by Lizette Barretto-Gueco, Foodfindsasia.com |
I am a morning person. I’m up with the sun looking forward to my day with great anticipation and excitement. I so love the morning. I love the quiet and the freshness of the atmosphere. I even love the word and the way it sounds. M-o-r-r-r-n-i-i-n-n-g-g-g! It is almost musical and just wonderfully rolls over my tongue.
As I open my eyes, I say a prayer of gratitude; just for being alive among my numerous other blessings. After a few lazy stretches, I then start getting ready for my morning walk. I wish I could walk everyday but sometimes, one thing or another gets in the way. It feels so good to be out in the early morning sun absorbing all that wonderful vitamin D and the cool southern breeze on my face so I make sure I’m out there at least 3 to 4 times a week.
After my invigorating walk, I put on Spotify and listen to my music as I prepare coffee for myself and my husband Enic and eagerly await the ringing of the doorbell. This, to me, signals the arrival of an expected guest or better yet, a surprise one!
My home has become quite the melting pot for family, (fortunately, most of us live around the area) and friends especially during breakfast time; a distinction that used to be connected to my parents home. People usually drop by unannounced, a big no-no in most cultures, but something I wholeheartedly embrace. This being so, my breakfast table is always well dressed, prepared for whoever might join us or not. I make sure I put in my little touches like flowers from my garden or some calachuchi I pick up during my walks. They look and smell so refreshing when you put them in a bowl with water, the way my Lola used to do. Or fruits and garden leaves pleasingly arranged in a tray. I see endless possibilities in the everyday things that surround me. As an unspoken rule, breakfast is never skipped in my home and is always a pleasant experience.
Most Sundays, my siblings and I take turns hosting breakfast. Since most of us are early risers, this is the perfect time for us to chitchat and share the highlights and lowlights of our week. What better way to enjoy each other’s company than over a cup or multiple cups of good coffee and the first meal of the day? Even the younger kids are around to join us and contribute to the loving and comforting cocoon that we weave around ourselves during this special time. Both my Mom and Dad surely come down from heaven and are present in spirit during these gatherings.
Once, when it was my turn, I decided to make our breakfast healthier than the usual Filipino breakfast fare of tapa, tocino, longganisa and I dare say it – SPAM fried rice, eggs, etc. Just a little bit. So together with the fruits and green smoothies and gluten free pancake with real maple syrup, I experimented with some leftover breakfast meats recycled into healthy muffins with the addition of one special ingredient – QUINOA
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah or keen-noh-uh) is not a grain but a plant seed. It is gluten free. It is a complete protein, containing lysine as well as the 8 other amino acids, which make it similar to animal protein. It also contains a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients and flavonoids. A cup of quinoa provides most of our daily value for manganese, magnesium, tryptophan, folate and phosphorous plus fiber thus making it a super food. Most importantly, it is a powerhouse of Iron and calcium as compared to rice and other similar seeds and grains. It contains more than twice the amount of calcium than whole wheat. The Incas cultivated quinoa more than 5,000 years ago believing that it gave power, strength and stamina to their warriors. They were probably right!
Actually, quinoa is quite tasteless. It does not have any distinct flavor. It is what you put in it that makes it delicious and pleasing to the palate. It is this quality that makes quinoa versatile in that it can be used in sweet and savory dishes.
Needless to say, my experimental muffins were such a big hit that I’ve included it in most of my breakfast menus at home.
Here’s my recipe.
Quinoa Power Muffins
- 1 cup quinoa
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsps milk
- ½ cup grated cheese
- Leftover spam, bacon, ham or hotdog, chopped
- Green peas, carrots and corn bits
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare and grease muffin pan
- Cook quinoa much like you would cook rice. It is important to wash it well and soak for at least a few minutes. Can cook in rice cooker
- In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, add milk and other ingredients. Add the cooked quinoa and pour onto the muffin pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes or until you see that the eggs are cooked
- Remove from oven and transfer to a plate while hot.
I realize the addition of the SPAM, bacon, ham or hotdog makes it unhealthy but feel free to add leftover salmon or tuna, or just pack it with your favorite vegetables to make it purely vegetarian. Spinach and broccoli are always good options for me.
As always, I hope you enjoy!
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About the Author
Lizette Barretto Gueco is a regular columnist at FoodFindsAsia.com. She writes about her life’s passions which are family, home, food, relationships and how they fit in perfectly in her scheme of things and in the circle of life.
Lizette is now a busy home based mom after working in marketing and the travel industry for some time. She also ventured into jewelry design while she was a partner at a prestigious jewelry store at Greenbelt 5. Aside from juggling family schedules and managing the home, she also finds time to bake and sell her sweet offerings from her home as well as indulge in her other hobbies like jewelry making and arts and crafts. She is an amateur filmmaker, traveler, foodie, dreamer and lover of life.
Lizette is a graduate of AB Communication arts from the Ateneo de Manila University. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org