vanilla almond quinoa

breakfast bowl2 On a chilly winter morning, this is the perfect breakfast to warm you up and get your mind and body moving. It’s loaded with natural ingredients that are packed with the nutrition your body craves. If your pantry is not yet equipped with these versatile ingredients, I suggest you pick these staples up and get your natural foods pantry started. Quinoa, flax seed, almond milk, coconut oil, and maple syrup are among my cupboard essentials, and ingredients I use for a multitude of dishes and cuisines.

blueberry quinoa mise 6 quinoa mise 5

Quinoa, although often used as a substitute for grain dishes and savory sides, is not a grain at all, but a seed. As a complete protein, quinoa provides your body with all of the essential amino acids that it cannot manufacture on its own. Quinoa is naturally gluten free, is a good source of dietary fiber, and is high in magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. When cooking with quinoa it is important to rinse it well. Give it a good swirl in a pot of water, strain, rinse and repeat until the water runs clear. Why you ask is this step so important? Well, the outer layer of this seed is coated in saponines, a bitter compound that in nature protects quinoa from predators such as birds. So, rinse well and enjoy its nutty, mild flavors.

Flax seeds pack a powerful health punch. Studies suggest they reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Flax is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, keeping our digestive system happy and clean. Flax is very high in lignans, an estrogen-like compound found in plants that boasts great antioxidant qualities. Omega-3 fatty acids further enhance the nutrition profile of flax seeds. These healthy fats are important in a balanced diet and have been linked to health benefits such as the reduction of inflammation and improved cognition as we age.

Coconut oil adds more than just a sweet, nutty flavor to your foods; it is also one of the few plant based sources of lauric acid. Lauric acid, a compound also found in breast milk, plays important roles in brain and immune health. There is also increasing evidence that it acts as a powerful antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, thus a great oil to cook with.

These are among the staples in my pantry, they add loads of nutrition to each bite, are easy to incorporate into many dishes, and make great substitutes for their traditional counterparts. When making this breakfast bowl, be sure to note that quinoa more than doubles in size when cooked. This stores wonderfully throughout the week and makes breakfast not only fast, but easy and healthy. When reheating, just add a splash of water or almond milk.

Feel free to top this with your favorite nuts and berries. I love to add a little dried fruit for that chewy texture, some toasted almonds for a little crunch and fresh blueberries.

blueberry3 breakfast bowl4

ingredients

½ c organic quinoa, rinsed ½ c organic almond milk ½ c water 1 T coconut oil 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped 1 cinnamon stick a drizzle of maple, agave or honey

Place all ingredients in a small pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Depending on your preference, you may like to add more almond milk at the end. When eating quinoa for breakfast I like it to be just slightly on the soupy side. Top with your favorite berries and nuts.