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Grand Prize Winner of $1,500 Ages 9 to 14

Kara Peterschmidt, 12, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

What’s your favorite dish?
My grandpa’s roast beef

Why do you like cooking?
I like to cook because it’s not just the recipes, but the history and culture of food. Food brings people together.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I would like to be a chef, of course, at my own restaurant—or a nutritional anthropologist.

Winning Dish: Rice Salad Stuffed Green Peppers with Homemade Lemonade

½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup Lundberg Brown Basmati Rice
⅓ cup Xlear XyloSweet
1-2 green peppers
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread
⅓ cup cashews, chopped
⅓ cup red onion, chopped
⅓ cup golden raisins
⅓ cup chopped apple (Pink Lady or other sweet variety)
Juice of 1 lemon

1. In a saucepan, bring 2¼ cups of water to boil. Add in vanilla extract and rice. Stir. Return water to a simmer, and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of water and the XyloSweet in a saucepan until it dissolves. Pour into a container and let cool.

3. Preheat oven to 400°. Take the tops off the green peppers, cut in half, and remove seeds. Coat the pepper in olive oil; salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. When the rice is finished cooking, add the coconut oil. Stir until melted.

5. Transfer rice to a mixing bowl, adding cashews, onion, raisins, and apples. Mix thoroughly.

6. When the peppers are done, remove from oven and stuff each pepper with the rice salad.

7. Put the peppers in the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes (less time if you like your onions crunchy, more time if you prefer them softer).

8. For the lemonade, fill a large glass with ice. Add the lemon juice, along with the XyloSweet simple syrup. Stir well and serve alongside peppers.

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