Agatha Christie

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.

When Agatha Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England on September 15, 1890, no one could predict the effect she would have on literature. She was raised in moderate wealth as a solitary child. Despite her mother’s idea that she not learn to read until age eight, Agatha taught herself when she was four. From then on she read voraciously — children’s books, and classics of English authors appropriate to her age. Finally, at age 12, she attended a boarding school — and left because she chafed at the routine. Agatha loved writing stories and amateur theatricals. In 1914, after a brief courtship, she married Archibald Christie, who went off to war and worked his way up through the ranks. He encouraged her writing. In 1920, Mrs. Christie published The Mysterious Affair at Styles, introducing the sleuth Hercule Poirot. He appeared in 15 books plus a play and short stories until 1937. Next, Tommy and Tuppence made their debut, as a chippy young couple around the author’s age. Miss Marple appeared in 1930, and became perhaps her most memorable character after 12 books and numerous stories through to 1976. Agatha Christie learned the apothecary’s trade and during both World Wars she worked in a hospital dispensary as her contribution to the war effort. Readers will appreciate that more than half of the murders in Christie’s books are by poison, ‘the woman’s weapon,’ showing that she learned her craft well. In December of 1926, Mrs. Christie was the subject of a famous mystery. She disappeared for 11 days, traveling around England under an assumed name. Some said it was a publicity stunt, others said it was a psychotic break caused by her mother’s death and her husband’s infidelity [her assumed surname was that of her husband’s paramour]. She never spoke of it. A brief courtship resulted in marriage to an archeologist, Max Mallowan who was several years her junior. With him she went on annual digs throughout the Levant. She wrote, he dug, she helped to catalogue and preserve the artifacts, and together they had a good life. Her accolades were many; her book sales were staggering; her play The Mousetrap set records. Her writing as ‘Mary Westmacott’ produced four more best-selling novels. My favorite is Absent in the Spring in which no murder occurs, yet the protagonist’s life is dismantled as she reflects on how she has interacted with her family. The Queen of Crime died in 1976 and her family handles her merchandizing.

When we think of a book by Dame Agatha, our inner eye sees a charming English village dominated by a church and the manor house. The murder has taken place in the manor house and of course the butler did it — or did he? Our menu today is typical of meals at the manor, before the mayhem started.

Ham & Mushroom ScrOmelette: 151 calories 8.5 g fat 2 g fiber 12 g protein 5.4 g carbs [4.5 g Complex] 56 mg Calcium   PB GF  These flavors go together so well that it would be a shame not to enjoy them at breakfast.

1½ eggs per person 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.  ¾ oz mushrooms, chopped 1/3 oz ham [from a roast; if you use 3%-fat ham from deli, the fat will be reduced] fresh herbs 2 oz pear OR ¼ cup raspberries OR 2 oz applesauce   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Chop the ham and mushrooms and combine. HINT: I did this the night before. Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Add the ham/mushroom combo and stir to heat and cook the mushrooms, if raw. Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan, stirring to distribute the ham/mushrooms. Cook to your favorite degree of doneness. Dish up the fruit and brew your optional hot beverage. What a treat!

Pheasant Casserole: 250 calories 9.5 g fat 5.4 g fiber 22.5 g protein 21.6 g carbs [19 Complex] 86 mg Calcium   PB  This recipe is based on one from English Provincial Cooking by Elisabeth Ayrton and it dates back to the 18th century, when whole partridges were stewed with onion, carrot, and cabbage for 2.5 hours and served on thick slices of bread. Well, this is a modified version and it is delicious. This uses left over cooked pheasant meat and works well. You could substitute cooked turkey or chicken.

2½ oz cabbage, sliced 1-1½ ” thick 1½ oz baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise ¼ oz onion, cut in rings [which I forgot to put on the top] 2 Tbsp chicken or pheasant gravy 2 oz pheasant meat, cooked and taken off the bone ½ Arnold Multi-Grain Sandwich Thin

Prepare the carrots, cabbage, and steam them for 25 minutes until the carrots are tender. If the cabbage is not yet done, leave it in the steamer with the lid on but off the heat until needed. Warm pheasant meat in the gravy + 2 tsp of the water from the steaming-liquid. Warm the Arnold Thin in the toaster oven. Plate the bread. Spoon a tablespoon of gravy on top. Place the meat atop the bread. Stir the warm vegetables into the warm gravy and plate them. Put the raw onion rings on top and pour any remaining gravy over the meat.

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

1 two-oz egg + zucchini1.5 two-oz eggs 
garlic powder + low-fat cottage cheesegreen bell pepper + onion
Parmesan cheese + cayennecatsup, no corn syrup 
pear/strawberries + herbes de Provenceraspberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

lobster meat + heavy cream + Bechamel sauceground bison meat + egg
Dijon mustard + flat-leaved parsleycilantro + canned black beans
Green beans or Side Salad with tomatoescoleslaw
raspberries + peaches for dessertslider bun, 90 calories
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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