Friday, June 18, 2010

My Morning Gruel

Being back home for the summer, I naturally tend to do a lot less cooking for myself, having two parents to do it for me. However, I still manage to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen. Only I'm rarely cooking anything that has nutritious value or is meant to fuel me through the day. No.

Instead, I can usually be found in the kitchen (often after midnight) baking up a batch of cookies, realizing that peanut butter and butterscotch would taste like heaven sandwiched between bittersweet chocolate wafer cookies, and not to mention an incident I had with peanut butter crispy bars. (Which I like to call squares de la petite mort for self-explanatory reasons. For which reasons you should never make them. Ever. Because you'll find yourself inexplicably drawn to them at four in the morning, and when you finally do wake up from your sugar coma with diabetes, you'll have more for breakfast, and then you'll keel over, and die. Don't do it.)

And then there's my day job, which, when it doesn't involve making salads and sandwiches, drinking copious amounts of coffee (which must always contain generous proportions of cream and sugar), washing dishes, making inappropriate jokes about cucumbers, prepping entrees or waiting on tables, I'm baking. Yes, I get paid to do it too. That means brownies, cakes (which means icing), cookies, squares, trifles, pie and other things full of flour and sugar and butter. And of course I have to sample all of them. Multiple times. (Let's call these times Quality Checks.)

So you can probably guess that my diet is a bit...errant, shall we say? I have what my friends call an addiction, and what I call a passion (if I'm trying to put a positive spin on it. I keep wondering if it's a bad or a good idea that I'm planning to go on to culinary school to become a pastry chef.) Not to say that I don't try to be a healthy, responsible eater. I do. No, really! I pack lunches and everything. They just...don't always get eaten.

But if I do anything right, I do breakfast right. Which is the point to which this whole post has been culminating.

With my eating habits being so crazy during the day, I do my best to get a nourishing meal in when I get up in the morning, not only to give me a good start, but to help keep me charged throughout the day. And recently I've discovered that red lentils (or at least the brand we have) cook up ridiculously soft, and become quite mushy and porridge-like. So I thought it'd only make sense to pair it up with some other soft whole grain and cook it together to make a protein and fibre-rich meal to make me feel better about my never-ending sugar indulgences.

Lentil Porridge
1/4 cup Red Lentils (dried)
1/8 cup Whole Buckwheat or Quinoa (Buckwheat is pictured here)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Scant 1/4 cup Raisins (Optional)
1/2 cup Fruit (I use blueberries)

Makes 1 Serving.

1. Place lentils and buckwheat (or quinoa) in a small pot with roughly 1 cup water. Mix in cinnamon and raisins. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until lentils and grains are soft.

2. If you're using frozen fruit, add it for the last few minutes of cooking to thaw them and prevent them from cooling your porridge too quickly.

3. When the lentils and buckwheat are soft and no longer chewy, drain the excess water and scoop the porridge into a bowl. If you like, you can add a sweetener, like brown sugar, maple syrup or honey. (I personally like to just swirl in a few dollops of plain yogurt.) Feel free to experiment and come up with additions to suit your tastes!


  1. I admit I'm partial to oatmeal, but at the same time I'm intrigued by some of the alternative breakfast recipes you have posted here. Lentil porridge?? Well, I never!

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