Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sunday October 28, 2012 Slow Cooker Recipes

Do you want to save time and come home to a hot meal that cooked itself to perfection all day? Do you want to experiment with new recipes like winter squash stuffed with couscous, apricots and pistachios without spending hours in the kitchen? A slow cooker can help and the Thunder Bay Public Library has a large selection of recipe books for this handy kitchen appliance. Whether you are digging out your old Crock Pot from the back cupboard or thinking about purchasing a new one, check out these titles for your next slow cooked meal. 

When cooking for the first time, try Company’s Coming 5 Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes. With only five ingredients required for each dish, you may have these ingredients already in your house. And like the other recipe books listed, this cookbook provides tips on how to use your slow cooker properly. For recipes that only need five ingredients, there is quite a variety.

Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book has recipes covering everything from appetizers to desserts, tips for your slow cooker and lots of colourful pictures to show you what you are cooking. After reading several of the recipes, and looking at the cover, it will be hard to decide which recipe to try. They all look good.

You can tell someone tried several recipes when the bookmarks are still in the pages. Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook has recipes for small and large slow cookers, lots of colour pictures, tips and more. Another great feature, besides the great tasting recipes, is the spiral binding that allows the book to sit flat on the counter as you cook.

Many of the recipes in these cookbooks are perfect for feeding a large crowd or having left-overs to freeze. If you are only cooking for two, Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two has recipes that are perfect for smaller portions and require smaller slower cookers. This book has plenty of meal options and easy to follow directions, but could use pictures.

The Library has slow cooker recipe books for vegetarians such as Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker which has recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts. Try a recipe from 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes or The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker, available to download in eBook format.

For someone that is looking for a slow cooker recipe that is gluten free, you may enjoy the recipes in the cookbooks Gluten-free Slow Cooking and Everyday Gluten-free Slow Cooking.  Both books provide helpful hints for gluten free cooking, tips on using your slow cooker and a tasty variety of recipes.

Look for one of these slow cooker recipe books and others at one of your Thunder Bay Public Library branches and enjoy!

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday October 21, 2012 It's Only Rock and Roll

The new crop of rock biographies published recently has me thinking about the role that popular musicians play in our lives. As teenagers, we follow their every move, they serve as subjects of gossip and recipients of ridicule. Eventually, we see these performers as old friends, reminding us of fond memories and unfortunate haircuts. These books illustrate the individuals behind the music, human beings, both fabulous and flawed.  The shelves of the library are full of great biographies about anyone who’s ever been anyone, but you’ll probably find me in the 700’s, flipping pages and humming “Stairway to Heaven”.

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young
For the first time, Neil Young looks at his own life and his musical legacy. The book is written in 68 short chapters covering everything from his childhood in Ontario and his early struggles to the fast lane drug inspired days with Buffalo Springfield and CSNY . He details his fears as a solo artist and his successes and failures in and out of the music business. His love for Pegi, his wife, and his three children flow off the pages, as does his commitment to a variety of charitable causes. 

Who I Am by Pete Townshend
Believing a life unexamined is not a life truly lived, Townshend has chosen to open up about the details of his life, both personally and professionally.  He talks about the success of the Who and details  the little-known stories of the band. Digging into his own troubled childhood and his failed relationships during the heights of stardom, Townshend poured most of his emotions into his music. Much of the narrative comes from diary entries so the book has a confessional approach, showing  a talented and troubled man.

Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Leslie Ann Jones
Years after his death, many family members, close friends and associates are opening up about the man they knew. The story details how a shy lonely Parsi boy from Zanzibar became an outrageous and flamboyant performer, and a legend of the English rock and roll scene. Mercury’s life, as the band Queen climbed the charts, became one of every-increasing hedonism as he became more and more emotionally isolated. This story of a man and his music is both bittersweet and fascinating.

Shut up and give me the Mic by Dee Snider
Dee Snider, the songwriter and lead singer for the band, Twisted Sister, seemed on the surface to represent every cliché about the “hair” bands of the 1980’s but underneath lay a classically trained choir boy who struggled to find his path in music. It was meeting with Suzette, his wife, that helped Snider develop his own style and find fame. Ever the achiever, Snider has done television, movies, starred on Broadway and appeared before Congress. In the book, crazy anecdotes are mixed in with heartfelt family stories, showing that Snider has remained true to himself.

Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper
Rock and roll has always been primarily a man’s world, so it’s the rare female performer who achieves lasting fame.  Cyndi Lauper has lasted due to the combination of talent, perseverance and a “don’t really care if you like me, I’m just going to keep singing” attitude. Tackling her life with humour, Cyndi talks about the failures that lead to her success, challenging herself as both a mother and an activist and her goals for the future. She is a strong woman and an excellent role model to anyone who wants to pursue their dreams.

Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sunday October 14, 2012 Pumpkin Carving

It seems likely that I’m not alone in finding that as the days get shorter I find myself craving light through the winter months.  This led to a search of the catalogue for books on how to make paper lanterns.  I found Paper Illuminated by Helen Hiebert, which contains projects for paper lanterns, lampshades, luminaria, and more.  Even more interesting I found a selection of books on pumpkin carving.  So, today I will focus on books that prepare us for Halloween.  In our house we’re already working on costumes and the jack-o-lanterns are next up on the “to-do” list.

For most of us pumpkin carving is not a work of art.  We draw a simple face and do our best to cut on the lines.  Growing up there was always some choice language and we kids usually got bored halfway through pulling out the insides.  Then we’d return to see Dad tackle the carving with a freshly sharpened knife.  For others though pumpkin carving is an art form and there are an ever increasing number of books and websites on how to carve the perfect pumpkin.  The books you can find at your library range from the most simple to the extremely complex.  I’ve collected a taster pack of different pumpkin carving and decorating books for your pleasure.

To get started in pumpkin carving check out How to Carve Pumpkins for Great Results by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell and Pumpkin Carving by Ed Palmer.  These two books cover the basics of pumpkin carving with step by step instructions.  Even if you don’t want to carve the designs provided they should give you some ideas to make your own masterpiece.

Do you want to make three dimensional faces for your pumpkins and create awe inspiring scenes?  Check out Extreme Pumpkin Carving by Vic Hood and Extreme Pumpkins by Tom Nardone, both books contain directions to make truly terrifying pumpkin designs.  Not for the faint of heart they will put the fright back in Halloween.

I’ve included Decorating Pumpkins and Gourds by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell because it includes ideas for all of Fall and Winter, not just Halloween.  In this book you’ll find ideas for next Thanksgiving’s decorations as well as this Halloween and Christmas.  We tend to associate pumpkins (and to a lesser extent other gourds) with Halloween but they can provide striking seasonal decorations for several months.

Of course there are many more pumpkin carving and Halloween decorating books available at your library, but sadly space does not permit.  I encourage you to come in and check out all we have to make this Fall special.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sunday October 7, 2012 Everybody Wins at TBPL!

Running is a sport that anyone can enjoy. Whether you are a casual or competitive runner, cross country or track athlete, or looking to get back into shape, running is an excellent activity to burn those calories, reduce stress, meet new people and improve your esteem. There is no need for extravagant equipment, flashy workout clothes or even a gym membership for that matter. All you need is a bit of determination and pluck, equal part peer and family support, a pair of running shoes, maybe a Led Zeppelin tune and you’re set to go. Or should I say run!

However, if you are just beginning or are looking into getting back into the ol’routine, feelings of trepidation are perfectly normal. How about taking that next step and training for a half or full marathon? Why not take a little jaunt over to The Thunder Bay Public Library, where great resources are available to help motivate, instruct and inspire you to gain your personal best. Here at TBPL, we will be with you every step of the way to help you get off on the right foot. 

If you are new or a novice to the great sport, perhaps you should look into Ian MacNeill’s The beginning runner’s guide handbook: The proven 13-week RunWalk program, a guide developed by a sports-medicine professional that explains how to effectively begin your running experience. In addition, MacNeill focuses on proper body mechanics and techniques as well as the importance of including a balanced diet.

What if you are planning to run your first race? Author Jeff Galloway can show you how to master the 5 and 10 kilometer run. In his book, Galloway’s 5K and 10K Running, he provides motivation to new runner’s entering their first race, or experienced runners who wish to improve their time on the track.

Within TBPL’s collection are some great titles for female runners. Run For Your Life: A Book for Beginning Women Runners is a great start for any woman looking to start exercising. Author Deborah Reber provides great insight on how to get started, and most importantly, how to maintain your newfound lifestyle. Karen Bridson’s Run for It: A Woman's Guide to Running for Emotional and Physical Health combines material on how running can improve your lifestyle with discussion on women’s physical and mental health.

Equally exciting is Richard Benyo’s Running Past 50, a superb guide that motivates older adults to continue with their running programs, as well as how to add a bit of excitement to an unvaried routine. With some humorous anecdotes, Benyo shares his enthusiasm for running and how it can become a lifelong habit.

Perhaps a key indicator that demonstrates your commitment to running could be your desire to take on the ultimate runner’s challenge: the marathon. Jennifer Van Allen’s The Runner's World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training: Winning Strategies, Inspiring Stories, and the Ultimate Training Tools, is the all inclusive training guide for a half or full marathon. It provides essential materials needed to train for the marathon, along with great tips and inspiring stories of runners just like you.

Speaking of inspiration, everyone enjoys reading and hearing about individuals overcoming the odds and succeeding in the end. As citizens of Thunder Bay, we are fortunate to have the ultimate model of an inspired runner: Terry Fox. Browse the numerous items dedicated to his memory that show his undying passion and unparalleled strength during his run in the Marathon of Hope.    

So if you are feeling interested in any of these items, come and visit TBPL, where you are sure to find the suitable guide for you.

Petar Vidjen