Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quinoa: The Mother Grain


Super Breakfast Bowl Challenge #4 Quinoa Won’t be Mean to Ya!

By: Corinne Dobbas of Green Grapes Blog

Okay—perhaps a semi-cheesy title, but hey—after ya read why quinoa should be your new ladle to your pot—or for those who don’t take a liken’ to the kitchen—bread to your sandwich … you’ll see why…


Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is a nutritional powerhouse, according to not just I, but the ancient Incas. In fact, quinoa was so highly revered by those from its motherland—South America—that this lil’ protein, fiber-filled nugget was referred to as “the mother grain.” That’s a pretty gosh darn BIG title, if I don’t say so myself!

Today, dozens of foodie-nutrition blogs, health mags, and popular press tout quinoa’s “mother grain” status and often refer to it as “the super grain of the future.” However, I like to think of quinoa as the super grain of all time—past, present, and future (ya know … just to be clear here). But, before we get ahead of ourselves, I must provide you with the disclaimer that although quinoa presents as a grain … it’s actually the seed of the plant, Chenopodium quinoa. This plant is related to beets, chard, and spinachwho knew?!? Okay, I’ll refrain my inner dorkdum…but, really—isn’t that cool?

A Nutrition Lover’s Ode to Quinoa

What makes quinoa so absolutely fantastic is:

  • It’s a WHOLE GRAIN! …okay, a whole seed!
  • It contains more protein than any other grain or seed!
  • It’s a complete protein! Meaning quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, or building blocks, our bodies need to form new proteins and keep our lean, green, mean, disease-fighting machine system in top-notch!
  • It’s splashed with a good dose of gut, heart, and healthy- weight lovin’ fiber
  • It’s laced with lysine! No—this is NOT somethin’ to worry about! Lysine is an amino acid essential for tissue growth and repair.
  • It’s gluten and wheat free—those with wheat/gluten allergies, rejoice!

A Foodie’s Ode to Quinoa

  • Its fluffiness accompanied by crunchiness offers up an escape from the ordinary grain.
  • Its delicate nutty flavor tantalizes the palate.
  • It’s a pretty cheap tasty health food!
  • Although mellow yellow is the most popular variety, quinoa exists in many different colors, including orange, pink, yellow, purple, and black. Get lookin’ for it and experiment with color in the kitchen!
  • It’s versatile! Quinoa can be used in soups, salads, breads, puddings, breakfast cereal—you name it, and I betcha quinoa can do it!
  • Quinoa will adjust to your foodie schedule. It can be cooked in a pinch--in the microwave—or with more time—on the stovetop.

Now, for a lil’ Super Breakfast Bowl Challenge Fun!

Today, we’re eating breakfast and lickin’ up new b-fast duds while we’re at it! The new b-fast food today is—can you guess?!?—quinoa! Now, I usually dig my quinoa ensconced in a smattering of veggies… at dinner time (I tell ya, I’m addicted to my oats), but NOP—not today my friends. See—even I had to challenge myself! Today, I had to get creative … so, I thought of what flavors, textures, and smells jive together. And, by-gosh-by-golly-gee … I think I got a winner!

Cinnamon-Cran Quinoa

Servings per recipe: 1

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Cook quinoa (microwave for 4-5 minutes in 1/2 cup water. If heating on stovetop, follow package instructions. Generally, the ratio of quinoa to water is kept to a 1:2 ratio)
  • When done cooking and still hot, add the Light Laughing Cow Wedge to the Quinoa and stir until creamy and dissolving
  • Add cranberries, cinnamon, and honey or brown sugar to the mix and stir!
  • Enjoy!


Nutrition Facts per Serving: 338 calories, 4 grams fat, 70 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams protein, 5 grams fiber

Step Up & Send in Your Quinoa Breakfasty Goodness!

If Ms. Healthy in a Skillet (aka yours truly) can whip something up, you can too! AND—I want to see watcha got! So … send in your quinoa breakfast duds to TheSuperBreakfastBowlChallenge@gmail.com along with a picture of your FAB dish and its recipe! If ya win, not only will YOU be featured on all 5 of our blogs, BUT you’ll get a bunch of Newman’s Own Organics products—everything from delicious, decadent, dark chocolate to dried fruit to super sassy soy crisps!

Looking forward to your Quinoa Recipes!

Happy Healthifying!

Corinne at Green Grapes Blog

I just love quinoa in the mornings! I eat it like oatmeal-a little bit of almond milk, some cinnamon, some stevia, maybe a little flax!

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