The Great Catherine

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 Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst was born in Prussia [now Poland] in 1729, her mother had great plans for her. When she died on November 1796, no one remembered Sophie, but her mother’s dreams had been realized. The Russian Empire had been in some disarray in the 1700s. Empress Elizabeth was on the throne, having deposed her husband. Childless, she chose nephew Peter to succeed her and he was in need of a wife. Teenaged Sophie was brought in and groomed for the role: she converted to Orthodoxy; learned to speak Russian; changed her name to Ekaterina [Catherine]; and cultivated the rich and powerful at court. The two teens were wed in 1745, and their union was unfortunate. They were incompatible in and out of the marriage bed, and when Empress Elizabeth died in 1762, it didn’t take Catherine long to exile her husband and take the throne alone. [Peter III‘s subsequent death was never exactly tied to Catherine, but there were rumors…] There were more rumors as Catherine took a series of lovers and gave birth to a series of children, none of whom were fathered by her husband. For 34 years Catherine reigned, an enlightened thinker, champion of education, and patroness of the arts — also a brutal suppressor of rebellion by serfs seeking rights, and ruthless expander of the Russian Empire’s territory. What made her “Great”? She was Russia’s longest reigning empress. Despite many detractors, she held the throne with cunning and political savvy. Catherine was an intellectual who corresponded frequently with Voltaire. She had great dreams of modernizing Russia — even abolishing the slavery of serfdom — but reactionary nobles deterred her. Instead, she collected great art at her palace which is now The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Her expansionist goals have repercussions today, as there are tensions in some of its previous territories which were only too happy to regain independence. Catherine died of a stroke on November 17, 1796. Lurid tales of her death are fake news.

Smoked salmon and pickled cucumbers would have been typical flavors in St. Petersburg, Catherine’s capital city. Grigory Potemkin, Catherine’s advisor and lover, gave his name to fakery when he was accused of building false-front villages, to make it look as if all were well in the countryside. This is called a Potemkin Village. Our dinner involves passing off chopped meat as chops.

Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Toast:  206 calories 12.4 g fat 4 g fiber 8 g protein 20 g carbs 33.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the plated food only, not the optional beverage.  PB GF — if using GF bread This is a wonderful alternative to a ‘traditional’ breakfast. You should try it!

1 slice whole-grain bread, 70 calories  [Dave’s Killer Thin-Sliced Bread is great]   2 Tbsp whipped cream cheese ½ oz smoked salmon 4 slices cucumber OR Swedish Cucumber Salad  2 oz strawberries OR 1 oz peach

Lightly toast the bread and spread it with the cream cheese. Top it with the samon and top that with the cucumber. Plate the fruit. Now try to top that for flavor!

Pojarski Cutlets:  294 calories 13 g fat 5 g fiber 33 g protein 15 g carbs 82.5 mg Calcium  PG GF – if using GF bread   From an inn between Moscow and St Petersburg, comes a recipe to turn chopped meat into ‘cutlet’s. Very simple to prepare. Recipe from Craig Claiborne’s NYT International Cook Book.  HINT: makes 2 cutlets, serving two [2] people.

4 oz 85%-lean ground beef
4 oz raw skinless chicken breast 
½ ounce egg 
Cut meat roughly into 1-inch chunks. Put in a food processor with the egg and process until meat is well-chopped and all is blended.
Form meat into 2 tear-drop shapes, looking like pork chops.
2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
½ oz egg [1 Tbsp] + 1 Tbsp water 
6 Tbsp fresh bread crumbs
Dust meat in flour, then brush cutlets with the egg/water. Sprinkle with the crumbs and pat crumbs to help them stick. 
Non-stick sprayApply cooking spray to a medium-hot pan and cook the ‘cutlets’ until browned about 4 minutes to each side. After turning the ‘cutlets’, cover the pan.
3 oz asparagus or 2 oz broccoli Cook vegetable and plate with the cutlets.

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

2 two-oz egg + sugarsteel cut oatmeal
white whole wheat flour + skim milkpumpkin puree, canned or homemade
2 apples + butter + egg whitemaple syrup
33-calorie chicken breakfast sausagefat-free milk + cinnamon
Optional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

quick barley + canned white tunaground turkey + frozen spinach + 2-oz egg
baby spinach or mesclun lettuce mixcanned white beans + pumpkin puree + brown sugar
Parmesan + white wine vinegar + olive oil nutmeg + cinnamon + ginger +garlic powder
grape tomatoes + canned white beansmarinara sauce + whole wheat pasta + zucchini
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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