Thursday, July 30, 2009

Insulated Bento Sleeves on Sale!

We're running a special on our insulated bento sleeves this week. They're normally $14.99, but they're on sale for only $11.99 through Tuesday, August 3rd. Pack your Laptop Lunches bento set inside this sleeve for use inside your backpack, brief case, or book bag. Comes with an ice pack.

"My son came home from school on the first day of 6th grade and announced that he would no longer be toting a lunchbox to school. Seems that lunchboxes were suddenly out, and backpack lunches were in. I had been packing healthy lunches in his Laptop Lunchbox for three years and wasn't ready to stop! I love packing lunches this way, and the containers still look brand new. At first I was at a total loss, but then I remembered seeing the bento sleeves on your Web site. I ordered one, and it works like a charm. I get to pack healthy lunches for him, and he gets to eat lunch from his backpack! Thanks for this great idea!"

More information can be found at

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grilled Baby Cabbage with Rice

This Week's Photo


* Steamed Brown Basmati Rice
* Grilled Baby Cabbage
* Chick Peas
* Fresh Garden Tomatoes
* Fresh Plums
* Crispy Carrots

Preparation Notes

We put this lunch together after returning from a trip to the farmers' market. We were lucky enough to find these tender baby cabbages, which we seared to perfection. We then added a number of other items to "round out" the lunch.

Steam the rice and scoop some into the extra large container.

Slice the baby cabbages in half and sear in a small amount of butter or olive oil for a few minutes. Then add about 1/4 inch of water to the skillet, cover, and simmer until tender. Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Place the cabbages on top of the rice.

Add some canned (drained and rinsed) chick peas.

Slice some fresh tomatoes (or include cherry tomatoes) and place in the corner of the extra large container for added nutrition and color.

Place two plums in one of the medium containers.

Peel and slice the carrots and place them in the other medium container.

Friday, July 24, 2009

State by state obesity rankings are out

Washington, D.C. - Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, a report released today by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In addition, the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states.

"Our health care costs have grown along with our waist lines," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. "The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing health care costs in the United States. How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health?"

[Read the rest of the story at]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Community supported agriculture (CSA) benefits producers and consumers.

* It allows small farmers to sell directly to families, eliminating the need for middle men.
* Farmers can "pre-sell" their goods, so they know how much of each item to plant.
* Families can receive a share of high-quality, locally grown, organic produce easily and affordably.
* Local produce is fresher. Fruits that ripen on the tree or vine taste better and are more nutritient-rich.
* Local produce purchased directly from the farm for immediate consumption does not contain preservatives found in foods that must be shipped great distances.
* Trucking foods to other parts of the country creates traffic and air pollution.
* Organic farming practices keep pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers out of our food, drinking water, and animal habitats.

While many of us belong to CSAs or are planning to join a CSA sometime in the near future, few of us realize that--and we quote from"CSA is a relatively recent phenomenon in the United States and Canada. Teikei, the CSA equivalent, which literally translated means 'partnership' or 'cooperation', was first developed in Japan by a group of women concerned with the use of pesticides, the increase in processed and imported foods and the corresponding decrease in the farm population. The more philosophical translation for teikei is 'food with the farmer's face on it' (Van En 1992). In 1965 Japanese women initiated a direct, cooperative relationship in which local farmers were supported by consumers on an annual basis."

To hear the rest of the story or to find a CSA in your area, visit or

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Healthy Lunchbox

We've just added a new lunch book, The Healthy Lunchbox, to our Web store at

This one-of-a-kind guide is filled with quick tips, tricks, and techniques for organizing and preparing quick and easy meals with a little more zing and a lot more nutrition than those boring old sandwiches, chips, and sodas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Composting Basics

Composting is a great way to add nutrients to any garden. It's easy, environment-friendly, and virtually free! If you're thinking about starting a compost pile but don't know how to begin, read on!

* You can purchase a compost bin or put one together yourself. (We made our compost bins with a large sheet of chicken wire — 4 feet wide and 13 feet long — and a few plastic cable ties. We have three open-ended cylinders that sit directly on the ground. The worms love it!)
* Balance your "greens" and "browns." That is, add both dry brown leaves and green plant trimmings.
* Add fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Don't forget egg shells, tea bags, and coffee grounds. Avoid oils and meat products.
* Keep your compost aerated. Mix the pile after each addition.
* Don't let your compost pile dry out.
* Don't let it get too soggy either.
* For more information on composting or to order composting equipment, visit
* Forward this email to your friends, family, and colleagues to show them how easy it is to get started.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Berry Delicious Crisp

This dessert is heavenly with fresh berries, but frozen berries work equally well. Keep a bag in the freezer for use in the off season or for unexpected dinner guests. This recipe is quick, easy, and tastes divine! Makes about 8 servings.


6 cups of your favorite fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) or 1 (16oz) package of frozen mixed berries (do not thaw)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs water


1 cup rolled oats or kamut
¾ cup unbleached flour
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar, preferably dark brown
½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 375° F.
2. Place fruit in an ungreased baking dish.
3. Sprinkle with water (omit if using frozen berries) and cinnamon.
4. In a bowl, combine topping ingredients and mix until crumbly.
5. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.
6. Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden brown.
7. Serve warm with high-quality vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Grab 'n Go Lunch

This Week's Photo


* Fresh Cherries
* Whole Grain Crackers
* Baby Carrots
* Ranch Dressing
* Almonds and Cashews

Preparation Notes

This lunch is perfect for an early or mid-summer morning when you're in a rush and don't have much in the kitchen. It takes less than 5 minutes to add a handful of each of the above ingredients as you're running for the door.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oatmeal Bars

These oatmeal bars so delicious and serve as a great alternative to many similar pre-packaged products found in the supermarket. Freeze some for future use. Preheat oven to 350°F.

3 cups whole oats
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup walnut oil
1 egg, beaten
3 tbs orange juice or water
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, combine honey, oil, egg, orange juice (or water), and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.
3. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix again.
4. Using a spatula, press mixture firmly onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet, forming one large rectangle about 1/3 inch thick.
5. Smooth the edges with the edge of the spatula.
6. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes, until light brown and firm.
7. Remove from oven and cool.
8. Using a sharp knife, cut the large rectangle into smaller 1 1/2-inch by 3 1/2-inch rectangles.
9. Remove from cookie sheet and enjoy!

(Excerpted from: The Laptop Lunch User's Guide: Fresh Ideas for Making Wholesome, Earth-friendly Lunches Your Kids Will Love, by Amy Hemmert & Tammy Pelstring, Morning Run Press, 2002. Available online at

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gear for Luncheonistas

Nice review from the Wall Street Journal:

Lunch Date — Designer

This set includes a “laptop” bento box—a rectangular box with separate food containers inside. The set comes with a stainless-steel lunch jar (vacuum technology maintains hot or cold temperatures for four hours), a stainless-steel drink bottle and a recipe book. To keep the bento box cold, the set has a sleeve and ice pack.

The box itself fits more food than we expected. Our tester fit a burrito, refried beans, chopped tomato and cut-up fruit. We were afraid that the food inside the containers without lids would spread around the lunchbox, but they stayed put.

Read the rest of the article at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mis-matched Sets are Back in Stock

Our cartons of 24 mis-matched sets are back in stock for only $312 per box of 24! They're great for schools, clubs, birthday parties, and more. Here's what one customer has to say:

"As far as I'm concerned, the Laptop Lunch set is THE birthday gift. To make it more affordable, I purchased one of your cartons of mis-matched sets. Whenever my daughter receives a birthday invitation, we look through the box to find the right set for that person. The price of $13 each makes the gift affordable, and the kids (and parents!) love them. Thanks so much for making these available!"

What are mis-matched sets?

From time to time we end up with "extra" containers in combinations that, if assembled, would not equate to full sets of pink, periwinkle, red, primary or whimsical. Instead of recycling them, we assemble them into these "mis-matched" sets, which are a combination of colors from all of our bento set options. We are currently offering these unique sets of 24 to our online customers for a flat price of $312.00. (This item is ONLY available in boxes of 24--WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.)

More information can be found at

NOTE: COLORS VARY. The above photo shows only one of the many possible color combinations. (Placemat not included.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fruit Salad, Yogurt, and Granola

This Week's Photo


* Fruit Salad
* Yogurt
* Hemp and Flax Seed Granola

Preparation Notes

The Bento Buddies extra large container is perfect for a nice, big summer fruit salad. We've used strawberries, blueberries and an heirloom melon from the farmers' market here, but any combo of fresh seasonal fruit will do. We like to add a bit of fresh orange juice for additional juice and flavor.

Spoon some yogurt into the medium lidded container.

Add a handful of granola to the other medium container.

Enjoy separately or mix the three items together at mealtime.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bento boxes, tiffins can revive your lunch routine

Think inside a new box with containers that inspire creative cooks to bring lunch from home.

By Addie Broyles
Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Brown-bag lunches are about as exciting as the turkey sandwiches and bags of carrots usually packed inside them.

With the economy prompting more adults to pack their own lunches these days — more than 8 billion meals a year, according to NPD Group research, 40 percent of which contain sandwiches — the midday meal needs a makeover.

Sometimes, something as simple as changing your lunch container is all you need to reinvigorate the way you think about food consumed away from home.

Meet bento and tiffin, two out-of-the-ordinary lunch boxes that can help you get creative when you're packing your — or, come fall, your kids' — lunches.

Bento boxes and tiffins are self-contained lunch apparatus, which means no more plastic bags you use once and throw away and no more plastic containers and mismatched lids.

A balanced meal in a bento box

Bento boxes, which the Japanese have been using since the fifth century, contain several smaller containers that are meant to be filled with portions of three parts carbohydrate, one part protein and two parts fruit or vegetable.

[Read the rest of the article at:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brown-bag lunch, Milwaukee style

Times are tough, but you already knew that. There are tons of websites and blogs to help you pinch pennies, cut costs and earn extra money, but have you thought about brown-bagging your lunch to lower your monthly food bill? If you're like so many other people who are spending their hard earned money on workday restaurant lunches, then this is your lucky day. Here are a few ideas to help you start brown-bagging your lunch every day and ultimately save you big money each month. Don't worry, you won't be carrying your lunch in a brown bag with grease stains or blue plastic grocery store bag, unless you really want to. You'll actually find a couple of links where you can order "custom" lunch kits and all the paraphernalia that go along with it.

Read the rest of the article at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bento System 2.0 is here!

New this Summer!

Bento 2.0

THREE new products joined the Laptop Lunches product line on July 1st!

*Exclusive New Colors and Designs
*Deeper Bento Box
*3 Water-tight Containers
*All-stainless Utensils

The Flower Fun and Alien Bento Systems 2.0 are ideal for families who embrace the bento concept for its function and sustainable style, but value the insulation and appeal of the traditional lunchbox. This waste-free lunch kit comes with an insulated carrying case, an outer bento container, 5 inner food containers (3 with water-tight lids), a water bottle, a set of stainless steel utensils, and a book of creative lunch ideas. The insulated carrying case is made with 100% recycled polypropylene fabric.

Bento Buddies 2.0 Can be used on their own directly inside a lunchbox:


Inside the Bento 2.0 outer container for additional configurations and for busy days when parents need an extra set of clean inner containers.

NOTE: Bento Buddies 2.0 are compatible with the Bento System 2.0. They DO NOT fit inside the original Laptop Lunches Bento Set.

Color options: berry, lime, and pink.

These products contain NO PVC, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), or lead.

For more information, visit