Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Breakfast #21: Breakfast Quinoa Cereal

Sometimes I feel that the only time I can hear myself think is early in the morning, when the world is still asleep. Then, there is no one to interrupt the steady train of important musings that go through my head like: What is the meaning of life? What will we have for dinner? Should we be making more long term investments? Should I get a new laptop? When will I finally make no-knead bread? Why can’t we all just get along?

In the silence of the early hours, the answers to these questions seem almost within my reach...if not staring right at me. (Love, tinapang bangus*, yes, yes, next week, start with me). As the day wears on, the din of work, errands, cooking, washing my snazzy new top, coordinating schedules drown out all but the most persistent of thoughts (what will we have for dinner?). Don’t get me wrong, I do love the wonderful clamour of friends and loved ones, but we all need a little quiet time (me-time) for just us.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for this body to get out of bed in those early hours, so these important questions are often left unanswered. (Hence the lack no-knead bread on this blog or sophisticated financial instruments in my life – although I’m happy to report the new laptop did make it). Most days I just launch myself head-on into the racket of everyday.

This breakfast is good for both – early-waking, slow-blooming days, as well as rapid-rise, hit-the-ground-running days.

Breakfast Quinoa Cereal
(adapted from
culinography – original recipe here, along with quinoa preparation)
  • 1 cup prepared quinoa
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
  • Dried fruit and nuts (the amount depends on how chunky you want it and the kinds are up to your taste – I used a small handful of raisins, dried figs, walnuts, and pine nuts)

- Place prepared quinoa in a small saucepan with milk, butter, honey, dried fruit, and nuts.
- Simmer, stirring often, until thickened slightly...about 5 minutes.
- Garnish with extra nuts and honey if you want. This will feed one hungry person or two regular ones :)

I learned about quinoa through (where else?) food blogs and, as I love grains of all kinds (although quinoa is technically a seed – but I love those too), kept my eyes peeled. I found some last year in ThreeSixty, and organic grocery in Hong Kong, and have since found it in a health food store here...and have been loving it from that day. For someone who has eaten (white) rice with almost every meal of her life, it is liberating to suddenly have more choices! Especially one as pleasingly nutty and springy and cute (little curlicue!) as quinoa. And did I mention healthy? And ancient (referred to as the Mother Grain by the Incas)? Learn more here and here.

I’ve had quinoa in other savoury preparations but when I saw this breakfast dish I knew I had to try it! And Michelle’s enticing photo was proof that resistance would be futile. I’m glad I didn’t resist. Earthy, comforting, fortifying...with a steadfast “back-to-basics” quality with every bite. Not to mention delicious! This is a simple recipe with which you can play -- add spice when cooking (Michelle uses cinnamon) or top with fresh fruit before eating!

Whether you wake at the crack of dawn or the last possible minute, this breakfast can be had by you. Just prepare the quinoa ahead (and you’ll have extra for quick meals too...a good thing this) and mix everything in a small saucepan the next morning, which really doesn’t take much time at all. Just enough time to ponder one or two of life’s all-important questions :)

Other quinoa breakfasts:
101 Cookbooks
Morsels & Musings
Closet Cooking
Food Blogga

*Tinapang bangus is smoked milkfish...much loved in our household!


Manggy said...

Mmhmm, and did you count as a regular person or a hungry one? Haha :) It looks very hearty, Joey-- I haven't yet tried quinoa from Healthy Options. One day we'll go through all the packages of Bob's Red Mill products! Dried soybeans, flaxseed, and rye flour, here we come!

Ah, nauna pa yung laptop sa no-knead bread, that was an expensive direction to take, lol :) All day is me-time for me... It won't last, unfortunately :(

Katrina said...

I've heard of quinoa, but not tried it. By the looks of your photo, though, I just know I'd love it as much as I do other cereals! Funny...as I read this entry, I'm eating some cereal for my lunch (I was lazy, what's new?). So at least you didn't make me crave *that* much. ;-)

rainbowbrown said...

It's good to hear from someone else who spends early mornings alone in quiet me-time. Even if the body won't have it sometimes. :)
Your quinoa looks delicious. I think I'll spend tomorrow morning with a bowl of it. Red quinoa style.

mtan said...

Try quinoa with cranberries and tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette, yes, not a breakfast dish but something I've tried in the past and works really well, sort of a nutty salad. I think it had olives too, sort of mediterranean meets Inca fusion.

the husband said...

This looks beautiful! A great alternative to cereals and oats, which I try eat for dinner (don't ask). I don't want to sound stupid but this is the first time I heard of this. Will research and bombard you with questions later. Thanks!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Original and delicious! That kind of healthy breakfast food is wonderful!



Patricia Scarpin said...

I have tried quinoa and loved it, Joey. But I have never tried it this way, let alone for breakfast. Great idea, darling!

LyB said...

I love quinoa, but I've never had it for breakfast. What am I waiting for? I can see why you didn't resist! :)

canDIshhh said...

I learned Quinoa from my yoga instructor, I haven't tried it yet but your post made me super curious! :)

AnticiPlate said...

I love making quinoa for breakfast! I posted about it a couple of months ago. Your version looks delicious!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Manggy! I count as one hungry one! Especially in the morning :) I plan on going through all their grainy stuff too! Hahahaha! It’s true...the laptop was not the most frugal option...now I really have to make that bread!

Hi Katrina! I once went through a really bad cereal craving period where I ate it all the time...so I can relate! Try quinoa...it’s nice and nutty and a healthier option to plain white rice :)

Hi Rainbowbrown! It really is a special time :) I just wish I could wake up to experience it more often...why couldn’t I have been born a natural morning person...instead of just a wannabe?

Hi M! I’m taking note...that sounds delicious!

Hi the Husband! You won’t have to look far for information...hope you enjoy it! :)

Thanks Rosa! I enjoyed it immensely! :)

Hi Patricia! I know...when I saw this entry at Michelle’s I was so making it! :)

Hi Lyb! It’s really delicious...check out the other links for other quinoa breakfast versions!

Hi Candishhh! It’s really good for you and goes well in many preparations...do a quick search on the food blogs and you will see tons of yummy ways to have it :)

Hi Kari! I will look for that post and add it to the links here...yay! More ways to eat quinoa for breakfast :)

Dhanggit said...

we are complete opposite :-) for my train of thoughts starts to work when i am lying on my bed before i close my eyes..i guess its the reason why im insomiac :-) i havent tried quinoa cereals yet..but i would the bangus for breakfast :-)

ces said...

the hearty breakfast that i'm supposed to be having!

cookinpanda said...

What and exciting twist on the usual breakfast grains. I like this idea very much. I'm incredibly tired of my oatmeal...

ChichaJo said...

Hi Dhanggit! Those last quiet moments before drifting of to sleep are wonderful too...usually those are "reserved" for my books :) Bangus for breakfast...a classic!

Hi Ces! Grab a spoon ;)

Hi Cookingpanda! It's a great variation to have for breakfast cereals!

oggi said...

I love quinoa but have never cooked for breakfast. Thanks for the idea.:)

Parker said...

I love Bob Red Mill products. This is a healthy looking breaky. Going to add it to my camping recipes.

Stella (Sweet Temptations) said...

That's a super breakfast dish Joey!
Love the healthy look of it...:)

Tartelette said...

I love my 30 inutes of peace and quiet in the morning...even our guests know the drill pretty fast!
Great way to have quinoa in the morning. I am addicted to quinoa flakes in the morning, kinda like oatmeal but richer.

Suzana said...

It's called the 'golden grain' around here, and for some reason: it's awesome!

Great way to start the day, Joey! I'm afraid I don't have a moment like that for ages, and me-time is so important indeed. :-)

Meeta said...

oh yes! I love quinoa for breakfast. a fantastic way to enjoy a weekend - when I am alone I make a bowl and sit on the couch indulging in the paper and my warm quinoa breakfast!

Anali said...

Such a yummy picture! Now I'm really ready for breakfast. Thanks for the links for the other recipes too! ; )

katiez said...

Not being a morning person I just tuned the recipe out...until I saw that it's made with PREPARED quinoa... I can do that... Cook it the night before!

Big Boys Oven said...

quick and delicious is such a good solution!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Oggi! Until this dish neither did I! But it really makes a great breakfast :)

Hi Parker! Bob Red Mill is sold here as well, in a health food store...I’m looking forward to trying some of the other grains :)

Hi Stella! Thanks! It does look full of healthy goodness doesn’t it? :)

Hi Helene! Yes, I love that private morning time...and I can be quite the ornery little thing when intruded on! Quinoa flakes sound good...I’ll keep an eye out for it here :)

Hi Suzana! It really is awesome! I’m still finding how well it goes with a lot of things. Even when my life enters its crazy periods I always try to squeeze in a little me time – even if it’s 10 minutes of zen-chopping (since I don’t have time for zen class or yoga I try to center myself while I chop veg...it works!) ;)

Hi Meeta! That sounds like a wonderful breakfast moment! :)

Hi Anali! You’re welcome! Each looks so delicious! :)

Hi Katiez! Definitely...just prepare the day before and have a stash in your fridge for a quick breakfast :)

Hello Big Boys Oven! I agree :)