Spring has hit San Diego. Sleepy rose bushes are reaching for the sky with beautiful new growth, the grass is sporting a lovely shade of deep green and the weather has been warm enough for tank tops, shorts and floppies. While the warm breezes and brilliant blue skies are welcomed, the thought of sporting a swim suit soon has me cringing.
Months of blustery, cold (I know... we are wimps in San Diego), and dark weather have perhaps put a few pounds on my frame, and while I don't feel bad in regular cloths, a glance in the mirror of my pale, white arms hanging out of my summery tank top was not a sight I cared to behold.
Hence, an increase in protein and veggie filled meals and a decrease in those midlife, pound-adding carbs. Well, a moderate decrease, but a decrease nonetheless.
|Quinoa comes in varying colors|
Enter Quinoa. A native to the Andean regions of Peru, quinoa is truly an "ancient grain" (though it is in reality a seed) with a near 9,000 year history. Once called "The Gold of the Incas", quinoa is not only high in protein, but a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition to protein, the tiny seed is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus, potentially making quinoa valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Add the fact that quinoa was used by the Inca Warriors to increase stamina and I think I have a winner.
Lunching at a local restaurant a few months ago, their healthy protein breakfast-like offering included an egg white scramble with a side of plain quinoa, all topped with avocado and what I loved most, a generous dose of salty feta. Easy to put together, I've prepared a similar dish nearly weekly and have found myself craving my simple protein breakfast even for dinner.
One of those "A little of this. A little of that." recipes, this dish adapts easily to your tastes as well as to what you have on hand. Using a combination of whole eggs and egg whites, I've added sauteed mushrooms, spinach, peppers and onions to my scramble, while seasonal topping have included avocado, cherry tomatoes, scallions and my beloved Feta. Sprinkling the toppings liberally over the eggs placed aside a portion of protein- rich and stamina-producing quinoa, I've found myself content, satisfied and with the stamina of a warrior. Now I just need to work on getting my somewhat floppy arms back in the shape of a warrior and I'll be ready for summer clothes.
Egg Scramble with a side of QuinoaAdaptable to what you have on hand this scramble will start your day off the right way, just like the Inca Warriors. Below are are listed ingredients in general terms, feel free to pick and choose what works for you.
1 cup dry quinoa
eggs or egg whites
Prepare quinoa according to package directions.
Sautee veggies and add eggs to scramble, or alternatively make an omelette.
Plate quinoa and eggs, then top with your favorite toppings. Sprinkle liberally with Feta