Hometown Heroine: Dunbar

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Agnes Randolph was the second wife of Patrick, 8th Earl of Dunbar. She was a lady of noble birth who knew the ins and outs of society and feudal life. All her wit and savvy were called into play during a pivotal time in her life. It was 1338, and the English continued to invade Scotland. The Earl of Salisbury thought it would be a simple thing to take Dunbar Castle, a strategic coastal location. Salisbury knew that Earl Patrick was fighting far away and that the Castle was in the hands of only a few men at arms and Lady Agnes. First, he asked for her to surrender. She cannily played the “Little Wifey” card — I can’t surrender without discussing it with my husband and he’s not home now. Next, Lord Salisbury hurled rocks at the Castle with catapults. Every day they bombarded, every day Lady Agnes and her ladies came out and dusted the battlements with their fine embroidered handkerchiefs, as if the damage were a minor housekeeping annoyance. Then, the English deployed a great battering ram, nicknamed ‘The Sow,’ at the gate. Lady Agnes had her men throw the catapulted rocks over the ramparts, breaking the Sow and dispersing the soldiers below. As they scattered, Agnes remarked, “Behold a litter of English pigs.” The siege dragged on and the English thought that the Scots were out of food, but they were resupplied at last via the ocean gate by Sir Alexander Ramsey. Ever the gracious hostess, Lady Agnes sent bread and imported wine to the English commander, so he could ‘share’ her table. Lastly, the English captured Lord Moray, Agnes’ brother. They dragged him in front of the gate and said they would kill him if the Castle were not surrendered. “Go ahead,” replied Agnes, knowing the weak point in this argument, “since he has no heirs, then I will become the head of the Morays.” Seeing they had no advantage, the English let her brother go. [Luckily Brother knew that Agnes was playing a role and did indeed value his life] After five months of siege, Lord Salisbury packed it in and left. As his men marched away, they chanted a cadence call to honor Agnes who had defeated them: “Came I early, came I late, I found Agnes at the gate.” Sir Walter Scott declared that Lady Agnes had earned a spot on the list of Scottish heroes.

Few foods are as Scottish as haggis [lamb sausage with oatmeal binder] and salmon. Today’s meals feature them both.

Haggis ScrOmelette:  172 calories 9 g fat 1 g fiber 13 g protein 9 g carbs 50 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  GF  Haggis could be described as a Scottish lamb sausage. Some of the variety meats in the original recipe are not available, so this is an Americanized version. [Regrets to my Dunbar ancestors.]

Three 2-oz eggs of which you will use 1-½ eggs per person HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.  1-1/2 Tbsp haggis   2 oz applesauce, unsweetened  OR 2 oz pear Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Spritz a non-stick pan with olive oil or non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs with the haggis, and salt & pepper to taste and scramble or cook as an omelette in the pan. Plate with the applesauce and pour the beverage of choice. A gateway to Scottish cuisine.

Salmon-Dill Casserole:  281 calories 10.4 g fat 5 g fiber 24.6 g protein 24 g carbs 253 mg Calcium  PB GF  This is a wonderful meal. SO much flavor!!

3 oz salmon, raw 1 cup leeks, sliced 1 clove garlic 2 oz clam juice or fish stock 2 Tbsp milk ½ tsp cornstarch ½ tsp dill pinch nutmeg + pinch cayenne ¼ cup peas 1 oz green beans 

Cut the salmon into one-inch cubes and put in an oven-proof dish, dusting the fish with salt and pepper. Cook the leeks 5 minutes in a pan with a spritz of oil and some water. Slice the garlic and add that to the leeks for an additional 15 seconds. Whisk the cornstarch into the milk and clam juice, then add to the leeks. Cook until it becomes thicker. Take pan off the heat and add dill, cayenne, nutmeg and peas. Pour over salmon and bake around 15 minutes until it is hot through. In the meantime, cook the green beans and drain. Scrape the hot salmon mixture into your serving bowl [I used one 7” bowl per serving], being sure to include all the sauce. Top with the cooked beans. If there is broth left in the bottom of the bowl, don’t be shy – drink it!

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday ……… single portion for Thursday:

two-oz egg + feta cheesewhite whole wheat flour + butter
olive oil + frozen spinachbaking powder + buttermilk
mushrooms + milk + garlicapple + sesame/poppy seeds
white whole wheat flourcamembert cheese +cream of tartar
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday: …….. single portion for Thursday:

felafel pattiespork + beef + meat stock
fresh tomato + red onionPiment de Queijo or other hot sauce
orange or yellow bell peppercarrots + kale
lemon juiceturnip + cabbage
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Cheeky

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier. Welcome to Tim who is now Following.

“Cheeky.” That’s a funny word. It describes someone, often a child, who is almost impudent enough to be rude — but the rudeness is so surprisingly bold that it is seen as humorous. “Cheeks” refer to the sides of the face, between nose and ears, sometimes pinched by doting aunties. “Cheeks” also refer to the fleshy gluteus maximus muscles of the ‘derriere.’ Does the word ‘cheeky’ have its origin in the flippant display of that part of the anatomy? Dictionaries are mute on the subject.

Sometimes chefs are cheeky by presenting a food that looks like something it is not. Today’s breakfast is just such a culinary jest. It fooled Dear Husband! The cheeks [facial, not posterior] of animals are often considered to be the most tender part of the beast. Our dinner utilizes the cheeks [facial] of fish.

Trompe l’Oeil: 135 calories 6 g fat 1.7 g fiber 10.5 g protein 9.6 g carbs 128 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  Here is a meal to ‘fool the eye’ [trompe l’oeil] and tickle the palate with its combination of the cold soup and the hot egg. The soup, which is good as a lunch in larger portions, comes from cuisine actuelle.fr

½ cup Cucumber Soup*** 0.9 oz canteloupe melon ball — the scoop was the same size as the egg yolk one 2-oz egg 1 tsp grated Parmesan 1 Tbsp whole milk

***Cucumber Soup  makes 3 cups, easy to cut in half

two 8” cucumbers [total mass = 21 oz]Slice off both tips of the cucumber and remove half of the green peel. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Dice the cucumber.
A bunch of mintRemove leaves from stems and chop the leaves coarsely.
Piment d’esplette [or paprika or Aleppo pepper] to taste salt & pepper to tastePut the cucumber, mint, and seasonings in a food processor. Run the machine until the cucumber is very finely chopped.
200 grams/ 7 oz Fromage Blanc OR plain Greek yogurtAdd cheese, run the processor to combine. Adjust seasonings.
1 Tbsp-sized canteloupe ballsPlate, garnished with one melon ball per serving

Spritz an oven-safe ramekin with non-stick spray and break the egg into it. Sprinkle the parmesan around the yolk. Spoon the milk around the yolk. Add salt and pepper. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape the soup into a similar ramekin. Nestle the melon ball in the soup. Plate them side by side and smile.

Cod Cheeks in Cream Sauce:  227 calories 11.7 g fat 2 g fiber 24.6 g protein 5.8 g carbs [4.7 g Complex] 65.7 mg Calcium   PB GF   The cheeks of cod and halibut are considered a delicacy among fisherfolk. This recipe is simple and SO delicious.  HINT: This recipe serves two [2].

300 grams cod +/or halibut cheeks 2 tsp olive oil ¼ c [2 oz] white wine 1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped roughly 1 oz whipping cream 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard chives or scallion greens   per serving: 7 spears of asparagus

Prepare a mise-en-place because this goes together quickly. Start by putting the asparagus on to cook – it will take longer than the fish and sauce. Then warm the oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan. Put the fish pieces in a single layer and cook for one minute on one side. Turn them over and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove fish to a plate. Turn the heat down to medium and add the wine and garlic to the pan. As soon as the wine has mostly evaporated, add the cream, scallions, and mustard, stirring all the while. The cream will start to thicken so put the fish back into the sauce briefly, to warm. Plate the fish and asparagus, being sure to save some of the sauce for the vegetables. Very special.

Slow Day: Eastern Mediterranean Sampler

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

The meal at Troy

When we visit Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, we enjoy dining at Troy. We usually order the Sampler Platter, along with local beer and cidre. Since dining there is not an option during these Covid Times, I decided to try my hand at preparing such a meal. Happily, the elements were at hand — in the freezer or in the ‘fridge or made from fresh ingredients.

From the left, going clockwise around the platter: Lamb Gozleme; turkey breast; beet hummus**; oil-cured olives; tomatoes; feta + green olives; red pepper spread; dried figs. The flat bread in the middle is the same as in the Gozleme, but un-stuffed and griddle fried. A delightful meal for two, served with memories of visits to the orchards and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

**HUMMUS: 1 Tbsp = 27 calories 1.3 g fat 0.6 g fiber 0.7 g protein 3 g carbs 0.7 mg Calcium   PB GF  makes 2 cups Recipe from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen . 1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed 4 cloves garlic 1-½ tsp salt 4 tsp lemon juice 5 T tahini pepper + cayenne ¼ c chopped scallions

Put everything in the food processor and whizz until smooth. Taste for seasonings. Freezes well. Variation: Add a few slices of cooked beet to obtain an amazing pink color.

LHC

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

The Large Hadron Collider is an enormous machine. It lurks 300 feet underground in a ring of tunnel. The tunnel channels charged particles [protons, which are classified as Hadrons] around and around the ring in opposite directions, eventually to slam the protons into each other inside the LHC. There they splinter into even tinier particles [quarks, gluons] which are detected by the various layers of the machine. On September 10, 2008, the LHC went on-line, a very exciting day for our family. Our Elder Son worked for three years at CERN, the research center that designed and built the LHC, in partnership with universities and science facilities around the world. He was a graduate student in physics and he was building and testing the Muon Filters before they were installed in the End Cap of the collider. Dear Husband and I were thrilled beyond measure to visit him there and to be taken on a tour of the work site. And I have the T-shirt to prove it.

The colors represent various sub-atomic particles leaving a proton collision.

Though an excellent cook, Elder Son nonetheless opted for convenience on workdays: he would prepare a smoothie for breakfast before he caught the bus for work. In that spirit, here is a morning shake to start your day. The dinner involves Swiss Chard, a nod to the fact that CERN is located just outside of Geneva, Switzerland.

Strawberry-Banana-Tofu Smoothie: 199 calories 3.4 g fat 3.7 g fiber 14 g protein 26 g carbs 360 mg Calcium  PB GF This is a dandy ‘shake’ for breakfast or lunch.

2 oz banana ½ c plain, fat free yogurt ½ cup sliced strawberries 2 Tbsp sugar 2.8 oz soft or firm tofu, which is 1/5 of a package 

Put everything in the blender and wizz it on “Low” until it is all chopped up. Then run it at a higher speed until it is smooth. HINT: If you want to, add another ½ cup of yogurt, or skimmed milk which will add more volume and bring the calorie count to 259.

Swiss Chard Fritatta:  284 calories 12.5 g fat 4 g fiber 18.7 g protein 24 g carbs [23 g Complex] 166 mg Calcium  PB GF — if using GF bread or omitting it  Susan Loomis is the source of this recipe, which also can be a wonderful breakfast, scaled down to serve two. HINT: Serves 2 as a main course. Could serve 4-6 as an appetizer.

3 oz swiss chard or fresh spinach 1/3 tsp olive oil 8 oz eggs = 4 two-oz eggs in their shells 3 pinches granulated garlic + 3 pinches salt + large pinch paprika 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 1 oz 7-grain sour-dough bread, or something similarly hearty ¼ cup pickled beets 

Clean the chard by holding the leaf and pulling off the stem. Chop the leaves. Put olive oil in an oven-proof pan that can also be used on the stove-top. Turn on the broiler and move the upper rack to the top. Cook the chopped leaves in the oil until the leaves are limp, adding water as necessary to prevent sticking. Be sure to cook off the water/liquid in the pan. Combine the eggs, cheese and seasonings. Whisk well and pour over the chard in the pan. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is well set [4-5 minutes]. Put under the broiler until the top is cooked. Serve from the pan or slide the fritatta out onto a serving plate.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday ……… single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz egg + 2 cucumbers1.5 eggs
mint + piment d’empletteParmesan cheese
whole milk + Parmesanapplesauce
Fromage blanc + cantalouphaggis
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday: …….. single portion for Thursday:

cod cheeks + olive oilSalmon + leek + peas
heavy cream + garlicclam juice/fish stock + cayenne
Dijon mustard + asparagusgarlic + milk + cornstarch
white wine + chivesgreen beans + nutmeg + dill
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Buffon

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

September 7 is the birthdate of one of my favorite scientists: George-Louis Leclerc, the Conte de Buffon. He was born into a family of civil servants in Montbard, Burgundy, France. His wealthy godfather endowed him richly, with baby George’s mother as trustee. Although his father wanted him to study law, George-Louis was drawn to math and science. He left law school to pursue his interest and to travel [and get away from home until the acrimony died down?]. During his absence, his beloved mother died. Returning home, he sued his father [useful, those law classes!] to regain his inheritance; bought land [including the town of Buffon]; and went to Paris to make his mark. Marriage, fatherhood, the death of his dear wife — personal milestones. Probability theory, scientific studies, royal patronage — professional milestones. Eventually, he was raised to nobility, named the Conte [Count] de Buffon. He was an excellent writer [“The Style is the man himself”] which helped popularize his wide-ranging ideas. After experiments with various metals, Buffon concluded that the earth was 75,000 years old and was not formed 6000 years prior in the course of seven days, as was the current thinking. “Why should we hold God to man’s calendar?” he asked, proposing that a day to God could be 10,000 years to Man. Buffon believed that all races of people were the same [good for him!] but that they look differently because of climate and poor diet [that part was sketchy]. Buffon also thought that climate change affected the development of life forms. His writing was censured by the Church, but his research went on. Buffon’s ideas informed the work of future scientists such as Cuvier, Lyell, and Darwin. Buffon died in 1789, which is a good thing, as he would surely have been guillotined during the French Revolution, as was his son.

As a lover of the terroir of his region, Buffon would have delighted in the earthy taste of cepes/ceps, so this breakfast would have pleased him. The dinner is a classic of Burgundian cuisine, especially because it showcases the local ham.

Cepe Bake: 139 calories 6.7 g fat 1.3 g fiber 10 g protein 6 g carbs 61 mg Calcium   PB GF Am I bragging when I say that Bolete mushrooms [aka porcini] come up wild in our front yard? Sort of… but it is the truth – thanks to a stand of oaks which partner with the mushrooms. After researching which flavors go best with Cepes, here is an amazing breakfast.

1 egg 1 oz cepes/porcini [fresh or dried and rehydrated in hot water] 1-½ tsp Parmesan cheese 1 oz tomatoes 0.13 oz proscuitto 1-½ oz peach   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Slice the mushrooms into small pieces [your call]. Dice the tomatoes. Coarsley chop the proscuitto. Spray a non-stick or small cast-iron pan with non-stick spray and cook the three above items until they are softened and have lost their liquid. Put the cooked ingredients into a lightly-oiled oven-safe dish and distribute over the bottom. Whisk the eggs with the cheese, and pour into the prepared dish. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until set. Plate with the peaches for a real mid-Summer delight.

Burgundian Ham Flan: 291 calories 12 g fat 3 g fiber 27 g protein 25 g carbs 131.5 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF flour  In Burgundy, this is called “Rigodon.” Whatever language you speak, you will call it delicious. The recipe comes from Anne Willan’s French Regional CookingHINT: This recipe serves two [2] but go ahead and make the whole thing – it will be great for lunch later in the week. Dear Husband says: Make this again soon!

2 ½ oz ham, 3% fat ½ oz proscuitto ham 1 cup skimmed milk 4 eggs [8 oz] 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 2 pinches ground allspice 1 tsp fresh thyme salt & pepper fresh parsley leaves per serving: 1 cup lettuce + ½ tsp olive oil + ½ tsp vinegar

Cut hams in small dice. Spray an 8” diameter baking dish with non-stick spray. Distribute the ham over the bottom of the dish. Add the allspice to the milk, and bring it slowly to a boil. Whisk the eggs with the flour until it is smooth. Take the milk off the heat. While you whisk, add the egg/flour to the milk, then stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour over the ham in the baking dish and place some parsley leaves on the surface of the eggs. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until the eggs are set and golden brown. Serve cool or at room temperature along with the salad.

Frederick Douglass

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

On September 3, 1838, Frederick Bailey escaped to freedom. He had been born to an enslaved woman in 1818 on a plantation in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. His mother was separated from him in childhood and he was raised by his enslaved grandmother and free grandfather. As an enslaved child, he was sold, traded, and loaned to various families: one taught him to read, one beat him frequently. Eventually he met a free Black woman, Anna Murray, who helped him to escape. He boarded a train in the guise of a free sailor, traveled through two pro-slavery states, took a ferry boat up river to Philadelphia, and after 24-hours of travel, ended up in New York City. Free. Frederick and Anna married soon after, choosing ‘Douglass’ as their surname. If he hadn’t had enough excitement for one life, Douglass became a pastor, a publisher, a public speaker, a women’s rights advocate, an abolitionist, a social reformer, and statesman. Frederick Douglass was the most photographed person in the 1800s and a tireless worker for the rights of ALL people. He believed that “Right is of no sex, Truth is of no color, God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.” Amen to that.

In trying to decide what recipes to feature today, I vetoed the idea of ‘slave food’ like hoe cakes and salt cod, in favor of the foods of the sort eaten by free, middle-class, educated people of Douglass’ time: watercress would have been served in nice restaurants [certainly in England where he toured and lectured], while ham with oysters is a popular dish of the Chesapeake Bay area from which he escaped.

Watercress ScrOmelette: 150 calories 8 g fat 0.6 g fiber 10.7 g protein 5.4 g carbs 74 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  Having Watercress Sauce in the freezer in handy cubes sure makes this meal a snap. And is it good!

1 ½ two-oz eggs  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid to store in the ‘fridge for next week.  ½ Tbsp Watercress Sauce, well drained    ½ Tbsp ricotta, drained  HINT: I set them both out to drain through a fine sieve the night before to make sure there was no extra liquid. 1/8 tsp dry mustard 1.5 oz peach   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Combine the drained watercress, drained cheese, and mustard. Whisk the eggs and cook in a hot saute pan spritzed with olive oil or non-stick spray. As the eggs begin to set, spread the cress/mustard/cheese on top. Cook the way you like them and plate with the peaches. Pour the beverages and enjoy the summer taste of watercress all year long. 

Ham & Oyster Pie: 256 calories 4.6 g fat 3 g fiber 20.7 g protein 25.5 g carbs 125 mg Calcium  PB GF — if using GF bread   This dish was popular in the Colonial American South at Christmastime. I first enjoyed it in the Fox Tavern  at the Hancock Inn. As long as oysters are available, one can have it anytime. HINT: This recipe serves 2 [two].

This dish will serve two diners.

3 oz [2/3 cup] roast ham in ½” dice 1 cup oysters with their liquid, about 19 ½ cup onions, chopped ¼ cup milk 2 Tbsp white wine 2 tsp potato starch ½ cup peas, frozen 4 small stars cut from a 70-calorie slice of whole-grain bread, 0.55 oz bread

Drain oysters and reserve their liquid. Combine onion and oyster liquid in a small pan. Simmer, covered, until onions are transluscent. Stir wine, milk, and potato starch into the liquid until it is smooth. Add oysters and ham. Stir and heat over low until sauce has thickened. Add peas, stir, and turn into a two-cup casserole. Bake uncovered at 400 F. for 15 minutes while you lightly toast the stars. Before serving, nestle the stars into the bubbling sauce.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday ……… single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz eggtofu + sugar
cepe or porcini mushroomsstrawberries
tomato + prosciuttobanana
Parmesan + peachplain fat-free yogurt
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday: …….. single portion for Thursday:

3%-fat ham, sliced thinlytwo 2-oz eggs + paprika + pickled beets
skimmed milk + 4 eggsparmesan cheese + Swiss chard
white whole wheat flourgarlic powder + paprika
allspice + thyme + green beansolive oil optional: sourdough bread
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Chicken Corn Soup Supper

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier. 

Every August, small country churches in my family’s area of South-Central Pennsylvania used to put up the signs: Chicken Corn Soup Supper. Organized and run by the ladies of the church [with some help from the men-folk], these can be at once a social event, a cherished link to the agrarian culture, and a major fund-raiser. In August, the sweet corn is ripe and half of the laying flock is 2-years old which means that the stars are aligned for Chicken Corn Soup. The best broth is from older chickens [fowls], so they would be dispatched early in the morning and stewed for hours. The chickens’ meat, off the bones and shredded, would be added to the broth, along with the herbs and onions they were cooked with. Kernels from sweet corn [as opposed to the taller, coarser field corn], and chunks of potatoes would be be added. One hot August evening many years ago, Dear Husband and I attended one of these dinners at an old stone chapel near Newville, Pa. Tressle tables and benches were set up the lawn, covered with butcher paper. You squeezed in among the other diners and partook of the delights of the table: a big bowl of hot soup, dinner rolls fresh from the oven, butter, iced tea, and cake or pie for dessert. The air was conditioned by the breeze in the Black Locust trees and the entertainment was the hum of cicadas. All around, a sense of contentment as the rhythm of the seasons was observed.

Here is my attempt at the tastiest soup of August, and a breakfast that a busy farm wife could assemble in minutes, from her kitchen garden, while she stewed the fowl and let the bread rise.

Allium Bake: 136 calories 6.6 g fat 1.2 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs 108 mg Calcium   PB GF  The genus Allium contains all the onions and their relatives. This bake contains three of them along with two cheeses for even more flavor and goodness.

One 2-oz egg ½ oz sliced leek, green +/or white parts ½ oz minced onion 1 Tbsp minced chives 1 Tbsp cottage cheese 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 2 oz peach Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water    Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Spritz an oven-proof ramekin [for 2 people, Dear Husband likes to use a 6×4” oval casserole] with non-stick spray and set the oven for 350 degrees F. Slice/chop the leeks and onions. Spray a skillet/saute pan with non-stick spray and cook the alliums until they are limp. Put them, along with the chives and any seasonings you like, in the prepared oven-safe dish. Whisk the egg with the two cheeses and pour over the alliums. Bake for 12 minutes or until done as you like it. Plate with the peach, pour your beverage of choice, and savor a flavorful day.

Chicken Corn Soup:  159 calories 4 g fat 2 g fiber 12 g protein 20 g carbs 21.6 mg Calcium NB: the above food values do not include the optional bread   PB GF – if using GF bread or eliminating it.

1-½ cups corn cut from the cob [about 3 ears] 1-½ cups potato, cut in ½ inch cubes 3 cups rich chicken broth ½ cup water from cooking the corn and potato ½ cup raw chicken meat, cut in small pieces many sprigs thyme + 1-2 sage leaves one ½-inch slice onion salt & pepper to taste   per serving:  ½ hard-boiled egg   Optional: 1 slice [1 oz] sourdough bread [add 100 calories]

Pour the chicken broth into a sauce pan, adding the onion and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until it cooks down to 2-½ cups. Let stand off heat. Put the corn in a skillet with water half-way up the sides of the ears. Cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes. Remove the corn and add the potato cubes to the water. Cook the potato for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove the potato from the water and save the cooking water. Chop the chicken and put it in the hot chicken stock to cook off the heat. Cut the kernals off the corn cobs and measure the volume. Remove the thyme sprigs and the onion from the stock, and chop the onion. Put the corn and potato into the stock, along with the chopped onion and any thyme leaves you can remove from the boiled sprigs. Add ½ cup of the corn/potato water to the soup. Gently heat the soup until the chicken is cooked. Taste for seasonings. One portion = 1 cup. Top each portion of soup with chopped hard-boiled egg and a bit of parsley. If you wish, serve with a slice of sourdough bread. Freeze the remainder. This is truly the taste of Summer. Cue the cicadas.

A Seeper in Titusville

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Edwin Drake had been sent by some ‘sharpsters‘ in New York City to Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. ‘They,’ a banker and a lawyer, had bought land along a body of water the locals called ‘Oil Creek.’ Seems there was a petroleum seep up-stream at the source of the creek. Everyone knew that petroleum was good for aching joints and that if you rubbed it on your chest, it would cure a cold. But those sharp operators from the City had other plans: oil for lighting, oil for machine lubrication — native oil to replace the dwindling supplies of expensive whale oil. And they were right in their assumptions. Drake, with no experience in petroleum extraction, cobbled together a team to build a drilling rig, similar to ones used locally to pump out salt brine. [We know today that salt deposits and petroleum reservoirs are linked geologically.] After drilling 80-some feet, quantities of oil seeped to the surface on August 27. OK, it wasn’t a ‘gusher’ of an oil well, but it did usher in the dominance of petroleum in the American economy, for better or for worse. In my opinion as an Earth Scientist, it might be good to leave a lot of the oil in the ground — in case we require it decades or centuries from now. Using it all up now is not the best of ideas IMHO. [Read the long, very interesting article from American Heritage: https://www.americanheritage.com/sitting-gusher]

Since oil and America are so inextricably linked, We will enjoy some all-American foods today: a star-studded line-up of cornmeal and hot dogs. This patriotism is further seen at the Drake Well Museum in Titusville, which is closed on all holidays except Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.

Cornmeal Stars with Fruit Yogurt: 133 calories 3.3 g fat 4.2 g fiber 7.6 g protein 21 g carbs [8 g Complex] 46 mg Calcium NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB GF Cornbread and stars are SO American, that they fit in with any patriotic meal.

Cornmeal Stars: 1 egg white 1 egg yolk, stirred 1 Tbsp white whole-wheat flour 3 Tbsp yellow cornmeal Whip the egg white to soft peaks. Fold in the yolk, the flour, and the meal. Place your largest [3-4”] star-shaped cookie cutter in the center of a non-stick pan. Spray the pan and the inside of the star with non-stick spray. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into the star, nudging it into the corners. Loosen the mold from the batter and remove it. Cook the star on one side until starting to brown, then turn carefully to cook the other side. Repeat until batter is all used up. HINT: This can be done a day or so in advance, storing the stars in a plastic bag.

Per serving: 1.5 stars 2 Tbsp fat-free French Vanilla yogurt 2 Tbsp blueberries 2 oz strawberries, sliced or diced [If frozen, they will need to be thawed and drained]   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Plate the stars, slightly overlapping. Dollop the yogurt on top, then strew with fruit.

Hot Dog & 4-Bean Salad: 302 calories 12 g fat 3.6 g fiber 20 g protein 18.6 g carbs 103.7 mg Calcium  GF PB  Hot Dogs and summer salads go together, even for Fasters. This meal is very straight-forward, assuming the 4-bean salad has already been prepared.

1 Hebrew National reduced-fat hot dog 1 deviled egg [hard-boiled egg the yolk of which has been creamed with yellow mustard, salt, and black pepper] ½ cup 4-bean salad  2 oz tomato broiled with ½ Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Grill or pan-cook the hot dog. Prepare the deviled egg. Cut out the stem end of the tomato and carve it in half along the equator. Top the tomato with cheese and broil it. Plate it all with the 4-bean salad. Simple food at summer’s end.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday ……… single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
tomatoricotta cheese
leek + garlic powderdry mustard + peach
basil + pearwatercress sauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday: …….. single portion for Thursday:

raw chicken + potato + onionroast ham + potato starch
rich chicken stock + corn1 cup oysters + their liquid
hard-boiled egg + thyme white wine + milk + peas
optional: sourdough bread70-calories whole-grain bread
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Fly-Over

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier. Welcome to amberbam8 who is now Following.

On August 24, 1932, Amelia Earhart become the first woman to fly across the United States. At that time, flying was still novel and few flew for any reason, let alone travel or business. Today, we look down at the crop-lands of the Heartland as we fly from the East Coast to California, and then watch as the landscape changes to the high plains and then the mountains. From 10,000 feet, as seen from Amelia’s plane, it must have been even more impressive. The states below have referred to by most as the ‘Mid-West,’ the ‘Great Plains,’ the ‘Basin and Range.’ Some today call them the ‘Fly-Over States,’ to the great annoyance of the residents there-of, who feel that their voices and concerns are over-looked by the Great and Powerful of the coastal states. There are a lot of good people on both coasts, and a lot of good people in the middle, too, who should not be ignored just because we fly-over their states. Everyone deserves a voice. That’s why free and fair elections are so important.

Iowa and Kansas are in the middle of the USA. They grow a lot of corn. So breakfast will feature that fine vegetable. Dinner is a Summer meal that you could find at any lunch counter in the Heartland. Worth stopping in.

Ham-Cup Egg with Corn: 140 calories 6.7 g fat 1.3 g fiber 10 g protein 11 g carbs [10 g Complex] 36.8 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PG GF Ham and corn are such a grand combination. Easy to prepare ahead for a quick breakfast.

1 two-oz egg 1 slice “Cottage Ham” [4” diameter thin slice of ham] I used North Country Smoke House brand at 21 calories/slice 1 Tbsp fresh polenta [see Second Fiddles I-9-’19] 1.5 tsp red bell pepper, diced Sriracha 3 oz watermelon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Fit the ham into an oven-proof container that measures 3.25” in diameter and 1.25” deep. [I used a cleaned tuna can. It was perfect.] You will need to snip the ham on 2 sides and overlap the meat to make it fit better into the mold. Combine the polenta with the diced pepper and season with Sriracha/salt/pepper to taste. Whisk in the egg and pour into the ham cup. HINT: I did this the night before and put it in the ‘fridge. Turn on the toaster oven to 350 F and bake the ham cups for 20+ minutes, until the filling is puffed and set. Prepare the optional beverages and the melon. Use a wide knife to loosten the ham cups from the mold before plating. Some of the egg will have oozed into the mold as it baked, but that is easy to remove too. This is a real treat!

Chicken Salad Platter:  227 calories 3.4 g fat 5 g fiber 22 g protein 23 g carbs 107 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using gf crackers Chicken salad is an old favorite – for a sandwich or stuffed in tomatoes or on a salad plate. Without mayonnaise, it is much healthier and just as good.

½ cup chicken salad, chez moi** ½ cup Swedish Cucumber salad 5 sugar snap peas, or more 2 cherry tomatoes, or more 3 Finn Crisp crackers

**Chicken Salad, chez moi  makes 1 cup ½ cup= 121 calories 3.3 g fat o g fiber 9.7 g protein 1.4 g carbs 88 mg Calcium  5 oz cooked chicken breast 4 Tbsp part-skim ricotta 2 tsp yellow Sriracha 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped salt & pepper to taste   optional: 2 Tbsp minced onion 2 Tbsp mined celery Chop, shred or grind the chicken. Combine with the other ingredients. Taste for seasoning, adding more Sriracha if too dry.

Plate everything in a pleasing arrangement

Slow Days: Summer Desserts

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?  Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As to how we eat, some examples follow.

In the Summer, we want our desserts to be light and cooling. Hot pie is out, ice cream is in. I remember when fruited Jello was acceptable. And then chiffon pie was in vogue. Ugh. Both highly processed. A waste of calories, in my opinion. Fruit is always the answer: fresh, real, delicious, versatile, good for you. I don’t usually give nutritional information on a Slow Day Post, because with the Fast Diet you need ‘diet’ only 2 days each week. But these desserts are SO good that the calorie counts prove that one can eat well without going hog wild on calories. Hope you like these!

‘Blue Strawberries’: In Portsmouth, NH, in the 70s/80s, James Haller and friends ran the Blue Strawbery Restaurant. They served a prix-fixe menu with only one dessert: their signature strawberries. Awfully simple to prepare and a delight to eat.

This plate will serve two diners.

5 oz medium-sized strawberries 2 Tbsp low fat French Vanilla yogurt 2 Tbsp brown sugar

On individual serving plate, place the strawberries, spoon out the yogurt in a separate spot, and place the sugar in its own space. Grasp a strawberry by the stem, dip into the yogurt, dip into the sugar. Eat. Repeat

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries: each: 34 calories 2 g fat 1 g fiber 0.5 g protein 3.6 g carbs 13 mg Calcium PB GF These are so easy to make that I can’t imagine buying a kit at the supermarket. Is this ‘gilding the lily’? Yes! And they are SO good. 

6 fresh strawberries [½-3/4 oz each] with leaves and stems attached 3 oz dark [60-70%] or bitter-sweet chocolate [chocolate chips/bar chocolate/melting wafers] — you will end up using less than 1 oz and will have some left over

Put the chocolate in a wide-mouthed jar or glass bowl and place it in a small pan. Add water to the pan to about half-way up the vessel with the chololate. Gently heat the water so that the chocolate melts. Do not let the heating water bubble, lest water drops end up in the chocolate. Stir the chocolate to make sure it is all melted. Put the berries on a piece of waxed paper [or a silicon mat] on a small tray that will fit in the ‘fridge. The berries must be perfectly dry – no water drops, lest the chocolate ‘seize up.’ Pick up a berry by the leaves/stem and dip into the chocolate until it is coated about 2/3 of the way up. You may have to roll it a bit to coat it. As you remove it from dipping, wipe it gently against the side of the vessel, as you would wipe excess paint from a paintbrush. Lay the coated berry on the waxed paper and continue with the other berries. Put the berries in the ‘fridge to harden and cool. Cool any excess chololate and keep in the ‘fridge for any future use.

S’More: 145 calories 4.7 g fat 0.5 g fiber 2 g protein 24.5 g carbs 22.5 mg Calcium The Girl Scouts of America tell their members that this campfire treat was invented by them. No summer is complete without the gooey-chocolatey goodness of the s’more. The name is a contraction of “I want some more.” I must say I was surprised at the low calorie count.

These are the fixings for THREE s’mores.

1 graham cracker, broken in half cross-wise along the perforations 1 marshmallow – regular size, neither mini nor monstrous 3 sections of one standard Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar

On one of the halves of the cracker, place the chocolate. Cook the marshmallow the way you like it. Put the marshmallow on the chocolate, top with the other piece of cracker. Push down on the top to squish the marshmallow so it oozes out the sides a little. Eat immediately.

Watermelon Sherbet:  54 calories 2 g fat 1 g fiber 1 g protein 9 g carbs 42 mg Calcium   PG GF   Such a delight for a hot Summer night! Goes together very quickly at dessert time. Serve with a simple cookie, such as chocolate biscotti. HINT: One serving = 3/4 of a cup. This is really good!

3 cups watermelon1-½ cup melon Freeze the watermelon cubes in a single layer on a piece parchment paper or foil for at least 3-4 hours.
¾ cup frz melon ½ cup plain yogurt OR lite canned coconut milk/ sweetened condensed milk/ Vanilla yogurt1/3 cup frz melon ¼ cup plain yogurtWhen ready to make, add half the watermelon to the food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the yogurt/ coconut milk/ condensed milk. 
¾ cup frz melon 3 Tbsp mini choc chips1/3 cup frz melon 1.5 Tbsp mini chipsAdd the remaining watermelon and the mini chips. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Eat immediately or freeze for 2-3 hours for a firmer texture. If frozen longer, leave it out for 30 minutes before eating so it can soften up and become creamy.