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H4: Head, Heart, Hands, & Health: Kids in the kitchen

Summer time is a great opportunity to bring the kids into the kitchen and start helping make wonderful dishes with the beautiful fruits and vegetables that abound this time of year. Kids love helping adults in the kitchen and even the smallest task can make them feel like master chefs. Start off by teaching basic kitchen safety rules like how to properly hold a knife (if they are old enough to do so), how to wash your hands and how often, keeping produce and meats separate when preparing, etc. As adults, we tend to get a little nervous with kids in the kitchen and worry about assigning them tasks, but if we take a moment to think back to our childhood and remember getting to wash the potatoes or cut up fruit for one of granny’s special cobblers you’ll have plenty of ideas on how to involve your own kids in preparing favorite family recipes. Most all kids love fruit roll-ups so why not try out this healthy version from that will be sure to get the kids interested in helping in the kitchen and making healthy food choices:

• 4 ripe peaches (skin on)
• 1 tablespoon honey

• Preheat oven to 225 F degrees.*

• Rinse and remove seeds from peaches.

• Place the peaches and honey in a blender and puree until smooth.

• Pour the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread with the back of a spoon or spatula in a large rectangle (my rectangle was 11 x 15 inches) making sure that the thickness is completely even.

• Bake for three to four hours or until dry and not sticky to the touch. Remember, cooking times will vary depending on how thick you spread your mixture and how much water (juice) is naturally in the fruit.**

• Set aside and cool at room temperature; it takes several hours for the fruit to soften up. Note that when you first take the fruit leather out of the oven, the edges will be a bit dry and crispy, but if you allow it to sit out for several hours it softens up nicely.

• Cut with a knife, pizza cutter or scissors into strips, keeping the paper on if desired, then roll the leather into “roll ups.”

• Serve.
* If you choose to use a dehydrator, cook the fruit leather at 135 degrees for 5 hours.
** Every oven is different, so the cooking time may be less than two hours if your oven tends to run hot.

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