Apple-picking, pumpkin-carving and the recipes you need to make October toasty and tasty.
"Milk Without The Moo"
I love nut milk as a dairy alternative, and OMilk, produced in Brooklyn, takes tasty with all natural ingredients to a new level. The basic flavors, Cashew Classic and Organic Almond, can be served over cereal or as their own milkshake-like treat. And for fall? Try the lightly sweetened cashew milk with pumpkin pie spices. (It could be subbed for the yogurt in my "In the Blender" smoothie section below.)


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
In case you haven't noticed, my blender gets a workout, and here's a fantastic idea for fall. Mix 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree, 1 cut-up and pre-frozen banana, 1/2 a cup of 2% Fage, 1 tbsp honey, and 1/2 tsp each pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. The Pumpkin Spice Latte is no match of this sweet blend, which boosts energy and delivers vitamins A and C. (And if you want a hot beverage, too, check out my Chia Chai Latte recipe at the base of this email.)

Food News Corner
Arsenic and Brown Rice. It sounds like a bit of a mystery plot, but Consumer Reports recently found "worrisome" levels of arsenic in ordinary rice sold in supermarkets. And the levels tended to be higher in brown rice than in white. Along with the report comes a new table for recommended intake for adults and children when it comes to rice, rice cereal, rice cakes and other rice products.
The Mysteries of Soy. For years now, "soy" has been a buzzy food word, almost synonymous with health. But the soy we eat, often in the form of soy protein isolate (SPI) is low on nutrients and high on additives. Oh, and a lot of it is subject to a pesticide problem, as I explain at Well+Good NYC.
Organic Panic. Speaking of pesticides, much has been made recently of the Stanford Study that declared there is no way to prove that organic food is inherently more healthful than non-organic. But read closely and you'll find that the same study found organic food to have 30% less pesticide contamination. Sounds pretty healthy to me.


Apples to Apples
Know your Cortland from your Cameo? Your Braeburn from your Jonagold? Head over to Epicurious for the comprehensive apple breakdown, complete with recipes by type.

New York gets back into gear in fall, but it's also a time bursting with temptations, such as holiday get togethers and heavier meals. Good thing fall offers activities from exercise festivals to picking apples—plus new cookbooks worth perusing on evenings at home. And the seasonal produce? It's going strong, and in New York it can show up on your doorstep. —Stephanie
Apples in Warwick, Yoga in Harlem: Things to Do and Try This Month
Oct 6 STRETCH IN THE STREET The Harlem Harvest Festival features outdoor yoga classes for kids and adults. Plus, isn't it time to practice pumpkin carving? You'll find master carving demos (and hands-on time for kids) along with live music and a Lenox Avenue versus Eighth Avenue restaurant cook-off.
Oct 7 HITCH A HAYRIDE Head to the Queens County Farm Museum for Apple Festival, which features hayrides, cider-pressing and the nation's largest apple cobbler (which bakes on site). I've got a lot of ideas for apples this season, and this seems like a good place to start.
Oct 9 STACK YOUR CHIPS Apple idea #1: Whole Living's apple chips are healthful, simple, and elegant, too.

Oct 11 PREVIEW THE PARK Brooklyn Bridge Park's Fall Cocktail Party comes with a special preview tour of the Pier 5 recreation fields and Picnic Peninsula.
Oct 12 CAPTURE CRUNCH More than just a byproduct of Jack O' Lanterns, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, magnesium, iron, protein and, of course, fiber. They make a great snack, salad or soup topper. And did you know that boiling the seeds before roasting them can dramatically increase their crunch? Give them a gentle boil for ten minutes, then transfer them to paper towels, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and any desired seasoning, and roast for an hour at 250 degrees.
Oct 13 WORK UP A SWEAT Think of it like Fashion's Night Out, but for nutrition and fitness (and in the daytime). Sweaty Saturday features special classes at the city's best fitness studios, great music and freebies, and nutritional advice—including from me!
Oct 14 WEEKEND IN WARWICK 90 minutes from the city, Warwick offers apple picking excursions as well as an annual apple fest with entertainment and activities.
Oct 15 DO DESSERT Apple idea #2: Bake 'em! Mix 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/3 cup raisins, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Core 4 Granny Smiths, being careful not to go all the way through the bottom, then fill the cavity with the nut-raisin mixture and bake at 325 for 45 minutes, or until the skins break and the flesh is soft.
Oct 16 EMAIL A MEAL Got the busy week dinner blues? My friend Cathy Erway, author of The Art of Eating In, runs a wonderful service called Farmer's Market Fix. She shops the Farmer's Market, then preps and delivers portioned ingredients so you can cook one of her pre-designed menus. You get the benefit of home cooking—and fantastic quality—but she does all the planning. She's still getting started, but accepts new orders by email through her site, here.
Oct 17 SIP CIDER Catch a four-course tasting menu with cider pairings at Northern Spy Food Co.. It's part of the NYC & Hudson Valley Cider Week, which runs October 12-21.
Oct 18 INTRODUCE OATS Apple idea #3: Apple crisp can be delicious without a lot of added sugar or butter. Peel, core and cut up 6 apples of varying types—like Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. Toss with 2 tbsp Sugar in the Raw and the juice of 1 lemon, and spread them in a pie plate. For topping, mix 3/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup flour, 4 tbsp butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 3 tbsp maple syrup into a crumble. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until apples are bubbling and topping is golden brown.
Oct 20 SAVOR SEASONAL PRODUCE Think it's too late to try a CSA? Think again! Order from Rustic Roots any Saturday by 9pm and a basket of fresh Long Island-grown produce is delivered to your door during your timeslot the next week. In fall that means pears, beets, yams, sweet potatoes, leeks, broccoli, greens... and, of course, apples!
Oct 22 SIMMER SOMETHING SAVORY Apple idea #4: Apple Squash Soup. There are so many variations, and here's one. Use a good-quality organic veggie broth as a base.
Oct 27 ROAD TEST YOUR COSTUME Crafts and costumes take center stage at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Ghouls and Gourds day. Dress up early and to test your scary style.
Oct 28 UPGRADE YOUR SNACKS Apple idea #5: For an afternoon snack with a twist, sandwich apple slices around peanut butter and some of those pumpkin seeds you baked. The mix of sweet and salty is so satisfying.
Oct 29 PROCRASTINATE ON CANDY For Halloween, I have two pieces of advice: buy candy you don't like and don't buy it that far in advance. Unless you want to give out something really special, you can get it today, and then it won't be lying temptingly around the house for too long.
Oct 30 COOK CITY-STYLE Who's more New York than Deb Perelman, who keeps foodies capitvated with her Smitten Kitchen blog? The recipes she tested in her tiny Manhattan kitchen debut today in her first cookbook.
Oct 31 TAKE ON TREATS Want to keep sugar highs in check when the Halloween haul comes home (and appears in your office)? Let your kids choose a favorite piece of candy from their stash to eat every night after dinner, and then put another in their lunch boxes. The same rule goes for adults: stick to two fun-sized pieces a day and you won't kill your diet.

Reporting from the Pistachio Harvest

Last month I traveled to California's San Joaquin Valley to see the pistachio harvest at Paramount Farms, the world's largest grower of almonds and pistachios. Readers of this newsletter know that I love pistachios for their "skinny nut" status—you get 49 of them in one-ounce serving, compared to 14 walnut halves or 18 cashews. It was so cool to watch them being shaken from the trees into catch bins, and carted away to be cleaned and hulled. (In fact, even un-shelled, they never touched the ground.) Plus, I learned pistachios contain more than 10 different antioxidants—including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin—which is more than any other nut. Turns out their purple skins are a source of some of the same nutrients found in red wine and green tea.

Chia Chai Latte
(Serves 2)
Yes, it's happened. I love chai tea, and I love Chia, and here they've been combined. When Chia seeds sit in liquid for a few minutes, they absorb it and form a kind of suspended gel—which can be a curious texture to some but reminds others of bubble teas. The health benefit is that, when you drink them this way, the seeds slowly release moisture to hydrate the body.

1 1/2 cups water

1 small cinnamon stick

8 cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

2/3 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon agave nectar

3 teaspoons loose black tea

2 tablespoons Chia seeds


Combine water and spices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. // Cover, turn heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. // Add almond milk and agave and bring to a boil again. // Add tea leaves, cover, turn off heat, wait two minutes and strain into cups. // Add Chia seeds and let stand 5-10 minutes until seeds are slightly suspended. // Microwave briefly to re-warm, and enjoy.