Harvest Hermits

Harvest Hermits

F.O.O.D.  Focus on the Organic Difference
vol. 3  11/2/18

By Christy Bassett for The Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass

As summer berries become a faint memory, autumn fruits fill the woven wire basket on the counter and inspire ideas of warm apple pie and poached pear parfait.  The spice cabinet seems to call out with offers of warming cinnamon blends to break through the chilled air, and the idea of having the oven on isn’t such a scary thought.

In our home, we try to limit sugar and processed grains, so cookies are hard to come by.  But that doesn’t stop the cravings.  I’ve tried many recipes that replace all purpose flour with almond or coconut flour, but they inevitably coming out dry and crumbly.  That is, until I developed this amazingly satisfying recipe for Harvest Hermits.

“My nostrils smell mommy’s cookies!” my daughter exclaimed after I put these in the oven the other day.  It was, of course, that comforting cinnamon blend that reached her nose even in the other room.  If she’ll eat these real food concoctions, hidden protein and all, I’ll take the recognition for making her smile.

Make these cookies in October or November, when apples and pears have been picked freshly for storage.  Since these two fruits are listed on “The Dirty Dozen”, it’s especially important to purchase them as organic.  Play the calendar correctly, and you may even be able to find Massachusetts cranberries to add to the mix.

These protein-packed cookies go great with a cup of tea.


Dry ingredients
1 cup organic almond flour
4 Tbs organic coconut flour
1 Tbs organic chia seeds
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ½ Tbs cinnamon
1 ½ Tbs cloves
1 Tbs nutmeg

Wet ingredients
2 Tbs organic milk
1 Tbs organic butter, melted
3 Tbs maple syrup
2 organic eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp organic raw apple cider vinegar

1 cup diced organic apple
1 cup diced organic pear
½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts of your choice
½ cup diced cranberries or raisins

These cookies don’t expand much during cooking, so they can be placed fairly close together.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside.
  • Mix milk, butter, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla and apple cider vinegar in another bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir well.  Fold in fruit and nuts.  Stir to combine, careful not to overmix.
  • Drop by spoonful’s onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the center of each cookie is firm.
  • Remove from oven transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once cool, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Happy Harvest!

Spiced Squash Seeds

F.O.O.D.  Focus on the Organic Difference
vol. 2  10/26/18

By Christy Bassett for The Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass

Spiced Squash Seeds

‘Tis the season for sitting by the fire while two halves of a homegrown winter squash bake in the oven.  Harvesting the last of the field crops that sit speckled on the ground, after frost has touched and wilted their leaves, feels both heroic and dismal.  These final trophies of a full season in the sun, battling uncooperative weather, ravenous rodents, persistent pests and strangling weeds, represent the end of a chapter in the short growing season of New England.  Relief.  Gratitude.  Rest.

We cart the squashes to our root cellars, imagining the full bellies that they will bestow in the cold months ahead.  Their sweet flesh is perfect comfort food as a part of family meals, festive gatherings and simple side dishes.

But don’t (you dare) forget about the seeds.  Squash seeds are highly nutritious, packing plenty of protein, healthy fat, fiber, antioxidants, iron, zinc and magnesium.  They are the perfect crunchy snack to take on a road trip, pack into a picnic lunch, or add as an enhancement to a wholesome soup or salad.  And if they’re grown organically, and processed without artificial flavors or preservatives, they can be an extremely healthy replacement for commercial chips or convenience snacks.  Try them with sweet or savory spices to compliment your mood.

Acorn squash have especially delicious seeds.


1 ½ cups organic pumpkin or winter squash seeds

1 Tbs organic leaf lard, melted (or other cooking oil as desired)

1 Tbs organic spices of choice (variety suggestions below)

I used Hillside Herbals “Herb Mix for Dip” along with sea salt for a savory seasoning that really solved my snack cravings.

Flavor Varieties

Salted Herb:

¼ tsp parsley

¼ tsp thyme

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

1 Tbs Sea Salt

Pumpkin Spice:

1 Tbs organic maple syrup

1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger)

Better (and healthier) than crackers or croutons.


  • Separate seeds from squash pulp and rinse through a strainer. Place clean seeds on a towel to dry overnight, or as long as is needed to remove excess moisture.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Once seeds are dry, place seeds into a large mixing bowl.
  • Melt leaf lard in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and pour over raw seeds, stirring quickly, as the lard will harden as it touches the cool seeds.
  • Sprinkle with desired seasoning and stir well to coat all seeds.
  • Spread seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until seeds are well toasted, turning once or twice.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in an air tight container.

Crispy Kale Chips


 By Christy Bassett for the Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass

Eat more kale.  Because that’s the only way you’re going to get through the never-ending supply of these leafy greens that just keep on giving.  The many varieties of kale, as well as it’s cold hardiness and extended productivity, make this a vegetable that is available almost year-round in Massachusetts.  One of my favorite afternoon snacks is kale chips.  They are so versatile that they can be seasoned with just about anything in the spice rack to satisfy the person who likes variety but also likes to use that bottomless refrigerator drawer (or garden bed) of kale.  Experiment with garlic & Parmesan, rosemary & sea salt, or even chili & lime juice as added flavoring.  If you’re making it fresh from scratch at home, there are no worries about artificial additives or preservatives, so the only limit is your taste for adventure.

For the freshest, crispiest kale chips harvest straight from the garden or farm stand

Kale Chips


1 Bunch Organic Kale

1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Sea Salt

Optional: other seasonings (such as garlic powder, chili powder, dried herbs, parmesan, etc.)

Use as much or as little seasoning as you like


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Remove stem from leaves of kale. Rip or cut leaves into bite sized pieces, rinse in a colander, shake dry and place into a large bowl.
  • Toss kale pieces with olive oil and then spread onto baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle salt or desired seasoning on top.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, flip, bake for 5-10 minutes more until crispy but not burnt.
  • Remove from oven and cool on tray. Store in an airtight container for snacking.

Always double check your organic produce for stowaways before cooking