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Food of the Month: Quinoa
December 3, 2009 • Posted by Vivian Manning-Schaffel

I'll admit it: I was afraid of quinoa. The name alone connotes a far away land where palm tree dotted mountain ranges are drenched in blinding sunlight. But its mystique beckoned me from the supermarket shelf, and I gave into its exotic allure. Boy, am I glad I did. It's delicious!
 
Quinoa is a unique grain - not quite a cereal, not quite a green, either. Originally from the Andes region of South America (looks like I correctly guessed its mountain vibe!), the Incas thought quinoa was sacred, and referred to it as "the mother of all grains."
 
When you find out what's in it, you understand why it earned its maternal moniker. It's packed with protein and contains a healthy dose of nine essential amino acids - a rarity in any kind of grain.
 
One would think something that sounds this exotic must be tough to cook, but it's actually very easy. Quinoa cooks just like rice - two parts water to one part quinoa -- and resembles couscous when it's cooked. It is easy to digest too, which makes it a perfect early food for young taste buds to discover.
 
Babies can eat pureed quinoa once they've mastered their basic grains, from the age of nine months or so. Experimenting with quinoa is great excuse to grab your Elite Food Processor and get to blending!
 
When introducing baby to quinoa, try pairing it with:
 
Carrots
Peas
Lentils
Sweet Potatoes
Turkey
Chicken

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