The Bench on the Back Porch

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.

In South-Central Pennsylvania, where my family originated, there is a traditional piece of furniture: a bench on the back porch. The fancier front porch faced the road or street in town. It might have comfortable rocking chairs on which to sit in the evening, watching the world go by and conversing. The more simple back porch was tucked into the ell of the house, facing the garden. Furniture there was more utilitarian and in my experience it included a wooden bench about 6′ long. The bench was painted and had been built by an earlier ancestor who had perhaps built the house. I like to imagine an ancestress, perhaps my great-grandmother Annie Ely Bertholet [1850-1919] or her mother-in-law Hannah Mattis Berthelot [1818-1853], coming out of her hot, dark kitchen in Oley on a summer day, to sit on the bench, with her back to the brick or stone wall of the house. Was she taking a coffee break? No, she would be pitting cherries in July and peaches in August, peeling apples in September. She would be shelling peas or stringing beans or shucking corn in season. Working, yes, but in a pleasant location where she could feel the breeze and enjoy the hummingbirds in the Trumpet Vine. My mother inherited the bench, using it to store cushions for the terrace furniture. And now the bench is mine. It lives inside and serves as a plant stand in the Sun Room during the winter. It is in retirement after many, many decades of service on the back porch.

The summertime ingredients for today’s meals can be shucked, pitted, peeled, and cut while sitting on the Bench.

Corn Scramble: 130 calories 7.6 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 6 g carbs 44 mg Calcium   PB GF  If you enjoyed corn on the cob for dinner previously, and cut off some of the kernels, then that’s what goes into the eggs. What a fine late summer meal!

1½ 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 and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.  2 Tbsp/ ½ oz cooked corn kernels 1 Tbsp chives    1 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]

Put the corn and snipped chives into a non-stick pan spritzed with cooking spray for long enough to heat them. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper then pour over the corn and scramble to your liking. Plate with the peach. If possible, enjoy your breakfast on the porch.

Minestrone Soup:  1 cup = 145.5 calories 3 g fat 5 g fiber 8 g protein 27 g carbs 86.4 mg Calcium  ½ cup = 73 calories 1.5 g fat 2.6 g fiber 4 g protein 14 g carbs 43 mg Calcium PB  GF [if you use GF pasta] This recipe can be doubled easily, and it is a fine dinner soup for a hot Summer day. Prepare it in the cool of the morning so it can be served in the evening.   

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2/3 cup carrot, chopped 
½ cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
3 slices pepperoni, chopped 
Prepare these ingredients as described, and put into a sauce pan together.
Cook over medium heat until onions begin to wilt. 
½ cup sweet potato, cubed
½ cup zucchini, diced 
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cups crushed tomatoes 
¾ cup small white beans, canned
lots of sage and rosemary, chopped
1 cup water 
2 cups chicken broth/stock
Prepare the vegetables as described. Drain and rinse the canned beans. Add these to the pan, along with the water and broth. Cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes



NB: low sodium broth is preferred
1 oz pasta, whole wheat is preferred to boost fiber [orzo/ dinetelli/broken spaghetti]Add the pasta and cook until it is soft, 5-6 minutes.
2 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated 
salt and pepper to taste
Add remaining seasonings and adjust to taste. TIP: Soup is always improved by letting it sit for several hours before reheating and serving hot.

HINT: One serving is one cup, but you could go to 1¼ cups each. This recipe made 4 cups for me – multiple meals from one prep!

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

1 two-oz egg + 10%-fat cream1.5 two-oz eggs 
yellow curry powder + cooked brown riceyellow curry powder
smoked haddockfresh tomatoes
asparagus + nutmegstrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

sole or perch fillets + scallionsolive oil + onion + garlic +canned whole tomatoes
96% fat-free ham, sliced at delicarrot + thyme + low-salt chicken/vegetable stock
70-calorie whole-grain bread1 slice 70-calorie whole-grain bread + Swiss cheese
Worcestershire sauce + carrots + beets 97% fat-free ham + ricotta + plain non-fat yogurt
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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