I’ve always known bees are important to our ecosystem, though it didn’t really hit home until the Almond Board of California invited me as part of a group of dietitians up to Lodi, California to learn more about almond farming. After that trip, I signed up for a beekeeping class at San Francisco Honey & Pollen Company, which left me incredibly inspired to help the bees in any way possible. The following Spring I set out to home my own honey bee hive.
It's pretty obvious how excited I get for the Annual Farm Crawl, and I get equally excited for the aftermath too. I spend weeks using my farm fresh apples in a variety of recipes, some new some old. One sweet treat I always make is applesauce in the slow cooker. It's easy, delicious and quite nutritious for a snack or a side.
The slow cooker is a staple in my kitchen simply because of its simplicity. For most of us our days are extremely busy running around from one place to the next. A slow cooker allows you to minimally prep for a meal and leave it to cook while you're taking care of business, only to return for ready to be deliciousness. I literally took ten minutes, threw all of the ingredients in the pot, pressed the on button, went to bed, and woke up to chunky applesauce. Okay, so maybe I didn't sleep enough this night but rising to smell of sweet apples, cinnamon and ginger drifting through the house made getting up earlier much easier. ;)
and Apple Quinoa Porridge
The one thing that makes the end of summer acceptable for me is the Annual Farm Crawl my friends and I do each fall. This tradition warms my heart because not only do I get to escape the city for a day and play in nature but one of my best friends (who's also my go to eating buddy) flies in from Los Angeles and we girls spend the whole day catching up. Plus, I know I'll be spending a lot of time in my favorite room, the kitchen, baking amazing apple treats and cooking delectable dinners while fueling my body in the most healthful, nourishing way. I mean, just look at the loot I brought home!!
This month my friends and I went apple and pumpkin picking at Riamede Farms in New Jersey. I made loads of treats with the pumpkin meat, but what did I do with all the pumpkin seeds? I certainly wouldn’t discard those little nutrition packed crunchy bites containing phytosterols to help reduce your ‘bad’ cholesterol, protein such as the amino acid tryptophan that will help you get a good night’s rest, and many other vitamins and minerals (vitamin E, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, copper and manganese) that act as antioxidants, build up your immune system, produce energy, maintain the nervous system, brain, heart and cells, and promote teeth and bone health!
Check out my recipes for Roasted & Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds. These are just a few ways to prepare them. Toss onto your salads, soups, pastas, yogurt, porridge...basically anything and enjoy!