Madama Butterfly

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 Rachel Alexandra who is now Following.

On February 17, 1904, Giacomo Puccini‘s opera Madama Butterfly debuted in Milan at La Scalla Opera House. It was loudly and soundly booed, possibly by a claque of the composer’s rivals, and the opera was withdrawn. This was a stunning blow to Puccini. Ever since he saw an American company perform a short play about an American sailor and his ill-fated affair with a Japanese girl, Puccini wanted to turn it into an opera. He learned Japanese songs from the ambassador’s wife; one of his librettists went to Japan to gain some authenticity. After the disastrous premiere, the team reworked the piece and re-staged it in May to great success. Now the poignant story of the selfish Lt Pinkerton and the trusting Cho-Cho-San [called “Butterfly”] is one of the most popular works in any company’s repertoire and the aria Un Bel Di makes you sad just to hear it, especially when you know the tragic ending.

While we ponder the tale of poor Butterfly, we will eat a very Japanese breakfast which is good tasting and easy to prepare. For dinner, a rather American meal of fish combined with ham and walnuts.

Japanese Onion Soup with Onsen Tamago Egg: 215 calories 5 g fat 2.2 g fiber 16 g protein 29 g carbs [9 g Complex] 48 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg soup and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Our Younger Son prepared this for us one morning after a lot of heavy eating and it was a revelation: light yet hearty and so delicious. “Onsen Tamago” means ‘hot spring’ and it is a very different [to me] way to cook a soft egg.  HINT: This recipe is enough for 2 servings. Very easy to save for another breakfast or lunch one or two days from now.

2 two-oz eggs cooked Onsen Tomago-style** ½ cup sweet onions 2 cups chicken broth 3 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp mirin 1 oz Japanese noodles, such as soba @ 95 calories/ounce garnish: scallions, chopped + Sriracha, to taste 2 oz melon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

**Onsen Tomago EggHINT: The eggs can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. 2 whole eggs in shells + 1 liter water + 1 cup cold tap water Bring 1 liter of water to a boil. Once it boils, remove it from the heat, and add 1c of cold water. Using a slotted spoon, place eggs into the hot water and cover. Let sit for 17 minutes, then remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Serve hot or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Onion Soup: Cook noodles according to package, shock in cold water and put in serving bowls. Place sliced onions and stock into pan and bring to boil. When stock comes to boil, reduce heat to a strong simmer and cover. Cook until onions are soft (they should not be rigid when you pick them up with chopsticks). When onions are almost finished, add soy sauce, mirin, and sriracha and stir. If the liquid has reduced noticibly, add water.  When the onions are finished, pour the onion and broth over noodles. Carefully crack onsen tamago egg into broth. Garnish with green onion and serve the melon on the side. Eat with chopsticks and Japanese soup spoon.

Ham-Stuffed Fish 270 calories 3.5 g fat 23 g protein 16 g carbs 139 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF bread  Another recipe of unknown origin. Glad I saved it.

4 oz tilapia or perch 1 oz sliced ham from the deli 1/2 tsp soy sauce + ½ tsp sherry + 1 egg white ½ piece of whole-grain 70-calorie bread 1 Tbsp finely-chopped walnuts 1 oz carrots, julienned + 1 oz celery, julienned + 1 oz beets 1 scallion

Slice the fish so that it is in 2 pieces of equal length and thickness. Crumble the bread into the finest crumbs and blend thoroughly with walnuts. Whip the egg white until it is very frothy. Blend in the soy sauce and sherry. Make a ‘sandwich’ of the ham slice between the two pieces of fish. Dip in the egg mixture to coat, then dip in the bread/walnuts. Cook in a heavy non-stick pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, until fish is cooked – about 5 minutes per side. Cook the vegetables. Plate the fish and vegetables and sprinkle with sliced scallion.

Quid Pro Quo

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.

There are so many words and phrases in the English language which were lifted directly from latin [that’s a lower-case ‘l’ since the language is no longer spoken in daily life]. “Quid pro quo” has seen a lot of use lately. From its early use in medicine, in common law it has come to mean “something for something” or in the vernacular, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your’s.” Dieting is a bit of a quid pro quo — you do this and you should get that result. It doesn’t always happen that way — due to illness; or slow transit; or cheating on the diet; or there is a food that causes you to gain weight [for me, it is white rice]; or it is the wrong diet for you. Someone I know tried a low fat diet, but that didn’t do anything; then tried cutting calories every day, but that ended because it seemed like a punishment. Then the Fast Diet worked! Two days of 600-calorie eating [QUID] with the result of losing 1-2 pound each week [QUO]. This could work for you, too. Give it a try.

Sweet Potato Pancake Plate: 122 calories 2.2 g fat 2.6 g fiber 9.4 g protein 26.4 g carbs [21 g Complex] 27 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF – if using Brown Rice Flour I suppose you could call these ‘hash-browns’ but they look more like pancakes. Sorta. These potato pancakes are a fine side dish and they hold their own as the star of this breakfast.

2 potato pancakes *** 2 oz applesauce 30-grams Canadian bacon/back bacon = 2 slices Jones brand 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]

Prepare the pancakes or warm them if prepared the night before. Warm the applesauce, and the bacon. Savory and delicious.

***Potato Pancakes  makes 8   8 oz sweet potato, peeled and grated 1.5 oz egg [Whisk one entire egg and measure 1.5 oz of it for this recipe. Use the remainder in baking.] 2 Tbsp minced/grated onion 4 tsp white whole wheat flour OR brown rice flour ½ tsp salt Combine the ingredients while you heat a griddle or heavy skillet. Melt a dab of bacon fat or olive oil in the pan, then spray with non stick spray. Drop the ‘batter’ in 10 piles [I used a ¼ cup measure] on the griddle, then flatten them out to a diameter of 3-4”. Cook on one side, then flip to cook on the other. Save the remaining pancakes for a side dish tomorrow or as part of lunch another day.

Squash-Cupped Bison Chili: 215 calories 3.5 g fat 6.8 g fiber 14.7 g protein 34 g carbs 120 mg Calcium  PB GF  What an easy, delicious, and satisfying meal.  HINT: One squash is enough for 2 servings, so invite a fellow-Faster for dinner. Save the remaining chili for another meal later.

Bison Chilimakes 4 one-cup servings per cup – 136 calories 3.2 g fat 4.8 g fiber 13 g protein 14.5 g carbs 57 mg Calcium  4 oz ground bison 15 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced drained in a sieve [save the juice] 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 cup red onion, chopped 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped 3/4 cup canned red or black beans, drained and rinsed 2-4 tsp chili + ¾ tsp salt + ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin   Cook the venison, onion, garlic, and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the chili is hot throughout. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. 

For tonight’s meal: 5 oz delicata squash, seeds removed one cup Bison Chili or use Chili Non Carne [Sidekicks II, posted 4-Oct-’17] 2 oz melon, as a side savor

Weigh the delicata squash whole and uncut to get a sense of how much will be 5 oz. You will be cutting off one end of the squash and removing the seeds. Cut a small slice off the very end, so it will stand up as a cup for the chili. Put the squash in the microwave oven and cook it until it can be easily pierced with a skewer. Assemble by standing the squash cup in the middle of the plate and pouring the chili in and around it. Then position the melon. Unusual! Teriffic!

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

2 two-oz eggs1.5 two-oz eggs 
sweet onion + beef/chicken brothcooked mackerel
soy sauce + mirinleek + Dijon mustard
scallionstrawberries
Japanese dry noodles, 190 cal/ 2 ozoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

ham slice + walnuts + egg whitelobster tail + plantains
whole-grain bread + carrotslime + olive oil
tilapia or perch + soy saucespinach leaves
sherry wine + beets + scallionmelon
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Saint Scholastica

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 Skinny Spatula who is now Following.

Scholastica was a member of one of those families in the early Christian church when everybody joined the church and became saints. You’ve got Walburga, her father, and her 2 brothers; Nonna, her husband, and her three children; Basil and his 10 saintly relatives; and then there is Scholastica. I often try to imagine a family of saints sitting down to dinner at Thanksgiving….how would that conversation go? But with today’s saint, we know what she and her brother Benedict talked about: prayer, religious life, and the life here-after. They were twins and each was the head of a religious house in Italy. Once a year, they left their cloisters to meet together for a day of conversation, right up until a few days before the death of Scholastica. Unfortunately, Scholastica is better known for a deadly event which began on her feast day, February 10, 1354 [or ’35] in Oxford, England. The students had a day off and went drinking. In one tavern, a student berated the publican for serving lousy wine and threw it on him. Relations between Town and Gown being poor at best, a brawl ensued. The next day, more fighting broke out. After three days and 62 deaths, the Saint Scholastica’s Day Riot was to go down in history as a horrible event.

We will begin our recognition of Scholastica with a breakfast of Italian ingredients and end it with food that those English rioters might have recognized.

Asparagus-Proscuitto Bake: 124 calories 5.9 g fat 2 g fiber 8.3 g protein 9.7 g carbs [9.2 g Complex] 53.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF This is such a great flavor combination as an appetizer, that it must be wonderful with eggs. Yum!

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp [1/3 oz] thinly sliced, cooked asparagus ½ Tbsp [1/8 oz] proscuitto, thinly sliced or diced 1.5 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1 oz pear   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 a ramekin with cooking spray and put the sliced asparagus and proscuitto into it. Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Whisk together the cheese and egg, and pour into the ramekin. Add salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the meat is salty. Bake 12-15 minutes. Slice the pear, prepare the optional beverages of choice. Nice way to start the day.

Steak & Mushroom Pie: 277 calories 4.8 g fat 6.9 g fiber 27 g protein 25.6 g carbs 34 mg Calcium Two very compatible flavors together again, topped [not encased] in puff pastry. Similar to a meal enjoyed at The Sign of the Angel in Lacock, Wiltshire, England. A real treat. HINT: recipe serves 2 [TWO], photo shows one serving.

4 oz grilled sirloin steak [leftover from a previous meal?] 1.5 cups mushrooms 1 Tbsp red wine ¼ cup creamed onions ½ tsp thyme + salt & pepper to taste 1/6 sheet puff pastry [Pepperidge Farm, frozen sheets are easy to find and use] per person: 1/3 cup peas

Thaw the frozen puff pastry for 40 minutes on the counter. Rewrap and return one sheet to freezer. Remove one of the sheets, unroll it carefully, and cut the sheet into 6 squares. [TIP: stack the remaining 5 pieces with waxed paper or cling wrap between the layers. Pop into a zipper bag and freeze for later use.] Cut the steak into 1/2”-1” cubes. Combine the meat with the mushrooms, wine, onions, seasonings in an oven-proof dish just large enough to hold the meat mixture yet large enough to be topped with the puff pastry. Heat the meat mixture until it is warm. Lay the puff pastry on top, decoratively slitting the crust. Bake at 400 F. about 15 minutes, until the crust is well-browned. Cook the peas and imagine that you are in an English country restaurant.

Slow Day: Grilled Vegetable Pasta

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 your 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.

Sometimes, there is a crowd to feed and that’s when we turn to one of our stand-by meals: Grilled Vegetable Pasta with Sausage. The vegetables include: zucchini/summer squash, yellow or orange sweet peppers, red onion, and or other colorful fresh items of the same texture. Choose any pasta you wish — 2 ounces by weight per person. Bratwurst or Italian sausage will do just fine. Make 1-1/2 cups of your favorite white sauce and add 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

The colors of the vegetables are echoed in the colorful pasta.

The sausages are grilled, then sliced. The vegetables are sliced or cut into chunks, as you prefer. In a grill basket, toss and shake the vegetables over hot coals, then empty into a large bowl. While one person is doing the grilling, the other preparing the cheese sauce. SLOWLY, over low heat. [Sometimes (often), my sauce ‘breaks’ and becomes clotted. The solution is to whisk flour into the milk to bind the sauce back together.] Cook the pasta and combine everything in the bowl with the vegetables. Easy to prepare and always a hit.

Often, seconds helpings are the norm.

Marvelous Mixtures

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Tomorrow, eat meals with 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.

There are food combinations that we can’t get enough of. Here are three ‘mixtures’ of ingredients which were originally imagined as dinners or snacks — in Haiti, in the USA [under an Italian alias], and France — which also glide into eggs at breakfast time. These are some of our favorites:

HAITIAN CHICKEN PATE FILLING:  makes ~2 cup 1 Tbsp = 100 calories   Use in omelettes, bakes, quiches. 1 habanero pepper ¼ cup chopped onion 2 tsp garlic, minced ½ pound ground chicken ¼ cup shredded carrot 2 tsp no-salt tomato paste 2 tsp lime juice 1 tsp cider vinegar 1 Tbsp chopped scallion 1 Tbsp chopped parsley 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves ½ tsp pepper + ¼ tsp salt 1/8 tsp ground clove + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg Cut the pepper lengthwise and scrape the seeds out of one half, leaving the seeds in the other half. Chop the pepper. Prepare a mise en place. You will be adding ingredients at rapid intervals, so do the prep now. Spritz a non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Saute the pepper, onion, and garlic for 3 minutes until tender. Add the chicken and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir constantly for one minute. Pour in the lime juice and vinegar, then stir and add the scallion and all the seasonings. Stir, take off heat, and cool. Run it all through the food processor. As an appetizer or dinner treat, roll out puff pastry sheets and cut into 20 pieces. Use 1 Tbsp filling in each piece and bake until golden. 

HAM FLORENTINE FILLINGmakes 1.5 cups  The recipe is from Peter Christian’s Recipes and we think it is delicious. Upper left photo above shows a Bake with this filling and the upper right shows the dinner crepes.   ½ cup no-cheese Bechamel Sauce [see SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17 ] 1 cup ham in 1/4” dice 1 cup [5 oz] cooked spinach, fresh or frozen ½ cup chopped celery + ¼ cup chopped onion celery salt + dill + granulated garlic + basil

Be sure to squeeze the spinach until most of the liquid is out of it. [save the liquid] Spritz a saute pan with non-stick spray and add some of the spinach liquid. Cook the celery and onion until the onions are transluscent, adding more spinach liquid as needed. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat until warmed through. 

BACON & LEEK FILLING:  makes ~1.5 cups  ¼ cup = 62 calories 1.8 g fat 0.6 g fiber 1.7 g protein 6.4 g carbs 57 mg Calcium This recipe is from Joanne Harris’s book French Market Cookbook and it is useful at breakfast as a bake or omelette filling and at dinner in crepes. 2 oz American/streaky bacon 3 cups sliced leeks 1 clove garlic ¼ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded 2 tsp mayonnaise  Saute the bacon in a large skillet, remove and slice cross-wise. Saute leeks and garlic in the bacon fat until limp. Off heat, stir Gruyere and mayo into the mixture. 

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

1 two-oz egg1 two-oz egg 
asparagus + pearsweet potato + apple sauce
prosciuttoonion + Canadian bacon
Parmesan cheesewhite whole wheat flour
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

grilled sirloin steakdelicata squash + ground cumin
mushrooms + creamed onionsbison meat + melon + chili powder
puff pastry sheetred onion +canned red beans + garlic
peas + thyme + red winecanned tomatoes + green bell pepper
Sparkling waterSparkling water

 

Cross-Cultural

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.

Food can either unite people [look how popular salsa and guacamole are!] or divide them [milk in tea or not? add it at first or secondarily?] There is no denying that foods from one culture can creep into another culture’s favorites and be embraced as ‘home cooking.’ That’s my idea of ‘cross-cultural food.’ Today we will look at some foods from diverse locations that could be at home anywhere.

The breakfast is based on a recipe from Romania which I saw on a French cooking show. The dinner frittata is that Spanish staple of Italian origin which has been embraced by eaters in America and everywhere.

Banana-Papanas:   241 calories 8 g fat 0.5 g fiber 20 g protein 25.5 g carbs [5 g Complex] 161 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the main meal only, and do not include the optional beveragePB  This recipe for Romanian papanas was shown on the French morning TV program Telematin and it looked so easy and unusual that I had to try them….then I added bananas for a play on words and a hint of the tropics.  HINT: The recipe makes enough for two [2] portions, so if only one person is being served today, cook only half of the batter and refrigerate the remainder to prepare later in the week. NB: the cooked papanas do not work as left-overs.

4 Tbsp [63 g] part-skim ricotta [Sargento brand] 4 Tbsp [63 g] reduced-fat cottage cheese 1 egg, separated 30 g [3.5 Tbsp] flour NB: TRY ALMOND MEAL OR TAPIOCA FLOUR FOR GF ½ tsp sugar 3/4 oz banana, sliced 1 tsp molasses + 1 tsp water NO smoothie today  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Separate the egg white from the yolk. Combine the yolk, cheeses, flour,and sugar in a bowl. Whip the egg white until stiff. Stir 1/3 of the egg white into the cheese mixture to lighten it, mixing until blended. Gently fold the remaining egg into the cheese mixture. Heat a non-stick pan and spray with non-stick spray. Using a scoop or a spoon [I made 4 using a 3 Tbsp scoop and then 4 using a 1.5 Tbsp scoop], place the batter into the pan in two batches. Cook until browned on one side and loose enough that they will slide if you shake the pan. Carefully flip to the other side. Remove to a plate. Slice the bananas thinly and strew on the papanas. Add the molasses to 1 tsp hot water and stir to combine. Pour the molasses over the bananas. As you sip your coffee, savor the tastes of the Caribbean, via Romania….

Swiss Chard Frittataif serving 4, per portion: 221 calories 14 g fat 0.6 g fiber 15.2 g protein 2.7 g carbs 170.5 mg Calcium  PB GF Susan Loomis is the source of this recipe, which also can be a wonderful breakfast, using 3 eggs to serve two.  HINT: Serves 4 as a main course. Could serve 6-8 as a hearty appetizer.

6 oz swiss chard or fresh spinach ½ tsp olive oil 18 oz eggs [9 two-oz eggs in their shells] 6 pinches granulated garlic + 6 pinches salt + 3 pinches paprika 6 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 

Dress the chard by holding the leaf flat on the counter 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. 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 and pour over the chard in the pan. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is well set [5 minutes?]. Put under the broiler until the top is cooked. Serve from the pan or slide the frittata out onto a serving plate.

Baldwin's Readers

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.

My mother made sure to stock the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom with books. Good books by good authors: Beatrix Potter, Margaret Wise Brown, and 3 books by the American Publishing Company who’s publication dates made them older than she was.  The Baldwin Reader [1895], Fifty Famous Stories Retold [1895], and Old Greek Stories [1895] were among my favorite books. They were the work of James Baldwin [not the later James Baldwin, the author from the Harlem Renaissance], born 1841 in Indiana. At age 11, he decided that he wanted to be a writer, so he sent his story “Two Soldiers” to Forrester’s Boys and Girls Magazine and never looked back. Although he had not much formal education, he taught school and organized the school systems in Noblesville and Huntington, Indiana. One of his educational goals was to promote a love of good literature. To that end, he published Introduction to English Literature in 1882. His reward was an honorary doctorate from DePauw University and later a job offer from Harper and Brothers Publishing in their education department. There, he authored several series of books for school use. From 1894 to 1924, he was an editor at American Book Company where he wrote books used in half the schools in America. Baldwin’s books were well-written, interesting, and a bit preachy. I still have those three books. 125 years later, the beloved stories are still good reading.

In honor of Baldwin’s Old Greek Stories, we will enjoy Greek flavors in our breakfast. One of the Fifty Famous Stories was the tale of William Tell shooting the apple from his son’s head. Because of that, we will dine on Swiss Steak.

Greek ScrOmelette: 152 calories 9.3 g fat 0.6 g fiber 12.6 g protein 4 g carbs [3 g Complex] 88.5 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Feta cheese is such a lovely ingredient. Enjoy it often.

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, pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid, and put it in the ‘fridge for next week. 0.37 [3/8] oz feta cheese, reduced fat 1 Tbsp tomato puree [not tomato paste] 2 large pinches of cinnamon + of oregano 1 Tbsp pomegranate seeds –OR– 1-1/4 oz applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon 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]

Cream the tomato puree with the feta cheese and seasonings, then whisk in the eggs. OR Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan. As soon as the bottom of the eggs sets, spread the cheesse-tomato-seasonings on top of the egg. Scramble or cook as an omelette. Prepare the optional beverages and spoon out the pomegranate/apple for a real taste of Greece.

Swiss Steak: 226 calories 7 g fat 4.5 g fiber 27 g protein 14.5 g carbs [14 g Complex] 58 mg Calcium This is a recipe from Fannie Farmer’s cookbook  which I fondly remember from my childhood. HINT: This recipe makes enough for two [2], so save half of it for a future lunch or dinner.

½ pound chuck steak, cut 1 to 1.5” thick 1 Tbsp white whole wheat [OR GF] flour + salt + pepper 1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned are OK ¼ cup minced green bell peppers ¼ cup minced onion herbs to taste  per serving: 1/4 cup cut green beans + 1/4 cup carrots, diced

Leave the meat in one piece or cut into two parts. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper and dredge the meat in it. If you wish, pound the meat with a tenderizing tool or the edge of a sturdy plate. Combine the tomatoes with the vegetables and herbs. Heat a heavy skillet with a lid and spray it well with oil or cooking spray. Brown the meat on both sides and pour the tomatoes over it. Cover and cook very slowly for 2 hours until the meat is very tender, adding water if the tomatoes are in danger of sticking. This can be cooked on the cooktop at low or in the oven at 325 F. Steam or boil the beans and carrots to serve along-side the beef with its sauce.

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

1 two-oz eggThis will be a discussion of 
ricotta cheese + cottage cheese‘marvelous mixtures’ —
flour + sugarfor dinner meals or for
banana + molassesbreakfasts
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

6-9 two-oz eggsThis will be a discussion of
Swiss chard or spinach, fresh‘marvelous mixtures’ —
olive oil + Parmesan cheesesuitable for dinners or
granulated garlic + paprikafor breakfasts
Sparkling waterSparkling water

I. F.

I.F. could describe the “Laconic answer”. [Back Story: The Greek city-state of Laconia, famous for the citizens’ terseness of speech, was besieged by an invading army. Their general sent a message: “If we take your city, we will kill every man, woman, and child. You had better surrender now.” Answered the head man of the city: “IF.” Laconia was not defeated.] Or, in this modern era, it could stand for “Intermittent Fasting.” What is that, you ask…. There are several ways to answer that.

Over-all, intermittent fasting is a way to become more healthy by losing weight and giving your body time to restore itself in a sort of resting phase that occurs during a time of limited calorie intake. Version 1: You abstain from all eating, but are free to consume all the water you want, for two to four days each and every month. Sometimes an electrolyte liquid is consumed during the fast. Version 2: You abstain from all eating, but are free to consume all the water you want for one full day — from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep again. This is done once or twice within a week. Version 3: You do all of your eating within an 8-hour window — say, 8 am to 4 pm. Before and after than, you may consume only water. Version 4: Every other day, you consume a limited number of calories — from 500 to 1000 — while on the alternate days you eat as you please. Also called “Alternative Day Fasting.”

Version 5: Two days each week, you consume 500-600 calories, eating as you please [but wisely] on the other days. Also called “5:2 Diet,” as developed by Dr. Michael Mosley. This is the eating plan that Dear Husband and I have followed for 6+ years.

Whichever method you choose, the goal is to train yourself to eat more moderately. If you never learn that, you will go off the diet and your weight will zoom up again. What’s the point of that?? People who do not get a handle on their over-eating are doomed to diet-and-gain over and over again. We view our eating plan as a Lifestyle, something that fits into the way we live and that we are happy to continue every week for the rest of our lives. Following are some of the meals we eat on a Fast Day.

B-T-O Bake: 127 calories 6 g fat 1.2 g fiber 9.3 g protein 8.6 g carbs [7.5 g Complex] 66 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  This bake has flavor and to spare. Delicious way to use left-over broccoli.

1 two-oz egg 1 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese 1 oz diced tomato, drained ¾ tsp Parmesan cheese ½ oz cooked broccoli 1 Kalamata olive 1 plum OR 4 cherries OR 4 oz strawberries 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]

Set the toaster oven at 350 F. Dice the broccoli and the olive. Stir the cheeses together. Spritz an oven-safe container with non-stick spray. Whisk the egg, then whisk in the cheeses. Distribute the tomato, olive, and broccoli over the bottom of the baking dish. Whisk the eggs once more and pour into the baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Portion the fruit and prepare the beverages of your choice. Now that’s a breakfast!

Tortellini w/ Black Kale:  209 calories 9 g fat 3.5 g fiber 10 g protein 24 g carbs [7.4 g Complex] 231 mg Calcium PB Packaged, dried tortellini is a handy item to have in the pantry. It makes for a fine Tuscan meal when pared with Black Kale. The recipe is from ‘thekitchn‘  NB: I used the recipe below for the kale as two servings, when paired with the pasta. But the calories are so low that you could use it as one serving. 

27 g dried cheese/spinach tortellini [Barilla brand is good] 3 oz diced tomato 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese PLUS ingredients shown below for the kale.

For the Kale:

3 oz black kaleUse your hands to pull the kale leaves from their stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Rinse them, but do not dry.
1 tsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic pinch red pepper flakesHeat the oil in large, wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute (do not let the garlic brown).
¼ tsp kosher salt pinch ground pepperAdd the kale, stirring as it starts to wilt. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.
2 tsp Lemon juiceRemove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve.

For the meal: Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 9-11 minutes, then drain. Combine with the diced tomatoes and Parmesan. Plate the pasta surrounded by the kale.

Start With Breakfast

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 January 1st, I suggested that you ease into the Fasting Lifestyle by eating a Fast Dinner two days each week, to see how you liked it and if you lost any weight. How did that go for you? You might be brave enough now to start to add breakfast to your regimen. So here are two possibilities.

Some people don’t eat breakfast: either they aren’t hungry when they wake up or they find that once they start eating, they want to continue to eat. OK. Breakfast is not the ‘most important meal of the day’, despite what the cereal-makers tell you. So for those who want to have their first meal later, this Czech breakfast is fabulous — it is more like a lunch! Whether you eat it at 7 am or at noon it is delicious and satisfying. It would be an easy meal to pack to eat at work.

Czech Breakfast:  233 calories 5 g fat 3.8 g fiber 11.7 g protein 37 g carbs [18 g complex] 65.6 mg Calcium   NB: The food values are for the meal and fruit only and do not include the optional coffee. I’m told that the majority of citizens of the Czech Republic eat this for breakfast daily. Join them.

1-1.6 g sourdough rye bread 1 oz sliced ham, 3% fat ½ oz Hermelin cheese, or substitute Camembert 2 yellow plums   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] NO Smoothie today

Whether you pile everything on the bread and eat it that way, or sample each item separtly, this is a hearty way to start the day. For those of you who start your day with lunch, this is for you.

If you are the hot-food-at-breakfast type, then try this meal. The protein in the eggs staves off hunger, while the fiber in the spinach makes it extra filling. The cheese just makes it taste even better. With pre-preparation and packaging, this meal could be taken to work to eat later in the morning — if you have access to a toaster oven. Nothing says the eggs must be eaten at dawn.

Chevre & Spinach Bake:  132 calories 7 g fat 1.9 g fiber 8.8 g protein 9.3 g carbs [8.7 g Complex] 57 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  This one is really delicious.

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp cooked spinach, drained/squeezed and chopped [frozen works well, just be sure to thaw and drain it the night before] 2 tsp creamy chevre cheese lemon-dill seasoning + salt + pepper 2 oz pear OR 2 oz apple OR applesauce   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]

Combine the spinach, cheese, and seasonings. Whisk in the egg and pour into a lightly-oiled or spritzed ramekin. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the beverages of your choice and plate the fruit. What a nice way to start the day.

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

1 two-oz egg + Parmesan cheese1.5 two-oz eggs 
tomato + black olive [kalamata]feta cheese + cinnamon
cottage cheese, low-fat + broccolioregano + tomato puree
plum OR cherries OR strawberriespomegranate seeds or applesauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

purchased, dried cheese tortellinibeef chuck steak + green pepper
garlic + tomato + lemon juicewhite whole wheat flour + onion
black kale + olive oilstewed tomatoes
Parmesan cheese + red pepper flakescarrots + green beans
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Tropic of Capricorn

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 Earth tilts as it spins on its axis. Currently [and this is subject to change], the tilt is 23 degrees, 27 minutes from vertical. As the Earth orbits the sun, the tilt causes the sun to shine more directly on some places and less directly on others. This is the cause of our seasons. On a map of the world, you will see the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. It is at 23 degrees South of the Equator. That is the point over which the sun shines most directly during the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. The same day marks the Winter Solstice for those in the Northern Hemisphere, which has winter due to the lack of direct sunlight. This line gets it name from the fact that the Sun was moving through the constellation of Capricorn on the December solstice day when the line was first named around 2000 years ago. The line marks the southern limit of the warm areas called ‘the tropics’ aka: the Torrid Zone. Now you know.

Today’s meals were chosen because they are eaten in countries through which the Tropic of Capricorn passes. As I write this, they are having Summer. Breakfast is my adaptation of food from Chile and dinner is a well-liked soup from Australia.

Pumpkin Sopaipilla Breakfast:  202 calories 4.2 g fat 2.7 g fiber 7.5 g protein 73.8 g carbs [11.9 g Complex] 45 mg Calcium  PB  This breakfast is based on Chile’s favorite snack, a deep-fried street-food concoction. Our’s are the same recipe, but lower in calorie, served for breakfast with some yummy sides. The recipe comes from hispanickitchen.com.

3 pumpkin sopaipillas+++ 1 Tbsp jelly sauce** 1 clementine + 1 Tbsp fat-free vanilla yogurt 1 or 2 slice Canadian Bacon [back bacon, 20 calories/slice] Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]

Prepare the sopaipillas, which I did the night before so that I could bake them in the morning. Prepare the jelly sauce. Peel and section the clementine and stir in the yogurt. When ready to serve, heat the sopaipillas at 350 F for 5 minutes, Heat the jelly sauce for about 15 seconds in the microwave. Cook the Canadian bacon. Plate the bacon, fruit, and sopaipillas. Sprinkle the latter with confectioners sugar and spoon the syrup over them. Putting cocoa in the coffee gives you another taste of the Americas, the source of both squashes and cocoa.

+++Pumpkin Sopaipillas yields 10-11 two-inch rounds ½ cup flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ½ cup pumpkin puree, canned 1 Tbsp melted butter Combine into a smooth dough. Let sit 20 minutes, then roll out on a floured surface. Cut into 2″ rounds with a cookie cutter or the top of a glass.

**Jelly Sauce  yields 2 Tbsp 2 Tbsp water 1 tsp fruit jelly [grape, raspberry, strawberry] Stir together in a custard cup and heat in the microwave until the jelly dissolves.

Australian Chicken-Corn Soup: 198 calories 2.8 g fat 1.2 g fiber 12 g protein 20 g carbs [6.5 g Complex] 9 mg Calcium   PB GF  This remarkable version of a Chinese soup is found in the “Australian Women’s Weekly’s” Chinese Cooking Class book. From such an easy preparation comes a wonderful, complex flavor.  HINT: this recipe makes four cups of soup. One serving = one cup.

1 liter water
1 pound raw chick – meat and bones
1.25 cm piece [small knob] ginger
½ onion, peeled and quartered
2 peppercorns
2 sprigs parsley
½ tsp salt



OR-3.5 cups whchick stock
ginger knob
salt + pepper
Put chicken or chicken pieces into saucepan and add water, peppercorns, peeled and sliced ginger, onion, parsley and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat and skim well to remove any scum; reduce heat and simmer gently, covered, for one and a half hours. Remove any scum from top of stock. Strain and reserve three and a half cups of the stock.
-OR- Simmer premade stock, ginger knob, salt and pepper covered for 30 mins. Strain.
3.5 cups stock
240 g creamed corn, canned 1 stock cube= 1 tsp dry bouillon grains ¼ tsp dry ginger powder 2.5 chopped fresh scallions ground pepper ½ tsp sesame oil
Combine in a large saucepan the reserved chicken stock, creamed corn, crumbled stock cubes, ginger, scallions, pepper and sesame oil. Bring to boil. Take off heat and taste for salt.

2 Tbsp cornstarch/cornflour 2 Tbsp waterMix cornflour to smooth paste with water; add to soup while stirring. Put back on heat and stir until soup boils and thickens. Reduce heat, simmer for 1 min.
1 egg white 1 Tbsp water 2 tsp soy sauceBeat egg white and water lightly and add to soup in a thin stream, stirring well. Add soy sauce. Taste for seasoning.
1 slice ham =1 oz, thinly sliced ½ cup chicken, shredded chopped scallion/chives/
spinach leaves
Remove meat from bones, shred finely. Add meats to soup, heat gently. Top with extra chopped scallions or chives or baby spinach leaves.