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Honey display at the Avila Barn.
Avila Barn and Gopher Glen

My husband, parents and I visited the Avila Barn and Gopher Glen Apple Farm this weekend to pick up pumpkins and cider.

Traditionally the Avila Barn is a great spot to buy the freshest locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables, among other edible treats. During Halloween, you can pick your own pumpkin or choose one from the mounds of pumpkins piled high. There are hayrides, a hay bale maze and farm pets.

Besides our Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins, my husband picked up a couple of sugar pumpkins to make a soup he learned off of Alton Brown’s show.

After the Barn we were off to Gopher Glen Apple Farm, which has the hands down best apples on the Central Coast. Here, multiple apple products and several apple varieties are available for you to try samples of, and then you can select whichever is your favorite by the bagful.

Apples are amazing, but what I go for is the apple cider: sweet, juicy apple cider. Last year I bought a gallon of cider and between my husband and I, it was gone within a week. This year I bought two gallons, muahahaha!

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Happy 20th (North American) Anniversary FFVI!
This was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played and one of, if not my absolute favorites of the Final Fantasy series.
Visited the Avila Barn today! Love that place!
Apples’ Ample Benefits

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Apples are plentiful this time of year and one of the reasons I love this season. Apples are easy to find, can be prepared numerous ways, are easy to serve, always affordable and can be extremely good for you.

Apples are packed full of antioxidants and a fiber called Pectin. Pectin is a soluble, fermentable and viscous fiber; a combination with a huge number of health benefits.

This is only a short list of the benefits of apples. Suffice to say, they are incredibly good for you and it is very true that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”

How do you like your apples?

I like to eat them cut into small pieces for easy snacking. When I feel more ambitious I will cook them with a little cinnamon sprinkled on top. Homemade apple sauce is also quite easy and delicious. And then there is the always amazing fresh apple cider…

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Apple cider vinegar toner is natural, organic and chances are you already have it in a kitchen cupboard.

Our skin is naturally acidic. When we use harsh cleansers and soaps, the natural acidity is disrupted, destroying the acid mantle on our skin and exposing our skin to germs, bacteria and pollution. Apple cider vinegar kills bacteria, dissolves dead skin cells and removes excess dirt, oil and make up while restoring the natural acidity to our skin and maintaining the protective acid mantle.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Make sure the apple cider vinegar you purchase is organic, unfiltered, and unpasteurized.

Combine the apple cider vinegar and the water in a glass container or bowl. Please note that the amount of water you use to dilute the vinegar depends on your skin sensitivity, you may need to use more water if your skin is sensitive.

To use, pour a little toner onto a cotton pad and apply it to your skin after cleansing.

Wait for the toner to dry before applying any other product.

Do this once or twice a day.

Homemade Honey Masque

“No honey before honey, Honey” – Winnie the Pooh

Add the ground nutmeg and cinnamon to a small bowl. Then add the honey last so your measurement spoon does not get sticky. Thoroughly mix the ingredients. I’ve noticed that this isn’t quite enough honey to get the mask to the consistency I want, so I add very small amounts of water until the mixture looks like image above. The goal is to keep it thick so it will not run or drip.

Apply the mask to your face for 30 minutes and rinse.

This mask is a great natural way of reducing acne and smoothing out your skin. When I was younger I had a bad encounter with acne that left me less than perfect skin. I started using this mask and already I can tell the difference. Also, I love how the smell reminds me of Christmas, my favorite time of year!

Let’s check out the benefits…

Nutmeg - is a known anti-inflammatory used for skin problems such as rosacea and eczema.

Honey - Honey is a natural anti-oxidant and anti-microbial which can help protect the skin from damage & helps rejuvenate damaged skin. Honey absorbs impurities from the pores, which makes it a great cleansing facemask. Honey is also an amazing moisturizer & helps keep moisture locked into your skin.

Cinnamon (optional) - Cinnamon is an exfoliant and can stimulate the pores, which helps the nutmeg & honey to work better on the skin. Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years as an antiseptic, astringent, antifungal, among other things.

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