Fasting for Lent

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.

We are now five weeks into Lent, the Christian church’s period of fasting and reflection. Why is it called ‘lent’? The word is from Old English ‘lencten’ which references the season of Spring. Why is one to fast during Lent? The 40 days are a remembrance of Jesus’ 40-day sojourn in the desert before he began his ministry. During that time he fasted and pondered his life ahead. What should that Lenten fasting entail? After the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, fasting was a serious thing: one meal per day, in the evening, with no meat, fish, eggs, or butter on the table. Today there are still those who do not eat eggs or meat during Lent, especially on Friday. Members of Protestant sects ‘give up’ favorite foods [chocolate; liquor] during Lent or forgo behaviors that they wish to change [smoking; over-eating]. As with any change in behavior, when the trial period is over, does one resume the behavior? 5:2 Fasting should become a lifestyle, not just something to do for a little while and then stop. Lent should make us think about permanent changes. This is a good time to start a Fasting Lifestyle.

The menus for tomorrow feature seafood, not meat. There are no eggs and no dairy. But that doesn’t stop them from being delicious.

Gravlax & Grannies:  126 calories 3.6 g fat 2.3 g fiber 11 g protein 13 g carbs [13 g Complex] 25.6 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB GF  At the Inn at Saint Peters we enjoyed their Smoked Trout with Apples appetizer. It occurred to me that this could be a fine breakfast for those who enjoy a savory/seafood taste in the a.m. I substituted mackerel gravlax for the smoked trout, just because that was on hand, but it was a grey-brown instead of the lighter hue of the trout or the pink of a salmon. Suit yourself.

1 oz mackerel gravlax OR 1 oz smoked trout [DuckTrap brand is very good] 2 oz Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced; each slice cut into 1/2-moons ¼ c blueberries + 2 raspberries for color   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]

Slice the fish with the grain to create thin slices. Arrange the fish and apples in overlapping slices around the plate. HINT: I did this the night before, covered it with clingwrap and put it in the ‘fridge. So quick the next morning!! Brew your hot beverage, blend or shake your smoothie, dish out those healthy blueberries, and breakfast elegantly.

Shrimp with Lime + Cilantro 228 calories 4.7 g fat 1.3 g fiber 30 g protein 15 g carbs [7 g Complex] 90 mg Calcium   PB GF  These are such a popular combination of flavors that there are many recipes on line. This one is from Skinnytaste.com, cut down to a single-serving size and with a few additions.

5 oz raw shrimp, cleaned and halved if large. [I used tiny cold-water shrimp] ¼ tsp ground cumin 1 oz brown rice Maifun noodles 1/3 tsp olive oil + water 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed ½ of one lime 2 Tbsp or more chopped cilantro/coriander leaves 1 large [½ oz] lettuce leaf

Prepare your mise en place.  Put the shrimp in a bowl. If they thawed in the bowl, pour off the liquid and reserve it. Toss the shrimp with the cumin plus salt and pepper. Cook the noodles in 3 cups boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse, and reserve. Crush the garlic. Cut the lime in half and chop the cilantro/coriander leaves. Heat a non-stick saute or cast-iron pan. Add the oil and the drained shrimp. Let cook for 2 minutes, then turn over to the other side. Add some of the reserved water if needed to avoid sticking. Put the garlic and noodles in the pan and cook for one minute. Squeeze the juice from the lime over the pan, add the cilantro and stir well. Take off heat. Center the lettuce leaf on the plate and spoon the shrimp on top. Wonderful flavors!

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs
apple + mustardhorseradish
bacon + sage + pearfresh parsley + beets
Ricotta + Parmesan cheesesapple sauce + cinnamon
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

rabbit meat + portobello mushroom salad greens + fresh parsley
ham + onion + chicken stockcelery + apple + walnuts
herb savory + carrot + thymehard-boiled egg + cooked lamb
Arnold-brand sandwich thinhorseradish dressing
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Mehmet II

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 ParisVitamin who is now Following.

On March 30, 1432, Mehmet, the second of that name, was born in Edirne, Turkey. His father was the Sultan Murad II, and Mehmet received an excellent education: literature, architecture, fine arts, military science, languages [7 of them!], philosophy, and science. At this time in Western Europe, culture was just emerging into the Renaissance. Mehmet went on to found the Ottoman Empire, conquering first Constantinople [now Istanbul] in 1453, which ended the Byzantine Empire. He next conquered the Greek city states, then the Anatolian peninsula, and the Balkan states. He ruled for 30 years and was known for his erudition and for religious tolerance. Mehmet was painted by the Italian Bellini, wearing a distinctive headdress [‘mücevveze”, a tall cylindrical headgear], which became popular with future Ottoman leaders. And, oddly enough, he is my ancestor! How is that possible for someone with French/English/German antecedents? Ah, that is a tale for a future blog about Mehmet’s Son.

In recognition of his Eastern Mediterranean origins, a plate of felafel seems appropriate for breakfast. And the dinner of stuffed cabbage is caught up in the story of a Swedish King captured by the Ottomans.

Felafel Plate:  219 calories 5 g fat 4.8 g fiber 16.3 g protein 30 g carbs [25.7 g Complex] 165 mg Calcium   NB: Food values given are for the main meal only, and do not include the optional beveragePB GF  A simple meal, yet full of nutrition and flavor.

4 felafel patties 4 oz canteloupe melon or pineapple, cubed in bite-sized pieces 3.5 oz fat-free Greek-style yogurt ½ tsp mint leaves  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water NO smoothie today

Warm the felafel patties or use at room temperature. Chop the mint leaves and combine with the yogurt. Prepare the beverage of choice and plate the food to please the eye.

Danish Stuffed Cabbage:  282 calories 5.7 g fat 5.7 g fiber 35 g protein 25 g carbs 125 mg Calcium   PB GF — if using GF bread   Craig Claiborne’s International Cookbook provided this recipe. Its history involves a Swedish king and the Ottoman Empire. Very royal origin for a common meal found everywhere cabbages are grown.

4 oz turkey meat, raw 2 oz pork meat, raw 2.5 oz veal, raw ½ cup fresh bread crumbs [from whole-grain 70-calorie bread] 2 oz milk 1 oz egg white sage + salt + pepper 4 whole cabbage leaves from a whole head 1/3 c pickled beets dab of mustard

Put the meats, sage, salt, and pepper in the food processor and mince. Spritz a saute pan with non-stick spray and cook the meat until it doesn’t look raw. Cool meat. Combine the bread and milk, stir, let sit until soggy. Add the egg white and meats and stir to combine well. Set aside. Put a head of cabbage in a pot with enough water to cover and bring to a simmer. When the outer layer begins to cook, remove the outer leaf. Return the cabbage to the pan of simmering water. Continue to remove the outer leaves as they cook, until you have 4. Return them to the poaching water and cook until very limp. [Put the rest of the cabbage away for something else.] Cut a ‘V’ at the base of each leaf to remove the thickest part of the leaf’s rib. Orient the leaf so the ‘V’ is away from you. Put ¼ cup filling on the leaf. Fold the near side over the filling, tuck in the sides, and continue to roll. Place seam-side down in an oven-proof dish large enough to hold all four rolls. Pour some of the water in which you poached the cabbage into the dish until it comes 1/2-way up the rolls. Put on a lid or foil and bake at 350 F. for 20 minutes or until heated. Plate with the pickled beets and a dab of mustard. Fit for an Ottoman Emperor.

Sun-Centered

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 Saumya P. who is now Following.

Nicholas Copernicus is one of my favorite scientists. He was adopted as an orphan by his uncle, the Bishop of Varmia. Due to him, Nicholas received an excellent pan-European education, attending most of the universities of the continent and earning degrees in mathematics, medicine, and law. He returned to Poland to be his uncle’s administrative assistant. Evenings found young Nicholas on the ramparts of the cathedral close, studying the motion of the stars and planets as he had been taught as part of his training in mathematics. His notes from early March of 1497 gave him pause. Established scientists and church leaders all agreed that the sun orbited the Earth. Ptolemy said so and the Bible implied it. But Copernicus’ data clearly showed that the Earth was just another planet and that they all circled the sun — the sun was in the ‘center of the universe,’ not Earth. He was reluctant to publish this theological bombshell, but did so at long last in 1543, under the cautious title De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium [Concerning the orbits of heavenly bodies]. It was a best seller. Printed on the new Gutenberg press, it went into two printings, flooding Europe with Copernicus’ new ideas. My students used to ask if he got in trouble* for his radicalism. But no, Copernicus died soon after the work was published and his ideas lived on to influence future scientists such as Tycho, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. [*His book was banned by the Church in 1616]

For breakfast, an astronomy lesson: the egg yolk represents the sun with the figs and cheese crumbles circling around it like planets. For dinner, a meal inspired by Polish favorites: sausage, sauerkraut, pickled beets. Copernicus would have been proud to eat these.

Fig & Chevre Plate:  153 calories 8.4 g fat 2.2 g fiber 7.8 g protein 13.4 g carbs [12 g Complex] 163 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the cheese, egg, fig, and spinach, not for the optional beverages. PB GF Simple, elegant, and more filling than it looks.

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

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

Baltic Bake:  293 calories 5.5 g fat 7 g fiber 6.6 g fiber 12.8 g protein 33 g carbs 86.4 mg Calcium  PB  GF  Believe it or not, this diet dinner is adapted from the book Two Fat Ladies Obsessions. The meal has wonderful Eastern European flavors and is so simple to prepare that once I assembled it in 16 minutes!! 

1.5 low-fat hot dogs [I like Hebrew National reduced-fat] ½ cup canned sauerkraut ¼ c pickled beets, drained ¼ c sliced onions ½ tsp horseradish 2 Tbsp canned white beans, drained and rinsed

Put the hot dogs [frozen or thawed] and onions in a saucepan with a little water or some juice from the sauerkraut. Heat until the dogs are cooked and most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove the dogs and add remaining ingredients to the pan to heat. Cut the hot dogs into 5-6 pieces and put them back in the pan until all ingredients are heated through.

T. Geisel

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.

If the name ‘Geisel’ doesn’t ring a bell, then you probably know him better by his nom de plume, ‘Dr. Seuss.’ Ted Geisel attended Dartmouth College as an undergrad and did cartoons for the school paper. Banned from the paper [for drinking on campus], he invented a new name for himself to continue cartooning — he called himself Dr Seuss, using his mother’s Swiss maiden name. [BTW: in German, ‘seuss’ rhymes with ‘choice.’] After failing to earn a doctorate in English Literature, he drew cartoons for an advertising agency. On a cruise to Europe, the sound of the ship’s engines caused him to say “and to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street,” which became the title of his first children’s book in 1936. Not a big seller. In 1940, he wrote Horton Hatches the Egg, which did very well. Then his publisher sent him a list of words ‘that children could read’ with the idea of using them in a book. Geisel wrote a book with 220 of those words: The Cat in the Hat, published in 1957. [As a child, I couldn’t stand the book: a ‘home invasion’ did not seem funny to me. My favorite is Bartholomew and the Oobleck from 1949.] Despite the fame it brought him, he considered children’s books as ‘literary slumming.’ But he knew how to get children laughing and reading and he did so in 44 books over many decades. Geisel once said, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.” Enjoy some nonsense today.

In honor of Dr Seuss’ birthday on March 2, we will of course eat Green Eggs and Ham at breakfast. It was one of our sons’ favorite books [written on a bet that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words] and it makes for a fine meal. For dinner, an opportunity to channel your inner child: turn French Codfish Brandade into as silly and fanciful a creation as your imagination allows. Then eat and enjoy it.

Green Eggs & Ham: 144 calories 8.8 g fat 1.1 g fiber 12.8 g pro 8.6 g carb [7.5 g Complex] 55.6 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  GF These are a treat anytime there is still ham from a roast and the chives are fresh in the garden. This dish is named, of course, for the delightful book Green Eggs and Ham which the narrator insists that he will not eat — not in a box, nor on a train, nor under any circumstances.

Three 2-oz eggs of which you will use 1 ½ eggs per person  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week. 1 oz. ground or chopped ham 3 Tbsp fresh chives 2 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]

Whisk the eggs with salt & pepper to taste. Put the white part of the onion into a hot pan sprayed with cooking oil. Stir around for a few seconds. Add the eggs. When bottom of eggs begin to set, sprinkle the ham & green scallions over the eggs, scramble to taste, and plate. Pour the beverages of your choice, prep the fruit, and “Eat them! Eat them, here they are!”

Brandade a la Seuss: 250 calories 5.8 g fat 5.7 g fiber 77 g protein 22.3 g carbs 270 mg Calcium  PB GF  Since salt cod is so popular all over southern France, it follows that Brandade is also a favorite. The garlic, olive oil, and fennel mark this version as Provincal. [HINT: This batch serves 4. Either invite friends or use what you need and freeze the remainder.] The recipe is from Jacques Pepin.

8 oz salt cod ¼ cup potatoes in 1/2” cubes 1 cup cauliflower puree ½ cup milk 4 cloves garlic 1 tsp olive oil ¼ tsp fennel seed + ¼ tsp pepper, more to taste per serving: tomatoes + celery + carrot + broccoli + green pepper

Soak the cod in water for 8 hours. Drain and put in a sauce pan covered with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and cook gently for 5 minutes. Drain. Pick over the fish and break it into 1” pieces, removing bones, skin. Put fish in a pan with potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, and milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and gently simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Pour it all into a food processor and process it for about 10 seconds. Add the pepper and add the oil with the machine running. Mixture should be smooth and thick. Adjust seasonings. Divide the brandade into 4 portions of 1/2-cup each. HINT: Freeze the portions you are not serving today. To serve today, be whimsical and “Seussical.” Position the brandade in the center of a plate. Use the vegetables to create a strange creature with the brandade as the body. Spiders? hedgehogs? insects? Let your inner child off its leash and have fun. Very traditional flavor in an unusual presentation for Dr Seuss.

That Telegram

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.

In 1917, war was marching with heavy tread through Europe. In the USA, President Woodrow Wilson had problems on his southern border with Mexico. Wilson had been elected on the motto “He kept us out of war” due to his reluctance to enter into World War I. We were not at war with anyone but in 1848 the war with Mexico concluded and in 1854, the US bought land on the Mexican border to add to Arizona and New Mexico. Border relations were sometimes tense. In March of 1916, the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa lead a raid across the US border to capture weapons from an arsenal at Columbus, NM to promote his victory over a rival. Then came that telegram. It was sent from the German Foreign Minister to the German Ambassador in Mexico, in code. Intercepted by British Intelligence in January, 1917, the decryption was sent to Washington in late March. There it raised hackles and alarm bells as it was splashed across front pages from coast to coast. Herr Zimmermann had instructed his representative in Mexico to encourage the government to invade the US should Wilson enter the war on the side of the Allies. The quid pro quo? If Mexico would invade the US for us, then after we win the war, Germany will give you back land that the US took from you. That did it. Sentiment across the country switched overnight from non-involvement to pro-war and on April 6, 1917, the US entered the war.

A popular Mexican food gives its flavors to breakfast, while our dinner is named for the charismatic Pancho Villa himself. Here’s hoping for good relations between Mexico and the US.

Enchilada Bake:  140 calories 6 g fat 1.7 g fiber 15.3 g protein 12.5 g carbs [11 g Complex] 75 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages. PB GF  Since we enjoy enchiladas for dinner, why not have the same flavors at breakfast?

1 two-oz egg 1 Tbsp crushed tomatoes, slightly drained ½ oz fresh green chili peppers, minced 1 Tbsp plain, non-fat yogurt ¼ oz chicken breast, cooked and chopped 1/8 oz Monterey Jack or Cheddar ½ tsp cornmeal ¼ tsp oregano [preferably Mexican] + pinch chili roja [red pepper flakes] 2 oz apple OR applesauce 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 a ramekin with non-stick spray and set the toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Put the cornmeal and minced chilis into an ungreased cast iron skillet and toast them over direct heat until cornmeal becomes darker in color and fragrent. Do not let the cornmeal burn or scorch. Remove from hot pan to a bowl. Into the ramekin, put the chicken and the cheese. Whisk together the egg, cornmeal, chilis, half of the yogurt, and seasonings, and pour over the eggs. Bake 12- 15 minutes while you portion the fruit and prepare the beverages. Top the eggs with the remaining dollop of yogurt.

Eggs Pancho Villa: 283 calories 9 g fat 6 g fiber 16 g protein 30 g carbs [29 g Complex] 157 mg Calcium  PB GF  From La Cuisine magazine comes another eggs-for-dinner meal.  TIP: doubles easily.

3/4 cup garbanzo beans, canned, drained, rinsed ¼ cup chopped onions 1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed 1/3 cup crushed tomatoes 1 two-oz egg ¼ oz Swiss cheese, grated ground cumin + chili powder to taste

Cook the onions and garlic in the tomatoes until they are soft.  [HINT: this could be done in the microwave] Add some water if the tomatoes get too thick. Stir in the beans and the spices. Turn into an oven-proof dish about 4” wide. As you can see above, this works well for a small cast iron pan. Poach the egg and put it on the beans/tomatoes. Top with grated cheese and bake at 400 degrees F. for 3 minutes.

Saint Eleuthere

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

In Tournai [modern-day Belgium], there lived a man named Eleuthere or Eleutherius. That name is derived from the Greek, meaning ‘free/ independent’. This was in the time after the fall of the influence of the Roman empire in Western Europe. The Christian church was spreading its influence and so were the Franks. By the time Eleuthere was made bishop of his home town, Clovis the Frankish king had dominion over much of what is now France/Belgium/Netherlands/Germany. Eleuthere was determined to convert Clovis to Christianity. With the help of Queen Clothilde, a closet Christian, and the turning of the Battle of Tolbiac [the queen told Clovis to call on Jesus if the battle went against him — it did, he did, and he won the battle], Clovis was baptized in 496. This began the link of the Church and the rulers of Europe, of which much has been written.

Be independant, a la Eleuthere, and eat some unusual foods. Mackerel may be difficult to find in your area, but try to find it for the breakfast below. There is an island in the Bahamas named Eleuthera where surely a version of our dinner selection is enjoyed.

Mackerel-Leek ScrOmelette:  157 calories 9.5 g fat 1.1 g fiber 12.6 g protein 5.8 g carbs [6.2 g Complex] 61 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  If you can’t find fresh mackerel, substitute another high-Omega-3 fish like salmon or arctic char . 

1 ½ eggs HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume, into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week 1 oz cooked mackerel 1.5 oz leeks ½ tsp Dijon mustard 1 oz strawberries Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Spritz a hot saute pan with non-stick spray and stir in the leeks and mackerel, to soften the leeks and warm the fish. Whisk the eggs with the seasonings and mustard. Pour into the pan and scramble to your taste or prepare as an omelette. Pour the beverages and plate the berries. Oh my!

Lobster ‘Lambi’ & Plantains: 270 calories 8.3 g fat 2.8 g fiber 17.8 g protein 35 g carbs [34 g Complex] 51 mg Calcium  PB GF  A simple meal with flavors of the Caribbean. Easy any season of the year. Ordinarily lambi is made with the meat of the Queen Conch, but if they are unavailable, try lobster tail instead. The plantains are oven-roasted and are a fun new vegetable for us.

3 oz lobster meat 3 oz plantain slices, from a ripe [yellow skin with some black spots] not green plantain ½ Tbsp olive oil 3 oz canteloupe melon 1 lime, cut in half Fresh spinach leaves

Peel the plantains and carefully slice them so they don’t get squished. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Brush with the olive oil and sprinkle with a flavorful salt. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes, then turn the slices and bake for a further 10 minutes.  If the lobster is uncooked, grill it indoors or outdoors while you squeeze juice from half the lime on it. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.  If the lobster meat is cooked already, cut it into bite-sized pieces and squeeze lime juice on it. Place the spinach on the plate with the lobster on top of it. Then arrange the melon and plantains. Keep the other half lime for more juice-squeezing to your taste

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

1 two-oz egg + cornmeal1.5 two-oz eggs 
crushed tomatoes + applecanned white beans
chicken breast meat + green chiliscallion + shrimp
plain yogurt + Monterey jacktomato + peach/clementine
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

0ne 2-oz egg + onionbeets + one 2-oz egg
canned white beans + garlic potato
crushed tomatoes + cuminCanadian or back bacon
Swiss cheese + chili powderonion
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Madama Butterfly

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 Rachel Alexandra who is now Following.

On February 17, 1904, Giacomo Puccini‘s opera Madama Butterfly debuted in Milan at La Scalla Opera House. It was loudly and soundly booed, possibly by a claque of the composer’s rivals, and the opera was withdrawn. This was a stunning blow to Puccini. Ever since he saw an American company perform a short play about an American sailor and his ill-fated affair with a Japanese girl, Puccini wanted to turn it into an opera. He learned Japanese songs from the ambassador’s wife; one of his librettists went to Japan to gain some authenticity. After the disastrous premiere, the team reworked the piece and re-staged it in May to great success. Now the poignant story of the selfish Lt Pinkerton and the trusting Cho-Cho-San [called “Butterfly”] is one of the most popular works in any company’s repertoire and the aria Un Bel Di makes you sad just to hear it, especially when you know the tragic ending.

While we ponder the tale of poor Butterfly, we will eat a very Japanese breakfast which is good tasting and easy to prepare. For dinner, a rather American meal of fish combined with ham and walnuts.

Japanese Onion Soup with Onsen Tamago Egg: 215 calories 5 g fat 2.2 g fiber 16 g protein 29 g carbs [9 g Complex] 48 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg soup and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Our Younger Son prepared this for us one morning after a lot of heavy eating and it was a revelation: light yet hearty and so delicious. “Onsen Tamago” means ‘hot spring’ and it is a very different [to me] way to cook a soft egg.  HINT: This recipe is enough for 2 servings. Very easy to save for another breakfast or lunch one or two days from now.

2 two-oz eggs cooked Onsen Tomago-style** ½ cup sweet onions 2 cups chicken broth 3 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp mirin 1 oz Japanese noodles, such as soba @ 95 calories/ounce garnish: scallions, chopped + Sriracha, to taste 2 oz melon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

**Onsen Tomago EggHINT: The eggs can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. 2 whole eggs in shells + 1 liter water + 1 cup cold tap water Bring 1 liter of water to a boil. Once it boils, remove it from the heat, and add 1c of cold water. Using a slotted spoon, place eggs into the hot water and cover. Let sit for 17 minutes, then remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Serve hot or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Onion Soup: Cook noodles according to package, shock in cold water and put in serving bowls. Place sliced onions and stock into pan and bring to boil. When stock comes to boil, reduce heat to a strong simmer and cover. Cook until onions are soft (they should not be rigid when you pick them up with chopsticks). When onions are almost finished, add soy sauce, mirin, and sriracha and stir. If the liquid has reduced noticibly, add water.  When the onions are finished, pour the onion and broth over noodles. Carefully crack onsen tamago egg into broth. Garnish with green onion and serve the melon on the side. Eat with chopsticks and Japanese soup spoon.

Ham-Stuffed Fish 270 calories 3.5 g fat 23 g protein 16 g carbs 139 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF bread  Another recipe of unknown origin. Glad I saved it.

4 oz tilapia or perch 1 oz sliced ham from the deli 1/2 tsp soy sauce + ½ tsp sherry + 1 egg white ½ piece of whole-grain 70-calorie bread 1 Tbsp finely-chopped walnuts 1 oz carrots, julienned + 1 oz celery, julienned + 1 oz beets 1 scallion

Slice the fish so that it is in 2 pieces of equal length and thickness. Crumble the bread into the finest crumbs and blend thoroughly with walnuts. Whip the egg white until it is very frothy. Blend in the soy sauce and sherry. Make a ‘sandwich’ of the ham slice between the two pieces of fish. Dip in the egg mixture to coat, then dip in the bread/walnuts. Cook in a heavy non-stick pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, until fish is cooked – about 5 minutes per side. Cook the vegetables. Plate the fish and vegetables and sprinkle with sliced scallion.

Quid Pro Quo

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.

There are so many words and phrases in the English language which were lifted directly from latin [that’s a lower-case ‘l’ since the language is no longer spoken in daily life]. “Quid pro quo” has seen a lot of use lately. From its early use in medicine, in common law it has come to mean “something for something” or in the vernacular, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your’s.” Dieting is a bit of a quid pro quo — you do this and you should get that result. It doesn’t always happen that way — due to illness; or slow transit; or cheating on the diet; or there is a food that causes you to gain weight [for me, it is white rice]; or it is the wrong diet for you. Someone I know tried a low fat diet, but that didn’t do anything; then tried cutting calories every day, but that ended because it seemed like a punishment. Then the Fast Diet worked! Two days of 600-calorie eating [QUID] with the result of losing 1-2 pound each week [QUO]. This could work for you, too. Give it a try.

Sweet Potato Pancake Plate: 122 calories 2.2 g fat 2.6 g fiber 9.4 g protein 26.4 g carbs [21 g Complex] 27 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF – if using Brown Rice Flour I suppose you could call these ‘hash-browns’ but they look more like pancakes. Sorta. These potato pancakes are a fine side dish and they hold their own as the star of this breakfast.

2 potato pancakes *** 2 oz applesauce 30-grams Canadian bacon/back bacon = 2 slices Jones brand 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]

Prepare the pancakes or warm them if prepared the night before. Warm the applesauce, and the bacon. Savory and delicious.

***Potato Pancakes  makes 8   8 oz sweet potato, peeled and grated 1.5 oz egg [Whisk one entire egg and measure 1.5 oz of it for this recipe. Use the remainder in baking.] 2 Tbsp minced/grated onion 4 tsp white whole wheat flour OR brown rice flour ½ tsp salt Combine the ingredients while you heat a griddle or heavy skillet. Melt a dab of bacon fat or olive oil in the pan, then spray with non stick spray. Drop the ‘batter’ in 10 piles [I used a ¼ cup measure] on the griddle, then flatten them out to a diameter of 3-4”. Cook on one side, then flip to cook on the other. Save the remaining pancakes for a side dish tomorrow or as part of lunch another day.

Squash-Cupped Bison Chili: 215 calories 3.5 g fat 6.8 g fiber 14.7 g protein 34 g carbs 120 mg Calcium  PB GF  What an easy, delicious, and satisfying meal.  HINT: One squash is enough for 2 servings, so invite a fellow-Faster for dinner. Save the remaining chili for another meal later.

Bison Chilimakes 4 one-cup servings per cup – 136 calories 3.2 g fat 4.8 g fiber 13 g protein 14.5 g carbs 57 mg Calcium  4 oz ground bison 15 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced drained in a sieve [save the juice] 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 cup red onion, chopped 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped 3/4 cup canned red or black beans, drained and rinsed 2-4 tsp chili + ¾ tsp salt + ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin   Cook the venison, onion, garlic, and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the chili is hot throughout. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. 

For tonight’s meal: 5 oz delicata squash, seeds removed one cup Bison Chili or use Chili Non Carne [Sidekicks II, posted 4-Oct-’17] 2 oz melon, as a side savor

Weigh the delicata squash whole and uncut to get a sense of how much will be 5 oz. You will be cutting off one end of the squash and removing the seeds. Cut a small slice off the very end, so it will stand up as a cup for the chili. Put the squash in the microwave oven and cook it until it can be easily pierced with a skewer. Assemble by standing the squash cup in the middle of the plate and pouring the chili in and around it. Then position the melon. Unusual! Teriffic!

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

2 two-oz eggs1.5 two-oz eggs 
sweet onion + beef/chicken brothcooked mackerel
soy sauce + mirinleek + Dijon mustard
scallionstrawberries
Japanese dry noodles, 190 cal/ 2 ozoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

ham slice + walnuts + egg whitelobster tail + plantains
whole-grain bread + carrotslime + olive oil
tilapia or perch + soy saucespinach leaves
sherry wine + beets + scallionmelon
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Baldwin’s Readers

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.

My mother made sure to stock the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom with books. Good books by good authors: Beatrix Potter, Margaret Wise Brown, and 3 books by the American Publishing Company who’s publication dates made them older than she was.  The Baldwin Reader [1895], Fifty Famous Stories Retold [1895], and Old Greek Stories [1895] were among my favorite books. They were the work of James Baldwin [not the later James Baldwin, the author from the Harlem Renaissance], born 1841 in Indiana. At age 11, he decided that he wanted to be a writer, so he sent his story “Two Soldiers” to Forrester’s Boys and Girls Magazine and never looked back. Although he had not much formal education, he taught school and organized the school systems in Noblesville and Huntington, Indiana. One of his educational goals was to promote a love of good literature. To that end, he published Introduction to English Literature in 1882. His reward was an honorary doctorate from DePauw University and later a job offer from Harper and Brothers Publishing in their education department. There, he authored several series of books for school use. From 1894 to 1924, he was an editor at American Book Company where he wrote books used in half the schools in America. Baldwin’s books were well-written, interesting, and a bit preachy. I still have those three books. 125 years later, the beloved stories are still good reading.

In honor of Baldwin’s Old Greek Stories, we will enjoy Greek flavors in our breakfast. One of the Fifty Famous Stories was the tale of William Tell shooting the apple from his son’s head. Because of that, we will dine on Swiss Steak.

Greek ScrOmelette: 152 calories 9.3 g fat 0.6 g fiber 12.6 g protein 4 g carbs [3 g Complex] 88.5 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Feta cheese is such a lovely ingredient. Enjoy it often.

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, pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid, and put it in the ‘fridge for next week. 0.37 [3/8] oz feta cheese, reduced fat 1 Tbsp tomato puree [not tomato paste] 2 large pinches of cinnamon + of oregano 1 Tbsp pomegranate seeds –OR– 1-1/4 oz applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon 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]

Cream the tomato puree with the feta cheese and seasonings, then whisk in the eggs. OR Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan. As soon as the bottom of the eggs sets, spread the cheesse-tomato-seasonings on top of the egg. Scramble or cook as an omelette. Prepare the optional beverages and spoon out the pomegranate/apple for a real taste of Greece.

Swiss Steak: 226 calories 7 g fat 4.5 g fiber 27 g protein 14.5 g carbs [14 g Complex] 58 mg Calcium This is a recipe from Fannie Farmer’s cookbook  which I fondly remember from my childhood. HINT: This recipe makes enough for two [2], so save half of it for a future lunch or dinner.

½ pound chuck steak, cut 1 to 1.5” thick 1 Tbsp white whole wheat [OR GF] flour + salt + pepper 1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned are OK ¼ cup minced green bell peppers ¼ cup minced onion herbs to taste  per serving: 1/4 cup cut green beans + 1/4 cup carrots, diced

Leave the meat in one piece or cut into two parts. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper and dredge the meat in it. If you wish, pound the meat with a tenderizing tool or the edge of a sturdy plate. Combine the tomatoes with the vegetables and herbs. Heat a heavy skillet with a lid and spray it well with oil or cooking spray. Brown the meat on both sides and pour the tomatoes over it. Cover and cook very slowly for 2 hours until the meat is very tender, adding water if the tomatoes are in danger of sticking. This can be cooked on the cooktop at low or in the oven at 325 F. Steam or boil the beans and carrots to serve along-side the beef with its sauce.

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

1 two-oz eggThis will be a discussion of 
ricotta cheese + cottage cheese‘marvelous mixtures’ —
flour + sugarfor dinner meals or for
banana + molassesbreakfasts
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

6-9 two-oz eggsThis will be a discussion of
Swiss chard or spinach, fresh‘marvelous mixtures’ —
olive oil + Parmesan cheesesuitable for dinners or
granulated garlic + paprikafor breakfasts
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The Man Who Invented Robots

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.

The word ‘robot’ was invented in 1920, by Karel Capek. He wrote a dystopian science fiction play called R.U.R. which stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”. The play imagines the industrialist Rossum, who invents humanoid automatons, dubbed ‘robots‘, which can replace humans in any occupation. One would think this is to eliminate boring, mind-killing work — but really it was to make money. Of course, humans use the robots to wage wars and eventually the robots rebel, wiping out all but one human: a technician who can help them to create more robots.

Karel Capek was born in what is now the Czech Republic on January 9 in 1890. A sickly child, he turned to literature as an adult in the form of journalism and play-writing. His work ran him afoul of the Gestapo, since Capek was an ardent anti-Fascist and anti-Communist. Others praised his work and he was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Capek died of influenza/pneumonia in 1938.

For Capek’s birthday, we start with a meal so simple that even a human can prepare it. “Rosey” the Jetson’s robot housekeeper can take the morning off. The dinner is a soup that the author might well have eaten, especially since garlic is supposed to fight colds.

Parmesan-Chive Scramble:  159 calories 9.7 g fat 1 g fiber 12.7 g protein 5.2 g carbs [4.3 g Complex] 139 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the Scramble and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  This is the Scramble version of my Dear Husband’s ‘Bake’ of the same ingredients. Still wonderful! 

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   1.5 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 1.5 Tbsp minced fresh chives 1 oz kiwi fruit   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Whisk together the chives, cheese, and eggs. Turn into a hot pan spritzed with oil or non-stick spray. Scramble to perfection and plate with the fruit. Pour your choice of beverages and dig into a bright breakfast, even on a grey day.

Czech Garlic Soup: 194 calories 4.7 g fat 4.3 g fiber 9 g protein 27 g carbs [18.4 g Complex] 84 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF rye bread What could be better on a cold winter’s night than a cozy bowl of soup? This is a classic, but feel free to make it your own. The calorie count is so low that you could add other vegetables or some low-fat meat. Flavor!!!

1 Tbsp unsalted butter OR bacon fat  
7 cloves garlic
Chop garlic and saute in butter/fat in a stock pot.
7 cups water OR   Chicken Broth OR Beef Broth
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups cubed potatoes  
3 cups cubed parsnips
Peel potatoes and parsnips and cut in cubes. Add to broth and salt in a large pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are just under-done. Remove ½ cup soup stock and cool.
1 egg
1 tsp marjoram
Whisk the egg, then whisk in the reserved ½ cup of soup stock. Return to the stockpot, stirring, and add marjoram. Taste for seasoning. Let sit 8-24 hours.
per serving: 1/2 oz sourdough rye bread, cubed
1/4 oz Swiss cheese, grated
Toast the cubes of bread. Grate the cheese over them while hot. Use to garnish the reheated soup.

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

1 two-oz eggsweet crepe + uncured bacon
Vache Qui Rit [Laughing Cow] cheeselow-fat ricotta cheese
lots of herbs + ricotta cheeselow-fat yogurt
melonstrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

galette + fish stock
Arctic char, 4 oz
3.5 oz tuna/mixed seafood +
cauliflower + zucchini
green peas, edamame, snow peas–
one type or a combination
bechamel sauce + carrot
optional: watercress sauce
Laughing Cow cheese

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