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  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S

Attack of the Delicious Tomatoes

I don’t know about you guys, but I am up to my eye balls in tomatoes.  My four, small tomato plants have yielded so many tomatoes, that it is almost humanly impossible for me to eat them all.  And I’m afraid if I don’t find someway to eat them all, they might conspire against me and I’ll be the one that ends up getting devoured!   So, I’ve been on the hunt for easy and delicious recipes that will allow me to use every last, freaking tomato.  Below are a few of my favorite tomato recipes and a couple delectable suggestions from my co-workers- amazing Teen Librarians and Teen Specialists at CLP Main- Teen.  Don’t let the simplicity of these recipes fool you- these dishes will have everyone begging for seconds.  Oh, and few of them don’t even require cooking!

tomato sandwich

I’d be lying if I said that no tomatoes were harmed in the making and eating of this sandwich.

Abby’s Tomato Sandwich

  • Toast two pieces of bread.
  • Spread a bit of mayo on the toast.
  • Slice a ripe heirloom tomato and place the slices on your toast.
  • Add a bit of salt and pepper.

Joseph’s Vegan “Caprese” Salad

  • Cut firm tofu – drained and pressed – into squares.
  • Slice tomatoes.
  • Assemble tofu squares and tomatoes with fresh, washed basil leaves.
  • Top with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Morgan’s Sliced Polenta and Tomatoes

  • Cook garlic and shallot or red/yellow onion in a large pan until soft.
  • Add chopped fresh basil, salt, pepper, and diced roma tomatoes.
  • Cook on medium for a few minutes and then move off to one side of the pan to simmer.
  • Place polenta slices on the the other side of the pan.
  • Salt and pepper the polenta and cook on each side for a few minutes or until it is golden yellow.

Abby’s Caprese Pasta Salad

  • Boil a pot of pasta and drain.
  • Toss pasta lightly with olive oil.
  • Add halved cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, and fresh mozzarella balls.
  • Top with salt and pepper.
  • Add sauteed garlic if you desire!

Don’t have your own tomato plant at home?  Stop by one of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s gardens, check in with a staff member, and grab a few of ours for yourself!

Looking for more delicious recipes?

cooking with fruits and vegetables    eat fresh food    eco gardening    encyclopedia of sandwiches    get cooking    going vegan    going vegetarian    how to cook    real food real fast    teen cuisine new vegetarian   teen cuisine   teen guide to quick healthy snacks   teens cook

Spa Day @ the Library!

If you’re a teen who will be near the West End Library on Wednesday, stop in to get pampered!

There will be he normal Teen Lounge stuff  – Xbox, Wii, Art Corner, and snacks, but you can also make a body scrub from scratch – this sugar-based concoction will make your skin smoother if you’re into that.

CC licensed photo by flickr user knittycent

CC licensed photo by flickr user knittycent

You can take home easy skin care recipes to make from stuff you probably have in your own kitchen.

This could be a great Mother’s Day gift, too!

It’s from 4:30-6:30 and is FREE as usual. Check out the event page by clicking here.

Can’t get to the West End on May 1st? Check out these books:


The Green Guide To Natural Beauty by Karen Gilbert


EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends by Lauren Cox


Herbal Crafts: More than 60 Simple Projects to Beautify Your Home and Body by Jessie Hawkins


Home Spa: recipes and techniques to restore and refresh by Mannie Rosa Golden


Recipes for Natural Beauty: 100 homemade treatments for radiant beauty by Katie Spiers


Nature’s Beauty Secrets: recipes for beauty treatments from the world’s best spas by Dawn Gallagher




Happy Doughnut Day!

Today is National Cream Filled Do(ugh)nut Day!
I think you know how to celebrate…but before you run out to your nearest bakery or doughnut shop, there are a few things you might be interested to know.

According to Wikipedia over 40 countries serve a traditional dish of sweetened dough that is usually fried and topped or filled with something sweet.  American donuts seem to have descended from a Dutch dessert called “olie-koecken” which translates literally as oil cake.  Like many other desserts such as cookies and pies, the Dutch seem to have popularized donuts in America.  But an American, Hansen Gregory can claim the doughnut design we still used today.  He was the first to make a hole in the center of the doughnut back in 1847.

As you all ready know the library is filled with cream books and resources to help you learn more about any topic that interests you. So if you, like me, are ready for more doughnut facts check out these awesome resources.  And go out and get a doughnut!


Vegan Ice Cream Recipes

 Summer heat getting you down?  Can’t tolerate dairy, or are you living a vegan lifestyle and wishing for ice cream?  I’ve got some ideas. 

I can’t tolerate dairy and boy do I miss ice cream during the hot summer months!  I found some great recipes, and honestly I don’t miss the dairy, they are that great!  Here are some links to try.


Websites and blogs are a great way to find recipes, but sometimes I like to leaf through a cookbook.  Check these titles out.

Veganize This! – by Jenn Shagrin






The Vegan Scoop by Wheeler del Torro






Hope you find something you enjoy, bon appetit!


Favorite Summer Salads

 I love Summer!  And I love the fact that I can go out into my back yard and pick the food I will eat.  My garden basically is just salad ingredients: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, basil and the one and only veggie that people don’t usually put into salads; zucchini. 

I bet you can tell that I love salads.  So, I’m sharing some of my favorite salad recipes.


  • Strawberry Salad – make this one when you are craving something sweet – definitely worth it to make the strawberry poppy-seed dressing
  • Black Bean Salad – the beans will fill you up – just make sure to rinse them really well.  I changed up a few things on this salad.  I hate cilantro so I use parsley instead and I grated the jalapeno.
  • Caprese Salad – Amazing!  I love it with our without the balsamic reduction, so if that scares you leave it out and just drizzle with olive oil.  Super simple salad to make.
  • Fresh Corn Salad – definitely use fresh corn for this recipe it makes it is so delicious.

Hope you try one, enjoy!

~Kim at Squirrel Hill

Frozen Hot Chocolate – The Best Thing Ever!

Ok, this is a must try.  OMG!  Print this out, or do whatever it takes, then run out and get the ingredients so you will be able to slurp this down.  You will thank me for it.  Really.

I found this recipe from Tasty Kitchen, and then adapted it slightly.  (They call for melting some of the ingredients over the stove.  I didn’t do that, I used the microwave.)  Here’s the ingredients and the adapted play by play.

Frozen Hot Chocolate (makes 3 – 4 servings)


  • 3 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 package of Hot Chocolate Mix (or 3 Tablespoons if your Hot Chocolate Mix doesn’t come in packets)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 12 ounce, can of Evaporated Milk
  • 4 & 1/2 cups of Ice

Play by play

  • Combine sugar, hot chocolate mix, and butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until a paste is formed.  (If the butter isn’t melted yet, go ahead and microwave for another 10 seconds, then stir.)
  • Add semi-sweet & white chocolate chips, microwave for 30 seconds, then stir.
  • Slowly stir in 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk, microwave for 30 seconds, then stir.  Now set this melted chocolate mix aside and cool to room temperature. (I know, I know, I never can wait until it completely cools.  Just wait until it cools down a little.)
  • Pour the melted chocolate mixture into blender and add the remaining evaporated milk and the ice.  Cover and blend until smooth. (You can do this in batches if you have a small blender but it all fit into mine.)

Pour into glasses; top with whipped cream or marshmellows and enjoy!

~Kim – Squirrel Hill

Craving Potato Chips

I was craving potato chips the other night, and didn’t feel like going out to get some.  I googled ‘potato chip recipes’ and found out that you can make potato chips in the microwave!  What a wonderful thing.  I tried them and they were great!  Below is the link, along with other easy recipes to try when you’re  in the mood for a snack. 

 Please, if you happen to try one of the recipes, leave a comment letting me know how it turned out. 

I think I’ll try “Banana Nice Cream” next. 

The library has some books you can use to find more recipes.  Try one of these.

Real Food Real Fast – By Sam Stern

If you don’t have time to whip something up, this book still can help.  It has recipes that can be made in as little as 5 , 10 or 15 minutes.  There are also recipes for family meals, if you feel like cooking for your friends and family that is. 

   Eat Fresh Food – By Rozanne Gold

  Besides the tradtional “Salads” and “Deserts” sections, this book has a “Sandwiches, Burgers & Pizza” section.  It won me over with the that section.

Teens Cook: how to cook what you want to eat – Megan Carle and Jill Carle

Do you need to make a meal just for yourself?  This book has a whole section dedicated to “Dinners For One” .  If you’d like to cook a meal for your whole family, there’s a “Family Meals” section as well. 

  Big Snacks Little Meals – Rose Dunnington

 This book isn’t just snacks.  It has everything from Breakfast to Dinners and Deserts.  There’s a recipe for Noodle Kugel.  I love Noodle Kugel.  Yum.

   Munchie Madness: vegetarian meals for teens – by Dorothy Bates

 A great book for someone thinking about becoming a vegetarian.  Recipes for not only snacks, but meals as well.  A good number of the recipes are vegan.  It also gives information on vegetarianism and some other resources.

  The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook – By Judy Krizmanic

 Lots of recipes and tips for new vegetarians.  One thing I liked about this book is that the recipes can also be made vegan, it’s your choice. 

~Kim – Squirrel Hill


“Why did the student eat his homework?
The teacher told him it was a piece of cake.”

Something about spring makes me want to eat lighter, healthier, fresher. Maybe it’s the fear of putting on a bathing suit in a couple months? Well, even though it snowed yesterday, I’m still saying good bye to pot roasts and stews, and hello to cookouts and salads.

You may feel like it’s easier to just run down to the local pizza place to get dinner but these resources will prove you wrong! If you give one of these recipes a try, I’m sure you’ll feel much better about what you’ve put in your body!

Two teens and their mom, Megan, Jill, and Judi Carle wrote these books:

teenscookaspx4 Teens Cook Dessert

teenscook2 Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat

Click here for more recipes and tips!

Bon Appetit!

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