Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins

It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc.

quiona

While quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called Chenopodium or Goosefoot, related to chard and spinach. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and has a similar effect as other whole grains in helping to stabilize blood sugar. It has a waxy protective coating called saponin which can leave a bitter taste.

For best results, rinse quinoa before you cook it or even soak it for a few hours or overnight. When cooked, it has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Try it in soups, salads, as a breakfast porridge or as its own side dish.

For quinoa, and whole grains in general, the majority of digestion occurs in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your grains well and with awareness. A great meditation is to find a calm place-without distractions, and to sit down for your meal.

Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. See how this simple practice can help your digestion and overall focus for the rest of your day.

Savory Quinoa Pilaf

Prep Time
3 minutes

Cooking Time
30-40 minutes

Yield
4 servings

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa
2 1/4 cups water or stock
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
pinch of salt

Method
Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.
Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, cover and reduce heat.
After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top; do not stir.
Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.

The next recipe is one of my favourites. There is nothing quite like the taste of browned butter in baked goods, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Brown Butter Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time
15 minutes

Cooking Time
9-12 minutes per batch

Yield
2-3 dozen depending on size of cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 79 grams of butter
  • 91 grams of Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Whisk together the flour, oats baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all spice, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

2. Use a stick blend to break up the quinoa if you want a less crunchy cookie.

3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

4. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yogurt, vanilla, and molasses until smooth and creamy. Add quinoa. Then add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Chill dough in fridge for about 2 hours to overnight.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grab a large tablespoon or so of dough and roll into a ball and roll in sugar mixture. Place dough balls on cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from oven and cool the cookies on sheets about 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. If you like cookies with a crispier edges, bake about 12 minutes. They will still remain soft on the inside.

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