Vanilla Cinnamon Quinoa

Today is a big day for me. I went to the gym for Day 3. I consider this a bigger accomplishment than Day 1 or Day 2. It's harder to stay motivated when you're sore and tired. And I have a confession. I hadn’t been to the gym or done any workout whatsoever (unless you count walking around Manhattan in search of food) since our vacation in Aruba. And we know that that was a fruitless endeavor since I spent the week eating cheesy, ham-filled bagels and giant slices of red velvet layer cake. Mmmm...cake.

Sure, I generally try to counterbalance my unflinching palette which is easily distracted by Belgian fries, shortcakes, pizza dip and carrot cake, with dinners like fish tacos or substituting thick and calorie-filled bread with deli flats. But in my experience the only way to truly counteract the pounds from packing on is to get my butt moving at the gym. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t seem to get easier to motivate myself to go. In general, I hate it. But it’s a necessary evil. The good news, though, is that my reward after the gym is a healthy, filling and delicious breakfast.

And since my famous scrambled eggs are unlikely to survive my morning commute, I turned to a new, protein-packed breakfast that would travel well and cook up as I get ready for work. The answer? Quinoa. If you recall, I first sampled quinoa in my provolone stuffed chicken with pesto article and it occurred to me that this versatile item could easily be made sweeter and less savory, essentially as a fun change up from your standard oatmeal.

So instead of cooking my quinoa in chicken broth, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Dressed up with some cinnamon and vanilla, this breakfast is hearty, filling and tasty to boot.

Vanilla Cinnamon Quinoa
2 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk of your choice, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, plus more for adding on top
1 C dry quinoa, I used the organic variety
brown sugar to taste, I used brown sugar Splenda rather than the real thing which I could eat by the spoonful
vanilla extract, just a splash to taste
cinnamon, sprinkled on top
chopped figs, or fruit of your choice (berries would also be great!)

In a mesh strainer, thoroughly - and I mean thoroughly - rinse your quinoa.

Meanwhile, bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to simmer. Though the original recipe that I referenced suggested covering the saucepan at this point, I recommend against this unless you want a reappearance of the Ghostbusters Stay Puft Marshmallow Man all over your stove. Take it from those with experience (ahem, me). Now I have a pile of sticky scalded almond milk all over my beautiful new stove. Bah. Anyhow, the quinoa will absorb most of the liquid in about 10 minutes or so. Once it has, stir in brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste.

Top with fruit if ya like and enjoy!๏ปฟ

So what do you think? Have you ever had quinoa for breakfast? What delicious eats do you start the day with?