Let's talk about our winter weather situation for a quick minute... Today the first school-affecting snowstorm of the season arrived. It. was. awesome. Grant got to come home at lunchtime and our neighborhood is completely blanketed in 5 inches of fluffy, gorgeous snow! And if you're wondering why our school is affected by the snow so ridiculously often, it's because we live in the middle of Nowhere, Blizzard Country. I'm being serious. If you've ever read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, just picture that when you think of me. That book takes place right here in our neck of the woods. It's real! The southwest corner of Minnesota gets regularly rocked with blizzards.
When I moved here, I had no idea how much the wind matters in a snowstorm. When snow blows, that's when it becomes dangerous. Especially for bus drivers trying to get school kids home to their farms on lonely gravel roads. I had never heard of "going in the ditch" or "ground blizzards." I had never been affected by whiteouts or even seen real snowdrifts. Around here, when it snows, people aren't concerned about traffic accidents because... we don't have traffic. People here are concerned about honestly getting caught in the blizzard. Before I married Grant and moved up here to Minnesota, I was such a city girl. I had so much to learn, and still do. But you know what? A miracle has happened: the Lord has blessed me with a huge love for winter. Enough love to spread across half the calendar year. So I say, let the blizzards blow.
Now let's talk breakfast. We've been loving this cozy breakfast porridge lately. Hadley ate about 7 bowls of it the other morning. I think it's the blueberries that get her extra, extra excited. (Possibly because Daniel Tiger always has blueberries on his oatmeal? Fellow toddler mamas, you might relate to the Daniel Tiger reference.)
She asks for it by saying "Peas Ma, blue key?" which is toddler speak for, "Please Mom, can we have blueberry quinoa?" I cannot believe I have a child who is old enough to ask for quinoa. I can't believe she was the little baby that I nursed on the couch for hours on end. Now she gets herself out of bed, comes upstairs and climbs into bed with me, and does puzzles on the iPad until I'm ready to get up. And then she wants to eat quinoa with me for breakfast? Oh man. What a great girl.
I usually soak a big batch of quinoa and cook it the next morning, and then we are able to have this porridge for the next couple of days. I never measure when I make it- I just throw in enough of this and that to make a serving for whoever wants to eat it, so I'll try to make educated guesses on the amounts for you guys. :) This morning I added a splash of egg nog to ours and that was yumm.
Soaked Breakfast Quinoa
with banana sauce and blueberries
3 T. coconut oil
4 cups cooked quinoa (soaked the night before, instructions below)
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
*Christmasy variation: add a splash of egg nog
Soak and cook quinoa. In a fine mesh strainer, rinse 2 cups of uncooked quinoa under running water for at least 1 minute (it has a bitter coating.) Add to a glass bowl and pour in enough warm filtered water until quinoa is 1/4 to 1/2 inch under the water level. Stir in 2 T. of lemon juice, whey, kefir, or raw cider vinegar. Cover and let sit at room temp for about 8 hours. Drain and rinse well. Add quinoa to a pot, cover with fresh filtered water (quinoa should be about 1/2 inch under the water level) and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and let simmer 15-18 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
Heat coconut oil in a pot over medium low heat. Add cooked quinoa and stir until well warmed. Mash bananas thoroughly until they become liquid-y, like a thick sauce. Add banana sauce, cinnamon, sea salt, and blueberries to the pot and stir well to combine. Stir until heated through and steaming, you should be able to smell the aroma of warm berries. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. I've found that if it's lacking in flavor, it usually needs more salt or fat (coconut oil or a spoonful of nut butter). The fruit is sweet enough on its own, for our tastes, but feel free to add a bit of maple syrup or honey.
Wondering why I bother to soak my whole grains or why I buy them already sprouted/fermented? Grains that are prepared in one of these 3 traditional ways (soaking, sprouting, fermenting) have much higher nutrient levels and lower anti-nutrient levels than conventional grains. Soaking (or sprouting/fermenting) breaks down anti-nutrients such as gluten, lectin, phytic acid, etc., resulting in a food that is more digestible and nutrients that are much more bioavailable.
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