Slow Days: Lavender Scones

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forumwhich attest to that. Once in a while your 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.

Breakfasts at our house are a treat. True, cereal [hot or cold] is on the menu twice a week, but the other days see a succession of delightful baked goods or savory egg dishes. I like to bake and Dear Husband likes to get up early to prepare breakfast — our’s is a marriage made in heaven. Often, the night before, I will prepare something to be baked and then leave it on the counter to be finished and presented the next morning. This works for most yeasted recipes and definitely for ‘quick breads’ which are raised with ‘double acting’ baking powder. One such recipe is Lavender Scones.

You’ll have to find your own recipe for scones — I’m sworn to secrecy about mine. The key is adding fresh lavender buds: 1-2 tsp of buds which have been picked off the stems.

That’s buttermilk, by the way, not plain milk. It makes the leavening act differently.

Since there are only 2 of us, all I need to bake are 4-5 scones for a breakfast. This requires 1 cup of the dry ingredients, even though the whole batch has been prepared. The remaining dry ingredients are stored in a jar for another day.

I’ll use 1 cup of the scone mix to serve 2 people with 2 scones each. The storage jar is labeled ‘buttermilk’ to remind me to use that. If you don’t have lavender, you could add dried black currants or zante currants or other dried fruit to the mixture.

Here the table is set with the full meal: fruit yogurt [we add our own fruit to low-fat yogurt], Canadian bacon [back bacon to many of you], cafe au lait, rhubarb juice, and of course the Lavender Scones. A delightful Summer meal.

Slow Days: Siracusa Pasta

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your 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.

This recipe is from Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s book The Italian Country Table. She describes visiting the market in Siracusa, Sicily: the people she chats with and the ingredients that inspired this recipe. From them she makes a wondrous pasta dish. The following ingredients make enough for TWO [2] servings.

You will really need a mise en place for this preparation, so set it up now.

Garlic [3 cloves], 1/4 cup red onion, zest of orange/lemon, oregano, 1/2 cup basil + 8 oil-cured olives, 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 3 oz mozzarella, 3 oz ditalini pasta. The garlic is sautéed until pale gold and removed. Over medium-high heat, the onion is sautéed the same way before the zest is added for 30 seconds. The oregano is added and cooked for 30 seconds. Take off heat while you cook the pasta for 5-6 minutes until it is still firm to the tooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add the pasta water to the sauce pan and cook, along with the garlic, for 30 seconds. Add the pasta, basil, and olives, tossing everything to coat it with the flavors. Put the tomatoes in the pan and taste for seasoning. Plate with the cheese. I added basil leaves and clementine sections for even more color and bright flavor.

Gosh it is good.

Breakfasts on the Wall

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 Organic Tree who is now Following.

We all like to go on vacation: to visit new places and have new experiences. It has been said that “Travel is broadening.”  But that can be a problem — you go on a great trip and come back with several extra pounds.  Often the reason given is that “when you stay in a hotel, you have to eat off the menu and therefore you can’t possibly continue to Fast.”  I’m here to argue against that.  Two years ago, I went on a hiking trip with our cousin and her son. The Hadrian’s Wall Path is 84 miles long. We started on the East end [Wallsend, Northumberland] and walked to the West end [Bowness-on-Solway, Cumbria].  And all along the way we stayed in a variety of places: from hotels to inns to holiday parks. The Wall and the Wall Path were truly  amazing: a wonderful walk through beautiful countryside and pretty villages.  We hiked 8 days, ranging from 5 to 19 miles per day.  Can you Fast while on vacation? Yes.  Can you Fast and still go hiking? Yes. It was great. End of the Trail The trip covered two Fast Days and here are some of my breakfast choices for the week:

2-3gg omelette on the road

A two-egg omelette ordered off the menu with a side of mushrooms and a cup of coffee was just what I needed at the  Benkinsopp Castle Inn in Brampton.

 

In East Wallhouses, at the Robin Fasting on the TrailHood Inn, scrambled eggs on toast became the perfect start to a day on the Path. This is similar to a meal we would have at home a Fast Day. [The extra pieces of toast were not eaten.]

 

 

English Breakfast on the Trail

Of course at some point in England one will be served the Full English Breakfast, as we were at the Gilsland Spa Hotel in Brampton. This can be a temptation for a real pig-out, but I opted for lots of protein and some fruit yogurt.

Slow Days: Florentine Sandwich

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?  Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum  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.

Our FirstBorn and his wife love to travel.  On a trip to Firenze, Italy, in addition to the art and history, they discovered a panini shop and this sandwich.  They prepared it for us when we visited them and gifted us with the ingredients at Christmas.  How splendid to have generous, creative offspring!  The bread is a ‘no knead’ Focaccia, recipe perfected by FirstBorn, which is really easy to bake — although it needs an 8-12 hour rising time, which takes some planning ahead.  Surely you could buy some bread locally.  My batch produced 4 round loaves, 8″ in diameter, each weighing 6-7 oz.

The ingredients to serving two are simple: 1 loaf focaccia bread, 2 Tbsp creamy white cheese [Stracchino or crème fraiche or whipped cream cheese or Philadelphia brand 1/3 fat Cream Cheese [‘Neufchatel’], 2 Tbsp truffle cream [combination of mushrooms, oil, truffles], 1 oz uncured capicola ham, and 1.5 cups arugula or ‘spring mix’ greens. Florentine Sandwiches, mise                                       To assemble, cut the loaf around the equator into two equal rounds.  Spread the soft cheese on the bottom round, then spread on the truffle cream.  Arrange the ham evenly on top, then heap on the greens.  Sprinkle with a good finishing salt and top with the other piece of the loaf.Florentine Sandwiches, plated   This serves two very nicely, or three if you had more sides than the cherry tomatoes.

 

Slow Days: Apulia Pizza

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forumwhich attest to that. Once in a while your 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.

Every Saturday night, we eat pizza for dinner. These are home-made, personal-size [8″ diameter] pizzas.  The toppings can be simple or extravagant; elegantly crafted or clear-out-the-‘fridge. But on the night before Easter Sunday, somehow the idea of kicking back with a fun and fabulous pizza seems a little out of line.  Some research turned up a pizza made with a cheese from Apulia [aka Puglia]. Far from the glittering lights of the big cities and the tourist haunts, Apulia has had its share of hard times.  This pizza is austere and yet delicious.Puglia Pizza w: wine, salad

The ingredients are few: one 8″ pizza crust per person, olive oil to brush on the crust, Italian herb blend to scatter on the oil, 1/2 cup of grated scamorza [smoked mozzarella] for each pie, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for each pie. Here is a new twist for sharing bread and wine with loved ones or friends.  Optional: 11 halved cherry/grape tomatoes per pie.  Served with a salad and a glass of wine, it is suitable to the day.  In another context, it would make a great appetizer.

Slow Days: French Herb Roast Chicken

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?  Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your 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.

Chicken for dinner every Sunday is the American Standard. The politician’s promise of a “Chicken in every pot!” goes back to King Henri IV of France.  He was from the Gascony region and he understood that the peasantry often lacked food. In 1598, he stated his wish that in his realm no working man would be so poor that he couldn’t have a chicken in the pot every Sunday.  Today’s meal is roasted instead of being stewed, and it is called French Herb Roast Chicken. We eat this about once a month. Lots of meat left over to use for Fast meals!

French Roast Chicken, mise

The chicken cavity is sprinkled with dried tarragon, then stuffed with carrot, celery, and onion.  The skin of the bird is showered with more tarragon and paprika.  Set the oven at 425°F.  Before roasting, the bird is draped with 4 half-slices of bacon. Roast the bird for 30 minutes, then baste with beef stock.  Return to oven at 350°F, basting occasionally for another 30 minutes or until the bird is done.  Boil and mash some potatoes and cook the vegetable of your choice.French Roast Chicken, platedGravy is made from the pan drippings with some mushrooms added for even more flavor.  I always get the wings!  The wine is a Pinot Noir.  The meal was delicious.

 

Slow Days: Crab Pasta

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?  Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum  which attest to that. Once in a while your 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.

We are very fond of crab meat. Not the fancy, high-priced Dungeness or Blue crab, but our New England Coast local Rock and Jonah Crabs.  This commodity appears cooked, picked-over, and packaged in fish markets and grocery stores. A half-pound package is perfect for crab cakes or Crab Pasta. Our recipe comes from the Legal Sea Foods Cookbook, based on menus from the Boston restaurant of the same name. The ingredients seem a bit extravagant, but you are serving 2 people and you don’t eat like this every day.  In our house, pasta appears on the menu once each week.   2 oz/person.Crab Pasta recipe

You will notice that the ingredient amounts for TWO PEOPLE are written in on the left.  See also that the amount of pasta allotted per person is TWO Ounces, although the recipe specifies 4 oz/person.  Note also that we described this meal as ‘Exceptional!’

Create a mise en place with your ingredients.  Follow the above instructions. Our pasta of choice for this dish is ‘gemelli.’  Prepare the salad or vegetable of your choice. Plate and enjoy.Crab Pasta, plated

Slow Days: Pissaladiere

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’   This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers.  Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?  Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight.  There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum 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.

Pissaladière is a classic Provinçal food that looks like a pizza [hence its alias: Pizza Niçoise].  More accurately, it could be described as a flatbread topped with fish-accented caramelized onions.  Perhaps in the cafes of the Midi it has become a cliché, but it was new to us when we tried it at home. And we loved it. I used Joanne Harris’ recipe from her My French Kitchen cookbook.

The ingredients are simple: pizza dough [8″ rounds, one per person], tinned anchovies, black olives, Herbes de Province, and caramelized onions. One late summer day, I had a surfeit of onions, so I caramelized and then froze them. [NB: it takes about an hour to cook 3.5 pounds of onions to the point where they are ‘soft and slightly caramelized but not brown’ as Joanne Harris says.] Out they came for this meal, making the preparation very easy.

pissaladiere, mise

The pizza dough is shaped and brushed with olive oil. Distribute the onions on top then arrange the anchovies in a lattice pattern. Sprinkle with the Herbes de Province.  Garnish the pattern further by placing olives in the squares created by the anchovy lattice. pissaladiere, plated with brandol      To complete the picture, a simple salad was topped with a lattice of Parmesan curls.  Perfect served with a Bandol wine. The portion shown here is for Dear Husband.  I usually make a meal of 3 slices of pizza + side salad and a glass of wine.  Summer in southern France or Winter in New England, this is a fine meal.

Second Fiddles

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.

What does it mean ‘to play or to be a second fiddle‘?  It means to be the assistant to the leader or boss, which is a good role but it means that you may not get your full share of the glory or fame from what is accomplished. Originally, it referred to seating in an orchestra: the head honcho is the Conductor, of course.  The next most important person is the First Violin [the one who plays the ‘1st Fiddle’], and below that is the Second Violin.  That’s the 2nd Fiddle: close to the fame with important work to do, but often over-looked. Tomorrow will be the birthday of an over-looked man: Roy Disney.  He was co-founder and partner in the Disney organization, playing second fiddle to his younger brother, Walt the cartoonist and media visionary. Despite the fact that Roy was a financial wizard  who brought Disney World into fulfillment and put Orlando, Florida on the map, the only human who comes to mind when you say “Disney’ is Walt.                                                                                                  Side dishes play second fiddle to the main meal. That’s too bad as they can tend to be an after-thought: boil up some peas for something green on the plate. Let’s up our game and serve some side dishes that really add some zest to the meal.

Lamb Kabobs w: corn relish

CORN-TOMATO SALSA          makes 1.5 cups 87 calories per 3/4 cup serving                                                    1 cup corn kernels                                                                                                                                                       1 cup diced tomato                                                                                                                                                  2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper                                                                                                                           2 Tbsp diced red onion                                                                                                                                         2 Tbsp cider vinegar                                                                                                                                                1/4 tsp dry mustard                                                                                                                                                 1/8 tsp tumeric                                                                                                                                                          ¼ tsp sugar                                                                                                                                                                    2 dashes ground cumin

Felafel w: Cuke Raita

CUCUMBER RAITA               use as a side dish or in wraps                                                                                             1 cup non-fat yogurt                                                                                                                                                 1 Tbsp lime juice                                                                                                                                                      1 clove garlic, pressed                                                                                                                                              1 cup cucumber, seeded and diced                                                                                                                   ½ tsp ground cumin                                                      ¼ tsp salt                                                                          ¼ tsp ground pepper                                                                                       1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped                                Combine all ingredients and use immediately or chill up to 30 minutes.

Fish Kabobs w: fresh Polenta

FRESH POLENTA          1 serving = 1/3 cup = 80 calories                                                                                                          1.25 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen                                                                                                                      1 tsp unsalted butter                                                                                                                                         freshly-ground pepper + salt                                                                                                                                      Puree the corn in a blender until smoother in texture [it won’t be like whipped cream, but you shouldn’t see whole kernels]. Put butter in a warm pan, then add the corn, pepper and salt. Cook about 30 seconds or until it becomes thicker. From Jacques Pepin, this is excellent served with a simply prepared fish.

Haggis Spring Rolls

SIDE SALAD        Serves 1 = 36 calories, easily doubles or triples                                                                                           1 cup lettuce, slice into <1/2” strips if leaves are large                                                                                 ½ oz grated carrots                                                                                                                                                   1 oz tomato                                                                                                                                                               ½ tsp olive oil, plain or flavor-infused [ex: lime]                                                                                            ½ tsp flavorful vinegar                                                   salt and pepper to taste                                                                                                                                 optional: 1/2 oz boiled, cubed beets [adds 6 calories]  

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs
1 felafel patty [Stocking Up 4-I-2018]salami, thinly-sliced
tomato puree or crushed tomatoespear
blueberries
Whatever you need for your smoothieWhatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverageWhatever you need for your hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

6 felafel pattiespork tenderloin + honey  + garlic
lettuce  + tomatoesfresh green beans  + red bell pepper
carrot  +  beets  +  feta cheesefresh ginger  + soy sauce + canola oil
white wine vinegar + flavored olive oilcrushed red pepper +   scallion
Sparkling waterSparkling water

                                                                                                                                        

Slow Days: Sister’s Pasta Sauce

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions:  “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?”   To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’   This feature will appear sporadically.                                                                                                                              Now for the answers.  Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight.  There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which show that is true.  But once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t every day.  For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet.  As for how we eat,  an example follows.

When our parents were alive and still hosting Christmas at their house, my sister would prepare her special pasta for Christmas Eve.  It is the tradition in many cultures to eat a meatless dinner on December 24, and this recipe from Bon Appétit magazine fills the bill.  It is a lot easier if you start several days before to prepare the sauce. I like to make it much earlier in December and freeze it.Sukey Pasta, mise 1

The sauce involves sautéing 1.5 cups onion and 1 clove garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes, then adding basil, red pepper flakes, and 3 cans [28-oz cans] of whole or crushed tomatoes in their juice.  Cook uncovered on low for 2 hours, then add 2 cups chicken stock. Continue to simmer for another 2 hours until the amount of sauce is reduced to 6-8 cups. The resultant rich, flavorful sauce is mostly used in the Christmas Pasta, but it will grace a more humble dish as well.

To complete the pasta dish for four people, cook 12 oz of penne pasta until it is just under-done. [NB: Ordinarily I use 2 oz pasta per serving so this should serve 6 people.  The remainders from this meal can be served as lunch.]  Gently heat 20 fl oz Sister’s Pasta Sauce, adding 1/3 cup of quartered wrinkly black olives or Kalamata olives and 2 cups grated Havarti cheese. Combine with the drained pasta and put in a lightly-oiled casserole dish.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and bake at 350° F for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese begins to brown slightly. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with Italian Green Beans or Green Salad and a crusty loafSister's Pasta, plated.

I’m always sure to save out enough sauce to prepare the pasta again before Easter, to give a culinary link to the two holidays.