Monday, November 12, 2007

Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins

Pumpkin is a common thing to see and eat this time of year. A few weeks ago we got a couple of pie pumpkins. If you have never cooked or eaten some thing made with fresh pumpkin I recommend it. When I was growing up we cooked our jack-0 lanterns every year after Halloween to make pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pie pumpkins are much smaller and less fibrous then carving pumpkins

The first step is to cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff. I found that an ice cream scope worked best. If you put the seeds aside they can be toasted!

There are many ways to cook the pumpkin. I decided to try the baking method. I used a roasting pan placed my two pumpkins in about 1/2 inch of water (this keeps the pumpkin from drying out). Bake them at 350 for about 30 min then test. To test them use a fork or knife and poke a pumpkin, when they are done the knife will slide easily through to the skin. Mine cooked about 50 min.

Once they are done baking, let them cool enough so they can be handled. Next scrape the pumpkin out leaving just the shell. You need to puree the pumpkin, there are many methods of doing this, I used my little mini food processor. I also found that I needed to add a little water to get the pumpkin to blend and become smooth. Once blended you can freeze it till you need some pumpkin!

Now for all those seeds. I have tried doing something with them in the past and have never gotten them to come out quite right but I wanted to try again. First thing to so is to rinse the seeds.

Then spread them out on a cookie sheet to dry. The cooking method I was following said to spread them on a paper towel. Usually they need to dry overnight before cooking them.

This unfortunately is the last stage of my efforts this year. The next day when I wanted to mix them with salt and oil to cook them... they were hopelessly stuck to the paper towels, I might have tried to get them wet and get them to come unstuck but didn't go through the effort to start them again. Good luck with your pumpkins!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Monterey, IL2007

Last week I traveled to Monterey California for the Internet Librarian 2007 Conference. I have to say this was one of the best conferences I have been to. Day we arrived was beautiful and sunny but Monday it was cloudy and cold. At lunch I walked down to the Wharf and had a bowl of delicious clam chowder in a fresh sourdough bowl, yummy!

On Tuesday I visited Cannery Row, just a short walk down from where we stayed near Fisherman's Wharf, it was beautiful outside.

Don't worry though I actually did go to the conference! There were lots of great presentations about integrating Library 2.0, gaming, Second Life and so much more. Some of my favorite sessions were on promoting your library online, website design and using a wiki for your staff intranet. Basically it was good to be around a bunch of people who have similar jobs to me and had a lot of great ideas. This is a conference I am ready to go back to next year!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

As you may have noted in an earlier post I read the book Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, in the past few days the controversy over the book has come to my attention (its all over librarian listservs and blogs!). From what I have read, including this, Philip Pullman is a strong atheist and wrote this series of books to promote his beliefs, sort of the other side of the coin to Chronicles of Narnia. The mission in the books apparently is to eventually kill god. The book is seen by some as anti-Christian, anti-Catholics, etc… I am a little confused though. Philip Pullman was quoted as saying “I don’t profess any religion; I don’t think its possible there is a God…” so if he doesn’t believe why did he write a series of book where the goal is to get to and kill a god that according to his personal beliefs does not exist in the first place? Just a little point I was pondering. I also wonder if the controversy is similar to the Harry Potter issue, a bunch of people who have never read the series but pass judgment on it. I want to withhold my final judgment on the controversy until I read the other two books in the series. Remember this is an award winning book that has previously been sort of acclaimed

Movie Web Site

Wikipedia Entry

Two articles posted from Sarah Krygier, Young Adult Librarian Solano County Library who decided to not hold a program surrounding the movie and books.

Literary Review -Claudia FitzHerbert talks to Philip Pullman

Third Way

Lets get started on November...

So far for November I have three books. First is Avalon High: Coronation Vol.1 this is the first manga book by Meg Cabot. It continues the story where Avalon High left off. It is based on the idea that King Arthur and other influential people from the time are reincarnated into a group of kids in high school, events from the legend are playing out again in modern times. I don’t really read much manga but I did like this volume. River Secrets by Shannon Hale was another nominee for YALSA’s Teen Top Ten. It is the companion story to Goose Girl and Enna Burning but this time follows Razo as he searches in a foreign land to find out who the new burner is. Once again I enjoyed this story and a new perspective on familiar characters.

Finishing October

Let the onslaught continue! To wrap up October… first we will start with Firegirl by Tony Abbott. This book was nominated for YALSA’s Teen Top Ten, it is the story of a boy who attends a private school. One day the teacher announces a new student, turns out she is severely burned over most of her body. The book deals with the boy’s reaction to this new student as well as his response to his classmates and their behavior. Mates, Dates and Cosmic Kisses and Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins are from the Mates, Dates… series. The stories switch between three girls who are friends and what they are going through growing up in England. These are some fast reads but good books, however I can see some readers being thrown off by the slang.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is about a young genius Colin, who feels his IQ peaked when he was younger and now after high school must decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life, oh and by the way he only dates Katherines. The latest Katherine has broken his heart and he and his friend hit the road to see what is out there. Along the way Colin decided to make a mathematical love equation based on his Katherine relationships. Love Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is Stargirl’s letter to Leo after leaving Arizona for Pennsylvania. Stargirl recounts her year and thought to Leo. This book didn’t get the best reviews after all the praise the first one got, however I really liked it.