Ambrosia Apples: Sweet as Honey, Pretty as Sunshine — Apple Orchard Adventures {Podcast #275}

Back in the day (1982 to be exact), I spent a year living in Portland, OR where I completed my dietetic internship at the Oregon Health Sciences University. I loved living in the Northwest, and last weekend, I had the opportunity to go back! For three delicious days, I visited Wenatchee, WA where I learned about a sweet new apple variety called Ambrosia.

Ambrosia Apple Tour in Wenatchee, WA via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #ILoveAmbrosia

I was more excited than a kid in a candy store during my visit. I toured orchards and learned about the chance birth of this honey-flavored, crisp, juicy apple variety, and I was blown away by the hard work that goes into growing, hand picking, packing and shipping these beauties across the US (and the world!)

Ambrosia apples have a honey taste and a perfumed aroma making them among the sweetest apple varieties on the market. The word Ambrosia literally means, Food of the Gods.

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Apple, Bacon and Maple Syrup Flatbread Pizza + A Taste of Ambrosia Apples

This flavorful apple-topped pizza comes together quickly with a store-bought flatbread pizza crust, Cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, green onions, sweet slices of Ambrosia apples, and maple syrup.

Add a fun new twist to family pizza night with a sweet apple topping!

Apple, Bacon, and Maple Syrup Flatbread Pizza via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I created this recipe after joining six other food writers last weekend for an Ambrosia Apple Tour in Wenatchee, WA sponsored by Columbia Marketing International (CMI). My expenses were paid for, but I was not paid to write this post or develop this recipe. All opinions are my own.

Ambrosia apples via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I traveled to central Washington state for a tour of Ambrosia apple orchards (and a few vineyards!), and I got a glimpse into how new apple varieties like Ambrosia are developed and how they’re grown, picked, and shipped to supermarkets across the country. I saw acres of apple trees heavy with fruit, tasted sweet, crisp apples out of hand and in dishes like Warm Curried Ambrosia Apple Soup with Creme Fraiche, and feasted my eyes on the Cascade Mountains which surrounded us during our entire visit.

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Raspberry Farm Tour + A Recipe for Spicy Raspberry Salsa

Imagine spending two days walking through fields of perfectly ripe, ruby-red raspberries (munching all the way!) and then driving a mile down the road to see those same raspberries cleaned, flash frozen, and placed gently into boxes or bags for shipment to grocery stores and foodservice providers nationwide.

Fresh Ripe Raspberries via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Along with six other foodies, I was recently invited to attend an educational raspberry harvest event in Lynden, WA, sponsored by the National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC). (Did you know that nearly 90% of the frozen raspberries produced in the U.S. come from this area of the country?)

I was compensated for travel and lodging; all comments and opinions are my own.

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Pickled Beet and Veggie Salad with Feta and Pecans {Recipe Redux}

Backyard gardens are brimming with vegetables this time of year, and it’s fun to create recipes based on what’s fresh and ready to pick. Beets, cucumbers, onions, Romaine lettuce and fresh herbs were at their peak in my sister’s Olympia, WA garden during my recent visit, so we decided to create this pickled salad together.

Pickled Beet Cucumber Salad with Feta and Pecans via Mealmakeovermoms.com

For me, the addition of cheese and nuts to a salad really makes it special, so we opted to add feta and toasted pecans to our salad. Another thing that’s special about this salad is the view of Puget Sound … and Mount Rainier when it’s clear.

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Farm-to-Table Dining at the Spring House Hotel on Block Island, RI

I’ve lived in New England for a half century and have never been to Block Island, a 10-square mile island off the coast of Rhode Island. All of that changed this week when I was invited to spend two nights with my husband, Don, at the Spring House Hotel.

The Spring House Hotel, Block Island, RI via MealMakeoverMoms.com.kitchen

Disclosure: My stay at the Spring House Hotel was paid for by the hotel. I was not compensated for my time or to write this blog post and all opinions are solely my own.

This elegant 50-room Victorian-style hotel sits up on a hill overlooking Old Harbor. Built in 1852, It’s the oldest hotel on Block Island and has had only four owners. Here’s what it looks like when  the ferry pulls into the dock. I love that red brick roof!

Read on for the inside scoop on the Spring House Hotel as well as its current owner, Frank DiBiase who bought the hotel in 1989. He brought it back from bankruptcy, restored it back to its former glory days, and planted a GIANT vegetable garden that caught my eye … and my appetite!

Frank was doing farm-to-table dining over 20 years ago, long before it was trendy.

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Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon, Tomato, and Egg + Lunch at Russ & Daughters

This nutritious Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon, Tomato, and Egg is a modern makeover of the lox and cream cheese on a bagel of my youth. The recipe was inspired by a recent lunch with my family at Russ & Daughters on the Lower East side of Manhattan.

Avocado Smoked Salmon Toast with tomato and eggs via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

After eating a dream-come-true lunch at Russ & Daughters (more on that below), I cooked up this open-face sandwich on whole grain bread starring one of my favorite foods on the planet and something Russ & Daughters is known for: smoked salmon. Make it for breakfast or lunch!

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Food Photography for Smart Phones: 5 Everyday Background Props to Make Your Food Photos Fantastic

By using everyday items like an old cookie sheet, a cool wooden cutting board, or a pretty cloth napkin or fabric swatch, you can take your food photos from drab to delicious!

Background Props for Smart Phone Food Photography via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

I recently spoke at the annual meeting of the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about food photography for smart phones. As part of my presentation, I emphasized the importance of choosing interesting background props to make your (healthy) food photos shine.

Before you think about plates and bowls, give some thought to the background canvas for your food photos. Here are my Top 5 Favorite Background Props:

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Freekeh Salad with Caramelized Cauliflower and Tuna + Cooking with Ancient Grains {Podcast #266}

This Freekeh Salad with Caramelized Cauliflower and Tuna is surprisingly simple, and its bright and flavorful flavors make it an ideal addition to any family’s weeknight dinner rotation.

Freekeh Salad with Caramelized Cauliflower and Tuna #WholeGrains via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

If cooking freekeh, millet, farro, bulgur, quinoa, or other ancient grains sounds difficult or too time consuming, then you’ll definitely want to tune in to this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast as Maria Speck, author of Simply Ancient Grains, provides a primer on preparing these nourishing whole grains and turning them into mouth-watering (and we mean it!) breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts for your family. {Enter to win a copy of Simply Ancient grains. Read details below on the details.}

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Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin + Highlights from Daffodil Weekend on Nantucket

These healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are lighter and have more fiber than the usual donut shop options, and every bite is bursting with springtime flavors. Made with white whole wheat flour, only a third cup sugar, olive oil, and poppy seeds, this muffin makeover is perfect for breakfast or a lunch box or afternoon snack.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Makeover via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

The idea for this recipe came to me last weekend during the annual Daffodil Festival on Nantucket where the color yellow popped up everywhere — from the daffodil-decorated vintage cars in the Nantucket Town to Sconset parade to the tailgate picnic. Read this post and you’ll see what I mean!

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