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Bundles of Gratitude To Return Home with New Eyes Giving Thanks to Both Sides Food...with Love

Holiday Tips for Parents & Crafts for Kids

Holiday Recipes

Reverence & Reflection

Food Good, Social Good.

November/December 2012 Vol. 1 Issue 2

Legend of Candy Canes

Photo by Bekubda


IN THIS ISSUE... Candy Canes

Thanks to Both Sides






Return Home


Food...with Love

Holiday Crafts

Table of Contents Article Page Letter from the Editors .................................................................... 5 Tips for Eating with Kids ................................................................. 7 Bundles of Gratitude - Surar ............................................................ 10 Tips for Learning with Kids ............................................................. 14 Giving Thanks to Both Sides .......................................................... 16 The Legend of Candy Canes ............................................................ 21 Chocolate Christmas Meringue ....................................................... 22 To Return Home with New Eyes........................................................ 25 Trips for Traveling with Kids ............................................................. 32 Acorn Squash with Stuffing .............................................................. 34 Food...with Love ................................................................................. 37 Tips for Crafing with Kids ................................................................. 40 Cinnamon Bun ................................................................................... 43 Recipe Index........................................................................................ 44 2

Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.



Belinda Kat Patty


Co-Editor Co-Editor Co-Editor

Featured Contributors Ariel France Baking Bar Amsterdam Hoi Ning USA Janet USA Lena Canada Molly USA Tsering Canada

About Zomppa Zomppa ® is an innovative, 501(c) 3 nonprofit that aims to transform the relationship between food and people through awareness, dialogue, and education. Zomppa ® is an integrated food advocacy platform that brings food back to the central role of our lives by: 1) influencing public opinion with an interactive, online café, and international food magazine; and 2) empowering children through Zomppabus, a mobile food atlas and online classroom.

Photo by Patty Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.


Photo by Belinda



Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.


November/December 2012 Dear Reader: The holiday season is upon us all - wherever you may be! Superstorm Sandy has made her statement, and we wish all those who were in her way the very best and thank those first responders, medical specialists, and technicians out there working hard to get everyone safe and secure. With cold air blasting through the Northern Hemisphere and warm air embracing the Southern Hemisphere, it seems the end of the year is a time for all of us to pause and take note of all for which we are grateful. This issue of Zomppa Magazine seeks to help you as parents and educators to prepare a fun-filled and delicious holiday with kids as well as to give you “food for thought” to reflect upon home, family, and traditions during this holiday season. We focus on Reflection & Reverance towards the end of 2012, exploring holidays around the world and offering tips for busy parents and teachers. We look at the legend of candy canes and the art of entertaining. We hope you enjoy this edition with a mug of hot cocoa and a warm blanket. During this season of giving thanks, we cannot let the opportunity by to thank you for your continued support and readership. Your belief in “Food Good, Social Good” keeps us motivated and determined to help transform children’s relationships with healthy eating, sustainable, and global awareness. Please continue to visit our website for up-to-date news. We look forward to seeing you in the new year when we will continue to inform you our refined mission. Patty, Kat, & Belinda Co-Editors

Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.



Featured Contributors

Ariel was born and raised on her family’s 250-year old farm in Western NC. She studies, writes, and teaches about food.

Baking Bar are passionate bakers who encourage parents to bake with their children from an early age to develop this life skill.

Hoi Ning is an adventurous lifelong learner, with a penchant for challenging the norm and pushing the envelope. Janet is a harried yet idealistic mom trying to find that place where living sustainably, eating joyfully, and not losing her mind intersect. She’s still looking.

Tsering was born and raised in exile in India. A vegetarian herself, she has the uncanny ability to season the best meats. 6

Lena is working to document the food of her multicultural roots from a “tabbouleh” mix of Jordan and Iran, to England, to the U.S.

Molly is a wife, mother of three, former Peace Corps Volunteer, and specialist in Native Arts. She loves baking and the outdoors.

Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.


The holidays can be a stressful time (ironically): with all the travel, cooking, cleaning, coordinat-

ing and family time, the crazy factor and blood pressure can increase significantly. What could possibly make an already stressful holiday even more ridiculous? A child that doesn’t want to eat. Anything. As a parent, you know what this can mean: melt downs, temper tantrums, fistto-cuff throw downs, and other scenarios that make you want to curl up into fetal position. Well, we’ve got a couple of tips that might make your holiday season less crazed and perhaps, more enjoyable (of all things!). These suggestions might not help you deal with your crazy Aunt Matilda or your Dad’s after dinner food coma/snore symphony, but it might help junior better deal with the festivities, people and change in schedule. Good luck!

Photo by Patty

Tip #1: Let the kids help you prepare a few if the meals This might seem like a super daunting experience, but it might help you to slow down, spend some quality time with your kid, and encourage your child to eat what they make!

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Photo by Patty

Tip #2: Don’t put kids at the kids’ table If your child is younger (under the age of 5), it might make more sense to have him/her sit at the main dinner table – sitting with other children at a ‘children’s table’ could lead to behavior not conducive to eating (like bantering, food throwing, etc). If they sit in between adults who are eating, young children may be more inclined to mimic behavior. Tip #3: Give kids plenty of opportunity to release energy and build up an appetite It can be difficult, as a young child, to sit still for any (long) period of time, especially when the occasion is relatively formal. We recommend sending your kid outside prior to dinner for some laps around the backyard or other ‘energy releasing’ activity. Perhaps you can coax them into exhaustion/extreme hunger in time for Thanksgiving dinner.


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TIPS for EATING with KIDS Tip #4: Let kids pick half of their dinner plate Most children like autonomy – meaning, they don’t particularly like being told what to do, how to do it, and what to eat. Take this into consideration when you coordinate their holiday dinner plate. Allow them to pick certain dishes that they would like to eat; however, make it clear to them that in order to eat their picks, they also have to pick your food choices. Tip #5: ‘Finger Food’ I know it might horrify some parents to allow their child to eat with their fingers, but we encourage a little fun at the holiday table. Help make the holiday dinner memorable to your child by allowing them to eat a drumstick with their hands, pick up their green beans with their pinchers, or use their bread roll to scoop up mounds of mash potato and gravy. You might have some messy hands (and faces) at the end of this exercise, but it might help focus your child’s efforts on their food and not running away from the table!

Photos by Patty Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.




Written by Lena

For many, the autumn season has a tendency to

pull us into serious work mode, where schedules are overbooked and days are short. Patience is replaced with instant gratification. How many times have you carved out a couple hours during the work day for “you” time only to be too distracted to enjoy the present moment of a massage or a calm walk? Here is a motto for the season: “Good things come in small packages.” Think not about what small goodness you can receive; and more about what small goodness you can put out to the universe. As trite as it sounds, giving is often more pleasurable than receiving. Coincidentally, giving tends to coincide with greater perspective and contentment. Having recently visited my roots in the Middle East, I am newly armored with recipes. In that part of the world, hospitality and giving of sustenance is one of the most important individual duties. A well-known Arabic saying is that an act of charity as small as a date will be accepted by God and nurtured until it becomes a mountain.

There are many “edible” metaphors in the poems of the Sufis to teach life’s greatest lessons. Rumi said that “everything in creation is eating and being eaten”. The Persians in particular often used wine to describe the love of Creation. Poet Omar Khayyám mystically wrote: “Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” Visitors are often surprised by Arab hospitality—perhaps people expect extravagance, or quite the opposite. If you’ve visited the Middle East, you’ll know that people are always sharing something. In taxis, a driver will offer a cigarette. In homes, people will offer everything but the kitchen sink. Strangers are often eager to guide a visitor or tell a story. There is a natural curiosity, but also a sense of pride in one’s giving of hospitality.

Photos by Lena Making mountains of dates is my goal this Thanksgiving season. How can my acts of goodness be multiplied? 10

For a little context, imagine the Bedouin tribes in the desert, a nomadic people that had, over generations, dealt with the chal-

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Photo by Lena lenges of a dry environment. People relied on each other for survival. As a result, the custom of hospitality is more about honor, reciprocity and even religious obligation. From the Arabian poet Al-Mutanabbi: “Resolutions are measured against those who make them; generosity in accordance with the giver. Littleness is magnified by small men, while grandeur is deprecated by the great.” Even in the most nontraditional of contexts, there is often a dance of politely refusing something three times before accepting what is offered. It can be considered an insult to accept a gift without refusal. The Persians call this tarof. It truly is an art form. Generosity in the Middle East is most poignantly exemplified throughfood and drink. The age-old custom of serving coffee and tea to guests and visitors, for example, borders on ritual. There is nothing like being served a small cup of coffee in the dessert, where the coffee is freshly ground and roasted for each pot and oozes with sugar and cardamom. Black aromatic Persian or Moroccan mint tea in little glasses is obligatory when guests visit one’s home. Finally, the water pipe, also known as hookah, sheesha, or nargilla, has been part of Arab and Persian culture for hundreds years. The fruity tobacco is smoked in sidewalk cafes or at home and is shared among friends.

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BUNDLES of GRATITUDE - SURAR The recipe I share with you is for a dish not widely known beyond Jordan. It’s a cute representation of small bundles of goodness. In fact, the name of the dish is Surar, which in Arabic means bundle. Guided by my generous aunt, we made a batch of Surar, and I diligently recorded the recipe. Patience is a virtue when making this dish. Allow 1 ½ hours for the prep work, cooking, stuffing, and baking. Middle Eastern dishes are time intensive but well worth the effort. To close with the words of Rumi: “Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself. One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift! Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty; the bounty is its shell, For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved. Abundance alone brings heedlessness, thanksgiving gives birth to alertness… The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you, and you will bestow a hundred bounties in return. Eat your fill of God’s delicacies, and you will be freed from hunger and begging.”

SURAR for 10 boundles Ingredients: 2 cups short and long grain rice (not basmati) ½ kilo beef or lamb 3 cups green peas frozen 1 ½ cups pine nuts and almond slivers 2 ½ salted chicken bullion (maggi) cubes 4 cups water 2 cups vegetable oil 1 tbsp. salt 1 tsp. turmeric ½ tsp. black pepper ½ tsp. all spice ½ tsp. nutmeg 500 grams of filo dough or 18 ounces (one box) 2 tbsp. olive oil to brush


Directions: 1. Prepare the rice: mix one cup of short grain rice with one cup of long rice. Use a brand like Uncle Ben’s (not basmati rice). Soak both cups of rice together in 2 cups of water at room temperature for half an hour. 2. Prepare the meat: Cut the meat into small cubes and brown in a medium pot with 1 tbsp. of oil, 1 tbsp. of salt, and 1 tsp. of turmeric. Cook on medium heat until the water evaporates. 3. Prepare the nuts: heat ½ tsp. of oil in a pan and then add the almond slivers. When the almonds become pink, then add the pine nuts. (Pine nuts burn earlier than almonds). 4. In a cup add the bullion cubes to 3 tbsp. of warm water and mix the chicken stock. 5. Fry the rice: Heat 4 tbsp. oil in a large pot. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the pan. Slightly brown the rice. 6. Add the chicken stock, then pour 2 ½ cups of hot water on the rice and cook on high heat until the water level goes down. Continue cooking on low heat and mix gently. 7. Defrost the frozen peas according to package instructions, and boil them to cook, then drain. 8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, meat and peas. Season to taste, with black pepper, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Allow the mixture to cool completely. 9. Grease a large pan and heat oven to 450°F. 10. Thaw the filo dough according to package instructions. Unroll the filo. Cut the filo sheets in the shape of a 6 in. x6 in. square. Place less than one cup of mixture in the middle of 2 squares of filo. Carefully fold the sides of the filo dough over as not to break the delicate pastry. Hint: use a small bowl as a mold. 11. Bake for 5 minutes then take out pan and brush the bundles with olive oil until the entire top surface is covered. Then broil the pan in the oven until the tops are a golden brown, about 3 minutes. 12. Serve with yoghurt.

Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.

Photos by Lena

TIPS for LEARNING with KIDS Written by Belinda


What do you think of when you hear “holiday?” Thanksgiving? Christmas? Did you know people celebrate different holidays in different ways around the world around this time of year? Let’s learn about a few of them!

Eid Al Adha

This Muslim holiday is celebrated according to the Lunar Calendar so it changes every year. The Festival of Sacrifice is a time to commemorate when the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was willing to sacrifice his son for God. It happens at the end of Ramandan, a month of fasting (when people do not eat). People share a goat or sheep with neighbors to break the fast. Everyone gets dressed and goes to mosque to pray and give money or food to the poor. There are many street fairs with music and games, and children are given gifts.


Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated according to the Jewish Lunar calendar between November and January. A Jewish holiday, Hanukkah honores the Maccabees victory over King Antiochus, who had not allowed the Jewish people to practice their religion. A menorah with nine candles is lit - one candle for each night. The celebration lasts for eight days. Children are given a small amount of money to learn about the importance of charity. Food eaten during this holiday includes latkes (potato pancakes) and doughnuts.

Bodhi Day

In early December, Bodhi Day celebrates the day the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, came to be. According to Buddhists, this was the day the prince Siddhattha Gotama became “enlightened” after sitting under a bodhi tree and thinking about how to solve all the world’s problems. To celebrate, people put up different colored lights, light candles, meditate, and eat milk and rice - the first meal the Buddha ate after becoming “awakened.”


In Brazil, the fourth Thursday of every November is a public day of thanksgiving and prayer for the harvest. The Cherokee tribe in North America celebrate Adohuna, the “Friendship Festival,” to give thanks to the new friends made during the trading season, Nvdadequa. People fast - meaning they do not eat - for several days. It is also a time when people forgive each other, and things are given those who are less fortunate. According to some, the first Thanksgiving feast in the U.S. lasted for three days, and people ate lobster, rabbit, chicken, and fish. 14

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Photos by Belinda


Photo by Belinda


Christmas is not just about presents and Christmas trees. It is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is celebrated on December 25, and celebrated in many ways all around the world. In the U.S., many people go to church on Christmas. On Chritmas Eve, children leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus, who delivers gifts. On the mainland U.S., Santa delivers presents by reindeer and sleigh; in Hawaii, he comes by boat; and in Australia, he delivers gifts on water skiis. In Iran, Christmas is known as Little Feast. For the first 25 days of December, people do not eat meat, eggs, milk, or cheese. The fast is broken on Christmas with a big feast. Instead of presents, children get new clothing. In Sweden, the Sain Lucia ceremony beings on December 13 when the youngest daughter from each family dresses up in a white robe and red sash. Wearing a crown of greens and candles, she brings buns and coffee to her parents. Christmas trees are put up two days before Christmas and is decorated with apples, gnomes, candles, and Swedish flags. Family and friends share a big meal of ham, pigs’ feet, and codfish.

Boxing Day

In many of the Commonwealth nations (countries that are governed by the United Kingdom), such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas on December 26. It was started when people donated clothes and food by “boxing” them up for the less fortunate. It is a day when people give gifts of money to tradespeople, such as people who deliver the newspaper.

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I grew up in a small household with Chinese immi-

grant parents. For a while, it was just our family of four – me, my younger brother Jerry, Mom, and Dad. After a few years, my grandmother came over from China to live with us, but we had no other relatives close by, so I didn’t know any of my aunts, uncles or cousins. My parents and grandmother barely spoke English, so I often corresponded with them in a blended Chinese/English “dialect” that I called “Chinglish.” They did their best to keep me rooted in Chinese culture; I did my best to be both Chinese and American. Within our little family, we celebrated holidays, but only Chinese holidays and only with Chinese food. Don’t get me wrong – the food was delicious and plentiful. Chinese New Year involved a massive spread, ranging from whole fish and whole chicken to dumplings and meatballs. One memorable family tradition was putting together the big tray of sweet and savory snacks for guests who came to visit: candied melon, gold foil-covered chocolates, lotus seeds, pistachios, and other family fa-

vorites. All that said, the Mid-Autumn Festival was still the Chinese holiday I loved most, bringing with it boxes of moon cakes made of sweet lotus paste and filled with salted egg yolks. It was sweet and salty at its best. Yet, despite my love of Chinese food, I was still growing up in America, and I was slowly becoming aware of American traditions. As immigrants, my parents knew nothing of American foods or holidays. And because they had to work so many hours to keep us happy and well-fed, they simply didn’t have the time or energy to embrace these elements of American life. I, on the other hand, wanted to celebrate American holidays, just like the Cosbys and the Seavers on TV. I wanted Valentine’s Day with the hearts and chocolate, Independence Day with the fireworks and barbecues, and Christmas with the trees and mistletoe, apple cider and gingerbread. My favorite holiday though was always Thanksgiving. I loved the notion of parents and grandparents milling about the kitchen, relatives crowded into the din-

Photo by Belinda 16

Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.

THANKS to BOTH SIDES ing room, and a festive runner laid down the middle of a long table. I wanted the big, honey brown turkey glistening in all its glory and all the side dishes showing off their wonderful colors. I dreamed of Dad carving the bird, Mom passing the plates, and the kids eyeing the drumsticks. I fantasized about us sitting around the table and sharing what we were thankful for. I wanted the Norman Rockwell painting before I even knew who Norman Rockwell was. While their Chinese food was impeccable, my parents had little to no understanding of American foods. They never made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, or mashed potatoes. Unless a meal started with soup, involved rice or noodles, and ended with fruit, they didn’t consider it a meal. For Thanksgiving one year, I begged for turkey. Mom finally consented, only to bring home a pack of turkey drumsticks. Not a whole bird, just the drumsticks. I was crestfallen. After that, Mom never attempted another Thanksgiving – or even American – meal. I can’t fault her though. She already had enough Chinese holidays to worry about. I was Chinese and American though – and I wanted all the holidays. In my second year of college, I met my friend Paul at a retreat in the fall, and we swapped stories about growing up – me in the projects of New York City, him in a small town in Maine. He grew up in a house with a preserve as his backyard, with nature spilling onto this doorstep. He had his own room, filled with tons of books and knick-knacks. Like me, Paul had one sibling, but he had tons of aunts, uncles, and cousins that he actually knew. And almost everyone lived within miles of each other. I couldn’t imagine a life so different from mine. Until I had the opportunity to experience it. Paul invited me to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family that November. Mom said she’d miss me, but she thought it was high time I got to experience my first real Thanksgiving, especially after I’d been talking about it for so many years. I was kind of ecstatic, but really nervous. I was worried I wouldn’t make a good impression. What was the protocol? I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to act, what I was supposed to do, and whether I was supposed to bring

anything. I was anxious. But Thanksgiving Day arrived. And it was everything I ever wanted it to be. My first lesson of the day was that Thanksgiving didn’t start at dinner time; it was an all-day affair. As the holiday was an extended family event, every family was expected to bring several dishes to share. This particular year, Paul’s family was responsible for stuffing and pies. I woke up to the smells of Thanksgiving wafting from the kitchen. The stuffing was well under way and I could smell apples, celery, and onions lingering in the air. I wanted to lie in bed longer and luxuriate in the scents, but my hunger forced me to get up and search of food. I pattered downstairs in my pajamas and Paul’s family greeted me with smiles, along with coffee and pumpkin pancakes. This was probably the moment I equated Maine with heaven. The perfect day had started and I couldn’t have been happier. While I was sitting at the dining room table, Paul’s dad put the finishing touches on the apple pies before sticking them in the oven. My parents always preferred salt over sugar, so very little baking ever happened in our kitchen. In fact, Dad’s idea of apple pie was choosing between Hostess or McDonald’s. Therefore, watching Paul’s dad meticulously crimp pie crusts and brush them with egg wash was equally enlightening and mesmerizing. After we got dressed in our festive holiday attire we hopped in the car and made our way over to Paul’s grandmother’s house in the early afternoon. When we walked into the kitchen and saw everyone’s contributions to the Thanksgiving meal, I was taken aback by the sheer quantity of food. The tables and counters were completely covered with savory and sweet dishes. In addition, there were multiple turkeys. I should’ve figured that more than one turkey was necessary to feed an extended family, but I didn’t expect to see three or four of them. They were all big, plump, honey brown and they glistened in the sunlight coming in through the windows. Paul and I walked around to check out and sample what his relatives had brought. Outside of the Food Network, I’d never seen so many bright and colorful side dishes in one place: cranberry sauce, green beans, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes. Paul’s

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THANKS to BOTH SIDES GIVING THANKS TO BOTH SIDES dad was a fountain of food knowledge, and I learned the difference between sweet potatoes and yams that day, though I found that they essentially tasted the same (and better) once covered in butter and brown sugar. I also learned the difference between stuffing and dressing, and I decided that oyster dressing was a perfect combination of seafood and bread. While we meandered through the kitchen and the rest of the house with our plates, Paul introduced me to family member after family member. He told me that his relatives on his mom’s side were descendants of the Mayflower, and formed a tremendous family tree, with many of the families still rooted in Maine. Needless to say, I did the best I could, but I really couldn’t keep track of which cousin belonged to which aunt and uncle. Nevertheless, I smiled, they smiled, and we all ate and laughed together. It was overwhelming – in the best way possible. After everyone got their fix of pie and ice cream, Paul told me that that one of their Thanksgiving traditions was going to the movies after dinner. I was stuffed to the gills and sleepy, but I wasn’t about to complain or disrupt tradition. No amount of food coma or fatigue was going to ruin my perfect day. After the popcorn and soda, having made it through the movie, and as the credits started to roll, I thought about my first “real” Thanksgiving: the aromas, the food, the people, the experience. It was extraordinary and idyllic. When I went home for the holiday break, Mom had all my favorite Chinese dishes waiting for me: winter melon soup, braised pork, fried fish, bok choy and mushrooms, sweet sesame soup, and more. While we ate, I told her about all my favorite American dishes from Thanksgiving Day, like turkey with mushroom gravy, oyster dressing, candied yams, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato pie. My mom laughed at my enthusiasm – and my sweet tooth. And I couldn’t help thinking that I should always give thanks for having such a bicultural palate – and such a welcoming stomach.


Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Belinda

Photo by Patty


Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.




Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Belinda


Photo by Belinda

It’s never long before Halloween is long past and Christmas is on our doorstep, so in this issue, we’re going explore the Christmas traditions around baking. We thought hard about a Christmas-y recipe that will leave you feeling less guilty than you might feel while indulging on some other less healthy treat(s) during the winter holiday.

Although we live in Ireland, we are completely in love with the Netherlands and its traditions. To help shed light on our obsession, we’d like to share with you some of those Netherland Christmas traditions that we find the most intriguing. In Holland, Santa Claus is known as Sinterklaas, who is believed to live in Spain when he isn’t conducting holiday business. Sinterklaas has his very own day of celebrations in Holland, which is normally before Christmas day; in 2012, this pre-Christmas celebration falls on the 17th of November! During this holiday, Sinterklaas arrives in Holland with his helpers, known as Piets. It is believed (at least by the children) that Sinterklaas arrives on a white horse and checks his little red book to determine which children have been naughty and which children have been nice. After reviewing his records, Sinterklaas then travels through the streets of Amsterdam in a massive parade dishing sweets out to all the adoring children. So fun! We highly recommend everyone experience the spirit of Sinterklass if you are ever in the Netherlands during this time of year. Candy canes, which are typically peppermint flavour, are universally associated with the holiday season all across the globe. It is believed that candy canes first made their appearance in Cologne, Germany around the late 15th century. Legend has it that candy canes are the creative invention of a choirmaster who belonged to the Cologne Cathedral, as he was rather tired of the noise that children made during the cathedral’s festive celebrations. One year, the choirmaster appointed a local candy business to make a sweet treat that could be given to the congregation’s children during the Christmas service. The choirmaster also requested that the candy reflect the shape of a shepherd’s crook to remind the children of the shepherds who visited Jesus in the stable on the night he was born. Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.


CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE MERINGUE This Christmas treat quickly spread across Europe and on to the rest of the world. Inspired by this wonderful festive flavour and the winter holiday season, we created a recipe which is light, chewy, minty and chocolaty all in the same mouthful. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Christmas Chocolate Meringues Ingredients: 80 g caster sugar 2 egg whites 3 TB cocoa powder 1/2 tsp cream of tartar 1/2 tsp peppermint extract 1/4 tsp salt Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 120c. 2. Line a large baking tray with a piece of parchment baking paper. 3. Sieve the cocoa powder, cream of tartar and salt together in a bowl and set to the side. 4. Pour the egg whites into a large bowl and beat on medium/high speed until soft peaks form. 5. Slowly fold the caster sugar into the egg whites, use a metal spoon and fold gently so as not to knock too much air out of the egg whites. 6. Fold in the peppermint extract. 7. Now slowly fold in the cocoa powder mixture. 8. Fold just enough to combine the cocoa powder throughout the mixture. Don’t worry if there are a few specks of white. 9. Place tablespoons of this mixture on the baking sheet. Leave 1-2 inches between each to allow them to expand a little during cooking. 10. Bake for 1 hour in the middle of the oven. The low temperature and the long bake time give the meringues a gooey chewy chocolate centre. So it’s worth the wait! 11. Drizzle with some high cocoa content dark chocolate for extra indulgence. 12. Allow to cool for 20-30 mins before removing from the baking sheet. You may need to use a palette knife to ensure the bottoms do not stick and come apart. 22

Photo by Belinda You’re Done! Have a fab Christmas from BakingBar!

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Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.


Photo by Baking Bar


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Photo by Patty


Realizing that I could never go home again was, at least initially, disorienting. My family (except for a few scattered siblings) still live in the same blue farmhouse, at the end of the same dirt road, tucked between the hills of western North Carolina. This is the house and home in which I grew to become an adult. Strangely, since I left for college five years ago, my idea of “home” often inspire nostalgia; “home” is mostly the sum of my many treasured and bucolic memories.

I have lived abroad, on-and-off, for the past three years. This experience has challenged my definition of “home” as “home” tends to depend on where and when I feel familiarity, acceptance and confidence. However, the constant redefinition of “home” does not alter one’s heritage and culture. No matter how time transforms people and circumstances, some may find that traditions are sustainable, rooted and difficult to escape. Given all my travels around the world, I still maintain the traditions and spirit of my pastoral childhood. How? Through my appreciation of good, real food. I returned home from France this past summer in part to explore my roots and spend time with family. I read Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe, listened to Doc Watson, got a job at the farm-to-table restaurant Knife & Fork, and landed an internship at Penland School of Crafts, an internationally recognized school made up of ceramic, print, glass, books, metals, textiles, iron, wood, and photography studios. These efforts helped to satiate my curiosity and reacquaint me with ‘home’, but for some reason, they did not squelch my need for gastronomical travel and adventure. To help with my readjustment, I recently created a reflective photo essay of my travels and food experiences. These photos are examples of the incredible moments and experiences I had this past summer. To me, they are images of fleeting moments from my time in France, as well as timeless symbols of western North Carolina cuisine. Returning home has been interesting, strange, somewhat unfamiliar, but at the same time, exhilarating. Traveling to France gave me a new perspective on the home and place of my formative years: this new lens offers up a greater understanding of its uniqueness and its relationship with my heart. It also allows me to maintain my roots while I build new and exciting foundations for ‘home’ in other parts of the world and at different points in my life. Photos by Ariel A typical summer lunch in the Southern Appalachians: sliced raw tomato, buttered cornbread, and a mix of steamed summer squash and green runner beans. Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.



My friend Jesalyn, who is also an entomologist, carries a veil and hive tool in her car “just in case.”


Photos by Ariel My Californian friend, Liz, spends a Saturday morning learning how to make biscuits with my grandmother.

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Hot biscuits with molasses and mashed butter.

Indian feast with late summer vegetable curry, batik prints, and new roommates.

Chef Nate Allen’s (chef at Knife & Fork) trout gravlax with arugula and a pesto vinaigrette.

Photos by Ariel Fried rice, cheap beer, and candlelight.

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My breakfast at the Penland dining hall for five consecutive months: sliced strawberries, plain yogurt, honey, breakfast casserole, and coffee with creamer.

Apple crisp ginger muffins by baker and glass artist, David Chatt.

There are over 10,000 edible mushrooms in North America; about four or five species are deadly poisonous. I have no clue whether or not this mushroom is poisonous, but I like to imagine that its cuteness might correlate with its tastiness.


Photos by Ariel Pears harvested outside my childhood bedroom window.

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29A delightful, yet inedible,Copyright © 2012 Zomppa All Rights display of cupcakes and carrot®.cakes made byReserved. glass artist, Tim Tate.

Photos by Ariel


Fried okra, a sewing kit, and fresh flowers.

As part of the Global Potluck correspondence, my friend Liz and I spent a morning making biscuits with local fifth graders.

My farewell dinner request: homemade tomato soup with Gruyere and pear grilled cheese.


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Back to Dijon, at my favorite Copyright café, reading©one of Zomppa my favorite®.French authors, with a “doudou:” 2012 All Rights Reserved. one part Nutella (on a spoon) and two parts steamed milk.

31 Photos by Ariel

TIPS for TRAVELING with KIDS Written by Tsering


Holidays are here, and undoubtedly, many of you are planning family vacations. Traveling with kids is often a daunting task. I can attest, having traveled hours on end on planes and trains with two rambunctious and opiniated children. Here are some tips from an old mama to help reduce the tears and make traveling with kids more enjoyable for all.

Food Concerns If you are travelling with a child with allergies for the first time, ensure that you let the airlines know of your child’s allergy when you make the reservation. If not, airlines can refuse your child from boarding for “medical reasons.” You also do not want to end up sitting next to someone who decides that a bag of nuts is his go-to snack for the entire trip

Photo by Belinda

Long Travel Journeys If you get too adventurous like me and take your child/ or children on a 12-hour journey by train, here is a WARNING: avoid it if you can. I loved traveling by train as a child so I naturally thought that my children would appreciate a 12-hour train ride. This line of logic does not necessarily apply. Just because you loved doesn’t mean your children will love it. Nonetheless, if you cannot avoid a long journey like this over the holidays, here are some tips: • Get a porter to help you board and deboard. It also helps you to avoid standing in line (something to avoid with children) and to choose your seats (getting seats together); • Bring plenty of things to do, such as a DVD player (one for each kid, or a splitter with two sets of earphones - or you will end up with heated arguments) • Carry packages and containers of homemade food. Not only is this a healthier approach, but it also gives children a sense of comfort with the known. • Bring something new. Bring a new book or small toy surprise them when the need arises.

Prep Kit There are a few things I alwas carry in my prep kid: in addition to books and toys: • Tylenol • Wet wipes • Benadryl • Hand sanitizers • Vitamins (including Vitamin C) • Snacks (i.e. fruit gummies) • Antiseptic cream • Prayer beads (for myself) • Band Aids • Lots of patience 32

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TIPS for TRAVELING with KIDS The Ire of Other Passengers As a single gal, I have to be honest, I have given “the look” to other parents traveling with children who would not stop crying, running around, or being otherwise “unruly.” Now I understand better. As a mother, I have often travelled alone with my two tots in tow. Like every parent, I feel like I have tried everything to keep the kids well behaved, but it doesn’t always work. Even adults gets tired and irritable after a 2-hour flight, so we should learn to empathize with children as they become irritable but do not yet have the emotional maturity to deal with their irritably. Most of the time, they are hungry, thirsty, or tired (or all three). Even though some of these tips may seem contrary to “the rule,” here are some tried tips that have worked: • Befriend fellow passengers - it helps to establish a set of rules or code of conduct on the trip to ensure your children’s safety and to avoid “the look;” • Be sure the kids are well fed and well rested before the trip; • Let the children run around a bit before boarding (within reason, and as long as you can see them and they see them) - they need the physical release and will be more relaxed when they actually have to sit for several hours; • Stay calm, hug your children, and remind them to look forward to where you are doing. Sometimes, they will cry and things will get chaotic. During these times, just stay calm and try to take their minds off the immediate discomfort for what “will be.”


Photo by Patty

Nothing can be more important than planning ahead, but once you are out of the door, you just have to go with the flow as travelling together as a family gives you and your children the opportunity to learn about people, places, each other, and most importantly, about themselves as they learn how to react patiently as life happens.

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ACORN SQUASH with STUFFING Written by Belinda A favorite during the holidays is squash. Here is delicious, comforting, easy recipe that will not only have an “ooo” reaction at the table, but also get two thumbs up for its heart-healthy properties for carnivores and vegetarians alike.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice & Quinoa Stuffing Ingredients 6 small acorn squashes (nice to have individual portions), halved lengthwise and seeds removed 3 TB honey 3 TB dark brown sugar 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 3 medium shallots, finely chopped 6 celery stalks, finely chopped 3 TB thyme 3 TB rosemary 1 TB cayenne pepper (or more, for a bigger kick) 1 1/2 cups wild rice (or red, brown, or black) 1 1/2 cups quinoa 3 cups vegetable broth Balsamic vinegar 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions 1. Cook wild rice and quinoa in veggie broth (2:1 water:grain ratio). Bring broth to boil, cover for 20 minutes until fluffy. Remove from heat. 2. Preheat oven to 450F. Rub each half of acorn squash with honey and brown sugar. Season with bit of salt and pepper. 3. Bake acorn squash for 30 minutes until tender (fork should go right in). 4. While baking, add a bit of oil in deep skillet and add onions, shallots, and celery (can use veggie broth instead of oil). Season with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary (and really, any other herbs you prefer) until soft (about 6-7 minutes). 5. Take mixture and stir into rice. Add walnuts, cranberries, and raisins. Season with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar (makes flavors pop). 6. Stuff each half of acorn squash with rice and return to oven for another 20-25 minutes until squash is totally tender and edges browned.

Photo by Belinda 34

Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.

35 Photo by Monkey

See the Bus!

Photos by Sol Food

The Sol Food Mobile Farm is coming home in December! Please continue to follow their adventures working with communities around the U.S. to build gardens, eat healthy, and live sustainably. Don’t forget to check them out on PBS’ Grow a Greener World in December. Follow the bus as they continue their travels on a waste-oil fueled, solar-powered converted schoolbus equipped with rainwater catchment, a green roof, and a greenhouse on board: 36

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FOOD...with LOVE

Written by Janet

Photo by Janet Chicken by the Fence at Rockland Farm

I have a dear friend who is a professional chef. She has fed me many times over our many years of friendship, and many times I have swooned. I once expressed some anxiety over cooking for her. Her face became serious, her big soulful eyes brimmed over with our shared history, and she said something along the lines of: “No, no, please don’t feel anxious about cooking for me.” To my friend, a homecooked meal cooked with love is always wonderful.

I have struggled with this. I am not a chef, and I have worried about “impressing” my guests. But what does it mean to impress? Am I a restaurant? Will someone write a review of my meal forthe local newspaper? No, we will sit around a table, have a conversation, drink wine and laugh. Connect. My guests – that is, my friends and family – do not need to swoon. They simply need to be fed well and to feel welcomed.

In all honesty, I do not entertain often. I feed my children and husband, I occasionally feed small groups of friends with children, and I feed my extended family. Ours are casual gatherings where everyone knows everyone and where the abundance of fun and joy trumps my status as a non-chef. I am a busy mom; everyone who dines at my table knows this. There is very little pressure for me to be Martha Stewart. It would be impossible to try as my days are often a blur of sticky fingers, crayon fragments, stray Legos, unfolded towels, dirty dishes, crumbs, spills, and countless half-completed art projects. In this chaotic life of mine, it is could be easier just to throw ‘something’ together – maybe toss some frozen nuggets and French fries on a baking sheet, rip open a package of baby carrots, and squirt some ketchup on each plate? Hardly impressive, but it could keep a houseful of children fed and possibly happy.

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FOOD...with LOVE But cooking and serving these types of meals (low nutrition, high ease) for me does not prioritize the love I have for my family, but rather the billion and other items that keep me busy, I would worry to much about things. For instance: Where did this food come from? Who planted the seed, harvested the carrot? Who raised the chicken? And what happened in between the chicken and the nugget? Somewhere along the way, it occurred to me that we don’t have to eat this way, that our meals don’t need to feel so...impersonal. Yes, I am busy, and yes, I am somewhat of a novice in the kitchen, but for some reason, nuggets were no longer satisfying. I visited a farmer’s market. And another, and another. It was so enjoyable; I called it “Mommy’s Alone Time” and declared it an essential part of my weekly schedule. During my ‘get-a-ways’, I spoke with farmers and asked them questions about their produce, preparation and recommendations for new dishes. I learned which farmers had official organic certification, and I learned

which farmers did not. After a while, I finally learned to simply ask the farmers, “How do you farm?” When our weekends began to overflow with birthday parties and other commitments that come with being a young household, Mommy’s Alone Time became an almost impossible luxury. Fortunately, I found a CSA that delivers to my doorstep, and I discovered a small organic grocery that stocks meat from local farmers. At this point in my food journey, I became a casual locavore. In between driving children to school, coordinating playdates, working on art projects, and constantly mediating conflict, I began to cook. Gradually, I ditched the frozen nuggets and learned how to roast a real, honest-to-goodness chicken; a chicken that was actually raised on a farm and one that ran around outside, pecked at the dirt, ate little bugs, and lived a ‘happy chicken life.’ I know this about our chickens because I talk to the farmers, research the farms, and sometimes, take my children to visit the farms (awesome learning experience). I have this vi-

Photo by Janet Potatoes and sweet potatoes at Homestead Farm


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FOOD...with LOVE sion in my head of a French farm wife – an ideal for which I strive - gathering greens from her backyard garden and gently storing the freshly laid eggs in her basket in preparation for a a feast Julia Child would applaud. Perhaps this overly simplified/romanticized version of the ultimate locavore’s life seems lofty, but to achieve some semblance of this country farm life while in the midst of an urban setting, for me, far more pleasant and appealing than the soulless efficiency of my days of frozen nuggets and whittled-down carrots. My ingredients feel far more honest now, more real. I admire the freshly scrubbed sweet potatoes from my CSA, the pile of leafy greens with dirt still clinging to them, and the whole chicken that reminds me that my chicken lived a pretty good life. In awe, I stand in my kitchen looking at what my CSA has brought me, and I feel grateful. My CSA has inspired me with a dinner idea. I chop my sweet potatoes. I put them aside. Then, I help my children settle a dispute. I begin the greasy, gloppy process of rubbing olive oil, salt, and pepper all over my farm-fresh chicken. My hands are coated with salty grease, and of course, somebody desperately needs Mommy right now. (On my wiser days, I do this during naptime). Eventually, my fully oiled and seasoned chicken, resting on a bed of cubed sweet potatoes, is almost ready for the oven. I wash my hands and let the chicken sit on the counter for a while I wait for the oven to fully prep. In the meantime, I join the children in their fort of sofa cushions and blankets. Soon, the oven is ready and the chicken and sweet potatoes go in. I cook them at 350 – but for the first half hour, I start it out high, 450 or so, because my chef friend recommended it. In fact, it was she who suggested I put vegetables underneath the chicken while roasting to enhance the flavor of the veggies. Roasting is the best part: the messy part is over, my hands are clean and soft, and the house is fragrant with roast chicken. Dinner is underway, the children are pretending to be explorers in the back yard, and I am free to join them. In my early chicken-roasting days, I’d leave the chicken alone until my meat thermometer beeped at me. However, lately, I’ve started to flip the chicken over mid-roast – a half hour with the breast-up, a half-hour with the breastdown, and then another half-hour with the breast-up again. This process allows for even cooking and a nice crispy texture. Sometimes, if I’ve really got my act together, I assemble a quick salad with whatever salad-friendly ingredients my farmers have given me that week. Chard. Tomatoes. Peppers. Leftover roasted squash. On occasion, I prep some collard greens a couple of hours earlier to gently simmer in a covered pot. The sweet potatoes are crispy in parts, mushy in parts, salty with chicken fat, and instantly devoured. My daughter eyes the chicken and decides she wants a wing; my son prefers the drumstick. The dark meat is always the first to go. The breast, well, we’re just not breast people. I chop it up, throw it back into the roasting pan, and toss it with whatever sweet potatoes remain, letting all of the juices and fats envelop it. The fatty juices make the leftover breast meat so much better the next day, as do the sweet potatoes. Someday, I’ll actually have enough sweet potatoes to satisfy all of my customers. The children, some nights, thank the farmers. Really, they do this. My husband has unintentionally kicked off a family tradition of giving overly hearty thanks to the cook for “working so hard to prepare such a wonderful meal for our family,” and the kids now chime in. When the kids are particularly impressed, they will thank the farmers as well – sometimes referring to them by name. I don’t know if this counts as an impressive meal, but my meal’s status no longer concerns me. All of the ingredients I buy come from honest farms. They are nourishing and satisfying. Most importantly, cooking with real ingredients allows me to focus on the people I care about; cooking allows me to connect rather than impress. This relationship with food and with the people I love is what I have been striving for. A meal farmed with love, cooked with love, served with love.

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The holidays are not just about buying presents. One of the best ways to involve kids in gift-giving process is to create gifts. Making gifts not only helps stimulate creativity but also serve as a reminder that it is the thought that counts.

Decorating Pomander

One of my favorite winter holiday decorations is a traditional pomander. Made from an orange and cloves, it not only looks beautiful, but also smells amazing. A great activity for kids (and adults) of all ages! Take an orange and gently push whole cloves (found in the spice section of a grocery store) into the peel. Use a toothpick or fork to make holes in advance for younger children so it is easier to push the cloves in. You don’t need to cover the entire orange - just try to make a design or simple decorative lines. I personally like the idea of a snowflake design, but get creative! The pomander, when cure dried, will last for a long time, up to a couple of years. Hang by a ribbon from a chandelier, hook or a strong branch on a Christmas tree (if you happen to have one) and your pomander will bring a lovely holiday scent into your home.

Baking Cookies

In our house growing up, we always prepared a plate of cookies for our neighbors as a holiday gift. This was no ordinary plate, but a collection of the very best cookies recipes my mother had collected over the years. The kids were always in charge of decorating the sugar cookies. This holiday season, let the kids take the reins on the decorating. Guaranteed your cookies will not look like they arrived from Martha Stewart’s kitchen, but that is fine. Decorating encourages young children to exercise their fine motor skills, but it is also an opportunity for them to express their own ideas. Friends will appreciate the hard work and love that went into the creative decorating process.


Fruit and vegetable printing is a very engaging activity for young children. We certainly don’t want to waste good food, but sometimes, you might find yourself with an old potato or turnip lying around just begging to used! Try splitting your root vegetable in half and allow the child draw on it. The adult can then help carve with a knife around the drawing, creating, in essence, a homemade stamp. Be sure to leave enough potato for the paint to cover. In a shallow dish, put a little paint of one or two colors and let the child dip the vegetable stamp in the paint and print on paper. Tempera paint is usually washable and works well: non-toxic acrylic could also make nice prints but doesn’t usually wash off as well. It is my feeling that once the child has the stamp, they have free reign on the paper - if they feel like smearing, stamping, or even putting the stamp aside and using their hands, it is okay. Try white paint on black paper to make snow at night. Try red and yellow to see what color is made by this combination. Try cutting an apple in half through the middle and see if you can make a star. Experiment.


Drawing is a skill that can be nurtured, just like riding a bike or kicking a ball. Observational drawing is a wonderful way to practice and it is a simple project to set up: 1. Find something to draw. Simple shapes work best for young kids - an apple, a pumpkin - and keeping it to just one object to start is a good idea. 2. Give the child a pencil and some paper. 3. Encourage them to draw what they see. I try to avoid saying “beautiful” or “you are a great artist” and instead, use phrases like: “I see you are making a circle (a dark mark, a small line),” as this will help them focus on the details of their work rather than trying to please the adult with a perfect looking picture. 4. Make a note of the date with the child’s name and see how their observational drawing changes as they develop and grow. 40

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Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.


Photos by Molly

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42 Photo by Patty


CINNAMON BUNS Written by Patty In 30 years, I want my children to instantly remember the comforts of home on a wintery December day when they inhale the scent of baking cinnamon buns. That is why I will be baking these Cinnamon Buns every Christmas morning until I can no longer turn on my Kitchen Aid. They are out of this world.


Cinnamon Buns

2. In an electric mixer with paddle, add 2 cups of whole-wheat pastry flour and 1 ½ cup of all-purpose flour in bowl. Add the yeast and milk mixture and stir until just combined. Switch to dough hook and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Add the additional ½ cup of the all-purpose flour a tablespoon at a time if dough sticks to the sides. Remove dough from mixer and place in a buttered bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap for 2 hours. After 2 hours, punch dough down with fist and then leave to rest for another 10 minutes.

Ingredients Dough: 1 packet of active dry yeast 3 tablespoons granulated sugar ½ up of milk 2 tablespoons of canola oil 1-teaspoon salt 2 cups of whole-wheat pastry flour 1 ½ – ½ cup of all purpose flour 1 egg, lightly beaten Filling: 1/3-cup brown sugar 2-teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup of sliced almonds 2 tablespoons of canola oil Glaze: 1 ½ cup confectioner’s sugar 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3 tablespoons of half and half

1. To make the dough, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in ½ cup of warm water. Set aside until double in size and foamy. In the meantime, warm milk in a pan. Take off heat and add the canola oil, remaining sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt dissolves.

3. Lightly grease your muffin tin (12 tins) with butter or oil. In a small bowl, mix the light brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. 4. Roll your dough into a rectangle about 12 x 9 inches. Brush the dough with canola oil and sprinkle the filing mixture over the dough. Press lightly with your rolling pin. Roll the dough up like a jellyroll starting with the long side. With a serrated knife, cut the roll into 12 equal slices. Place your 12 buns, cut side down, in the greased muffin tin and let sit for 40 minutes in a warm place. 5. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake your buns for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let buns cool on rack for 10 minutes, then remove your buns and place them on a rack. Mix the glaze ingredients and pour over the buns while buns are still slightly warm. Then eat!

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Photo by Patty Recipe Page Surar ................................................................................................. 12 Christmas Chocoalte Meringue........................................................... 22 Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice & Quinoa Stuffing................ 34 Cinnamon Buns................................................................................... 43


Copyright © 2012 Zomppa ®. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Patty

Zomppa Magazine_NovDec 2012  

Zomppa Magazine is a publication for kids, families, and educators about food, healthy habits, sustainability, and global awareness. We focu...