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    ALL IN: Horsham’s Chris and Kim Van Buuren encourage their children, from left, Janay, Zac, Amelia and Malakai, to help out in the kitchen.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Prep saves time, simple creates healthy


It is well known that if a person thinks something sounds too good to be true, they are probably right.

But when you are a parent of young children – strapped for time and stressed from work – sometimes the simplest ‘too-good-to-be-true’ idea is actually the best, for both your health and your sanity.

Kim Van Buuren, a Horsham mum of four children and Thermomix consultant, knows this to be true.

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And as the end of January approaches, Mrs Van Buuren said it was the perfect time for parents to start thinking about getting back into a routine that reduces cooking times and ramps up the health-factor of meals.

She said this included taking time out on the weekend to prepare meals and snacks, and buying basic, whole food ingredients so food is simple, tasty and free from additives. 

“We’re all time poor, because we try to fit a lot into our day. I’m the same. I’m a mum of four and working, so there’s nothing worse than having to get all these different machines out or run down to the grocery store for extra things,” she said.

“Anything that is simple and fresh is just amazing. 

“So, making recipes on a Sunday and freezing them is an awesome way to save time.”

Mrs Van Buuren said her four children, Janay, 13, Zac, 12, Malakai, 11, and Amelia, 9, were big fans of simple foods like sausage rolls, which she said were equally as simple to hide extra vegetables.

She said while her family took advantage of its Thermomix to reduce time in the kitchen, having any straightforward healthy recipes on-hand or already made was key to reducing much of the added stress of meal times.

She said simple recipes also encouraged children to help out in the kitchen.

“I find for parents, especially with children who are getting a bit older, and whether it’s Thermomix or not, if the children are able to spend time cooking, they appreciate the time and effort that goes into preparing their food more,” she said.

“Because a lot of the recipes we make at home are really easy, my kids can do everything I do. 

“So, we have them cook once a week as well and they enjoy it because it’s their chance to cook what they want.”

A couple of Mrs Van Buuren’s favourite easy-to-make Thermomix meals are below, which can also be altered for non-Thermomix users. 

Sausage rolls

Ingredients: one carrot; one small zucchini; one onion, halved; one garlic glove or one spoon minced garlic; 500g sausage mince; 500g pork mince; two tablespoons barbecue sauce; two tablespoons tomato sauce; one egg; six sheets puff pastry; one extra egg, beaten; two tablespoons sesame seeds or black poppy seeds.

Method: Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 210 degrees fan-forced. Place carrot, zucchini, onion and garlic clove into the Thermomix bowl. Grate on speed nine for five seconds or until mixture is fine. Place grated vegetables into a strainer and squeeze out all of the excess liquid. Return to the Thermomix bowl.

Add the sausage mince, pork mince, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce and egg to the Thermomix bowl. Mix on reverse speed five for 30 seconds or until completely combined, using the spatula to help mix.

Cut one sheet of defrosted puff pastry in half. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg mixture down one long side of each half.

Place sausage mix in a long thin line down the opposite side. Roll into a long thin roll making sure that the joined pastry seam is facing down.

Cut each roll into five pieces. Brush lightly with the egg mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or black poppy seeds and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and puffed.

Healthy apricot balls

Ingredients: 190g dried apricots; 70g rolled oats; 20g desiccated coconut; one tablespoon chia seeds; two tablepoons coconut oil, melted; two tablespoons rice malt syrup or honey.

Method: Chop the dried apricots on speed eight for five seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix together on speed six for 10 seconds.

Roll the mixture into balls. If it is too crumbly, add a bit more honey or rice malt syrup and mix again.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to two months.

The entire January 15, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!