Lent is just around the corner… Going grain-free! Oh, and Creamy Buckwheat “Risotto” Style
If you’ve been following me a while, you already know that every year, I observe Lent.
Not out of religious beliefs, though.
Not even close.
Doesn’t mean that I don’t observe it religiously, though! 😉
Seriously, I am kind of extreme when it comes to that practice. Lent, to me, is a personal challenge. And I don’t take challenges lightly.
Lent is not to be messed with. It’s serious business. And yes, people around me tease me all the time, but I don’t care.
WHY do I do it, you ask?
Well, it all started 3 years ago because of, or should I say thanks to, my son’s girlfriend of the time.
She, as a personal challenge, would not eat meat for the entire duration of Lent and I told her that I would gladly support her by not cooking meat whenever she would have dinner at our place.
Then, we kept talking about it; one thing led to another, and I ended up agreeing to take the challenge, too!
We decided that we would all be in this together, the whole family. No meat, no sweets, no junk for 46 days.
At the time, I was VERY MUCH into meat. I was a hardcore humanus carnivorous. If there was one thing you couldn’t take away from me, it was my meat. A meal just wasn’t a meal if meat wasn’t the center of attention.
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!
Little did I know that accepting this challenge would be the beginning of a deep life transformation for me. This is where my journey to a new, healthier me, truly began.
So from then on, I decided that I would repeat the challenge every year, and maybe even add to it.
So this year, I’ve decided to take a challenge that makes me just as nervous as the first one, if not more.
I’ve decided to give up on my precious grains for 46 days.
You know me and grains, right?
No grains means no pasta, no rice, no bread, but mostly NO BAKING!!! No cookies, muffins or cakes!
Oh no, this can’t be… I’ll have to find ways around this. I’ll have to create grain-free baked goods.
And you know I will succeed. 😉
Bottom line is I’m really scared, but I really want to see how my body will react to being grain free for that long. I also want to see whether I will feel the need to reinstate them as soon as Lent is over, or if I will be able to pretty much live without them, as was the case with meat.
Of course, I’ll fill you in on my intentions as we get closer to the date, and of course, I will share my thoughts throughout the entire duration of this challenge.
But bottom line is, as of next Wednesday, for me there will be no grains, no meat, no alcohol, no junk food or refined sugar for 46 days. I’m still debating whether I should make that no “added” sugar of any kind, but that might be a tad extreme.
In the meantime, let’s have a grain orgy, shall we? You better believe that I’m having grain galore EVERY single day until Lent begins!
Mind you, this next dish could very easily be made “grain-free” and it would be just as good.
This is basically a “risotto”, made with buckwheat, amaranth and teff.
It’s smooth, creamy, yet a tad crunchy and extremely yummy.
But I talked so much already, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to cut my description a little short…
Guess you’re gonna have to take my word for it.
Trust me, it’s insanely g.o.o.d!
CREAMY BUCKWHEAT “RISOTTO” STYLE
- 1 large cooked chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- ¼ cup amaranth
- ¼ cup teff
- 2 cups good chicken stock (I use home made)
- 3 cups water
- ½ broccoli, cut into tiny florets
- 30g fresh parmesan cheese, grated
- In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil then lower heat just to keep warm.
- Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in a large pan or coat with cooking spray. Heat over medium high heat and add pieces of chicken, salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken starts to color, about 3-4 minutes, then flip the pieces around and cook to color again, about 3 minutes.
- Add the buckwheat groats, amaranth and teff and stir to coat. Continue cooking to develop fragrance for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Lower the heat and add about a cup of chicken broth. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid is absorbed. For the next 45 minutes or so, you will have to repeat this process many times, adding about a half a cup of liquid at a time.
- After each addition of liquid, simmer / stir until liquid is almost completely absorbed then add more liquid, until grains reach the desired level of doneness.
- When your “risotto” is where you want it, add your broccoli florets and another ¼ cup of liquid. Stir, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted and transfer to serving plate. Garnish with more freshly grated parmesan and fresh parsley. (I actually added a little bit of unsweetened soy milk to mine after I was done taking the pictures and it was awesome!)