and school children alike.

The traditional artfully decorated meal is divided into two parts: one half of the box is filled with rice, and the other half is filled with a variety of accompanying foods, such as vegetables, fish, eggs, or meat.  The boxes are normally small independent plastic containers or elegant lacquered compartmentalized boxes for formal lunches and dinners.

The Laptop Lunch boxes from Obentec  magnify the same concept with a savvy brand name describing what buyers can expect. To read more, visit:

Poughkeepsie Journal

Bento Boxes Encourage Creative Meal Possibilities

There's something about a sandwich with a smiley face on it that makes lunch special.

Put that same PB&J or turkey with mayo sandwich in a bright pink or green box, or maybe one with a chubby-cheeked monkey on it. Nestle colorful fruit or veggie slices in there along with some yogurt or cheese, and the result is an ancient food tradition that's lately been reborn as the latest lunch trend.

The concept of a bento box is pretty simple: long used in Japan, India and other countries, it's a reusable lunch box — either metal, wood or environmentally friendly plastic — with containers or tiers inside. (This is an excerpt from an article printed at:

Green Opportunities

REPLACE OLD HOLIDAY LIGHTS WITH LEDS – Holiday lights may look pretty but they guzzle energy and break easily. LEDs are a great energy efficient alternative to incandescent bulbs. Did you know that LEDs can use up to 90% less energy than a traditional bulb, while producing the same amount of light? To learn more, visit:

LIBRARY DESK MADE FROM REPURPOSED BOOKS – The Architecture library at Delft University has been rebuilt, featuring a front desk made out of books. A devastating fire destroyed a portion of the original library. This amazing desk has been built from the books salvaged from that fire. To find out more, visit:

BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRING GREEN TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS – Many of the new green energy initiatives, designed to help save the planet, are also beautiful. To view images of 8 of the world's most attractive projects, and learn about each of them, visit:

Featured Web Site:

Sustainablog provides information on environmental and economic sustainability, green and sustainable businesses, and environmental politics. The blog regularly features environmental leaders, experts in alternative energy and green technology, and real people trying to lighten their environmental footprints.

To find out more, visit

On This Blog, Posts Are Archived Under The Following Categories:
  • Culture
  • Living
  • Media
  • Politics
  • Products
  • Science and Technology

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© December 2010 Obentec, Inc.

500 Chestnut Street, Suite 250
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


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