Star-Crossed Lovers, example #1  

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: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier. Welcome to R.M.P. Marotta who is now Following.

My mother said that there are seven basic plots in literature and one of them is the story of the “Star-Crossed Lovers.” This plot centers around two people who are in love yet fate intervenes, in one way or another, to keep them apart. Shakespeare coined the term, implying that one’s astrology [stars] controlled one’s destiny. In real life there are star-crossed lovers and one such famous pair is that of Dante/Durante Alighieri and Beatrice Portinari. They lived in 13th century Firenze, one of the great city-states of Italy. They met as children, since they lived down the street from one another and their families summered in the same village, and Dante said that he was sweet on her even then. But Dante wrote of seeing her in the Church of Saint Margaret, Santa Margherita dei Chechi, when they were in their teens. He fell in love with her on the spot because she was his ideal of womanhood. Unfortunately, Dante had been betrothed at age 12 to another woman, Gemma Donati — surely a marriage arranged to the benefit of two wealthy families. Beatrice married at age 22 to a banker, since her father was a banker — another arranged marriage? She died at age 25, possibly in child-birth, but Dante never forgot her. Four years after her death, he published his first book of poems La Vita Nuova containing sonnets about his love for Beatrice. Dante also places Beatrice as his guide in heaven in his greater work, The Divine Comedy/La Commedia. Never once did he write a sonnet to his wife. The lore of Dante and Beatrice was resurrected in the Victorian Age by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who painted pictures of them and wrote about them as examples of romantic love.

A breakfast created for Beatrice Portinari, nicknamed ‘Bice’ [pronounced Bee-chay], is based on eggs Benedict. The dinner is from their hometown and honors Florence’s most famous exile.

Egg for Bice: 228 calories 10 g fat 2.5 g fiber 15 g protein 25 g carbs 207.5 mg Calcium   PB ‘Bice’ was the nickname of Dante’s adored Beatrice. Eggs Benedict, when made with ham, become Eggs Beatrice. Due to the ‘Florentine’ sauce, this is a perfect meal for the ‘perfect woman.’

½ whole wheat English muffin, @ 50 calories 1 two-oz egg, poached 0.4 ham, a slice from the deli 1.8 oz grapes 3 Tbsp Florentine Sauce   Optional:  5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Florentine Sauce: ¼ c Bechamel sauce with cheese ½ oz cooked spinach ¼ tsp ground nutmeg Warm the béchamel gently. Squeeze the excess liquid from the cooked spinach. Chop it and stir into the béchamel along with the nutmeg. Keep warm until you assemble the meal.

Poach the egg while the English muffin toasts. Warm the sauce gently while the ham is heated in a dry skillet. Plate the muffin and spoon 1 Tbsp of sauce onto it. Top with the ham, then put the egg atop the ham. Spoon the rest of the sauce over the egg. Plate with the grapes.

Dante Sandwich: 260 calories 7 g fat 4 g fiber 9.6 g protein 22 g carbs 38.5 mg Calcium  PB  A sandwich shop in Firenze was the inspiration for this delight, dubbed the ‘Dante’ on the menu. Our older son introduced this to us. One is amazed that it fits our Fast Day calculations.

1 Foccacio roll** 1 Tbsp truffle cream 2 tsp stracciatella cheese OR 2 tsp whipped cream cheese ¼ oz lettuce or arugula 2 slices/0.65 oz capicola 2 oz roasted sweet potatoes pinch of microgreens cooking spray

Set the oven to 425F. Put parchment paper on a small baking pan and spray with cooking spray. Peel and thinly slice the sweet potatoes to produce the right amount. Arrange the slices on the parchment and spray with cooking spray. Put in oven for 10 minutes. I was using ‘baby’ sweet potatoes, cut on the diagonal. Slice a foccacio roll in half, like a hamburger bun. On the bottom half, spread the truffle cream. On the top half, spread the cheese. Put the capicola on the bottom half and top with the lettuce. Turn the sweet potatoes after 10 minutes, spray with more oil, sprinkle with lots of salt and pepper. Roast for 10 more minutes. Plate it all, with the micro greens on the side, and enjoy every delicious bite.

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