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February 2011

  February 2011  


In this issue you'll find:


What works...Success Stories

Neatly Organized Presentation

“My son now eats his entire lunch because it is all neatly presented before him in an organized manner. Before, most of his lunch was coming home untouched. He was overwhelmed by all the items in his bag and he used to say there was never enough time to eat. Ever since he got his Laptop Lunch system, he eats everything I pack. The lunch box is also great for food allergies because it keeps his food contained in front of him. It keeps little hands (of nearby children) from contaminating his food and makes it easier for teachers to monitor mealtime."

    -- Alyssa, Cape Cod, MA

Very Pleased With My Purchase

"Today I purchased my first Laptop Lunchbox for my 4 year old son. He will be attending camp for one week and needs to bring lunch. He LOVES it and has not stopped playing with it since I got home from work. He took it out of the bag and said, "it's just like a computer." I'm very pleased with my purchase and like your Web site. I will pass your information to my friends."

    -- Christine, Quakertown, PA

Changed My Life

"This may sound dramatic, but my little Laptop Lunches set has changed my
life! I love creating a lovely lunch & the design stimulates my creativity.

I am looking forward to reading your newsletter and blog. Thank you"

    -- Kelley Petkun, Vancouver, WA

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

New Retailers

Break of Day, Inc.
5002-F High Point Road
Greensboro, NC 27407
(336) 852-4827


From Our Desk to Yours

Happy Valentine’s Day!

January was unseasonably warm here in Santa Cruz, but for those of you in colder climates, we hope you’re keeping warm and eating well during these winter months. For monthly inspiration no matter where you call home, we’re happy to announce that we’ve extended our popular Food For Thought column for another year. Thanks for letting us know how much you look forward to it each month—and keep the comments coming. We love to hear from you!

LUNCH JARS: Our stainless steel Lunch Jars are officially back in stock, and all pre-orders have been shipped. Whether you’re packing hot tomato soup or a chilled fruit salad, these lunch jars will keep it at the perfect temperature for you to enjoy at lunchtime. Available at in two color options: black and pink.
ORGANIC CLOTH NAPKINS: Our new brightly colored organic cloth napkins will be available in stores beginning March 1st. Look for them at a retailer near you!
PINK AND RED BENTO SETS: Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved ones this year? Check out our pink or red/black bento sets for a heart-felt, heart-healthy gift that will be with them for years to come.
MOMS DISCUSS HEALTHY LUNCHES FOR KIDS: We had such a wonderful time at this delicious lunch hosted by ZESPRI Kiwifruit at former Google Chef Charlie Ayer's restaurant, Calafia Cafe in Palo Alto, CA. Check out this short clip of moms discussing the challenges of packing healthy lunches for kids--moderated by Deborah 'Biggie' Hamilton, who writes about creative, fast, and delicious lunches on her popular blog Thanks for including us!


Be Well!

From Your Kitchen to Ours

"Love the new Web redesign! Great job!  Clean layout, good organization of your content!  I'm a full-time Web designer, single mother to four elementary-aged children, and I pack 5 bento boxes every single night!  Thank you for running with your vision and bringing joy and blessing to my family! You have saved me a lot of paper, money, and headache!"

    -- Kristi Sparks, SC

Food for Thought: Green Tea
Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

Green Tea is derived from the same plant as black tea. The difference between the two is in the processing. While black tea is made from fermented tea leaves, green tea gets it's color from leaves that are steamed or dried. This healthful beverage helps reduce the risk of a wide variety of diseases. It supports the prevention of cardiovascular disease by reducing free radical damage. It also helps stop the growth of abnormal cancer cells, and detoxifies carcinogens. Green tea has been known to boost stamina and endurance, as well as strengthening the immune system. It has even been know to help with weight loss.

Green tea comes in different varieties based on time of harvest, the size of the leaves, and how the leaves are processed. It is also available in decaf and can be served hot or cold. For a refreshing drink, infuse your favorite fruit juice with antioxidants by mixing it with tea. Consider adding the brewed tea to soups, sauces, or smoothies.

For more information on the health benefits of green tea, visit:


  • Rich in Antioxidants
  • Inhibits the Production of Free Radicals
  • Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
  • Helps Lower Blood Pressure
  • Possesses Anti-Cancer Properties
  • Lowers the Risk of Gallstones
  • Provides Support For Bones
Photo Credit: Melissa Braun

This Month's Recipes: Winter Recipes From Karina Allrich

These winter recipes were provided to us by Karina Allrich of along with the accompanying photos. (See Karina's article below.)

Roasted Winter Vegetable Ragout with Shaved Parmesan

Yield: 4 servings
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large roasting pan combine the potatoes, cabbage and butternut squash and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Season with sea salt, pepper, and garlic; toss. Add the whole tomatoes; break them apart with a wooden spoon. Add the white beans.
  3. Stir the broth and wine together and pour over the vegetable mixture. Drizzle it all with golden balsamic vinegar; sprinkle with sage, and toss lightly.
  4. Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and roast the vegetables for an hour; stir half way through cooking. Check the potatoes for doneness; they should be fork tender. Continue to roast for another 10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender enough to melt in your mouth.
  5. Serve in warmed shallow plates with shavings of fresh parmesan.

Warm Winter Coleslaw Recipe with Chili-Lime Dressing

Yield: 4 servings
  1. Using a large sharp knife, slice the cabbage into thin strips. Rinse in cold water and drain. Wash, trim and grate the carrot.
  2. Toss the cabbage and carrot into a large skillet and set it on low-medium heat. Let the cabbage heat through and soften a bit, about three to four minutes.
  3. Meanwhile make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, maple syrup, chili sauce, lime juice, ginger and sea salt. Pour the dressing all over the cabbage and lightly toss it to coat. Heat through another two to three minutes, just till slightly wilted, not overly soft. (Leave the cabbage tender-crisp.)
  4. Remove from heat and scoop the warm slaw into a bowl.
  5. Add mint and almonds. Toss gently. Serve as a side dish with your favorite gluten-free sandwiches, or burritos, or enchiladas.
In the Spotlight: An Article By Karina Allrich

Thinking of Going Gluten-Free?

By Karina Allrich of Gluten Free Goddess

Thinking of Going Gluten-Free?  Here are some tips:

Going gluten-free can be confusing at first. Keep it simple until you get your bearings. Focus on whole, naturally gluten-free foods.

A good place to start? Say yes to fresh produce. If you’re a vegetarian, you're in luck. Do your bunny food thing. And don't forget fresh seasonal fruit.

Omnivore? You're in luck, too. Plain fresh meat, chicken, eggs and fish are all naturally gluten-free (watch out for added broths, seasonings and marinades). Choose organic and free-range grass fed bison and beef for those nifty Omega 3's.


For starches, think potatoes (white, gold, red, blue) and sweet potatoes. All are gluten-free.

Say yes to rice. Rice is gluten-free. Whole grain brown rice is especially good for touchy digestion. Risotto (Italian Arborio rice) makes an elegant meal. Basmati and jasmine rice are fragrant and lovely in stir-fries.

Try quinoa for a fun, new complete protein grain. It cooks up quickly, much like rice, and cozies up to the flavors, herbs and spices you add to it.

Rolls of cooked polenta (cornmeal mush) that say "gluten-free" right on the label, are a convenient base for Italian and Southwestern style toppings and casseroles.


Dairy? Here's the bad news. Some celiac savvy physicians suspect a whopping fifty percent of celiacs are also intolerant of, or allergic to, the proteins in milk, casein and whey, and many others find it difficult to digest the sugar in milk, called lactose (lactose intolerance). If you find you are still symptomatic after giving up gluten, you might consider getting tested for milk proteins. (Note: I didn't really start healing until I went GF/CF; a blood test confirmed I'm very allergic to both dairy proteins.)

If dairy is fine for you, cultured plain organic yogurt is gluten-free; try it with a dab of honey, all natural 100% fruit jam or pure maple syrup.

Aged block cheeses are safe; start with a wedge of good Parmesan and aged cheddar; both are high in calcium and have zero lactose. When you are ready to branch out, fresh goat cheese is delicious; and there are many varieties of real cheeses that are safe (check labels for additives or flavorings; check source of mold in blue veined cheeses, though the latest info shows most blue cheeses are safe).

If your digestion cannot tolerate lactose, casein or whey (the sugar and proteins in dairy food) there are several vegan alternatives on the market crafted from rice, almonds, or soy (note that soy can be problematic for some celiacs). Always check labels for hidden ingredients. Some dairy-free cheeses actually contain casein! Luckily, many non-dairy milks now say Gluten-Free right on the package. Call the company when in doubt.


For sandwiches think: corn, teff or brown rice tortillas, lettuce wraps, rice paper wraps, and even toasted gluten-free waffles (they make fabulous grilled paninis). There are several gluten-free breads available with a wide variety of quality and taste. Some are sawdust awful. Some aren’t half bad (Whole Foods makes some delicious breads).

Give your taste buds time to adjust to the newness of gluten-free flours. They are, indeed, different. They smell different and taste different. It takes about two weeks to adjust your taste buds to alternative grains.

Forbidden Foods

Aside from the obvious forbidden foods (bread, breadcrumbs, rolls, muffins, bagels, donuts, croissants, cereal, pizza, fried food, pasta, beer, crackers, pretzels, cookies, cake, brownies, pie crust) I advise saying no to processed foods and mixes, fast food, junk food, snack food dusted with added flavors, packaged seasonings, soups and dressings- in other words, anything with ingredients you can barely pronounce.

It is my personal belief that limiting refined sugars and starches, soda, unhealthy saturated fats and low nutrient junk food will go a long way toward healing a stressed digestive system.  

To read more on the subject, visit:

To learn more about Karina, visit her blog at:

In the News

Digtriad - WFMY News 2

Simplify And Spruce Up The Brown Bag Lunch

Greensboro, NC -- Back to school means it's back to packing lunches. If you and the kids just let out a collective groan, then pay attention.

Anne-Marie Scott from the Greensboro Children's Museum is here to save the day (or at least lunchtime). Scott uses a system called "The Laptop Lunch."

It is a regular lunch box with mini bins for kid sized portions. The "Laptop Lunch" system comes with a chart that fits in your cupboard. It takes the guess work out of building a healthy lunch. The chart directs you to pick one or two items from each heading and it gives you choices. To view the video, visit:

Opposing Views

5 Tips for Packing Healthy Lunches for Kids

Most of us know the basics of good nutrition: Say yes to whole foods and say no to processed “foods.” But once kids get involved—picky eaters that they can be—it can be a little challenging to feed them healthy lunches and snacks that they enjoy. To read more, visit:

The Washington Post

Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The skinny on holiday food gifts

It's fun to give food-related gifts at holiday time, but too often the delicious treats we give and receive end up padding people's hips and thighs. Here are some jolly ideas for food fans. They'll never know you had their health in mind when you shopped.

Bento box
Using these subdivided lunchboxes is a terrific way to exercise portion control and create attractive, well-balanced meals for yourself or your kid. They lend themselves well to vegetables and dips, plus they're fun! The Laptop Lunch varieties from Nubius Organics are free of phthalates, BPA, lead and PVC, and the inner containers are microwave safe. To read more, visit:

Green Opportunities

FUTURE OF FOOD VIDEO The Future of Food is a documentary film that provides an in-depth look at the food industry and how it has transformed in recent years. It examines the introduction of genetically modified foods, the involvement of multi-national corporations and government policies, changing the foods that are available to us. The Future of Food offers real solutions through organic and sustainable farming. To find out more about the film, visit:, and to watch the video online at their website, visit:

RECYCLED POP BOTTLE PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT – Recycled soda bottles are now being used to build playground equipment. To learn about 3 of the companies that manufacture outdoor equipment for commercial and private use, visit: Or visit their individual sites directly: Play Mart, Earthscape Structures, and Pacific Outdoor Products.

HOME LIGHTING: 7 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW BUT SHOULD – Did you know that $1 invested in efficient lighting can pay back up to $6 in energy savings? To learn more about green lighting, energy efficient bulbs, the use of dimmers and more, visit:

Featured Web Site: was started in 1998 in an effort to improve our world. They are committed to using the power of business to effect a positive social and earth-friendly impact on the world.

At Care2 they believe that individual actions can collectively make a difference. Whether you start by making changes in your home, your community, or across the globe, they are glad to help you on your journey.

To find out more, visit

On This Site:
  • Care2 Causes
  • News Items
  • Tips on Living a Healthy, Green Lifestyle
  • Healthy Whole Food Recipes
  • Health Advice
  • Daily Action Center

Contact Us

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© February 2011 Obentec, Inc.

500 Chestnut Street, Suite 250
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


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