Monday, August 27, 2012

Healthy Apricot Balls

Well, hello blog.  I'm sorry I haven't had much time for you lately.  It's not that you don't mean anything to me, but unfortunately, I haven't been able to spend as much time with you as I'd like.

Life sure can be hectic with two little boys running around under my feet and other commitments of my own.  I don't know about you, but I cannot seem to achieve all that I want to achieve during any given day.  It's so frustrating.

One thing I have achieved lately is making a delicious snack that satisfies the tastebuds of my boys and my husband, and my unrelenting desire to cut back on refined sugar and carbs.  I guess you could say we are moving towards the clean eating idea.  I would like us to move there immediately with no backwards steps tomorrow, but my family have other ideas.

I do buy organic wherever possible, I have stopped buying sugar, but I still haven't managed to get away from white flour all the time.  We hardly eat loaves of bread anymore as such, but I do make crackers, tortillas or baguettes most weeks.  And invariably, I use mainly white flour as this is what my husband prefers.  Baby steps, baby steps...
Anyway, back to the point of this post, Apricot Balls.  Lots of seeds for goodness and held together with rolled oats and a sweet slurry of dried apricots and medjool dates.  A very flexible recipe, so feel free to adjust the quantities and types of seeds to suit your taste and your pantry.
My ingredients are medjool dates, organic dried apricots, water, organic unstabilised rolled oats, organic chia seeds, organic cacao nibs, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and a homemade spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
This is such a super easy recipe to make.  The dates, apricots, spices and water are cooked in the Thermomix until a thick and sticky paste is created.  Then simply throw in the rest of the ingredients, whizz up until it all comes together (about 10 seconds), roll into balls and toss in extra coconut (or sesame seeds if that grabs your fancy).

If you, or your kids, prefer a smoother consistency, before you make the paste, throw the dry ingredients into the TM bowl and grind for perhaps 5-8 seconds on speed 9 to make a chunky powder (is that an oxymoron?) which you can then set aside until required.  So far, my kids are all good with the chunkier texture.


  • 120 grams organic dried apricots
  • 4-5 medjool dates
  • 125 grams water
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 150 grams rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pepitas
  • ½ tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dessicated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  • additional desiccated coconut, to coat


Place apricots, dates, water and spices into TM bowl and cook at 90ºC on speed 3 for 6 
minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except additional desiccated coconut) and mix 
thoroughly on speed 5 for 10 seconds. Roll into balls and coat with coconut. 
Refrigerate for an hour or until cool.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins with Apple

Getting back into the swing of a routine now that my husband is back at work after 2 months at home, and given that it's been getting a little fresh in the mornings, I decided to make porridge for breakfast today.  I'd seen that Thermomix Australia had updated their porridge recipe from the EDC, so decided to give it a go.  I added 3 plums (quartered), 2 cloves and a teaspoon of cinnamon, just for good measure.  It was pretty good.  Much creamier than I'm used to, and didn't require any extra milk around the edges (which is how I normally have it).  It was pretty good with the fruit and the plums were very welcome in the muffins.

Of course, I forgot that like pretty much all the recipes in the EDC, it made an absolute bucketful, and was way too much for our little family.  Fortunately, I was able to make the most of my leftovers with this lovely muffin recipe (based on this).

You may think that 300g of cooked oatmeal is a lot, but it is actually just a heaped cupful. Left to cool in the muffin tin, these muffins are moist and not very sweet, but with little bursts of fruity goodness.  Muffins you can feel good about eating!

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins with Apple

  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 250 grams spelt flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 40 grams honey
  • 125 grams milk
  • 1 egg
  • 40 grams coconut oil
  • 300 grams cooked oatmeal

1.Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Butter the muffin pans or line with paper wrappers.
2.Combine dry ingredients together in small bowl.
3.In TM bowl, grate apple for 5 seconds on speed 5. Set aside.
4.Add coconut oil to bowl and melt for 2 minutes at 50ºC, speed 2. Add honey, 
oatmeal, apple, egg and milk and mix well for 10 seconds on speed 4. Pour 
into dry ingredients and mix well.
5.Spoon each muffin cup 2/3 full of batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a 
toothpick comes out dry when inserted into the centre.  Leave in tin for 5 
minutes before removing and cooling on a rack.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grain Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free Banana Pikelets

These were a little experiment for morning tea today for my little cherubs.  Based on this recipe.

Banana Pikelets (Grain, Dairy & Sugar Free)

(Servings: 4-6)

  • 75 grams almonds
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 bananas
  • 3 teaspoons almond milk

1.Place almonds and cinnamon stick in TMX bowl and grind for 30 seconds on speed 9.
2.Add eggs, baking powder, bananas, and milk and mix well for 5 seconds on speed 5.
3.Heat a little butter in a frying pan and dollop in tablespoons of batter. Flip when golden brown underneath. Continue cooking for another minute or so or until second side is also golden brown. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Making Pomegranate Juice

I have a pomegranate tree.  What a lucky score that was when we bought our house here in Adelaide.  I didn't even know what it was at first.  The poor thing is laden with so much heavy fruit, that much of it is resting on the ground.  Many of the fruit are splitting as well.  Not sure why that is, but I'm sure Google will tell me when I find the time to ask it.

I examined a few of the split ones and decided that as I couldn't see any signs of vermin or insect attack, I would juice them and see how I went.

It's a somewhat time consuming process, but the result is a lovely jewel coloured elixir that I love!

Pomegranate Juice (makes 600ml approx)

5 pomegranates, ripe
handful ice
100 grams water, approximately

1. Place enough water in the sink to cover a pomegranate. Score a pomegranate just through the skin as if to cut it in quarters. Under water (to
prevent juice going everywhere and staining your clothes), use the knife as a wedge to snap each quarter apart. Using gentle pressure with your fingers, prise the seeds out. The seeds will sink, the pith will (mostly) float. Skim the surface to remove as much pith as possible as this can make the juice bitter (as will unripe pomegranates).

2. Place the pomegranate seeds into the TM bowl with the ice and water. 
Blend for 30 seconds on speed 9.
3. Strain the mixture using a sieve, pressing down on the pulp to extract as much juice as possible. The pulp can also be placed into several layers of cheesecloth and squeezed to get as much juice out as possible.
4. To clarify the juice, place a coffee filter inside a strainer and allow the juice to drip through it. This will collect any remaining impurities.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meal Plan - Thurs 5th Apr - Wed 11th Apr

Hot Cross Bun Baked Custard
Well, I've been absent for quite some time.  So much going on in my life that blogging definitely took a back seat.  That's not to say that I intend to be an intensive blogger, but I hope to put on here the occasional Thermomix conversion and my meal plans each week.

I have always found that life is simpler, shopping is more cost effective and wastage is much less when we do a meal plan.  I have done them on occasion, but seem to fall off the bandwagon too easily.  It doesn't make sense when there are so many good and practical reasons to do them.

There have been two factors in this resurgence of meal planning at The Opies.  One is that I have signed up to a CSA scheme here in Adelaide.  Jupiter Creek Farm is an exciting endeavour, and I'm pleased to be supporting local, organic and sustainable agriculture.  Each week we receive a box of fruit and veggies that are determined by them - i.e. I don't get a choice.  For some people, this would be a hugely scary prospect.  For me, it's a challenge that I want to take on.  So, each week, when I know what's in the box, I will do a meal plan to make the most of that produce.

The second impetus is Jo from Quirky Cooking's initiative on her blog to post and link up meal plans.  Her weekly post encourages participation and I love to take inspiration from her plans and those who link up.

You'll notice in my plan (which is a direct export from MacGourmet's Meal Planning module) I have a section for food preparation.  This is where I plonk things that need to be done in preparation for an upcoming meal, or it might be for making snacks or the like.

Do you do meal planning?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday Round Up

Here's what Thermie has been doing for me lately!

  • Blueberry pancakes (with bacon & maple syrup, mmmm!), creamed corn, Family Chowder
  • Breakfast smoothie, mashed potato
  • Breakfast smoothie, Gozleme (Janelle Bloom), custard
  • Blueberry & apple porridge, Dijon-style mustard, Tomato Salsa, grated cheese
  • Blueberry & apple porridge, Zucchini Slice (muffins), grated cheese (for nachos), Impossible Lemon Pie (absolutely delicious - highly recommended) 
  • It was my day off, so Thermie had a day off too!

        Saturday, May 28, 2011

        Saturday Round Up

        Here's what Thermie has been doing for me lately...

        • Blueberry & APPLE porridge (had to change things up a little), focaccia (EDC), pizza dough (used 1/2 to make 2 pizza bases for the freezer and 1/2 to make cheesy breadsticks), savoury toast mixture (used the focaccia as the base), onion & cheese sauce (to go with maple syrup corned beef which I cooked in my slow cooker - haven't tried it in the Thermomix yet)
        • Blueberry & apple porridge, orange juice, bechamel sauce, bolognaise sauce (using pepperonata), pasta dough (for lasagne)
        I hope your Thermomix has done some nice things for you this week as well.  I'm considering taking up the challenge of macarons next week??!?!?!?!  Help!!!