Leonardo, artist

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. 

Leonardo da Vinci was a polymath of the first order. He had enough endeavors for many people — too many to squeeze into one lifetime. First and foremost, he was a visual artist. Leonardo was born on April 15 1452, and at age 14, he was an apprentice in the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio, the premier place to train in 15th century Florence. In that time, there were three painting media available to an artist: oil on wood or canvas; tempera, an egg-based paint, on wood; or fresco, when water-based colors are painted onto wet plaster. As a painter, Leonardo was always experimenting: his restless intellect wanted to leap to his next project or new innovation. Many of his oil paintings, including the Mona Lisa, were never finished since he went on to a new assignment in mid-stream. He tried out new artistic techniques, perfecting the sfumato where shadow and light have no sharp borders, but rather the vague transition seen in a cloud of smoke. Leonardo seems to have preferred oil paint. When commissioned to paint frescos, such as the Last Supper in Milan, he decided to apply oil paint to the plaster instead of the water colors. The oil paint did not want to stick to the wall and it began to flake off within a few months. One of the great, well-known masterpieces of the world was a technical failure. Restored many times, we can never fully appreciate what it really looked like. The most famous work of all is La Gioconda, aka: the Mona Lisa. It is famous for its technique and for that ‘Smile.’ Much ink has been spilt trying to describe the smile and why she wears it. It is worth noting that she is not the only subject with that look — I think it should be called the “da Vinci Smile.” Look for it in paintings of John the Baptist, Leda, and the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne. Of course, Dan Brown had to create a thriller involving da Vinci’s work, especially the Virgin of the Rocks , the Last Supper, and the drawing of the Vitruvian Man. If all he did was to paint and draw, Da Vinci would be justly famous. But he was so much more.

After training in Florence, Leonardo worked for many years in Milan, then in Rome, and finally in France. For Leonardo’s life in Rome, our breakfast takes its flavors from the well-known puttanesca sauce. The dinner is perfectly French, in recognition of the fact that Da Vinci was working for the French king when he died.

Puttanesca ScrOmelette: 146 calories 8 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 7.5 g carbs 52 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF “Puttanesca” might not actually mean ‘street-walker’… Leonardo didn’t have much time for them, but he might have met these flavors while he worked in Rome. This breakfast is based on the flavors of the iconic Roman pasta dish. When you make a dinner with that sauce, save some out to season these breakfast eggs.

1½ two-ounce 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   1.5 Tbsp puttanesca sauce + ½ clementine OR 1 oz blueberries  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]

Whisk the sauce into the eggs and scramble or cook as an omelette. Enjoy with the hot beverage, smoothie, and blueberries.

Mackerel with Gooseberry Glaze:  276 calories 16 g fat 1 g fat 22 g protein 7 g carbs 27 mg Calcium  PB GF  This popular dish from Normandy usually features fresh gooseberries. Here in the USA, those are less common so we make a glaze of gooseberry jelly. The zucchini picks up the color of green gooseberries.

3 oz mackerel, frozen or fresh fillets + 2 tsp gooseberry jelly or jam + 4 oz zucchini ribbons

Thaw the fish if frozen. Heat the oven to 350 F. Put fish on a baking tray and brush with melted jelly on both sides. Using a potato peeler, carve long, thin slices from the length of the zucchini until you have 3 oz. Toss the ribbons with salt and pepper. Place the ribbons on the baking tray in a heap [if they are in a thin layer, they will over-cook]. Bake for the tray with the fish and zucchini for 5 minutes. Rearrange the zucchini so that the bottom layer is now on top. Bake 5 minutes more, or until the fish is cooked. Plate the fish with the zucchini ribbons. Sheet-pan dinners are so trendy now.

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

1.5 two-oz eggs + canned white beans1.5 two-oz eggs 
green onions2 chicken breakfast sausages @ 33 calories each
shrimp + tomatoapplesauce, unsweetened + marjoram
nectarine or peach cottage cheese, reduced fat
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

crab meat + scallion + Dijon mustardMartin’s whole wheat potato slider rolls or similar
egg white + whole-grain fresh bread crumbschicken breast slices
4 flounder or sole filets + butter + shallotsCorky’s BBQ Sauce
white wine + side salad or green beanscarrot sticks + cherry tomatoes
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Ramadan ’21

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. Welcome Serumbach and theunsandsorina who are now Following.

Ramadan, like Easter and Passover and Paris, is a ‘moveable feast.’ This means that it is not a fixed date on the calendar, but that it moves around from year to year. The annual one-month holy festival of the Muslim Faith follows the lunar calendar [which has 13 months in a year rather than 12], and is held 11 days earlier than the festival the year before. It is a month of family, feasts, charitable acts, prayer, and fasting. The Fasting means neither eating nor drinking from sunrise to sunset, every day for one lunar month. A morning meal before dawn, suhoor, is all you get until the evening meal, iftar, after dusk fades from the sky. The concept of 16:8 Intermittant Fasting is catching on, and this is the same thing, but the dial moves to 12:12 — and some of that is sleeping. The reason for the Festival? It marks the revelation of the Holy Quran to the Prophet Mohammed in the year 610 CE.

Our meals today are typical of the flavors of the West-Asian Islamic region, and can be prepared with halal ingredients.

Arabian Eggs: 153 calories 7.4 g fat 2 g fiber 10 g protein 12.5 g carbs [11 g Complex] 58 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the eggs and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF  Hawayij spice is widely-used in the cuisine of Saudi Arabia. And it clearly shows trade links to countries further East. Coffee [Coffea arabica is a native plant] and dates round out the flavors of the country. The sweet dates are a wonderful counter-point to the spicy eggs.

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 to store in the ‘fridge for next week.  1 to 1.5 tsp Hawayij spice  2 deglet noor dates    Optional: blackish Arabian coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Whisk the eggs with the spice mixture and pour into a heated skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Turn down the heat. Leave the eggs undisturbed until puffy and the top is set. Remove from skillet, and serve folded or flat. Pour the beverages, plate the dates, and enjoy the fruit/spice combination.

Lamb With Mediterranean Vegetables: 295 calories 14 g fat 9 g fiber 22 g protein 40.5 g carbs 205.6 mg Calcium  PB GF  Here’s a fine meal, full of complex carbohydrates and good flavor. 

1 oz ground lamb 1 cup Mediterranean Vegetables  ¼ cup cooked brown rice ½ oz Gruyere cheese, grated

Cook the ground lamb, keeping it in biggish chunks rather than tiny flecks. Pour into a sieve to drain any fat and rinse in hot water. Season the meat well with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Heat the Mediterranean Vegetables TIP: so much easier if they were waiting for you in the freezer. Preparing food ahead is such a good idea. Mix the lamb with the vegetables. Plate the rice, then pour the Lamb/Veg on top. Serve topped with grated cheese.

Slow Days: Penne with Tuna and Tomatoes

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

On Wednesday, which is a Slow Day in our house, we invariably dine on a pasta meal. There are so many fine ways to top a plate of pasta that it can be a while until a particular meal is repeated. What follows is a recipe from Diary of a Tuscan Chef by Cesar Casella & Eileen Daspin. The chef calls it “Garganelli con Tonno Fresco,” but we call it Penne with Tuna & Tomatoes. This is so special and so easy to prepare that we schedule it when we want a lot of impact even when there is little time.

My job is to prepare the mise en place and to cook the pasta.

Here we see fresh tuna cut into 1/2 inch cubes, along with garlic chopped with fresh oregano, and 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes. Cook the pasta of choice in salted water. Meanwhile, saute the garlic and oregano in olive oil until the garlic begins to color. Add the tuna and a pinch of crushed red pepper, and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the fish is done to your liking. Remove the tuna from the pan to a plate or bowl. Drain the pasta, saving some cooking water. Deglaze the saute pan with about 1/3 cup white wine, and let it cook down while you scrape brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the pasta water and the tomatoes to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the pasta, some chopped parsley, the cooked tuna, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That took less than 15 minutes.

Dear Husband cooks the meal and chooses the wine.

Plate with crusty bread and a crisp salad of many different greens. Easy and delicious — especially when Dear Husband does all the cooking.

Tomorrow marks the 8th anniversary of our Fasting Lifestyle. Our weight is still down where we want it to be, our health is good. And we continue to eat pasta on Wednesdays — what a life!

Grab Bag

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.

A ‘grab bag’ is a sack that contains small items of unknown identity. As a prize, one is offered the chance to reach in the bag and grab any one of the items. Teachers might do this to provide a reward for a classroom competition. Parents might offer a grab bag at a child’s birthday party. At any rate, you reach in and never know what you might get. Today’s menus are sort of a grab bag — two random recipes that haven’t been posted for a few years. AND they are winners — a real prize! Usually, the recipes have something in common, something that unites them. These are both from Asia, but the other link is that they are good to eat. Who needs more than that?

Kashmiri ScrOmelette: 157 calories 8.5 g fat 1 g fiber 14.5 g protein 5 g carbs [3.5 g Complex] 58 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  The sauce ‘Rogan Josh’ was available in jars on the supermarket shelf, so I incorporated it into these very tasty eggs.

1 ½ 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.  1/3 oz cooked chicken, diced 1 Tbsp [15 ml] Rogan Josh sauce [Taste of India brand] 1 oz strawberries  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]

Whisk together the eggs, sauce and chicken. Pour into a hot non-stick or well-seasoned saute pan which has been spritzed with non-stick spray or oil. Scramble or cook as an omelette. Plate with the berries, pour the optional beverages, and set your aspirations for the day as high as the Himalayas.

Pork & Green Bean Stirfry: 176 calories 3 g fat 5.4 g fiber 20.5 g protein 18 g carbs [10 g Complex] 63 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given do not include the optional serving of rice**  PB GF  This stirfry has a lot of prep work, but the result is rich in the wonderful flavors of East Asia. The recipe does not include rice, but if you read on, you’ll see amounts of rice to serve. HINT: This recipe makes enough to serve 2 [two] people. Food values above are for ONE serving.

First, make a mise en place .  Seriously — do it.
5 oz pork tenderloin
1½ tsp dark soy sauce 
½ tsp honey 
½ tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Slice pork into matchstick pieces. Place in a bowl with these ingredients and stir to combine.
4 tsp dark soy sauce  
½ tsp honey
1 tsp peanut butter.
Combine in a micro-wave-safe cup and briefly warm in micro-wave to soften the honey and peanut butter.
6 oz green beans, cut in 1.5” pieces
½ c matchstick carrots
Put beans in a small pan of boiling, salted water and cook 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook 1 minute. Drain, saving water and vegetables.
1 tsp canola oil  Heat a wok or cast iron skillet over high, then add oil. Add pork mixture and stir-fry 1 minute.
Remove cooked pork to a clean bowl and stir in the soy-honey-peanut mix. 
2 Tbsp bean-carrot water
2 oz red bell pepper, cut in strips
more bean-carrot water, as needed
Put carrot-cooking water in the dish that had the soy-honey-peanut mixture. Swirl around to get those flavors into the water. Pour flavored water into the wok and add the bell peppers. Stir-fry 1 minute – add more water to keep it sizzling. 
½ tsp garlic 
1.5 tsp minced fresh ginger
Add beans, carrots, ginger, + garlic to peppers in the wok and stir-fry 1 minute.
Return pork to the wok and stir-fry until heated, ~1 minute
sliced scallion 
Sriracha
optional rice**
Plate with optional rice, and top with scallion and extra Sriracha

**If using ¼ cup medium-grain white rice as a garnish, then add these food values: 50 calories 0 g fat 0.3 g fiber 1 g protein 11 g carbs [these are all simple carbs] 0 mg Calcium

**If serving with ¼ cup medium-grain brown rice, then add these food values: 54 calories 0.4 g fat 1 g fiber 1 g protein 11 g carbs [these are all Complex carbs] 5 mg Calcium

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

1.5 two-oz eggs1.5 two-oz eggs 
Hawayij spiceputtanesca sauce
deglet noor datesblueberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

ground lambmackerel filets, fresh or frozen
brown rice gooseberry jam or jelly
Gruyere cheesezucchini
Mediterranean vegetables
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Easter Eggs

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. Later 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. Welcome to weightlosscal and beatmybellyfatnow who are now Following.

Easter has been associated with eggs since forever. The chick hatching from the seemingly lifeless egg is the classic simile for the resurrection at Easter. Eggs speak of Springtime and the very name ‘Easter’ comes from ‘Eostre’, a goddess of Spring to the ancient people of England. But why hard-boiled eggs, you ask. During Lent, when people refrained from eating eggs, the hens continued to lay. The solution to all those surplus eggs was to boil them — this helps them to keep longer and results in heaps of eggs by Easter. Thus the tradition of decorating eggs and giving them to friends and family. How did rabbits become the deliverers of eggs? The German tradition of the March Hare [as in “mad as a March hare” cf. Alice in Wonderland] being a fertility symbol is linked to eggs, another fertility symbol. Among the Germans, the hare brought treats to children at Easter. In the US, the hare became a tame domestic rabbit and the Easter Bunny was born. These days, an ‘Easter Egg’ is a hidden reference in a TV show or movie, put there by the director as an inside joke.

So what do you do with all those hard-boiled eggs**???? Today’s recipes show you some ways to use them for breakfast or for dinner. There are many more recipes for Fast Days that use hard-boiled eggs. Have fun hunting through the Archives for them!

**Best way to prepare ‘hard-boiled’ eggs: For easiest peeling, use eggs that are a bit old. Test eggs in a cup of water: if one end floats upward, that’s a good egg for boiling. In a pan large enough to contain your eggs in one layer, add one inch of water. Cover and bring the water to a boil. When it boils, gently place the eggs in the water and cover the pan again. Set the timer for 12 minutes, then remove the eggs to a plate to cool. Ta-da! Once in a while, one breaks. Oh, well.

Egg-Salad Toast: 167 calories 8 g fat 4.5 g fiber 12 g protein 22 g carbs 101 mg Calcium  PB  Toast ‘n’ Egg for breakfast takes a new twist. If you must grab-and-go, this is a good choice. 

1 slice whole-grain bread [70 calories, 3 g fiber] 1 hardboiled 2-oz egg yellow Siracha, ad lib + 1 Tbsp reduced-fat ricotta 1 oz sliced tomato OR halved cherry tomatoes 2 oz strawberries  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]

Slice the tomato and salt it to develop flavor. Shell the egg and mash it with a fork on a plate. Squirt some Srarcha on it, add the ricotta, and continue to mash and squirt until you get the consistancy you like. Add salt and pepper and herbs to taste. Lightly toast the bread and spread with the egg salad. Top with the tomato and plate with the fruit. Wholesome and hearty.

Egg Curry: 299 calories 12.6 g fat 2 g fiber 18.4 g protein 27 g carbs 205.6 mg Calcium  PG GF  This Indian curry is delicious and so simple to prepare. Need I say more? The recipe is from Jacquline Herault’s Oriental Cooking the Fast Wok Way. HINT: This recipe serves two [2].

1 tsp oil
½ c onion, chopped [2.25 oz]
1 ½ coins of fresh ginger, minced
Heat wok over medium heat. Add oil and count to 30.Add vegetables and stir-fry 3 minutes until onions are golden. Turn heat to low.
1 Tbsp minced parsley
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry
¼ tsp garam masala
Add ingredients off heat, then simmer uncovered 2 minutes. Stir occasionally.
1½ Roma/plum tomatoes, quarteredAdd tomatoes and some water, and simmer 8 minutes.
4 fl oz / ½ c plain yogurt
1 oz weight = ¼ c mushrooms, chopped
Add, mix well, and simmer 10 minutes or less as sauce thickens.
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and slicedAdd, simmer 3 minutes
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup cooked brown rice, per person
Add and stir to combine. Plate.
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halvedNestle on top of the curry mixture.

Fool Me Once…

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. 

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” This 360-year-old saying is about being fooled or tricked in a business transaction, rather than a harmless prank. One who tries to cheat another for money deserves shame indeed. But if the one who is tricked does not learn to be more wary from the encounter, then shame on him/her/they for being such a fool. There’s a lot of that going around these days: telemarketers on the phone, products offered on late-night television, pop-up ads on the internet, misinformation abounds and people get duped. Check your facts, people! Tomorrow will be April Fool’s Day, when the emphasis is on fooling people, but in a kindly, jesting way.

I’m not fooling you to say that the breakfast recipe is unusual in flavor and pretty to behold. I had fun creating it and indeed fooled Dear Husband. To prepare breakfast, he took the filled ramekins out of the ‘fridge and popped them in the oven, thinking they were both eggs to be baked. Ha! Because tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, the dinner takes on a more somber note: a meatless, hearty ‘peasant’ soup [that’s not a slam of ‘peasants’ since their food is often flavorful and healthy].

Trompe l’Oeil: 135 calories 6 g fat 2 g fiber 10.5 g protein 9.6 g carbs 128 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF   Here is a meal to fool the eye and tickle the palate with its combination of the cold soup and the hot egg. The soup, which is good as a lunch in larger portions, comes from cuisine actuelle.fr

½ cup Cucumber Soup*** + 0.9 oz ball of cantaloup melon one 2-oz egg + 1 tsp grated Parmesan + 1 Tbsp whole milk

Spritz an oven-safe ramekin with non-stick spray and break the egg into it. Sprinkle the Parmesan around the yolk. Spoon the milk around the yolk. Add salt and pepper. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape the soup into a similar ramekin. Nestle the melon ball in the soup. Plate them side by side and smile.

***Cucumber Soup  makes 3 cups, easy to cut in half

two 8” cucumbers [total mass = 21 oz Slice off both tips of the cucumber and remove half of the green peel. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Dice the cucumber.
A bunch of mintRemove leaves from stems and chop the leaves coarsely.
Piment d’esplette [or paprika or Aleppo pepper] to taste
salt & pepper to taste
Put the cucumber, mint, and seasonings in a food processor. Run the machine until the cucumber is very finely chopped.
200 grams/ 7 oz Fromage Blanc or plain Greek yogurtAdd cheese/yogurt and run the processor long enough to combine. Adjust seasonings.
1 Tbsp-sized cantaloup balls Place in a ramekin, garnished with one melon ball per serving

Czech Garlic Soup Česneková polévka: 194 calories 5 g fat 4 g fiber 9 g protein 27 g carbs [18 g Complex] 84 mg Calcium PB GF – if using GF rye bread What could be better on a chilly night than a cozy bowl of soup? This is a classic from czechcookbook, but feel free to make it your own. The calorie count is so low that you could add other vegetables or low-fat meat.  HINT: This recipe makes 8 cups of soup. One serving = 1 cup

1 Tbsp unsalted butter OR bacon fat    
7 cloves garlic
Chop garlic and saute in butter/fat in a stock pot.
7 cups water OR Chicken OR Beef Broth
1½ tsp salt
3 cups cubed potatoes 
3 cups cubed parsnips
Peel potatoes and parsnips and cut in cubes. Add to broth and salt in the stock pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are just under-done. Remove ½ cup soup stock and cool.
1 egg
1 tsp marjoram
Whisk the egg, then whisk it into the reserved ½ cup of soup stock. Return to the stockpot, stirring, and add marjoram. Taste for seasoning. Let sit 8-24 hours.
Per person: ¼ oz rye/whole wheat bread, cubed
Per person: ¼ oz Swiss cheese
Per person: side salad
Portion the soup for dinner and freeze the rest. Toast the cubes of bread. Grate the cheese over them while hot. Use to garnish the reheated soup at serving time.

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

1 two-oz hard-boiled egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
ricotta cheese + Sirachacooked chicken meat
70-calorie whole-grain breadRogan Josh sauce
tomato + strawberriesstrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

onion + fresh ginger + parsley + turmericpork tenderloin + fresh ginger + garlic
Indian curry powder + garam masala + plum tomatoesred+ green bell peppers + carrot
mushrooms + plain yogurt + lemon juicepeanut butter + dark soy sauce
2-4 hard-boiled eggs + brown rice Sriracha + crushed red pepper + honey
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Who Dunit, Who Ate It? Chapter 5

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. Welcome to Siddharth menon and LeoAbreu who are now Following.

Dear Husband and I love to read ‘whodunits.’ Crime literature in English harks back to Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders on Rue Morgue in 1841. As the genre took off, a sub-genre developed: culinary crime. These books are read as much for the procedural as for the vicarious thrills of the meals that are described along the way. There are many authors who tantalize our tastebuds while they challenge our little grey cells and today, I will feature foods from two different sources.

Jules Maigret is a Parisian police detective created by Georges Simenon. In the book Maigret’s First Case, he is on a stake-out, watching a suspect’s apartment. Conveniently, the cafe ‘Vieux Calvados’ is directly across the street, so Maigret and his partner can eat and sleep there while keeping watch. The landlord serves them a curious breakfast: sausages cooked in wine with garlic. Somehow, that sounds off the mark for a Fast Day, so here is a substitute. The sausage is there but the empty calories of the wine are replaced by grapes, roasted to develop their flavor.

Roasted Grapes & Sausage: 212 calories 8 g fat 2 g fiber 5.4 g protein 4 g carbs 14 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage. PB GF  Unusual flavors at breakfast. Delicious flavors at breakfast. HINT: This serves two [2].

Here is a serving for one person, before the cheese is added.
½ c onion, sliced
½ tsp oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss everything together + spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking pan or cast iron pan . Roast mins, until onions turn translucent and thinnest pieces are pale gold at the edges.
10 oz grapes
½ tsp fennel seed
2 oz sausage, 85 calories/oz
Add grapes, fennel seed, and sliced sausage to pan with onions, and toss well. Spread in an even layer and spray with cooking spray or oil.
Roast for 10 minutes. Sausage slices will be browned on the bottom and grapes will be wrinkled but still plump.
Parsley + chives
0.05 oz Parm, shaved
Place grapes, sausage, and onions on plates. Top with chives + Parmesan.
1 tsp rice vinegarAdd vinegar to baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits. Drizzle pan juices over plated food, taste. Sprinkle more salt or vinegar on top, if desired.

Hugo Marston, former FBI profiler, is now head of security at the US Embassy in Paris. He is well-placed to be involved in solving all sorts of mysteries that author Mark Pryor can devise. Hugo enjoys Paris and the food scene, although he himself is no Foodie. In the French Widow, Marston, unable to see his way through a case, goes out to dinner with friends. Another table is served Bleu Cheese and Garlic Pizza, so Hugo orders it. He also eaves-drops on fellow diners and gets an insight into the case. Funny how much can get solved over dinner!

Bleu Cheese & Garlic Pizza:  280 calories 8.6 g fat 5 g fiber 10 g protein 29.5 g carbs 203 mg Calcium  PB When Hugo Marston ate this, I just had to try it. It is good! I based the recipe loosely on one from simplyplayfulfare.com

1 fajita shell [be sure it has no more than 150 calories] 1 Tbsp plain, fat-free yogurt 1 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out to remove excess moisture 3 or 4 cloves roasted garlic 3 Tbsp [½ oz] bleu cheese crumbles 1 oz finely diced tomato, drained to remove excess moisture 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 400 F and roast the garlic cloves, wrapped in foil. Put the fajita shell on an ungreased baking sheet. Smear the yogurt evenly over the fajita then sprinkle the spinach evenly on top. Break off pieces of garlic and distribute them around, then put on the bleu cheese and tomato. Dust evenly with the Parmesan. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt.

There and back again.

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.

On March 25, Frodo Baggins, with help from the duplicitous Gollum and the faithful Samwise Gamgee, destroyed the One Ring of Power. [Or shall I say: the duplicitous Gollum, aided by a wavering Frodo and the faithful Samwise] This is the main purpose of the grand Quest, as told by J.R.R.Tolkien in his trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Since this book is our great favorite, Dear Husband and I have, for the last thirty-some years, celebrated on March 25 by eating foods named in the books. Tolkien chose that date very carefully to represent the start of a ‘New Age’ because it is the day said to be when the Virgin Mary became pregnant with Jesus: “Annunciation Day.” Tolkien wrote the story as a Christian allegory. Many people, including his friend and fellow Catholic C.S. Lewis, missed that point and see it only as a fantasy. However you see it, we think it is a gripping tale with complex characters and an engrossing plot. End of book review — for now.

Hobbits love to eat, even after escaping from dire situations. Tom Bombadil rescues them from the dangers of the Old Forest and they all sit down to breakfast the next day. Farmer Maggot shelters them as they flee Black Riders, and then sends them off to their second dinner with a hot mushroom casserole. Enjoy some Hobbit food today.

Bombadil’s Breakfast: 205 calories 5 g fat 2.5 g fiber 10.5 g protein 15 g carbs [8 g Complex] 312 mg Calcium  NB: the food values given are for the plated items only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF  When Tom Bombadil served his guests breakfast, it was plants, fruit and dairy of his own collection or production. The plants should be watercress [since his wife Goldberry was the River-Woman’s daughter] and the fruit shall be Golden Berries [aka Peruvian Ground Cherries], again in a nod to his wife.

2/3 oz Camembert cheese ½ cup watercress leaves or microgreens ½ cup plain yogurt 1 tsp honey, warmed 2 oz Golden Berries edible flowers [violets, chives, nastursium, or others] Optional : blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Warm the honey and stir it into the yogurt. Plate the items to your taste and enjoy a magical breakfast in The Old Forest. Wear a blue jacket and yellow boots.

Marish Mushroom Casserole: 299 calories 9 g fat 6 g fiber 24 g protein 41 g carbs 165.6 mg Calcium   PB  If you are a mushroom lover, this meal will make you happy. Vaguely inspired by English recipes.  HINT: This preparation is enough to serve two [2] diners. The wife of Farmer Maggot [a man much nicer than his surname] gave Frodo a mushroom casserole, like this, before he left the Shire on his quest.

BATTER: 1 egg + ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup skimmed milk + 1 tsp baking powder
Whisk together and let the batter sit for 30+ minutes. You will need 2/3 cup for this recipe. Remainder can be frozen.
3 slices uncured bacon @ 30 calories/slice Chop bacon and cook until almost done
8 oz mushrooms, several varieties, if possible 
1 clove garlic 
one scallion, sliced
Chop mushrooms, slice the garlic and scallion. Cook in the bacon until vegetables have softend and most of the liquid has evaporated. Take off heat.
2 T Worcestershire sauce 
2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 oz egg [that’s ½ of one US Large egg] 
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
Stir Worcestershire and flour to combine. Then add the egg and cheeese, and stir again. Combine in the pan with the mushroom mixture.
2/3 cup batterPour into an oven-safe dish which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Smooth the top of the mixture and pour the batter on top.
Bake at 425 until batter is cooked.
½ tsp prepared mustard, per person 
1½ oz green beans, per person
Serve with green beans and mustard on the side.

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

kielbasa or chicken sausage1 two-oz egg + two 8-inch cucumbers 
onion + olive oil + rice vinegarbunch of mint + piment d’esplette
red seedless grapeswhole milk + Parmesan cheese
Parmesan cheese + parsley + chivesfromage blanc or plain yogurt + cantaloup
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

150-calorie fajita shell + garlicgarlic + egg + marjoram
frozen spinach + tomatochicken or vegetable stock
plain, no-fat yogurtpotato + parsnips + butter
Parmesan cheeserye bread + Swiss cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Alzheimer’s News

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. Welcome to Dishita who is now Following.

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. Welcome to Dishita and fittacticsguy who are now Following.

It is one thing to see testimonials for healthy-living-plans on the website of the plan. Does that make you skeptical about their veracity? As one with a science background, I want to see corroboration from an independent source. In a mailing from the Alzheimer’s Prevention Bulletin came this headline: “Research shows intermittent fasting may prevent Alzheimer’s disease” Haven’t I been saying all along that Fasting has more than just weight-loss benefits? The article cites animal studies which look very promising:

Intermittent fasting in animal studies has also been shown to reduce brain inflammation. There is strong evidence that forms of intermittent fasting can delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal models. Researchers are now exploring opportunities to study intermittent fasting in humans; particularly the effect this might have on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.

“In animal studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to increase longevity, improve cognitive function and reduce brain plaque as compared with animals fed a regular diet,” said Allan Anderson, MD, Director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Tucson. “One hypothesis is that intermittent fasting enables cells to remove damaged proteins. It has been shown to delay the onset and progression of disease in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.….“The animal research is stunning,” concluded Dr. Anderson.

Well, I’m psyched. With Alzheimer’s in my family, I am eager to do what it takes to prevent or forestall the condition. So I exercise, I keep my mind active, I try to learn new things, and I Fast 5:2. Since reading this article, Dear Husband have altered our meal times to fit into the 16:8 schedule for Intermittent Fasting to add a further dimension. Eating less while eating well two days each week seems like a minuscule price to pay for improved brain health. What do you think? Read the full article here. And while you visit the site, sign up for the Alzheimer’s Registry by clicking the tab “About the Registry.” The more of us who participate in research, the quicker a cure can be found.

The meals today are typical of what we eat on a Fasting Monday. As the Good Book says, “Go, thou, and do likewise.”

Fore Street Bake: 147 calories 8 g fat 1.6 g fiber 9.6 g protein 8.5 g carbs 95 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  One of our favorite restaurants in Portland, Maine is ForeStreet. First time there, I ate a pizza from their wood-fired oven and we have loved that particular combination of flavors ever since. Here’s the marvelous mixture in baked eggs.

1 two-oz egg 1/3 oz blue cheese ¾ oz leeks ½ oz mushrooms 1 oz strawberries    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]

Slice the leeks and chop the mushrooms. Put into a Pyrex custard cup with a little water and cook in the microwave for 45 seconds. Spritz a ramekin with non-stick spray and add the cooked leeks and mushrooms. Whisk the cheese with the egg, then pour into the ramekin. Bake at 350 F. for 12-15 minutes. Portion the berries and pour the beverages and settle in for a taste of Portland

Miso Salmon:  242 calories 9 g fat 2 g fiber 29 g protein 12 g carbs 37 mg Calcium   PB GF Having heard of this over and over again, I asked our son for a recipe. So easy! So good tasting! You will have left-over sauce for flavoring a soup or another fish dish.

4 oz salmon filet, skinned + 2 Tbsp miso sauce** + 5 spears asparagus

**Miso Sauce:  makes 6 Tablespoons   33 calories/Tablespoon 2 Tbsp white or yellow miso 2 Tbsp mirin 1 Tbsp sake or sherry 1 Tbsp soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil Stir together to combine.

Place the fish on a small plate and paint one side with some miso sauce. Turn fish over and repeat. On medium-high, heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan or a non-stick pan and add a spritz of cooking spray. Cook the fish on one side for 4 minutes while painting the up-side with more miso sauce. Turn the fish to the other side, paint with the sauce, and cook 4-5 minutes longer, depending on the thickness of the fish. Test for doneness by cutting a small slit down to the middle of the filet to see if it has changed from deep pink to opaque pink color. Cook the asparagus and plate.

Slow Days: Hot Cross Bun Pancakes

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum  which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

The pre-Easter season of Lent calls for Hot Cross Buns. I love to make them and to eat them, but that is for a posting next year. If you want a real treat for a Lenten Sunday morning, try these pancakes. The recipe comes from the website Joy The Baker, where I have found many fine kitchen projects. Below, you will see the mixtures that will be combined for the batter: milk-egg-butter + flour-spices + fruit-zests.

2 T no-salt butter, melted/ cooled
1 cup buttermilk/soured milk
1 two-oz egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl whisk together butter, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
1 cup white-whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda + ½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. It is ok if the mixture is a bit lumpy.
¼ cup dried currants
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
Add the currants and fruit zest and stir to combine. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes while the griddle heats.
Preheat oven to 150 F. Place an oven-proof plate in the oven. This is where the pancakes will stay warm while the entire batch is cooked.
1 tsp butter for cooking 
splash oil for cooking
pure maple syrup for serving
Heat griddle (or nonstick skillet) over medium. Heat fat until hot, then wipe with paper towel. Save the towel. Spoon 2 Tbsp batter** onto the griddle for each ‘cake. Fry until golden, flipping once. Place cooked pancakes on warm plate in oven and cover with a clean towel. Wipe with the buttery towel and spray griddle with non-stick spray for each batch.
**Dear Husband just free-formed them, yielding 10 pancakes. If one used 2 Tbsp of batter, as described in the recipe, one would probably produce more pancakes. Suit yourself.

Joy The Baker says to top your stack of pancakes with a piped icing cross. Look, when the pancakes are hot off the griddle, we don’t mess around — they go straight to the table for eating. We used a cross of good New Hampshire maple syrup instead of icing. Delicious pancakes!