Sorry I have been MIA for awhile. When I started my blog I had the best of intentions of updating it every day or at least every other day. Yeah...that hasn't went so well for me. :) Oh well, maybe someday. For now, you get random posts now and then!
I have found several great healthy living blogs the last couple weeks (you can check them out in the right hand column) and on a few of them I have seen them talk about Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) and had no idea what it was. I am sure I am not the only one that has never heard about it, so let me tell you a little bit about it.
Quinoa is actually a seed that originated in South America. The Incas referred to it as chisaya mama or the mother of all grains. Quinoa was of great nutritional importatance in the pre-Columbian Andean civilization, second only to the potato. In recent years quinoa has been highly regarded for its high protein content (12-18%) which makes it a great food for vegans, vegetarians, and athletes. It contains a balanced set of essential amino acids which makes it complete protein which is very unusual. Quinoa is also a great source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.
After I read all of this, I thought I had to try it. I was absolutely shocked to find it in our little small-town Hy-Vee!! I figured I would have to order it online since we are not in a big city that has great health food stores. Hy-Vee has a surprisingly good health food section. Now, let me warn you before you get to excited and run to the store to buy it...it is a bit pricey. The only brand they have is Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa and for a 26-ounce package it is about $10. That is a bit steep but, let me tell you, this stuff is delicious!!! I purchased a rice cooker at Wal-Mart and tried cooking it on Saturday evening. I cooked the quinoa in some chicken stock so it would have more flavor than when just ccoking in water and it was soooooo good! It is really fun to eat, it has a little crunch to it and it just makes you feel so healthy! I had some left over and actually tried it today re-heated with some pasta sauce and it was just as good left over as it was the first time!
A little more information if you do decide to try it: Check the package to make sure that it has been washed and is ready to be used. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin, which has a bitter taste and must be rinsed off before it can be used. I believe that most brands will probably be rinsed, but you will want to check the package to make sure. Also, quinoa is perishable, but will have a shelf life of about a year if you store it in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator. I put mine in a mason jar and labeled the day I opened it, but trust me, I will have no problem using it in a year!!
There are several recipes online if you google quinoa. I found lots that I can't wait to try! If you decide to give this little gem a try, let me know, I can't wait to see what you think!
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