Today is Ash Wednesday; the first day of Lent. This means that for the next 46 days, including today, I will not be having any meat, or alcohol, or sweets, or junk food of any kind. That’s 46 days of very strict eating, of keeping my diet 100% clean. No munching on chips, no French fries, not even a piece of dark chocolate. Boy, are your really that religious?, you may ask. Well, no. Not at all. This Lent thing started last year, when my son’s girlfriend was telling us about how it had been hard for her sister and herself the previous year to keep with the challenge they had set for themselves of not eating meat for the entire duration of Lent, because their parents did not support them and would cook meat all the time, which means they had to cook their own meals and figure it out by themselves. But hard as it was, they had both stuck with it and succeeded. I was very proud of her and said that I would gladly support her if she decided to renew the challenge again this year.

Then, I guess we started talking about it a little too much and I might have said some things, maybe we thought it might be fun to give this a shot too, I don’t know… All I know is, we all ended up agreeing to take the challenge! We would all be in this together, the whole family. No meat, no sweets, no junk for 46 days. Only fish and seafood would be allowed. At the time, I was VERY MUCH into meat. I was a hardcore humanus carnivorous. If there was one thing you couldn’t touch, it was my meat. A meal just wasn’t a meal if it didn’t have loads of meat in it.

Needless to say I was extremely nervous at first and thought I was never going to make it. But, much to my surprise, the days just flew by and Lent was over before I knew it. When Easter finally came, I was in no hurry to start eating meat again. Sweets, on the other hand… well, that’s another story!

All this to say that, starting today and for the next 45 days, I will not be eating meat, save for fish and seafood, and all forms of sweets and treats, junk and alcohol will also be banned. There might be one tiny weenie little exception. You see, my birthday happens to be during Lent, so I might, and I said might, try to make a totally sugar free carrot cake. In my mind, though, this still qualifies as a treat, or dessert, so I don’t think it should be permitted. I’ll see…

To kick off this Lent challenge with style, (can I call it that? It makes it sounds like some sort of a TV show) I decided to make this lovely warm quinoa salad, for which I took the inspiration earlier this week when I stumbled upon this! Oh, what a glorious choice that was. I just love quinoa. My inspiration of the moment brought me to add Granny Smith apples, dried cranberries, Feta cheese crumbles, red and green onions, chopped walnuts, rosemary and flat parsley to cooked and slightly cooled quinoa. The result was very interesting, although next time, I might consider replacing the Feta cheese with Goat. Maybe. All in all, a very refreshing dish and definitely another keeper.