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March 2011

  March 2011  


In this issue you'll find:


What works...Success Stories

Thanks For The Great Product

“We love your Laptop Lunch bento boxes. Last year my kids ended up not touching their lunches on some days, and often I ended up tossing in pre-packaged junk food just because it made my life easier. Well, it's the first week of school and so far there haven't been any crumbs left! I am packing them healthier food, saving money and helping the environment. Couldn't get much better than that, could it? Thanks for a great product.”

    -- Jennifer, Calgary, Alberta

Still In Amazing Condition

“We love the Laptop Lunches. We have had one set that our son and daughter have both used for 3 years and it is still in amazing condition! Love it!”

    -- Alyssa Bauer, Sylvania, OH

Envy of the Classroom

"Hi guys, just wanted you to know that we are going on our third year using our Laptop Lunchboxes. I am ordering new carrying cases for the kids since after 2 years they are showing a bit of wear, but the boxes and containers themselves are still in great shape for at least another year! My high school kids are the envy of their classmates when they open their boxes full of delicious, home made goodies!
Thanks for a great lunch solution and for making such a durable product! It was well worth the initial investment!"

    -- Mary Beth

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

New Retailers

Whole Foods Mason
5805 Deerfield Boulevard
Mason, OH 45040

Whole Foods Marlton
940 Route 73 North
Marlton, NJ 08053

Earth Fare
7340 East Chase Parkway
Montgomery, AL 36117

My Little Green Shop
1169 Nelson Street
Vancouver, BC
V6E 1J3

Whole Foods Market
390 Coddingtown Mall
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
707- 542-7411


From Our Desk to Yours

Happy Almost Spring!

Spring is on the way, and March is National Nutrition month, a perfect time to consider making those changes you’ve had in mind for yourself or your family. Recently, Oprah and 378 of her staff went vegan for a week, which was a life-changing experience for many of them. Our staff has decided to follow suit, not only by going vegan for the week of March 7-13, but also by taking on a week-long challenge every month through the end of the year. In each issue of this newsletter, we’ll give a brief update on our previous challenge, and we’ll let you know what’s in store for the following month. We hope you’ll consider joining us in this challenge and that you’ll let us know how it’s going!

ST. PATRICK’S DAY INSPIRATION: Look for Laptop Lunches in this month’s issue of Parents Magazine! Check out the leprechaun lunch on page 164, in the "Play With Your Food" column. It’s very cute!
CARRIER BONUS PACKS: We’ve got a few carrier bonus packs still available on special this week for only $17.99 (regularly $28.49), while supplies last!

WASTE-FREE LUNCHES WEB SITE: Be sure to check out the newly revamped Web site. Spend some time perusing the inspirational success stories, waste-free lunch resources, tools for change, and tips for parents. If you’ve got a success story to share, please email it to [email protected]. Thanks for making your lunches waste-free!


Thanks for your support!

From Your Kitchen to Ours

“I brought my Laptop Lunch to work. It was ooh-ed and ahh-ed over! And, several people have already gone out and bought their own! They had to write their name on theirs with a silver sharpie so we wouldn't get them confused! Thought you would like to know that the word is being spread in Nebraska!”

The Apple Salad in the above lunch is made with 1/4 diced apple, 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon vanilla yogurt, dried cranberries,and sprinkled with cinnamon.

    -- Leslie Carter, Papillion, NE

Food for Thought: Turmeric

Turmeric is known for its powerful healing properties. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, often used to reduce the pain and inflammation in joints and used in the treatment of arthritis. Turmeric is rich in disease fighting antioxidants. It has been used in the treatment of liver disease, helps boost the body’s immune system, and aids in digestion.The frequent use of turmeric has been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer and slow the growth of tumors. Turmeric, in conjunction with cauliflower, is thought to help fight and prevent prostate cancer. In addition, it has been found to be beneficial in preventing and slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

This bright yellow spice is most commonly used in East Indian curry dishes. It can be added to soups and stews, to both bean and rice dishes. You might try some turmeric in salad dressings and sauces.

For more information on the many health benefits of turmeric, visit: and for a wide variety of turmeric recipes, visit:


  • Acts As a Natural Anti-Inflammatory
  • Detoxifies the Liver
  • Rich in Antioxidants
  • Helps Lower Cholesterol
  • Aids in Digestion
  • Protects the Liver and Heart
  • Provides Antiseptic and Antibacterial Properties

This Month's Recipes: Simple Recipes With Turmeric

Yellow Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: Approximately 5 to 6 one-cup servings

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cut the head of cauliflower into easy to eat pieces.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Add the cauliflower pieces to the bowl. Mix to coat well.
5. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer, on a baking sheet or casserole dish.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to brown.

Creamy Dip For Veggies

*Use any type of yogurt that suits your diet: whole milk, low fat, nonfat, soy, coconut, etc.

Yield: Approximately 2 cups

1. Combine all ingredients and stir well.
2. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more.
3. Serve with veggies: carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber slices, tomatoes.

In the Spotlight: An Interview With Ellie Krieger

So Simple: An Interview With Ellie Krieger

Amy had the pleasure of speaking with Ellie Krieger about the importance of eating healthfully, simply, and joyfully.

If you’re not familiar with Ellie’s work, she’s the host of Food Network’s popular “Healthy Appetite” and author of the New York Times bestselling THE FOOD YOU CRAVE: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life. Ellie’s most recent cookbook, SO EASY: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week, an immediate New York Times bestseller, is a collection of meal solutions for those of us who love food and want to eat well but struggle to make it happen amid life’s hectic pace.

Photo Credit: Nigel Barker

Amy: Hi Ellie. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. As parents we often find ourselves involved in a sort of complex juggling act. What ideas or suggestions do you have for parents who feel they don’t have enough time to cook for their kids?

Ellie: It’s really important to change one’s mindset. Cooking shouldn’t be laborious. It should be simple and fun. Try some grilled salmon with salt and pepper. Slice a tomato and add fresh basil. Steam broccoli or sauté it in olive oil and garlic. Play music. Enjoy a glass of wine while you cook. Make it a fun part of your day. Get your kids involved.

Amy: We share a common mission of bringing more joy into the eating experience. What ideas do you have for people who want to enjoy their food to the fullest?

Ellie: Engage in mindful eating. Take a moment to observe your food. See it. Smell it. Appreciate it. Say thanks in a way that’s meaningful for you. Take some time to savor it. Chew it. Enjoy it more, and eat less of it. Turn off the TV.

Amy: I couldn’t help noticing that you’ve been working to improve school lunches in NYC. Can you tell me a bit about that experience?

Ellie: I’ve been working with the wellness committee at my daughter’s school. We’ve started doing vegetable tastings. It’s like marketing vegetables for kids. We brainstorm with them, teach them, and create dialog about the featured vegetable. We sampled bell peppers a few days ago. We asked the students how they eat them at home. Our students come from a range of ethnic backgrounds, so they talked about eating them in stews, raw, with dips, in salads, and in many other ways. We offer peppers on the salad bar, so we made sure that the kids knew that they could find them there at lunchtime.

I’ve also been working with the school chefs at a higher level. We’re lucky that the program is driven by chefs (based on taste) and not bureaucrats (based on money). The chefs are the ones developing the recipes and they create them with the kids in mind. In many schools the cooking staffs are really just package openers, not cooks. This needs to change so we can start cooking more from scratch. When this happens, everyone benefits.

Amy: I believe it was Michael Pollan who said, “The Food Network has helped to transform cooking from something you do into something you watch," citing the fact that an average American spends less than half an hour in the kitchen every day ("less than half the time it takes to watch a single episode of Top Chef"). Why do you think this is? How do we get people back into the kitchen? 

Ellie: Some people are afraid of cooking or they’re worried that they have to be perfect. My advice is to relax. Don’t be afraid. Don’t aim for perfection. Don’t worry about being good at it. Learn from each experience. The food you make will be good, but as you learn, it will get better and better. Be sure to use fresh ingredients. My book, So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week, was written for people who may not be comfortable in the kitchen or who may feel that they don’t have time to cook.

Amy: I love to cook, and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. When I watch cooking shows, I often wonder how cooking on TV is different from cooking at home. What’s the biggest difference between cooking at home and cooking for an audience? (Besides the audience, of course!)

Ellie: It’s very different! At home, I cook once straight through. For television, I often cook a dish three times. We stop in between steps for swap outs, etc. Television is really more of a demo than actual cooking. We may need to do multiple takes, so we have to have an untouched serving or casserole to work with. It’s tricky sometimes because if we’re working with a cut of meat for example, the multiple cuts have to be the same shape and size, and that can be challenging! Can you picture our staff running to the butcher to find a steak shaped like Africa? That’s actually happened!

On TV, I need to measure everything carefully, but at home I don’t have to, which is so liberating!

Amy: You seem so natural on TV. How much of your show is scripted and how much is spontaneous?

Ellie: It probably seems natural because it’s virtually unscripted. The opening and closing are often scripted somewhat, but I work with the producers to come up with a list of points that we want to cover during the show. What I say comes from the heart and head, not from a memorized piece. I couldn’t do it that way because I have to believe in what I’m saying. It has to be honest.

Amy: March is National Nutrition Month. What are a few simple steps that parents can take to improve their kids’ nutrition?

Ellie: Be sure to include a fruit and vegetable in every lunch. Cook with your children. Get them involved with the cooking process and the selection process. Take them to the market so they can choose the fruits and vegetables they want to eat for lunch. In the evening, let them choose what will go into their lunchbox.

Amy: What are your thoughts on the new FDA food pyramid recommendations?

Ellie: I love the emphasis on whole grains and the emphasis on protein from plants. I’m also happy that they’re emphasizing water over sodas and other sweetened drinks. The concept of filling ˝ of your plate with fruits and vegetables is visual and understandable for kids. Also, I love the message “enjoy your food, but eat less of it.”

Amy: What’s your favorite lunch?

Ellie: I love soup in winter. I like to make a large batch and keep it in the freezer. Minestrone is good, or chicken or lentil. I like to eat seasonally. In summer I love salads and leftovers. I like to grill vegetables, like asparagus, for dinner, for example, and add them to a salad for lunch the next day.

Amy: What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Ellie: I’m excited about the new book I have coming out in the fall. It’s called Comfort Food Fix.

A registered dietitian, Ellie has a master’s degree in nutrition from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Ellie was an adjunct professor at New York University in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. In her years in private practice, she counseled a variety of clients, from homemakers and CEOs to notable celebrities.

Today, Ellie’s extensive work in the media has earned her a loyal following and national recognition. She speaks regularly at high profile events around the country and has appeared as a guest expert on dozens of national television programs including The Today Show, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, Live with Regis & Kelly and CNN.

Additionally, Ellie is a contributing editor and columnist with Fine Cooking magazine and the Food Network magazine. She contributes regularly to Parenting and Fitness magazines and has appeared in countless other mainstream publications including Glamour, Self, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, More, Health, Women’s Health, First and Prevention.

Ellie finds happiness living with her family in New York City.

In the News

Taste Magazine Cincinnati

Celebrate National Nutrition Month this March by Packing Healthy Bento Lunches with Laptop Lunches

Since 1973, the American Diabetic Association has urged Americans to focus on making informed food choices and developing sound eating and exercise habits during National Nutrition Month, each March. This March, Laptop Lunches® is challenging you and your family to celebrate National Nutrition Month by packing a healthy lunch for each day of the month! Using a Laptop Lunches® bento lunch box will simplify the process of creating wholesome, on-the-go meals for all ages. To read the rest of the article, visit .



Making Lunch? Make it Nutritious! Make it Waste-Free!

If you’re like us, you start the school year with enthusiastic plans to send your kids to school with lunches that are nutritious, affordable, and easy to make. You promise that you’ll plan ahead. You’ll put more effort into it. You’ll cut out the junk. But somehow mid-year finds us settled once again into our old lunch-making routine, frustrated and in search of fresh ideas. But do not despair…making fresh lunches may not be as difficult as you think. To read the full article, visit:


The School Lunch Program

Don’t know where to start when it comes to packing a delicious and healthy school lunch. These tips, tricks and ideas will help you think outside the lunchbox making the process a breeze!. To view the video, visit:

Green Opportunities

SUSTAINABLE HOUSING PROJECT IN HAITI – Did you know that one million people still live in temporary shelters in Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake? See what one architect is trying to do to help rebuild Haiti, by using tires and plastic bottles found on the streets. To read about this sustainable housing project and to watch a video, visit: Information on the Haiti housing project begins at 2 minutes and 26 seconds into the video.

GUIDE TO GREEN LIVING – Here's a site designed to make it easy to search for anything you want to green. Also, find eco-friendly facts, tips, and products. To learn more, visit:

FREE HEALTHY FAMILY COOKBOOK – In order to promote healthy eating, the National Institute of Health has published a cookbook filled with tasty and easy to prepare recipes for families. Keep the Beat Recipes: Deliciously Healthy Family Meals has more than 40 kid-tested recipes featuring a variety of healthy entrees, side dishes, and snacks that parents and children can enjoy together. The free cookbook also offers time-saving tips and helpful resources for busy families. You can find it online at:

Featured Web Site: GreenWorld365

GreenWorld365 was started by a group of friends with a passion to live a greener lifestyle and teach their children to do the same. They set out to find simple solutions that could make a difference, one small step at a time, 365 days a year.

Their mission is to create a comprehensive one-stop resource with information for all things green, along with the latest eco-news, practical solutions and tips for living a greener lifestyle.

To find out more, visit

On This Site:
  • Green News
  • Tips on Green Living
  • Energy Related Articles
  • Information on Food and Health
  • Green Tips for Garden and Home
  • Green Product Information
  • Green Resources

Contact Us

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© March 2011 Obentec, Inc.

500 Chestnut Street, Suite 250
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


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