Fra Angelico

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                       Welcome to WJ Fulton who is now Following.

When Guido di Pietro was born in the Mugello Region of Tuscany in 1395, no one would have dreamed that this baby of small-town origin would become a major figure in the world of art. Early on, he trained as an illuminator, creating drawings for religious texts. Around 1420, he became a friar in Fiesole, Tuscany, taking the name ‘Fra [brother] Giovanni’.  His artistic work now flowed onto the walls of the monastery where it caught the eye of Cosimo di Medici, who brought the young friar to Firenze in 1439, to a wider world of trends in art. In Firenze, the Renaissance in art was beginning.  Masaccio in fresco; Donatello in sculpture; Brunelleschi in architecture were all looking at the natural world and putting more naturalism in their work. The stylized views of the Gothic school of art were being nudged aside by the art of linear perspective and realistic landscapes. Influenced by these heady ideas, Fra Giovanni’s frescos and paintings show graceful yet fully-grounded people who inhabit realistic spaces which are flooded with light. The Annunciation, c. 1440, shows this well and it is one of my favorite paintings.  His works are sweet without being cloying, emotionally evocative without being over-wrought. After his death on February 18, 1455, people began to refer to him as ‘angelic’ due to the grace of his art and his piety in life. Thus the name “Fra Angelico” was attached to him, though he was never called that while alive.                          The cooking term ‘Florentine’ often means that spinach is a key ingredient.  Fra Angelico painted in the ‘Florentine School‘ of art, which strove for naturalism [as opposed to the ‘Sienese School‘ which was more stylized.]  Today’s menus include spinach and they are delicious.  Gaze at some of Fra Angelico’s work at breakfast and dinner.  Your day will be better for it.

Spinach Frittata:   131 calories  7 g fat   1.9 g fiber  11 g protein  6.6 g carbs [5.8 g Complex] 127 mg Calcium  PB GF  Whether it is breakfast or dinner, Spinach Frittata checks off all the boxes.Spinach Frittata

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                        1/6 cup [3 Tbsp] cooked spinach, squeezed and chopped                                                              1 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                    1/8 oz [2 Tbsp] chopped scallions, white and/or green parts                                                         ¼ oz Manchego OR Cheddar cheese, grated                                                                                    dash of grated nutmeg   +  dash of granulated garlic                                                                       2 oz strawberries                                                                                                                        blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                    5-6 oz fruit smoothie [79 calories], green smoothie or natural apple cider

Cook the spinach, drain it, and squeeze it in your hands to remove excess water. [TIP: save the drained water for cooking vegetables or pasta]Chop the spinach and mix with scallions, both cheeses, nutmeg, and garlic. Lightly spray a baking dish with oil or non-stick spray. Pour the vegetable-cheese mixture into the dish and arrange so it is evenly distributed. Whisk the egg and pour over the mixture. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Plate with the berries and pour the beverages.

Ham Florentine Crepes:   299 calories   11.3 g fat   5.6 g fiber 15.6 g protein   33 g carbs   307 mg Calcium   PB  Peter Christian’s Tavern was a very popular New Hampshire restaurant and their cookbook was a local best seller. The restaurant has closed but the cookbook is a goldmine and it served as the source of this meal. Very easy if the crepes and Bechamel sauce are pre-made.Ham Florentine Crepes

Ham Florentine Filling:    makes 1.5 cups                                                                                              ½ cup no-cheese Béchamel 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                                                                                                                     pinches of 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.

For the Dinner:       2 crepes [see SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17]                                                                                               ¾ cup Ham Florentine                                                                                                                   Set the oven to 350 F. If the crepes are frozen, thaw and wrap in a tea towel. Put them in the oven as it warms. When the crepes are soft and pliable, lay them on a baking sheet, covered with the tea towel. Warm the Ham Florentine filling and spoon over half of each crepe. [I saved out a bit of liquid from the filling.] Fold the crepes over the filling and pat in place. Put the crepes in the oven until warmed through. Top with reserved filling before serving.  NB: in the photo above, you see a serving of vegetables. They add 50 calories.

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