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Eliza Roushey is ready to eat a brownie burger cupcake. Photo of PJ by Michael Zabrodsky

FREWSBURG – There’s probably no better way to build friendships than by sharing food and stories.

That’s what happened recently at the Myers Memorial Library, when eighth graders got a chance to experience the Children’s Friendsgiving Test Kitchen.

With smiles on their faces, they shared stories of how they followed home recipes to prepare the dishes they shared with each other.

Some of the prepared items were individually wrapped cinnamon popcorn balls, burger cupcakes, stuffed crust pizza.

Taylor Vullo, who made the cinnamon popcorn balls, said the best thing about popcorn balls is that “they’re so cinnamon.”

Children listen to library assistant Rachel Roushey read “Freindsgiving” by Nancy Siscoe. Photo submitted

According to library assistant Rachel Roushey, Friendsgiving started with college students perusing cookbooks. She said the library had a story hour and a messy art club, so she thought there were plenty of children’s cookbooks in the library that could be used.

“And so we thought, why not let them create something? We don’t have a full kitchen here at the library, so we couldn’t really do a cooking class. So we thought they could try the recipes at home – kind of like a little test kitchen and then bring it (food made from the recipe) for other people,” she says.

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She also noted that it’s a chance to show that the kids can cook.

“And even if it is sometimes difficult for parents to step back and let their children do it. They (the kids) are very capable of making some of their own recipes, whether it’s dessert or main course,” Rachel Roushy added.

She thought it would be a great way to inspire kids not only to read, but also to create and craft.

Attendees at a Friendsgiving, held at the Myers Memorial Library are from left Taylor Vullo, Strider Dahlin, Eliza Dahlin, Annika Roushey, Greta Roushey, Eliza Roushey, Evie Casel, Cora Casel, Audrey Casel, Hannah Vullo and Sebastian Cable. Photo submitted

“It’s a bit strange. They would release the cookbooks, but it would still compel them to read. It gets them reading and a lot of the cookbooks have a lot of pictures in them. And then they say ‘Oh, I want to try this I want to try that. So we wanted to give them a way to do that (create and craft),” she says.

Entrants with recipes included Taylor Vullo, Strider Dahlin – mini pumpkin pies, Eliza Dahlin – apple pie bars, Annika Roushey – punch, Greta Roushey – soft pretzels, Eliza Roushey – cupcake brownie burgers, Evie Casel – bread bananas, Cora Casel – brownies, Audrey Casel – stuffed crust pizza, Hannah Vullo – cornbread casserole, and Sebastian Cable – orange cranberry muffins.

After the kids tasted the food, they sat and listened to Rachel Roushey read “The Exchange of Friends” by Nancy Simcoe.


Stuffed crust pizza

2C flour

1 package (0.25 oz) instant yeast

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

3/4 C lukewarm water

2 t olive oil

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 mozzarella cheese sticks

1 1/4 C grated mozzarella

1/4 grated parmesan

Favorite toppings: pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives – your choice

Step 1: Add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, water and oil to a large bowl. Stir until a soft dough forms. Step 2: Add the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes. Step 3: Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Step 4: Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Combine tomato sauce, garlic powder, oregano and pepper. Put aside. Step 5: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Step 6: Put the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 14 inch circle. Carefully move the dough to a baking sheet (leaving some dough hanging over the edge.) Step 7: Tear the string cheese in half lengthwise. Spread around the edge of the pizza, leaving 1 inch of dough as a border. Then fold the dough over the string of cheese, pressing firmly to seal the cheese inside the dough. Step 8: Spread your prepared tomato sauce over the pizza. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella. Add your favorite toppings. Step 9: Bake, 15 to 18 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Step 10: Enjoy!

Cinnamon Popcorn

12 cups popped popcorn

2 sticks of butter

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Step 1: Melt the butter in a saucepan on the stove, add the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Continue cooking and stir for a few minutes. Step 2: Pour melted butter mixture over popcorn in large bowl, coating evenly. Step 3: Spread the popcorn on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Step 4: Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy.

cupcakes and brownies “Burgers”


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9×13″ pan and line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add oil, milk, vanilla and egg and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until center comes out almost clean. Let the brownies cool and use a round cookie cutter to cut into 12 circles.

Butter cupcakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 plus 1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line 12 cupcake tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. In a second large bowl, beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, alternating between flour and milk. Once well mixed, pour the batter into the paper cups, filling them 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees, 18-20 minutes.

Assemble the burgers

Be sure to let the cupcakes and brownies cool completely. Cut cupcakes in half to make top and bottom hamburger buns. Place the brownie circle on the bottom bun of each cupcake. Make buttercream frosting (or buy frosting) by mixing butter, powdered sugar and milk, divide it into two bowls and add yellow food coloring in one bowl and red food coloring in another , place the frosting in piping bags. Decorate with yellow buttercream frosting to look like cheese. Add red buttercream icing to look like ketchup or tomato. Add green nuggets to look like shredded lettuce. Place the top “hair bun” on each decorated burger. Add white sprinkles on each bun to look like sesame seeds. Place the burgers on a platter and enjoy!

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