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Social Workers in the Library

NEED HELP? Help is here: Social Workers in the Library


At King Library: Every 1st and 4th Mondays of the month, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Call: 1-408-808-2350




At East Branch Library: Once a month – every 3rd Wednesday of the month 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (Spanish/English bilingual Social Worker available)

Call: 1-408-808-2350


Is something happening in your life that you have questions about concerning:


  • Education - ESL, Literacy, Special Needs
  • Emergency Services - food/clothing/housing and crisis support
  • Employment
  • Family Matters - parenting, childcare, divorce, elder issues and domestic violence
  • Health Improvement - mental/physical health and health insurance
  • Immigration
  • Support Groups - men, women and teens


Make an appointment to get a FREE 20 minute session of information and referral or advice, from a member of the National Association of Social Workers. Everyone at some point in their lives could use the advice of a social worker. Our volunteer social workers are offering it - Free of Charge

New Year, New Recipes

It’s finally 2014!  After the over indulgence of the holiday season, it is usually a good time to start a new cooking regime. I find eating and cooking at home to be the fastest way to get my eating habits back on the right track. Cookbooks can be a great place to find inspiration. Here are some titles that might be just what you need to get in the kitchen.


Cooking Light cookbookCooking Light: Way to Bake:  I love to bake. I bake homemade bread at least once a week, and I have been known to bake copious amounts of cupcakes. The only problem is that butter and shortening might not be the best ingredients for you. Cooking Light is a great magazine full of tasty calorie friendly recipes. This book is not only full of recipes, but also has great step-by-step visuals for those new to baking.



moosewood cookbookMoosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health:  For health reasons my parents were fairly strict vegetarians for most of my adolescence, with only the occasional stop at the sushi bar. Having to switch from being a meat and potatoes kind of kid to eating salads and black bean patties was immensely difficult. Thankfully my mom had the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. This cookbook has so many delicious recipes. It is a great starter book to vegetarian cooking.


Hungry Girl CookbookHungry Girl to the Max: The Ultimate Guilt-Free Cookbook:  I love fake-out food. I love food that should be bad for you, but is not and is still delicious. The Hungry Girl series is great. It has tons of recipes for delicious “guilt-free” food. With some 650 recipes from breakfast, to snacks, to desserts, there is plenty of cooking that is sure to be going on in your kitchen sometime soon.


Paleo cookbookThe Paleo Slow Cooker : Healthy, Gluten-Free Meals the Easy Way:  While I am too much of a carb lover to become a Paleo devotee, but I know many people that swear by the Paleo lifestyle. For those unfamiliar, the Paleo diet supposedly mimics what Paleolithic Era humans (cavemen) ate. This means no grains or legumes, but lots of veggies and lean grass-fed meat. If you or someone in your household is a carnivore, this might be the diet for you. This cookbook is full of easy slow cooker recipes. If you’re interested in learning more about Paleo or starting a meal plan check out, Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle, or if the waiting list is too long, check out another Paleo slow cooker book here.

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi (Những món ăn chay từ Luân Đôn)

Plenty book coverI got attracted to Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi by its cover and also because my husband and my entire family have been eating vegetarian food for the last two years.  Who would think of combinining pomegranates with eggplant and buttermilk sauce anyway?  I am not a good cook, so I skipped the complicated recipes, such as the Sweet Corn Polenta.  My friends would probably love this recipe though.  They will have to make the eggplant sauce, and then shave off the kernels (this would be too be much work for me...).  However, this has been one of my favorite vegetarian food in the world!


This book has lots of marvelous photos of other Middle Eastern food, and also a lot of salad recipes, soups, and pizzas.  What I like are the recipes that use yogurt  as the main ingredient, such as the Chickpea saute' with Greek yogurt, and the Spiced Red Lentils with Cucumber Yogurt.  Whether you have time to do the long, complicated recipes, or you don't have time but still would like to prepare something quick and vegetarian, this book still has it for you.


It also has "bánh xèo" (Vietnamese pancake) on page 54, which is yet another Vietnamese gourmet food besides "chả gìo" (egg rolls), only a little less time-consuming to prepare.  It has the potential of quickly becoming a popular gourmet food to enjoy, once the workers of this Silicon Valley or this Bay Area discover that "bánh xèo" is available in many of the Vietnamese restaurants, whereever there is a presence of a large overseas Vietnamese refugee community with roots in South Vietnam.


On pages 32 and 36, the "Sweet potato cakes" and the Leek fritters" look similar to the Vietnamese "Sweet Corn Polenta" (Sweet Corn fritters) or to the Vietnamese Bánh Khọt in flat form, although the Vietnamese Bánh Khọt normally has the shape of a cupcake.  The "Bánh Khọt" is another favorite gourmet food of mine.  It is so time-consuming to prepare it that I would prefer to go out to enjoy it instead of having to cook it myself.  I anticipate that together with Bánh Xèo, Bánh Khọt will become part of life here in Silicon Valley. 


These two potato cakes and leek fritters look so scrumptious that they are making me feel very hungry, and thay make eating vegetarian food a very easy task.


Tôi xin trân trọng giới thiệu đến các bạn và các bác cuốn sách này vì nó rất nhiều món ăn chay rất lạ và thú vị.  Tuy đôi khi nó hơi lạ đối với người Việt mình một chút vì có nhiều món mang âm hưởng Trung Đông, có rất nhiều món là pizza, yô-ua, xà-lát và xúp cho nên có vẻ Tây Phương, tuy nhiên, cũng có nhiều món mà người Á Đông mình rất thích và vẫn thường hay ăn, đó là món Sweet Corn Polenta.  Nghe thì lạ lẫm thật,  nhưng thực ra, đó chính là món bắp chiên mà các bác, các bà, các cô vẫn thường hay thích làm cho bạn đạo và cho gia đình ăn.



Ngoà i ra, cò n có  n bá nh xè o chay ở trang 54.  Cũng giản dị thôi, vì chỉ cần bỏ đi thịt và tôm, là các bác đã biến món bánh xèo mặn thành món bánh xèo chay rồi, đúng không các bác?


Sách này còn có 2 món khác, trên trang 32 và 36, bánh khoai lang chiên, và món bánh tỏi tây chiên, nhìn rất giống cách làm món bắp chiên, và món bánh khọt (nếu đập dẹp xuống thay vì dùng khuôn có hình cái phễu hay có hình của bánh ngọt cupcake).  Đối với riêng tôi thì bài "Bánh tỏi tây chiên" dài quá, điệu này chắc tôi phải đi ra ngoài ăn chắc có lẽ "feasible" hơn quá! (dễ thành hiện thực hơn!)  Do đó, từ từ, Bánh Khọt cùng với Bánh Xèo cũng sẽ được đi vào lòng người dân vùng Thung Lũng Điện Tử Hoa Vàng ở Bắc Cali này.  Mong lắm thay!

Thanksgiving for Diabetics

Cover of Cooking with the Diabetic ChefCover of 1000 Diabetes RecipesCover of Easy Diabetic Meals

Face it - Thanksgiving is a food day.  For a diabetic like myself, that can be frustrating.  Lots of the best traditional fare is carb heavy.  Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Pie...  I love them all and have to be careful what and how much of it I'm eating.  Not to mention dealing with others who may want to push their "special dish" on me, regardless of the amount of sugar it contains.  Having to explain that you really shouldn't eat it and why can be a bummer.


Snap out of it!  Take the next couple of days to plan your attack on this meal of meals.  Here are some ideas that might help you keep your carbs in control.  Remember, if you go overboard on carbs you *will* feel bad later and you don't want to miss out on time with family and friends.


Strategy One: Portion Control


Stuffing Muffins! Stuffing is baked in a muffin tin creating perfectly controlled portions of that delicious side dish!   One will be about 22 grams of carbs.  


Pumpkin Tarts  A whole piece of pumpkin pie will set you back 46 grams of carbs!  Have a two-bite tart and enjoy the flavor with only 13 grams of carbs.


Strategy Two: Substitution

Skip the potatoes.  Instead, try mashed cauliflower. Sounds weird but a serving of mashed cauliflower (1/4 a head of cauliflower) has 3 grams of carbs.


Strategy Three: Fill up on the good stuff

You know the plate portion control method...use it!  Half your plate should be salad and non-starchy vegetables.  One quarter should be lean meat and one quarter should be carbs.  


Strategy Four: Educate Yourself

The American Association of Diabetes Educators created this guide just for folks like us with tips on how to have a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving.

FREE Pinching Pennies: Couponing 101 Workshop

couponsNeed extra cash for the holidays?


During the months of November and December attend the FREE Pinching Pennies: Couponing 101 Workshops. Learn how to maximize grocery savings and purchase hundreds of dollars' worth of everyday supplies for just pennies with couponing expert Caroline Jimenez.



Location: Santa Teresa Branch Library

Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 12:00pm


Location: Educational Park Branch Library

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 6:00pm


Location: Alviso Branch Library

Saturday, November 16, 2013 - 11:30am


Location: Joyce Ellington Branch Library

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 6:00pm


Location: Hillview Branch Library

Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 2:00pm


Location: Tully Community Branch Library

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 6:15pm


Location: Edenvale Branch Library

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 6:00pm


Location: Berryessa Branch Library

Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 4:00pm


Location: Evergreen Branch Library

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 6:30pm

Herbalicious Summer

Now, I don’t possess the greenest thumb in the garden, but nature has a way of boosting one’s self-esteem in horticultural matters if you just throw some herbs in a modest patch of soil or containers filled with good soil. The backyard planter box that my wife and I tend to and cultivate has given us endless supplies of chives, cilantro, parsley, thyme, and an absolute abundance of Ocimum Basilicum, otherwise known to regular Joes like you and me as sweet basil. The luscious and verdantly green leaves of our basil varieties have made for some righteously adequate pesto alla Genovese, pistou Provençal, and basil infused concoctions such as chicken with Thai Holy Basil to vodka and basil gimlets. So you can keep your ubiquitously oversized zucchini squash and, yes, I will accept the occasional tomatoes and eggplants, but an herb garden will almost surely bring you much culinary contentment and fragrant interludes in the kitchen and elsewhere. Check out some of these great books on herb gardening if you need further, and more scientific, inspiration:


cover image of Grow Cook Eatcover image of The Cook's Herb Gardencover image of Herb Gardening from the Ground Up


While we’re at it, let’s honor the efforts of the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County and all of the great and informative programs they provide to the libraries of SJPL and in the community in general. Just check the "Home & Garden Events" links (right of the page) to see some of their timely and educational offerings now and throughout the year.