My New Favorite Food: Quinoa

quinoa

Yesterday, while out running errands, I decided to swing by the grocery store to pick up blueberries for my morning bowl of cereal.  I intended on walking over to the produce aisle, grabbing a couple of blueberry containers, getting in the express checkout lane and continuing on my way.  I am not sure why I ever convince myself that this is how a trip to the grocery store will unfold. Inevitably, I walk out with a shopping cart brimming full of new and exciting  foods.I am usually the type of shopper who knows exactly what I am looking for, and I grab it and go.  I don’t like to take a lot of time browsing the aisles.  There is one exception, however. I can’t help but take a leisurely stroll down the cereal aisle for two reasons: first, I LOVE cereal!  I have a bowl every morning and usually another bowl later on as a snack.  The second reason is because at the end of my grocery store’s cereal aisle is the healthy food/organic aisle.  I scrupulously study each item wondering if some of the goodies are worth the extra money for smaller packages or if I am a marketer’s dream.

I was able to resist everything – nearly! Just as I was talking myself out of the aisle, I saw a food that I’ve been reading a lot about: quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a South American “grain” (it’s actually the seed of a plant).  Apparently the Incas believed this grain to be sacred and referred to it as “the mother of all grains.”  It turns out that quinoa is one of the healthiest grains out there! It has anywhere between  12 – 18 percent protein, and it is the only grain considered to be a complete protein because it has all 8 essential amino acids.  It’s also easy to digest since it’s gluten-free.

For dinner, I cooked the quinoa in my rice cooker.  I wasn’t sure how to eat it, so I dumped it into my potato leek soup.  It was absolutely fabulous!  In fact, I think I am having it again tonight for dinner.  The subtle nutty flavor of the grain complemented my soup perfectly.  Not to mention the fact that dinner consisted of pushing a button down on a rice cooker and setting the microwave to heat the soup – 15 minutes and dinner was served.

I looked up quinoa in my rice cooker cook book and found a dessert recipe that looked amazing!  I am going to try it this week and update you on Thursday, hopefully with nice pictures!

I can’t wait to try out all the different kinds of recipes I can make with this tasty grain! Here are a few recipes to get me started:

Simple Quinoa Pilaf

Breakfast Quinoa

Smooth Broccoli and Quinoa

Sweet Dumpling Pumpkin and Quinoa Mash

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