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Sophie’s Children’s Book Selections: Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer

children's bookWhen it comes to a good children’s book, Hilda loves a good mystery. It’s one of the few things that keeps her sitting in one place when she’s not out fighting fires and saving cats from trees. Here’s one children’s book Sophie thought would keep her out of  mischief for a while. It’s written by that famous writer/lawyer who has tons of popular titles for grownups. Overview provided by Amazon.

Release Date: May 3, 2011

Age Level: 8 and up

Grade Level: 3 and up

Series: Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer (Book 1)

In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk, and a lot about the law. He dreams of a life in the courtroom. But he finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much, maybe too much, he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth. The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served.

Dog Stuff: Recycling – Poop Powers Cambridge

recyclingArchibald is raving about artist Matthew Mazzotta’s “Park Spark” recycling project. Matthew invented the Park Spark to help teach people to turn waste into an energy resource. His clever device uses canine poop. Microbes produce a methane gas that is used to power lights in a Cambridge, Massachusetts park. Archibald plans to present the concept to Fetchwood’s Mayor Basset at the next town meeting.
© Invention City/image: Fast Company

Snoutz Food and Travel Adventures: Food walking tours

walking toursTry burning up calories as you nibble and munch your way through city streets full of unusual food emporiums, artisans, and culinary history. Go for it! Most major cities have walking tours to markets, eateries, and other local food destinations. New York City has a menu’s worth of options, from Chocolate tours to Food Cart Walking tours. In her travel blogging days, Pipper hooked up with a group enjoying a Walking Tour of the Lower East Side (remember from Pipper’s Secret Ingredient that’s where Katz’s is located?). Check out details at This urban turf is home to a rich history of immigrants as well as mouth-watering foods and interesting food makers: coffee roasters, pickle purveyors, bialy bakers and more.

Sophie’s Children’s Book Selections: Inviting look-it-up dictionaries

children's bookSophie knows about all kinds of children’s books. She knows fiction, non-fiction (like science books and travel books), cookbooks (of course) and more. She’s a librarian after all. Pipper loves browsing through the library shelves with her. Recently, they were in the reference section where there were all kinds of encyclopedias and dictionaries. Sophie told Pipp that there is a plethora of research materials there. Pipper wasn’t sure what plethora meant, so they pulled a dictionary from the shelf to find out. Here are two fairly new dictionaries Sophie recommends with information about them from


Scholastic Children’s Dictionary
Publication Date: July 1, 2010 | Age Level: 8 and up
The #1 choice in children’s dictionaries is brand new for 2010!

The bestselling Scholastic Children’s Dictionary is brand new for 2010! Some of the outstanding new features include: brand new cover and interior design, more than 1,000 all new photographs and illustrations, and double the current number of word histories and sample sentences. New entries and definitions have been written by prominent lexicographers and reviewed by an advisory board of educators and librarians. Bonus material includes a thesaurus and specially commissioned endpaper maps.

children's bookMiriam Webster’s Elementary Dictionary
Publication Date: January 2009 | ISBN-10: 0877796750 | ISBN-13: 978-0877796756 |

An all-new edition of the essential dictionary for children grades 3-5, ages 8-11, with more than 36,000 entries. Expanded usage sentences and phrases include over 1,300 quotes from classic and contemporary children’s literature. Additional features include hundreds of new, colorful illustrations, photographs, and diagrams: word history and synonym paragraphs; pronunciation paragraphs for each letter; child-friendly usage hints; and Greek and Latin word root paragraphs to aid spelling and vocabulary building. Special sections include geographical terms, signs and symbols, word roots, and a list of literary works used in the text.

Pipper’s Recipe Recommendations: Halloween recipe for pumpkin soufflé

Halloween recipePipper loves cooking up dramatic dishes and this Halloween recipe fits the bill. Soufflés offer that extra bit of theater in their cooking and presentation. You can give that Halloween pumpkin another dramatic life (or just use the canned pumpkin meat and save yourself loads of time!) and cook up these clouds of sweetness and spice. The suggested topping of Mocha Sauce is a nice addition to this Halloween recipe. Pumpkins are full of beta-carotene, which turns into Vitamin A in the body. Good-for-you food. And soufflés? There are just good fun.


Serves 6 to 8   (3” – 4” ramekins)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for ramekins
1/2 cup sugar plus more for ramekins
3/4 cup 2 % milk
3 tablespoons flour
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup cooked and puréed fresh or canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons port wine (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 425° F
1.       Using your finger or a paper towel, grease the ramekins with butter. Coat with sugar. Set aside.
2.       In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring the milk to a beginning boil. Be careful not to burn.
3.       In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix to combine, cooking for around 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, mixing to combine. Continue stirring as it thickens for another minute or two. Remove from heat.
4.       Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time. Add the pumpkin purée, wine and spices. Mix well.
5.       In the bowl of a pastry mixer or food processor, whip the egg whites. Once soft peaks begin to form, slowly add the sugar until the whites hold firm peaks.
6.       Using a spatula, gently fold the whites into the pumpkin mixture until they are
thoroughly combined.
7.       Fill the ramekins 2/3 full. Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to burn tops. Serve with Mocha Sauce (see below).
8.    Make a slit in each and spoon in a little of the sauce.

Mocha Sauce

1 tablespoon freeze-dried coffee crystals
approximately 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate separated into small chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar

1.       Fill the bottom of a double boiler or a small heavy-duty baking pan half way up with water and bring it to a boil.
2.       Reduce the heat to maintain a simmering boil.
3.       In the top of the double boiler or a small heavy duty sauce pan that will fit into your pan, place all the ingredients and stir as the mixture melts and combines. It should take 2 to 4 minutes to attain a thick and creamy consistency. Now you’re ready to rock and roll. Dip, dunk, pour, ladle to your heart’s content. Or until it’s gone!

Yield approximately 3/4 cup

Dog Stuff: Pumpkins to the Rescue for Dog Digestion!

dog digestionChance won’t ever take a chance on Halloween.  He won’t dress up.  And forget about trick or treating—he backs off of the sweet stuff.  But the one thing he does love about this time of year are the pumpkins.  Did you know that they can help with dog digestion?  After his pals have gobbled up the last bits of treats—and need a little help digesting what they ate—he offers them just a few tablespoons of pureed pumpkin to help his pals ease their overstuffed tummies.  It’s pumpkins to the rescue for dog digestion!
Image:  Greenwala, Inc.

Mitzi’s Kitchen Smarts: Kitchen Technology – Baking by Mobile

kitchen technologyMitzi discovered some kitchen technology for the BowWOW Bakery to start baking Wonderbars before anyone else is awake.  She recently attended the Eurocucina 2012 exhibition in Italy where appliance manufacturer Franke introduced the myMenu oven series.  Their innovative kitchen technology allows an oven to be controlled remotely through your mobile phone.  Amazing!  Archibald can’t believe he didn’t think of it first. You can check out the kitchen technology here:

Pipper’s Recipe Recommendations: A food holiday to celebrate all month!

recipe recommendationOctober 1 was World Vegetarian Day. But don’t worry if you missed it. October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and we have a recipe recommendation for you! Pipper and her friends were wondering who decides these things? The Tomato Council? The Rutabaga  Association? The National Zucchini League? “Hey, any reason to celebrate is good enough for me,” says Hilda.  Pipper and Mitzi agree that cooking up a batch of these scrumptious Dilled Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Yogurt Sauce is just the thing to feast on. By the way, Sophie read that chickpeas are a terrific source of magnesium, iron, phosphorus and fiber and also are packed with vitamin B9 or foliates, essential for recharging cells. Let’s hear it for vegetables with a special shout out for chickpeas.

Dilled Chickpea Burgers with Spicy Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4
1 16-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
4 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

1.   Lightly mash up half the chickpeas in a bowl. Add dill, shallots, breadcrumbs, and lemon juice and mix.
2.   In a food processor, puree remaining chickpeas, tahini paste, salt, pepper and cumin.
3.   Add pureed mixture to mashed chickpeas. Form into 4 burgers, 1/2-inch thick.
4.   Over medium heat, lightly coat grill or non-stick pan with nonstick spray.
5.   Cook burgers until crispy and golden, about 5 minutes each side.

Spicy Yogurt Sauce
1 cup nonfat yogurt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix together all ingredients.
Top with:     Spicy Yogurt Sauce and Tomato
Serve on:     Warmed Pita Bread

Recipes from The Great Big Burger Book, Jane Murphy and Elizabeth Yeh Singh, The Harvard Common Press

Snoutz Food and Travel Adventures: Surfing lessons for family dog

family dogIf you are thinking about taking a trip, consider taking the family dog on a  surfing adventure. “Get outta here,” you say. No kidding! This adventure is something Pipper’s pal Hilda has already signed up for, and your family dog might enjoy it too. The location is in Coronado, California. The place is The Su-Ruff Camp at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. It’s just a short 20 minute drive from San Diego. You don’t even have to be a hotel guest to give it a shot. Lessons are $40 an hour.

Sophie’s Book Selections: A Light in the Attic

book selectionsSophie reads all kinds of books and has plenty of book selections she might recommend. Even though storybooks are her favorite, she also loves digging into books about real people and real events…and she has some special poetry books she especially loves. A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein, is top of her list of book selections. In fact, she loves all of Shel Silverstein’s books. But she thinks one of his most special poems is in this book. It’s called “How Many, How Much.” Sophie been known to quote these lines from it to Pipper and her pals, “How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” Here’s the blurb from Amazon: Here in the attic of Shel Silverstein you will find Backward Bill, Sour Face Ann, The Meehoo with the Exactlywatt, and the Polar Bear in the Frigidaire. You will talk with Broiled Face, and find out what happens when Somebody steals your knees, you get caught by the Quick-Digesting Gink, a Mountain snores, and They Put a Brassiere on the Camel. From the creator of the beloved poetry collections Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up, here is another wondrous book of poems and drawings.
Do you have a favorite poetry book to share? Please let us know in comments.