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Count Down to Touch Down

By Gini Rainey

Apparently there is some sort of excitement in the Texas sports world today.  It seems there is this big play-off game about to happen between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.  This will, as my experts tell me, determine who will make it to the Championship Round and then on to this even bigger event called the Super Bowl!  Now, if you’re anything like me, win or lose, it doesn’t really matter, but what does matter to me on a Sunday afternoon is what I can whip up for dinner, because sooner or later someone is going to get hungry.  Game or no game, it just happens that way.

If you are the better half of a football loving couple, chances are you will be watching that big game, Super Bowl LI, in a couple of weeks.   So, now might be a great time to pull out some recipes to combat the game-watching munchies!  If you’re tired of the usual buffalo wings/cheese balls/popcorn choices, you might want to take a look at some of the appetizers I came across in the Cooking With Kenny Rogers cookbook.  Interestingly enough, this book was printed in 1987 by the Dole Food Company.  I had not realized that Kenny Rogers had been a spoke person for Dole, but here he is in full color photos plugging pineapple and bananas.  And, as difficult as it might seem to place The Gambler in a kitchen full of fruit, you would be amazed how many recipes there are that contain one or the other of these fruits.

Whether you feel like whipping up a Breakfast Booster yogurt beverage that has frozen bananas as a main ingredient or noshing on a crunchy Tropical Tostada that uses pineapple tidbits as a topping,  I think you will be amazed at the different ways Dole pulls their fruit into these recipes.  Some good ideas that will make your Super Bowl Spread refreshing and interesting is the recipe for Halakahiki Sausage that is made with smoky link sausage, crushed pineapple, apricot jam and mustard, or perhaps the Pineapple-Almond Cheese Spread that uses cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, soy sauce and crushed pineapple, or the one for Teriyaki Chicken (go ahead and just use wings!) that combines pineapple juice, soy sauce and honey.

The one recipe that really stands out for me, though, is the one for Banana Bread Pudding.  With your oven preheating to 350°, grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.  Slice 2 extra-ripe bananas into a blender and purée (should yield about 1 cup).  Then combine 4 slices of cubed bread (you be the judge on the kind of bread – French bread will hold up rather nicely in this dish) and ¼ cup raisins in a large mixing bowl and stir in the puréed bananas and 1 ¼ cup of milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Now slice 2 firm, medium-sized bananas and add to bread mixture.  Add 2 slightly beaten eggs, ½ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Mix well and pour into the casserole.  Sprinkle with additional nutmeg.  Place the casserole in a large pan containing 2 cups of hot water and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.  Serve warm.  Might I add:  since we are in Texas – serve warm with a nice dollop of whipped cream – or better yet – Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream.

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April 5th-7th: Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair


Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair:

Thursday-Saturday, April 5th-7th

The annual Book Fair, the primary fundraiser, began in 1968. A spring and fall sale event, each consisting of a three day sale, gives 75% of net proceeds funds to health career scholarships at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler.

The Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair will be held at 2004 Broussard St., Tyler. The book fair will be held April 5th-7th, 8am-6pm. Only cash and checks are accepted.

“The community looks forward to our sales and anticipates all the great ‘deals’ and wonderful books they will purchase. We have shoppers from all around the state. We enjoy greeting our seasoned shoppers and meeting new ones as they line up early Thursday morning in anticipation to opening,” said Kelly Michaels, current President of SCMSA.

She continues, “‘Achieving Dreams’ a group of exceptional young adults volunteer every Monday to sort, shelve books, clean, and help with other various jobs. The “Achievers” love working at the Book Fair and show us the meaning of giving back to the community. They are a huge part of Book Fair success.”

Now, shoppers have a nicer shopping experience with more room to roam and more books to choose from. There are books for everyone! There are children’s books, collector’s books, cookbooks, new releases, coffee table books, fiction, non-fiction, hobbies and “How To” books, autobiography and biography, sports, religion, self-help, romance, travel, children’s, gardening, history, and much more.

If you would like to donate books, please drop them off at the book shelves outside in the front of the building. Donations can be made any day, at any time. Donated books are brought in daily. For a donation receipt, please leave your name and address information with your donation or call (903)561-1353 to schedule a drop-off.

For additional information visit or call Book Fair at (903)561-1353.

We also take monetary donations. If you would like to donate to Book Fair, please see the Donations page at This is a wonderful way to honor or remember a friend or loved one and to further health care education.


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March 2018: Book Worm Events!

stretford tyler tx

March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell  and discuss her book “Our Baby.” The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan. The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

April 5th-7th (8am-6pm) – Book Fair – This year’s event focuses on the sale of donated books which will go to endowed scholarships for nursing and healthcare at TJC and UT-T and for community health projects. Thousand of books will be available for purchase. This is held at SCMSA, 2004 Broussard St., Tyler.

August 4th (1-5pm) – Book Bash will be held at Harvey Hall Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. They are doubling the authors for 2018’s Book Bash! Tickets will be on sale until the day of the event. Come on out and find a new favorite author as well as meet the authors behind the stories. For more info go to Tickets are $12.

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Spring Programs at the Library

Spring Programs at the Library

The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events are free. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to


All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium. Storytimes will not meet the week of Spring Break, March 12th-16th.

  • Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am
  • Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday
  • Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am
  • Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am

March 3rd (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.

March 10th and 24th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature March 10th, Multiplication Bingo; and March 24th, Cardboard Challenge. This will be held in the Library Treehouse.

Spring Break: March 12th-March 16th (10:30am) – Spring Break Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch a fun feature length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.


Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at Events are:

  • March 6th: Silent Library Games
  • March 13th: Movie
  • March 20th: Whose Line? Improv Games
  • March 27th: “And Scene!” Reader’s Theater

March 3rd (11:30am-1:30pm) – Tips and Tricks for Dog Owners – Pick up tips and tricks for handling your dog from Certified American Kennel Club Evaluator, Judy Parson. No pets in the Library.

March 7th (12 noon) – Great Decisions is a foreign policy lecture series. Books are available for $22 at the circulation desk. The March topic and speaker is “China and American: The New Geopolitical Equation,” Dr. Robert Sterken.

March 9th (11:30am) – “Raised Bed Gardening on a Hillside” with Wayne Elliot will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series. Free to attend.

March 15th (5pm) – Reel Talk – This event is like a book-club, but for movies! Free to attend.

March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell and discuss her book “Our Baby.”

March 2nd and 16th (1-3pm) – Veteran’s Movie – Join this biweekly screening of movies presented especially for veterans. This free event is held the first and third Friday every month.

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan.

Every Tuesday (10am-1pm) – Quilting Class – Learn the art of quilting at the Library. Fabric and quilt patterns will be provided. Participants are asked to provide their own sewing machines, if you have them, plus scissors, and neutral or white thread. For details and a complete list of supplies please contact the Library’s information desk.

Every Tuesday (5:30-6:30pm) – Evening Meditation – Learn the practice of Heartfulness Meditation with Gayathri Kambhampati.

Every Wednesday (5:30pm) – Gentle Yoga – This gentle yoga class will be taught by Meagan Vrba who is certified in yoga, CPR, and first aid.

Every Saturday (11am-12 noon) – Crochet Classes will be held in the 3rd floor Internet Center Workroom. These are free classes. Learn to crochet with Library staff and volunteers. All materials are provided. All experience levels are welcome.


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