Tag Archives: Carole @ WPL

The Wonder of Seeds

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”      ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Seeds are truly amazing. After many years, I still find gardening to be very magical – you plant this little seed and in a few weeks a beautiful plant is growing! August is the most rewarding time of year for the gardener. All of the planning, planting, weeding and watering are finally paying off with fresh veggies. We’ve been enjoying arugula, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, bok choy and kale from our small garden and are looking forward to all of those tomatoes ripening on the vine. There’s nothing as satisfying as being able to walk into your own backyard and pick your dinner! And the magic doesn’t stop there – let some of those plants go to seed and you’ll have enough seeds for next year’s garden, as well as some to share.

Winnipeg Public Library has hosted several seed swaps in the last few years and now we will have a Seed Library at the Osborne branch, in partnership with The People Garden of Sustainable South Osborne. All you have to do is save your seeds from your healthiest plants and drop them off at Osborne Library in November. Not sure how to save seeds? Come to one of our Seed Saving programs at Osborne or Henderson Libraries and learn how: seedsaving. The seed Library will re-open in February and gardeners will be able to come and pick up packets of seeds.

These plants are great for beginner seed savers: peas, lettuce, eggplant, spinach, dill, beans and arugula:



arugula – notice the yellow seed pods

Winnipeg Public Library also has some great books on the subject:

The Manual of Seed Savingseed saving bk by Andrea Heistinger provides a good overview on the subject.


Seed Libraries and other means of keeping seeds in the Hands of the Peopleseed libraries by Cindy Conner is a wonderful resource for anyone thinking of starting a seed library and gives a lot of background on the importance of saving and sharing seeds.

Seed Sovereignty, Food Security  seed sovis an anthology compiled by environmental activist Vandana Shiva and focuses on the work of women from around the world who are trying “to preserve small-scale farming, seed sharing, and local indigenous knowledge.”

The Triumph of Seeds: triumph seedsHow Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, & Pips conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson – The title says it all!



For more information on the Osborne Seed Library click the link below:

Seed Library – Instruction Sheet

Happy Gardening!



Cookbooks still #1!


Do you love browsing through cookbooks? You’re not alone! Cookbooks are consistently in the top ten subjects that are checked out at Winnipeg Public Library and are usually in the number one spot. Cookbooks currently make up 11% of Winnipeg Public Library’s non-fiction circulation – more than Psychology at 6% and Diet and Fitness at 4%. Fortunately, there are  a lot of new cookbooks being published and the Cookbook clubs couldn’t be happier! Here’s  a look at some of the new titles available at Winnipeg Public Library.

Cheryl made the Breakfast Crepes and Wonton soup from Cheryl pancakesGwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Easy. Both of the recipes were simple to make and delicious. cheryl soupThis book would make a great coffee table book, as it contains a lot of beautiful pictures of Gwyneth and her family, as well as the food. (A trend we’re noticing with more of the celebrity cookbooks.)

Shirley already owns all of Ina Garten’s cookbooks, so she had to purchase her latest, Cooking For Jeffrey. Rosie also decided to review this cookbook and made Rosie appthe Camembert and Prosciutto Tartines, using tortillas instead of crusty bread – delicious! She also had a look at Alton Brown’s Everdaycook – a really fun book to read. It reads just like Alton talks on his popular TV shows. The Cucumber Lime Yogurt Pops call for 1 tsp. chile powder, but Rosie cut that in half and they still had a nice kick to them.

Star Chef Recipes features several celebrity chefs, with nice pictures and simple, easy to follow recipes. Jackie Chorizo MeatballsJackie made the Chorizo Meatballs, Jackie Stuffed Mushroomswhich can be served as a main course or as an appetizer. The stuffed mushrooms were easy and delicious, but could use a little less Herb d’Provence in them.

The Happy Cook by Daphne Oz tries to do it all – Japanese, Italian, Nadene soupGluten Free – all with a healthy twist. Oz uses a lot of fresh ingredients and offers good substitution options. Nadene made this really quick Kale, Sausage and White Bean soup for her family.


Ed would recommend you check Mario Batali’s Big American Cookbook out of the library instead of buying it. Ed chiliThe traditional Texas Chili contains no beans or tomatoes and involves making your own chile powder by re-hydrating dry chiles. It was ok, but Ed prefers the Home Sick Texan’s recipe.

Linda ThaiLynda and Maureen loved Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings. “All of the recipes we tried turned out fantastic and tasty. Chrissy has a refreshingly irreverent writing style with humorous, interesting comments about each recipe. Linda saladShe may be a supermodel but she’s got the appetite of a lumberjack, apparently.” They tried several recipes, including Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Shrimp Summer Rolls, Sweet & Salty Coconut Rice and the butter Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese and Cayenne Candied Walnuts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow To Bake Everything by Mark Bittman is true to it’s title, providing lots of information and 2000 recipes! Dianne tried the Cornbread with Cheddar Cheese and Jalapenos and liked all of the different variations Bittman gives for his recipes. She also reviewed Oprah Winfrey’s latest book, Food, Health and Happiness and made the Turkey Burgers, which were well received.

The Happy Cookbook by Marg 1Lola Berry offers a whole foods approach to cooking, with gluten-free recipes, minimal dairy and no refined sugars. Margaret tried the stuffed mushroom caps, which tasted really good…with the addition of some bread crumbs.

After borrowing Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook from the Library last year, I ended up buying it, so I wasn’t surprised that I Carole macaroonshad to buy her second book – Oh She Glows Every day! Liddon provides excellent plant based recipes that have become staples in our house. I recommend the Fusilli Lentil Mushroom Bolognese, with roasted red peppers, mushrooms and Tahini, which adds a nice creaminess and flavour. We’ve also made the Shepherd’s Pie several times and my new favourite – Vanilla Bean Coconut Macaroons.

Well, are you anxious to get cooking? Borrowing cookbooks from the library is an excellent way to try before you buy. Happy cooking everyone!










Cook By the Book: Super Salads

“My salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood…”         (Shakespeare – Cleopatra, in Antony & Cleopatra)

This quote would probably be more appropriate for our first cookbook club meeting, back in 2013. We’ve had twenty-two meetings and we’ve reviewed a lot of cookbooks since then, covering everything from soups to salads. At our last meeting we were talking about how much we have grown from that initial meeting. We don’t want gimmicky cookbooks or pretty cookbooks with bad recipes. Don’t get me wrong, we still like pictures in our cookbooks, but we now realize pictures definitely don’t make the cookbook. We’re not afraid to change a recipe to suit our needs and quite often we think we know better than the cookbook author what a recipe needs to make it better. All of this comes with experience and practice. So, even though the cookbook club is taking a break for the summer, we’ll be busy trying out new recipes from all those cookbooks available at the library! Here’s a sample of some of the salad recipes we tried out in June:

Shelley peachShelley QuinoaThe Prosciutto Peach and Sweet Lettuce Salad, from Cooking Light’s Big Book of Salads, was Shelley’s favourite,  she will definitely add it to her cooking repertoire. The other recipes she tried were really good, but anti-climatic after trying this recipe. The flavours in the Quinoa Salad with artichokes and parsley were much better on the second night.

Nadene1The Potato Salad from For the Love of Salad  had a very nice flavour, but wouldn’t pair well with anything too strong-tasting.  It wouldn’t be able to hold it’s own.  Overall, Nadene loved the cookbook and would consider buying it.

The Thai Beef Salad from Edible Garden Cookbook: Fresh, Healthy Cooking From the Garden was really good and makes a very generous portion.

Craig grilled lambNew Flavors for Salads: [Classic Recipes Redefined] covers all the classic salads, with new twists. Craig learned an important lesson while making the Grilled Lamb and Pineapple Salad  – always read the entire recipe first! You have to make the sauce first, which is on a different page. There are also how to instructions for cutting the pineapple and preparing the grill on separate pages.

Elaine 1Twelve Months of Monastery Salads: 200 Divine Recipes for all Seasons contains easy to make recipes with wonderful quotes throughout the book. It’s a great book to browse through and Elaine didn’t want to return it. The Royal Fruit Salad was very yummy, with lots of fresh fruit and orange mint.

Lynda celeryLynda tried several recipes from Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season, none of which were memorable. The tone of the author is a little too “hoity-toity.” Lynda preferred her own recipes for Caesar and Greek salads, but she did enjoy the Celery, Green Olive and Anchovy Salad, since it was something different.

Ed- SpinachThe Joy of Cooking’s All about Salads and Dressings has all the classic salads, as well as every dressing you could possibly think of and a lot of great “how to” information. Ed made the Spinach salad with loads of bacon and eggs.

Jackie warm cabbageJackielentilSalad for Dinner: Simple Recipes for Salads that Make a Meal  has good instructions and suggestions, such as mashing your garlic and putting it in vinegar to let the flavours bind before making your dressing. The Warm Cabbage Salad and the Lentil Salad were both delicious.

Carole - Vietnamese saladThe Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Shrimp, from Salad Makes the Meal : 150 Simple and Inspired Salad Recipes Everyone Will Love was ok, after a few adjustments – rice noodles instead of angel hair pasta, green onion instead of white onion, and the addition of chiles and mint. It made a huge bowl  and was sort of like eating a giant salad roll without the wrapper.

The Cookbook clubs will start again in the fall, including a new club at Millennium Library, so be sure to check out the September/October issue of At the Library for information about registration.