When I first met my husband, he certainly had what I would call a refined palate. But was in no way, shape or form a “natural” or “mindful eater.” He was a football player and ate whenever he felt hungry, whatever was available. Which, thanks to his mother, was pretty darn good food.
I, his wife to be, was a health nut. Organics, non-GMO’s, super foods, local markets/produce, and seasonality were all factors when we went grocery shopping. Oh, was he in for an awakening when his hunger came into my care.
In moving from our frugal post-college situations, onto living in Asia, trying new foods and eating cultures, and now to the Pacific Northwest, we have tried on lots of foodie hats. We toyed with diets rich in fish and rice, tasted awkward veggies (that I didn’t always cook properly,) and even went the vegetarian route. But we’ve always stuck to what was seasonal, what was available, and what was easy.
Today, we are complete and total endurance junkies – we spend our weekends running for hours, sometimes days on trails and we work up quite an appetite. As such, we’ve made adjustments to our diet to accommodate our running, and meet our nutritional needs. I’ve been surprised to see that Derek hasn’t winced with the fact that meat isn’t always on the menu and when it is, its well sourced (think locally, mindfully raised.)
Rather, my husband has lost 20 lbs and now can be find restocking our natural grain containers in the pantry on his own trips to the market (where he also picks up organic milk and gluten-free cereal!) And, I think we have the ease, taste, nutritional value and flexibility of quinoa to thank.
The man weighs 200 lbs – when he doesn’t get enough protein, the whole neighborhood knows. Enter quinoa. It is the only plant food that contains a balanced set of amino acids, building blocks necessary for muscle recovery and building in athletes (and all humans!) More often than not, the fastest way for us to refuel is with legumes and grains. We need the protein, the carbohydrates, the substantial nature of these foods and we need them FAST. Enter amazing quinoa. High in protein, as well as being an excellent example of the alternative grains, South American native quinoa cooks up faster than pasta and can stand up in nearly all recipes where rice or pasta would. And, it comes in a variety of colors which lend their own flavor to dishes — flexible light brown, nutty red, and sultry black.
Quinoa can be used….
-as risotto staple instead of arborio rice
-as a fast lunch tossed with leftover veggies or beans.
-as hot cereal with berries and honey
-as a salad ingredient, cooked and tossed with greens, grilled veggies, and your favorite dressing
Or, in my latest favorite recipe, a multigrain skillet recipe where whole cooked quinoa (rather than quinoa flour) is the star. It has completely taken the place of almost all other breads, rolls, and especially cornbread in our house because its quick, and filled with protein. It pairs nicely with soups, salads, or practically anywhere!
This recipe has a minimal amount of gluten (from the spelt) and is not vegan, though could be made so by substituting the milk and yogurt for soy varieties. The eggs can be substituted with 1 tablespoon flax seed + 1 tablespoon warm water for each egg. Enjoy! – xo
- 1 tbsp butter, for pan
- 1 c spelt flour
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tablespoon thyme, rosemary or other dried herbs (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (prepare 2 cups of dried quinoa w/ 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cup water or broth...the same way you would rice. Simmer until cooked through and not 'al dente.'
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 c milk (or soy milk)
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. About 10 minutes before your batter is ready to bake, put the butter into a cast iron skillet and allow to warm.
- Combine the first 6 dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix well to be sure that there are no pockets of salt or baking soda! 😀
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs a bit. This makes them easier to incorporate into the batter.
- Combine the quinoa with the last 5 wet ingredients and mix well. Then add the beaten eggs. Again....mix!
- Lastly, combine the wet and dry ingredients together, being sure that ALL of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is as smooth as can be.
- Pour the batter into the prepared, hot pan. It will be quite fluid - don't worry. 🙂
- Bake for 45 - 60 minutes depending on your oven. If you like, you can finish the bread off under the broiler for a bit of a browning on top.
- Slice and eat with hummus or butter or....