I just discovered quinoa porridge. (Alternate title: I think I’m in breakfast love!)

Quinoa porridge with berries and almonds. Yummo!

Quinoa porridge with berries and almonds. Yummo!

Quinoa is another of those things that seemed to burst onto the health scene all of a sudden, which means we would be forgiven for thinking this a newly discovered seed (yep, it might look like a grain but it’s actually not); however, it has been eaten in some parts of the world for thousands of years.

While we might be a bit slow to the game here in Australia, we have made up for our tardiness by wholeheartedly embracing this little seed. And I’m doing my bit to help.

I have been experimenting with quinoa for a few months: using it as the base for quiche (just soak it for an hour, mix in an egg and line your tray with it), as a side dish for my vegie curries, or simply mixing it with some vegies and spices like cumin and tumeric. Until today, though, I hadn’t tried it as porridge.

I’m a breakfast girl. Always have been. There’s no better way to start the day than by sitting down to a healthy and delicious meal that I know is going to nourish my body and give me energy for the day to come. Because of this love of mine, I can’t quite believe it has taken me this long to get around to trying quinoa flakes for breakfast. Anyway, I got there eventually. Better late than never, right?

Given that I am currently visiting my parents in the chilly north-east region of Victoria, I figured this morning was the perfect time to give quinoa porridge a go. I was delighted at how easy it is! To make the bowl pictured above (there’s a funny story about that photo, which I’ll tell you in a minute), I just combined two cups of almond milk and one cup of quinoa flakes in a saucepan, then added a tablespoon of melted coconut oil. While it was bubbling away on the stove, I chopped up some almonds and defrosted a quarter of a cup of frozen mixed berries. I then tipped the porridge into a bowl and sprinkled the almonds and berries on top. Told you: easy.

I highly recommend giving quinoa porridge a try for breakfast if you are looking for an alternative to regular oats, or you need some extra protein, or you’re just plain old human. It really is that good.

Oh, I almost forgot! Funny story. I was feeling pretty happy with how visually appealing the dish looked because, hey, I’m no food photographer. As I was checking out my mad berry-arranging skills, I somehow lost all ability to use these opposable thumbs I was blessed to be born with and, guys, I DROPPED MY PHONE INTO THE PORRIDGE. Like, straight into the bowl.

I think I’ll be trying to get quinoa out of the headphone jack for the next week.

Laura

Why I love green smoothies (and a recipe)

A green smoothie in the making.

A green smoothie in the making.

Green smoothies. The drink of choice for health nuts all around the world. Their green nature can insight looks of confusion (and sometimes disgust) from those who are yet to be introduced to the powerful drink that is the green smoothie. Once tried, most people find it very hard to go back to plain ol’ fruit smoothies.

Like I did when my friend first told me about green smoothies you may be thinking, ‘What on Earth is a green smoothie?’ Green smoothies are essentially regular smoothies that have been souped up with leafy green vegies, which means that aside from tasting delicious (which, they do!) they help you top up your daily vegie consumption. Win win.

If you are worried about the taste, start off slowly by adding a handle of baby spinach leaves to your favourite smoothie. I promise you won’t even taste them! If you stick with it, you will soon find that the ratio of greens to fruit quickly tips in favour of the greens and you may even find yourself craving the more bitter flavour of things like kale.

I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that green smoothies were a game changer for me. Before I introduced them to my protocol, I was struggling to find new and interesting ways to up my consumption of leafy greens. I mean, come on, there is only so much salad one girl can eat! Green smoothies made it so easy to get my daily dose of greens that, three years on, I am yet to find a more convenient method of getting more spinach and its friends into me.

In terms of flavour combinations, the world (or blender, as it were) really is your oyster. In Winter, I like kale, pear and banana, and in the warmer months parsley, baby spinach and mango is my go-to recipe. I find myself naturally favouring lighter fruits in the Summer and denser fruits in the cooler months. Just listen to your body – it will guide you in the right direction.

Just listen to your body – it will guide you in the right direction.

I also love experimenting with nut-milk bases. I combine almond milk with  frozen raspberries, coconut oil, cacao powder and a handful of baby spinach to make a Cherry Ripe inspired drink. This one is great in Winter!

Green smoothies also provide a great method for getting more superfoods and supplements into your daily routine. My pantry is chockers with things like lucuma, mesquite, cacao, chlorella, chia seeds, hemp seeds and maca. I don’t add all of these to one smoothie (although you certainly could) – I pick and choose based on what I feel my body needs that day. For milk-based smoothies, lucuma, maca and mesquite powders combine to give your smoothie a nutty caramel flavour.

So, there you have it. Green smoothies really are one of the easiest ways to show your body some love.

One final note: wherever possible, I try to use organic produce in my smoothie to give an extra kick of nutrients and to avoid throwing nasties like pesticides and fungicides in.

Now, for the recipe:

Avocado and Berry Heaven

You will need:

1/2 an avocado

One banana

A handful of mixed berries (frozen or fresh)

A handful of baby spinach

One tablespoon of chia seeds

Throw all of the ingredients in the blender with enough water, coconut water or milk to cover everything and whiz it all up. Easy!

Laura