Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keen--what? Quinoa!

Last night, we had a visit from our good friends from Santa Barbara who have moved on down to good ole' almost always sunny San Diego 

(morning temp today =35 WITH FROST on the ground) WTF!

Anyway, I had made this yummy dish for dinner and I offered them some.

"It's Quinoa" I explained.

SB Hubby to me: "Keen-what?"

Me fumbling over my words to SB Hubby: "Quinoa---ummm,'s a grain...I think...and it's really high in's super healthy for you"

Note to self: Next time, when trying to convince someone to try something new to eat, be a little more sure of what your talking about.

So, I did a little reading up on Quinoa in hopes to strengthen what I did know about this little guy (pronounced:KEEN-wa)

Here are some highlights:

1) Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.

2) Often considered a grain, it's actually a relative of Swiss chard and spinach--

-Wow, i definitely didn't know that.

3) It is an ancient grain, once considered "the gold of the Incas" who recognized it's value after increasing the stamina of its warriors.

-awesome, combined with my double espresso regimen , I WILL BE super-mom tomorrow.

4) Not only is it high in protein, it is a COMPLETE protein source, providing all 9 essential amino acids.

--so all you vegetarians out there, this is really important for you!

5)Quinoa is a very good source of magnesium, the mineral that relaxes blood vessels.
Thus, if you get migraines, 
increasing your intake of magnesium has been shown to reduce the frequency of headache episodes reported by migraine sufferers.

6)Also, low levels of magnesium are associated with increased rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and heart arrhythmias--so the high magnesium in Quinoa also provides yet another way to help with cardiovascular issues

Now, considering that Brent gets migraines on average 2-3 times a month, and as we all know, had open heart surgery this past June...

I'm all about Quinoa.
Quinoa is our friend.
Don't be scared.
Trader Joes has it...or Sprouts...or Whole Foods...or even your normal grocery store SHOULD have it.

Here's the iPHone photo
(that's my disclaimer for not having fancy, high quality photos like other blogs)
 from last night, which you've already seen if you've been on my FB page...

We had the Quinoa as our main dish...and I served it with a side of Thai-Vegetable Gyozas....from Trader Joes....These (on the bottom left)


Butternut Squash With Quinoa, Spinach and Toasted Pine Nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
1 cup quinoa
1/3 cup golden raisins (I only had the "normal" black ones, so I went with that)
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts---or, more!! I added about 1/4 cup--glad I did
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, squash, quinoa and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the squash and quinoa are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Gently stir in the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the pine nuts.

The toasted pine nuts and the raisins added a lot to this dish---so don't skip them. 
And remember to buy organic raisins...i don't buy everything organic (I wish I could, but I also need a roof over my head) but there are few things that I feel strongly about...raisins are one of those things.
Brent loved it so much, he wanted to take the leftovers for lunch today.


  1. Yum! We did Quinoa Stuffed Bell peppers which came out really good. I'll have to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  2. oooh!!! that sounds good!! send me your recipe!!!!

  3. Ok, YUM! I made this tonight, only missing ingredient was the leek, (is that bad??). It was still delicious! Thanks for sharing!