New Year, New Grain.

Some may celebrate the beginning of a new year by eating black-eyed peas. Some may begin by setting a resolution.


I whip up a batch of Quinoa Oat Fruity Nutty Slightly Sweet Breakfast Cereal.

I guess the name needs some work, but it tasted divine.

To create this loveliness on your own, here's what you need:

1 Cup Rolled Oats 1 Cup Quinoa 4 Cups Water (for more sweetness, use half water and 1/2 fruit juice) 1/3 Cup Tapioca 1/2 Cup Dried Apples 1/4 Cup Dried Blueberries 1/4 Cup Raisins 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts (or your favorite nut) 1 Mashed Banana 2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon 1 Tablespoon Almond Extract 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon Honey

Combine all of the ingredients into a rice cooker, and let 'er rip. This is my rice cooker, I got it from Target for $30.

You can also cook this on the stove, but I was just being lazy.

Keep in mind that if you don't want to yield 4+ cups of this breakfast cereal, just divide everything in 1/2 (If you have 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1/2 cup of Quinoa, you need 2 cups of water). You can also add rice to the mix.  In the past, I've made recipes similar to this with Jasmine rice and wild rice with yummy results.

This was my first breakfast of 2010. Quinoa Oat Fruity Nutty Slightly Sweet Breakfast Cereal bathing in unsweetened almond milk, with a brown sugar hat. Yum!

I was in the middle of eating at this point, but that bite looked far too delicious to not document it for all of you. Agreed?

Prior to this morning, I had never tried quinoa before. Ever since my "meh" experience with Freekah, I've been kind of a wussy when it comes to branching out in the grains department. However, I was reading last week about quinoa in my "Staying Healthy with Nutrition" book for school. So naturally, when I saw an ENORMOUS bag of organic quinoa at Costco, I snatched it right up.

With no regard for whether I'd like it or not.

What can I say...I'm a woman of extremes.

According to my text, like Amaranth, Quinoa is native to Central America, and is a fairly new grain to America. Strangely, quinoa is more closely related to beets and green leafy vegetables than it is to any "grain" in existence. The author of my text, Elson M. Haas, MD, suggests that we call it a "vege-grain."

Quinoa is a quick-cooking grain, and can be purposed as a main or a side dish, used in soups and puddings, and as a flour in baking. Since quinoa is high in protein, iron, and calcium, and it has a mix of both B vitamins and other minerals, it is excellent from a nutrition standpoint.

Here's the nutritionals for my quinoa:

Not too shabby.

My personal opinion of quinoa is that I will be happily finding uses for the remaining 3.5 pounds left in my 4 pound bag. When it was cooking last night, I was skeptical because quinoa has a unique smell, and I am often guilty of basing my opinion of food on smell alone (**cough**Kabocha**cough**).

This time, I vowed not to make my judgement until after I ate the quinoa.

Although the smell was still unique and unusual, I definitely liked the combination of all of the fruity/nutty flavors. The quinoa itself adds a certain amount of nuttiness, which is why I thought it'd be great with fruity flavors.

If you want to break into the world of quinoa, this recipe is a great way to do it.

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