March 29, 2020
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(upbeat pop-rock music) – Welcome back my munchies, and welcome to the channel if you’re new. I’m Alyssia and I’m so glad you’re here. I have got some fall recipes
to share with you today and it is all inspired
by a trip I took recently to visit Sunsweet’s prune orchards. Some of you know that
I’ve worked with Sunsweet for a few years now and I
am so grateful for that. To be honest, my mind was
blown during this visit. I knew that a prune was a plum, but for some reason I
just didn’t expect it to be what it was. The plums on these trees
are so ripe and beautiful and you won’t find them in
stores because this variety of plum is perfect for drying, which is why they’re
dried and sold as prunes rather than fresh plums. A lot of people don’t realize that prunes are in fact plums. So I wanna sort of de-mystify them because they are truly a special fruit that everyone needs to
be taking advantage of. Prunes are especially good for bone health thanks to the potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K. And research suggests that
eating five to six prunes each day may help to prevent bone loss. Prunes are also great for digestion thanks to the three grams of
fiber per 100 calorie serving. And it’s easier than you might think to add to both savory and sweet dishes. I am going to share some with you today, but first, I have to show you
want I saw during my visit. In March, I had the opportunity
to go up to Yuba City where Sunsweet’s
headquarters and orchards are and see the bloom. I got to see these plum
trees covered in flowers, each of which have the
potential to become a plum. It was beautiful and so eye-opening. I had no idea that that’s how it began. This fall, I went back to
see those bloomed flowers that had now grown into plums. I got to visit one of the orchards run by a farmer named
Phil, he was amazing, as was his grandson Justin. They both had so much
passion for their farm. Phil said that he and his
three brothers all own and ran the farms together and it was so inspiring to
see how much they cared about Sunsweet, their families, and their plums. I loved eating these
plums right off the tree. They are bright yellow inside like a peach and they’re sweet and delicious. They don’t last very long fresh though, which is partially why they’re sold dry. I got to see these huge tree shakers get all the of the plums off the trees and sort the twigs and
leafs from the fruit. The entire harvest for all of the farms takes place in only
three weeks of the year. Everyone is working so hard. The plums get added to
bins which are then taken to a drying facility and I got to check one of those out too. Seriously, I felt like
a kid in a candy store. I used to love watching those
shows when I was a little kid about how stuff is made, and this was like that but in real life. Seeing the tree go from
the bloom to the harvest, getting the plums off the trees, and then getting to witness
the 18 hour drying process at the facility was fascinating. Once they’re dry, they’re sorted and then
brought back to Sunsweet’s main facility to pit
and package the prunes, or, turn them into juice. Their special pitting process
is what makes Sunsweet prunes look so perfect. I didn’t understand why Sunsweet prunes always looked so much
prettier than other varieties, until I was able to witness this facility and the pitting process because it turns them into the
perfect little button shape. Seriously, so much love goes
into every single prune. And it shows in the employees and farmers. Everyone is so kind and
really seems so proud to work for Sunsweet. I see why! I hope you enjoyed that little taste of what I was so lucky to experience and now I wanna share some fall recipes inspired by that visit. Prunes are a perfect complement
to fall and winter recipes. So how about a full course meal? Let’s start with my dried
fruit and fennel cornbread. (upbeat pop-rock music) I start by combining
almond flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. Separately, I mix the wet ingredients. Almond milk, applesauce, eggs, and honey. Then I can add the dry to the wet. To kick this corn bread
up a notch for fall, I stir in some Sunsweet diced prunes, aka, dried plums, and then some dried
cherries or cranberries and I crushed up some fennel seeds a bit to let more of that flavor out. I decided to bake them as mini muffins. This is how my mom did it growing up, so it’s really nostalgic for me, but you could do large muffins
or a loaf if preferred. Into the oven it goes until lightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Whoa! I love this recipe. It is savory with a hint of sweetness, tender, crumbly, and cakey
like a corn bread should be, and that dried fruit
adds a nice sweet tang that complements the dried
fennel perfectly for fall. And, it’s gluten free. Next up, a harvest crunch salad. (upbeat jazz music) This one is all about fall flavors and fun textures. I start with washed and chopped kale, and I prefer to visage
the kale with a bit of oil and sprinkle it with
salt if I’m eating it raw so that it’s softer in texture and gentler in flavor. If you are not a kale
fan, this might sway you. It definitely helped me. Then I add the other salad ingredients. I made some puffed quinoa
to give it a crunch rather than croutons, neat! I simply heat a deep pot
over medium high heat, let it get warm, and then to test to make sure it’s hot enough, I add a sprinkle of quinoa. If it pops within a
second or two, it’s ready. Then I can drizzle oil and add enough quinoa to
cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer. I recommend doing this in batches and not overcrowding the pan. Shake the pan until the popping
slows so it doesn’t burn. It’s just 15 to 30 seconds and it’s done. Side note, you can skip the oil, but it gets crispier if you use it. Add it right into the salad. Also going into my salad
is green and red apple, chopped celery, canned mandarins, Sunsweet diced prunes,
chopped and toasted pecans, and some goat cheese. Feta would also be awesome here. I toss that to combine. Feel free to add a squeeze of lemon juice if you aren’t serving this right away to keep the apple crisp and from browning. I wait to add the dressing until serving. I made a delicious raspberry
poppy seed dressing. All it is, is raspberries,
olive oil, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, coconut
sugar, onion powder, dijon mustard, and a pinch
of salt blended together. Then, I stir in the poppy seeds. It is so gorgeous and
it tastes even better. Sweet and tangy and super fresh. This salad has it going
on in texture and flavor. So much crunchy goodness from the quinoa, apples, celery, and nuts, and a lovely balance
of sweetness and tang. Okay, the main entree
of this meal is a sweet and savory stuffed acorn squash. You aren’t going to
believe how easy it is! I start by scouring around the squash and then cutting it open
and scooping out the seeds so you can have a bowl. You could totally save those
seeds for toasting if you want. Add to a baking sheet
lined with parchment, brush the flesh of the squash with oil, and sprinkle with salt. They get placed face
down on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender. The time will depend on
the size of your squash. (playful pop music) Make the filling in the meantime. In a skillet over medium heat, I add a drizzle of oil along
with some onion and mushrooms. After a couple of minutes, I add mild Italian sausage and cook until it’s no longer pink, around five to seven minutes. Then I add garlic, fresh
rosemary, and fresh thyme, onion powder, and some spinach, allowing to cook one to two minutes until that spinach is wilted. I don’t let the cooking go too
long once I add fresh herbs so they maintain their flavor. At this point, I can
stir in my Amaz!n prunes that I chopped myself. Season to taste. I usually find the sausage
has enough salt on its own for this dish, but it will
depend on the kind you use, so make sure that you taste it. I can fill those lovely squash
halves with the filling, and I have to top it off with some cheese. I used a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan. You can totally skip it,
but I love some melty cheese on top of a stuff squash
or a casserole style dish. Broil it quickly, just until melted, and I sprinkled mine with
some red pepper flakes. Beautiful! This tastes like fall in a bite. The fresh rosemary and thyme with the turkey sausage remind me of the holidays on their own. Add in the sweet squash and tangy prunes, and I have got one satisfying meal. All together, this menu
is perfect for fall. And isn’t it cool to know
where those prunes came from? Mother nature is amazing! I hope you enjoyed these recipes and that you can give them a try. Let me know what else you
would like to see this season in the comments below. Thank you to Sunsweet for
inviting me to the bloom and the harvest. And thanks to Phil, my new farmer friend, for letting me eat so many
plums off of his trees, it was such a treat. I will be back next week
with a brand new episode and remember, it’s all a
matter of Mind Over Munch.

Randall Smitham