Under the Influence: Italy

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 Dominus O. Markham and bloghealth1 and Youth and Healthy and Scot Henry who are now Following.

Italian cooks are under the influence. No, they are neither drunk nor drugged, so let’s follow a culinary trail…. Central and Southern Italian cuisine involves tomatoes — everyone knows that. And in the North, there’s cornmeal polenta. And that’s been since forever, right? Well, no. Tomatoes and corn are not native to Italy or even to Europe. Spanish colonizers brought those foods from meso-America back to Europe in the early 1500s. The Spanish were not that impressed. From there, tomatoes and corn spread to Italy, where, by the 1600s, they were embraced like long lost relatives and quickly made part of the food culture. Tomato sauces and salads and pizzas abound all over the country, and corn shows up in the iconic polenta of the North — I even ate kernels of corn on a pizza in Rome. Italy owes much of its culinary traditions to the influence of far-away Indigenous Americans. Fancy that!

Our breakfast features tomatoes as part of a famously delicious Italian sauce, while dinner involves cornmeal polenta. You too can be under the influence.

Puttenesca Bake: 127 calories 6 g fat 0.6 g fiber 7.7 g protein 10 g carbs [10 g Complex] 77.7 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  Once you have Puttenesca Sauce in the freezer, preparing this breakfast is very easy.

one 2-oz egg 1½ Tbsp Puttenesca sauce, drained of excess liquid   ½ Tbsp Parmesan, grated ¼ cup peaches, fresh or canned in light juice   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]

Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Spritz an oven-proof ramekin or small casserole [if serving 2 or more] with non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs with the sauce and cheese. Pour into the baking dish and heat for 12-15 minutes. Portion the peaches and prepare the beverages. Que bella!

Seafood with Polenta & Vegetables: 291 calories 8.5 g fat 3.7 g fiber 30 g protein 28 g carbs [24 g Complex] 180 mg Calcium  PB GF  Mediterranean Food, anyone? Here it is, a splendid way to eat healthily.

oops! This photo shows 3 logs of polenta when it should have only 2.

½ cup Mediterranean Vegetables without chickpeas   2 ‘logs’ of home-made polenta, from a batch with 6 ‘logs’ 4 oz fish such as cod or tilapia, raw or cooked ¾ oz mushrooms, sliced 3 Tbsp Parmesan, grated Prepare or thaw the polenta. Prepare or thaw the Mediterranean Vegetables. Stir in the mushrooms and sea food and simmer, covered, until the fish is cooked through. Place the polenta on the side of the plate and spoon the warm mixture on top. Top with the grated cheese and enjoy your taste of Italy.

Berthe Morisot

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 adrianus67 and Ketoonbay and dvepublishing and Home Fat Loss Workout who are now Following.

Berthe Morisot was a woman who followed her dream. Born into a wealthy French family in 1841, she was expected to be the decorative wife, the doting mother, and the charming society hostess. But Berthe liked painting. Her parents made it possible for her to have good instruction and when the art professor said that the child had the talent of a professional, then her course was set. She became friends with Edouard Manet and his group: Renoir, Degas, Monet. The names are famous now, but in the 1860s these nobodies wanted to paint what they saw: everyday people doing everyday things, all lit by natural light. The loose brush-strokes and spontaneous look of their work became scornfully known as a mere ‘impression’ of how things looked. Berthe was the only woman in the movement. She was accepted by the men, her work was displayed and her work was purchased. Morisot married Manet’s brother, who supported her career. Berthe was a bit shy about her work: she would hide it away when guests arrived and did not discuss her life as an artist. Her dream was to be an artist — and her luminous paintings live on to show her talent.

Berthe specialized in paintings of women and children. They look natural and happy. So our breakfast will be cheerful and laughing. The dinner is very French: a little meat and vegetables wrapped in a galette. Women and children would enjoy it.

Laughing Herb Omelette:  155 calories 7.6 g fat 1.4 g fiber 11 g protein 9 g carbs [8 g Complex] 82.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  I’m a big fan of Vache Qui Rit , any day of the week. But as a low-calorie ingredient, it is super!

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  ½ section Vache Qui Rit [Laughing Cow] cheese   1½ Tbsp or more fresh herbs 2 oz applesauce or fresh 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]

Whisk the eggs and herbs together. Take the cheese from the ‘fridge [HINT: keep it cold so that it will slice better] and slice it into as many thin slices as you can. Spritz a hot non-stick or cast iron pan with cooking oil and pour in the eggs/herbs. When the bottom begins to set, lay the cheese slices over half the surface of the eggs. Cook to your degree of doneness, fold and plate. Slice apple, shake up the smoothie, pour your hot beverage and laugh along with the cow.

Beef & Asparagus Crepes:  302 calories 9 g fat 4.7 g fiber 19 g protein 31.5 g carbs 56 mg Calcium  PB  This is quick and easy – use with left-over galettes, meat, vegetables.

2 galettes    2 oz lean beef, raw or cooked 2 oz bell pepper, preferably red or orange 3 oz asparagus 2 tsp oyster sauce + 3 Tbsp chicken stock + 3 Tbsp water 2 tsp cornstarch + 3 Tbsp water

Slice the beef and pepper into thin strips. Cut the asparagus into 1” pieces. Spray a saute pan with non-stick spray and heat over medium. Add the beef and vegetables. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, adding a little water to prevent sticking. Turn down the heat. Add the oyster sauce, stock, and 3 Tbsp water. Cover the pan and cook 2 minutes more. Cook longer if vegetables are still uncooked. Stir the cornstarch into 3 Tbsp water, then stir into the pan of hot ingredients. Cook and stir until thicker. Warm the galettes and spoon the filling over them. Fold and serve.

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

1 two-oz egg1 two-oz egg 
puttanesca sauceavocado
parmesan cheese70-calorie bread
peaches in their juice
Optional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

mediterranean vegetables sirloin beef + asparagus
cod or tilapia + olive oilred bell pepper + oyster sauce
polenta + Parmesan cheesesoy sauce + chicken stock + cornstarch
mushroomsonion + garlic
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Islets of Langerhans

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, a second 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 henash01 and zeefur and DonnyFood and getbetterhealthforlife.com who are now Following.

Search the atlas or Google Maps as you will, you will never find the Islets of Langerhans, as they are located in your pancreas. Part of the Endocrine System of your body, they release hormones which regulate how the body functions. One of the most important of these is insulin. When one eats, the amount of glucose in the blood rises. To counter-act that, the Beta Cells in the Islets release insulin so that the blood will not have too high a content of glucose. When the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to keep up with the sugars, the result is diabetes — a break-down in carbohydrate metabolism. Childhood Diabetes [known as Type I] used to be a death sentence and adult-onset diabetes [Type II] had no happy outcomes. Diabetes was first noted by doctors in 552 BC and the Greek physicians gave it its name. Called the ‘Sugar Sickness’ later in Europe, it was known to be helped by eliminating sugar from the diet, yet still there was no cure. On January 11, 1922, Canadian researchers Frederick Banting, and Charles Best injected an insulin extract into a young patient. The child’s blood sugar levels were reduced a bit. A further refinement of the insulin extract, improved by J.B. Collip, turned out to be the key to the cure. The trio were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work. Diabetes is still very much with us. The Standard American Diet, which pushes highly processed foods, is much to blame. By eating a diet low in Simple Carbohydrates; high in Complex Carbohydrates and colorful vegetables; and by lowering your weight, pre-diabetes can often be reversed. One of the reasons that Dr. Michael Mosley developed the Fast Diet was because he was pre-diabetic. And it worked!

What are some foods that are good for lowering blood glucose? Cold water fish, such as salmon; leeks; shrimp; butternut squash; red curry paste; and spinach are all good foods for keeping high blood glucose low. And look at that — today’s meals contain those very ingredients! Fasting and focusing on wholesome food choices can reduce your risk of needing supplemental insulin. Now is a good time to join the Fasting Lifestyle.

Leek & Salmon Bake: 129 calories 7 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 7 g carbs [7 g Complex] 64.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  Simply delicious. 

One 2-oz egg ½ oz salmon [could be leftover from a previous meal] 1/3 oz leek, sliced thinly cross-wise 1 tsp low-fat sour cream OR plain Greek Yogurt dill weed to taste dash lemon juice 1 oz pear OR ¼ cup blueberries   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]

Spritz an oven-proof ramekin [for 2 people, Dear Husband likes to use a 6×4” oval casserole] with non-stick spray and set the oven for 350 degrees F. Slice the leek and put in a microwave-safe dish. [NB: if the fish is raw, cut it into small pieces and put it in the dish, too] Cook in microwave for 30 seconds at high heat to soften the leek. Add to the ramekin. Whisk the egg with the sour cream, dill, lemon juice, and salt/pepper to taste. [NB: some people find dill to be a very strong flavor] Pour over the salmon/leek mixture and bake for 12-15 minutes. Prepare your beverages of choice and dish the berries. Have a wonderful breakfast and a wonderful day.

Thai Butternut Squash Soup:  253 calories   9 g fat 4 g fiber 19.4 g protein 24 g carbs 112 mg Calcium  GF PB  Found in the Toronto Globe & Mail, this recipe makes a lot of delicious soup. It freezes beautifully, so you can enjoy it often. Don’t forget to add 3 oz of chopped shrimp and ¼ cup chopped spinach to each serving. HINT: makes 6 cups of soup. Save out one cup for dinner and freeze the rest in portion-sized servings.

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook about 10 minutes or until onions have softened.
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 tsp Thai red curry paste, or more to taste
Stir in ginger and curry paste. Cook for a minute or two longer
2½ # butternut squash, peeled, seeded, sliced ½ ” thick [about 6 cups]
3 cups water or unsalted chicken broth
Add squash and water/stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
1 lime, zest and juice Zest and juice the lime. Put 1 tsp of zest and 1 tbsp juice in the pot. Save remaining zest and juice.
½ cup ‘lite’ unsweetened coconut milkWhen squash is tender, stir in coconut milk. Puree the soup with a blender or food processor until smooth.
Return to pot, reheat, adjust flavor with more lime juice and/or curry paste.
per bowl: 3 oz chopped cooked shrimp 
¼ cup baby spinach cut as chiffonade
For each serving, stir spinach + shrimp into hot soup. Serve when spinach is just wilted.

Saint Genevieve

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 mycojohnhealthblog and Intermittant Fasting Formula and Healthopolitan and Faiz who are now Following.

Saint Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris. She was born in Nanterre, France in 422, during the Roman rule. She was very religious from childhood and always said that she wanted to live a spiritual life devoted to prayer. After her parents died, she moved to Paris and became a nun. So far, this is fairly standard. But the Huns, testing the weakness of the Roman Empire, invaded in 451 and marched toward Paris. The terrified populous wanted to run into the countryside, but Genevieve told them they would be safe inside the walls if they prayed and fasted. There are paintings of Genevieve standing in front of the walls of Paris telling Attila to go away. Whether that happened or not, Paris was not attacked. Thirty years later, the Franks invaded and laid siege to the city. Famine was imminent. One night, Genevieve and 11 boatmen ran the blockade and visited the towns along the river. The next night, Genevieve returned with boatloads of bread/grain and food to tide everyone over. Childeric, the Frankish leader, was impressed by Genevieve’s bravery and at her request, freed the prisoners he had taken. For having saved Paris twice, Genevieve, protector of the city, deserves to be its Patron Saint.

The name Genevieve is not heard much these days in English-speaking countries. In later centuries, it turned to Guinevier and to Jennifer. Our friends’ daughter-in-law Jenny has died. She was an intelligent, charming, beautiful young woman; a loving mother and wife. I hope St Genevieve has given Jenny a warm welcome.

Bread is always part of the story of St Genevieve. Breakfast features bread, mixed with other good things. Genevieve was a serious faster: she supposedly ate only on Sundays and Thursdays, and only on beans and barley bread. At age 50, she was persuaded to add some fish to her diet. The dinner made with salt cod would have been acceptable to her.

Breton/Norman Bread Pudding: 204 calories 8 g fat 1.5 g fiber 11.6 g protein 14 g carbs [6 g Complex] 124 mg Calcium This dish was invented to clear out the fridge when leaving a rental cottage in Brittany. We repeated it when departing Normandy. It works well anywhere, even at home.

¾ fluid oz milk ½ slice whole-grain bread 1 egg 1 oz cooked fish OR ¾ oz cooked chicken 1 oz tomato ¼ oz cheese 2 oz strawberries   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Cube or dice the bread and tomato. Flake the fish and grate the cheese. Stir together everything, except the strawberries. The mixture should be moist throughout, but not soupy. Heat a saute pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Turn the bread pudding into the pan. Pat and nudge it into a large, flat patty. Cook until brown on one side, then turn it over. [Alternatively, bake it in an oven-proof dish for 18 minutes.] When done, it should be set and cooked all the way through and browned on both sides. Plate with the berries.

Brandade Plate:  266 calories 3 g fat 5.8 g fiber 39 g protein 21 g carbs [12 g Complex] 139 mg Calcium PB GF — if using GF crackers We find this meal to be very easy to plate, very easy on the eye, and very filling. HINT: Having the Brandade made ahead of time and in the refrigerator makes life so easy.

Presented here is a meal for TWO people.

½ cup codfish brandade 4 oz fresh tomatoes [no larger than 2” in diameter, but not ‘cherry or grape’ tomatoes] 2 Finn Crisp sourdough rye thins ½ oz baby spinach leaves, cut as chiffonade

Slice the tomatoes so you can get as many slices as you can. Arrange them on a plate. Using a scoop or spoon, place equal amounts of the brandade on each tomato slice. Sprinkle the chiffonade spinach over and around. Place the crackers alongside.

Henri Matisse

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 Your 2.0 Life, gerald kasanda, supersizegenius, and drjura who are now Following.

Henri Matisse was supposed to be a lawyer. After training and receiving certification, he began to dabble in painting while recovering from appendicitis. It was a revelation. Since then, Matisse’s art has been a revelation to many people. Matisse had a unique color sense and a new way of presenting what we see every day. He would apply flat, unmodulated, unshaded colors on a flat canvas and voila! — depth and form would emerge, tricking the eye into seeing 3-dimensionally. How was he categorized as an artist? At first, he was influenced by Edouard Manet, an early Impressionist. Then he fell in with Picasso, who developed into a Cubist. Through that interaction, Matisse’s work with color marked him as a Fauvist. But Matisse is all of them and none of them. His work is unique. None more so than the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France — now called the ‘Matisse Chapel.’ There light and color and artless line drawings combine into a chapel of light, charm, and emotion: a culmination of a life’s exploration of art.

Matisse was born in Northern France on December 31, 1869. His northern origins are reflected in our breakfast. The dinner of vegetables and rice, typical of Southern France where Matisse settled, would be perfect for the period of time when he was unrecognized and impecunious.

Breton Breakfast: 195 calories 14 g fat 6 g fiber 10.5 g. protein 25 g carbs [17 g Complex] 104 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the galette/crepe, egg filling, and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB  Here is one way to use the galette/crepe batter which you saw in SLOW DAYS: Crepes and you stored in the freezer. You need one galette per serving. Make some extras for a lunch or dinner later this week. Put some cooked galettes in a zipper bag in the freezer for another time.

1 galette  1 two-oz egg 1 oz [3 Tbsp] diced tomatoes 1 Tbsp [1 oz] diced artichoke, canned or frozen 1/4-1/3 tsp curry powder [seafarers brought a lot of spices to Brittany’s ports] 1½ oz apple   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Put the vegetables and curry in a small sauce pan with any juice still in the tomatoes and cook uncovered until the veg are soft and the liquid has almost evaporated. HINT: do this the night before to save time at breakfast. If your crepe was cooked previously, warm it a little to take off the chill. Cook the egg by frying it in a lightly-oiled non-stick pan. Spoon the vegetables on the crepe, put the egg on top. Hold briefly, if needed, in a warm oven while you pour the smoothie and warm beverage, and while you slice the fruit.

Mediterranean Vegetables with Brown Rice:  281 calories 7 g fat 10.4 g fiber 16.4 g protein 40 g carbs 332 mg Calcium  PB GF  Here are those wonderful mediterranean vegetables again, served with brown rice for more fiber amd complex carbs.

2 cups eggplant, peeled & cubed OR 1½ cup bell peppers, cubed 2 cups tomato, cubed 2 cups zucchini, cubed 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1½ tsp oregano ½ cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained   per serving: 1 oz mozzerella, shredded + ¼ cup brown rice or whole-grain couscous, cooked 

Prepare all the veg, and put them in a saucepan. Simmer, covered, until cooked through. If watery, remove lid and continue to simmer. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and the chickpeas, and keep warm. Prepare the brown rice or couscous and place it on one side of the plate. Spoon 2 cups of the vegetables next to the couscous. Top with cheese and tuck into it!

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

1 two-oz egg +milk1.5 two-oz eggs 
whole-grain bread + tomatosalt cod + Cheddar cheese
cooked chicken or fishmashed potato or instant potato flakes
cheese + strawberriesstrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

codfish brandade4 oz ground lamb patty. 90% lean
2-inch diameter tomatoessugar + white wine vinegar
Finn-Crisp crackerscucumbers
fresh spinachdill weed
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Westminster Abbey

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 7008jakepert and rowenareview, MariahBlog, and Vegan Diet who are now Following.

In 960, a tiny group of Benedictine monks founded a small abbey upriver from London. A century later, King Edward the Confessor, wishing to have a major religious center near his new castle, enlarged the church. It was consecrated on December 28, 1065, and referred to as “Westminster” to distinguish it from St Paul’s church, East of it in central London. King Edward died soon thereafter. Within a year, England had been invaded, had been taken over, and saw its new king William the Conquerer crowned at the new church. Since then, every monarch of the United Kingdom has been crowned at Westminster Abbey and most are buried there. The original abbey and Edward’s church were built in the Romanesque style of that time. But the new abbey is Gothic: pointed arches and vaulted ceilings. It was commissioned by King Henry III in 1220 and dedicated in 1269. For years the church was uncompleted, since the king died 3 years after the dedication. [Do you see a pattern there?] Eventually, Westminster Abbey in all its glory was finished in 1517. If you have never visited it, you surely have seen it on TV during royal weddings and state funerals.

The Basilica of Saint Denis in France was the first to be built in the Gothic Style. Our breakfast has the same saint’s name, so we will start there. The splendid fish timbal might have graced the abbott’s table at either of the consecrations of Westminster.

Saint Denis Bake: 111 calories 3 g fat 1.5 g fiber 10 g protein 7 g carbs 46 mg Calcium NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF James Beard provided the recipe, the famous church north of Paris provided the name. Sumptious.

1 two-oz egg 1 Tbsp scallion or leek, chopped ¼ oz mushroom, chopped ½ clove garlic, chopped ¼ oz 3% fat ham, chopped ¼ oz chicken liver pate 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped 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]

Put the chopped vegetables and ham into a non-stick pan which has been sprayed with cooking spray or oil. Stir-fry over medium heat until the scallion and garlic are limp and the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Cool a bit, then stir in the liver pate and the parsley. Whisk the egg with the cooked mixture, add salt and pepper, and scrape into an oven-safe dish or ramekin which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Plate with the berries and have a royal breakfast.

Spinach-Fish Timbale:  264 calories 7.4 g fat 6.6 g fiber 38 g protein 19 g carbs 342 mg Calcium  PB [GF if you use GF bread]  Seen in cookbooks, this recipe lends itself well to our uses. Easy to prepare ahead of time for guests.

Heat the toaster oven to 400 degrees.
½ cup blanched spinach Rinse but do not dry the spinach. Put into a wide pan over medium heat with a lid. Check frequently and remove from heat when the leaves are wilted. There might be some liquid still in the pan.
nutmeg
salt
1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese 
When leaves are just cool enough to handle, remove by the hand-full and squeeze the liquid out, saving it in the pan. Coarsley chop the leaves and put into a bowl with seasonings. Add cheese and stir as the cheese melts into the spinach.
1 Tbsp onion/shallot, minced 
½ slice 70-calorie bread, ground to crumbs HINT: use fresh bread crumbs since dried crumbs have more calories + carbs
In the pan of spinach water, cook the onion/shallot until the water is gone. Combine the onion, bread crumbs, and spinach-cheese.
5 oz sole or ocean perch fillets, skinned [this is 2 small fillets]Lay the fish fillets out so that they make one long line, over-lapping by about an inch. Spoon the spinach stuffing on the fish to cover it. 
Spray the inside of a 1-cup ramekin or custard cup with oil or non-stick spray. Roll up the fish as compactly as you can and put it into the ramekin. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
3 oz green beansCook the beans. When the fish is baked, hold the ramekin in one oven-gloved hand while you invert a plate over the ramekin. Flip it all over so that now the ramekin is upside down. Lift off the ramekin. Plate the beans.

A Visit From…..

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 pyzoliver and merkabakid and gin1988 who are now Following.

” ‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.”

So begins the beloved poem “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” first published, anonymously, on December 24, 1823. It had been written the year before as Clement Clark Moore was taxied through the snowy streets of New York City by a bearded Dutch-American in a horse-drawn sleigh. [In those days, that’s how you got around. Today, only tourists do that.] Moore, a learned professor of languages, said he recited it to his six children that night. Once it was published, the poem firmly established our American idea of “Santa Claus” who arrives with toys on Christmas Eve night in a flying sleigh drawn by reindeer. [Santa, as depicted then and since, is in need of the Fast Diet.] That concept of Santa is based on folklore from the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway. For years no one knew who the author was until Moore had it included in a compilation of his poems in 1844. HOWEVER, years later, Henry Livingston, jr’s descendants claimed that he was the author. A stylistic analysis seems to confirm that. Whoever wrote it, “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” is a Christmas treasure.

In the breakfast, the red tomatoes are for Santa’s suit; the green broccoli is for the Christmas tree; the black olives are because “his clothes were all covered with ashes and soot.” The dinner is a quick and easy left-over meal [I never scorn a good leftover!], which makes it just perfect for giving you extra time on a busy Christmas Eve.

Broccoli-Olive-Tomato ScrOmelette:  150 calories 8 g fat 2 g fiber 13 g protein 9 g carbs [7.4 g Complex] 91 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Sometimes things in the ‘fridge say, “Put us in eggs for breakfast.” Who am I to deny their wishes?

1 ½ 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 broccoli 1 Tbsp cottage cheese 1 oz tomato ½ black olive ¾ tsp Parmesan cheese pinch of basil 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]

Dice the tomato and drain in a strainer, overnight if possible. Drain the cottage cheese overnight if it is very liquid. Steam the broccoli and chop it finely. Chop the black olive. Into a hot saute pan spritzed with non-stick spray, add the tomato, broccoli, and olive. Stir until warmed. Whisk the eggs with the cottage cheese and pour over the vegetables in the pan. Scramble or fold as an omelette, hence ScrOmelette, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Prepare the beverages and plate the berries. Bliss.

Pot Roast Plate: 269 calories  6.6 g fat 3 g fiber 28 g protein 18.5 g carbs 24.6 mg Calcium  PB GF  You might have enjoyed a pot roast with the family for Sunday dinner, and since that was a Slow Day, you ate a lot and enjoyed it. Would you believe that you could have the left-overs for dinner on a Fast Day? Yes, you can! Low in fat, high in protein, delicious: this meal checks all the boxes. [At Denny’s, this meal clocks in at 400 calories with 20 g fat; at Culver’s, it is 700 calories with 27 g fat] HINT: After preparing the full recipe, I portioned the meal and froze individual servings for a quick future meal preparation.

4 oz braised beef bottom round 3 oz carrots, cooked with the beef 2 oz small red potatoes, cooked with the beef 2 oz small [boiling] onions, cooked with the beef 2 Tbsp beef gravy, from the braising liquid

Slice the meat. Mass out the vegetables to the stated serving size. Either heat the whole plate in the microwave or put into a pan with a tight lid and some water to warm on the stove-top. A steamer basket is another way to re-warm this meal. Serve with heated gravy and have a feast.

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

1 two-oz egg + strawberries1 two-oz egg  + tomato
chicken liver pate + parsleyartichoke [jarred or frozen]
scallion + mushroom1 buckwheat galette
garlic + 3% fat hamcurry powder + apple
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

cook fresh spinach leaves + green beanseggplant or bell peppers + tomatoes
onion or shallot + 70-calorie breadcooked brown rice or whole grain couscous
sole or ocean perch filletszucchini + chickpeas + garlic
Laughing Cow cheese [soft, low-fat cheese]mozzarella + oregano
Sparkling waterSparkling water

The Darkest Evening

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 Living Paleo and jeffryjune8 and Julian Sirian who are now Following.

“Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farm house near, Between the woods and frozen lake, The darkest evening of the year.”

So begins Robert Frost‘s Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Many young school children have memorized it. Many older ones have studied its unusual rhyme scheme: AABA BBCB CCDC DDDD Some go on to ponder the meaning, for surely it must mean something. To me, it is no more and no less than an appreciation of winter in Northern New England: the woods; the quiet; the solitude; the snow; the chance to stop and look and think and enjoy the view. “The darkest evening of the year” is, of course, the Winter Solstice. At my latitude, the night will be 15 hours long on December 21.

To celebrate the Winter Solstice, we will prepare a breakfast that gives a nod to Autumn and to Winter. The fact that after the Solstice the days grow longer seems cause for a celebratory feast! In Eastern Canada, residents will buy a small barrel of oysters in December, to tide them through the season. In the Eastern US, many Winter meals — from chowders, to stuffings, to cocktail parties [not this year!], to casseroles — feature oysters because they can be kept fresh in the cold weather. So let’s eat oysters!

Winter Solstice Bake: 141 calories 7.6 g fat 1.3 g fiber 9 g protein 12 g carbs 51 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages. PB GF  For the change of the seasons, a meal to mark the occaision. The olives represent Autumn and the cured meat evokes Winter. A great combination any time.

One 2-oz egg ¼ oz proscuitto 2 Kalamata olives pinch of winter savory or rosemary  1 clementine  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]

Chop the meat and the olives.  Spritz a ramekin with non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs. Stir in the meat and olives, and pour into the ramekin. Resist the urge to add much salt — the meat and the olives are salty to begin with. Bake at 350F. for 12-15 minutes. Plate with the fruit and pour the beverage of choice.

Oyster Feast:  267 calories 15 g fat 2 g fiber 12.6 g protein 21 g carbs [4 g Complex] 144 mg Calcium   PB GF  In my opinion, a plate of raw oysters and a salad makes a wonderful dinner for a dieter. Please note that all 12 oysters are for one person: a real feast!

The oysters were delivered to us from Island Creek, Massachusetts, and represent three different varieties.

12 medium raw oysters 2 oz spinach leaves ½ oz walnut meats 2 oz pickled beets, cubed ½ tsp olive oil + ½ tsp Balsamic vinegar

Whisk the oil and vinegar in a wide bowl. Break the spinach leaves into the bowl and toss gently to cover with the dressing. Put the walnuts and beets in the bowl over the salad. Shuck the oysters and enjoy your special meal.

The Nutcracker

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 Ethan Cruz and amazingfindss and memo1358 who are now Following.

A special event from my childhood was when our mother took my sister and me into New York City to see the Nutcracker Ballet. My goodness! The costumes! The scene design! The music! The dancing! Truly a special day for a little girl.  Pyotr Tchaikovsky began writing the music at the suggestion of choreographer Marius Petipa who wanted a ballet based on a German folktale as reimagined by Alexandre Dumas, pere. Tchaikovsky began composing in February and previewed some of the music as The Nutcracker Suite in March. The ballet was set to debut in December of 1892, on a double bill with his opera Iolanta. Unfortunately the choreographer became ill, and his replacement was sub par. The set and costumes were rushed, and not up to snuff. The premier was panned by audience and critics. Not until it was reimagined by George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet in 1954, did the work receive wide acclaim, especially due to the dancing of Maria Tallchief. Now The Nutcracker is preformed as a cherished Christmas tradition, leaving more little girls with stars in their eyes.

Today’s menus are both from the Russian cuisine section of the NYT International Cookbook, in honor of the composer Tchaikovsky.

Mushroom Smitane Scramble: 147 calories 7.5 g fat 1.7 g fiber 11.7 g protein 9 g carbs 67.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF A recipe from Craig Claiborne’s NYT International Cookbook inspired this breakfast of Russian flavors. 

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.   2 Tbsp chopped scallion ½ oz mushrooms, chopped 1 Tbsp plain, fat-free yogurt big pinch paprika + big pinch marjoram 1½ oz pear

Spritz a non-stick saute pan with non-stick spray. Put the mushrooms and scallion into the pan over-medium-high heat and cook them until they begin to wilt. Whisk the eggs with the yogurt and seasonings, and pour into the pan. Scramble to your liking, plate with the pear, and pair with the beverage of choice.

Pojarski Cutlets: 246 calories 6.7 g fat 5 g fiber 45 g protein 15 g carbs 79 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF bread From an inn between Moscow and St Petersburg, comes a recipe to turn chopped meat into cutlets. Very simple to prepare. Craig Claiborne’s NYT International Cook Book.  HINT: makes 3 cutlets – one for now, two for a Slow Day.

7¾ oz ground bison meat
3¾ oz chicken breast
 ½ ounce egg [1 Tbsp]
Cut the meat roughly into 1-inch chunks. Put in a food processor with the egg and process until blended and well chopped.
Form the meat into 3 tear-drop shapes, about 1/2″ thick.
2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour ½ oz egg [1 Tbsp] + 1 Tbsp water  6 Tbsp fresh bread crumbsDust the meat with flour, then brush with the egg/water. Sprinkle with the crumbs and pat them on to make them stick. 
Non-stick spraySpray on a medium-hot non-stick pan and cook the ‘cutlets’ until browned on both sides.
5-6 oz asparagusCook and plate with the cutlets.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs  + broccoli
prosciutto + kalamata olivestomato + black olive
winter/summer savorycottage cheese + Parmesan cheese
clementinestrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

12 medium fresh oystersleft-over pot roast
spinach leaves + pickled beetsboiling onions + carrots
walnut piecessmall red potatoes
olive oil + balsamic vinegarbeef gravy
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Halcyon Days

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 Eat Think Wellness and Solute21 and Weight Loss Review who are now Following.

In the Eastern Mediterranean, in the middle of December, the weather is usually fair and calm, good for voyaging by boat. When the ancient Greeks wanted to explain a natural phenomenon, they would create a legend about it. As we are told, the minor gods Alcyone and Ceyx drew the wrath of Zeus and he killed them. The other gods and goddesses took pity and turned them into kingfisher birds [Family Halcyonidae, Genus Alcedo]. These kingfishers were said to build a floating nest in which to hatch their chicks. Needing calm seas to achieve success, the birds would cast a spell on the weather to ensure it: those were the Halcyon Days. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Halcyon Days begin on December 14 this year. The original meaning seems to have morphed to connote happy times, when all is well — a modern interpretation indeed of ‘calm and sunny’ weather. As the Covid vaccines are approved and delivered into waiting arms, perhaps our 2021 will have a long stretch of Halcyon Days.

It is a Greek legend, so Greek food is on the menu: morning and evening.

Creamy Greek Omelette:  165 calories 9 g fat 2 g fiber 12.6 g protein 14 g carb [11.7 g Complex] 89 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF The feta lends a tang to the eggs, while the cottage cheese gives a wonderful melting texture. A real treat.

1 ½ 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.  3/8 oz feta cheese 1½ Tbsp cottage cheese Greek oregano + salt + pepper 1½ oz of apple  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]

Mince the feta and combine with cottage cheese and oregano. Spritz a non-stick skillet with oil or non-stick spray and heat the pan over medium-low heat. Beat the eggs well with 1 spoonful of the cheese mixture using a rotary mixer. Pour the eggs into the pan and let cook undisturbed until the edges set. Lift the edges gently to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath. Before the top surface sets, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put dollops of the cheese mixture on half the omelette and make an attempt to spread it out. Fold the omelette in half and continue to heat in the pan. Filling will heat and may ooze out a bit. Brew and pour your beverages. Plate the apple and the omelette. Oh yum.

Greek-style Hake:  263 calories 11 g fat 7.7 g fiber 25.5 g protein 24 g carbs [23 g Complex] 173 mg Calcium  PB GF  The cookbook Ikaria by Diane Kochilas is related to the National Geographic study of locations world-wide where there is the greatest longevity. Thinking that nutrition has something to do with it is one direction that could take you.

4 oz hake ½ tsp olive oil 1/3 cup onions, halved then sliced ½ clove garlic, sliced pinch sugar 1½ cup canned whole tomatoes 1 Tbsp [½ oz] dry red wine 1½ Tbsp good Feta cheese, crumbled 2½ oz asparagus OR one Side Salad 

Saute the onion slices and garlic in the oil, adding some water if the pan becomes too dry. Remove garlic and discard. Add tomatoes, sugar, and wine. Cook the vegetables down to reduce the liquid. Lay the fish on top of the vegetables, cover loosely, turn down the heat and cook until the fish flakes [about 10 minutes]. Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus or Side Salad. Top the fish with the crumbled Feta before serving.