Tag Archives: greenlight bookstore

Double Chocolate Plantain Bread (Gluten Free) and Book Events

At Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn

At Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn

This past weekend I had back to back book events.  On Saturday, I read B is for Bulldozer and Truck Stop  at Greenlight Bookstore.  I also did this  ultra cute, fun collage project (from No Time For Flashcards) with the children.  Check it out — it is perfect for pre-K and Kindergarten aged kids!

Collage made by me and Jamie

Collage made by me and Jamie

I precut the shapes out of construction paper.  Jamie was my helper and passed them out.  I brought pieces of brown paper bag for “dirt” and encouraged them to tear it up into pieces and glue to their collages.

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Sunday was an amazing event at Books of Wonder on 18th Street in Manhattan.  If you have never been there before, it is a fantastic independent bookstore devoted solely to children’s books.  They do not carry any licensing products — you will not find any Disney or Nickeloden books here!  All the picture books are arranged alphabetically by illustrator, rather than author.  It’s the only bookstore I know of that does this!

>We love it there and go often for events of which there are many.  It’s been a wonderful opportunity to meet legendary book people, like the late Tomi Ungerer or Chris Van Allsberg as well as newer, well-known authors and illustrators.  One of our favorite events was listening to Nortan Juster and Jules Feiffer talk about creating The Phantom Tollbooth last year in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

This Sunday, though, I was on a panel there!  My panel mates are all exceptional picture book creators.  I was honored to be included in the group.

With Brian Floca, Anne Rockwell, Robie Harris, Chris Raschka, Deborah Heiligman.  Not pictured are Leyuen Pham, Doreen Cronin, and Betsy Lewin.

With Brian Floca, Anne Rockwell, Robie Harris, Chris Raschka, Deborah Heiligman. Not pictured are Leyuen Pham, Doreen Cronin, and Betsy Lewin.

I was totally nervous before the event – I am not so comfortable speaking in public anyway, but my anxiety was heightened by the stellar company I was keeping.  Anne Rockwell, who is the most sweetest, generous, warmest person ever, put me at ease.  I was so thankful she was able to make it.  She is a “living legend” as Peter Glassman, owner of Books of Wonder, said in his introduction of her.  She has written over 100 books, many of which she herself illustrated.  You can imagine my immense relief when she told me she love the illustrations for her warm story, Truck Stop!

Anne and I both spoke a bit about how the book came to be and our process of creating it.  Brian Floca spoke about his amazing book, Locamotive.   He actually got to drive an old fashioned locamotive for an afternoon as part of his research.   Robie Harris and Chris Racshka discussed writing and illustrating a book about child fears, When Lions Roar.  The challenge was creating something that wasn’t too scary, but scary enough, and what a delicate line that is.  Deborah Heiligman and Leuyen Pham talked about their book on the life and work of Paul Erdos (The Boy Who Loved Math)  as well as the esoteric system of Erdos numbers.  The wonderful Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin of Click, Clack, Moo! fame have been collaborating for 18 years.  Their newest is Click, Clack, Boo! They spoke about their collaboration and how much trust and respect they have for each other — also how they both share the same sense of humor (obvious if you’ve ever read their hilarious books about duck and Farmer Brown).

Everyone had such an interesting perspective on the work of picture book creating. It was really fascinating and inspirational.  I was so happy to meet finally Chris Raschka and Betsy Lewin  whose illustrations I adore and whose books Jamie grew up with (along with many of Anne’s).

Anne Rockwell and me outside of Books of Wonder after the event.  Do I look relieved?

Anne Rockwell and me outside of Books of Wonder
after the event. Do I look relieved?

It really is such a gift for kids to be able to meet authors and illustrators of the books they love.  If you ever have the opportunity, please do so!  Not every place is like  NYC where there are book events all the time, but in cities across the country, especially at independent book stores, there are events taking place often — and they are free!

With all these book events (not to mention deadlines and travel), this fall has been really busy.  It’s always a pleasure then to find a really, super easy recipe — especially one that is tasty, healthy, kid-friendly, and in this case, gluten free!

Double Chocolate Plantain Bread

Double Chocolate Plantain Bread

I have several people in my life (friends, my niece, Jamie’s friend) who are gluten intolerant.  So I am always on the lookout for some yummy gluten free recipe I can pass onto them or make.  I saw this TWO ingredient plantain bread on purelytwins.com recently, and I’ve been making it and experimenting with different variations and flavors.  The twins recommend using yellow plantains with a few brown spots, as they are less starchy.  But if you want a sweeter, less tangy flavor, the dark ones work too.

plantains

I came up with this Double Chocolate Plantain Bread Mini Loaf that is so moist and delicious.  It’s a nice snack cake for after school or even for breakfast.  I added vanilla, sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate chips to the two ingredient aforementioned plantain bread.  I baked it in a mini loaf pan.  I made the batter in my Vitamix, but any blender or food processor would work just fine (I’ve also made it in a food processor but the Vitamix is easier to clean!)

chocolate plantain bread 2

Double Chocolate Plantain Bread Mini Loaf

non-stick spray

1 large plantain, either yellow with a lot of brown or all brown

2 eggs

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon (or more depending on your taste) sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a mini loaf with parchment and spray with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

2.  Peel and slice plantain. Put in a blender or food processor with eggs, cocoa, and sugar.  Puree until smooth.

3.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Drop chips evenly on top and stir gently to incorporate.

4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, checking with a skewer.  If it comes out clean when poked in the center, the loaf is done.  Check at around 25 minutes.  The center can be very moist and pudding like.  If you like that texture, take it out.  If not, bake a bit longer.

5.  Let cake cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then remove and cool completely.

11 Comments

Filed under Books, Desserts, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

TRUCK STOP Giveaway and Mini Blueberry Muffins

Truck Stop was released just five days ago last Thursday and author, Anne Rockwell, and I have been enjoying doing guest posts and interviews on our blog tour.  So far, here are our stops:

Once Upon a Story

Cracking the Cover

Hey Lorri

There’s a Book

Momma Drama

Just A Little Creativity

Kid Focused

A Mom’s Take

The Children’s Book Review

Five Minutes for Books

Susan Heim on Parenting

Kid Lit Frenzy

As They Grow Up

I’m also doing a giveaway of a personalized signed copy of Truck Stop on The Hungry Artist.

On Saturday I did my first signing of Truck Stop at the Greenlight Bookstore in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.  I took part in Artist Battles with Sophie Blackall, Melissa Guion and Sergio Ruzzier.  There was a list of topics, and the kids would choose one for us to draw.  Then they would clap for their favorites at the end.  Whoever “won” would go on to the next round with a new competitor.

Me and Melissa Guion drawing "balloons".

Me and Melissa Guion drawing the word “balloons”.

It was all quite stressful and I was sweating profusely, but everyone was so nice.   It was more of a celebration of different drawing styles.

Melissa Guion and Sophie Blackall drawing the word, "battle"

Melissa Guion and Sophie Blackall drawing the word, “battle”

Me drawing a "moose" eating chocolate "mousse".  I didn't realize I was being watched so closely!

Me drawing a “moose” eating chocolate “mousse”. I didn’t realize I was being watched so closely!

At the signing table.

At the signing table afterwards.  Do I looked relieved?  I am!

I also handed out activity sheets from Truck Stop.  Click here to download some for yourself. 🙂

This week’s recipe inspiration comes from Flatbed’s Driver’s breakfast:

flatbed

Blueberry Muffin!

A Blueberry Muffin!

I love muffins, but I love mini ones even more.  🙂

mini muffins_crop


 

 

Mini Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Ingredients:

1 cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

½ cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries

Topping

1 tablespoon demarra sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and line with mini cupcake liners
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside
  4. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Add sugar and beat until pale and creamy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla.  Beat to combine
  6. With lowest setting running, add ½ of the flour, then ½ of the milk.  Mix to combine.  Repeat.
  7. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to coat in a small bowl.  Add to muffin batter and stir gently with a spoon.
  8. Heap tablespoons of batter into cupcake liners.
  9. Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon on muffin tops.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserting in center comes out clean
  11. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  12. Remove muffins from pan to rack and cool a bit.

Yield: 24 small muffins.

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GIVEAWAY! (Sorry I tried generating one on Punchtab, but having problems with wordpress so I have to do this manually!)
I will be giving away a signed copy of Truck Stop.  The winner can have it personalized to whomever and I will also draw a picture of their choice.  The giveaway closes May 27 at 11 pm.  Then I will pick a winner and announce it in the next post!

To enter, just leave a comment — what is YOUR favorite breakfast item?

For more chances, Like Me on Facebook and tell me you did.

Follow me on Twitter and tell me you did.

Like Anne on Facebook and tell me you did.

Tweet about this giveaway and tell me you did.

21 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Books, Breakfast, Snack

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

One of the many quick uses for slow cooked pork—Cheesy pork quesadilla. Mmm.

Here’s another — pork burger with cheese and grilled onions.

If you want to economize and save time, try investing in a slow cooker.   It’s one of the best appliances I’ve ever bought — and cheap too!  I think it was $20-something at Target.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t taken full advantage of it — there are so many things you can make with one!   Our favorite though is  slow cooker barbecue pork shoulder.  When pork shoulder goes on sale, it is one of the cheapest cuts of meat at $.99/lb. in our area.  I buy a 4-pounder, slow cook it, and freeze half of it — it makes so much.

The meat becomes so tender and tasty, and it can easily be used in quesadillas, burritos, burgers, on top of pizzas.  It is also good by itself with some of the sauce and rice or noodles.  I often eat it as is with my cauliflower “rice”.
To prep the pork shoulder, I remove the huge slab of skin and fat that I know some people would cringe to hear that I discard.  You can roast the skin to make cracklings, and save the rendered fat, but it’s not my kind of thing. Here’s a great overview if you want to try it out though!

That is a lot of skin for pork “crackling” I don’t plan on making…

Then you just throw the pork in the slow cooker and top with onions and some ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.  I forgot the brown sugar the last time, and it came out fine. You might feel you don’t even need it.  To make your life even easier, you could also just buy a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce and throw that in instead.  You just have to weigh your priorities — a little extra time to measure ingredients, or a little extra money for the bottled stuff. Either way, this is a very forgiving easy way to cook a lot of tasty meat without much effort!

*By the way, if you are in the Brooklyn area this weekend, come check out Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene. It is a fantastic independent book store and they have a great selection of books and events.  Denis and I will be reading there Saturday, September 22, at 11 am.  We’d love to see you if you can make it!*

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

4 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder, fat and skin removed

2 medium onions, sliced vertically

1/2 cup ketchup

¼ cup tomato paste

¼ cup brown sugar (optional)

¼ cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  1. Cut onion in half lengthwise, and then cut into half round slices.
  2. Place pork in slow cooker pot, then sprinkle onions on top.  Pour rest of ingredients over meat and onions.  Cook at low heat for 8 hours.
  3. Remove bone and discard.  Shred meat with forks.  Serve with sauce.

Note:  I use some of the meat the day of cooking.  Then the next day after it has been in the refrigerator, I remove the excess oil at the top and divide into smaller containers and freeze the meat and sauce for a quick week night dinner later on.

33 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Pork