Slow Days: Gateau aux Fruits Frais

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 Fast Diet 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.

In Summer, there is an abundance of fresh fruit. Heaven! And there are many ways to eat it, besides eating it fresh, of course. For a few years, I worked in a restaurant owned and run by a Frenchman. [He would have insisted that he was a Breton, but we will let that go.] Although I did not work in the kitchen, I was happy to glean as many tips as I could about cooking. Chef did not give out his recipes. However, I managed to get enough clues to produce a reasonable version of Gateau aux Fruits Frais — a simple cake made special by a topping of fresh fruits.

The base of the Gateau is a simple yellow cake — you could use sponge cake or pound cake as well. It was baked in a 4×8″ loaf pan, then cut lengthwise into two slabs, each about 1-inch thick. If you are serving a large gathering, put the cake slabs end to end on the serving board to create one 16″ long gateau. I freeze the other half for a dessert in the future. Next, the top of the cake is slathered with pureed rhubarb or thick applesauce. The sauce should be lightly sweetened, but not too sweet at all.

Then you need a cream mixture, the sort that could be the filling of a cake or the piping at the edge. It could be an Italian meringue, or a butter cream icing, or whipped cream. I stirred together vanilla yogurt, almond meal from unpeeled almonds and let it sit for a bit to thicken. Spoon or pipe the ‘vanilla cream’ around the edge, on top of the pureed fruit. Rake the cream with a fork to pattern it or get creative with your piping bag.

Arrange any sort of fresh fruit over the cake: whole strawberries, kiwi slices, raspberries. Since we had blueberries and red currants ripe in the garden, I arranged them in stripes. For the final touch, melted jelly was brushed over the top of the fruit to give it a gloss. Voila! Gateau aux Fruits Frais.

Dog Days End

How this Fast Diet Lifestyleworks: 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.

What are the ‘Dog Days’? From late July to early August, newspapers love to show photos of dogs lying in the sun with their tongues lolling out, under the caption of “The Dog Days of Summer.” But the Dog Days have nothing to do with your dog. Rather, it is an astronomical reference from the ancient Romans. The winter constellation Orion the Hunter is accompanied in the sky by his two dogs

The principal star in the Big Dog/ Canis Major is Sirius, the brightest star in our sky after the Sun. From July into August, Sirius is seen in the sky next to the Sun at dawn and at dusk. Since that was also a very hot time in the Italian summer, the Romans surmised that the bright star Sirius was augmenting the Sun’s power, thus making the Earth hotter. And so they called those hottest days The Dog Days. Nothing to do with real dogs, everything to do with seeing the Dog Star in the sky. And, of course, the light from Sirius does not make the Earth warmer — the Sun does the job just fine. NB: never leave Fido in the car in the Summer.

For the hot days of Summer, some easy to prepare yet delicious meals. Lots of places around the world are experiencing extra hot weather this Summer, and Winters are warmer too. The climate is changing and not for the better. The Earth changes all the time, we just don’t have to make it worse.

Fish Taco ScrOmelette: 151 calories 8 g fat 1 g fiber 13.4 g protein 5.5 g carbs 59.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF Got some left-over fish and cabbage from your dinner tacos? Add ’em to the eggs for breakfast. Dear Husband was leery – too unusual — but he liked them!

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   0.6 oz cod, cooked 1 oz cabbage, shredded salsa verde a few leaves of arugula, chopped pinch cumin 1 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]

Mash/flake the cod and stir it into the cabbage and arugula. Douse with a few shakes of salsa verde, sprinkle with a pinch of cumin. Spritz a saute pan with non-stick spray and heat it. Put the fish/vegetables into the hot saute pan to cook, then add the eggs. Scramble together [or cook like an omelette] until the way you like it. Portion the applesauce and prepare the optional beverages. All set for unusual things to come your way.

Pizza with Vegetable Topping:  300 calories 13 g fat 4 g fiber 14 g protein 19 g carbs 269 mg Calcium  PB  Another winner from the Fast Diet book. The pizza shells are either whole grain wraps or corn tortillas. NB: BE CAREFUL about the calorie and fat content when shopping! I get 8″ whole wheat “fajita-style” tortillas. Each has 170 cal and 5 gm protein. Each person gets ONE of these pizzas. OR you could get 6″ yellow corn tortillas. Each of those has 65 cal and each person gets TWO and ONE HALF pizzas.

1 whole wheat/grain tortilla at 170-cal [per person]  1 oz mozzerella, grated 1-2 Tbsp tomato puree  HINT: buy a can of puree and freeze in small portions  ½ oz mushrooms, chopped or sliced 1 ½ oz red pepper, cooked and chopped 1 oz spinach, steamed, squeezed and chopped 1 Tbsp red onion, chopped

Set the oven at 400F. Place the tortilla on an ungreased baking sheet. Put 1 dollop of tomato purée on each tortilla and spread it around. Toss together mozzarella, mushrooms, red pepper, spinach, and onion. HINT: Sometimes I cook and chop all the veg and put them in a bag in the freezer to save time on a FAST day. Divide the mixture among the tortillas and bake for 5-10 mins.

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

Felafel patties1.5 two-oz eggs  + pear
pineapple or cantaloupeturkey breast meat, cooked
greek yogurtcapers + shallot
mint leaveslower-fat cottage cheese
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

fresh tomato + garlic +onionturkey breast meat + cooked brown rice
bell pepper + cucumbershallot + olive oil + lemon juice
red wine vinegar + olive oilcapers + fresh tomato + garlic powder
tomato juice + shrimp + croutonswhite wine + chicken stock
Sparkling waterSparkling water

The Cat

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.

Felines have been around for a long time. The ancestors of modern cats appeared in the Oligocene epoch and spread to all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Those cats developed into two groups: saber-toothed cats and conical-toothed cats. The saber-toothed cats died out along with their megafauna prey, while the other cats evolved into the wide array of animals we see today. Modern cats are members of Order Felidae and fall into two groups: Pantherinae [Big Cats which roar] and Felinae [Cheetahs and small cats which purr]. All are predators which fill an important niche in the food web by culling weaker members of the prey species and keeping their populations in check. Between 4000 and 7000 years ago, the Egyptians domesticated cats. Then they worshiped them in the form of the god Bast/Bastet, a female deity who can nurture and avenge. Around the world, as agrarian cultures increased, cats were revered for their ability to curb the rodent population. The pre-Incas had Ai-Apaec, with cat-like fangs. Chinese farmers made offerings to Li Shou to protect their crops from rodents. Ovinnik had to be placated on farms in old Poland, lest he burn down your barn. Pogumkp is a First Nations cat figure who protects the family. Hecate in Greece became a cat to escape danger. Because she was associated with spell-casting and magic, cats fell under suspicion. In the Middle Ages, cats were both useful and feared in a supposed link to witches. Kipling’s The Cat That Walks By Himself is a clever origin story of the cat’s personality. Poe’s The Black Cat is a sinister tale of madness and revenge. Dear Husband and I have been lucky in our Feline Companions. For 49 years our lives have been enriched by the affection, antics, and — dare I say it? — devotion of our dear cats. We have had dogs, but cats are our favourites. They have all been named after Tolkien characters: Gandalf, Merry & Pippin, Gimli, Tom Bombadil & Frodo, and Samwise. Intelligent, wise, affectionate, they are delightful examples of Felis catus.

Our cat likes egg mixed with milk, so our breakfast will combine those flavors in a way that is pleasing to the cat’s People. And do cats love tuna? Oh yes! Dinner contains tuna, providing an opportunity for the resident cat to lick the can. If you wish to have a cat in your life, find a friend who’s cat has kittens or go to the local cat/animal rescue group. Please do not get a ‘designer cat’ or one from a breeder. Please do not encourage the international trade in exotic cats or their by-products. Please get your animals spayed or neutered — they are better companions that way. August 8 is International Cat Day.

Buttermilk Baked Eggs: 163 calories 9 g fat 7 g fiber 9.5 g protein 14 g. carb [6.5 g Complex] 82 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the plated items, not for the optional beverages.  This recipe is from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book, all I added were the sides. Great book full of good recipes. 

1 slice 70-cal whole-grain bread one 2-oz egg 2 Tbsp buttermilk herbs to taste 2 oz mixed berries, fresh or thawed OR 4 oz strawberries   OR 2 oz pear Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 caloriesOptional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Cut out a hole from the middle of the bread using a 2” cookie cutter or juice glass. HINT: put the ‘hole’ in a sandwich bag in the freezer. Save for recipes that call for fresh bread crumbs. Toast the bread lightly.  HINT: this step could be done the night before. Or cut and toast the bread weeks in advance and freeze. Lightly spray an oven-proof pan with cooking spray and put the toasted bread in it. Break the egg over the bread so that the yolk lands in the hole. Carefully spoon the buttermilk over the egg and bread. Season to taste. HINT: you could prep this far and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the fruit and the optional beverages. You have a terrific breakfast!

Feta-Tuna-Bean Salad: 306 calories 14.6 g fat 5 g fiber 19 g protein 24 g carbs [23 g Complex] 230 mg Calcium  PB GF This salad has a lot going for it. Perfect for a hot summer evening.

1 oz canned tuna, drained ¼ cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed 1 oz feta cheese, crumbled 2 oz tomatoes, cubed 1½ oz red bell pepper, cut as large dice  2 pitted ripe olives, sliced  ½ hardboiled egg, chopped 1½ cups baby greens 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp lemon juice + lots of herbes de Provence + pinch garlic powder

Prepare the vegetables as described above. Whisk the oil, lemon juice, herbs and garlic in a 2-cup bowl. Add the greens and toss gently but thoroughly. Place the greens in the serving bowl and nestle the tuna in the center. Arrange all the other ingredients on top in a manner that pleases you.

Religions: Seventh Day Adventists

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.

As the 1700s turned into the 1800s, something religious was in the air as the Second Great Awakening took place. In the USA, a revival of religiosity bubbled up as new religious groups formed. One of these was the Seventh Day Adventists. James and Ellen Harmon White founded the movement officially in 1863, after some 20 years of visions and meetings with similarly-minded groups. Among the 28 tenants of their faith were the belief that there was a constant state of war between God and Satan; that main-stream churches were not hewing closely enough to God’s will as stated in the Bible; that the Sabbath, the day of rest and worship should be Saturday, not Sunday; and that there will be a literal return or advent of Jesus at which time the faithful will be raised to heaven. Part of living a life as described in the Bible has to do with eating a ‘clean’ diet. Their literature states: “…we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well.” Although the Adventists began in Maine and later moved to Michigan, the administrative heart of the church is in Loma Linda, California where they founded a university and medical center. Today there are more than 18.7 million members worldwide. 40% of them say that they are vegetarians.

For co-founder James White’s birthday on August 4, 1821, a breakfast of vegetables and eggs is appropriate. For dinner, many vegetables in a curry sauce with whole-grain bread and a vegetarian option.

Vegetable-Chevre ScrOmelette: 140 calories 9 g fat 1.5 g fiber 11.6 g protein 6.5 g carb 71 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Take advantage of the goodness of vegetables and use up some left-overs at the same time! Win-win.

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.  1½ tsp chevre [goat cheese], the creamy kind ¼ cup mixed, cooked, chopped vegetables  HINT: prepare extra vegetables at dinner on Wednesday or Sunday and save for this meal the following Fast Day  salt, pepper, herbs of your choice 1½ oz strawberries OR 2 oz apple  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 cooked vegetables. Spritz a fry pan with olive oil or non-stick spray and stir the vegetables until they are warm. Whisk the eggs with the cheese and pour into the pan, stirring to mix with the vegetables. Cook to your liking, fold and plate with the fruit. Pour your beverages and have a great day.

Chicken Curry: 277 calories 4.5 g fat 6.4 g fiber 17 protein 37.4 g carbs 81 mg Calcium  PB GF Curry is always a favorite and Craig Claiborne made it safe for dieters in his book Gourmet Diet.

¾ cup curry sauce**  1½ oz carrot rounds ½ cup cauliflower florets 1½ oz cooked chicken breast, cut in ½” dice or smaller OR ¼ cup boiled yellow lentils 3 Tbsp peas 1 Naan bread 92-calorie, 1/12 of recipe, made with white whole wheat flour ¼ cup diced cucumber ¼ cup diced tomatoes

**CURRY SAUCE:  makes 3 cups  1 cup onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced ½ cup celery, chopped 1 cup apple, peeled, and diced 1-2 Tablespoons curry powder ¾ tsp dry mustard 1 bay leaf 3 cups fish OR chicken stock OR vegetable stock ½ cup water Spritz a sauce pan twice with cooking oil and add 2 Tbsp water. Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and apple until soft. Sprinkle the curry and mustard on top. Stir in the bay leaf, stock, and water. Simmer to cook down until it measures 3 cups.

Steam or boil the carrots and cauliflower. Boil the lentils or warm the naan. Warm the sauce, add the chicken, peas, cooked carrots and cauliflower and heat. Taste for seasonings. Plate with the lentils/naan and top with cucumbers and tomatoes.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
1 slice 70-calorie whole-grain breadcabbage + codfish
buttermilkcumin + salsa verde
strawberriesarugula + applesauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Tuna + canned white beans + olive oilOne 170 calorie whole wheat fajita-style tortilla
feta cheese + tomato + red bell peppertomato puree + red onion
black olive + hard-boiled egg + baby greensred or orange bell pepper + mozzarella
Lemon juice + herbes de Province + garlic powdermushrooms + spincah, cooked or frozen
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Numbers with a Message

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.

“Here is your 101 course: It will show you the #1 methods and we will be on your 6 all the way until your get to your 42 and we 86 it. 73! -30-“

Huh? What was that all about? It seems that there are many ways to shorthand a message, and numbers are one way to do it. In college/university, the term ‘101’ refers to an introductory, survey course, often taken in the first year. Thus, you would take Art History 101 before you tried Baroque Art 302. Number 1 has always referred to the ‘best’, unless you want to offend your girlfriend, since a great-looking female is a ’10’ — if you were into that sort of sexist judgements… In the Navy, ‘on your 6‘ means to be right behind you. If your wingman says it, it is a promise. If your superior officer says it, it is a threat. Fans of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy will know that ’42’ is the “answer to everything.” A former student of mine was trying to calculate the size of a galaxy and was awe-struck to find that the first two numbers were ’42!!’ In a restaurant, if the chef tells the wait staff to ‘86 the swordfish’ it means that it has been sold out so don’t take any more orders. In the world of “Ham Radio Operators” there is a lot of numerical lingo, harking back to the time of telegraphers communicating only in Morse Code. When short-hand terms were necessary, ’73’ means ‘best regards.’ In news rooms, the reporter writes ‘-30-‘ at the end of a story. My journalism teacher said that a reporter was given 30 minutes for a rewrite and ran out of time. Annoyed, he typed ‘-30-‘ at the end of the story to protest that he couldn’t finish more fully. BMI is a number that can tell you about your health. Have you calculated your’s lately? Doing so can help you to realize if you are overweight — then you can do something about it. 73 to you all.

When Bo Derrik’s character was described as a “10” in the movie of the same name, many women wished that they had her svelte, swimsuit-worthy body. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits — with a proper balance of calories and nutrition — can help you to get close. Our veggie-filled breakfast and Mediterranean-style dinner of healthy fish will see you on your way to healthy.

Tomato-Corn-Black Bean Bake: 144 calories 6 g fat 4.5 g fiber 8 g protein 14.5 g carbs 49 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF   Indigenous ingredients of the Americas combine here as a terrific addition to eggs. 

1 two-oz egg ¼ cup T-C-BB Salad** ½ cup mixed berries   Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 caloriesOptional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Whisk egg with salt and pepper. Spritz an oven-proof dish with non-stick spray and distribute the vegetable salad over the bottom. Pour the egg into the dish and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Plate with the fruit and you are in for an excellent start to your day.

Tomato-Corn-Black Bean SaladMakes 3 cups
1½ ears of corn 
1 c canned black beans
Blanch corn 1 minute in boiling water. Cool + cut kernels off cob. Drain, rinse beans. Put both vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl.
4 oz tomato: cherry tomatoes cut in half OR whole tomato cut in ½” dice
¼ cup red onion, diced
Gently mix beans-corn with tomatoes + onion.
Heat vegetables in the microwave 45-60 seconds to warm slightly.
¼ cup basil leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
In a small bowl combine the basil, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over the warmed vegetables and stir to combine. 

Barramundi a la Midi: 249 calories 9.4 g fat 6 g fiber 21.5 g protein 30 g carbs 147 mg Calcium   PB GF  Barramundi is a fish native to Australian waters. For some reason, I decided to prepare it with ingredients from Southern France. And it was great!

3-4 oz barramundi fillet 2 oz/2 cups fresh spinach leaves ¼ c puttanesca sauce 1 Tbsp black olive sauce** 2 cloves garlic ¼ c Camargue rice, cooked 2 oz green beans

**Black Olive Sauce  makes ¼ cup   good on fish or eggs   1 Tbsp = 44 calories  1 Tbsp lemon juice ¼ cup pitted black olives 1½ tsp red wine vinegar ½ tsp lemon zest ½ tsp Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp olive oil Put olives in a food processor and run the machine until they are ground up. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until they are blended.

Cook the rice [3 parts Water: 1 part Rice] with a clove of garlic, halved. Broil or bake the fish. Slice the other garlic and cook it in a saute pan with some cooking spray and a bit of olive oil. After 30 seconds, add the spinach and 2 Tbsp water. Stir until the spinach begins to wilt, then add the sauce and mix them together. Plate the fish, topping it with the olive sauce. Place the spinach and the rice on the plate around the fish. Such a treat.

-30-

Beatrix Potter

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.

July 28, 1862, was the birthdate of one of my favorite authors: [Helen] Beatrix Potter. Her family had been made wealthy from the calico trade in the early 1800s, and they lived in London. Beatrix and her brother were schooled at home, allowing her to develop a keen interest in nature and in drawing. Summers were spent away from London, first in Scotland, then in the Lake District. Potter’s eye for detail lead her to study fungi. She became a technical illustrator and wrote a scientific paper on the reproduction of mushrooms. As a young woman, Beatrix sold pictures for greeting cards and also wrote illustrated letters to the children of friends. One of those stories, telling the misadventures of a young rabbit, was self-published in 1901. Beatrix’ idea was to produce picture books for children, small enough for them to hold by themselves. Finally she found a publisher and in 1902, the Tale of Peter Rabbit was a best-seller. Potter was canny enough to license all the ‘merch’ to go with it: toys, wall paper, dishes. Other books followed, along with an agreement to marry her publisher’s brother. Her family disapproved but they never had to intervene since the fiance died of leukemia. By then, Beatrix Potter was a house-hold name and was independent financially. She began to buy properties in her beloved Lake District, first to have a writing retreat, then to protect the area from development by keeping the land in working farms. Beatrix loved the farming life and the countryside, and her interests were encouraged by a local solicitor William Heelis whom she married at age 47. Writing books [20 all together] and buying land [15 farms totaling 4000 acres] and raising Herdwick sheep became her great interests until her death in 1943. Her lands were left to the National Trust. Her Hill Top Farm is open to visitors and is like walking into one of her books. Tom Kitten, Jemima Puddle-duck, and Samuel Whiskers all were written into existence there.

For breakfast on Beatrix Potter’s birthday, a meal in honor of one of her most endearing characters, Mrs Tiggy-winkle, the hedgehog washer-woman. For dinner, the meal that Tom Thumb and Hunca-Munca, the Two Bad Mice, wished they had eaten.

Hedgehog Apple Breakfast: 198 calories 8 g fat 3 g fiber 10.5 g protein 21 g carbs 9 mg Calcium   PB GF  This is so cute that your can’t bear to eat it, yet you want to gobble it up! Audley End House and Gardens is the source of the recipe, via the Dear Lady at KoolKosherKitchen.com.

3 oz baking appleCut apples in half, then peel and core them.
Light syrupCook in light sugar syrup until tender. Do not overcook, about 5 minutes at a simmer, turning apples in the syrup.  
2 Tbsp thick applesaucePlace one ½ apple on a parchment-covered baking pan. Use a smaller apple piece to form a ‘head.’ Spread sauce over apples, to fill in gaps and hold apples together.  TIP: I did this the night before and put the pan in the ‘fridge overnight.
1 egg white = 1½ Tbsp
1 tsp sugar
Beat egg white with sugar until forming soft peaks. Spread meringue over apples to cover completely. Rake with a fork to form fur.
zante or black currents = eyes red currant or cherry = nose sliced/slivered almondsCreate a ‘face’ with black and red fruits. Set almonds in meringue in rows to form spikes. 
Bake at 350F until meringue sets and browns, about 8 minutes.
Canadian bacon OR chicken breakfast sausageServe with Canadian Bacon [20 cal] or chicken sausage [30 calories]

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 

Ham Dinner: 297 calories 8 g fat 6 g fiber 19 g protein 40 g carbs 41.5 mg Calcium  PB GF This is a standard Easter Dinner in many homes, as well as being a popular diner order. From the succotash to the sweetened sweet potato to the pineapple garnish, this meal is a classic.

3 oz ham, sliced 3/8” thick ¼ c. lima beans + ¼ c corn kernels 1 oz sweet potato 1 tsp brown sugar ¼ c canned pineapple chunks

Cube the sweet potato and simmer in a small pan until tender, about 10 minutes. Heat the ham slice in a non-stick pan over medium, until ham begins to brown. Heat the vegetables together. When the ham is cooked and the sweet potato is tender, plate the ham and drain the potato. Put the potato in the ham’s pan, along with a bit of the potato water. Stir to incorporate the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the brown sugar until the potato is covered with the sugar. Plate everything, putting a pinch of salt on the vegetables. Place the pinapple chunks on the ham and tuck into a meal fit for people or naughty mice.

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

1 two-oz egg + olive oil1.5 two-oz eggs 
corn + canned black beanschèvre [goat cheese]
tomato + red onion + basilmixed, cooked vegetables
red wine vinegar + berriesstrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Barramundi fish fillet + fresh spinach + garliccurry sauce  + carrot + peas
puttanesca sauce + Camargue red rice Yellow lentils or Naan bread, 92-calorie
black olives + Dijon mustard + olive oilCauliflower/broccoli florets + Tomato
red wine vinegar  + lemon zest + green beansCooked chicken breast + Cucumber 
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Saint James

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 MY XM GLOBAL who is now Following.

Jacob/James was born to the fisherman Zebedee, so he and his brother John became fishermen too. One day, while mending their nets, Jesus walked by. He called the young men to join him in becoming ‘fishers of men,’ thus James became one of the first apostles. Although he was there from the start, it took a while for James to understand Jesus and his message. James once suggested raining hell-fire onto a town that had been inhospitable. Um, no. James’ mother asked Jesus to seat her two sons on the right and left of his throne, in the mistaken notion that he would hold court in an earthly location, like Caesar in Rome. Nope, wrong again. Yet James was present at many of the great events that are told in the New Testament: keeping vigil in Gethsemane and witnessing the transfiguration. We know that James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa the 1st in Jerusalem, thus his subsequent connection to Spain is tenuous. The most prevalent legend is that he preached in Spain until he returned to the Levant, and that his body was miraculously transported to Galicia for burial after beheading. In the 800s, a hermit heard music and saw lights at night. Referring to the light in the darkness, he named it the ‘campus stellae’ — Field of the Star. It became the pilgrimage city of Compostela when the local bishop found James’ grave and built a shrine around it, the Cathedral of Santiago [Saint James] de Compostela. Since the 9th century, pilgrims from all over Europe hiked across the continent, following el Camino de Santiago: Saint James’ Way. Yearly, almost 350,000 trekkers and pilgrims make the hike, with a scallop/cockle shell badge on their clothing. The scallop shell has become the iconographic symbol of Saint James.

A piquant salsa at breakfast and a dinner of scallops — of course — recall Spain, final resting place of Saint James, and the symbol of the saint.

Salsa Chicken Bake: 281 calories 6 g fat 2.4 g fiber 20 g protein 29 g carbs [25 g Complex] 298 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  Salsa for breakfast? Porque no?

Does this make you smile?

1 two-oz egg 1 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese 2 Tbsp tomato salsa, drained if too liquid dash of salsa verde or green chilis    ½ oz chicken breast meat [from a roast, perhaps], minced chopped or crumbled oregano [Mexican if you have it] 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]

Stir the cheese, salsas, and chicken together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the egg and seasonings. Spritz a ramekin with oil or non-stick spray. Pour in the egg mixture and bake in the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. for 12-15 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. Brew your warm beverage; shake and pour the smoothie, portion those delicious strawberries, and start to your day in a zesty way.

Scallops with Sun-dried Tomatoes: 285 calories 11 g fat 5 g fiber 28 g protein 29 g carbs 66 mg Calcium   PB GF  Jasper White offers this recipe in his book Cooking From New England. It is simplicity itself to prepare and a delight to eat.  HINT: this recipe serves 2 [two] diners.

When I added the tomatoes to the pan, I threw in a few sugar snap peas for color and crunch.
½ c/¾ oz sun-dried tomatoes Slice each tomato into 4 strips. Put in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to soak.
½# scallopsTrim off any white tissue. Blot scallops on paper toweling to dry them. If using sea scallops, cut in half along the equator. Sprinkle with salt + pepper.
1½ oz red lentil pasta Cook as package directs. Drain, saving some pasta water.
1 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp garlic, choppedHeat a saute pan until hot, then add oil. Immediately add scallops in one layer and garlic. Count 30 secs and turn scallops.
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp butter
1/4 c pasta water
Count 30 seconds, and add drained tomatoes, butter, and pasta water while stirring. 
If using sugar snap peas, add them now.
1.5 Tbsp parsley +/or basil, choppedCount 30 seconds and add the cooked pasta. Heat through and add herbs. Ready to serve.

Slow Days: Porcini Pasta

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 Fast Diet 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.

3 bicolors, 1 cep

Neither Dear Husband nor I grew up eating mushrooms, but we have come to relish them. Foraging is one of my favorite pastimes and when it yields a bounty of wild mushrooms, it makes my day. Imagine our surprise when we found mushrooms coming up in the moss under a Red Oak tree on our lawn. NB: One must approach wild mushrooms with caution: many species look slightly alike and correctly identifying the fungus is very important. In this case, the identification was unmistakable: dome-like cap the color of a well-baked bun; no gills under the cap, but a mosaic of tiny pores; bulbous stem, unlike any other species. These were Boletus edilus, the prized cep/cepe/porchini mushroom! Then, another edible Bolete showed up: the Bicolor, Boletus bicolor. We were in hog heaven!!

A search for mushroom recipes yielded this excellent dish from skinnyspatula.com and we are eternally grateful to her for it. The original calls for fresh shiitake and dried porcini, but we had lots of fresh ‘shrooms, so I changed the recipe a bit. Because the sauce is cream-based, we know that the recipe is from Northern Italy. To stay true to the region of origin, fresh pasta is preferred to dry pasta for the meal. I have found that my recipe for pasta made of white whole wheat and semolina flours works very well. For the record: this is NOT a recipe for weight loss!

Serves 2
105 g FRESH pasta nb: pasta made with white whole wheat flour is good here.Boil pasta in salted water until almost al dente – 1 minute. Reserve ¾ c water (~ 120 ml) before draining. Rinse pasta.
8 g/ 0.28 oz butter or more
80 g/ 2.82 oz Bicolor Boletes, sliced  90 g/ 3 oz King Boletes, sliced 170 g total = 3.8 oz fresh
Slice the mushrooms.
In a cast iron skillet, melt butter + add mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 mins until tender and lightly browned.
Take skillet off heat. Very IMPORTANT
20 ml double [or heavy] creamAdd cream + continue to stir, about 2 mins, until it evaporates. Scrape the bits on the bottom often.
60 g mascarpone
40 ml pasta water
40 ml pasta water
Add mascarpone and 1/3 of the pasta water. Cook until sauce is creamy. Add more water if needed, but keep it creamy, not watery.
Salt as neededAdd drained pasta + toss over moderate heat, until it’s cooked through (~ 2-3 minutes). Add more pasta water if needed.

Serve with zucchini or a green salad, and a Tuscan red wine of your choice*. Oh! So good!

from peterspicksblog.com Wines That Pair Well with Pasta and Wild Mushrooms:  Barbera d’Asti (Italy), Pinot Noir (Oregon), Pomerol (Bordeaux, France), Barolo (Italy), Rioja (Spain)

Limbourg Brothers: July

How this Fast Diet Lifestyleworks: 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.

The Limbourg Brothers — Pol, Herman, and Jannequin — did not set out to revolutionize art in the 1400s, but they did. Born in the Rhine Valley of the Netherlands to a wood sculptor and his wife, the sister of a painter, they apprenticed with their uncle, then with a goldsmith in Paris. Their uncle came into the employ of the Duke of Bourgogne, Duc de Berry, and so did the three brothers. By 1408, Pol was so esteemed by the duke, that Duke Jean kidnapped a bride for him from her family in Bourges. Besides designing jewelry and the interior decoration of the duke’s many chateaux, Pol and his brothers created illustrations for devotional books. The most famous was Les Tres Riches Heures, begun in 1410. As a ‘book of hours‘, it contained prayers for each of the eight ‘canonical hours’ of the day. Those pages and others were decorated with exquisite miniature paintings. Furthermore, there are full-page paintings of the months of the year. What sets the book apart are the details of nature keenly observed by the artists. The July illustration is a good example, so take a good look at it. It is time to harvest the wheat crop, and the peasants are hard at work. The ripe heads of grain are a different tint of yellow from the already-cut stalks which are drying on the ground. The distant mountains, although stylized, show rock stratification from which water seeps to feed a stream. In a time when a sky would be shown as a golden backdrop, these artists show a real sky with realistic clouds and a change in hue near the horizon. The Limbourgs were the first artists in Northern Europe to show nature as it really was, and to place human activity as a part of it. During July, go outside often and, like the Limbourgs, become a keen observer of details in nature.

Two meals for July: an omelette of seasonal mushrooms and a cold plate for dinner on a hot day.

Oyster Mushroom ScrOmelette: 138 calories 7.6 g fat 2 g fiber 10 g protein 9.5 g carbs 50 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  We are fond of oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus, so naturallly we are fond of this breakfast. You can forage for them or buy them at the market.

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.   1 oz oyster mushrooms 1 oz red bell pepper 1 clove garlic 1½ oz pear   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 mushrooms, pepper, and garlic. Warm a non-stick saute pan, and spritz it with non-stick spray. Put the vegetables in the pan to cook and to warm while you whisk the eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the eggs and either scramble them or cook as an omelette. Plate with the pear for a dandy meal.

Chicken Salad Platter: 227 calories 3.4 g fat 5 g fiber 22 g protein 23 g carbs 107 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using gf crackers Chicken salad is an old favorite – for a sandwich or stuffed in tomatoes or on a salad plate. Without mayonnaise, it is much healthier and just as good.

½ cup chicken salad, chez moi** ½ cup Swedish Cucumber salad  5 sugar snap peas, or more 2 cherry tomatoes, or more 3 Finn Crisp crackers

Plate everything in a pleasing arrangement.

**Chicken Salad, chez moi  makes 1 cup ½ cup= 121 calories 3 g fat 0 g fiber 10 g protein 1.4 g carbs 88 mg Calcium   5 oz cooked chicken breast 4 Tbsp part-skim ricotta 2 tsp yellow Sriracha 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped salt & pepper to taste   optional: 2 Tbsp minced onion 2 Tbsp mined celery Chop, shred or grind the chicken. Combine with the other ingredients. Taste for seasoning, adding more Sriracha if too dry.

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

1 two-oz egg + chicken breast meat white of 1 two-oz egg + sugar 
low-fat cottage cheesebaking apple + applesauce
red tomato salsa + strawberriesalmond slivers
salsa verde or green chilis30-calorie chicken sausage or 20 cals Canadian bacon
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

bay scallops + parsley3-oz thick-sliced ham
sun-dried tomatoeslima beans + corn kernels
olive oil + garlicsweet potato + brown sugar
red-lentil pastacanned pineapple
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Giotto, architect

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 Ayah who is now Following.

Giotto di Bondone was either the last artist of the Medieval/Gothic era or the first artist of the Renaissance. While he is mostly known as a master painter of frescos, one of his most visible creations is an architectural marvel in Firenze/Florence: the campanile of Santa Maria del Fiore. There are many churches and chapels in Firenze, but the cathedral is Santa Maria, so it was designed to dwarf all the others. When it was time to build a bell tower, the City called on one of its best artists: Giotto. The foundation for the tower was laid on July 18, 1334, long after the church was begun in 1296. Giotto designed a structure 15 meters square and 84 meters high. The plan is as if five blocks were set on top of each other: the bottom ones shorter than the ones on top, culminating in the highest and tallest ‘block’, the one with the tall windows. Each block has a different theme: ‘Universal Order and the Story of Redemption’ are shown in bas relief carvings on the bottom block. This is the only one that was completed by the time Giotto died in 1337. The work was completed by subsequent artists, who generally stuck to Giotto’s plan. The 2nd story is decorated with statues of Biblical prophets and patriarchs. The remaining stories have windows with Gothic arches, completed between 1348 an 1359 by Francesco Talenti. Giotto understood perspective better than most of his contemporaries. Each story is slightly wider than the layer below it. That way, the tower does not appear to taper as it rises. This gives it a solidity which is countered by the airy windows. Talenti deviated from Giotto’s plan by replacing a terminal spire with a balconied platform, frequented by sight-seers after climbing 400+ steps. The building is clad with white, red, and green marble, chosen by Giotto to match the near-by Baptistry of Saint John, built between 1059 and 1128. I used to think that the colored marble was too ‘busy’ for my taste, but I have come to enjoy the Gothic love of color and decoration. The campanile is a visual feast and a tribute to the artistry of Ser Giotto.

Tuscans, like Giotto, enjoyed mushrooms, so our mushroom-egg combination would please them. The pate with which it is made is worth the effort of finding/buying the mushrooms. Parma, the source of Parmesan cheese, also has a worthy Baptistry, begun in 1196. Perhaps Giotto visited there, since he worked all over Northern Italy in his lifetime. If you are planning a trip to Firenze, and you have 3 or more days to spend there, I highly recommend the Firenze Card, which gets you to the head of the line for several locations and gives you free entry to most everything for one pre-paid fee.

Mushroom Pate Bake: 151 calories 10.4 g fat 1 g fiber 8.7 g protein 6.7 g carbs [5.4 g Complex] 71 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF Mushrooms and walnuts make an amazing spread. With eggs and a tad of bleu cheese, they yield a spectacular breakfast.

1 two-oz egg ½ oz mushroom pate** ¼ oz bleu cheese ¼ c blueberries  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

**Wild Mushroom Pate: 1 oz = 70 calories 7 g fat 0.5 g fiber 1 g protein 1.5 g carbs 7.8 mg Calcium From Inn at Saint Peter’s, this recipe is splendid as a spread on bread and as an ingredient.

Makes ~1½ cupsPreheat oven to 350 F /175 C 

1 cup walnuts Spread walnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toast 10 mins, until fragrant and lightly browned.
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup unsalted butter
In a saute pan, cook shallots in butter over medium heat until translucent.
¼# chantrelle mushrooms
¼# meadow mushrooms
¼# agaricus or other mushroom
1 Tbsp roasted garlic puree OR 2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp fresh thyme 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
Chop mushrooms and herbs.Add these and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Toasted walnuts 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Run nuts and oil in a blender/food processor until mixture forms a thick paste. 
Add cooked mushroom mixture, and process to desired texture.
Pack into well-oiled ramekins or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate a few hours or overnight or freeze.

Whisk the eggs with the pate and bleu cheese. Pour into an oven-proof dish which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes. Plate with the berries and savor the mushrooms.

Fish Parmigiana: 279 calories 8 g fat 5 g fiber 31.5 g protein 17.4 g carbs 337 mg Calcium  PB Crunchy and flavorful: a real treat from the Canadian Cheese Board. Doubles or triples easily.

2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour  1 egg white + a little water 3 Tbsp fresh bread crumbs 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated 3 oz firm white fish filets, such as tilapia ¼ cup crushed tomatoes 1 tsp capers lemon zest + basil leaves 1 oz mozzerella cheese, grated or sliced 3 oz green beans

Set the oven at 400 F. Combine flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Whisk egg white with a little water in a soup plate. Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan on a plate. Roll the fish in the flour, then roll it in the egg white, then roll it in the crumbs/cheese. Lay the fish on a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover your baking dish. Spray the fish with non-sick spray and bake 5-7 minutes. Turn the fish over and bake 5-7 minutes. Combine tomatoes, capers, zest, and basil. Spoon on top of the fish, then top with mozzerella. If you have any remaining crumbs/Parmesan, sprinkle that on the mozzerella. Return the fish to the oven and bake about 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden. Plate with the green beans for a delicious night en Italia.