Saint Eligius

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.

It was 580 CE, in Limoges in the Kingdom of Frankia, King Lothar/Chlothar II/Clothaire was on the throne, and Éloi [called Eligius in latin] was born to a farming family. As a teenager, he apprenticed to a goldsmith. A portion of his earnings was supposed to be given to his family, but he gave it to the poor and the enslaved people instead. Éloi’s skills as a goldsmith earned him a royal commission from Clothaire: create a throne [some say a saddle] of gold and gems. The king gave him the gold to use, which would be enough for the proposed item, plus more since goldsmiths usually factored in some ‘waste and loss.’ What they were really doing was removing a large portion of the gold by mixing it with base metals and keeping the gold for themselves. But Éloi was an honest workman. He made a throne/saddle from the required weight of gold and then fashioned another, just like it, out of the remainder, not stealing any of it. So impressed was Clothaire, that he appointed Éloi as Royal Goldsmith in Paris. He made reliquaries for St. Martin and St. Columbanus. In that position, he became wealthy and trusted as one of the king’s advisors. The king sent Éloi to Marseilles to run the royal mint. While doing the king’s bidding, Éloi also bought slaves coming into the port and freed them. The next king, Dagobert, brought Éloi back to Paris to run the mint there. All the while, his faith work increased: he founded a monastery in Limoges, as well as the first religious house for women in Paris. When Dagobert died, Éloi left government work and became a priest. He was immediately made Bishop of Noyon and threw himself into the job of preaching and converting in the Flemish cities of Ghent and Antwerp. One of the most famous legends about Eloi has to do with shoeing a horse. The horse kept kicking, so Eloi took off its leg, fitted the shoe, then put the leg back onto the horse. The king sent Eligius to Brittany to convince them to come under the Frankish umbrella. There are many churches and towns in Brittany named for the saint, including St Ilan in Langeux which was the home base of one of my family’s ancestral branches. Eloi died on December 1 in 660 CE. He is the Patron Saint of Goldsmiths and veterinarians.

Aubergines are enjoyed in Provence, where Eloi founded a monastery, so we will enjoy them in our eggs at breakfast. In Flanders, Hutspot is a favorite food and it might become one of your favorites, too.

Aubergine ScrOmelette:  152 calories  7.6 g fat  2 g fiber 10.5 g protein 11 g carbs [10 g Complex] 64.7 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Eggplant and tomatoes are such a fine combination, that you want to eat them with everything. Eating them out of season is a possible too.

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.  1¼ oz fresh tomatoes, diced OR same amount of canned, diced tomato 1¼ oz eggplant, peeled ¼ oz onion OR 1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped large pinch Herbes de Provence pinch crushed red pepper flakes 1¼ 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 eggplant and onion/garlic. Simmer the vegetables and herbes in the tomato sauce in a covered pan until they are tender. If too thick, add a little water. Whisk the eggs with the vegetables and put into a hot saute pan spritzed with cooking spray. Scramble or cook as an omelette. Alternatively, cook the eggs as a flat omelette and spoon the tomato-eggplant on to them as a filling, then fold. Slice the pears and prepare your beverages. Savor the flavor of summer.

Hutspot with Dutch Meatballs: 243 calories 8 g fat 4 g fiber 17 g protein 31 g carbs [21 g Complex] 82 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF rye bread  This recipe from Flanders and Holland is a hit at our house. The sweet carrots really add something to the potatoes.  HINT: This meal serves two with meatballs left over.

Hutspotmakes 1 cup which serves 2 people 2 oz potato, peeled 2 oz carrots, peeled 2 oz onion salt and pepper to taste Cube the potatoes and put into a sauce pan with water half-way up. Cut the carrots in coins and put on top of potatoes. Slice the onions and put them on top of the carrots. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until all vegetables are soft. Drain, reserving the liquid. Mash the vegetables, adding reserved liquid if needed. Season to taste.

Dutch Meatballs: makes 6 which serves 3 people ½ pound ground turkey, 3% fat 1 oz rye bread, crust removed if very hard ¼ cup skim milk 1 shallot [1 Tbsp chopped] 1 egg white ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp black pepper Chop or tear the bread into ½” pieces. Put in a small dish and pour in enough milk to wet the bread – you will have some left over. Add the seasonings and egg white to the meat. Squeeze the extra milk out of the bread and add it to the meat/seasonings. Run it all though the food processor. Heat a non-stick pan and spray with non-stick spray. Measure the meat mixture into 3 Tbsp portions and gently form into balls. Place in hot pan and cook until brown on one side. Turn and cook further. Turn onto another side and cook until done.

Plating: Plate two meatballs per person, along with the hutspot and a bit of grainy mustard, if you like.

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

1 two-oz egg + onion1.5 two-oz eggs + dry mustard
bratwurst sausage + mustardCheddar cheese
parsley + curry powderWorcestershire sauce
catsup + strawberriesstrawberries or pear
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

150 g cod cheeks per person + olive oilgrilled sirloin steak + mushrooms
whipping/heavy cream + Dijon mustardred wine + creamed onions
asparagus + white winepeas + thyme
chives/scallions  + side saladpuff pastry from a purchased sheet of pastry
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Night Sky: Orion the Hunter

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.

A ‘constellation’ is a group of stars that appear to form a picture. Modern astronomers world-wide recognize 88 constellations, each occupying a designated area in the sky. The constellations seen from the northern hemisphere are the ones that inhabit mythologies from Europe and North America. Constellations seen from the southern hemisphere are ‘man-made’ — that is, astronomers who did not know their names [if they had any], created the names and the pictures that they formed during the 1600s and 1700s. One of the oldest, largest, and best known constellation is Orion. I say ‘oldest’ because a representation of it was carved into ivory 32,000 years ago; ‘largest’ because it is the 26th biggest constellation; and ‘best-known’ because both the Europeans and First Nations of the Americas recognized it as being a Giant or a Hunter. The Greeks had two legends to explain how a prominent hunter got into the night sky, and this is the one that I like.

Orion was a mortal man who loved to hunt. He was good at his craft and didn’t mind telling you that no animal could escape him — neither the wild bulls, nor the boars, nor the deer, nor the lions, nor the bears — and on and on. The Earth Goddess Gaia became very annoyed by this — by the slaughter of her animals and by his braggadocio. She sent a lowly Scorpion on a mission to assassinate the Hunter. And so it was that one day, while Orion was pontificating on his magnificence, the Scorpion stung him on the heel and the Hunter died. The Gods placed him in the Winter sky to remind men not to boast. Orion is seen facing us, with a bow [some say a shield] in his left arm and his right arm up-raised. Three stars form a belt at his waist, from which hangs a sword. He is accompanied by his two dogs, Sirius and Procyon who are on his right. All Winter long, he strides from East to West across the sky. In the Spring, when Orion is disappearing into the West, the constellation Scorpio rises in the East to chase him out of the sky.

Orion contains some famous stars. His right shoulder is the star Betelguese [‘armpit of the warrior’ in Arabic]. His left shoulder is Bellatrix [‘woman warrior’ in Greek]. His left knee is Rigel, one of the brightest stars in the sky. I would tell my students to look at those three stars closely and to compare them: Betelgeuse is a red star, Bellatrix is a white star, and Rigel is a blue star. The colors tell the temperature of the star as codified by Annie Jump Cannon. I am always happy to see Orion for the first time in the late Fall, and I greet him like an old friend. Throughout the winter, he keeps me company as I go out to the barn at night. And when he begins to settle into the West for his Summertime rest, I know that Spring is close at hand. To find Orion, look in the Southern sky, about half-way up. You will probably see his Belt first, then look up for his shoulders and down for his knees. He covers a lot of sky! If you are reading this from the Southern Hemisphere, you will see Orion in the Northern sky and he will be up-side-down compared to how he appears to us in the North. [Of course, that would look normal and right-side-up to you.] If it is coming on to Winter where you live, go out and see if you can find Orion in the night sky. Look up and marvel at the beauty of the stars on a clear night and about how a boastful hunter ended up in the sky.

Hunting does not always involve shooting animals. In the Summer we love to hunt for mushrooms to bake into eggs. When near the sea, we enjoy hunting for mussels at low tide which can be cooked into a delicious gratin.

Mushroom Bake: 145 calories 6.6 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 9.5 g carbs 102 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages. PB GF  Goodness has everything to do with this delicious meal.

1 two-oz egg 1 Tablespoon ricotta 1 oz chantrelle/cepe or other ‘wild’ mushrooms 1½ tsp Parmesan cheese, grated 0.1 oz chopped prosciutto 1 oz pear or apple  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

Spritz a ramekin [for 2 people, Dear Husband prefers to use a 4×6” oval casserole] with oil or non-stick spray and set the toaster oven at 350F degrees. Chop the mushrooms and proscuitto. Stir the cheeses together and combine with the mushrooms and prosciutto. Whisk the eggs into the mushroom/cheeses and pour into the container. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Add a beverage and fruit, and you are ready for a bounteous day.

Leek & Mussel Gratin:  278 calories 10 g fat 5 g fiber 17.5 g protein 29 g carbs 240 mg Calcium   PB GF  All the components of this meal are typical of Wales, UK. And — these fine ingredients make for a fine meal. If you are lucky, you might find a Welsh cheese.  HINT: The following recipe serves 2 [two].

5 oz /114 g mussels*, weighed after removing from the shells ½ oz/15 g/2 Tbsp oat bran ¼ cup/ 118 ml whole milk 6 oz leeks, trimmed, cleaned 1 oz Cheddar cheese [or the Welsh cheese Penbryn], grated Celtic Sea salt   per serving: 3 oz carrots, sliced as coins  OR  ¼ oz Cheddar, grated   *You could use oysters.

If starting with mussels in their shells, cook them briefly [5 minutes] in 1 inch of simmering water then cool and remove from shells. [Save the mussel broth for chowder.] Measure out milk and stir in oat bran. Do this early so it can sit for a bit. Slice the leeks cross-wise in ¼” slices. Steam them in a little water until limp. Drain and put in a saucepan with the mussels, milk-oat, cheese, and salt to taste. Stir to blend and heat over low. Spoon equally into two scallop shells – real or porcelain – or ramekins which have been spritzed with cooking spray. Top with the additional cheese. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes, until hot and the cheese on top is melted and browning. Meanwhile, prepare the carrots. Plate it all and let your mind go wool-gathering to the mountains of Wales.

Slow Days: Ossobuco

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.

Italian cuisine runs the gamut from plain to complex, from North to South, from pasta dishes to pasta-less dishes. In the North, the Piedmont Region has foods that one never finds in the southern part of the country: beef in plenty, cheese from water buffaloes, rice, butter, corn, and fewer tomatoes. One famous dish from Milano in the Piedmont is Ossobuco. The word means ‘bone with a mouth’ since the meat in the meal is slices of veal shank with a hollow bone in the center — the bone with a mouth. As we get into the cooler weather and past Saint Martin’s Day [when the farm animals were slaughtered], our thoughts turn to eating rich, flavorful stews or heavier pasta dishes. Enter Ossobuco. Perhaps the most difficult part of the recipe is finding the veal, since veal has justly fallen into disrepute due to the sad way that the veal calves have been raised. Our veal comes from D’artagnan, an online source of many meats, and it is raised humanely in France. That solved, preparing Ossobuco is not a complex process. Our recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazen’s excellent Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

6-8 ServingsLarge covered Dutch oven or 16” cast iron pan with cover.Preheat oven to 350F
1 Tbsp vegetable oil + 1 Tbsp oil 4 veal shank slices, each 1½” thick white whole wheat flour, pepper, saltHeat oil in casserole over medium high heat until quite hot. Dry meat with paper towels and dredge in seasoned flour. Cook meat on both sides until ‘deeply browned.’  Depending on size of the casserole, you might do this in stages. Add more oil as needed. Put meat aside on a plate.
½ cup dry white wineAdd wine, cook down by half while scraping up brown bits. Pour it off and save it. 
1 Tbsp butter
½ c onion, chopped finely
½ c celery, chopped finely
½ c carrot, chopped finely
Put butter into casserole over medium heat on stove top. When melted, add vegetables. Cook, stirring a bit, 6-7 minutes to form the soffrittoIn Italy, they call it soffritto, in France it is mirepoix.
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 strip of lemon peel, no white pith
Add these, cook and stir ~1 minute, until vegetables are wilted but not brown.
Put veal atop the soffritto, laying the pieces flat if possible, or overlapping them slightly.
½-1 cup homemade meat broth
1 c canned Italian plum tomatoes with juice 3-4 sprigs of thyme
2-3 sprigs parsley, chopped 2 bay leaves freshly ground pepper + salt
Chop tomatoes and parsley. Put all of these into the casserole, along with remaining deglazing liquid. Liquids should come up to top of the veal slices, but not cover them. Bring to a simmer and cover. Put casserole in the heated oven and set a timer for 2 hours.
Every 20 mins, check the cassserole. Turn and baste shanks, adding more liquid, 2 Tbsp at a time, if needed.
When meat is very tender, take casserole from oven. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs. If sauce is too thin, cook it down on the stove-top.
Now for the heresy! Remove meat shanks and slice meat, saving the marrow bone. Add slices back to the sauce, stirring them in. Nestle marrow bones in the center of the pot, standing on end.

For a vegetable course, we prepared an antipasto plate of vegetables marinated in Italian Vinaigrette. For bread, no-knead focaccia, sliced for ease of serving.

Fresh, hand-cut pasta, 5 oz per person drizzle olive oilCook pasta 1-3 minutes until al dente. Drain, adding some water to sauce. Drizzle pasta with a bit of oil.
focacciaPresent casserole and pasta separately, allowing diners to serve themselves and to take one of the marrow bones if they like. Serve with slices of focaccia loaf.

One could serve risotto or polenta, to be in keeping with Northern Italian cuisine, but we opted for fresh pasta which is more typical in the North than the South. For dessert, panna cotta with fruit coulis.

Pumpkin

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.

There are pepons, and there are potirons, and then there are pumpkins. A “pumpkin” is a big, round, orange variety of squash. They originated in Central America 1000s of years ago. Domesticated and hybridized by Indigenous Peoples, these squashes spread throughout the Americas. The First Nations of New England called them  askutasquash, which was shortened to ‘squash’ by the colonizers. Modern botanists call them Cucurbita maxima or C. moschata. In Europe there were no squashes, only gourds and melons, a Greek word for melon being ‘pepon.’ When round squashes were introduced into Europe, some people called them ‘pepon.’ Anne of Brittany‘s Book of Hours, from 1503, contains beautiful drawings of the new squashes. The French called them ‘ponpom’ then ‘potiron.’ The English called them ‘pumpions,’ which is pretty close to pumpkin. Once they were domesticated for eating, these squash turned out to be a wholesome food, high in Vitamins A and C, heart-healthy, and antioxidant. The other use for pumpkins in the Autumn in the US is for making Jack o’ Lanterns for Hallowe’en. That tradition started in Ireland with the hollowing out of turnips and potatoes to make a lantern for All Hallows’ Eve. Pumpkin Spice has taken the world by storm, being eagerly anticipated every Fall at coffee shops. There is no pumpkin in the spice — they are the spices that flavor a pumpkin pie. These spices give deliciousness to scones, cookies, pies and other desserts made of our favorite Fall Fruit: the Pumpkin. Eat some soon!

Many people think that pumpkin appears only as Jack o’ Lanterns and in pie at Thanksgiving. There are lots of fun ways to use this nutritious vegetable. Sugar Pumpkins are suitable for eating and that is [mostly] what is in canned pumpkin that one buys in the store. If you don’t trust the can, buy a Sugar Pumpkin and prepare your own puree. Our featured meals show how you can enjoy pumpkin at breakfast and dinner, without a pie in sight.

Pumpkin Oatmeal:  221 calories 3 g fat 5.6 g fiber 9.5 g protein 11.5 g carbs 106.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF  Cold weather brings a yen for hot cereal and you have to go a long way to beat oatmeal for an excellent breakfast. Now let’s add the season’s favorite flavor combo: pumpkin and cinnamon. Yum.

¼ c steel cut oats ¾ c. water pinch salt 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree 1 tsp maple syrup pinch cinnamon ¼ c. fat-free milk  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Cook the oats and salt in simmering water 8-10 minutes, stirring at whiles. Take off heat. Stir in pumpkin, syrup, and cinnamon. Scrape into a bowl and top with milk. Serve with the hot beverage of your choice for a meal that will keep you warm on a cold day.

Pumpkin-Turkey Meatballs with Pasta Marinara: 298 calories 9 g fat 8 g fiber 15.5 g protein 43.5 g carbs 85 mg Calcium PB GF — if using GF pasta Here’s a new way to enjoy turkey and pumpkin — without roasting or baking! These meatballs are handy to have in the freezer for a quickly-prepared meal in future weeks. The recipe is from nutritionist Joy Bauer.

3 pumpkin-turkey meatballs

1/2 cup marinara sauce, homemade or purchased @ 59 calories/ half-cup 1 oz dry whole-grain pasta, homemade or purchased 1/2 c zucchini slices

Heat the marinara and the meatballs together while the pasta is cooking in boiling salted water. Cook the zucchini and plate it all.

38 meatballs Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
1⅓# ground turkey breast 2 c loosely packed spinach/ 1 c frozen 
15 oz can white beans = 9 oz ¾ cup 100% pumpkin puree
1 two-oz egg, slightly beaten 2 Tbsp unpacked brown sugar
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger ½ tsp garlic powder/ 1 clove minced ¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Finely chop the fresh spinach to yield about 1 cup OR use frozen spinach: measuring 1 cup while frozen, then chop it.
Drain and rinse the beans or measure out 9 oz/26 g. Run beans through the food processor or immersion blender.
Mix together all these ingredients in a large bowl until everything is well combined and sticky. Do not over-mix. If mixture is too sticky to use, refrigerate ~30 mins to firm it up.
Form mixture into light, fluffy golf-ball-size meatballs, 38 total when using 1.5 Tbsp measure. 
Bake 40 mins in middle of oven. TIP: Could freeze at this point — either cooked or uncooked.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs  + eggplant
ricotta cheese + Parmesan cheesefresh tomatoes or canned sauce
prosciutto + wild mushroomsonion + herbes de Provence
pear or applepear
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

mussels + leekspotato + carrot + nutmeg
oat bran + whole milkonion + egg white
Welsh aged cheese or Cheddar3%-fat ground turkey
carrotrye bread + milk + grainy mustard
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Columbanus

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 SecretSheller who is now Following.

Born in Ireland in 543, and educated in the Celtic Christian traditions, Columbanus and 12 followers set off to Frankia to preach to the unbelieving. They landed in Brittany, then preceded to Burgundy where they met with mixed reactions. Over many years, the rulers variously welcomed then feuded with the Irishman. Columbanus founded three abbeys in Burgundy, spreading the Celtic Traditions and raising the ire of local bishops and abbots who were in line with the Roman Christian Traditions, who disliked the Celtic tonsure, and quibbled over the date of Easter. Exiled from Burgundy, he traveled with his followers to modern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy. He was welcomed in Milan and could have remained there, in earnest theological discussion with other worthies, but Columbanus loved the solitude of the countryside. Given land, he founded the Abbey of Bobbio. There he settled. Although a follower of Benedict, Columbanus shortened the lengthy Rule of Benedict to a mere 10 directions: absolute obedience; silence; fasting and only ‘poor food’ at a single meal; poverty; avoiding vanity; chastity; perpetual prayer; discretion; mortification; penance for breaking the Rule. Invited at last to return to Burgundy, he chose to stay at Bobbio until his death in 615. His abbeys became renowned centers of learning due to their extensive collections of books. Columbanus was hailed as a ‘European Saint,’ a ‘saint of all Europe’ due to the many countries he had visited.

Columbanus was a strict vegetarian, so our meatless [except for a little sausage] meals today would have pleased him. The apple dish for breakfast is in recognition of his landing point in Brittany. He would have loved the dinner and so might you.

Apple Flamusse:  223 calories 15 g fat 4 g fiber 17.5 g protein 68.5 g carbs 171.5 mg Calcium   NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB  This fine French dessert doubles as a splendid breakfast. And since the recipe serves 4 [four], it will serve the family.

2 two-oz eggs 3 Tbsp sugar 40 g white whole wheat flour 200 ml milk 2¼ cup sliced apples 4 tsp butter 1 oz egg white   per serving: 1 chicken sausage [33 calories each]   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Tuna-Barley Salad:  230 calories 4 g fat 3.4 g fiber 26 g protein 23.6 g carbs 60 mg Calcium   PB GF  Here is a meal to fit any diet plan, with whole grains, vegetables, and heart-healthy tuna.  HINT: Serves 2 [two]

2 oz quick barley 5 oz can of white tuna, drained 5 oz grape tomatoes 1.5 oz white beans 4.5 oz baby spinach or baby lettuce 1 Tbsp Parmesan, grated   marinade: 2 tsp white vinegar + 1 tsp olive oil

Cook the barley and combine it with chunks of tuna. Put salad greens, beans, and marinade in serving bowl and toss. Add salt and gently toss in the barley-tuna to combine. Put tomatoes on top, then sprinkle with Parmesan. Gosh its good – and filling!

The Great Catherine

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claude Monet

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.

Oscar-Claude Monet, a shop-keeper’s son, was born in Paris on November 14, 1840. He would go on to change the world of painting. When Claude was a child, the family moved to coastal Normandy. Art courses in school lead to painting with a local instructor and at age 18 he produced his first landscape painting. The detailed, tight brushstrokes give no clue of what his style would be in later years. Monet went to Paris to join the studio of Swiss artist Charles Gleyre who’s other students were Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille — future luminaries all. Gleyre had them painting outside, [en plein aire] and experimenting with how light really looked. Previously, light was shown as reflections on a surface [ex: an apple, or water] or as the maker of shadows. The young artists painted light as small daubs of color which merged together if viewed from a distance. They painted quickly, in rapid brush strokes to capture the moment they were seeing before the light changed. But the way to become a recognized artist was to enter a work in the Salon — and they had strict standards. The new style did not please them, but a traditional painting like Woman in a Green Dress [his wife Camille as the model], done in a studio, was a huge success in 1866, and put Monet in the public eye. The following year, his Women in the Garden — a delightful, airy scene which was painted out of doors — was rejected. In 1874, Monet went all in and exhibited Impression: Sunrise at a counter-culture version of the Salon. Critics scorned the novel approach, saying it was rough and unfinished — and it was when compared to what they were used to. But as a celebration of light in sky and water, of smoke and morning fog, we can see what Monet was trying to show us about his impressions of the river at sunrise. Monet and his fellow artists were dubbed “Impressionists” and the name stuck. Life had ups and downs for Monet: a stint in the army ended by a bout of typhus; financial hardships which left him contemplating suicide; the birth of his two sons; the death of Camille from TB. During the late 1870s, Monet and his sons lived with a wealthy magnate and his family. When the husband went bankrupt and left the country, his wife Alice and her six children continued to live with the Monets. In 1882, he and Alice were married and moved to Giverny, Normandy. A house and land were rented, then purchased. Monet designed and planted a garden and dug a lily pond — and the rest is artistic magic. For the rest of his life. Claude Monet made his home come alive to the world with his many paintings of his property and the surrounding countryside. Forty years after his death in 1926, his heirs gave the property to the Academy of Fine Arts. After much restoration, the house and gardens were opened to the public in 1980. Dear Husband and I visited one April and were bowled over by the riot of colors and textures which the plantings provided. It is like being inside one of his paintings. There, one is seized by the desire to paint an impression of what one sees, since a photo does not seem to do it justice. The gardens were his passion and his inspiration. Today, they delight millions of viewers, whether in person or on museum walls. Merci, Monsieur Monet.

Deep in the countryside of Giverny, mushrooms and ham were a natural combination, so we will enjoy them with eggs at breakfast. Our dinner evokes the colors of blossoms in Monet’s Garden, which is a wonderland of pastel visions.

Ham & Mushroom Bake: 136 calories 7 g fat 4 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs 61 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  GF   A hearty, flavor-packed breakfast begins with ham and mushrooms. Although these are flavors of autumn, they can be enjoyed any time, especially on a Fast Day. 

One 2-oz egg 1/3 oz mushrooms, chopped ½ oz roast ham or 3% fat deli ham, chopped 1 Tbsp Gruyere cheese, grated ½ tsp ground sage ¼ tsp savory ½ cup raspberries  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

Set toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Spritz some cooking spray into a ramekin. Grate the cheese. Chop the ham and mushrooms, and put them into the ramekin. Whisk together the cheese, egg, and seasonings, and pour that in too. Bake 12-15 minutes, depending on how well set you like your eggs. It will puff up and start to brown a bit. Heat your beverage, shake the smoothie, and portion the fruit. Off to a good start.

Pomelo/Grapefruit-Shrimp Salad:  255 calories 6 g fat 4 g fiber 22 g protein 28 g carbs 93.5 mg Calcium   PB GF  The pomelos were ripe in our son and daughter-in-law’s garden, so I used some to make this meal. The recipe is from Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. If you can’t find pomelos, use grapefruit instead. 

1 Tbsp fish sauce 1½ Tbsp lime juice 1½ tsp brown sugar 1 cup pomelo segments 1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut ¼ oz dry roasted peanuts 2 tsp chopped shallot ½ cup fresh mint ¼ tsp Thai chili sauce 1 large leaf romaine lettuce chopped scallion  3 oz shrimp, cleaned — I used tiny cold water shrimp. If you use larger shrimp, cut them into smaller pieces.

Mix fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar in an oven-proof bowl. Add the shrimp and let marinate. Toast coconut in a dry skillet until just beginning to brown. Peel and segment the pomelo/grapefruit and remove pulp from the membranes. Put shrimp and marinade into the microwave and heat until cooked. Gently combine shrimp, marinade, pomelo, coconut, peanuts, shallot, mint, and chili sauce in a wide bowl. Put the lettuce leaf on the plate and fill it with the salad. In the photo, you see some colorful chips. Those are veggie chips by Terra. They add a nice crunch and a few more calories to the meal. Omit if you wish, but do not substitute potato chips!

Kate Seredy

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

When I was in 5th grade, I read The Good Master, by Kate Seredy — and I fell in love with her writing. The Hungarian Plain came alive to me as I was introduced to the cadence of farm life at the core of the book. From there, I followed The White Stag as the Huns and Magyars migrated into Europe. A Tree for Peter showed me social inequality and child poverty for the first time. The Chestry Oak lead me to adventure and sorrows in World War II. Katherine Seredy was born in Budapest, Hungary on November 10, 1899. Her two books about the Nagy family, The Good Master and The Singing Tree, were based on her summers in the country as a child. In 1922, equipped with a degree in art, she moved to the United States hoping to become an illustrator. In 1935, a customer at Seredy’s children’s book shop encouraged her to write a book about her childhood in Hungary. That customer was an editor at Viking Press, and Seredy’s career as an author-illustrator was launched. Aside from the lyrical illustrations [Oh! those beautiful horses!], what I love about her books is the way the immigrants and outcasts are portrayed as people who have much to contribute. [The racist portrayal of the Roma People in Hungary is the lamentable exception.] Other recurring themes include her hopefulness that good would overcome evil, her belief in the goodness of country life, faith, and her love of country. Seredy lived on a 100-acre farm in northern New York — perhaps the setting for her city-slickers-who-move-to-the-country book The Open Gate. I reread her books every year for a fresh infusion of the spirit of Kate Seredy. Have you ever read her work?

“Cousin Kate from Budapest” learned early on in The Good Master how much she loved sausages, so we will eat sausages at breakfast and dinner.

Sausage ScrOmelette: 147 calories 9 g fat 1.4 g fiber 13 g protein 4 g carbs 48 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Sausage ‘n’ eggs are such a great combination. Enjoy often.

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 links [37-calories/link] chicken breakfast sausage, sliced very thinly 1½ tsp oregano and parsley, chopped 1/4 tsp grainy mustard 1 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]

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Add the sausage and stir to warm briefly . Whisk the eggs with the seasonings and pour over the sausage in the pan. Scramble to your favorite degree of doneness. Plate the fruit, prepare optional beverages.

Sausage Arrabbiata: 286 calories 9.4 g fat 8.5 g fiber 15 g protein 44 g carbs 75 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF pasta   In a riff on Shrimp Arrabbiata, our younger son created this sausage dish, made with his signature addition of New Mexico green chiles. HINT: This recipe is enough for two [2] diners. Prepare it all and freeze the other half.

Sv 2 for FAST day
3 oz whole-wheat pasta Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, save ½ cup.
2 oz North-Country Polish Kielbasa [2 oz =130 calories]Slice sausage and cook in dry pasta pot.
When browned, remove and set aside. 
3 cloves garlicMince garlic, add to pot, and stir until just brown and fragrant. 
6 Roma tomatoes
½ cup pasta water + salt
Quarter the tomatoes. Add to garlic in pan along with pasta water and salt. Cook down until saucy.
2 Tbsp green New Mexico chiles
½ tsp cayenne
Add seasonings and cooked sausage. Stir until heated through. 
1 Tbsp Parmesan/Romano cheeseGrate cheese. Add cheese and pasta to sauce, stir until heated. 
Fresh basil
1½ oz green beans per person
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.Serve with cooked green beans.

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

1 two-oz egg70-calorie whole grain bread
roast ham or 3%-fat ham from delismoked salmon + whipped cream cheese
mushrooms + Gruyere cheesefresh cucumber or Swedish cucumber salad 
raspberriesstrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Thai fish sauce + lime juice + shallot + brown sugar85% lean ground beef + broccoli or asparagus
dry roasted peanuts + shrimp + romaine lettucechicken breast meat + one 2-oz egg
pomelo or grapefruit + scallionwhite whole wheat flour
unsweetened coconut + mint + Thai chili sauceslice 70-calorie whole-grain bread
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Camus

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.

Albert Camus was many things: novelist, resistance fighter, playwright, post-war philosopher, Nobel laureate, essayist. But one thing he was not was an existentialist. That word gets bandied about a lot these days, as talking heads ponder the ‘existential crisis’ presented by this or that world problem. The themes of existentialism include: dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment, and nothingness, and the mood of Europe after World War II was conducive to all those feelings. When Camus wrote about them, he knew what he was talking about. He was born in Drean, Algeria on November 7, 1913. His parents were of French heritage, his grandfather having moved to Africa when France promoted the settling of their territory with Europeans. Camus’ father died when Albert was an infant. His mother worked in low-paying jobs, and Albert was lucky to obtain a scholarship to attend University d’Algiers where he studied philosophy. At that point, he was anti-Fascist and anti-Soviet, despite having joined the Communist party earlier. Even though he had a lower-class upbringing, Camus knew that he had more privilege than the native Berbers and Arabs. This lead him to social justice causes and a job at a newspaper in Paris. During the war, he worked for the Resistance, married for a second time, and continued to write. Camus planned his writing in ‘cycles’: he would examine a theme [ex: Absurdity] as a novel [ex: l’Etranger], as an essay [ex: Le Mythe de Sisyphe], and as a play [ex: Caligula]. In the 1950s, Camus was part of Jean-Paul Sartre’s circle of Existentialists but Camus refused to espouse their philosophy. If not existentialism, what did he think of the human condition? Camus saw that humans constantly seek order and rationality in a random universe, and he labeled that ‘Absurd.’ So what can one do? The second part of his thinking was that humans are morally obliged to resist what oppresses us — and he called that ‘Revolt.’ In 1957 came the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in 1960 he died in a car wreck.

The breakfast is from Algeria, Camus’ birthplace where he never felt at home because he was French. The dinner is from France, where the adult Camus lived and never felt at home because he was Algerian. Since Camus promoted a “new Mediterranean Culture” for the multi-ethnic countries of North Africa, he would have liked our Mediterranean Vegetables.

Chelada Felfel: 197 calories 15 g fat 2.5 g fiber 9 g protein 8 g carbs 47.5 mg Calcium  PB GF  With its bright colors and its salad vibe, this meal can add cheer to a winter morning or coolness to a sultry summer day. The flavors and ingredients are from Algeria.  TIP: Prepare it the night before and store in ‘fridge for a super-quick breakfast.

¼ cup Bell pepper, yellow or orange ¼ c tomatoes, diced ¼ c cucumber, diced ¼ cup onion, thinly sliced 1½ tsp cilantro, chopped 1½ anchovy fillets, chopped 1½ cured black olives, pitted and chopped 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp red wine vinegar salt + pepper 1 hard-boiled egg, cut in half and sliced  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]

Prepare the vegetables, anchovies, and olives. Combine them in a bowl, then add oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Toss well to combine. Chop or slice the egg as you choose, scatter atop the salad, and dust with salt. With mint tea, a taste of Algeria. With cafe au lait, a taste of French Algeria.

Mediterranean Vegetables with Seafood:  278 calories 6 g fat 6 g fiber 28 g protein 25 g carbs 290 mg Calcium   PB GF This dinner qualifies as a hurry-up meal. If you have Mediteranean Vegetables in the freezer, you can serve this in the time it takes to cook the quinoa.

1 cup Mediterranean Vegetables, without chickpeas 3 oz seafood: shrimp, fish chunks, bivalves [without shells], whatever you have 1 oz mozzarella, shredded 1 oz mushrooms, coarsely-chopped 1/3 cup cooked quinoa 

Start cooking the quinoa. Put the frozen Med Vegetables in a sauce pan with a lid. Warm them gently until they are mostly thawed. Add the mushrooms and seafood. Continue to heat, covered, until everything is warm and cooked. Plate with the quinoa and top with cheese. 

Slow Days: Cranberry Corn Sticks

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.

Autumn in New England means foliage in stunning colors, apple cider, the last of the sweet corn, apples, cranberries, and Thanksgving. In our family, Thanksgiving is not just a feast on a particular day, rather it is an unfolding process of celebrating local foods. Cornmeal was introduced to the early European settlers here [the Puritans at Plymouth, Massachusetts] by the First Nations people who had grown corn for centuries. Dried, it could last the winter, providing vitamins and carbohydrates all year long. The Puritans thought they would be growing wheat, but the climate was unsuitable. Cornmeal filled in for flour in many foods of the era. In old recipes, the word “Indian” in the title [Indian Pudding, Indian Bread] meant that the dish contained cornmeal. Cornbread caught on all over the Eastern seaboard and people now tend to think of it as a Southern thing, despite its deep roots in New England. For breakfast on Thanksgiving, we get out the old corn-stick molds for a history-soaked breakfast. These cast-iron pans allow you to bake corn-bread in the shape of little corn cobs. Mine were from my mother’s kitchen, though I don’t remember her ever using them. The design goes back to 1919, so I guess they were my grandmother’s pans. Bottom Line: corn bread + cranberries + cute cast-iron pans = Fun Fall Breakfast.

Here are two recipes that I have used, Fannie Farmer and Hayden Pearson, both as New England as you can get:

Corn Bread by Fannie Farmer8×8” baking pan or cast-iron cornstick pans. Preheat oven to 375F
¾ c cornmeal
½ c white whole wheat flour
½ cup white flour
¼ cup sugar 3 Tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
Sift together into a large bowl.
1 cup milk
1 egg, well beaten 4 Tbsp butter, melted
Add these to dry ingredients and mix well.
For Corn Sticks, one 7-stick pan is filled using 1 cup batter. The pan must be greased in all its crannies with melted butter. For Corn Bread, butter the baking pan.
½ – ¾ cup cranberriesAfter batter is in the pan, poke cranberries into the Corn Sticks, using 4-5 per Corn Stick. For Corn Bread, sprinkle the berries on top and gently swirl them into the batter.
Bake 15 minutes for Corn Sticks; 25 minutes for Corn Bread.Since I have left-over batter from the Corn Sticks, I bake it and use it in the turkey stuffing.
Sunny Acres Corn Bread by Hayden Pearson8×8” baking pan or cast-iron Corn Stick pans. Preheat oven to 425F
¾ cup yellow corn meal
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup white flour
3 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1/3 c white sugar
¼ tsp allspice
Sift these into a large bowl.
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick/8 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ c milk 1 Tbsp brown sugar
Add these to dry ingredients and mix well.
For Corn Sticks, one 7-stick pan is filled using 1 cup batter. The pan must be greased in all its crannies with melted butter. For Corn Bread, butter the baking pan.
½ – ¾ cup cranberriesAfter batter is in the pan, poke cranberries into the Corn Sticks, using 4-5 per Corn Stick. For Corn Bread, sprinkle the berries on top and gently stir them into the batter.
Bake 15 minutes for Corn Sticks; 25 minutes for Corn Bread. Since I have left-over batter from the Corn Sticks, I bake it and use it in the turkey stuffing.