February. Tot Friendly Food Festivals.

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It’s February in California which means one day is 70 degrees and amazing outside and the next day is pouring rain and cold.  Because of the changing weather there aren’t too many outdoor events this month.  We usually don’t plan our weekends until we have a solid idea of what it’s going to be like outside.  If the weather cooperates, make sure to take a look at this list of cool family festivals happening around our state.

Sacramento and Surrounding Areas

Almond Blossom Festival

When. February 20-22, 2015

Where.  Ripon, CA

The almond tree is one of the first trees to bloom each year.  This event is one of the first events around the state celebrating almonds. Activities include a run, parade, food, carnival, crafts and more.

Phone: (209) 599-7519

www.riponchamber.org

 

Capay Valley Almond Festival

When. February 22, 2015

Where. Events include the towns of Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey, CA

A multi location event the festival celebrates the almond trees that dominate this region.  This event includes food, entertainment, crafts a car show and much more.

Phone: (530) 787-3242

www.espartoregionalchamber.com/almondfestival.aspx

Bar Area and Beyond

Cloverdale Citrus Fair

When. February 13-16, 2015

Time: Fri. noon–10 p.m.; Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Mon. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where. Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, 1 Citrus Fair Dr., Cloverdale, CA 

Each year the Citrus Fair is celebrated on President’s Day weekend.  The fair includes a carnival, wine competition, food, music, crafts and more.

Phone:  (707) 894-3992

www.cloverdalecitrusfair.org

Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook Off

When. February 21, 2015

Where. Santa Cruz, CA

$9 kit to sample 5 clam chowders.  Teams of chowder chefs come from all over the West Coast to compete for the prestigious award of “Best Clam Chowder.” Whip up your favorite recipe for red or white chowder or just come and sample the delicious variety of chowder and fun at the Boardwalk. Admission free.

beachboardwalk.com  

Apples. February Farmstand Finds. Vegan Applesauce and Oats Ginger Snaps.

It’s pouring rain and we need every drop so no one is complaining around here. Both my tots have the day off today so it’s family baking time! I like baking with as little refined sugar as possible and using the seasonal ingredients we find in our travels.  I especially like baking when it’s cold and wintery outside and the kitchen is toasty and full of activity.

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Baking with tots takes tons of patience and quick reflexes.  There are many dangers lurking in the kitchen and tots can find every one in one rapid swoop.  With this recipe take precaution to keep tots away from the oven and pans as they come out of the oven.  I keep my tots on low stools during measuring and mixing and even the floor if that’s easier.  For the cookie ball process I line up the assembly line on the floor and let them have at it.

I had some applesauce in the pantry we made last year after one of our Apple Hill trips, so we made some applesauce cookies. This recipe is easy enough that tots can measure the dry ingredients and do some mixing. The best part is once the dough is finished they can roll the dough into a two step finishing step of oats and sugar.

This recipe made 2 full batches of 12 cookies and a third batch of 4 cookies. Total recipe makes 28 cookies.

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Tot Jobs

1. Measuring dry ingredients and pouring into bowl.

2. Rolling dough into oats and sugar.

3. Lining finished cookie balls onto the baking pan.

4. Flattening cookies with measuring cup.

5. Eating finished cookies!

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Vegan Applesauce and Oats Ginger Snaps
Print Recipe
Vegan cookies easy enough for tots to work as sous chefs. Cookies contain minimal refined sugar.
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes batch
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes batch
Vegan Applesauce and Oats Ginger Snaps
Print Recipe
Vegan cookies easy enough for tots to work as sous chefs. Cookies contain minimal refined sugar.
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes batch
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes batch
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixer combine brown sugar, oil, molasses and applesauce on low speed for three full minutes.
  3. In a bowl stir dry ingredients except for the oats. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer slowly and turn off before it’s fully combined. With a spoon, mix until all the dough is combined without over mixing.
  4. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the dough and roll into balls one by one. Roll the balls first in the oats, pressing gently to get them to stick. Next, roll in the sugar and shake off before putting cookie on baking pan. Flatten each cookie using the back of a metal measuring cup or a glass.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack before eating.
Recipe Notes

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Farmstand Visit. Boa Vista Orchards. Apple Hill (Placerville, CA)

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Apple Hill is known for it’s fall season that runs from Labor Day through November.  The season dips for a week or two and then returns with excitement the day after Thanksgiving when eager families from Sacramento and surrounding areas come looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  Apple Hill often gets some early snow in the fall months making it a chilly excursion we keep returning for year after year.  My favorite time in Apple Hill comes after the busy months.  Winter is my favorite season when crowds have thinned out, parking becomes easier and my country buzz isn’t spoiled by throngs of tourists.  Most apple farms  are shuttered by this time and only my favorite remains.  Boa Vista Orchards.

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Boa Vista is open every day year round making it a destination for any season.  We use Boa Vista as a nice 20 minute drive to shake off our routine and get out of the city.  For Sacramento residents it’s about 45-60 minutes up Highway 50 towards South Lake Tahoe.  Apple Hill gets some snow occasionally, except usually is below chain control, so it’s the perfect stop for weary Tahoe travelers.  It’s only about a 2 minute departure from Highway 50 and offers restrooms, easy plentiful parking, picnic areas and lots of room to stretch out and take a break.

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Boa Vista is a family owned farm that features their own products along with those of neighboring farms and beyond.  Apples are available year round so my family can get our fill of the giant boxes we crave.  Because it’s a fully operational farm stand Boa Vista also offers baked goods, dairy products, frozen pies, juices, artisan sauces and marinades, local honey and more.

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I can do all my weekly shopping at Boa Vista in one easy stop.  Seasonal produce is available so summer months offer mouth-watering sweet peaches, cherries and more.  Each month offers a new surprise so we try to come throughout the year.  During the fall busy season Boa Vista features local artists and craftsmen and has a fully operational barbecue stand giving hungry visitors a variety of options.  During slower months and year round there is also food available at the bakery window inside the stand.  A wood burning stove is a cozy gathering spot on cold days to enjoy a warm beverage and your choice of apple baked goods.

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Today we got two 20 pound boxes of apples that were the BOGO (buy one get one) price of $14.99 making each box only$7.50 and that’s way cheaper than any of our surrounding grocery stores.  (Boa Vista Orchards does not feature organic produce except it is mostly local so for me it’s a partial win).  We also picked up Bosc pears, a pineapple, tomatoes, lemons and a big bag of oranges.  We also picked up some unpasteurized apple cider that was also a BOGO price of $7.99 making each gallon jug only $4.  These jugs are freezable so picking up one extra and throwing it in the freezer is easy and preserves the juice for another week or two.  There are more bottled juice options available outside the refrigerator area including apple, pear and more than I can list.  Just venture off to the deepest corner of the stand next to the refrigerators.

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I don’t usually buy frozen pies except this year my family picked one up for me for a post Thanksgiving party we were hosting.  The pies are often on sale for just $6.99 for the traditional apple pie variety and it baked up to make the most impressive homestyle apple pie I have had.  There are lots of interesting varieties so if you want to be able to take your Apple Hill bakery experience with you to replicate at home this is the place to make your purchase.

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Boa Vista is waiting for you to explore at 2952 Carson Rd., Placerville, CA 95667.  Reach them at 530.622.5522 or online at www.boavista.com