Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ciao, Friends


No, we are not there yet, but we leave this week. I'm wildly and imperfectly trying to pack and bring all my library things home from school and get things ready here, so I won't be around the blogosphere much today or in upcoming days, but I promise to visit everyone who stops in at Readerbuzz in my absence when I return.

In lieu of new posts, I'll be posting 2017 and 2016 BookExpo for the next two weeks. I have never posted them on my blog, so I thought it would be fun to run them here while I'm off in Italy.

Ciao, friends. Arrivaderci.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pizza Any Way You Slice It



I've now tried three different for pizza from three different cookbooks. This one would probably appeal the most to American readers accustomed to American pizza. 

Here's the recipe:

Neapolitan Style Pizza Dough







Total:
3 hr 40 min
Prep:
3 hr 30 min
Cook:
10 min
Yield:
4, 9 to 10 inch pizzas
Level:
Easy




Ingredients

Directions

Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand for 1 minute, or until the yeast is creamy. Stir until the yeast dissolves.
In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, 2 1/2 cups of the all purpose flour, and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Lightly coat another large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free place and let rise until doubled in bulk; about 1 1/2 hours.
Flatten the dough with your fist. Cut the dough into 2 to 4 pieces and shape the pieces into balls. Dust the tops with flour. Place the balls on a floured surface and cover each with plastic wrap, allowing room for the dough to expand. Let rise 60 to 90 minutes, or until doubled.
Thirty to sixty minutes before baking the pizzas, place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles on a rack in the lowest level of the oven. Turn on the oven to the maximum temperature, 500 to 550 degrees F.
Shape and bake pizzas in desired fashion.



For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy ReadsTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Difficult Stories Children Should Read



Reading is fun, I thought when I was young. Reading takes you on extraordinary adventures, it allows you to visit amazing places, and it lets you live the lives of wonderful people.

Except when it doesn't. As I discovered when I became older.

But there is also a joy in reading difficult stories, in reading about difficult places, in reading about difficult lives.

When I was a child, Pollyanna and Heidi and Anne of Green Gables were the only stories I read about difficult lives. The main characters all had cheery personalities and they all overcame their difficulties with the sheer force of cheeriness.

Many children's books, even many children's picture books, now take on the difficult world. Here are some fiction picture books the Cybils nominees of the last three years that take on the difficult world:



A Different Pond (immigration)

All the Way to Havana (poverty)

After the Fall (recovery)

Big Cat, Little Cat (loss)

Flowers for Sarajevo (war)

Town is By the Sea (difficult occupations)

Walk With Me (poverty)

A Bike Like Sergio's (stealing)

Cry Heart, But Never Break (death) 

Freedom in Congo Square (slavery)

Ida Always (loss)

Rainbow Weaver (poverty)

The Three Lucys (war)

The Water Princess (lack of water)

Boats for Papa (loss)

Last Stop on Market Street (poverty)

Mango, Abuela, and Me (language barriers)

Sidewalk Flowers (distraction in our busy world)











Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Twelve Bags of Chocolate Chips, Housekeeping, and A Traveller in Italy

RANDOM WHINING AND MOANING

I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed. But it's the end of the year in my school library, and I have five tables of books to put away (imagine five tables covered with stacks of books so tall they are about to fall over), at least ten more after school hours of inventory to complete, and a bum thumb.

It will all get done. It will all get done. It will all get done.

Or not.

I'm doing the best I can.

As for today, here's what I must accomplish:


Yes, I agree. That's a lot of chocolate chips. I need to get busy making my award-winning* chocolate chip cookies for our Chapter Book Club Picnic...I'm estimating that I need about 15 dozen.

WHAT I'M READING

I'm hunkering through Housekeeping. I loved Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I loved Home by Marilynne Robinson. I loved Lila by Marilynne Robinson. Housekeeping? Not so much. But it's a book group read, so on I trudge.



I've also been busy at Overdrive downloading books I can read while I am in Italy. 



I'm also working my way through A Traveller in Italy. This is a delight. It's a pleasure. However, it's also 640 pages, so I'm not sure I'll get through Traveller in Italy before I'm an actual traveller in Italy.


What are you reading today?


*Truth in advertising: My recipe for chocolate chip cookies won second prize at my local Wal-Mart in 1990. I received a hand mixer. I still use this mixer.



What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 
 It is now being hosted here.

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now being hosted at The Book Date.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Italian Baker: Schiacciata alla Fiorentina (Flatbread from Florence)


"Bread is merely flour, water, yeast, and salt as the world is merely earth, water, fire, and air."
Carol Field in The Italian Baker


Carol Field offers up recipes of the Italian countryside in this book, including breads, pizza, pastries, cookies, and focaccia. I decided to try focaccia, something that Field suggests has become the national dish. 

Field notes that focaccia is "simplicity itself," made from the herbs of the countryside, along with oil from Liguria, and garlic and olives. Sometimes there are variations with tomatoes or oregano, capers or anchovies, basil or sweet onions.

Schiacciata is the word Florentines use for the breads other Italians call focaccia. 

Here is the recipe I used:

Schiacciata alla Florentina

2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons lard at room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

By hand, stir the yeast into the warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the oil, lard, and dry milk. Mix in the flour and salt and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and gradually stir the flour into the liquid. Stir until well combined. Knead on a floured surface until velvety and soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should be soft, so add any extra flour sparingly.

(I didn't have lard, so I substituted butter.)

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Flatten the dough firmly on a lightly floured work surface and divide into two 8-ounce and one 10 1/2 ounce piece. Roll each piece into a ball and let rest under a towel for 15 minutes. Dimple and spread the balls with your fingers to cover the bottoms of two oiled 8-inch pie plates and one oiled 10-inch pie plate. Brush the tops with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. 

(I had to use three 8-inch pie plates as I didn't have a 10-inch plate.)


Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Cover with one of the following toppings:

     2 red onions, thinly sliced and sautéed in 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of fresh basil

     or 3-4 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced, sprinkled with chopped basil leaves and 3/4 teaspoon of salt

     or 2 yellow and/or red peppers, thinly sliced and lightly sautéed with a large garlic clove in 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil for 15 minutes; discard the garlic

     or 4-6 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into thin slices and lightly sautéed with 2 whole cloves of garlic in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil; discard the garlic; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.

(I used tomatoes with fresh basil for one pizza, cheese for another, and pepperoni for a third. I liked the cheese and the tomato pizzas best)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using baking stones, if possible (turn on oven 30 minutes before baking) and place the baking pans directly on the preheated stones. Bake the schiacciata 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.




For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy ReadsTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Teal Book Covers


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Image result for more bears book














Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

What Are You Reading Today?


RETIREMENT

It's not just the end of the school year for me; it's the end of my time as a school librarian. I'm retiring in two and a half weeks.

It was a nice little feeling of closure when a woman stopped by my library yesterday. She was in my very first class as a teacher, forty years ago, and her daughter came to our school when I was a librarian. She was at the school, helping her daughter register her granddaughter for next year. She was sad I wouldn't be there, but she was happy for me.

I'll never stop working to encourage literacy and critical thinking in this world, but it is time for me to pull over into the slow lane and spend some of my last years reading and thinking and writing on my own.

What do you think? Shall I take down my bun and toss aside my dowdy glasses and suit on my blog header? I need to contemplate this.

ITALY PREP

Much as my retirement looms closer, so does our trip to Italy. I was dismayed to discover that my suitcase has to be minuscule to fit in the overhead bins on Air France, so I had to purchase new baggage for the trip and I'll have to pack carefully to avoid going over the twenty-five pound weight limit.

My Duolingo is progressing nicely. I'm now 38% fluent in Italian.

I've now read and reviewed 13 books centering on Italy.




We have our agenda lightly planned for our two week trip. We are hoping to visit some museums and some historical sites, take a bike ride through the Tuscan vineyards, and take a cooking class in Lucca. We left lots of spaces for roaming and writing and painting while we are there.

It won't be long now.


What are you reading today?


What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 
 It is now being hosted here.


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now being hosted at The Book Date.