ZeMarvelous Miraculous Magic of Dr. Seuss

Scrambled Eggs & Blueberry Bumplings!

Like a lot of humans, zebras begin to discover the pleasures of reading and cooking when we’re very young.

And even before we have close encounters with books and words and kitchens and ingredients, we’ve explored deep within that special place where both reading and cooking come from.

It’s a magical world called Imagination.

Cat-in-the-Hat Witch Pumpkin

One human who knew everything there is to know about magic and imagination was the legendary Dr. Seuss.

Reading any book is pure magic – and reading a Dr. Seuss book is marvelous, miraculous Mega-Magic.

Just think of this: Dr. Seuss used his imagination to write stories, creating wondrous, whimsical worlds where absolutely anything can happen – and actually does.

When you read a Dr. Seuss book, your eyes look at letters on a page and your brain changes all those squiggly lines into words and sentences and ideas.

Dr. Seuss On the Loose with Zebras
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ZeBig Chill: A Zebra Investigates Freeze-Dried Fruit

ZeBot & ZeBig Chill Snowman in Snow with White Frame

One thing zebras know is that when we don’t know something we want to know, it’s time to start asking lots of questions.

Case in point: the other day, I overheard some scientific humans discussing “freeze-drying” as a good way to preserve fresh fruit. Supposedly, when you freeze-dry fruit, it will keep its great taste and color for years and years!

Frosty Life Around the Fruit Bowl

How do we transform our favorite fresh fruits into freeze-dried fruits?

Well, I’m a huge fan of fruit, so that sounded totally cool to me (pun totally intended)! But how the heck would a zebra go about freeze-drying?

My zebra buddies and I decided to get some frosty advice from our coolest friends: the SnowDudes and the Penguin Brothers. They said they were pretty sure they’d seen a polar bear freezing-drying his own food, so how hard could it be?

Apples, Polar Bear Style

I get the feeling this guy does not read cookbooks — or science books!

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ZeHoliday Tradition: A Christmas Angel’s Recipe for Happiness

Caitlin the Christmas Angel

A heartfelt holiday story about my favorite little angel’s first heavenly Christmas — and ZeRecipe for her magical Angel Cloud cookies!

I hope you’ll share Caitlin’s magic (and cookies) with your family and friends, celebrating the happiness of holidays and everydays.

Because love is forever – and every moment is a gift.

Read the story and find the recipe here!



Chuck Williams Teaches a Zebra ZeWay to Cook!

Chuck & ZeBot-framed“The way to be a good cook? Just cook!” –Chuck Williams

When my friend Chuck Williams told me that being a good cook is something that happens by just cooking, I nodded my head so hard my stripes got all squiggly.

If anyone knows about cooking, it’s Chuck. He’s 100 years old—and cooking is something he’s done ever since he was a kid. Today, Chuck is the author of lots of cookbooks and the founder of a very cool kitchenware store called Williams-Sonoma.

Chuck first started learning to cook back in the early 1900s, when he spent lots of time in the kitchen with his grandmother. In those days, people didn’t have microwave ovens or electric mixers or even many real cookbooks. So how did kids learn to cook?

“I learned to cook by watching my grandmother and listening carefully to everything she said,” Chuck told me .

“I helped her in the kitchen every day. I watched and I listened and I asked questions. One of my favorite things was making pies with her. After she finished trimming the crust, she would give me the scraps and let me try to make my own pie.”

Chuck at Age 12 -ZeBlog

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Healthy Snacks for ZeBest of Friends

Miles & ZeBotOne of the most wonderful things about great food is that it’s so much fun to share with friends.

I’ve noticed that a love for cooking and eating together seems to be true across lots of different species, including zebras, dogs and humans.

One of my best friends is a super cool dog named Miles (which perfectly describes how far he can run—especially when he’s chasing a coyote).

Miles and I have lots in common, but a love for fun food is one of ZeStrongest.

Miles Having A Ball

In fact, Miles loves food so much that he occasionally tries to eat me (I realize I’m a bedraggled little zebra who looks a bit like a dog toy—but food, really?).

Miles & Shredded Doggy

Miles and I figured this issue could cause problems in our friendship, so we decided that real friends know how to compromise.

So here’s our compromise: I agree to help Miles whip up yummy, healthy snacks—and he agrees not to eat me.

Zebra-Canine Detente

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ZeMystery of ZeShoe Pastry

ZeBot and the Shoe Pastries

When my friend Holly told me she was writing a book about Shoe Pastry, I was totally intrigued.

“What kind of shoes would make the best pastry?” I wondered. “And wouldn’t putting shoes in your mouth instead of wearing them on your feet (or in my case, hooves) make you kind of—well, sick?”

How the heck am I going to mix these ingredients?

How the heck am I going to mix these ingredients?

Since I am a zebra who is supposed to know at least a little about human food by now, I didn’t want to ask those questions right away. After all, Holly Herrick is a famous cookbook author.

Instead, I had a great idea!I have another friend named Holly, who happens to be a super-smart Golden Retriever—and spends a lot of time in the kitchen.

I asked her about Shoe Pastry. Holly the Golden Retriever said she’d never tried it, but she’d eaten lots of shoes (including some pretty expensive ones) and they were very tasty.

Meet Holly -- a Golden Retriever with great taste in shoes!

Meet Holly — a Golden Retriever with great taste in shoes!

Still, I wasn’t sure—it just didn’t seem like you could (or even should) turn a shoe into a pastry.

So I had an even better idea: I asked Holly the Famous Cookbook Author if I could interview her about shoe pastry. That way, it would make sense to ask lots of questions (even really silly ones)—so that’s what I did!

Fortunately, right before I interviewed Holly, my friend ZoeBot (who’s super-brainy) suggested we try looking up “choux pastry” (which is French and sounds just like “shoe pastry”).

Shoe Pastry = Choux Pastry (And guess what: they do kind of look like cabbages, but they DON'T taste like them!)

Shoe Pastry = Choux Pastry
(Even though these pastries kind of look like cabbages, they DON’T taste like them!)

Guess what? She was right! It turns out that choux pastry gets its name from the French word for cabbage (choux), which is what the pastry sort of looks like when it’s baked.

Unlike most pastries, choux pastry is made using its own special technique. You start by mixing flour, butter and boiling water, then beating in eggs until you get a sticky, paste-like dough.

When you bake it, the oven’s heat turns the water into steam that puffs the dough into hollow golden pastries that taste AMAZING!

Want to see how it’s done (with hooves)? Watch this video!

Well, now that I knew a little more about the whole mysterious matter, I was ready to interview Holly Herrick, whose brilliant new book is called  “The French Cook: Cream Puffs & Eclairs.”

I'm not really in Holly's super-cool book -- but a zebra can always dream!

I’m not really in Holly’s super-cool book — but a zebra can always dream!

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ZeGreat Heirloom Tomato Cake

ZeBot Heirloom Tomato CakeSummer is ZePerfect time for celebrations – and all the fresh colors and flavors at ZeFarmer’s Markets make it more fun than ever!

So you can imagine how excited I was to be invited to help host a Farmer’s Market Supper Party with some of the Bay Area’s coolest food bloggers and cookbook authors (links to all ZeRecipes are at the end of this post).

Our mission: to showcase the season’s bounty with a creative vegetarian supper. Everyone was very understanding about my being a novice cook/baker who’s all hooves (and no opposable thumbs) and told me it would be fine if I made up a zebra-friendly dessert.

I figured I’d do what ZeGrandma and ZeMom always taught me: don’t go to a farmer’s market with your stripes totally set on making something in particular.

ZeBot Tomatoes Napa

Instead, have fun wandering around and discovering the day’s freshly harvested treasures, then create a recipe based on what you find.
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DIY Kids in ZeKitchen

3 Zebras + 2 Kids

When I first started thinking about cooking, I wondered if a zebra would really be able do it. I mean, having four hooves with no opposable thumbs definitely has its challenges, so I was feeling a tiny bit discouraged.

But then a wise kid named Max told me this, “Just because you’re not cooking now doesn’t mean you CAN’T – it only means you don’t know how yet. After you learn, you can do it yourself. As in: DIY, zebra dude!”

Max Slices Fruit

I realized he was absolutely right! If you want to do something, you just need to learn how to do it – and then you need to actually do it.

At our IACP Kids-in-the-Kitchen event at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, that’s exactly what we did!
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A Christmas Angel’s Recipe for Happiness

Caitlin the Christmas Angel

Giving is something that zebras do as naturally as having stripes: it’s just part of who we are.

This year, I was looking for the most special gift ever: a present for Caitlin, a little girl who is spending her first Christmas as a real live angel.

For almost ten years, Caitlin was a magical kid who lived happily with her family and friends in Pennsylvania.

Caitlin & Family

Caitlin loved to laugh and sing and play and dance.

Sporty Caitlin Collage

She also loved to cook and bake, nourishing all the people she loved with the wonderful treats she created.

Caitlin Bakes Cookies

One of her favorite things to do was bring joy to everyone who knew her. Sharing joy was as natural to Caitlin as stripes are to zebras.

Caitlin, Jakob & the Florida Beach Snowman

Caitlin cheerfully shared her love, laughter, strength and wisdom, even when things got really challenging.

Caitlin Survivor Collage

When she was five years old, Caitlin’s doctors found out that she had brain cancer.

She had to spend a lot of time in hospitals having surgery and treatments to help her tumor go away.

Caitlin & Jakob Collage

When Caitlin grew up, she wanted to be two very special things: a mom and an astronaut. She wanted to make children feel happy, loved and full of energy — and she wanted to fly through shining stars to faraway galaxies.

Tinkerbell & Caitlin

Caitlin loved the colorful magic of fairies and rainbows.

Caitlin's Flowers & Butterflies

She especially loved butterflies, because they had the miraculous power to transform from playful, crawly caterpillars into graceful, majestic creatures who soared among blooming flowers into all the sunlit places where “now” dances into “always” and “forever.”

Butterfly Collage

Last spring, Caitlin transformed from a little girl into a heavenly butterfly angel.

So this Christmas, I got together with my most imaginative friends to come up with the perfect gift for our favorite angel. Since kids and zebras love cookies, we were pretty sure angels would, too.

ZeBot's Magic Baking Buddies

We set out to create the ultimate recipe. The first ingredient was easy: lots of love!

We knew angels and butterflies really like sunny skies, so we decided to make cookies that looked like billowy white clouds.

As we searched through our zillions of cookbooks, we discovered recipes for heavenly cookies called meringues (a French word that’s pronounced “merANGS”).

Meringue cookies start with eggs – perfect for a beginning angel, because eggs are a symbol of bright beginnings and new life. Eggs are also filled with protein, which helps make our muscles strong and minds alert.

ZeBot's Slippery Egg Whites

We also liked the way meringues start with slippery egg whites that transform into fluffy clouds.

ZeBot with fluffy Whipped Egg Whites

What makes them fluffy? Something invisible and essential: air!

Like hope, the invisible air puffs up the egg whites until they almost float right out of the mixing bowl.

ZeBot & The Snowman Measure Sugar

Next, we added sparkly white sugar, which reminded us of shimmering snowflakes and shining crystals of fairy dust.

This would enrich the cookies with all the sweetness of Caitlin – and give everyone who ate our meringues the joyful energy of children and angels.

Now we needed something everyone treasures: imagination.

ZeBot & the Hedgehog Twins Measure Sugar

To make our cookies creative, we switched up our basic recipe to include fun ingredients that reminded us of Caitlin.

ZeBot Scoops Up Coconut

We added vanilla for the creamy sweetness of daydreams. Cocoa for the deep, chocolaty richness of laughter.

Coconut for the balmy happiness of tropical sunshine. Scarlet berries and a few drops of raspberry juice for the swirly pink magic of fairytales.

And tiny chocolate chips because every kid knows that life is better with chocolate!

ZeBot & Snowmen Shape Their Clouds

Using our hooves and paws and hands, we carefully dropped our cookie clouds onto baking sheets, where the warmth of the oven would transform them into light, airy bites of goodness that melted in our mouths like a sweet combination of Christmas snowflakes and summer sunshine.

ZeBot Bakes Clouds

Like all the best wishes, our cookies came true: they were  every bit as heavenly as we hoped they would be.

To celebrate the forever magic of Caitlin, we had a party – inviting everyone who loves cookies and joy and laughter.

Cookie Party!

And when we looked up at the glowing sunset sky, we saw the colors and light that let us know Caitlin loved her cookies, too!

We hope you’ll share Caitlin’s magic (and cookies) with your family and friends, celebrating the happiness of holidays and everydays.

Because love is forever – and every moment is a gift.

Want to see how much fun it is to make Angel Cloud Cookies?

Watch the video!

RECIPE: Caitlin’s Magical Angel Cloud Cookies

Cloud cookies are super-easy to make – and they bring happiness to everyone who makes (and eats) them! They’re also pretty healthy, since they’re made with egg whites (and just enough sugar to make them perfectly sweet). This is a flexible recipe, so feel free to play around with the extra ingredients (including imagination). If you’re a kid, please be sure to get an adult’s help – especially with using the mixer and the oven.



Lots of love

4 egg whites (click these links for tips on how to separate eggs and how to beat egg whites )

1 cup of granulated white sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar (optional – it makes it a little easier to whip the egg whites, but it’s not absolutely necessary)


Vanilla Clouds: 1 extra tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Clouds: 1/2 cup cocoa

Chocolate Chip Clouds: 2 cups mini chocolate chips

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Clouds: 1/2 cup cocoa + 2 cups mini chocolate chips

Pink Berry Clouds: 2 cups dried berries (cranberries or cherries) + about 1 Tbsp. pure berry juice for pinkness

Coconut Clouds: 2 cups of dried shredded or flaked  coconut (I like unsweetened, but sweetened is fine too)


Read through the whole recipe, then get out all your ingredients and measuring tools.

Make sure your oven racks are evenly spaced (dividing the oven into thirds),  then preheat the oven to 225°F.

Grease (or put some nonstick cooking spray on) two baking sheets – or if you have silicone baking mats (Silpats) or baking parchment, you can use either of those.


ZeBot Uses the Mixer

Put the egg whites (and cream of tartar, if you’re using it) in the bowl of an electric mixer that’s fitted with a whisk attachment.

Start by beating the egg whites on low speed, then bring it up to medium speed until the eggs whites get foamy.

Now crank it up to a high speed until the eggs turn white and billowy (soft peaks).

Turn the mixer to medium speed, then add sugar a little at a time until the egg whites are shiny and hold stiff peaks.


ZeBot's Whisk

Gather up all your energy – whipping egg whites is super-fun, but you’ll need to put plenty of hand/hoof power into it!

Put the egg whites (and cream of tartar, if you’re using it) into a mixing bowl (copper is best, but stainless steel, ceramic, sturdy glass or plastic/melamine are A-OK too). Use your whisk to beat the egg whites until they’re white and billowy (soft peaks).

Keep beating (I TOLD you that you’d need lots of energy), adding sugar a little at a time until the egg whites are shiny and hold stiff peaks.


Use a rubber spatula to carefully fold in vanilla and any other extras. Be super-gentle and patient, softly mixing in your ingredients until everything’s all blended together.

Spoon the sweet fluffiness inside your bowl onto the baking sheets, spacing your cookie clouds a couple of inches apart.

ZeBot's Baked Cookies

Bake your cloud cookies for one hour, then turn off the oven and let them cool and get crispy in there for up to one more hour (if you can stand it – if not, you can eat them a few minutes after they’re done baking. I know I always do!).

ZeBot & Santa with Cookies

After the cookies are cool, you can store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to enjoy them. Zebras like to eat them as soon as possible, sharing them with all the humans and other creatures we love most!

ZeBot & Cookie Jars

Please help cure childhood cancer!

To learn more, visit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

A Sweet Striped Surprise for ZeMom & ZeDad

ZeBot & Buddies Mise En Place for Shortbread

In the human world, there are special days to celebrate moms, dads and all the amazing things they do.  Zebras have pretty much the same custom — but because we have so much energy, we try to do something special for our parents every day.

My latest surprise for ZeMom & ZeDad was creating a special hoofmade treat just for them. Because ZeMom is the sweetest zebra ever, I wanted to make her something sweet – preferably with stripes. She’s very big on healthy foods, so that was also a factor. As for ZeDad, well, he’s one of those guys who LOVES any kind of desserts, especially decadent ones with stripes.

The question was: could I make something that was striped, decadent and still reasonably healthy?

I also wanted to be able to use lots and lots of imagination, as I think that is one of the best ingredients ever invented.

Chef Nora can teach anyone to bake--even zebras!

Chef Nora can teach anyone to bake–even zebras!

To get some expert advice, my favorite zebra kitchen pals and I went to visit our pastry chef friend, Nora Tong. If anyone knows how to make the ultimate desserts, she does!

Chef Nora was nice enough to invite me and my buddies to come a class that she was teaching to professional bakers and super-great home bakers from the Bakers Dozen. She was sharing her secrets for making perfect tarts, but she said that we could use our imagination to transform the recipe into almost anything else we wanted—including something striped!

I was wondering whether zebras could make a perfect pastry when it seems we’re all hooves. Chef Nora said, “Of course, you can, ZeBot—anyone can make wonderful pastries. The trick is to use the right recipe, then learn how to make it just the right way.”

Well, in this case, the right recipe had to be super-easy, striped and totally zebraproof. Chef Nora had the perfect one: she said we could turn her super-buttery shortbread tart crust into super-buttery striped shortbread cookies. Those could be the decadent part of our surprise. For the healthy part, she advised us to use even MORE imagination.

Mise en place is a great start that guarantees a happy ending!

Mise en place is a great start that guarantees a happy ending!

But first, we had to learn how to make the shortbread. Chef Nora said the first thing that both zebras and professional bakers need to do is to get out all our ingredients and baking tools, then re-read our recipe to make sure everything is clear.

This is called “mise en place,” which is French for “to put in place.” Why was Chef Nora using a French term? Because LOTS of the world’s great chefs are from France, so other chefs and bakers do this out of tradition.

Mise en place is a great way to make sure that you don’t end up in the middle of preparing your recipe, only to realize that you’re missing an ingredient, forgot a tool or don’t undertand all the steps.

Shortbread dough looks all crumbly before you press it into your baking pan.

Shortbread dough looks all crumbly before you press it into your baking pan.

Next, we learned how to mix a shortbread dough. It’s just the way you’d think you would do it: put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them up! We used a KitchenAid stand mixer, but you could also use a hand mixer, a big spoon—or even your clean hands (or hooves).

If you want to make chocolate dough, you need to melt chocolate first. Chef Nora showed ZoeBot how to do it on a burner, but she said you can also melt chocolate carefully in the microwave.

By the way, if you’re a kid or a zebra, you ALWAYS need an adult’s help with this–or anything else that involves heat. If you want, you can substitute cocoa powder (which is very healthy and super-chocolaty tasting). This is one of our favorite zebra tricks—you’ll find it in our recipe.

Yum: melted chocolate!

Yum: melted chocolate!

After everything is mixed, you need to know what to do with the dough. Chef Nora said you just take it out of the bowl and gently press it into your baking pan. The dough will look kind of crumbly in the bowl, but it sticks together when you press it into the pan. If you want to make sure your dough doesn’t puff up during baking, you poke it all over with a fork to make little holes. This is called “docking.”

See the little holes in one  tart crust? That's called "docking" and it's the same for cookies.

See the little holes in one tart dough? That’s called “docking”- and you use the same technique for cookie dough.

Then you bake your dough until it turns into a tart crust or cookies or whatever you’re making. If it’s a batch cookies, you cut them into little squares (just like in the photo below), then top them with whatever yummy thing you like best.

That sounded super-easy to us. Now we had to think of something ZeMom-healthy to go with our ZeDad-decadent cookies.

This is what shortbread cookies look like after they're baked.

This is what shortbread cookies look like after they’re baked.

And THIS is what they look like with yummy toppings!

And THIS is what they look like with yummy toppings! Chef Nora topped hers with a mocha cream and fresh berries.

When we got back home, we looked in our refrigerator to see what was in there. We wanted something sweet and creamy and healthy and somehow striped. My cousin ZoeBot had the brilliant idea of mixing up cottage cheese and yogurt and honey and vanilla.We put it in the food processor to make it creamy.

What did we do for stripes?

We love the way super-creamy treats feel in our mouths, so we used a food processor.

We love the way super-creamy treats feel in our mouths, so we used a food processor.

Well, we added cocoa to part of our sweet, creamy stuff. Then we made black and white stripes by layering it all in beautiful tall glasses. ZoeBot reads a lot, so she knew that the striped, creamy, layered desserts are called “parfaits.” Guess what language that is? Yep: French!

And guess what it means? Besides being a dessert, it means “perfect”! And that’s how we knew we’d found the perfect dessert for our parents. They’ve done more than anyone else in the whole universe to make our lives perfect—and also sweet, imaginative, healthy and striped.

This is what being a zebra is all about—and we wish the same for you.

Happy Mother’s and Father’s Day (every day) to parents and kids and zebras (everywhere)!

Hurray for striped cookies and parfaits!

Hurray for striped cookies and parfaits!


RECIPE: ZeBot’s Striped Parfait with Shortbread cookies:

A note from ZeBot: Because it’s hoofmade, my dessert shows how much I love my mom and dad. And it really describes them: striped & parfait (French for “perfect”!).

ZeDad’s Super Buttery Shortbread Cookies (adapted from an amazing recipe by Chef Nora Tong)

 What you need:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter, cooled to room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

What you do:

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Mix the flour and sugar in a KitchenAid stand mixer that’s fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and vanilla, then mix until everything is combined. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can also use a hand-held mixer or a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients).

With clean hands (or hooves), press the dough onto a cookie sheet. It’s okay if the dough seems a little crumbly – just smoosh it all together.

Put the cookie sheet into a pre-heated oven, then bake until the shortbread is a deep golden-brown (this should take about 12-15 minutes).

Let the shortbread cool a bit, then ask an adult to help you cut it into whatever shapes you like – you can use either a pizza cutter or a knife to do this.

Note: If you want zebra stripes on your shortbread, ask an adult to help you melt some semisweet or milk chocolate chips (on the stovetop or in the microwave). Then use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate onto your shortbread shapes.

Makes about a dozen small cookies to go with your striped parfaits.

ZeMom’s Super Healthy Zebra-Striped Parfaits

What You Need:

2 cups low-fat cottage cheese

1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp. cocoa

Strawberries for decoration

What You Do:

Put the cottage cheese, yogurt, vanilla and honey into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Make sure the top of the bowl is on tightly, then push “start” and watch everything spin around until it’s completely mixed and velvety smooth.

Using a big spoon, carefully move half of the creamy mixture into a small mixing bowl (this will be the vanilla part for white stripes). Don’t worry about measuring – it doesn’t have to be EXACTLY half.

Add the cocoa to the fluffy, mixed-up stuff that’s still in the food processor, put the lid on and mix everything up until it’s dark and chocolaty.

To create your parfaits, use a small spoon to make creamy layers of white and chocolate in clear dessert glasses. You can start with either chocolate or vanilla – and make the layers as thick or thin as you want.

Decorate the parfaits with sliced strawberries and some of the shortbread cookies. Make it look really cool!

Makes four small, two medium or one GIANT parfait.

Make a sweet treat for your parents today!

Make a sweet treat for your parents today!