Esme would eat oatmeal porridge every day of her life if we were willing to make it. Hottest day in July? No matter, she wants porridge. I was interviewing nutrition whiz and regular SPC contributor Theresa Albert recently about breakfast and how important it is to set your (and your kids') blood sugar on an even keel for the day. Of course I took the opportunity to brag about Esme's preferred morning meal. That's all fine and well, Theresa explained, but carbs alone won't get your kids through the morning. Hmph. Okay, Theresa, what will? It seems that while carbohydrates are fast burners (although whole grains are slower), proteins are slow burners. Meaning that it takes your body longer to process them, leaving you satisfied longer. "You need the one two punch of proteins with your carbs." She recommended adding chopped or ground almonds to our porridge to up the protein quotient.
Which got me thinking about quinoa. The high protein value in quinoa make it an unusual grain. We have it at dinner once in awhile, made into a pilaf. But why not as a breakfast? After some tinkering around I came up with this recipe. It's not exactly like oatmeal in that quinoa will always have a slightly chewy texture. But the flavour is great and I don't know if it's the protein but you feel full all the way to lunch after a small bowl of this stuff. After some suspicious pokes of their spoons, both kids tucked right into this. And it does not muck up a pot the way oatmeal does. Porridge, your day in the sun may be over.…
photos: Stacey Boag
1 cup quinoa
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried apricots, choppped
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
Always rinse your quinoa before you cook it, to remove its bitter tasting coating called saponin. I use a fine mesh sieve and run cold water over it for a minute or two. Some people soak their quinoa for 10 minutes but I'm usually too impatient and the rinse does a good job.
Put quinoa milk, water and cinnamon in a small pot on the stove over medium. Let it simmer for about ten minutes before adding the apricots. Stir regularly. Let it simmer for another ten minutes. It will drink up all the liquid. Watch it, you might need to add a little more. You want a consistency that's looser and saucier than if you were making rice or cous cous for dinner. Serve with chopped nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.