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January 2011

  January 2011  

Highlights

In this issue you'll find:


Good
Simple
Fun

What works...Success Stories

Thanks For the Quick Delivery

"I wanted to take a minute to thank you for the quick delivery of my first Laptop Lunch. I recently saw your bento box in Vegan Lunch Box and thought it was a great idea. I admit I was concerned that the quality of the bento would be like others I purchased.....think ‘dollar store’ material. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that your bento is well made and (hopefully) will withstand my VERY active 5 year old.  In fact I love the look and feel of it so much I have already placed a second order for myself!!! Thank you Laptop Lunches!!”

    -- K. Sampaga, Tacoma, WA

Engaging Newsletters

"I must say, this is one of the BEST newsletters I get.  Usually they go right to the trash, but there are always a lot of things that interest me in yours, and they are presented in such an engaging way! Thanks!"

    -- Paige NeJame, Duxbury, MA  

Makes Lunches Look Good

"I first found your site via the Vegan Lunch Box Blog.  My daughter (not a vegetarian) made the comment, "Look at that beautiful lunch!  I'd eat vegan every day if I could have lunches that looked like that!"  It was like a light bulb went off in my head. Maybe if a bento style box could make the food look good, my kids would actually eat it.  So I ordered two Bento System 2.0 boxes.

The lunch boxes did their job beautifully.  Instead of making fun of the vegetarian items I packed, my kids friends would exclaim, "Wow, look at what you got packed for lunch!  That's so cool!"   My kids ate everything in their lunches.  Other parents called me up to ask where to get your lunch boxes.  My son's teacher began our parent teacher conference with, "Before we get started, where did you get that amazing lunch box?" 

While I like that they are environmentally friendly and made in the USA, the biggest selling point for my kids was the presentation. They make lunches look good, which makes my kids feel pride in eating well.  Thank you for turning around my family's lunch experience."

    -- Hilary, Minneapolis, MN

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




New Retailers

Eco Child
171 Brisbane Road
Mooloolaba, Queensland
4557 Australia
07-5478-2466
www.ecochild.com.au


Nature’s Child
1A Banksia Drive
Byron Bay, NSW 2481 Australia
61-2-6685-5780
www.natureschild.com.au












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From Our Desk to Yours

Happy New Year!

We hope you were able to carve out some time for rest and relaxation during the holiday season and that you’re ready to embrace all that 2011 brings. If your New Year’s resolutions include eating better, reducing waste, or saving money, we hope you’ll make Laptop Lunches part of your new routine. Whether you’re looking for free menus, recipes and photos, or the perfect reusable containers for yourself and your family, we’re here to help you reach your 2011 goals! We wish you a healthy and happy year!


NEW ORGANIC CLOTH NAPKINS: We’re excited to announce the launch of our new organic cloth napkins, now available in 8 vibrant colors that match our bento boxes. You can check them out at: http://secure.laptoplunches.com/AMAZING/items.asp?Cc=NAPKINS&Bc=.
OUR LUNCH JARS ARE BACK!: After a much longer than expected delay, our very popular stainless lunch jars will soon be back in stock in two new colors: black and pink. They’re currently available for pre-order at http://secure.laptoplunches.com/AMAZING/items.asp?Cc=LUNCHJARS&Bc=.
Pre-orders will be shipped in the order they are received beginning Monday, January 17th.

                

Thanks for your support!


From Your Kitchen to Ours




"I only recently found out about Laptop Lunches this past summer, when I discovered the bento lunch concept. I'd been saving up to get one online but then when I saw the box at my local Whole Foods store, I grabbed it that very day! I love it and can't wait to get another complete box to have for a spare. I love the bright colors, the interchangeability of the components, and the automatic portion control."

    -- Suzanne Shanks, Colorado Springs, CO

Food for Thought: Oranges

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

Oranges are considered one of the most popular fruits throughout the world. They provide an excellent source of vitamin C, and the white inner portion of the peel is loaded with bioflavonoids. The flavonoids within the orange help lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure. They also act as an anti-inflammatory. A diet that includes eating oranges on a regular basis may help prevent or reduce the risk of ulcers, colon cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Orange juice has been shown to help reduce the risk of kidney stones while freshly squeezed orange juice may prevent the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Oranges are a great snack food and so easy to grab and go. Oranges are commonly used for juicing. Both the rind of the orange and its juice are used in baked goods and to add flavor to salads, vegetables, rice dishes, sweet potatoes and desserts.

For more information on oranges, visit: www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t--968/all-about-oranges.asp.

Benefits:

  • Rich Source of Vitamin C
  • Loaded with Flavanoids
  • Good Source of Fiber
  • Good Source of B Vitamins, Vitamin A, Potassium and Calcium
  • Orange Peel May Help Lower Cholesterol

Photo Credit: Melissa Braun


This Month's Recipes: Oranges

Orange and Fruit Smoothie

This refreshing smoothie is a great way to start the day, at any time of year.


Yield: Approximately three 8oz. glasses

1. Place the orange juice, fruits and yogurt in the blender. Blend till smooth.
2. Add honey if a sweeter smoothie is desired.


Red Quinoa With Veggies and Orange


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1. Cook the red quinoa as directed, replacing 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup orange juice.
2. In a large skillet pan, saute onions in olive oil, until they start to soften.
3. Add the sliced asparagus and carrots. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and garlic and cook until the zucchini has softened.
5. Squeeze the juice of half an orange and add it to the vegetables. Cook for a minute more.
6. Mix the red quinoa with the vegetable mixture.
7. Season with salt and pepper. Add additional freshly squeezed orange juice if desired.

In the Spotlight: An Article By Kate Ferry


Local vs. Organic: Keeping it Real

By Kate Ferry of The Sacred Bees Blog

Kate Ferry lives in Custer, Washington and is a full-time mother, part-time beekeeper, half-time writer, and full-time number cruncher for a local school district. When she is not wrangling her 26-month old daughter, Beckett, or snuggling with her husband, Jacob, she can be found knee deep in a vegetable garden battling zucchini and obnoxious weeds or knitting haphazard projects that ultimately become misshapen sweaters for her 85-pound dog, Tucker. 

The chronicle of the Ferry family’s choice to switch to all organic and local foods and products, eliminate toxic and artificial chemicals from their home, and reduce waste is logged in the Sacred Bee’s Blog at www.sacredbee.net.

January 2010 marked the starting point for our family’s massive, all-encompassing lifestyle change. We made the conscious decision to actively support local businesses and growers, eat organically and wholly, remove harmful chemicals from our home and environment, and drastically reduce our waste. These changes have been slow and steady and enormously life altering at the same time.

One of the greatest challenges has been juggling these changes as a full-time mother to a just-turned-two-year-old, a full time accountant for a local school district, a full-time wife to my husband, a half-time beekeeper, and a part-time everything else in between.

When I started this project on January 1, 2010, I knew the process would be gradual.  I knew that the changes would be slow, and hopefully steady, but my rules were hard and fast. The line was drawn in the sand and the singular guideline steering our food consumption was the easily recognizable green organic label.  If a food didn’t have it, it would not pass our lips.  No exceptions. 

Then life turned elastic on me.  Chalk it up to the multi-tasking scattered-brained nature of an over achiever, but things got a little looser. Our commitment to high-quality and organic was still there, but the weekly trips to our local big-box grocery store and our pre-packaged, organic purchases were shifting. We had also broadened our focus to include significantly reducing our waste and our exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.

Next came a handful of wonderful talks with local farmers.  We talked with each one for a long time about how their animals are raised, how the milk is processed, how the beef is butchered. I walked the fields. I touched the grass. And I swung a little bit closer to the equilibrium between organic and local.

Then, the movie, Food Inc., forever changed my viewpoint on the industrial nature of our food system and the environmental cost of eating food processed and grown using a big business mentality.

And, with that movie, I took a few more steps to the left (L for local).

A little later I read a book called the Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  And, as May rolled around, this diehard organic girl had adorned a pair of locavore goggles.

So, here is where I am now: local is more important to me than organic, processed food.  I want it fresh, and I want to know who grew it (or raised it).  I want to meet the animals, I want to walk the rows in the garden and I want breathe the air.  I want to know more about my meal than what a list of ingredients provides and what the green organic stamp on the front refers to. As I dig deeper, I am more concerned about what these words on the boxes stand for. Organic doesn’t always represent what I picture. Free-range doesn’t necessarily involve luxuriously roomy pens for chickens to roam in. But, my eyes don’t deceive me.  What I can touch and feel is real. My senses and my intuition are my most reliable gauges and it is those that I am tuning in to.

Yes, local is where my focus is shifting, but I am also realistic. My husband and I work full time. We have a toddler and pets to care for. And, a garden that flourished this season in a constant, ridiculous state of abundance. Oh, and, there are beehives to check, a house to clean, bills to pay. We are your typical family – busy.  So, “fresh” and “local” don’t happen seven nights a week at our house. I fully admit that it’s hard, really, really hard, to find time to make chicken-pot pies from scratch or forgo the tub of chocolate frosting and whip up a homemade batch the night before the annual preschool party. I am working to find that happy medium between making informed decisions about my food and fitting it into the all-too-short 24-hour allotted day.

Meals that have fresh ingredients picked up at the farmer’s market or purchased at the Co-op do happen more often than not. But, on those never-fail nothing-for-dinner kind of nights – we eat organic processed foods. Our snacks are purchased in bulk when time prevents them from being homemade, and plastic throw-away zippy bags have been completely eliminated. We rely on washable, reusable, packable containers for lunches and the endless plethora of car snacks. And when we head out for dinner – we eat local and we try to patronize restaurants that serve fresh, in-season produce, meat and poultry.

We are trying to practice what we preach, but real life tends to throw a wrench in the best-laid plans all too often. It is my ultimate goal to support a food ideal that puts money back into the economy of the local community and go to a source that offers me more information than a green label certification. We are blessed to live in a Mecca of natural resources and have a veritable bouquet of local resources at our every whim. And I will never underestimate the value of an honest conversation with the man or woman butchering my turkey, growing my spinach, or milking my cow.

We are what we eat and where we eat.

I knew when we started this transition that it’d be just that. A slow, road-block filled, pot-hole marked, but occasionally blissfully breezy transition. Our goals were loose, but they centered on doing more than we had been doing. Our choices would be more educated and more conscious; our lives more healthy and clean; our dollars more local and our budget smaller. This life is a never-ending adventure.  Here’s to making this world a cleaner, greener, healthier place for you and me and leaving but a tiny footprint on this place we call home.

To learn more about Kate, and to follow her blog, visit: www.sacredbee.net.


In the News

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Dressing Up Lunch To Go: Santa Cruz moms make a difference one box lunch at a time

Two Santa Cruz mothers, set on improving the lunchtime habits of on-the-go Americans, have built a multimillion-dollar empire of brightly colored plastic lunch boxes with smart-fitting containers.

It's not, however, just a reusable container, said Amy Hemmert, co-founder and president of Obentec. "We really want to make a difference in their lives."

Obentec is a local company that eight years ago launched a line of lunch box products that put the Cinderella and Superman metal latch boxes, once used by baby boomers, to shame. To read the full article, visit http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_16728825.



Bedford Katonah Patch

Time to Pack Lunch: Make it Colorful and Fresh

Here are some tips for assembling a delicious and healthy school lunch while eliminating packaging waste.

Back-to-school time and it's all about getting the routine underway. Daily homework starts again and probably an earlier bedtime is in order too. Add to that the task of planning the midday meal for school. For kids who bring lunch from home on most days, toting the same sandwich as last year can be downright boring.

There are some fresh ways to think about what goes into that lunchbox. For the full article, visit: http://bedford.patch.com/articles/time-to-pack-lunch-make-it-colorful-and-fresh.


Outlet

Packing a Lunch, Not Extra Pounds

Providing healthy choices now can train children to eat well into
the future 

A lot of students are packing more than just their backpacks as they return to school this fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, nearly 20 percent of all children kindergarten ages and older are carrying extra weight as well. Many are increasingly at risk, or already afflicted by, adult afflictions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. To read the entire article, visit: www.theoutlookonline.com/features/story.php?story_id=128415599294251400


Green Opportunities

15 GREEN NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS – Thinking of making some environmentally friendly changes in the coming year? Here are 15 simple things you can do to make a difference. To read the list and learn more, visit: www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/green-new-years-resolutions-10109?click=getstarted.


2011 TOP FUEL EFFICIENT CARS –The Environmental Protection Agency has released it's fuel efficiency ranking for 2011 cars. To check out the top 10 fuel efficient cars, visit: www.thesunsfinancialdiary.com/auto/fuel-efficient-cars.


A GREAT SITE FOR RECIPES – If you are interested in finding some new recipes to add to your meals this year, with wonderful step by step instructions, great photos and enjoyable writing, visit: http://ohsheglows.com. Angela Liddon is the author of Oh She Glows, a healthy living website, dedicated to inspiring and motivating others to lead full, happy, and healthy lives.


Featured Web Site: GreenMuze.com

GreenMuze.com offers an engaging online setting for those who appreciate reading the latest in green news, information and product reviews, in a well-designed, easy to navigate site.

At GreenMuze.com they regularly post the latest information on a wide variety of green topics. Their mission is to provide the inspiration to encourage people to get involved in the rapidly growing environmental revolution. They advocate for finding ways to heal our disconnected relationships with the planet, animals and each other.

To find out more, visit www.greenmuze.com

On This Site:
  • Environmental Art
  • Green Building Design
  • Environmental Blogs
  • Climate Change News
  • Green Lifestyle Tips
  • Green Book and Film Reviews
  • Waste and Recycling News

Contact Us

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Laptop Lunches Bento Lunchboxes

© January 2011 Obentec, Inc.

500 Chestnut Street, Suite 250
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-457-0301

REPRINT PERMISSION

Feel free to reprint or forward this newsletter with the following acknowledgment 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 http://www.obentec.com. Reprint permission granted with this full notice included."