Chocolate is Good for You!

chocolate02Have you heard the good news? Dark chocolate is actually beneficial to your health. What are the benefits? How about:

People who eat dark chocolate have a lower risk of heart disease. Why? the flavonals in chocolate reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

Polyphenols in chocolate improved insulin sensitivity even in people who did not have diabetes.

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. Who wouldn’t want to feel that good?

So indulge yourself! We have some great cookbooks featuring chocolate.

choc Chocolate : from simple cookies to extravagant showstoppers / Nick Malgieri.
A primer on basics and every kind of chocolate from cocoa to chips and white chocolate (and why it isn’t really chocolate in the strictest sense) to big dark slabs of the world’s favorite luxury food and the many, many ways to enjoy it.

jacket2 Chocolate : 90 sinful and sumptuous indulgences / by Elisabeth Johansson.
You can never have too much chocolate—or too many chocolate recipes! From Mocha Squares to spicy Aztec Pralines and Fudge Cake with chocolate-caramel icing, this big, bold, beautiful volume features more than 90 treats that will tempt any chocoholic.

cakeChocolate from the cake mix doctor / by Anne Byrn.
Starting with versatile supermarket cake mixes and adding just the right extras-including melted semisweet chocolate bars, chocolate chips, or cocoa powder, a baker at any level of experience can turn out dark, rich, moist, delicious chocolate layer cakes, time and again. Not to mention sheet cakes, pound cakes, cupcakes and muffins, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, and bars.

More than 100 spectacular — and often simple — recipes. It is divided into three sections: “Intensely Chocolate,” in which the sumptuous flavor of chocolate is the star; “Essentially Chocolate,” with lighter chocolate desserts; and “A Hint of Chocolate,” with recipes that use chocolate’s spicier qualities to their best effect.

Featuring more than eighty recipes from the author whose name is synonymous with chocolate desserts, this cookbook offers such delights as Triple Mousse Cake, Chocolate Walnut Torte, and Chocolate Truffles–all with lower fat and fewer calories.


Over 100 delicious and inventive variations of the original Nestlé Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookie recipe–from all-chocolate extravaganzas to tempting add-ins such as macadamia nuts, Amaretto, maple syrup, granola, and peanut butter–have been collected here from cookie chefs across the country.

jacket8Chocolate-covered Katie : over 80 delicious recipes that are secretly good for you / Katie Higgins.
Katie shares over 80 never-before-seen recipes, such as Chocolate Obsession Cake, Peanut Butter Pudding Pops, and Ultimate Unbaked Brownies, that use only real ingredients, without any unnecessary fats, sugars, or empty calories. These desserts prove once and for all that health and happiness can go hand-in-hand-you can have your dessert and eat it, too!

Chocolate creators know they can turn to Maida for tantalizing confections, cookies, cakes, pies, puddings, and sauces that transcend the ordinary and make for memorable dining experiences.



The Ghirardelli chocolate cookbook : recipes and history from America’s premier chocolate maker / photography by Leigh Beisch.
The recipes range from simple sweets to show-stopping desserts, while a special section on hosting a chocolate party comes just in time for holiday baking and entertaining.

My Kind of Holiday, Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day!

The first Saturday of February is officially International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! I have to say that this is a holiday  I can really get behind. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods. Even after spending five summers of my younger days working in a mom and pop ice cream store, I never tired of ice cream. Just typing this has me craving a treat. I do not care if it is steamy hot outside, or so cold that I am huddled on the couch with several blankets, I still am always up for ice

So how am I going to celebrate without letting my kids know that I relish the idea of ice cream for breakfast? Perhaps I will be sneaky and have hot chocolate with a dollop of ice cream rather than my usually coffee that morning. Maybe I will be nice, and a little ambitious, and do a waffle bar or something that will allow for ice cream and whip cream in the early morning hours. Of course, that would require me finding that waffle iron that was a wedding gift ten years ago, which I do not remember having seen since our last move.

Not sure how you want to celebrate this fun and silly day? Well, if I could I would just bust out the ice cream and enjoy. However, if you need to be a little more subtle, like myself, here are some books with recipes and ideas that might get you started.

icecreamThe Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, and More by Bruce Weinstein

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with Nancy J. Stevens


icecream2No-churn Ice Cream: Over 100 Simply Delicious No-Machine Frozen Treats by Leslie Bilderback

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer

Ruby Violet’s Ice Cream Dream: Ice Cream, Sorbets, Bombes, and More by Julie Fisher

Gicecream3elato!: Italian Ice Creams, Sorbetti & Granite by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Coolhaus Ice Cream Book: Custom-Built Sandwiches With Crazy-Good Combos of Cookies, Ice Creams, Gelatos & Sorbets by Natasha Case & Freya Estreller

Solving the Meal or Snacktime Blues

If you are anything like me, you spent the start of the school year determined to pack healthy lunches and have healthier snack options available for the kids, and most likely yourself. Even if you do not have kids, at some point you have had the urge to jazz up your own meals, make cooler appetizers for some function, or just eat better. Maybe you want to sneak some extra vegetables into dinner, or even dessert, or new dietary restrictions have you trying new combinations and ways to make everything taste great while still being reasonably good for you. snack

I started off the school year with fresh baked muffins (with pureed vegetables hidden inside), plenty of fruit and whole grains in the snazzy bento box style containers for each of my kiddos. I had a snack box in the refrigerator and one in the pantry with pre portioned healthy snacks to fulfill requests. And now? Well, lets just say that the lunches are not nearly as well planned and motivation to keep everything healthy and organized is waning.

I have one young picky eater in the house, and a husband that dislikes casseroles, crock pot cooking, and vegetables in general. It is easy to fall into a rut of making the same the few meals over and over, and picking meals that seem to be the easiest to make even when there are better options. I have found that I regularly need motivation, ideas, and more to keep things healthy and tasty- as well as eaten by the whole crew. Getting everyone involved in the meal planning, shopping, or cooking is a big help. If they get to pick the food, or help in preparing it, they are all much more likely to eat, or at least try, what is on their plate.

Here are some books that I have recently found (some just moved into the Parenting section in the children’s room) to help inspire and re motivate myself and anyone else struggling with healthy meals, healthy snacks, and fun foods that are tasty and healthy.

lunchbox2Stealth Health Lunches Kids Love: Irresistible and Nutritious Gluten-Free Sandwiches, Wraps and Other Easy Eats by Tracy Griffith

So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger

lunchbox1Best Lunch Box Ever: Ideas and Recipes for School Lunches Kids Will Love by Katie Sullivan Morford

Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Lunchbox with More than 160 Happier Meals by Catherine McCord


lunchbox3ChopChop: the Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with your Family by Sally Sampson

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine

lunchbox4Regular readers know by now that I can never stop with just a few recommended books. So, if those listed above are already checked out or you are looking for more you might want to try: Beating the Lunch Box Blues: Fresh Ideas for Lunches on the Go! by J. M. Hirsch, Insanewiches: 101 Ways to Think Outside the Lunchbox by Adrian Fiorino,Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld, The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader & Ali Benjamin, Double Delicious! : Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives by Jessica Seinfeld, and The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook: Delicious, Inspiring Meals for Busy Families by Debra Ponzek.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in September

Did you know that September is Library Card Sign-up Month?  A time to remind parents and children that a library card is the most important school supply of all. While you don’t need a library card to participate in our great programs, there are a lot of great things your library card can do for you, so don’t miss out!

On our program roster this month:

bookMindfulness Workshop for Kids

Thursdays, September 3, 10, 17, 24, October 1, 8, 15, 22 at 4:00 pm. 

Children are leading an increasingly busy life with school, sports events, music lessons and more. So they also experience that rushed pace.  Mindfulness techniques train you to pay attention to those things in the present moment in a nonjudgmental and accepting manner. This gives children the opportunity to stop and choose a response thoughtfully rather than reacting impulsively. Parents/caregivers will be participating in this 8-week program as well through mindfulness exercises with your child and through a book discussion.  The book Mindful Parenting by Dr. Kristen Race will be used to discuss techniques for mindful parenting.  Register on our website beginning August 15.


SAT Preparation Seminar

Tuesday Sep 8, 2015, 6:30  –  8:00 PM

Prominent language arts tutor, Ellis Ratner, will  present this free SAT Preparation Seminar. This program will address all aspects of the Reading and Writing Sections, including sentence completion, reading comprehension, grammar and essay writing.  Attendees will also receive, free of charge, an SAT Preparation Primer authored by Mr. Ratner.  Please register on our website.


Bouncing Babies

Mondays at 10:00 AM

This new drop-in program is a special time to interact with stories, songs, rhymes, and lap bounces. This fun and interactive time features music, repetition, rhymes, puppets, instruments, and felt boards. A must-do for babies and toddlers! Ages birth to 2 years.Drop-in, no registration required.


Curious George Curiosity Day

Thursday Sep 17, 2015, 6:00  –  6:45 PM

Each year fun-filled, family-friendly “Curiosity Day” celebrations occur in cities around the country celebrating everyone’s favorite monkey, Curious George. Come join the Cheshire Public Library Curiosity Celebration full of stories and songs, and a snack even Curious George would love. This program is a family friendly program, best for kids ages 2 and up. (REGISTRATION?)


Fab Film Saturday: Disney’s Cinderella

Saturday Sep 19, 2015, 2:00  –  4:00 PM

Come enjoy some great box office kids’ movies with Fab Film Saturdays at Cheshire Public Library!

Disney’s CINDERELLA (2015).  Celebrate Disney’s CINDERELLA, a modern classic that shines with beauty, imagination… and magic! Despite being bulled by her stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters, a spirited Ella (Lily James) resolves to take charge of her fate. Add a royal ball, a Fairy Godmother (Helenal Bonham-Carter) and a glass slipper, and suddenly — magic becomes reality! Running Time 2 hours, 24 minutes.  Rated PG. No registration required.  Feel free to bring your own snacks!


Cigar Box Purse Craft Class

Thursday Sep 24, 2015, 6:00  –  8:00 PM

Please join Vanessa Fasanella as she teaches how to make cigar box purse in this adult crafting class. Design purse and handles; transform a recycled cigar box into a usable purse.  This adult only class is free and all materials will be provided.  Registration required as space is limited so register early. Registration on our website.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 3.38.01 PMTown-Wide Photo Scavenger Hunt

Saturday Sep 26, 2015, 9:30 AM  –  4:30 PM

Grab your friends, family, and mobile device for a scavenger hunt that will take you all around Cheshire! To participate, form a team that will fit in one vehicle, pick up a list of clues from Cheshire Library on the morning of the hunt, and drive around town solving each clue. Post a photo of each clue to Instagram and use the tag #cheshirehunt2015, then return to the Library in the afternoon for refreshments and prizes. Prizes will be chosen across several categories, such as creativity and number of clues solved, and by random drawing.

Pre-registration of teams is required. One team and one Instagram account per vehicle.

9:30-11:00 am – Clue pick-up in Baldwin Room (Instagram help will be available)

10:00 am – Donuts with Grownups Storytime on the Third Floor

3:30 pm – Post-hunt party in Baldwin Room
Please register on our website.


Donuts with Grownups Storytime

Saturday Sep 26, 2015, 10:00 AM

Donuts with Grownups Storytime is designed especially for working families with children ages 3 and up who can’t make it to our regularly schedule storytimes during the week. Enjoy crafts, activities, music, stories and of course Donuts as a family!  This program is designed as a family event to give bonding time.  Each session will also have a literacy building station to help young ones start building necessary pre-literacy skills or enhance those skills for older children.  Best suited for children age 3-8. No Registration Required. This program will meet on the Third Floor of the Library.


Help, I’m Addicted to Sugar! (and white flour)

Monday Sep 28, 2015, 6:30  –  8:00 PM

Are afternoon and evening munchies getting the better of you? Do chips, cookies and breads call your name – even though your good intentions and knowledge try to push them away? Getting over these uncontrollable eating urges can be a lot easier than you think, and it doesn’t even have much to do with willpower at all. This is a highly motivational presentation showing exactly why this “vicious cookie cycle” occurs – and most importantly, what to do about it. Seating for this event is limited.  Please register online or call 203-272-2245, ext. 4.


Jacket.aspx‘Who Was’ Book Club: HELEN KELLER

Wednesday Sep 30, 2015, 4:00  –  5:00 PM

If you love reading books from the ‘Who Was’ series, than this is the book club for you! At the meeting, we’ll chat about what we discovered in the book and do one or more fun activities inspired by that persons life. No need to register – all fans of the series are welcome! Copies of Who Was Helen Keller? will be available to borrow from the Children’s Room.


Colonial Goodwife

Wednesday Sep 30, 2015, 6:30  –  8:00 PM

colonial_goodwife_nonpdf_long_logoThe “Not-So-Good Life of The Colonial Goodwife” not only makes audience members laugh and grimace, but it also honors our foremothers. It’s not about quilting bees and spinning wheels – it’s an interactive presentation about the little-known issues faced by New England’s colonial women.Enjoy a complimentary cup of organic herbal Women’s Tonic Tea as author Velya Jancz-Urban shares tidbits about issues faced by everyday 18th-century New England women. Seating for this event is limited.  Please register online or call 203-272-2245, ext. 4.


What is this Paleo stuff, anyway?

paleo diet

You’ve probably heard of the Paleo Diet by now. Like all new and popular diets, it is controversial, but it differs from other low-carb diets in its emphasis on natural foods and exercise.

The Paleo Diet is based on the idea that modern humans should go back to eating whole unprocessed foods to achieve optimal health. It is also sometimes called The Caveman Diet, but don’t let the name deter you. The Caveman is just a mascot, and the Paleo Diet is not about historical reenactment. It’s simply a framework for improving health through food and lifestyle.

The idea is simple:

  • Eat more nutrient-rich whole foods, like fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, nuts, and fruit.
  • Avoid processed foods with added sugar, chemically processed and refined vegetables oils (corn oil, soybean, sunflower, corn), and anything with ingredients you can’t easily identify.
  • Avoid processed and refined carbs. This includes most breads. Carbs are acceptable in lower quantities, but they should not be the bulk of your diet.
  • Eat healthy fats, like avocados, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil.
  • Dairy is OK in small amounts. Aim for organic, grass-fed, full fat or fermented (yogurt, kefir, cheese). Skim milk is high in sugar!
  • Get some exercise every day, preferably outside and at a relaxed and steady pace. Avoid stressful cardio.

If you want to embark on your own Paleo journey, the Cheshire Public Library has over 50 books on the Paleo Diet! Here’s a small sample to get you started:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Practical Paleo: a customized approach to health and a whole-foods lifestyle – Diane Sanfilippo

Your personal Paleo code: the 3-step plan to lose weight, reverse disease, and stay fit and healthy for life – Chris Kresser

The Paleo diet: lose weight and get healthy by eating the foods you were designed to eat – Loren Cordain

The Paleo approach: reverse autoimmune disease and heal your body Sarah Ballantyne

The Paleo slow cooker: healthy, gluten-free meals the easy way Arsy Vartanian

The autoimmune Paleo cookbook: an allergen-free approach to managing chronic illness – Mickey Trescott

Paleo lunches and breakfasts on the go: the solution to gluten-free eating all day long with delicious, easy, and portable primal meals – Diana Rodgers

Paleo comfort foods: homestyle cooking for a gluten-free kitchen – Julie & Charles Mayfield

Paleo desserts: 125 delicious everyday favorites, gluten- and grain-free – Jane Barthelemy

Mediterranean Paleo cooking: over 150 fresh coastal recipes for a relaxed, gluten-free lifestyle Caitlin Weeks, Nabil Boumrar, and Diane Sanfilippo