Tag Archives: dried apricots

Another Muesli Recipe

This recipe differs in both ingredients and method from the one I posted two years ago. I like both for different reasons, as you’ll see.

Two years ago I wrote about Homemade Muesli, one where I hand-chop all the fruit and nuts and toast the oats. It’s a great recipe because of the large pieces of everything—dried apricots, almonds, raisins, figs, coconut. As I wrote then, it’s great to get all the chewing from muesli. Maybe that’s why you don’t need much of it, 1/4-1/3 cup soaked in some almond milk. It’s plenty for breakfast and you don’t get a sugar high like you do from commercial cereals, including commercial muesli. You get more of a steady, balanced addition to your daily diet.

A few months ago, I started mixing part of the ingredients in the food processor—nuts, apricots, figs—where the results are these little clusters of energy balls that stick together even after mixing with grains and coconut and seeds. They still have some chewiness, but I would say less than the other muesli. That’s the one I’m showing you today.

Muesli Recipe II

  • Servings: makes about 2 lbs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; line a sheet pan with parchment paper, which makes it super easy to pour the toasted grains into a bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb  whole grain rolled oats
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1/2-1 cup seasoned sunflower seeds
  • 1/2-1 cup pumpkin seeds (my grocery was out of these!)
  • 15 dried apricots
  • 15 dried Sierra figs (a green-skinned fig, it is lighter in color and has a tougher dried skin than the mission fig, for example)
  • 1 cup oven-roasted, lightly salted almonds
  • 1 cup shelled walnuts

Preparation

  • Mix together the oats, wheat germ, and coconut. The coconut and wheat germ are less likely to scorch if you mix them with the oats. Spread out on parchment-lined pan and toast in oven for 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before lifting the parchment and pouring all into a large mixing bowl with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  • Place the apricots, figs, almonds, and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients reach a fairly uniform consistency with some variation, but don’t process too much or you will make a paste. Pour the fruit-nut mixture into the bowl with the grains and seeds and stir until well mixed. The pulsed fruit and nuts will form into little balls of varying sizes, and this is what you want. Some of the wheat germ will stick to them, as well as some of the little seeds.
  • Let it all cool completely in the bowl, stirring occasionally, before pouring into a container with a tight lid.

Serve in 1/4-1/3 cup servings soaked for about 20 minutes in almond milk or the milk of your choice. You could alternately put the moistened muesli in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm up. I let mine sit while I drink that second cup of morning coffee.

Apricot Walnut Stuffed Chicken Roll

I just had to know if that other method of de-boning a chicken/turkey, the one where you start at the breasts and work around to the back, was any better than the one where you start at the backbone, and I’m glad I tried it before Thanksgiving, because I now know not to use it on the turkey. I’ll stick with the traditional method of starting at the backbone. See videos of the two methods here: Turkey Planning or Am I Crazy? I didn’t have any trouble taking the carcass out and keeping the skin intact, but I ended up creating two holes trying to get the wing bones out. I had a terrible time getting the leg bones out, as well, something that wasn’t hard in the other method. In addition, I don’t like how this method leaves the breast meat on the outside edges instead of mostly in the center. Yes, you can move the tenders to the center and butterfly the breasts to fill in empty spaces, but I found it easier in the other method.

Anyway, I decided to make this roll different from last week’s with a fruit and nut stuffing. I happened to have dried unsweetened apricots and walnuts on hand, so that seemed like a good way to vary the stuffing. I had already picked up a loaf of Pain de Campagne for the bread crumbs, and I always have celery and onion on hand. The stock from the carcass and other bones was simmering on the stove, so it was easy to put together while the de-boned chicken rested in the fridge.

This time, I set up a large cutting board in a sheet pan lined with paper towels to keep the work mess contained. As you can see, it all worked out, and the good news is that once stuffed and rolled up, it still makes a company-worthy main dish.

Apricot Walnut Stuffing

  • Servings: makes 3-4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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I made this stuffing with fresh bread, because I like a soft crumb, but you can toast the crumbs in the oven to dry out and brown first, or you can use croutons.

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 large onion, diced

1 cup chopped celery, preferably from the innermost stalks with leaves

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

about 5 cups bread crumbs, pulsed in the food processor until roughly chopped

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Stir in onion and celery, cooking until translucent.
  2. Stir in apricots, walnuts, and herbs to combine.
  3. Stir in bread crumbs or pour butter mixture over crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  4. Slowly add chicken stock to moisten stuffing mixture so that the crumbs are still distinct. You might not need all the stock, depending on the texture of your bread. Very fresh bread that has not been allowed to become stale will need a lot less stock. Also keep in mind that the apricots, even though dried, will release some moisture into the finished stuffing.
  5. Stuff your bird or pork chops or whatever meat you’re having, or place in buttered dish and bake at about 375° for 25 minutes or until browned.

I must say that I am the worst at slicing these rolls and have tried all kinds of knives. It doesn’t really matter, but it does annoy me. The larger turkey will have to cook longer, so maybe it will hold together better.

Homemade Muesli

I’ve been eating a good muesli product, but there were a few seeds in it that I didn’t like, so I decided to make my own. Muesli is pretty much like granola, but without the fat and sugar used to bind it together into crunchy chunks. I find it hard to find a tasty cereal product that doesn’t have added sugar, but I enjoy muesli soaked in a little almond milk. The dried fruit has plenty of sugar in it for me, and I like that muesli requires some work in the chewing. I think that’s why it’s satisfying, because you don’t just slurp it down like the cereals that get soggy.

Muesli is generally raw food, but you can toast the grains and nuts first for a little added flavor, and you can cook it as you would any whole grain cereal. If there is a perfect ratio of elements in muesli, I don’t know what it is; I put mine together based on how it looked, which came out to about half grain flakes and half fruit, nuts and seeds. For seasoning, I used some cinnamon and a little salt.

Muesli

  • Servings: about 9-10 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 375°

1 lb Bob’s Red Mill® Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (or your favorite oats or a combination of grain flakes)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted

1 cup roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped

1 cup raisins

1 cup unsweetened, dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened, dried coconut flakes

Optional: 1/4 cup chopped figs or dates (I used figs)

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Mix oats and cinnamon, and salt, if using. Spread on baking sheet and toast until you can smell the cinnamon, about 5-7 minutes. Do not allow to burn. Remove to large mixing bowl.
  2. Add seeds, nuts, and fruit to warm oats and stir to combine. Cool completely before placing in container with tight lid.

For breakfast, I eat about 1/4 cup soaked in almond milk for about 20 minutes to soften the oats a little. Alternatively, you can add heated milk or you can cook it in milk.