By Saint Swithun!

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.

To swear a vow by Saint Swithin was common among ‘common people’ in the Middle Ages. Swithin/Swithun was a Saxon who lived in the Kingdom of Wessex and he was something of a ‘people’s saint.’ As a monk and as the Bishop of Winchester Cathedral, he would invite the poor to feast along with high officials. A miracle ascribed to him during his life has to do with a poor woman and a basket of eggs. So kindly was Swithin/Swithen, that he was considered a saint even before his death. On his 862 CE deathbed, he eschewed the pomp of a fancy funeral with a shrine inside the church. He wanted to be buried outside where common people could be close to his grave. In 971, the Bishop and King Edgar sought to raise his profile and to make a fancy shrine to lure more pilgrims. So they moved Swithin inside to a ‘gilded cage‘ in the ambulatory of a larger church. His bones were moved again in 1093 when the newest, Norman-style cathedral was built. St Swithin was not pleased: several times [971 and 1315] there were destructive rainstorms on his feast day, July 15. Common people took notice — don’t mess with the humble man! In Howard Pyle’s Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, his name is commonly used in oaths. St Swithin is the one to pray to in times of drought.

A special breakfast for St Swithin combines eggs [for his miracle of the broken eggs] and dandelions which are called ‘pissenlit’ in French, meaning ‘wet the bed.’ Dandelions purportedly have diuretic properties which I have never experienced. I think the good saint would have appreciated the earthiness of the meal and its name. The dinner combines many vegetables, grown by country folk whom Swithun held dear.

Pissenlit ScrOmelette: 142 calories 8 g fat 1.5 g fiber 12 g protein 4.6 g carbs [4 g Complex] 121 mg Calcium  PB GF  Susan Loomis found this recipe in the Dorgogne Region of France, and included it in her French Farmhouse Cook Book. If you like slightly bitter greens, you’ll enjoy this.  HINT: This recipe is for 2 [two] servings. Use the rest, wrapped in a crepe/galette for lunch tomorrow.

3 two-oz eggs 1 Tbsp water 1.4 oz/ 40 g/ 2 cups dandelion crowns, trimmed and washed [TIP: You could use only the leaves] ½ tsp garlic 1 slice [0.7 oz] uncured bacon

First collect your dandelions, which I did the day before. Cut them off just below the ground surface, being careful to keep the leaves and central stalk intact.  TIP: You could just purchase the leaves. Trim off any dead leaves and roots, cutting the root stock as close as you can to the base of the crown. Put the leaf clusters in a large bowl of cold water and agitate the water to remove any soil. TIP: You can do this the day before.

Dice the bacon and mince the garlic. Heat a saute pan to medium, and cook the bacon for 4 minutes: it will be almost cooked, but not crisp. There should be only a little fat in the pan – pour off any extra. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1½ minutes: the garlic should not be browned. Take the dandelions out of the water and give them a brief shake before adding them to the saute pan. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring now and again, until the leaves are wilted. Whisk the eggs with the water, plus some salt and pepper. Pour over the dandelions and rearrange them if they are not evenly distributed. As the eggs set, lift one side of the omelette and let the liquid egg run underneath to cook. Put a lid on the pan and cook for two minutes more. Fold and plate the omelette. Now you know Spring has arrived.

Ratatouille with Chicken & Polenta: 228 calories 4.4 g fat 9 g fiber 29 g protein 32 g carbs 115.6 mg Calcium  PB  Oddly enough, the inspiration for this meal was a dinner on an airplane. I was determined to duplicate and improve the meal, and I think I succeeded. The polenta needs to be made ahead, and the Med Veg could come out of the freezer. All ready in about 20 minutes with those preparations beforehand.

1 slice of polenta  1 cup Mediterranean Vegetables  3 oz chicken breast, skinless and boneless large pinch herbes de Province or thyme

Pour the Mediterranean Vegetables into a small saucepan and add a little water if there isn’t much liquid. Lay the chicken meat on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with pepper and herbes de Province. Put the lid on the pan and simmer until bottom of chicken is cooked. Check to see if you need to add more liquid to prevent the vegetables from scorching. Turn the chicken, cover and continue to cook until it is done. Meanwhile, spritz a heavy skillet lightly with non-stick spray and heat it. Cut the slice of polenta in half so you have two slices, each about 1/3” thick. Cook them in the hot pan on both sides until it is warm and beginning to brown. Plate the polenta, spoon the vegetables around the polenta, then arrange the chicken on top. 

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

1 two-oz egg + salami1.5 two-oz eggs 
sheep sorrel/arugulatomato puree + parsley
pecorino cheese + garlicbell peppers + onion
ricotta + cherriescayenne pepper + pear
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

4 oz mackerelBoston/buttercrunch lettuce + cherry tomatoes
puttanesca sauce, home-made or jarredhard-boiled egg + apple + date
green beanscooked chicken breast + goat cheese crumbles
pine nuts + shallot + cinnamon dressing
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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