I’ve thought a lot about this blog. Slow Cooker Quinoa has kind of had me stumped.
Quinoa was the subject of my first blog over two years ago. I didn’t want to go down that same research based path again. I’ve already told you about its origins and stellar nutritious powers. Also, I don’t do a whole lot of crock pot cooking anymore. Crock pots and slow cookers are a great appliance when preparing food for families and pot lucks. Cooking for one and crock pots don’t really go together.
I have a small 1.5 quart crock pot that is a pretty, bright yellow, so I pulled it out and set it on my kitchen counter hoping its cheery look would inspire me. It didn’t. So I left. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday in October with temperatures hitting the low seventies, not a day to be inside making up recipes. Also it was a perfect day to work on my biggest project.
Me. Self. Alone. I am a widow in counseling trying to figure out how to live my life as one instead of two.
So on this gorgeous day I pulled on my big girl boots and headed to Lake Maria State Park to go for a hike. Alone.
A walk in the woods
I love, love, love to walk in the woods. Something my husband and I did a lot of. We signed up for the Hiking Club (a state parks program created to get people out walking in their parks) back in 2000, we visited many of the parks in this state and logged hundreds of miles over the years. I needed to get back out there but Saturdays are for families, so friends aren’t readily available to meet up for a few hours on their day off to go hiking with me. It was time to do it alone.
I headed to Lake Maria, only fifteen minutes from my house. Parking by the interpretive center, along with at least fifteen other cars I knew I wasn’t the only one who just couldn’t stay inside on this gift of a day.
There is a lot to look at in the woods and even more to think about. Occasionally I would meet other hikers, we would greet with a pleasant hello as we passed on the path—state park goers are such a pleasant sort of people. The walk brought me through part of what is left of what once was known as the “Big Woods.” A forest of maple, basswood, white and red elm, red oak, tamarack and cedar that used to cover over 3,000 square miles. Now at Lake Maria some 1,700 acres of it remains.
An idea for a recipe
By the time I finished my hike I was not only emotionally buoyed but had come up with an idea for my first quinoa crock pot dish. It is autumn after all, a perfect season for hearty crock pot meals infused with cool weather flavors to await you when returning home from the great outdoor things we Minnesotans like to do this time of year. And quinoa is a hearty grain to add to just about any dish.
While hiking I remembered reading about infusing oatmeal with flavorful teas. So, I decided to make a chai tea quinoa oatmeal crock pot breakfast dish in my pretty, bright yellow crock pot and plug it in at bedtime. It would be a great way to have a hearty breakfast before I headed out for another hike on Sunday morning. After all, the weather guy was promising another stellar autumn day, why would I want to spend it anywhere but in the Big Woods?
Chai Oats & Quinoa
- 2 ¼ Cups Water
- 3 Full Circle Chai Tea Bags
- ¾ Cup Full Circle Steel Cut Oats
- ¼ Cup Full Circle Quinoa
- 1 T. Full Circle Maple Syrup
- ½ tsp. Full Circle Pure Vanilla
- Bring the water to a boil and steep the tea for 3-5 minutes. Let cool.
- Mix all the ingredients in a small crock pot, stir well.
- Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Spoon your hot serving size into a bowl, pour a little bit of milk and sprinkle with Full Circle brown sugar.
- For a full nights sleep, use a crock pot that has a timer, or in my case I used a timer switch and plugged my crock pot into that.
Quinoa Chicken Vegetable Soup
- 32 Ounce Box Full Circle Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- ½ Cup Quinoa
- 14.5 oz. Full Circle Diced Tomatoes
- 15 oz. Westbrae Great Northern Beans, drained
- ½ Medium Onion, chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. Fresh Ground Full Circle Black Pepper Corns
- 1 T. Full Circle Italian Seasoning
- ½ tsp. Redmond’s Mineral Salt
- 2 Fully Cooked Chicken Breasts, roughly chopped
- 12 oz. Bag Full Circle Mixed Vegetables
- ½ Bag Earthbound Farms Frozen Kale
- Mix together first 9 ingredients in a 4 quart slow cooker and add in chicken.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours
- Sixty minutes before serving add mixed vegetables and kale.
- Let it re-heat, serve with a few grates of Parmesan cheese on top.
What a nice, aromatic taste treat greeted me as I returned from my hike!
Coborn’s Clearwater Natural Foods Manager
Click Here for more blogs written by Cheryl