March Mindfulness: Cinnamon Cranberry Almond Quinoa

If you're looking to prepare a healthy, easy, and tasty side for you and your family that delivers protein, fiber, antioxidants, and tons of flavor, look no further! (And although I'm sure you aren't thinking about this now, this would be a fun addition to an adventurous Thanksgiving feast!)


1 cup rinsed quinoa (any variety)
1/4 - 1/2 cup crushed or slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp ground cinnamon (perhaps more to sprinkle at the end)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Kitchen Supplies:

a saucepan
measuring cups and spoons (unless you're wild and crazy)

If you are interested, and have extra time, begin by toasting the quinoa and almonds in an empty pan, until they each begin to gain color (only a few minutes, but this step may not be important to you). 

Combine quinoa, almonds, water, cinnamon, and salt; cover and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce heat and simmer for 16-20 minutes.  

Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then stir in cranberries before fluffing and serving.

The health benefits of the ingredients include:

Quinoa: provides manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, protein, and fiber; supplies phytonutrient, antioxidant, and ant-inflammatory benefits; may help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and allergy reactions.

Almonds:  Provide biotin, vitamin E, manganese, copper, vitamin B2, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium (important for heart and cardiovascular health); lowers LCL-cholesterol levels and reduces risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes; antioxidant benefits (from high vitamin E levels); may help people lose weight and eat a healthier diet; helps to prevent gallstones.

Cinnamon:  As I shared in the Cinnamon Sweet Potato Skins post, I am aiming for more cinnamon in my life due to the abundance of health benefits.  These include: assistance with muscle spasms, bacterial and fungal infections, vomiting, the common cold, possibly lowering blood sugar, erectile dysfunction, prevention of Alzheimer's disease, and enhancing the treatment of both HIV and MS. 

Cranberries: protect both the cardiovascular system and liver; supply phytonutrients (including phenolic acids, phanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and triterpenoids), which deliver antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits; aid in preventing urinary tract infections; and mixed findings regarding kindney stone prevention; and overall immune support.

As you can see, this simple side packs a huge punch in terms of its benefits to your health.  This is a delicious and easy way to begin to incorporate a variety of very healthy foods into your meals, allowing you to feel better and be more mindful in your daily life. 

What exciting dishes have you had or served at Thanksgiving dinner?

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