Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Making Creamy Quinoa for Breakfast

“Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a grain that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America not yet well known in North America. Quinoa's origins are truly ancient. It was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. It is light, tasty, and easy to digest. It is not sticky or heavy like most other grains, and it has a delicious flavor all its own. Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe. It looks and tastes great on its own, or in any dish from soup to salad. Its lightness combined with its versatility in cold dishes like salads and desserts makes it an ideal source of good summertime nutrition - makes an excellent source of nourishment for infants and children.”  - taken from Quinoa Harvest

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For many years, I would have a piece of toast or 2 (depending on how hungry I was) and a cup of tea in the mornings - that was my staple breakfast. I can't eat a big breakfast as that weighs me down and I don't eat for the rest of the day. It became a challenge after becoming gluten free (gf) as the store bought breads were very pricey and I wasn't successful at making my own.

Several months ago, my hubby and I went on an detox that modified our diets a little bit. I have been cooking whole foods for many years, eating less processed foods, but this detox made us realize that our food choices could be better. I've seen a recipe for eating hot quinoa for breakfast. I've been eating quinoa as a starch and even made a salad with it, but to eat it hot, in the mornings would be weird - so I thought.

I decided to take a try at making quinoa for breakfast. At first, I didn't like it, it was a textural thing. I started to put more milk in it and tried to make it creamier and I think I got a pretty good recipe. It fills me up and gets me going in the mornings. I just can't eat too much or it'll carry me over lunch. It is so simple to make and 1 cup of dried quinoa makes a lot of creamy quinoa. Here's my recipe:

1 c. dried quinoa (I don't wash it, never did)
2-3 c. almond milk (any non dairy or low fat milk will do)
2 tb. sugar (I use Zulka - Mexican pure cane sugar)
Toasted, slivered almonds
You'll also need an immersion blender or regular a blender along with a sauce pan and a frying pan

First you toast your almonds - with your stove on medium and using a non stick frying pan, put in a handful or 2 of almonds in the pan (I wouldn't walk away, stay there till finished - it'll only take several minutes). Give your pan a few seconds to heat up then stir your almonds. Soon you will see some of the almonds start to get toasty, you'll hear a slight crackling sound - be careful, it could burn, don't take it too far. When it's as toasty brown as you'd like, pour onto a plate to cool. After cooling, store in a sealable container or baggie for future use. **Note: almonds and other nuts should be stored in the freezer, the oils in them could make them go bad fast.**

While your almonds are cooling, place your quinoa, sugar and milk into a sauce pan and turn your heat to  medium high. Let everything come to a simmering boil, then start to stir - just like making risotto. Stir for a few moments, then cover your pan and leave till all the milk has been absorbed by the quinoa - mine took approximately 30 minutes. **It was at this time that I dropped my sugar container on the floor and it made a mess - don't do what I did.**

Take your pan off the heat and pour about a 1/2 cup of your milk in with the cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Using your boat motor (immersion blender), process the quinoa (you are essentially breaking it up), move it all around the pan in an up and down motion until it is nice and thick and all the milk has been absorbed. If you don't have a boat motor, you can just put all the ingredients into a blender and process. Your quinoa will now have a creamy texture to it. You can eat it warm or place in a covered container to store in frig for future breakfasts. This not recommended as a cold cereal . . .  I heat mine up in the morning with a touch more milk for more creaminest and sprinkle on some toasted almonds.

It took me a little bit to get used to eating quinoa for breakfast, but now I love it and miss it when I run out. It's not too sweet, it satisfies my tummy, and keeps me going all morning.

All done

Happy eating!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this recipe or any of my other posts. Thanks!

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