Cooking With Shelby

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another recipe from a book we have on the Indiana Digital Download Center! I checked out Chrissy Teigan’s cookbook, Cravings, and immediately spent the next two months trying to decide what to make since all of her recipes looked so tasty! Once I decided, I requested Cravings through the Interlibrary Loan services because it’s easier for me to cook from a book by keeping the page open instead of trying to flip back and forth digitally. I made Chrissy’s Rotochick Chicken Noodle Soup on page forty-four, which was the easiest and tastiest recipe ever!

Here’s what you’ll need:

First, I had to chop all the vegetables to get them ready to cook. I also went ahead and cooked the egg noodles and set them aside.

Then I added the oil and the onions to a large stock pot. Once the onions were tender, I added the carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot to soften the vegetables up a little more. I found garlic in a tube that was already minced, so that was a nice way to save some time!

Next, I added the chicken stock and the bay leaf. I let the pot come to a boil and then I turned the heat down to let it simmer for forty-five minutes.

After the forty-five minutes were up, I stirred in the shredded chicken and the noodles, letting the pot simmer for another ten minutes.

This soup was so amazingly flavorful, and I couldn’t believe how simple it was! This recipe was perfect for that winter comfort food craving without the guilt. This is one that will go into my repertoire to make again and again!

Bonus: Chrissy recommends eating this soup with buttered saltine crackers. You’ll have to let me know how it tastes! Until next time!

Get Healthy in 2018!

This is YOUR year! You’re finally going to get healthy by eating right and exercising. The Aurora Public Library District can help!

We have plenty of materials on eating better, exercising, and getting healthy. Whether you’re looking for books on what to eat in order to lose weight, different ways to exercise in order to lose weight and keep it off, or ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet with delicious recipes, the Aurora Public Library District is here to help you. We have information about different detoxes and cleanses you can do to recharge and get back on track, as well.

We also have a variety of fitness DVDs dedicated to bring the exercise to the comfort of your own home that you can check out. Start slow by checking out walking and aerobics DVDs, or learn something new, like yoga, Pilates, or Zumba. Maybe you want to take it to the next level and learn how to belly dance! Whatever your skill and fitness level, the Aurora Public Library District has something for you.

And don’t forget the Indiana Digital Download Center! There are even more materials to peruse through that you can download digitally to your device without ever leaving home. There are books on exercise instruction, cookbooks, books on cleanses and detoxes, and so much more! As always, if you can’t find the exact title you’re looking for, you can always request it through the Interlibrary Loan service.

Good luck on your fitness journey! Let us know how it’s going by commenting on this post or posting on our Facebook page! Happy New Year, and Happy Reading!

Cooking With Shelby

Hi, everyone! I’m Shelby and I’m a Library Assistant at the Aurora Public Library District. I’m sure I’ve seen you around our branches! I’ve been married and on my own for about a year and a half now, so I thought I might as well start trying to get my act together and adult.

One of the most important criteria to meet as an adult is to be able to cook for yourself. I don’t mean frozen pizza rolls or grilled cheese sandwiches; I mean the ability to be able to mix individual ingredients together and create something edible (and delicious) out of nothing. What better way to do that than to check out cookbooks from the library to see if I’m even capable of following directions and provide a meal for my husband and myself? I thought that there must be more people out there like myself, who are trying to figure out this whole adult thing, too. I wanted to document my attempt to make recipes straight from the cookbooks we keep on our shelves physically and digitally, complete with pictures of my experiences, both good and bad.

So here’s my first attempt! I found The Ultimate Brownie Book: Thousands of Ways to Make America’s Favorite Treat, Including Blondies, Frosting, and Doctored Brownie Mixes,  and on page sixty was a recipe for simple Fudge Brownies. Because I am an adult, I decided that brownies count as grown-up food, so I decided to make this recipe from scratch, just to test that I could actually follow directions and make something edible.

Here’s what the recipe called for:

I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and (with only one small fire mishap; don’t ask) began the recipe!

Step One:

Instead of using cooking spray to grease the pan, I used butter and cocoa powder. In my opinion, butter and flour/cocoa powder works better than aerosol cooking spray when you’re trying to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan.

Step Two:

By using a homemade double boiler (A pot of simmering water underneath a heat-safe glass bowl full of chocolate and butter), I started to melt both kinds of chocolate and the butter. The recipe said to keep it on the heat and stir until only half the chocolate was melted, then to take it off the heat and keep stirring until everything melts together. I set the chocolate aside to cool for ten minutes.

Step Three:

This one was kind of tricky. The recipe called for two whole eggs and one egg yolk. The best way I could figure out to separate an egg yolk from the egg white was to just do it by hand.

Step Four:

I whipped the sugar and the eggs together until the mixture was thick. Then I beat in the vanilla and the chocolate mixture until it was smooth.

Step Five:

I stirred in the salt and the flour until they were just mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. I didn’t want to work the batter too much, so I used a rubber spatula instead of the mixer. Then I poured the batter into the pan and baked it in the oven for about thirty minutes. My oven is weird, so it took a little longer for the brownies to bake, but I just kept an eye on them.

And they were delicious! My coworkers can attest that I can follow directions pretty well to make something that actually tasted good. They were gone within the day!

Since I am a grown-up now it would probably be in my best interest not to eat so many brownies, so my next Cooking With Shelby post will definitely involve something more substantial. If you would like to place a hold on The Ultimate Brownie Book, just click on the link.

Until next time! I wonder what I’ll make next?

For the love of reading…and eating!!


Image result for cinnamon rolls

Our minds need enrichment, and I feed mine every time I pick up a book. But lately, I’ve been able to build up more than my mind with my book selections. My latest craze has been choosing different book series’ dealing with food. My selections have been providing entertaining stories with the added benefit of quite an array of new recipes and dishes to try. Who knew that an enjoyable fiction title would also increase my cooking repertoire!

My most recent obsession has been the Seasons of the Heart series by Charlotte Hubbard, set in the Amish river town of Willow Ridge, Missouri. The Sweet Seasons Bakery Café, run by Miriam Lantz with her twin daughters, Rachel and Rhonda, is at the center of this light romance series. At the end of each title are recipes for the tasty treats served up at the Amish cafe. Cinnamon rolls are my favorite treat and there is a recipe for the rolls Miriam serves her customers, made with a boxed cake mix starter!


If mysteries are more to your taste, why not try the “cozy” crime series by Joanne Fluke, featuring Hannah Swenson. Hannah returns to her hometown of Lake Eden, MN after her father’s death, opens a bakery/cafe, the Cookie Jar, and soon becomes an amateur detective sleuthing out murders. Of course, delectable dessert recipes are a welcome addition to each title.


Another author, Diane Mott Davidson, is known for the humor, quirky characters, and small town feeling of her cozy culinary mysteries. Caterer Goldy Bear is a smart heroine, whose ability to juggle her work and personal life (as well as murder investigations) makes her very appealing to readers. Using the process of cooking as a counterpoint, Davidson sets up a clever mystery and leaves clues.


If you’re more interested in looking for recipes, without reading a whole book, we even have cookbook collections from many authors. The Cozy Cookbook serves up mouth-watering appetizers, entrees, and desserts from some of the most popular names in crime solving.

The Lake Eden Cookbook collects recipes, some previously published in the author’s mystery series starring Hannah Swensen, and includes a story, interspersed throughout the recipes, of the annual holiday cookie exchange in Lake Eden.

Miriam’s Cookbook by Carrie Bender is a collection of recipes interspersed with quotes from her books in the Miriam’s Journal and Whispering Brook Series. Here you find food for the body and soul.

I hope you find a great recipe that you’d like to try from one of the many “books that cook!”

Holiday Cookbooks

The winter holidays are fast-approaching, and with them come the business of family gatherings, shopping, and parties. And of course, where there’s more than one person gathered, there are mountains and mountains of food waiting to be devoured. The Library’s collection of cookbooks can help you find that perfect recipe.

For Thanksgiving gatherings, the Aurora Public Library District has several cookbooks dedicated to the holiday. These books are filled with traditional recipes that your family will love (and come to expect!), as well as new twists on old classics. The Library also has a few Thanksgiving craft books, too, that your family will enjoy when they’ve eaten too much dinner and can’t move. Nancy Hathaway’s Thanksgiving Crafts and Cookbook is an excellent place to start.


The Library has other holiday cookbooks to offer, too. Al Roker’s Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook, Paula Deen Celebrates, Debbie Macomber’s Christmas Cookbook, and the Jewish Holiday Cookbook are just a few titles we have to offer. And if you’re looking for the perfect side dishes to go with your traditional main course, Choosing Sides by Tara Mataraza Desmond is a wonderful resource. We also have great cookbooks dedicated entirely to desserts, like Anita Prichard’s Complete Candy Cookbook and Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Desserts.


The Aurora Public Library District has cookbooks specifically for entertaining guests in your own home as well as what to bring to parties, such as Bite by Bite, Relax, Company’s Coming!, Entertaining with Southern Living, and The Church Supper Cookbook. Get the kids involved, too; we have plenty of cookbooks with kid-friendly recipes, like I Can Cook, Cool Sweets & Treats to Eat, and the Better Homes and Gardens Step-By-Step Kids’ Cookbook. They’ll love helping you in the kitchen and you can make some great memories along the way.


We also have several volumes of special dietary cookbooks on our shelves, like The Best Gluten-Free Family Cookbook, The Complete Step-By-Step Diabetic Cookbook, The American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook, and The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook. And if there’s a specific cookbook you’re looking for that we don’t have, we can always try to get it through Inter-Library Loan.

This time of year can be stressful enough without having to worry about cooking, so let the Aurora Public Library District help you. Stop in today with your questions, or visit the Indiana Digital Download Center for more cookbooks.

Happy cooking!

5 Reasons Why Macaroni Is The Most Delicious Noodle

If you, like me, didn’t know that July 7th is National Macaroni Day, fear not; I am here to educate you on why this seemingly-simple food has its own day, and why it should definitely be celebrated. Look no further than this tasty gif for proof that Macaroni is delicious and deserves its time in the spotlight:



If you do need convincing, keep reading for 5 reasons why macaroni is the most delicious noodle.



1. Cheese

Need I say more? If you see the word “macaroni” on a menu at any restaurant, chances are it’s smothered in cheese. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the average American eats 33 pounds of cheese per year. So basically, every state is the dairy state (Sorry Wisconsin).




2. Underdog

Joseph B. Wirthlin once said, “The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us.” We all take for granted the things we’re most comfortable with. Let us never take for granted the food that most of us have been eating since we were old enough to eat solid food, the food that got us through the broke college years, and the food that has enough celebrity to have its own national holiday.


3. History

Macaroni has been around for a long time. Although most people would assume that the Italians created this delicious pasta, it is commonly believed that this noodle is of an Arabic descent. The oldest record of Macaroni may date back as far as 1188 CE. Clifford A. Wright, a Macaroni Researcher, wrote an extensive article on the history of Macaroni that can be found here.


4. Practicality

Macaroni dates back hundreds of years, long before refrigeration and preservatives. Since macaroni is hard before it is cooked, it is much more easily preserved  than meats and vegetables, therefore making it extremely practical for our noodle-eating ancestors to make and consume. Even now, Macaroni and Cheese is one of the first dishes that many of us learn to cook because of how easy it is to make.



5. Diversity

Macaroni, and more broadly pasta, is so diverse! If you search for macaroni recipes on the internet, you will find hundreds of mouth-watering meals.  Macaroni salad, macaroni and cheese, goulash, casserole- this stuff is everywhere.



Below is a list of cookbooks with especially tasty recipes, with and without Macaroni, all of which are available at the Aurora Public Library. The list is by no means all-inclusive, but it’s a great place to start your journey into the realm of delicious pasta. Enjoy.

Cookbooks at the Aurora Public Library

  • Deliciously Ella: 100+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Gluten-Free Recipes by Ella Woodward (Aurora)

  • V Is For Vegetables: Inspired Recipes and Techniques for Home Cooks From Artichokes to Zucchini by Michael Anthony (Aurora)

  • The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them by Mina Holland (Aurora)

  • Garden to Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food by Katherine Hengel (Aurora)