Friday, July 10, 2009

Easy Curried Tofu Scramble

Here is a really quick dish that's easy to make and delicious.

You'll need
2/5 brick of extra firm tofu (cut one brick of tofu into 5 parts and use 2--store the rest), pressed dry
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup onion chopped
3 carrots chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsps. good curry powder 
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt to taste
2 tbsps. oil

What to do
Heat oil in a heavy pan.  Add onions to the hot oil and saute until the onions are translucent.  Add in the spices and stir for about 1 minute till fragrant.  Add carrots and garlic and stir for about 2-3 minutes just till they start to soften.  Add in your green and red peppers and saute just till they start to soften.  Crumble in your tofu.  Stir to incorporate.  Add salt to taste.  

Serve with whole wheat toast or in warmed pita pockets.  

That's it.  :) 

You can replace the carrots and pepper with frozen mixed vegetable if you like.  Just make sure they are thawed before you add the tofu.  You can make fried eggs this way too.  Just replace the tofu with 2 eggs, cracked and beaten.  

The Letter I Sent

Here's a copy of the letter I sent.  Keep your fingers crossed that some good things come of this.

July 10, 2009


Dear Library Director,

I want to start this letter by first commending you for the wonderful improvements that have been made at the The Public Library under your direction. They have not gone unnoticed. The library is a more beautiful place and things are running more and more efficiently. The additional programs that have been added are a real attraction and the monthly calendars/lists of events are extremely helpful. I want to take the opportunity to say thank you for making the library experience a more pleasant one for this town's residents.

Last Tuesday, July 7, 2009, I visited the library with my two children. I was surprised and disturbed to find that the TV was out in the front of the room and a DVD was playing. The DVD, as I later learned, was “Teen Titans”, and while I don’t have a problem with my children watching cartoons, this particular one was just not appropriate as most of the children who were present were under the age of six. While I felt it was inappropriate to have the television on altogether, I simply asked for a replacement DVD better suited to the audience. However, I was exceedingly disturbed by the fact that the TV was on in the first place especially in the Children’s Room of the library, a place that should be promoting literacy and learning. 

Television, DVDs, and other media do have a place in the education of children but they must be used in a structured and focused way. To have the television on in the background presents many problems and makes me wonder what kind of message we are trying to give to the children of this town. Is it that we need distractions from books? Or that books are not enough to capture our attention and keep us entertained? I trust these are not the messages we want to convey. 

Rather than just complain about the situation, I am willing to do what I can to fill whatever gaps in programming at our library that may lead to the feeling that the television should be on. I am a skilled crochet and knitting artist. I know there is already a program in place to teach crochet to children but I would be willing to facilitate more of those workshops if there is an interest. Recently, I took my children to a library in a neighboring town for a yoga and movement program only to be turned away. The program, slated to start at 2:00, was already full by 1:30. Implementing a yoga and movement activity at our library would most likely generate a great deal of interest. While I am no yoga instructor by any means, I do practice yoga and would be happy to lend support in finding a yoga instructor willing to donate his/her time to teach yoga to the children of this town at our library. I would be more than happy to facilitate and assist in such a program as well. 

I am not privy to all the reasons why decisions are made at the The Library but I know that plenty of thought has gone into and will continue to go into the difficult task of running the County’s central library. The Library is improving steadily and it is small changes that make such noticeable positive impacts. 

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

With warm regards,
Me

Thursday, July 9, 2009

TV in the Library?!?

Yup, at my local library, they have a television up front and center in the Children's Room.  On Tuesday, I took my children to the library and was surprised and disturbed by it.  They were showing a DVD called Teen Titans, a show I thought was inappropriate for the kids who were present (age 6 and below) but that wasn't most bothersome, of course.  It was the television that was!!

I've written a letter to the director that I'm going to send off tomorrow.  I actually feel like this director has been making a lot of positive changes and I feel like the library is headed in the right direction.  I just don't understand what a TV is doing in the Children's room if it is not being used in a specific and strategic way.  What kind of message does it send to the children when what is supposed to be the headquarters of reading and literacy has the TV going?  That books are not interesting enough on their own to entertain us?  Or that the powers that be don't believe in these kids' ability to read and enjoy reading?  

One of the good changes that the director has implemented is that there are now lots of programs.  I don't know how well the programs are attended or if they actually exist (as opposed to only being on paper) since I only go to the ones targeted at my kids' age group.  But on the calendar it seems like there's enough going on at the library where they wouldn't need to fill the empty spaces with TV.  I mean, the calendar doesn't seem any less full than the calendars of libraries in more affluent towns.  

Anyway, I am thinking of ways I could help to fill whatever gaps they are trying to fill with TV.  I don't think I'm particularly artistic or skilled in the arts except when it comes to crochet and knitting.  But they already have listed on the calendar two crochet classes:  one for teens and one for tweens.  I suppose I could propose a knitting class but all us crafters know that those who don't craft usually don't have the faintest idea that there is a difference.

What I'd really love to do is a beginning yoga type class for children but I'm hardly qualified to be teaching anyone yoga.  I've only been doing it 7 months and I haven't even had a formal class yet.  But that would be great and something that a lot of the kids in my town probably have not been exposed to before.  

In other news, I'm reading a collection of short stories entitled Drown by Junot Diaz.  I didn't realize until after I had read the third story that I had actually read three separate stories.  I just kept thinking, "Man, this is the most disjointed, crazy story I have ever read in my life."  LMBO . . . trying to do things with young kids is a trip.  Let's not even start talking about that sock I'm supposedly knitting!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

FO: Camera Case

My wonderful niece graduated from high school this June and is on her way to college in the fall.  For her graduation, we bought her a cute digital camera , which, by the way, got great reviews on Amazon.com and she loves.  Anyway, I knew I wanted to crochet her a nice little case to carry it in and keep it protected.  My nieces favorite color is purple and I just happened to have some purple Sugar and Cream cotton yarn left over from another project.  Perfect!!  This project took about one day.  It would have taken about 2-3 hours sans children.  LoL.  Anyway, here it is.  
And here it is on Ravelry.  

I also have another FO to show but I can't yet because it's a gift for someone very special.  But boy, I can't wait to show it off.  It came out beautifully.  

In other needlework news, I'm about to get Sock #2 finished.  In an attempt to make sock knitting more manageable around my babies, I ordered these and then realized that was not what I really wanted.  At one YarnTherapy Meetup I had gone to, I saw a woman with something similar that protected her sock needles while her work was on them.  I checked the website again and realized that I had simply missed what I was really looking for.   I was going to try to correct my blunder by exchanging but by the time I would have paid all the shipping and handling fees, it made better sense just to keep the storage tubes.  They will come in useful sometime.  I ordered the correct item and I can't wait for them to come.  No more worrying about snapped sock needles!  
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