Mary Goes Over The Mountain. Again

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 Health Resolved who is now Following.

The Pennsylvania Dutch or Plain People have many ways of predicting the weather, which they have made into oft-repeated maxims. One of the best known is that “If Mary goes over the mountain dry, she’ll come home wet.” This refers to the Biblical story of the young Virgin Mary, newly pregnant by Divine intervention, going to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is about to give birth. The date given for the visit is May 31, when Mary goes over, to August 18 when she returned to her family in Nazareth. According to the weather lore, if the weather is dry at the end of May, one can expect rain in mid- August. Since there was no National Weather Service until 100 years ago, farmers were always looking for ways to make long-range forecasts. Frequently patterns would be observed: “A green Christmas means a brown July.” Wishing to have some control over the weather doesn’t make it so. The weather will do what it wants. Make your own observations and see if you can detect any patterns as our climate changes.

The Plain People brought a rich culture of foods to the New World. Today’s breakfast is made with the famous scrapple of South-Eastern Pennsylvania, and the dinner is a popular meal from the same region. Both are delicious. Mark your calendar with the weather on May 31, then note the atmospheric conditions on August 18 to see if the maxim is valid.

Scrapple Bake: 290 calories 7.4 g fat 6 g fiber 14 g protein 39 g carbs 220 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  GF  Scrapple is one of the specialty foods of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” people of South-Eastern Pennyslvania. Excellent for breakfast, served as a side dish like sausage or combined with eggs in this bake.

1 two-oz eggs ½ oz scrapple, sliced and baked until cooked ½ oz scallion, chopped ½ cup raspberries + 1 Tbsp fat-free vanilla yogurt  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]

The night before, bake the scrapple in the oven until firm. Dice it and combine with the scallion.  In the morning, set the toaster oven at 350 F. Spritz a ramekin with oil or non-stick spray. Scatter the scrapple and scallion in the ramekin. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper and pour over the scrapple. Bake 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, portion the berries and dollop the yogurt on top. Brew the hot beverage and pour the smoothie. A fine, homey breakfast.

Chicken & Dumplings: 293 calories 7 g fat 4.6 g fiber 38 g protein 30 g carbs 67 mg Calcium  PB This was a real hit in my parents’ Central Pennsylvania home and it is still a favorite with us. Be aware that it is best made over 2 days, but it basically cooks by itself with a few busy bouts by you. Worth the time and effort. AND this recipe serves 4 [four] people, so have a party serving this great make-ahead meal. If you serve one or two, make the whole thing anyhow, then package and freeze the remainder.

3 pound whole chicken, preferably a fowl although you will get more meat from a fryer ½ cup onion, chopped 1/3 cup carrots cut as coins ½ cup celery, chopped bay leaf 3 peppercorns 1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 4 dumplings   per person:  ¼ cup green peas 

Cut up a 3 pound chicken into leg quarters, breast quarters, back, wings. In a large pcast iron pan or Dutch oven, brown the chicken in a little oil on all sides. Add the vegetables, bay leaf, pepper, and water to cover. Simmer on the cooktop for 45 minutes. Add 2 tsp salt, cover, and simmer for another 45 minutes. Strain off the stock and let the fat rise to the surface to cool. Discard the fat. Reserve the vegetables. Cool the chicken and remove the skin. Pull off the meat in chunks: you will use 17 oz meat by volume. You could stop here.

Measure ¼ cup of stock and whisk in the 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour to form a paste. Measure 1.5 cups stock and pour into a stovetop-safe serving dish along with the Worcestershire sauce. HINT: save any remaining stock and chicken for excellent soup. You could stop here. Add the flour water paste and stir to incorporate. Put the vegetables and chicken meat into the dish and adjust seasonings to taste.  You could stop here. When ready to serve, prepare the dough for the dumplings. Heat the chicken mixture and place 4 dollops of dumpling dough on the chicken and vegetables but not so that it is in liquid only. Let it all bubble gently for 15-20 minutes, then cover the dish and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes. Steam the peas and pour over the top of the dish before bringing to the table. Serve this simple classic proudly.

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