Tag Archives: Food

Spring is in the air

The Bibliophile Read-a-force met Friday, March 15 to plan for the upcoming read-a-thon.  We made lists of books to read during the event and came up with some great ideas for a brochure to explain the purpose of the group.  The snack ended up being popcorn, pretzels, Golden Grahams, raisins, and marshmallows (aka leftover snacks from other programs).  It turns out, some of these materials are just perfect for creating mini edible sculptures:

This is the Eiffel Tower (upside down)

This is the Eiffel Tower (upside down)

A mini marshmallow dumbell

A mini marshmallow dumbell

After all of that brainstorming, we decided to head outside to let off some of that creative energy (it was Friday afternoon, after all).  Spring is definitely in the air, and it was fun to get outside for a few minutes.


Are you ready for Spring?  What’s you’re favorite outside activity that you’ve missed all winter?



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Blog challenge!

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year, and I’ve found it to be very rewarding.  I use my blog to share about library life in Maine and post book reviews.  I have “documentation” (in the form of a write-up and pictures) of most of the programs I’ve coordinated at Ellsworth Public Library, so I also use my blog to search for information on past events.  For example, if I can remember doing a storytime about monsters, but can’t quite remember which crafts I used, a simple search on my blog will return the answer immediately.

That said, blogging can take a back seat for me when things get busy.  I am taking an online course this semester and this has taken a toll on blogging.  Fortunately, Nicole Ouellette from Breaking Even Communications is hosting a blogging challenge for the month of March.  Each day, I will (try to) complete one post based on her challenge.  I’m already a little behind, so I thought I would tackle a few of the challenges I missed in the same post!

Alright, so far, the challenges are as follows:

Day 1:  Introduction (Here’s my first post on the blog)

Day 2:  Photo Post

Day 3:  A “how-to” post

Day 4:  Food Post

Day 5:  Video Post

Ok, getting challenges 2-5 in the same post will certainly be a challenge, but here goes nothing.

How to eat well in Portland, Maine

(Disclaimer:  “eating well” is definitely a subjective thing, so let me clarify.  How to eat well (if you are vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free) in Portland, Maine).

If you are vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free, Portland has got your back.  There are a lot of options for alternative diets in this city.  Here are the strategies I used to find the best food to refuel while wandering the streets of Portland.

1.  Do your research ahead of time

I’ve been vegan/vegetarian for a couple of years now and I’ve learned that it’s a lot easier to do your food research before you go on a trip.  I love eating this way, but it can be a challenge to find foods that I can eat.  Shawn, my boyfriend, was coming along for the trip, and he sticks to a gluten-free diet.  Trying to find vegan food or gluten-free food can be tricky, but both?  I thought it was a long shot.   A few days before the trip, I started looking for restaurants in Portland, Maine that would meet both of our needs.  I did this mostly by Googling “vegan and/or gluten-free restaurants in Portland, Maine).  The search returned more hits than I had expected.

2.  Look for menus online

Thankfully, many of the prospective restaurants featured full menus online.  That was a big help in narrowing down the choices.  Sure, a restaurant may claim to be “gluten-free friendly”, but after a little investigation, it turns out they have a couple of appetizers or a salad that fits the bill, not an actual entree.

3.  Have a couple of back-up options

I knew that if all else failed, Whole Foods has a vegan salad bar and Hannaford always has options for alternative diets.  I actually ended up getting a spring roll for a snack at Hannaford…delicious as usual.

4.  Even if it seems unlikely, check for vegan/gluten-free options

We went to the Nickelodeon to see Silver Linings Playbook and I thought it would be the last place I’d find gluten-free snacks.  Wrong!  We spent so much time trying to decide which cookies we wanted, we missed the first part of the movie.  (The cookies were worth it, though!)

5.  Don’t be afraid to try new places

We settled on a restaurant called Silly’s for dinner and it exceeded our expectations.  They had a variety of vegan/gluten-free dishes that all sounded amazing (and the meals we settled on were great).  We also enjoyed the funky vibe of the restaurant.  It’s definitely a fun place to eat.  We (sort of) joked that if they served breakfast, we would have slept in the booth and eaten there the next day, too.  Here’s their site, if you want to see for yourself:  http://www.sillys.com/

The food on this trip was so good, I didn’t pause to take pictures before digging in.  Here’s a picture of Shawn and me at a wonderful tea place called Dobra Tea, suggested by our friend, Nissa.

Photo credit:  Nissa Marenius

Photo credit: Nissa Marenius

Do you have any favorite places to eat in Portland?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Maybe in the future I’ll post more about this trip (especially because I have pictures of Shawn next to Big Foot).  Now I just need a video.  Here’s one that has nothing to do with this post, libraries, or Maine, but is still awesome and something I think everyone should see (if you haven’t already).  If you need a pick-me-up, here’s the video for you!



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You are what you eat

What does the food you eat say about who you are?  The Reading Pros tackled this question and discussed What the World Eats by Peter Menzel at this month’s book club meeting.

Cover of "What the World Eats"

Cover of What the World Eats

We started out the meeting by sharing what we ate for breakfast.  Here are the results:

Bagel is clearly the winner this morning.

Some countries featured in this book have eating habits that are similar to ours (Mexico, China, and Australia were all mentioned) and others have very different customs (Chad was the most talked about here–they sometimes eat the same dish three times a day).

How much do you spend when you eat lunch out?  Maybe seven or eight dollars?  That’s more than the monthly food budget for people living in Chad!  We talked a lot about different traditions around the world and where we would most like to visit (China, Egypt and Chad topped the list).

Watching a video on how to open Ramune (a Japanese soda).

To end the meeting, we played a game about etiquette called “Don’t Gross out the World”.  It’s a fun, challenging game about eating habits in other countries.  Click here to play!

The snack for this meeting was difficult to narrow down–so so many options!  We had hummus with pita bread, carrots and cucumber, dates, and Kinder chocolate from Germany and fruit candies from Italy for dessert.

Thinking about planning your next trip around the country’s menu?  Here are a couple of suggestions from the Reading Pros:  go to Bahamas to try the dumplings, or Tanzania for the ugali.

Where would you go just to try the food?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Filed under book club, The Reading Pros, Uncategorized

The Perfect Fall Reading Snack

Sorry about the hiatus…coming back from vacation and settling back into work took up a lot of my energy these past couple of weeks. 

Now that fall is officially here, I’m thinking about cuddling up with a good book and a perfect fall reading snack.

Here are some options:

1.  Apples (Macintosh apples are my favorites this time of year) plain, or with cinnamon sugar, or dipped in caramel 🙂

Image from: spoonfulofdelight.com

2.  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

3.  Apple cider

4.  Slightly less healthy (but no less delicious):  Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights.  These might be a once a season snack.

Image from: littledebbie.com

What is your favorite fall reading snack?  I’d love to hear suggestions in the comments!


Filed under the joys of reading

School’s out for summer!!! (well, in 10 days…)

What a day!  Even though we will continue to meet through the summer, The Reading Pros had an end of the school year party today.  They discussed one book they read this month (a “free read”) and talked about books that they are looking forward to reading.

Today was also the premiere of “The Crystal” (the Lego movie we have been working on):

It was a day of epic snacks.  Charlie’s Pizza generously donated a pizza:

and Morton’s Moo donated 3 different kinds of ice cream (Mint Chip, Chocolate and Vanilla 🙂 )!

I think one of the perks of living in a small community is the support from local businesses and individuals.  Thank you, Charlie’s and Morton’s Moo-the kids were so excited about the fun snacks and it made the party extra special.

We played a trivia game to test our knowledge of all the books we’ve read this year.  I tried to make the questions relatively easy because it’s been a while since we’ve read some of these books, but each team only missed one question-so maybe I need to make them more difficult next time.

Oh, and I got a flower delivery today that was very appropriate to post on the blog 🙂

The party was a great way to celebrate the end of the school year (only 10 school days left for Ellsworth students, I’ve been told).

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Filed under The Reading Pros

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Picture Book Review:  Cinco de Mouse-o by Judy Cox

This delightful story is a great introduction to Cinco de Mayo for children who may not be familiar with the holiday.  The reader follows Mouse as he travels from his house (where the family is getting ready for the day) down the street to the city park.  He takes in all of the sights, smells, and sounds at the local Cinco de Mayo celebration.  Mouse spies a pinata and makes a plan to get a piece of candy.  As he makes his way through the fiesta on his quest for sweets, a cat is following him.  Will Mouse be able to get his hands on a piece of candy and escape from the cat?

The descriptive writing makes this picture book come to life and the reader feels as if he/she is right beside Mouse as he smells the chorizo and tamales and takes a wild ride on the pinata.  The writer uses simile, a literary device that I don’t often see in picture books.  The book includes a few Spanish phrases, but there aren’t enough to make the book difficult for someone who doesn’t speak Spanish.  If you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, grab some tortilla chips and guacamole and settle in to read this wonderful story.

If you want to celebrate this holiday by making some awe-inspiring cookies, check out this site.

I see a Mexican dinner in my future, including quesadillas, chips, and salsa.  How do you plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

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Happy May Day!

Happy May Day!  I have many fond memories of hanging may baskets when I was a kid, but I haven’t done it in many years.  My mom, grandmother, and I used to make May baskets from small cartons and decorate them with tissue paper.  I looked for an example online, but I couldn’t find one that looked like the ones we used to make.  I did find this version of a May basket (which is more like a paper cone) and there are some other cool craft ideas in the related articles at the bottom of this post.

We would fill the May baskets up with homemade cookies, brownies, and peanut butter balls and deliver them to people in the neighborhood.  As a kid, I always enjoyed hanging the baskets on the door (and on one occasion, on the handlebars of a motorcycle).  It’s so much fun to celebrate May Day because it’s almost like a random act of kindness–it’s not one of the major holidays that most people celebrate (at least here in the US), so people are more surprised when they find a basket of treats on their doorstep.

Today was a little rainy to be hanging May baskets, but my weekly flower delivery brightened up my day:

Do you have any special May Day traditions?  I would love to hear about your May Day memories in the comments!

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Filed under fun in maine, library life