Mamatoga Sunday Brunch: Sweet Breakfast Quinoa

Since last week's brunch recipe was far from what can be called "healthy" I thought this week I could share a healthier dish that is just as tasty. As you readers know, quinoa is one of my favorite foods, and for good reason. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas”. The Incas recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Their armies could march for days eating a mixture of quinoa and fat known as “war balls”. This sweet quinoa recipe won't be as hard core as the war balls of the Incas, but it is guaranteed to get your energy up and keep you full and satisfied. This is a kid pleaser as well, since you can let them add whatever they want to make it their own, and the cinnamon already makes it super appealing to even picky breakfast eaters. Plus, this recipe is easily customizable to make it totally dairy and gluten free! 1 cup vanilla coconut milk (or your choice of milk) 1 cup water 1 cup organic quinoa (make sure to pre-rinse quinoa)*** 2 cups fresh berries or fruit of your choice 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup chopped pecans or almonds 4 teaspoons organic agave nectar

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in berries/fruit and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with nuts (if desired). Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving. You can also top it with some greek yogurt or soy yogurt for an extra protein and flavor boost too!

Serves 4

***Make sure you soak and rinse the quinoa before cooking it to remove any of the saponins that naturally coat quinoa seed. Since quinoa seeds are pretty small, the method I’ve found to be successful is to soak the amount you’re planning on cooking in hot water for about ten minutes, then put a lid on the pot you’re soaking them in and carefully drain the water out. I would recommend rinsing them in cold water one or two times after this as well.