Travel is right up there with food at the top of my 'favorite things' list but it also leaves me wishing for extra time in bed.
I travel because I love (almost) everything about it, so I can't complain, but it definitely takes a lot out of me.
I think that's why I found myself reaching for the extra cup (or two) of coffee and thinking about new ways to shake up my breakfast routine after returning home late last week from a trip to Florida (for the Today's Dietitian Spring Symposium) and to the Midwest immediately before that (for a wedding).
Both trips were fantastic, and I also had a great time celebrating my thirtieth birthday(!) this past weekend, but I was really in deep need of some restoration and nourishment.
When I'm extra tired, I find that I like warm breakfasts that are filled with cozy flavors (is this true for anyone else?), so it's no surprise that chai spice quickly came to mind when brainstorming breakfast bowl options.
I used my homemade DIY Chai Spice Mix, keeping the spices whole and then infusing them in a saucepan with the simmering coconut milk, quinoa, and seeds.
(In a pinch, cinnamon can easily be used in place of chai. Just infuse with a few cinnamon sticks or stir in ground cinnamon.)
Swapping out my usual oats for quinoa was a simple way to add shake things up (plus add healthy carbohydrates and protein) to my morning meal.
Nuts and seeds (hemp, chia, flax, and walnut) provide healthy fats (including essential omega 3's) and fresh berries offer quickly-absorbed carbohydrates and protective antioxidants.
This is the type of breakfast that will make you feel like you're back into the swing of things.
Like the grapefruit oatmeal bowl I shared earlier this year, there are tons of potential fruits, nuts, seeds, and other ingredients that can be used as morning grain bowl toppers.
If fresh berries aren't available near you, try thawing frozen berries or topping your quinoa with dried fruits like raisins, figs, cherries, and/or cranberries.
Use any variety of nuts or seeds desired.
Use oats or any whole grain in place of quinoa if desired.
Adding variety by switching up your toppings has health benefits (you're more likely to get all of the nutrients you need) and also keeps your tastebuds guessing (which means you'll find meals more enjoyable too) so feel free to get creative but first, try the tasty combo that brought me back to life: fresh strawberries and raspberries, toasted pecans, coconut, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of ground chai spice.
(If this breakfast bowl doesn't make you feel nourished and recharged, you should probably just go back to bed.)
Chai Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- ½ cup dried quinoa
- 1 ¾ cup unsweetened milk I used coconut milk
- 2 tbsp each hemp chia, and ground flax seeds
- 2 tbsp chai spice mix enclosed in loose-leaf tea infuser or wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with twine
- Toppings optional, use as desired: fresh strawberries, fresh raspberries, unsweetened coconut, toasted pecans, maple syrup/honey, ground cinnamon/chai spice, extra warm milk
- Bring quinoa, milk, and seeds to simmer in saucepan. Reduce heat to low, add spices, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Add more milk if needed throughout cooking. Remove from heat, remove spices, and fluff with fork.
- Transfer quinoa to serving bowls and top with berries, coconut, pecans, maple syrup/honey, spices, and/or warm milk as desired.
Have you tried quinoa for breakfast?
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