This statement has been drummed into your head since childhood :” Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. And, unlike other pronouncements, such as “If you cross your eyes, they will stay that way”, this one certainly rings true.
Breakfast revs our engines, and provides fuel for our action-packed days, bestowing needed nourishment for our hungry bodies after they have been in sleepy repose.
No need for elaborate multi-course affairs; save that for weekends and special occasions. I’m talking simple meals that are one step up from the grab-and-go of sticky sweet baked goods, which can leave you depleted by ten AM. Yes, something you can quickly heat and eat with a spoon (and no, you are not encouraged to stand and eat like me on busy weekdays; I will be happy knowing you take the time to sit and chew).
I suppose you could call today’s breakfast quinoa a cereal, since there is grain, a bowl and milk if you so desire. But if, like me, you require protein and a little high quality fat to keep your energy steady and prevent pre-lunch jitters, quinoa is your buddy. Quinoa, with six grams of protein per uncooked one quarter cup serving, packs a protein wallop, and toasted almonds are a remarkable source of beneficial unsaturated fats. Add the colossal antioxidant power of chia seeds and dried cranberries, and you have a power breakfast. A generous sprinkling of cinnamon help keep blood sugar levels steady. The addition of local honey may be gilding the lily, but the dish does not even remotely resemble kids’ super sweetened cereals. Let’s call this quinoa honey-kissed.
Honey today comes from Stapleton’s Apiary in Glen Allen, Virginia and was purchased at Little House Green Grocery in nearby Bellevue. I use organic Earthly Choice quinoa, which may be purchased at Costco in a huge bag, and in smaller bags at grocery stores. You may also purchase quinoa from bulk bins at natural food stores and some commercial grocers. Earthly Choice is pre- rinsed, with none of the bitter saponins of other brands; this eliminates a step, but is not a requirement for tasty quinoa. Chia seeds are inexpensive if bought in bulk, and last for months at room temperature in a cool place. I like to toast almonds with the skins on, for the flavor and fiber. They may be roughly chopped by hand or pulsed in the food processor.
In an ideal world, I would eat breakfast tostadas each and every day. Like most folks, I lack the time and inclination to commit the simple act of egg frying on work days, so an easy breakfast in a bowl is the way to go. This is a make ahead dish – freeze and reheat as needed. Once cooled, portion the breakfast quinoa into freezable bags or containers. After defrosting, be sure to reheat in glassware, not plastic, with a loose cover in the microwave, in 20 second bursts, fluffing with a fork, until just hot. Top with milk of your choice if so desired.
You are welcome to customize the mix with all manner of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and spices.
Here’s your chance to triumph over your childhood persona who had to be cajoled and coaxed into eating The Most Important Meal of the Day.
breakfast quinoa with toasted almonds, cranberries and chia seeds
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes six generous one cup servings
1 1/2 cups golden quinoa
1/4 t fine sea salt
one cup toasted almonds
one cup dried cranberries
2 T chia seeds
3 T honey, preferably local
1 t ground cinnamon
- Rinse quinoa under cold water if necessary; place quinoa and salt in 2 quart saucepan with 3 cups cold water and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
- Stir and simmer, covered, until most of water is absorbed and quinoa is tender but nice and chewy, with fine filaments visible around the grains, about 15 minutes. Let rest covered off heat another 15 minutes.
- In large mixing bowl, gently combine quinoa with remainder of ingredients.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before packing into containers.
- Breakfast quinoa will last in the fridge for 2-3 days, and in the freezer for 1-2 months.
- To heat (after defrosting), place in glass dish, cover loosely with paper towel or napkin, and microwave in 20 second bursts, fluffing with fork, until just hot.