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Baking with Biscoff–the cookie spread that won’t quit!

by on April 22nd, 2015
Baking with Biscoff–the cookie spread that won’t quit! Cover Image

Last month I wrote about my efforts to cook in big batches to make weeknight dinner decisions easier. Turns out, you can make breakfast for a week, too. This is not what I had set out to do when I picked up the Biscoff cookie and spread Cookbook, but it was a delightful fringe benefit.

What is Biscoff spread, you ask? In short: creamed cookies. The spread is as decadent as it sounds. In normal cookies, you have regular things like *air* taking up space, wasting precious room where sugar and fat could go. Biscoff spread wastes not a molecule, packing in sweetness at a 90 calories per tablespoon. Some people know the cookies as the ones they give out on airline flights. For me, the red, white, and tan jar of creamed goodness stared at me from the gifty section at the Bread Garden, and I had to try it.

The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook includes photos of desserts that look mouthwatering. You can see a few recipes on the Biscoff website, but these photos are nowhere near as scrumptious looking as the ones in the book.

Biscoff coffee cake

Biscoff coffee cake

The recipe I baked was the Biscoff coffee cake. The crumble topping itself contains two sticks of butter and lots of sugar. The cake part under the crumble held enough moisture that it did feel like it melted in my mouth.

I’m looking forward to future Biscoff baking Sundays!

 

Driveway Moments and Talking to my Disc Player

by on April 21st, 2015
Driveway Moments and Talking to my Disc Player Cover Image

I love listening to recorded books. I often listen in my car and the stories sweep me away. Too often I arrive at my destination and don’t remember the drive there because I’m so wrapped up in listening to a great story. It reminds me of my childhood and my love of being read to.

Currently I’m listening to what I’d typically characterize as a “page turner” – although I don’t think I can call it that when I’m listening. C.J. Box’s new book, Endangered, is set in Wyoming and centers on a crime committed against Joe Pickett’s adopted daughter, April. I’m finding myself talking back to my car’s disc player (“JOE – That’s a clue. Pay attention!”) or sitting in my driveway not wanting to turn the car off without knowing what happens next. The narrator of the story, David Chandler, is perfect and his performance enhances the story.

As you plan your summer road trip vacations, remember to include a trip in to the Library to find a great book for your family to listen to. Library staff are happy to recommend good stories for road trips. And if you see me sitting in my driveway or talking to my car’s disc player, just smile and wave … and remember to ask me which book I was listening to.

 

Summer Stuff for Teens to do

by on April 21st, 2015

We are getting ever more excited to announce the Summer Reading Program events for teens, but it’s not time just yet. When it is, you’ll see it here.

 

But there’s other awesome stuff going on in and around Iowa city all summer for young people. Browse some of these resources to find things to do – from two hour classes resident camps.

 

The University of Iowa isn’t just for college students, you know! They offer all kinds of classes and camps for Junior High and High School students. These all sound fun, and many will give you a head start in school next year.

 

CorridorParents also has a huge list of camps and events for young people of all ages. Check it out here.

 

Iowa City Parks and Recreation has a ton of programs. If you want to go swimming on hot afternoons, you can find out pool hours. If you want to learn to make pottery or do Tae Kwon Do, you can find those classes too. (The document is a big PDF, it might take some time to load. But you can also get a copy at the Library and  other places in the area.)

 

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for the ICPL Summer Reading Program. We’re looking forward to it!

Video Staff Picks: Rachael Raps!

by on April 17th, 2015

Need a fun, musical way to learn United States history? Rachael presents the book Hip-Hop U.S. History, by Flocabulary. Look out for a special presentation of the Bill of Rights rap!

ICPL to screen DamNation on April 22

by on April 15th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will celebrate Earth Day with a screening of DamNation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 22.EarthDayFilm

Winner of the 2014 SXSW Film Festival Audience Choice Award in the Documentary Spotlight category, DamNation explores the change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.

Dams were created to control seasonal flooding, create recreational lakes, and generate power, but by doing so, entire ecosystems were changed or destroyed. Now, as obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life as native species return to their primeval spawning grounds after decades without access.

Named the Best Conservation Film at the 2014 International Wildlife Film Festival and winner of the Environmental Advocacy Award at the 2014 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, DamNation has been praised as “ … quick, smart doc on the natural havoc dams cause.”

Directed by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, this 87-minute film will be shown in the big screen in Meeting Room A. This event is co-sponsored by ECO Iowa City. Popcorn will be provided.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Middle and High School Students Invited to Pitch Business Ideas

by on April 14th, 2015

Do you have a great business idea? Are you a student middle or high school student? Would you like to pitch your idea and garner feedback from a panel of judges?Quick Pitch

If you answered yes to these questions, then you should attend the Iowa City Public Library’s Quick Pitch Assembly on Monday, April 20.

Students in 7th through 12th grades will have three minutes to pitch an idea for a product or service, then receive five minutes of feedback from a panel of judges. Cash prizes for the best pitches will be rewarded: $100 for first place, $50 for second, and $25 for third.

The Quick Pitch Assembly from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, in Meeting Room A. Refreshments will be provided. Registration isn’t required, but it is appreciated. To register, visit http://www.icpl.org/quick-pitch.

This Quick Pitch Assembly is co-sponsored by the Library, MidWestOne Bank, and the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship as part of Money Smart Week April 18 through April 15. Created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Art Quilts of the Midwest: Tuesday April 13th

by on April 13th, 2015

art quiltsAccording to Wikipedia, Art Quilts are an art form that uses both modern and traditional quilting techniques to create art objects.

Local author, magazine writer, blogger, and quilter Linzee Kull McCray’s new book “Art Quilts of the Midwest” showcases the work of 20 artists whose works were inspired by life in the Midwest.

Tuesday evening, April 13th, Linzee will be here at ICPL to discuss the research and creation of her book.  Astrid Hilger Bennet, who wrote the forward, will talk about art quilts and the fabrics used in them. Erick Wolfmeyer, the only Iowa artists included in the book, will show a 10 minute film about his work.   Both Astrid and Erick will have quilts on display at the event.    This event begins at 7:00 pm in Meeting Room A and is cosponsored by ICPL and Prairie Lights Books.

Get involved with ICPL’s Art To Go collection!

by on April 10th, 2015

Caged SistersFor over 30 years, the Iowa City Public Library has maintained the Art To Go collection–maybe you’ve seen it, stored in bins and along the walls that separate the Children’s Room from the rest of the first floor. About half of this collection is made up of framed posters and prints of well-known works of art, and the other half is original works of art by local artists. Anyone with a library card can come in to the Library, browse the collection, and take home with them something beautiful and unique to decorate their walls with.

How do we add the original works of art to the collection? Each year the Library holds the Art Purchase Prize, a contest that invites local artists to submit their original works to be judged for purchase and inclusion in the collection. The budget for this comes from the Library Board of Trustees and the Friends Foundation. What about the artistic consideration and judgment? That comes from the Library’s Art Advisory Committee, and that committee is looking for a few good people!

If you would like to be involved with this collection–to help select and provide art for our community to enjoy, while at the same time providing artists with a chance at some recognition and compensation–please think about serving on the Art Advisory Committee.

If you have questions or would like more details, please contact Candice Smith at csmith@icpl.org or 319-887-6031.

Learn more with databases at ICPL

by on April 10th, 2015

With subscriptions to nearly 50 databases, the Iowa City Public Library has the resources patrons need to learn a new language, research or check stocks, or find information about an ancestor or loved one.

The Library’s databases can be accessed at www.icpl.org under the Reference and Research tab on the left side of the web site. Click Online Resources and watch the instructional video on the screen to learn more about the information at your fingertips.

The Library’s databases are organized by category and alphabetically.

Every database can be accessed from the Library, but some can be accessed at home. This option is available to Iowa City residents, as well as those who live in rural Johnson County, or the cities of Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights. Patrons wishing to access a database at home must have a Library Card.

Databases that can’t be accessed at home are noted in the description.

“Databases are another great resource for Library patrons,” Library Assistant Jen Eilers says. “They have the capability to learn so much with just the click of a button.”

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

The Iowa City Assessor

by on April 9th, 2015

The Iowa City Assessor’s website is useful if you’d like to know more about real property in Iowa City.  In Iowa City, real property (land and buildings), is reassessed every two years.  On the Assessor’s Duties page, there is information on the qualifications of the assessor, definitions of terms like “market value,” and explanations on how and why properties are valued as they are.  Prominent on this page is the General Misconceptions About the Assessor’s Work section, and its gist is that the Assessor is a disinterested party when it comes to taxes.  Grief from property owners over taxes must be ever-present.

IC aerial photoIowa City is divided into parcels, or defined lots of land that are owned by a person or persons. Parcels are searchable by number, name of business, street address, and legal description. It would be nice if non-commercial properties were searchable by name as well. The Johnson County Assessor, which assesses all Johnson County property not in Iowa City, allows a search by name. Do you know someone who owns property in Johnson County outside of Iowa City? Go ahead and search for the property by the owner’s name here.

After doing a search and selecting a parcel on the Iowa City site, you’ll find all sorts of information: values of the buildings and land, lot dimensions, details of building permits, etc. What I find most interesting is the sales information. Who bought from whom? And when and for how much?

You may also search property sales in Iowa City and limit the search by a number of criteria. The first listed is a date range. So, for example, you can see that there were 247 recorded sales in Iowa City in January 2015.

Another search offered is a search of buildings. Would you like to compare your house built in 1924 to others built that year? Do your search here.

To find out more about property in Iowa City, visit the Iowa City Assessor’s website. Or maybe even stop in at the office for a chat. Just be careful if you’d like to talk taxes.





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