Sunday, April 15, 2012

Harvest Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has been getting more and more attention in the media as it's packed with protein (9g per 1 cup cooked) and fiber (6g per 1 cup cooked). Ancient Incas used the grain, which is more like a seed than our traditional grains, in so many of their staple dishes. Similar to how some cultures have rice or millet for breakfast, I wouldn't be surprised if the Incas started their day with quinoa. We can use their "mother grain" as inspiration to add plant based protein to power up breakfast and add a different dimension if you're stuck in a rut.
My inspiration started last week. I was going to a Food, Stress and the Brain seminar and I knew my stress of getting there on time would most definitely affect my breakfast choice. My standard oatmeal with fruits, nuts and flaxseed was going to take about 2 minutes too long. See, I have this horrible habit of forgetting to schedule the realistic time it takes me to get ready in the morning, more so when I have to be somewhere by a specific time. I decided to make my breakfast the night before with a quinoa and oatmeal blend cooked in soy milk with dashes of my favorite: vanilla and cinnamon...fabulous choice! Not only did it re-heat quickly, but the berries added the burst of sweetness paired with the fluffy whole grains.
Harvest Berry Breakfast Quinoa
If you're a large breakfast eater, makes about 3-4 servings

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed (this eliminates any bitter residue)
2 1/2 cup soy or almond milk, original or vanilla
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
ground flax seed, optional
brown sugar, optional

1. Combine quinoa, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a steady, slow simmer, stirring occasionally until quinoa is tender and translucent (about 15 minutes). In last 5 minutes of cooking, add the oatmeal. Cover and cook until oatmeal is plumped and cooked.
2. Serve in bowl and top with defrosted mixed berries. Or, place grains and berries in microwave for 30 seconds at a time to defrost.
3. Sprinkle with flax seed, brown sugar and prepare to energize yourself with a deliciously powered breakfast! 
Note: If storing the quinoa mixture overnight, it will thicken substantially. If you like it this way, fabulous. If not, add additional milk when re-heating.

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