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This is a follow up from Wednesday’s nights dinner.  If you recall I had the Super Spinach Salad and I mentioned you can easily create this on your own, while adding your own touch to be creative.  I made a fresh spinach/quinoa salad at home last night but with my own twists.  For starters I used alot more quinoa.  (I love quinoa!)  Instead of laying everything out separately on the spinach salad, I add all the accents to the cooked quinoa. 

Health Benefits of Quinoa

A recently rediscovered ancient “grain” native to South America, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.” Source

Quinoa is very easy to cook by the way.  Boil about 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa.  Don’t let the quinoa fool  you.  One cup may not look like a lot, but it fluffs up big time!  After you boil the water, add 1 cup of quinoa (rinsed first) and turn temperature to medium.  Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  You will know its done when it gets fluffy.  Yes, I said fluffy. I am not sure what a more professional word for fluffy is.  🙂   

You can add anything to the quinoa! It can be turned into breakfast, lunch or dinner.  In this case, I added dried cranberries, edamame (easy, quick & healthy…also great as a snack), cucumber, pumpkin seeds, shredded carrots (so shredded that Jared didn’t even know it was in there….which I did on purpose since he despises carrots).  I know kind of mean, but hey, I got him to eat them!  I then scoop the quinoa mix onto a bed of spinach & romaine mix and topped with ginger dressing.  We also cooked up organic chicken breasts seasoned lighly with lemon juice, coarse ground pepper and a touch of salt.  In the picture the chicken is on the side, but I actually threw it on top and mixed it with everything.  SUCCESS! It’s hard to get Jared to eat anything green… or that has the word vegetable in it.   But he was diggin it… actually finished his whole plate of food.  

I know it may not look as appetizing in the picture, but I promise it was.  I am working on the new camera so I can have better pics.  The iphone isn’t cutting it.  🙂

Back tracking a bit… I forgot to mention when Jared got home from his wonderful 36 hour shift at the firehouse, he came home with these for me!

*Although I kind of think he only gets me flowers because he thinks it’s entertaining I can’t keep them alive and he likes to test me to see if I am learning…I gave my flowers it’s food this time, so we shall see how it goes…