Monday, December 28, 2015

Staff Picks - Favorite Books of 2015

As another year ends, obliterated by time's inexorable march to oblivion, one's thoughts inevitably turn to literature (obviously). "What were my local library staff's favorite books of 2015?" you have undoubtedly been asking yourself for the past several days. Well, it is now time to find out:


Kyla, Collinsville branch manager - The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Matt, assistant branch manager/cataloger - A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Tara, library clerk - The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Cecilia, library clerk - The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Jed, marketing/public relations - Crippled America by Donald J. Trump

Ginny, board of trustees - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Grahm, library clerk - The First Bad Man by Miranda July

Diane, library clerk/administrative assistant - Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Leslee, interlibrary loan shark - The Forensic Genealogist series by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Alison, youth services specialist - Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling


Have a happy 2016!



Posted by Grahm Underwood, library clerk

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Gluhwein

Alison Donnelly has been with the library for ten years. She is the Children's Librarian and an all around awesome person. Whether you need a warm drink because it's cold outside or because Uncle Earl won't stop yammering about politics, Alison has the perfect recipe for a classic holiday favorite.

Gluhwein




This spicy and warming drink has roots in Germany and Eastern Europe and is commonly found at Christmas markets throughout Europe. It tastes just as good when prepared in Collinsville, though.


To 4 litres of red wine you need:

  • Sugar (amount proportional to quality of red wine; the worse the wine, the more sugar you need, add it to taste, but start with about ½ a cup) 
  • 6 - 8 Cinnamon sticks 
  • Whole cloves 
  • 2 Oranges 
  • Whole allspice 
  • 2 cups of orange juice 
  • ½ cup pineapple juice 
  • ½ cup ginger ale 

Method:
  • Pour the red wine into a large pot and put it on the stove on a very low heat. Do not let the wine come to a boil. 
  • I tend to cut the oranges into slices and then put about 4 cloves into each slice, then put them in with the wine. 
  • Break the cinnamon sticks in half or thirds and put them in with the wine as well as 10 of the whole all spice. 
  • Add in the 2 cups of orange juice, ginger ale, and pineapple juice. 
  • Add in sugar and stir. 
  • Stir on and off for about 30 mins to give the spices time to infuse with the wine and for the magic to occur, then taste it, and add more sugar as needed. 
  • Let it cook for about 30 mins more (again, not letting it boil). 
  • Enjoy! If you have patience, letting the wine sit overnight will allow the spices to fully infuse, giving an amazingly festive taste. 
Variation: Any berry type fruits (e.g. raspberries, cranberries) can be added for flavour. Triple sec liqueur or brandy can also be added if you want more of a kick in your cup.

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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Alison Donnelly, Children's Librarian, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Monday, December 21, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Waldorf Salad

Katie Heaton is the Fairmont City Branch Manager and has been with the library since 1997. Katie's Waldorf Salad recipe is sure to be a holiday favorite. Katie poetically states that "after the fall harvest of those beautiful red apples & meaty walnuts - nothing taste better next to that holiday ham!"


Waldorf Salad


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup walnuts pieces
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Large crisp red apples
  • 2 ribs of celery sliced into pieces
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice

Directions
  • Wash, halve, core, and cut the apples into bite size pieces, leaving the red skin.
  • Wash, cut the celery into slices.
  • Add the apple & celery into a dish and sprinkle with lemon juice.
  • Add the walnuts.
  • Add the mayonnaise & toss until covered.
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Katie Heaton, Fairmont City Branch Manager, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Theo's Turkey

Theo Tate has been with the library for four years and can make a turkey like nobody's business. Theo's Turkey needs no other introduction - it's that good. 

Theo's Turkey



Ingredients
2 tbs. dried parsley
2 tbs. rosemary
2 tbs. sage
2 tbs. thyme leaves
1 tbs. lemon pepper
Onion
Celery
Bell pepper
Carrots
Orange or apple
1 can of chicken broth
Butter or margarine


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Wash off the turkey (remove the gizzards and neck part) and smother it with butter or margarine.
3. Create herb mixture (parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme leaves, lemon pepper) and put it into the cavity of the turkey and sprinkle it all over the turkey.
4. Stuff turkey with celery, onion, orange or apple, carrots, bell pepper
5. Put turkey into oven bag
6. Pour chicken broth over turkey
7. Bake it covered for three hours until it's no longer pink.
8. Uncover turkey and continue baking for another hour.

For best results, wash, season and stuff turkey the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas and put turkey in the fridge so it can marinate. Then, put it in the oven the next morning

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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Theo Tate, Library Clerk, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Friday, December 18, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Vegetarian Quinoa and Kale Mix

Having only been on the staff for about a month, Tara Burke is currently the baby of our library family. As such, this is the first time Tara has been roped in to one of our "Meet the Staff" activities (but it surely won't be the last). Tara's recipe is for a delicious sounding vegetarian dish, which will help balance out all of the fatty and junk food that is synonymous with this time of year.

Vegetarian Quinoa and Kale Mix 



Ingredients
  • 1 small/medium butternut squash, diced
  • 1 large leaf of kale, stem removed
  • 1 cup of pomegranate
  • ¼ cup of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic

Instructions
  • Prepare Quinoa according to package direction and let cool completely.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, add a few drizzles of olive oil to a saute pan and place over medium heat. Add diced butternut squash and saute until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool.
  • In the same saute pan add a little more olive oil and the kale. Wilt slightly, 1-2 minutes, you want the kale to still be slightly crunchy. Remove from pan and roughly chop. Set aside to also cool.
  • Add all of the cooled ingredients along with the pomegranate, goat cheese, a little salt and a little pepper, and gently mix. 
  • Adding sauteed walnuts to this recipe is also a good option :)

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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Tara Burke, Library Clerk, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake

Ashley Hylsky has been with the library for seven years, working her way up the ladder the old-fashioned way, through hard work and perseverance. Ashley is in a food coma from this delicious Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake recipe and thus was unable to say anything more than "Mmmmmm, this is so tasty". 

Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake



Time: 30 min.
Total Time: 6 hr. 10 min.
Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 24 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
  • 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 pkg. (11 oz.) KRAFT Caramels
  • 6 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans
  • 3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 oz. BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Directions
  • Heat oven to 325°F.
  • Mix crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.
  • Microwave caramels and milk in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Stir in nuts; pour half into crust. Refrigerate 10 min. Refrigerate remaining caramel mixture for later use.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.
  • Bake 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
  • Microwave reserved caramel mixture 1 min.; stir. Pour over cheesecake. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake.

This recipe is courtesy of the good people at Kraft. 

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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Ashley Hylsky, Library Clerk, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Pralines

Diane Wolfe is the Administrative Assistant at the library and has been with us for more than fifteen years. Diane's praline recipe is courtesy of Paula Deen and the Food Network.

Pralines


Total Time: 45 Min
Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves


Directions
  • Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. 
  • Put the sugars, salt, corn syrup, milk, and butter in pan.
  • Over medium heat, stir mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until sugars have dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. 
  • Continue to cook to a soft ball stage, approximately 236 degrees F on a candy thermometer, 
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. 
  • Add the vanilla and nuts, and beat with a spoon by hand for approximately 2 minutes or until candy is slightly thick and begins to lose its gloss. 
  • Quickly drop tablespoons onto waxed paper. 
  • If the candy becomes still, add a few drops of hot water. 

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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Diane Wolfe, Administrative Assistant, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Buffalo Chicken Dip

 Megan Harris is a staple of the Collinsville Library's staff and her family's Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe will keep you warm if the weather ever realizes that it is suppose to be winter. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:
2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup red hot sauce
1 (10 ounce) can chicken, drained (or equivalent rotisserie or freshly cooked, chopped chicken)
Shredded cheddar cheese according to taste

Direction:
1)Beat cream cheese, ranch dressing, and hot sauce.
2)Fold in shredded chicken.
3)Spread mixture into pie plate sprayed with Pam.
4)Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
5)Add cheddar cheese to top
6)Bake an additional 10-15  minutes.
 Serve hot with Frito scoops.
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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Megan Harris, Library Clerk, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bad Movie Club - Christmas Movie Contenders

Tonight at the Blum House the MVLD Bad Movie Club will be showing Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (7:30 PM; light refreshments served). Although this film is a tried and true bad movie classic, the amount of holiday-themed dreck available actually made for a difficult selection. Here are some of the other films we considered for our bad movie night:


Lucky Christmas - A struggling single mom wins the lottery, but her car is stolen with the ticket inside. Somehow, this film is even worse than it sounds.

Christmas Caper -  Shannen Doherty stars as the world's least convincing jewel thief, but will she learn the true meaning of Christmas before she steals all the presents in her hometown? IDK

I'll Be Home for Christmas - Home Improvement dreamsicle Jonathan Taylor Thomas was so popular with young girls that he actually got them to go out and see Tom and Huck, which was like spending good money to have extra school on a Friday night. Even still, I'll Be Home for Christmas was a bridge too far.

Santa with Muscles - That's right, there is a movie called Santa with Muscles and it stars Hulk Hogan. We should have had a double feature.

Happy viewing!

Posted by Grahm Underwood, library clerk

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Thanksgiving Brisket

Today's recipe is from Theresa Beck, the Head of Circulation. Theresa is going to share her delicious Thanksgiving Brisket recipe!

Thanksgiving Brisket


Each year during the Holiday’s my family tries to make something different. This year for Thanksgiving my husband slow smoked two briskets. He started them around 12:30 am and every two hours went out and added four coals to the fire and water to the water pan.

Ingredients:
1 (4-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground cumin


Directions:
Set the brisket on a large sheet of plastic wrap. In a medium bowl combine the dark brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne, dry mustard, and cumin thoroughly. Rub the mixture onto the brisket and wrap tightly in the plastic wrap. Place on a baking sheet and let marinate refrigerated at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Prepare a smoker with charcoal according to the manufacturer's instructions to 180 to 200 degrees F. Place the water pan in the smoker and add water to the fill line, about 2/3 full. Place the unwrapped brisket on the lower rack off the direct heat, close the lid, and cook, regularly stoking the fire, until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 185 to 195 degrees F., or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for 20 minutes before carving the meat against the grain.

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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!

Posted by Theresa Beck, Head of Circulation, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Staff Holiday Recipes - Brown Sugar Cookies

Happy Holidays! One of the best parts of this magical time of the year is the festive food we enjoy at family gatherings and on cold winter nights throughout the season. Through the holidays will be sharing some of our staff’s favorite recipes and we encourage you to try them yourself! Of course a lot of the time these kinds of dishes are tied to a tradition or memory so the staff may also reflect on what their choice means to them or why it is their favorite. Have fun trying out the staff’s favorite recipes and for more seasonal meals and treats check out one of the library’s many holiday cookbooks!

Our first recipe is from Kyla Waltermire, the Branch Manager in Collinsville. Kyla's recipe is for a delicious seasonal staple, Brown Sugar Cookies.


Brown Sugar Cookies



I'm a big fan of "grazing" during the holidays--you know, when you keep going back for another handful of toasted nuts here or a bread roll there, whenever the mood strikes, regardless of how many meals you've already eaten or will be eating again.

My favorite things to graze on are sweet bites, and cookies are the undisputed champ. They're portable, come in an endless variety, and are easier to eat than cakes.

My new go-to cookie recipe is for brown sugar cookies. The dark brown sugar gives the cookies a bit more "oomph" than regular sugar cookies without being overpowering. These cookies come out in that texturally perfect place between too chewy and too crisp--they have just the right mouthfeel to be satisfying.

I hope you enjoy!

Brown Sugar Cookies (makes about 4 dozen)
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Rolling sugar:
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together with a whisk and set aside.
  3. Mix the 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup white granulated sugar together and set aside. (This will be used for rolling the cookies in before baking.)
  4. In a sauce pan (not non stick) melt 10 tablespoons of butter. Continue cooking on medium low heat, stirring constantly until the foaming subsides. Continue stirring until the butter begins to brown and form little dark specks on the bottom of the sauce pan. If you use a dark non stick pan, you will not see the change in color. The browning butter can go from brown to burnt very quickly, so be careful.
  5. Remove the browned butter from the stove and pour into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of cold butter and whisk until melted.
  6. Add the 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar and whisk.
  7. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and whisk.
  8. Fold in the dry ingredients.
  9. Roll 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls in the reserved brown/white sugar mixture and place on a parchment lined pan. These cookies will spread, so leave a good amount of space between each dough ball.
  10. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Remember to under bake your cookies and continue letting them 'bake' on the sheet pan, out of the oven, on a cooling rack. When the cookies are cool on the sheet pan, transfer to a cooling rack and continue cooling.
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For more seasonal recipes check out one of our holiday cookbooks. The library has a great selection of holiday recipe books that can be found in the nonfiction section both on the main floor and children’s floor. We have a large variety of seasonal reading so also be sure to browse our holiday displays. Happy holidays!


Posted by Kyla Waltermire, Branch Manager, and Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

Friday, December 04, 2015

Christmas Classics

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays! It's the most wonderful time of the year and here at the library we are surrounded by the imaginative stories that help make the season merry and remind us of what matters most through the busy hustle and bustle.

Here are some touching and memorable quotes from a few of our favorite Christmas stories. 







Posted by Terry Pierson, Library Clerk

*Amended and updated from a similar post from December 2014.