A Wonderful Life

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.

After the end of World War II, the Hollywood people who had gone to war came home. One was Jimmy Stewart who was looking to revive his stalled acting career. He had entered the war as a Private who had an amateur pilot’s license, and was demobbed as a full Colonel with 20 combat missions over Germany to his credit. Another was Frank Capra, who had left off directing for major films to make ‘propaganda’ films for the US Signal Corps during the war. With 5 Academy Awards for prior films, it should have been easy for him to fit back into the industry. Capra hired Stewart to star in Its a Wonderful Life, released in 1946, on December 20. Like Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, also starring Stewart, this movie is about the virtues of small town life; the necessity for people to work together for the common good; the hard-working refugee families moving to America; and the importance of faith in higher ideals. As Roger Ebert said, the film is “a celebration of the lives and dreams of America’s ordinary citizens, who tried the best they could to do the right thing by themselves and their neighbors.” It was not a success. Maybe 1946 was not the time for a sentimental film. The movie was ‘rediscovered’ in the 1970s when the copywrite expired. Aired on TV, the film quickly became a seasonal Christmas favorite. It is sweet, and corny, and makes you feel good about doing the right thing. Watch it and celebrate the film’s 75th anniversary.

Frank Capra was a fierce defender of the American Dream. Our hash ‘n’ eggs breakfast is typical of the small-town diner menu. Since Capra was the son of immigrants, our dinner features Mediterranean flavors well known to the other travelers in steerage when his family came to America in 1903.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Hash 212 calories 4.5 g fat 9 g fiber  31 g carbs 96.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg and hash only, not the optional hot beverage. PB GF Long-time friend and fellow bell ringer Jane Winslow inspired this recipe. She’s right: it is very good.

½ c. diced sweet potatoes [You could substitute ½ cup of diced winter squash, which lowers the calories, protein, and carbs] 2 Tbsp yellow onion, diced 1.5 oz = ¼ red pepper, sliced salt + pepper to taste ¾ tsp paprika ¼ tsp cumin ½ cup spinach, roughly chopped 3 oz black beans = 1/3 c. one 1.8-oz egg  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   NB: no smoothie — too many calories for this recipe

Spritz olive oil in a small cast iron pan on medium heat. Add sweet potatoes, onion, red pepper, seasonings, and a little water. Cook on medium-low for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. ALTERNATELY, you could roast these vegetables in a 400 F. oven for 10 minutes. Add spinach and 2 more Tbsp water, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Lastly, add the black beans and stir until ingredients are well-blended. HINT: prep this far the night before. NEXT MORNINGHeat the vegetable hash in the pan before topping with a poached or fried egg. Serve in the skillet or scoop onto a plate.

Feta Nicoise Salad:  243 calories 6 g fat 2 g fiber 16 g protein 25 g carbs 244 mg Calcium  PB GF  There is a lot of food on this plate – bring your appetite.

1½ romaine leaves OR 1-1/2 cup lettuce, sliced cross-ways ¼ cup green beans 1 scant cup cucumber OR zucchini, diced 1/4 c feta cheese, crumbled or diced 2 black olives, quartered 2 Tbsp canned chick peas, rinsed 1/2 oz sourdough bread 1 tsp flavorful olive oil + 1 tsp white wine vinegar

Steam the green beans, cool and set aside. Slice the romaine crosswise into 1” strips. Prepare the other ingredients as described. Pour the oil and vinegar into a wide, shallow bowl and whisk briskly. Put all the other ingredients in the bowl and toss gently to coat with dressing. Welcome to southern France for fine dining.

Hoxne Hoard

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 detectorist, a hammer, and a mis-pronouncible location are in today’s story. The Romans occupied Britain from the rule of Claudius, 43 CE, until the fall of the Empire in the 400s CE. They built forts, baths, temples/shrines, roads, walls, and mansions. As the City of Rome was increasingly invaded by ‘barbarians,’ rule weakened in the distant provinces. England was threatened by the Saxons and the Angles, and the Roman patricians who ruled there were worried. Skip forward to December 16, 1992, in Hoxne [pronounced hox-on = what??!?!], Suffolk. A retired farmer is looking for a lost hammer using his metal detector. He scans the field and gets a signal from the device. A little digging and — this is not a hammer!! He has found an enormous trove of gold and silver objects. Authorities are alerted. The find is dug up in a huge clump with surrounding soil intact; it is dubbed the Hoxne Hoard; it is defined as ‘treasure.’ [As treasure, it is the property of traceable heirs. There were none.] The treasure had been buried by a very wealthy Roman family around 450 CE: coins, spoons, table ware, and jewelry had been packed in a wooden box. Archaeologists had a field day, the British Museum obtained a new display, and the detectorist received the value of his find as a reward. He also found the hammer.

The Romans loved figs, which they introduced to Britain, so we will have them at breakfast. The dinner should be from south of Rome, but it is as American as pineapples. Both are good meals.

Fig & Chevre Plate: 153 calories 8.4 g fat 2 g fiber 7.5 g protein 13.4 g carbs [12 g Complex] 163 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the cheese, egg, fig, and spinach, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  Simple, elegant, and more filling than it looks. Figs and chèvre are a divine combination.

½ hard-boiled egg 1 dried fig = 0.65 oz = 16 g 1 oz chevre cheese ¼ oz baby spinach Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Rehydrate the dried fig by covering with water and microwaving or heating for 1 minute. Let the fig sit in the water for another few minutes, then cut in half. Arrange the spinach leaves in an oval. Dab the leaves with crumbles of the goat cheese. Plate the egg half and the fig halves.  HINT: I composed the plate the night before, covered it with a plastic bag, and kept it cool until breakfast. Instant breakfast!

Pineapple Pompeii: 286 calories 9.5 g fat 5 g fiber 15 g protein 40.6 g carbs 85.5 mg Calcium  PB GF This is served in South-Eastern Pennsylvania as a side dish to baked ham. The fanciful name is unique to the neighbor who gave me the recipe. I put the ham in the casserole to make a complete meal. HINT: Serves 6 as dinner.  This was a real hit at a pot-luck.

5 cups whole-grain bread cut in cubes four 2-oz eggs 1 Tbsp butter ¼ cup loosely-packed brown sugar 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained and saving the juice 2/3 cup 3%-fat ham, cut in ¼” dice   per person: 1 side salad with beets  

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the bread cubes and eggs to the bowl. Stir together to combine. Add the ham and drained pineapple. Stir to combine thoroughly. The batter should be moist, so you may need to add some of the drained pineapple juice to bring it to the right consistancy. Spray a 6×10” baking pan with non-stick spray and pour in the batter. Smooth it into the corners and bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until set and starting to brown on the top. Cut into 6 pieces. Serve with the Side Salad. Freeze the pieces that you don’t use today for another meal.

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

1 two-oz egg + onion + fresh spinach1.5 two-oz eggs 
red bell pepper + paprikakalamata olive
sweet potato or winter squashpepperoni slice
canned black beans + cuminwinter savory herb + pear
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Romaine lettuce + green beanscanned baked beans + onion
Cucumber + feta cheese celery + canned stewed tomatoes
black olivesbeef stock/brown stock + tabasco sauce
Olive oil + white wine vinegaroptional: hard-boiled egg + lemon slices
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Feast of Saint Lucy

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 VanityHealthClub who is now Following.

The Feast of St Lucy is celebrated in Sicily, Lucy’s country of birth and martyrdom, but it is a really big deal in Sweden where the story takes a different turn. I first encountered this tale while reading the encyclopedia in 6th grade. During the Middle Ages, the region of Varmland, Sweden was experiencing a terrible famine. Crops had been poor the previous summer and it was now winter. Grain stores had run out and there was no bread. A young girl went out into the cold, starry pre-dawn darkness. Across the snowy fields she walked to the shore of Lake Vännern. She saw a light in the distance, and it grew brighter. A boat was coming toward her — its sole occupant, a woman standing in a white dress with a red sash, her head surrounded by stars in the sky. When the boat landed, the woman showed the girl that the boat was filled with bread that she had brought for the people. The girl took some bread for her parents and ran back to the village to tell people what she saw. When the villagers arrived at the boat, the woman was gone, but the bread was enough to keep them alive. They all agreed that it must have been a miracle wrought by Saint Lucy. Since then, on December 13 [which prior to calendar reform was the shortest day of the year] the eldest girl of a Swedish family wakes up early to take her parents sweet bread and coffee for breakfast. She might wear a white gown and have a crown of candles in her hair. Towns and churches will choose an official Saint Lucy for municipal celebrations. From Mallorca to Minnesota to Malmo, Lucy will appear to bring light and cheer to a dark season.

The Scandinavians are possibly the inventors of smoked salmon, so it is fitting to enjoy it with our breakfast. Saint Lucy is also a famous saint in Italy, thus our dinner will be from there.

Powder Mill Scramble: 141 calories 8.5 g fat 1 g fiber 11 g protein 6 g carb [5.6 g Complex] 50 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  This recipe is from Jerry Willis’ “Powder Mill Pond Restaurant” where it was a favorite. Alas, that restaurant is not more, but you can enjoy this at home.

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  ½ oz smoked salmon ½ oz/ 2 Tbsp sliced scallion greens one clementine OR 2 oz melon  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 caloriesOptional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Whisk the eggs [salt and pepper may not be needed depending on the seasoning of your salmon]. Pour into a pan which has been sprayed briefly with cooking spray. Before the eggs set, add the salmon and scallions. Scramble to taste. Prepare your optional beverage. Plate with fruit of choice.

Pasta with Puttanesca Sauce: 265 calories 5.5 g fat 8 g fiber 10.4 g protein 42 g carbs [~30 g Complex] 196 mg Calcium   PB  This rich sauce with the wholesome goodness of whole wheat pasta makes for a delicious meal. And it is so simple. Don’t cut corners: you need the whole-grain pasta for the protein and fiber of the meal.

1½ oz whole wheat pasta ½ cup puttanesca sauce 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese 2 oz green beans

Cook the pasta less time than the package directs, so it will be al dente [having a little white in the center when you bite into it]. Drain the pasta and add the sauce to the pan. The pasta will absorb the sauce while they both warm together. Plate with the beans and top with the cheese.

Juan Diego

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.

Cuauhtlatoatzin or Talking Eagle, was born in 1474 in what is now Mexico City, Mexico. By the time he was 47 years old, the Spanish had conquered the Aztec Empire. The Spanish saw this as their ‘right’ because someone had to ‘punish’ the Aztecs for their heathen way of religion. [Besides, they wanted the Aztec gold.] Cuauhtlatoatzin was baptized, taking the name Juan Diego. [Some references say he was of high native status, others say he was of very low caste.] On December 9, 1531, while on his way to Mass, Juan Diego saw a vision on Tepeyac Hill, formerly a veneration site for the Aztec goddess Tonantzin: a pregnant indigenous woman, attended by an angel, spoke to him in his own dialect instructing him to tell the bishop to build a shrine on the site. Juan Diego went back and forth between the Lady and the bishop three times over three days before he was believed. To prove to the bishop that he was telling the truth, the Lady told Juan Diego to cut roses blooming on the hill-top to show the bishop. Those and an imprint of the Lady on Juan Diego’s cloak, a garment called a ’tilma,’ were enough to convince the doubting cleric. A shrine was built [rebuilt in 1660 and c. 1975] and Juan Diego retired to be its hermit/caretaker. The story of Juan Diego was written down 100 years later, casting modern doubt as to its veracity. The Spanish Church seized on the idea of an apparition to the natives, reinforcing their goal of converting them. The Lady in question is now called The Virgin of Guadalupe, and she is on the US Christmas Stamp for 2021.

Juan Diego was the first indigenous saint from Mexico, canonized in 1990. We honor him on his feast day with flavors associated with his native land. He might never have eaten salsa, but it is the most recognizable food in Mexican cuisine. Caesar Salad is also from Mexico, Tijuana to be exact, though I’d bet that most people don’t know that.

Salsa-Chicken ScrOmelette: 150 calories 8 g fat 1 g fiber 17 g protein 6 g carbs [5 g Complex] 62 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  The lively taste of salsa adds some lift to these scrambled eggs while the chicken and cheese add protein.

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 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese, drained if very liquid 1.5 Tbsp tomato salsa, drained if very liquid ½ oz chicken, cooked and diced 1 oz mango cubes OR 2 oz strawberries  dash of cumin and/or pinch of crushed red pepper   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 caloriesOptional: 3 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [44 calories]

Stir the cheese, salsa, chicken, and seasonings together. Heat a well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan. For a ‘filled omelette,’ cook the eggs flat in the pan, no scrambling, with the lid on. Meanwhile, heat the filling in a microwave for 1 minute, then stir, then heat further until warm. Spoon over half the eggs, then fold the eggs over the filling. Put the lid back on and let it all warm over low heat. –OR– Dollop eggs with filling and scramble the eggs to mix everything together. Cook to your liking. Prepare optional beverages. Plate the eggs along with the fruit and tuck in to a jolly meal.

Cesar Salad: 240 calories 9 g fat 4 g fiber 33 g protein 5.4 g carbs  106 mg Calcium  PB  GF Straight out of the Fast Diet book, with quantities changed a teensy bit. Large portion, good flavor.

2.5 slices Canadian bacon 3 oz chicken breast, left over from a roast 2.5 c chopped romaine or 2.5 c. mesclun 1 T grated Parmesan 3 oz tomatoes salad dressing: 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp lemon juice + Mexican oregano [Cesar Salad is of Mexican origin, not from Roman rulers]

Heat the bacon on a hot, ungreased griddle until it begins to brown. Remove and slice into strips. Cut chicken meat into strips or chunks, as you wish. Roughly chop or tear the romaine, if using. Whisk the oil and lemon juice in a salad bowl. Add the lettuce and toss to coat with the dressing. Plate the greens and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and oregano.  Arrange the meat on top of the greens. Isn’t that a beautiful plate of food!

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

1.5 two-oz eggsdried fig, 16 g or 0.65 oz  
smoked salmon hard-boiled egg
scallionbaby spinach
melon or strawberries chèvre cheese, the creamy type
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

whole wheat ziti or penne pastaham, 3%-fat + side salad
Parmesan cheese5 cups whole-grain bread cubes + butter
Puttanesca saucefour 2-oz eggs + brown sugar
green beans 20-oz can crushed pineapple
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Saint Nicholas

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 nicolaspamer who are now Following.

When children ask “How can Santa visit all the children in the world on December 24 to deliver presents?” the simple answer is that he doesn’t — many children receive their presents on December 6, the Feast of Saint Nicholas. In the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Hungary, Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Curaçao, northern and eastern France, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, Saint Nicholas visits towns, cities, schools, and houses on or before December 5th. Nicholas is dressed in the robes of a bishop and is often accompanied by some sort of imp [Pieter, the Krampus, Pere Fouettard] who threatens children if they have been naughty. The saint interviews children to see if they are minding their parents and doing their lessons. Gifts are discovered the next morning. Why does Nicholas bring gifts? He is the patron saint of children because his legend describes how he resurrected three murdered boys and made it possible for three teenage girls to marry when he tossed sacks of money down their chimney. Greece and Russia have Nicholas as their Patron Saint and churches around the world are named after him. When our sons were young, all of us would leave one of our boots on the lower end of the stairway to see what the Good Saint would leave in them. New hats and mittens for the coming winter were always appropriate, along with some chocolates. Dear Husband and I still leave out our boots, eager to see what Nicholas will bring us. Hope springs eternal.

Our meals for Saint Nicholas Day are from two countries that really make time for the saint: the Netherlands for breakfast, and Hungary for dinner. If December 6 is a Fast Day, you could postpone the Fast until the next day or eat these meals and still maintain the weight loss. Save the chocolates for a Slow Day.

Dutch Breakfast:  154 calories 7.4 g fat 2 g fiber 12 g protein 11 g carbs [8 g Complex] 106 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the plated foods only, not the optional beverages.  GF – if using GF bread  This meal is inspired by a breakfast I enjoyed in Amsterdam in 1969. It was memorable because it is so good. Dear Husband’s opinion? “This is one of my favorite Fast breakfasts.”

one 2-oz egg, hard-boiled or coddled  HINT: the hardboiled egg can be made days before  one “Holland Rusk”  [30 cal] OR ½ an Arnold Multi-grain Sandwich Thin [50 cal] OR ½ slice 70-cal multi-grain bread [35 cal] ¼ oz Jarlsberg cheese ½ oz ham, 3% fat from the deli 2 oz melon or apple or pear OR a mixed fruit cup   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]   Optional: 3 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [44 calories]

Warm the ham in a skillet, toast the bread, brew your beverage, slice the fruit, cube the cheese. Prepare optional beverages. Are you ready to savor?

Gulyas:  283 calories 9.5 g fat 3 g fiber 40 g protein 8 g carbs [7.6 g Complex] 42.6 mg Calcium  GF  This version of the Hungarian stew is from Craig Claiborne’s NYT International Cookbook HINT: The recipe makes 8 one-cup servings, so make it once and freeze in serving sizes.

2 pounds beef chuck [shoulder], cut in 1” cubes 1 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika 1 tsp olive oil 2 onions, chopped 2 Tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp salt + 1 tsp pepper 1.5 cups beef stock  per serving: 1 oz green beans   optional: ¼ oz egg noodles which add 27 calories 1 g fiber 2 g simple carbs

Heat the oven to 300 F. Toss the beef chunks with the paprika, salt, and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven [large, heavy, covered pot] and brown the beef in batches. Move the beef around in the pan to prevent it from sticking. Add non-stick spray or a little water if necessary. Remove the beef to a plate. Add some water to the pan and saute the onions until they are transluscent. Return the beef to the pan and pour in 1.5 cups beef stock. Stir thoroughly, scraping brown bits off the bottom. Cover the pot and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours. Every hour, check the pot and stir, adding more water as needed. Taste for salt at the end. Divide into 8 portions, reserving the remainder for future meals. TIP: Freezes very well. Plate with the green beans and optional noodles. A real Winter treat.

Slow Days: Lussekatter

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 https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ 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.

For the December 13th Feast of Saint Lucy, the Swedes have a special bread for breakfast. The bread is called Lussekatter and the giving of bread, especially yeasted breakfast bread, is an important part of the entire celebration of the day. Lussekatter can be baked in many different shapes. In 2014, it was featured in a Master Class of the Great British Bake Off. The recipe is simple and easy to prepare, even if you’ve never worked with yeast before. We enjoy it every year on Lucy Day, and you can too. You could use Paul Hollywood’s recipe if you wish, but our’s comes from the Var Så God cookbook by the American Swedish Institute

OOPS! That 1 cup of flour in the right-hand position should be 2 [two] cups instead of only one.
1 pkg active dry yeast  ¼ c water, warmDissolve yeast in warm water and set aside for ~15 minutes to wake up the yeast. 
¾ c milk ½ c butter = 1 stick
¼ tsp saffron, powdered or in threads
Warm the milk, add butter to melt. Add saffron to infuse for 5 minutes. Then cool to lukewarm and add the yeast water.
2 eggs
2 cups white whole wheat flour ½ c sugar
Put these in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour all the liquids through a sieve into the bowl. Mix for 3 minutes with a stand mixer.
2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ tsp salt Add flour and salt, and beat with wooden spoon. Fold and push the dough on a board, adding a little flour for easy handling. When smooth and shiny, put in a bowl and let rise to double in bulk.
After kneading, the satiny dough is ready to rise.
2 oz dough per bun OR
Divide dough in 2 for cakes
Turn out on floured board. Curl buns for a Sicilian ‘S’ or other Lussekatter shape. Let rise on greased cookie sheet or in pans. OR put the pan of shaped rolls, wrapped, in the freezer.
1 egg 
2 T water Raisins or dried black currants
If freezing the shaped buns, take out the night before to rise overnight in a cool place. Brush with egg and water mixture before baking. Put a raisin in each curl of the buns.  Bake at 450F. for 10 minutes.

After baking, the Lussekatter becomes the star of the breakfast on Saint Lucy Day.

A Lucy Day breakfast of Lussekatter, Canadian bacon, and clementines, presided over by a tiny Saint Lucy herself, complete with a wreath of candles in her hair.

Since there are but two of us, not a village, I make only enough buns for one breakfast. To the remaining dough, I add dried fruit and candied peel, and knead it in. The dough is nudged into a Christmas-tree-shaped pan which is then wrapped and frozen for a breakfast closer to Christmas. Yippee! I love preparing in advance!

Bibiana

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.

One strives for balance and equal treatment… Last week, I told you about a famous temperance leader, and today it will be the ‘patron saint of hangovers’ — Saint Bibiana. She was born and raised in Rome, daughter of well-off Christians. During a persecution in 363, Bibiana’s father was exiled, her mother was beheaded, and her sister dropped dead after confessing her faith. Bibiana, sometimes called Vivian, died a martyr’s death. After she was buried in the family home, along with her mother, the house became a church. From her grave, herbs grew and legend says that a tea made from them would cure a hangover. Why would they think that? In latin, the verb bibere means ‘to drink.’ Perhaps a conflation of her name with the act of drinking too much caused people to consider the one a cure for the other? We can only guess. What were those herbs? Probably Hemp Agrimony, (Eupatorium cannabinum). There is no mention of this plant in herbals as a cure for headache or hangover, or epilepsy, nor will it produce an altered state, since it isn’t related to cannabis. Next time you are foolish enough to drink too much, don’t go crying to Saint Bibiana.

Our breakfast features delicious ingredients of Italy, St Bibiana’s home country — although tomatoes were not available in her time. For dinner, a simple, healthy meal for anyone who feels indisposed: chicken soup.

Mediterranean ScrOmelette: 148 calories 8.4 g fat 1 g fiber 12 g protein 7 g carbs 108.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverages PB GF  How can this be SO easy and yet SO delicious? Don’t know, but we will continue to eat it!

1½ 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  3 Tbsp Mediterranean Vegetables, drained + chopped   ¼ oz mozzerella cheese, grated  1½ oz strawberries OR 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]

HINT: the night before, thaw or prepare the Mediterranean Vegetables.  Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Add the prepared vegetables and stir to heat . Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan, stirring to incorporate the vegetables. Cook to your favorite degree of doneness. Sprinkle the cheese on top while still warm or add to the eggs while still cooking. Dish up the fruit, toast the sandwich bread, brew your hot beverage, and pour the smoothie.

Chicken Noodle Soup:  212 calories 3 g fat 5 g fiber 23 g protein 23 g carbs 105.5 mg Calcium   PB  GF– if using GF noodles If you have some in the freezer already, then this is really easy!  HINT: This makes enough for two servings. Invite a friend or freeze for another easy meal.

3 cups chicken or turkey broth 2 oz chicken white meat, diced or shredded 1 oz broken spaghetti or linguine ¼ c. white beans, drained and rinsed if canned 1.5 oz carrot, diced 1.5 oz green beans, cut into 1” pieces 1 oz Canadian or back bacon, slivered seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried sage   Per serving: 1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese + generous sprinkling of parsley   Per serving: [optional] 2 Finn Crisp crackers which adds 40 calories 0.5 g fat 2 g fiber 2 g protein 10 g carbs 0 mg Calcium 

Bring the broth to a simmer and cook the noodles until almost tender. If the chicken is raw, throw it in the pot to cook. Add the beans, carrot, green beans, Canadian bacon and seasonings. When heated through, ladle into bowls and top with the cheese and parsley. Yum. Yum.

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

1 two-oz egg, hard-boiled1.5 two-oz eggs + reduced-fat cottage cheese
3%-fat ham + Jarlsberg cheesetomato salsa + cooked chicken meat
35 calories whole-grain breadcumin powder + crushed red pepper
melon or applestrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

2# beef chuck/shoulder + onionCanadian or back bacon + Parmesan
paprika + olive oilchicken breast meat + Mexican oregano
beef stock + tomato pastetomato + oil&lemon juice vinaigrette
green beans + optional egg noodlesromaine or other salad greens
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Comet Halley

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 Meleh Kikau who is now Following.

The presence of a comet in the sky was an occasion of fear and dread in the olden times. A comet was said to be the soul of the assassinated Caesar in 44 BCE. Another was said to foretell the defeat of the English at the hands of the Normans in 1066 CE. In 1705, English astronomer Edmond Halley [pronounced ‘haa-lee’ not ‘hay-lee’] turned his attention to comets. From researching historic sightings, he noticed that there was a comet seen every 76/75 years. Knowing Isaac Newton‘s work proving that planets orbit the sun, held in place by gravity, Halley proposed that comets were objects that were in an odd orbit around the sun — moving from far away in the solar system to much closer in, and then out again. If he were correct, that comet would be seen again in 1761. He nailed it, and people began to call it ‘Halley’s Comet.’ [To astronomers, it is called ‘Comet Halley.] Another event that coincided with Comet Halley was the birth of Samuel Clemens in 1835. He later said that since he ‘came in’ with the comet, he would ‘go out’ with it. And when Comet Halley returned in 1910, Clemens died of a heart attack.

Like many of his contemporaries, Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, traveled extensively in Europe — sight-seeing, lecturing, taking-the-cure. After one long speaking tour, he longingly wrote a list of his favorite American foods. Two items on that list appear on our menu today — and fine foods they are indeed.

Hoe Cakes with 2 Toppings: 183 calories 5.6 g fat 5.4 g fiber 9.5 g protein 23 g carbs [17.4 g Complex] 44 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF  This recipe harks back to Colonial Days in the American South. Everyone from enslaved people to President Washington ate hoe cakes.  HINT: This recipe makes 6 hoecakes – enough for 2 servings of 3 each.  Originally this would be made with white cornmeal, but the yellow has more nutrition. NB: Hoe cakes were never ‘cooked on a hoe’ by farm workers in the fields. Silly notion. Dear Husband enjoyed this very much and so will you.

3 Tbsp yellow cornmeal – polenta meal would do  2.5 Tbsp hot water Combine by stirring well to make a mush. Let sit for 15 minutes
1 oz egg white
¼ tsp yeast
Stir into the warm cornmeal mush and let sit for 1 – 12 hours. This was 125 ml in volume
2 Tbsp cornmeal
2 Tbsp water ¼ tsp salt
Mix into the cornmeal mush. If you take some up on a fork, it will sit on top with a little batter dribbling through. If it is not like this, add more cornmeal or more water. This was ½ cup in volume.
Using 2 tbsp of batter per cake, drop onto a hot griddle sprayed with non-stick spray. This should make 6 cakes. Cook on both sides. Best if eaten while fresh.
¼ cup raspberries 1 tsp honey one 2-oz eggPut the fruit and honey in a small dish and microwave for 30 seconds. Fry the egg.
Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]Plate two of the Hoe Cakes with the egg and the other with the berry syrup. Pour your beverage of choice.

Mussel Feast:  279 calories 12.6 g fat 0.6 g fiber 34 g protein 11 g carbs 117 mg Calcium  PB GF  We love mussels and eat them fresh all summer long. Frozen mussels are available year ’round in many stores and they are good for use with a sauce. HINT: This preparation serves 2 [two].

1 # mussels in shells = 1 quart ½ cup water ¼ c white wine celery, onion, rosemary, thyme, garlic 3 cup salad greens 1/2 oz feta cheese 2 oz tomatoes, cubed 1.5 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp lemon juice

Rinse the mussel shells in case they are muddy. Discard any mussels which are open and do not close when rapped gently on the counter. In a large sauce pan [provide room for an increase in volume as the mussel shells open] bring the water to a boil with the wine and flavorings. Add the mussels, put on the lid and cook the mussels for 10 minutes. With a long-handled spoon, stir so that the mussels from the bottom are now on top. Continue to cook for another few minutes, until all mussels are open. Discard any which refuse to. Strain out the mussels and place in the serving bowl. Pour the broth over all. In a salad bowl, place the oil and lemon juice. Whisk to form a dressing. Toss with the greens and plate with the feta topping. After you eat the mussels, drink the flavorful broth. Tastes like Summer to me. 

Carrie Nation

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.

Do your guests drink too much at Thanksgiving, then do/say regrettable things and ruin the meal? Carrie Nation didn’t approve of such behavior. She became famous for her staunch stand against the making, selling, and drinking of alcohol. Caroline Amelia Moore was born on a farm family in Kentucky on November 25, 1846. The family moved around a lot — Kentucky, Texas, Missouri — with Carrie’s education being interrupted by illness and relocation. Sometimes the family took in boarders. One such was Dr. Charles Gloyd, with whom Carrie fell madly in love. After their marriage, his alcoholism became obvious and the couple separated before the birth of their daughter and Gloyd’s death the next year. Carrie received a teaching certificate and taught for four years. She remarried, to David Nation, in 1874 and they moved to Kansas. On the books, Kansas was a “dry” state, which Carrie was happy about until her husband told her that there was still a lot of drinking going on. Angered that such a useful law was being flouted, even by legislators, Mrs. Nation started a local chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperence Union [WCTU]. Together, they lobbied and prayed to close bars and other “joints” that sold liquor. They were also in favor of a woman’s right to vote. Her second marriage ended and Carrie Nation went on the warpath, throwing herself into the temperance cause. In 1900, she attacked a bar in Kiowa by throwing stones at the windows, then going inside and breaking bottles. She encouraged other women to join her while gaining much notoriety and many enemies. Her famous hatchet was given to her in 1901 so that she could continue her vision of God’s work. So formidable was she, that people believed her to be 6-feet tall, when in reality she was only 5’4″ in height. Yet bartenders quailed and cowered when she walked in. Though she was roughed up and jailed, Carrie [now Carry] Nation persisted until her retirement to Arkansas, where she opened a hostel for wives of alcoholics. She did not live to see the 18th Amendment passed in 1919 or the 19th Amendment in 1920. Carry A. Nation would have been pleased. Perhaps she would have buried the hatchet.

Our meals reflect a simpler time — or is that clouded by veils of nostalgia? On the farm, herbs and fresh eggs would have been on the table often, for family and boarders alike. The dinner is a Tex-Mex favorite, reminiscent of Carrie’s time in Texas. No booze in either meal.

Herb Scramble: 127 calories 7.5 g fat 0.6 g fiber 10 g protein 5.6 g carbs [4 g Complex] 47.5 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  Take a walk in the herb garden, then put the herb garden in the breakfast.

3 two-oz eggs of which you will use 1½ eggs per person  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week  2 Tbsp chopped herbs: chives, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender salt & pepper to taste 2 oz canteloup or 3 oz strawberries or 2 oz grapes  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 eggs with the herbs and salt & pepper to taste. Pour into a hot pan sprayed with cooking oil. Scramble to your preferred degree, and plate with fruit. Pour the optional beverages and you have a simple, delicious breakfast.

Chili non Carne:  1 cup =133 calories 0.7 g fat 6.5 g fiber 7 g protein 10 g carbs 70 mg Calcium 1½ c. =199 calories 1 g fat 9 g fiber 9.4 g protein 14. g carb 120 mg Calcium The recipe is my mother’s, except that she added beef. And she served it on a heap of mashed potatoes, but we won’t do that on a Fast Day.  PB GF  HINT: This is enough for 4 one-cup servings OR two 1.5 cup servings with 1 cup left over. Save the remaining chili for a lunch or check other postings to see how we use it for breakfast. For 1½ cups chili served with cheese garnish and melon, as in photo: 276 calories 10 g fat 6 g fiber 13 g protein 19.4 g carbs 227 mg Calcium

15 oz canned red beans, drained and rinsed 16 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced, not drained 1 cup chopped onion 1 green pepper, chopped 2-3 tsp chili pepper, or more if you like it hotter ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin   per serving: 1 Tbsp cheddar cheese, grated, as a garnish + 2 oz melon

Saute the onion and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the stew is thickened. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. Serve one or one and a half cups for dinner tonight with the grated cheese on top, and melon on the side.

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

1 two-oz egg + one egg white1.5 two-oz eggs 
yellow cornmeal + yeastmozzarella cheese
raspberriesMediterranean Vegetables
honeystrawberries OR applesauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

1 pound mussels + salad greenschicken or turkey broth + chicken white meat
olive oil + lemon juice + tomatoParmesan cheese + white beans + carrot
feta cheese + kalamata olivesspaghetti or linguine + green beans
bouquet garni + splash white wine back bacon/Canadian bacon + Finn Crisp crackers
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Slow Days: Peach Wine, continuing

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 https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ 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.

Wine is not something we discuss on a Fast Day. Too many empty calories. But the nice thing about the Fasting Lifestyle is that since you Fast only two days per week, you can enjoy wine [responsibly] on the other 5 days. Three months ago we began to make a batch of Peach Wine. The wine has been sitting on the floor of the dining room, while the yeast cheerfully ferments sugars into alcohol. All the while, fine particles — dead yeast cells and fruit pulp — have been settling to the bottom of the glass bottles. These are called “lees.” At the three month point, the wine above the lees should be fairly clear. To see how clear the wine is, we can use the Tyndall Effect. If you shine a strong flashlight beam through the wine, you can see how much suspended residue remains.

Our job today is to “rack off” the wine. That means to pour off the clear wine into a clean bottle, leaving the lees behind. Use Camden Solution to rinse out a gallon jug and a 750 ml wine bottle, returning the rinsing Solution to its storage container.

Pouring off the cleared wine takes a sustained effort and a steady hand. You must pour the wine without stopping — if you pour out some, then put the jug down again, the lees will have kicked up and clouded more of the wine. It will settle again, but that will take a month or two. So: in one steady, slow stream, carefully pour the wine into the clean jug, but stop pouring when the cloudy liquid starts to come out. In chemistry, the process of pouring clear liquid off from a cloudy liquid is called ‘decanting.’ DO NOT think that you can use a filter to strain out the lees — it does not work. It is not cheating to use a funnel to help you to pour.

On left, the wine decanted from the smaller bottle into a 750ml bottle. Next, the wine decanted from the jug into a clean, sterilized jug. Third from left, the clearer of the cloudy wine poured into a 750 ml bottle for further clearing. On right, the really sludgy lees that will be poured down the sink.

Top off the jug with clear wine from the smaller bottle. You can pour the lees down the sink. The yeast that remains will give a nice boost to digestion in your septic tank. Seriously. There will be some wine left over in the first jug and 750ml bottle, which is now cloudy with lees again. I put most of that into a small bottle to settle out again so I can save that wine. I’m such a Yankee!

Here is the gallon jug with a gallon of peach wine inside. Also, the bottle with cloudy wine that needs to settle out.

Fit the jug with the airlock, transfer the label to the wine jug, write in your wine notebook the date that you racked off, and put the jug aside in a cool, dark spot to clear again and to mature.

That didn’t take long. See you again in six or seven months for bottling. NB: at that time, you will need 5 clean, empty 750 ml wine bottles [you can use empties — no need to buy them]; 5 new wine corks [I use the size called #9]; a bottle-corking device; the hydrometer and the graduated cylinder from before; and maybe some sugar.