Twelfth Night

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.

As the song tells us, there are 12 Days of Christmas. The counting begins on Christmas Day and continues into January. The 12th Day is the day before Epiphany, January 6, which traditionally marks the day that the Three Kings and their gifts visited the baby Jesus and his family. Because of this, January 6 is a day of gift-giving in many countries. It is also called Three King’s Day and it marks the official ‘end’ of the Christmas Season. Because the twelfth day was the end of festivities and the next day was a Holy Day, the night before Epiphany was the last night for partying and took on particular significance. That night before is called ‘Twelfth Night.’ Yes, Shakespeare wrote a play of that title. Special parties and revelry were planned, along with certain foods. A King Cake was a typical in France, a tradition transplanted to the French colony of Louisiana. This confection was baked with non-edible tokens inside and party-goers would hope to find in their slice of cake a coin [symbolizing wealth for the up-coming year] or a ring [next to marry] or, in today’s New Orleans, a tiny plastic Baby. If you find the Baby, then you are crowned King or Queen of the night, complete with a crown — and you will have to host the party next year. And after Twelfth Night came the Feast of the Three Kings and after that it was back to the hum-drum work-a-day world. Except that we are talking about celebrations in the 12th through 17th centuries and the nobility who lived then — their work-a-day world was far different from that of the hundreds of peasants and servants who made the nobles’ lives possible. My parents always gave their seasonal party on 12th Night, and it was always a success.

Our breakfast contains three principle ingredients, in honor of the Three Kings. Our dinner is typical of the American South at New Year’s: greens and sausage are a classic meal, right down to the touch of molasses.

Carne-Green Chili ScrOmelette: 168 calories 13.5 g fat 1.4 g fiber 12.5 g protein 13 g carbs 48 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  The directions below are for an omelette, or as the name ScrOmelette implies, you could scramble it all.

1½ two-oz eggs  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.    ½ oz roasted green chilies [Hatch brand is very good] ½ ounce carne adovada [pork shoulder with hot spices boiled until it falls apart: make ahead and freeze for future use] 1½ oz apple or unsweetened apple sauce  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

Whisk the eggs with salt + pepper to taste. Drain the chilis, if too liquidy, and stir with the carne. Put the eggs into a hot pan spritzed with cooking spray. Once the bottom of the eggs are set, sprinkle with carne and chilis, fold and plate. Slice or dish the fruit, prepare your beverages. Enjoy your fine South-Western breakfast with mocha coffee for authentic taste.

Andouille with Beans & Greens:  213 calories 7.5 g fat 6 g fiber 16.5 g protein 22 g carbs 120 mg Calcium  PB GF  After reading Vallery Lomas’ recipe in the New York Times, I decided to see if I could make these flavors suitable for a Fast meal. Here is the result and it is a treat.  HINT: This recipe serves three [3].

6 oz Andouille, slicedCook and stir sausage in a heavy skillet until browned, 5-7 mins.
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
Mince shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent, ~2 mins.
3c/4 oz collards
salt & pepper
Coarsely chop and add greens. Add 3 Tbsp water. Toss-cook to wilt, 2-3 mins. Add salt and pepper. 
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 c. cannellini beans
1 c. diced tomato
2 tsp molasses
Rinse and drain the beans. Add these ingredients and toss to warm through. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
fresh chives + kiwi fruit2 oysters
Parmesan cheeseuncured American bacon
reduced-fat ricotta cheesestrawberries or cherries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

olive oil + garlic + oregano sprig + parsleychicken or turkey thigh meat, uncooked + dashi
collards or kale or Swiss chard + shallotsoy sauce + mirin + chives/scallions
canned beans, like kidney + red pepper flakessaki or dry sherry + sugar
whole wheat pasta or brown rice or barley2 eggs + parsley: Italian or Mitsuba
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Slow Days: Peach Wine DIY, Bottling

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.

Bet you thought I’d forgotten about that peach wine that we started a year ago! Mine has taken a l-o-n-g time to clear and maybe your’s did too. We have to wait until all the particles — the ‘lees’ — have settled, lest the wine be cloudy. This can take anywhere from 5 months to more than a year! It does not harm the wine to wait that long. You might have seen these words on a bottle of grape wine: ‘aged on the lees for 12 months’ or ‘sur lie.’ That is the wine-maker telling you that he/she left the wine in a barrel, settling, and in contact with the lees, for a long time. Some say that this adds more flavor to the wine. There is a quicker way to settle the lees, and that is by adding a chemical substance with various trade names. For me, the fewer chemicals I add to the wine, the better.

Equipment: several large [4-6 cup capacity] jars with lids. 5 wine bottles. 1 Liter measuring cup or equivalent. 5-7 corks, size #9. jar large enough to hold all the corks. Camden Solution. sugar + water hydrometer and cylinder. corking device.

Let’s get down to bottling now that the wine is crystal clear. First, we decant the wine off the lees. I like to sterilize [with Camden Solution, remember?] large jars, holding 4-6 cups, and pour the wine off the lees into the jars. Have a few jars available so you can pour from the fermenting bottle without stopping. If you pour some wine out, then put the bottle down, some of the lees will kick up and cloud the wine again. Cloudy wine at the bottom can be poured into an appropriately sized bottle and topped with an air lock. It will settle again, yielding some more wine in a month or two. The remaining lees can be poured down the sink. Wash 5 wine bottles and give them a sterilizing rinse.

Next, prepare a Simple Syrup. That’s 1/2 cup of granulated white sugar dissolved in a 1/2 cup of water — heating gently will help to dissolve the sugar. Pour boiling water in to a jar and add 5 corks. The corks will float so to submerge them fully, I put a smaller diameter jar on top of them to hold them down. Soak the corks for 10 minutes — not longer. After 10 minutes, drain the corks and keep covered.

You now need the hydrometer and the cylinder that goes with it. Sterilize them both. Take a good look at the hydrometer. See the line labeled 1.000? If you take the Specific Gravity [SG] of the wine and it floats at the 1.000 line [or closer to the 0.990 mark], then all the sugar that you initially put into the mixture has ‘fermented out’ and turned to alcohol. This produces a very dry wine, but with less flavor. Taste it and see how you like it. If you love it, go ahead and bottle it as is.

Here is the initial reading I took from my Peach Wine: ~0.904 Too dry. If, like me, you want to make a less dry wine, then you will want to add some of the Simple Syrup. Sterilize a 1 Liter measuring cup and pour 750 ml wine into it. Add a little bit — 1 Tablespoon? — of the syrup and pour the wine into the cylinder and test it again. Taste as you go — in little sips! If you get tipsy at this point, your judgement and small-motor skills will be impaired!

If you expect me to give you exact amounts, dream on — this is the ‘art’ of wine-making. Continue to taste and pour and test until it suits you. This time [it varies from batch to batch], the SG that tasted good to me was between the ’10’ and the ’20’ — about 1.015. When you find an SG level that appeals your taste, bottle it. To do that, pour the contents of the 1 Liter measuring cup into the clean bottle until the wine level is just a little way up the neck — 2- 3″ below the top of the bottle. The empty space between the bottom of the cork and the top of the wine is called “ullage.” Continue to adjust the SG for each bottle of wine and to fill the bottles to a good ullage. IMPORTANT: Since you have added more sugar, there is the risk that the sugar will start fermentation again. Then pressure builds up in the bottle and the cork explodes out of the bottle! You do not want your wine to go to waste, so add either 1/2 or a full Camden tablet to each bottle to stabilize it. This adds a little Sulfite to the wine which kills the bacteria.

Now you can cork the bottles. Take a cork [I use #9] and dip one end into Camden solution. Put that end into the corker [pictured above, center] and push it down to the lower end of the tube. Place the bottles on a surface lower than a counter: on the door of an open oven or the door of an open dishwasher or into a sink or on the floor. Stand near and above the bottle so you can get good leverage. Put the corker on the mouth of the bottle and, while keeping the corker upright, push down on the handles to move the cork into the bottle. Takes some getting used to… Put a label on the bottle [there are websites for that], telling the type of wine and the date of bottling.

And now you have a country wine of your own making. Resist the urge to drink a bottle tonight. The wine will improve if you ‘lay it down’ [put it on its side in a cool, dark place] for a month or so. Then you can cook with it or drink it with meals. Dear Husband, who knows a bit about wine, suggests that country wines are better chilled. Remember that the recommended amount of daily wine for women is 5 oz and for men it is 8 oz. Be responsible with alcohol — your health depends on it.

Berchtoldstag

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 Hasselnuss Hock

January 2 is the date to celebrate Berchtoldstag or Berchtold’s Day in many cantons of Switzerland. Oddly, no one seems to know who Berchtold was! He might have been the Duke Berchtold V, who in 1191, founded the capital city of Bern. Or the day could be named for a Swiss-German Benedictine monk named Berchtold of Engelberg. Perhaps the name comes from the word “berchten” which means ‘to wander about asking for food.’ Whatever. German-speaking descendants of the Alemenni tribe in Germany, Switzerland, and Alsace seize the day for village feasts, costumed parades, and celebration of local tradition. This is not a religious holiday or a saint’s day, but a cultural observance. Protestants tried to stamp out the festival during the Reformation, but it has persisted. Children go around asking for nuts, a rather more healthy ‘trick-or-treat’ tradition. With the nuts, they play all sorts of games and build tiny towers called ‘hocks’ with four nuts as the base and one balanced on top. Try it. Go nuts on 2 January, and celebrate an ancient festival.

Nuts are on the menu for Berchtoldstag — but not the walnuts or hazelnuts that the children expect. Our breakfast will use almonds and the dinner will include peanuts as an ingredient. Ok, ok — peanuts are not true nuts, but they are enjoyed worldwide.

Peachy Waffle Hearts148 calories 3.4 g fat 3.6 g fiber 3.6 g protein 29 g carbs 59.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB  GF– if using GF waffles  Where is it written that hearts are reserved for Valentine’s Day? Make this breakfast to show someone that he/she/they are loved. Make it for yourself for affirmation.

3 sections of waffle that are heart-shaped [our waffle-maker has 5 heart-shaped sections] 3 Tbsp Vanilla yogurt, low-fat 2 Tbsp almond meal/flour 3 oz peach, mashed 2 oz pear, cut as 3 slices   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Combine the yogurt with the almond meal and let it sit to thicken a bit. Can be done overnight. Mash the peach through a sieve to make a mush. Warm the waffles to take off any chill and spread with the peach mush. Pipe or spoon the yogurt around the edges of the hearts and plate with the pear. A pretty treat.

Chicken Satay: 262 calories 9 g fat 3 g fiber 24 g protein 17 g carbs 23 mg Calcium  PB GF  It looks so elegant in the restaurant, yet it is easy to prepare at home. Feel free to vary the vegetables if you wish.

3 oz uncooked chicken breast 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp satay sauce [Taste of Thai or Thai Kitchen] 1½ tsp peanut butter pinch granulated garlic Sriracha to taste 1 oz cherry tomatoes 2-3 oz cauliflower, sliced across the entire head 

Cut the chicken into 1” pieces. Put in a bowl and mix well with 1 Tbsp of satay sauce. Let sit 4-12 hours in the refrigerator. In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp of satay sauce with the peanut butter, garlic powder, and Sriracha. Slice the cauliflower into a ‘steak’ [across the head] that weighs 2-3 oz and brush it with the peanut sauce. Skewer the marinated meat on wooden or metal picks. Broil or grill both the meat [takes less time] and cauliflower [takes more time] until done. Plate with the tomatoes.

Thomas Becket

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.

The Beket [sic] Family moved to England from Normandy after William of Normandy became King of England. They were well-known merchants, though not terribly wealthy. Determined to set their son, born 1119/20, on a good career path, they provided him with a good education. Young Thomas had to go to work during his teen years, due to his father’s financial reverses. Through family connections, he landed a job as a clerk, then moved up to a post in the entourage of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas was an able administrator and the Archbishop suggested to King Henry II that he should be Chancellor of England at age 35. King Henry and the Chancellor hit if off and became fast friends. Becket [French version anglicized] was the King’s ambassador, battle-leader, money-manager, and party buddy for years. Becket raked in money and enjoyed a lavish, libertine lifestyle. One problem nagged the King: the Church of England, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, often thwarted the King’s efforts to curtail its powers. In 1162, Henry took advantage of a vacancy in the post to appoint Thomas Becket, who was not even a priest, to be Archbishop of Canterbury AND Lord Chancellor at the same time. Becket suggested that this might not be a good idea: he would have to take holy orders and would have to carry out the dictates of the Pope, rather than those of the King. In June, he was made a priest and the next day, an archbishop. A change came over Thomas: he became pious, lived more frugally, and embraced the Church. When Becket resigned as Chancellor, the King was most angry. When Becket sided with the Church, the King threatened to confiscate his lands. Fearful of retribution, Becket went to France, where he stayed for six years. The King and the Archbishop reconciled, and Becket was assured that he could safely return to England to resume his duties. He returned to cheering throngs in Canterbury on 1 December 1170. Once there, he excommunicated some of Henry’s allies. The King was in France for Christmas. When he heard of this, he went ballistic in front of his followers. “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” he raged. Or maybe he said, “What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric!” At any rate, four of his trusted knights left Normandy for Canterbury straight away. Told of their arrival on 29 December, Thomas entered the Cathedral, sure that no one could harm him there. He was wrong. The knights pursued him, and when they could not remove him, hacked at him — cutting off the top of his head, then stabbing him and scattering his brains on the floor. Thus testified the several eye witnesses. Europe was horrified by the murder in the Cathedral: Henry was described as a monster, Thomas was hailed as a martyr. His grave became a pilgrimage site — that’s where Chaucer’s band of story-telling travelers is headed in Canterbury Tales. Within months over 700 miracles were attributed to Becket, and he was canonized a mere three years later. Henry was excommunicated, did penance in many different ways, and went on as King. He had never specifically ordered the killing of Becket, but the ‘your wish is my command’ tradition had lead to a grisly death. Leaders should be careful of the effects of their words — they can lead to murder or the attempted overthrow of governments.

For Becket’s Norman roots, a breakfast of typically Norman ingredients. Thomas was martyred just three days after the Feast of Stephen, a martyr who was killed by stones. Thus, Stone Soup for dinner, the ‘recipe’ based on a French Folktale.

Omelette Normande: 174 calories 11 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs 46 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  Cooking in Normandy naturally involves apple and cream, even at breakfast. This is the breakfast version of a Norman dessert omelette.

1½ eggs HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume, into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.  1½ oz apple, peeled and sliced thinly 1½ tsp heavy/whipping cream ½ tsp butter ¼ tsp sugar ¼ tsp cinnamon 1 oz peach   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Peel and slice the apples and cook them slowly in a saute pan with the butter, sugar, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp water, and a healthy spray of non-stick spray. Add more water if the pan gets dry – you don’t want the apples to stick or scorch. Cook until the apples are almost soft and there is no more liquid in the pan. HINT: You can do this the night before. Whisk the eggs with the cream and a little salt while the apples heat/stay warm in the saute pan. Pour in the eggs and let them cook undisturbed until done. Fold and plate with the peach or other fruit of 11 calories. Picture apple trees in bloom.

Stone Soup: 125 calories 1.4 g fat 4 g fiber 7.5 g protein 21 g carbs 55.6 mg Calcium   PB GF –if using GF bread A recipe based on the old French folktale about ‘making soup out of stones.’ And it tastes good, too.  HINT: Makes 8 servings.

Stone Soup, served with a chunk of granite in each bowl.

½ pound granite or basalt stones, in large pieces – well scrubbed  2 quarts water 4 oz beef, diced 4 oz carrots, peeled and sliced 4 oz cabbage, sliced 4 oz parsnips, peeled and cubed 4 oz green beans, cut to 1” 4 oz red potato, diced 4 oz spinach, chopped 4 oz white beans lots of herbs + salt + pepper  Optional: slice of artisinal rye bread  adds 100 calories

Put the stones in the water and bring to a simmer. Add the other ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with the bread if you wish.

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

3 sections from heart-shaped waffles1.5 two-oz eggs 
almond meal/almond flourcarne adavado
low-fat vanilla yogurtroasted green New Mexico chilis
peach, fresh or canned + pearapple or applesauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken breast, uncookedAndouille sausage + shallot
purchased satay sauce garlic + collard greens
peanut butterfresh thyme + cannellini beans
cauliflower + cherry tomatoestomato + molasses
Sparkling waterSparkling water

The Huron Carol

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.

‘Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunter heard the hymn: “Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

This is the first verse of the Huron Carol as found in a Catholic Hymnal. When I first encountered this song I thought it was a sweet retelling of the Christmas Story by devout Indigenous Peoples in Canada: that they had told the story of Jesus’ birth in their own terms. Would that it were so. The original carol was written by the Jesuit Jean de Brébeuf in the 1600s, who lived among the Hurons [they called themselves ‘Ouendake’ pronounced in English as ‘Wendat.’ The more common name is a French slur meaning ‘rough/uncouth.’] as a missionary and anthropologist. He learned their language and their ways and got along well with them. Brébeuf was killed horribly by a rival tribe in 1649. In 1926, the hymn was ‘translated’ by Jesse Middleton. It is true that ‘translation’ does not imply word-for-word replacement, rather the purpose is to convey the sense and feeling of the work. Here is a side-by-side of the original and the two English versions:

Brebeuf’s words in the Wendat language.The Wendat words rendered into EnglishMiddleton’s interpretaion 
Estenniayon de tsonwe Iesous ahatonnia
onn’ awatewa nd’ oki n’ onyouandaskwaentak
ennonchien eskwatrihotat n’onyouandiyonrachatha
Iesous ahatonnia, ahatonnia. 

Iesous ahatonnia.

Ayoki onkiennhache eronhiayeronnon
iontonk ontatiande ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
Warie onn’ awakweton ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
Iesous ahatonnia, ahatonnia.

Iesous ahatonnia.
Have courage, you who are humans. Jesus, He is born.
Behold, it has fled, the spirit who had us as prisoner.
Do not listen to it, as it corrupts our minds, the spirit of our thoughts.
They are spirits, coming with a message for us, the sky people.
They are coming to say, ‘Come on, be on top of life, rejoice!’
‘Mary has just given birth, come on, rejoice.’
‘Three have left for such a place; they are men of great matter.’
‘A star that has just appeared over the horizon leads them there.’
‘He will seize the path, a star that leads them there.’
As they arrived there, where He was born, Jesus.
The star was at the point of stopping, He was not far past it.
Having found someone for them, He says, ‘Come here.’
Behold, they have arrived there and have seen Jesus.
They praised a name many times saying,
‘Hurray, He is good in nature.’
They greeted Him with respect,
Oiling His scalp many times, saying, ‘Hurray!’
‘We will give to Him honour to His name.’
Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp’d His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high…
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

Brebeuf’s intent was to tell the story in the peoples’ own language, in terms that would connect their native religion to Christian theology. He showed cultural sensitivity by putting it in their tongue. His tune was that of a French folk-song. The English version of that seems stilted to our ears, and overly wordy, but a word-for-word translation can sound like that. [ex: The pen of my aunt is on the bureau of my uncle.] The Middleton version panders to a quaint notion of Indian life and ways. [Remember that for most of the 1900s, ‘Indians’ were non-people in Canada and the US.] As a cute song, it is OK. But PLEASE don’t attribute it to Brebeuf or the Wendat people or imagine that Native Peoples are sitting around their Christmas trees in a wigwam singing this song on December 25. Instead, take Brebeuf’s Christmas words to heart: “Come on! Be on top of life! Rejoice!” Good message.

Our recipes are based on ingredients that the First Nations people used: corn, tomato [OK, Wendats did not grow tomatoes], eggs, squash, beans, bison.

Corn Salsa Egg Toast: 196 calories 7 g fat 5 g fiber 10 g protein 26.6 g carbs 55.6 mg Calcium  NB: The food values are for the meal and fruit only and do not include the optional coffeePB GF – if using GF bread  Here is a taste treat for breakfast-time.

3 Tbsp Corn-Tomato Salsa** 1 slice 70-calorie whole grain bread [Dave’s Killer Bread is perfect] one 2-oz egg, fried or scrambled or hard-boiled 2 oz apple   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Toast bread lightly. Cook the egg or slice the hard-cooked egg. Spread salsa on bread and top with egg. Plate with fruit and enjoy another easy, flavorful meal.

**CORN-TOMATO SALSA  makes 1½ cups  1 cup corn kernels 1 cup diced tomato 2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper 2 Tbsp diced red onion 2 Tbsp cider vinegar ¼ tsp dry mustard 1/8 tsp turmeric ¼ tsp sugar 2 dashes ground cumin  Stir everything together and find lots of ways to use it. 

Squash-Cupped Bison Chili: 215 calories 3.5 g fat 7 g fiber 14.5 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, and the chili is enough for 4 servings. Invite a fellow-Faster for dinner. Save the remaining chili for another meal later.

For tonight’s meal: 5 oz delicata squash, seeds removed 1 cup Bison Chili** or use Chili Non Carne  2 oz melon, as a garnish

Weigh the delicata squash whole and uncut to get a sense of how much will be 5 oz. You will be cutting off the ends of the squash and removing the seeds, to produce a hollow tube of squash: about two inches of squash that will stand up on the plate. 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!

Bison Chiliper cup – 136 calories 3 g fat 5 g fiber 13 g protein 14.5 g carbs 57 mg Calcium PB GF  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 ½ cup green pepper, chopped ¾ cup canned red or black beans, drained and rinsed 2-4 tsp chili powder 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.   makes 4 one-cup servings

Solstice Day

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.

Time was that the year was divided into four parts, delineated by the four observable solar events: Winter Solstice, Vernal Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox. It was very convenient that these dates could be observed by High Priests or Holy People, since no one had a calendar handy on the wall. Having mileposts on your journey through time help you to mark your way. For herders, the mileposts told you when to move the flocks to grazing in a different location. For farmers, when to plant, when to store up for cold weather. These were also festival days, dedicated to deities of the Sun or deities of the Crops. Sometimes the parties lasted for days! The Sun’s rays will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn on December 21: the moment of the Solstice. This year, on December 22, the Southern Hemisphere will be enjoying its longest day for the first full day of Summer. At the same time, the Northern Hemisphere will be experiencing its shortest day on the first full day of Winter. People here in the North sometimes shiver with dread at the idea of the longest night, but wait! After the Winter Solstice, the days get longer. The converse is true for the beach-going residents of the Southern Hemisphere. All of this season-changing, daylight-changing is due to the tilt of the Earth at 23 degrees from vertical. If the Earth tilted less, seasons would be less pronounced, and the reverse if the Earth were to tilt more. The Wheel turns. The Earth stays true in its orbit. The Sun gives us light. Happy Solstice.

December 22nd will be the first full day of Winter/Summer. Our meals honor both the Summer and the Winter Solstices. It is fun to have special meals to mark events, be they astronomical or cultural. Make the day an occasion!

Summer Solstice Eggs: 140 calories   8 g fat 2 g fiber 10 g protein 7 g carbs 64 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  When a Fast Day falls on or near the Summer Solstice, it calls for a breakfast to mark the occasion. The scallions, or ‘Spring Onions’, are an obvious choice for the departing season and nothing says Summer like tomatoes and basil. The strawberries straddle the seasons.

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 oz scallions [2 large], sliced diagonally 2 oz strawberries 2 oz tomatoes, cherry or standard [I used cherry tomatoes, sliced cross-wise] 2 Tbsp fresh basil, sliced across the leaf  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]

After prepping the vegetables and basil [HINT: I did this the night before], put them into a hot saute pan which has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Season them and put a lid on the pan while they heat and soften. Whisk and season the eggs, remove the lid, and pour the eggs over the vegetables in the pan. Cook, undisturbed, until the eggs are done to your liking. Plate the fruit and pour your choice of beverages. Say goodbye to Spring as you welcome Summer.

Winter Solstice Pizza: 283 calories 10 g fat 3 g fiber 16 g protein 16 g carbs 224 mg Calcium   PB  On the Winter Solstice, we like to prepare a pizza with elements of the season past [mushrooms and olives represent Fall] and of the season to come [cured meats stand in for Winter].

1 whole wheat tortilla [Herdez-brand 8” Fajita-style Tortilla is what I use], must be 170 calories or less 1.5 Tbsp crushed tomatoes + pinch granulated garlic 1 oz mozzerella cheese, grated 1 oz mushrooms [2 Tbsp] 1/3 oz prosciutto 1 Tbsp onion, chopped 1 calamata olive, quartered

Heat the oven to 400 F. Spread the tortilla with the crushed tomato sauce and garlic. Chop the prosciutto roughly and combine it with the mushrooms, onion, and cheese. Distribute over the pizza shell. Sprinkle with herbs, crushed red pepper, or other seasonings to taste. Dot with olive bits. Bake for 5-10 minutes. Light some candles and enjoy pizza on the longest night of the year.

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

1 two-oz egg + 70-calorie whole-grain bread1.5 two-oz eggs + apple
corn kernels + diced tomato + red bell pepperheavy cream
red onion + cider vinegar + dry mustardsugar + cinnamon
turmeric + sugar + ground cumin + apple butter + peach
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

delicata squash + chili powderhard, rounded stones, such as granite or basalt
Bison chili ; ground bison + canned tomatoes beef + carrot + cabbage
garlic + red onion + red or black beansparsnip + Green beens + red potato
green bell pepper + ground cumin + melonspinach + White beans + herbs
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Hometown Heroine: Bethulia

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 A Star on the Forehead who is now Following.

Hannukka starts on December 19 this year. Candles will be lit and people will tell the story of the oil in the temple. But there is another story to tell, found in the “Book of Judith.” In Bethulia, lived a young widow named Judith. At that time, according to the story, Israel was a vassal state to Assyria, headed by King Nebuchadnezzar [in history, he is associated with Babylon, not Assyria]. After Israel refused to send troops to fight for him, the angry King sent Holofernes and his army to attack Jerusalem. But the road to the capital had to go through Bethulia, and the way was blocked. Holofernes besieged the city, cutting off their water. For 30 days the town held out. Judith called out the city fathers for suggesting a surrender; she accused them of lacking faith in God and said that if they wouldn’t act, she would. They dismissed her words and told the little lady to pray for rain. After much prayer for strength, Judith put on a fine gown and went with her maid-servant to Holofernes’ camp. The guards, impressed by her beauty and self-assurance, let her in and escorted her to Holofernes’ tent. She told him that she wanted to ally herself to his cause, saying that Israel would lose the battle when they committed a sin against God. Holofernes was quite taken by this apparent turn-coat. Judith stayed in the camp for four days, leaving every night to “go to the desert to pray for Holofernes’ victory.” On the fifth day, she appeared in the camp in all her finery with a bag containing cheese and wine. The General, smitten with her beauty, invited her to his tent for dinner. The cheese was very salty, so Holofernes drank a lot of wine — “more wine than he had ever drunk before,” and he fell into a stupor. Seizing the moment, Judith took his sword and cut off his head. The maid-servant put it in the food bag, and they calmly left the camp again and returned to Bethulia. [CSI interjection: did they change their blood-splattered clothes first??] Judith showed the head to the city leaders and counseled them to attack the Assyrians at dawn. In disarray without their leader, the invaders fled and Judith had saved the day. The Book of Judith never made it into the Christian Bible’s Old Testament, but the image of the pretty, brave, murderous woman became popular in art. It was first an allegory of the weak overcoming the strong [female David vs Goliath], then in the Renaissance it was the embodiment of drama and gore at the hands of two very capable women. In treatment by some female artists, it was the opportunity to rail against male oppression. Some of the most famous representations are by Cranach, Caravaggio, and Gentileschi.

Feta cheese is often part of a Hanukkah dairy meal, since it is salty. These two meals are delicious ways to use feta in cooking. My version of the dinner contains shrimp. Feel free to substitute a Kosher alternative if you wish. By having a ‘Dairy Hanukkah’ instead of oil-based foods, you can observe the holiday without the fat and calories. Save the latkes for a Slow Day.

Spinach-Mushroom-Feta Bake: 178 calories 10.5 g fat 1 g fiber 13 g protein 8 g carbs [4 g Complex] 214.5 mg Calcium   PB  GF — if using GF flour Miri Rotkovitz presented this recipe via thespruceeats.com and she recommends it as a ‘dairy meal for Hannukka’. Her version is a dinner pie, complete with an olive oil crust. My version delivers a lot of flavor at breakfast.  HINT: This recipe makes two servings. The other half of it would be a terrific lunch on another day.

½ tsp olive oil + non-stick spray 2 cloves garlic, chopped = 2 teaspoons 3 oz mushrooms, chopped or diced 3 oz chopped, frozen spinach 2 two-oz eggs 2 Tbsp milk 1½ teaspoons white whole wheat flour 1½ oz feta cheese, crumbled   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]

Thaw the spinach in a sieve to remove extra water. Gently cook the garlic in the oils until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the water they exude evaporates. Put the feta in a bowl, top with the spinach, then the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms/garlic cool before you stir the vegetables and cheese together. Combine the flour and milk in a small dish and heat in the microwave. Stir together to make a roux. Whisk the roux with the eggs. Put the vegetable-cheese mixture in an oven-proof dish which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Pour the egg mixture on top and bake at 350 F for 20-23 minutes. All the flavors meld together to create a savory way to start your day.

Zucchini-Feta Fritter Plate: 288 calories 7 g fat 2.4 g fiber 27 g protein 22 g carbs 285 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF flour A delightful meal for a busy day: delicious, savory, nourishing, and easy to prepare.

5 zucchini-feta fritters** 3 oz tomato, cherry-size or large ones sliced or cubed 3 oz shrimp, steamed or grilled previously 2 Tbsp plain yogurt Arrange on the plate and enjoy your stress-free evening meal.

**Zucchini-Feta Fritters makes 23-24  each: 34 calories 1.3 g fat 0.3 g fiber 1.5 g protein 3 g carbs 34 mg Calcium  1-1/8 pound [18 oz] zucchini salt 1 two-oz egg 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled or diced ¼ cup fresh dill weed OR 2 Tbsp dried 2 Tbsp fresh parsley ¼ c white whole wheat flour ¼ cup self-rising flour Grate the zucchini and put it in a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and use your fingers to toss the zucchini to distribute the salt. Let sit several hours or overnight. Place the zucchini in a clean bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Combine well. Heat a griddle/large skillet and spray with non-stick spray. TIP: I used a 1.5 Tbsp scoop, but a heaping tablespoon would do as well.  Make piles of the batter on the cooking surface, then flatten them and cook until nicely browned on both sides.

Gustave Eiffel

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.

Gustave Eiffel was born on December 15, 1832, near Dijon. He was born during the early years of the Industrial Revolution, when the ability to make high quality iron in mass production had begun. This permitted the building of tall, wide, strong structures. Eiffel attended the  Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, where he learned to build with steel. He must have learned well, for he became known for building bridges. Bordeaux, 1860. Portugal, 1876. Garabit Viaduct, 1885. The structures are elegant and durable. His engineering firm was responsible for some notable buildings in Hungary, 1874; Nice, 1878; Chile, 1868. Eiffel designed the engineering supports inside of the Statue of Liberty, 1883, and of course his most famous work was the Eiffel Tower, 1889. The iconic tower was built to be a temporary demonstration of iron-working, a curiosity at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889, 100 years after the French Revolution. Artists and poets hated it and many citizens wanted the eye-sore torn down. But when it became a radio antenna in the late 1890s, it was seen as more than a place for tourists to visit. After the disastrous French attempt to build the Panama Canal, with Eiffel’s company designing the lock system, Eiffel retired. After two years in prison for the canal debacle, he was exonerated. Still healthy and curious, he spent his last 30 years studying meteorology, wind forces on tall structures, and wind tunnels. Can one today imagine Paris without its amazing Tour Eiffel? Incroyable! Can one today imagine New York without its amazing Lady Liberty? Fuggedaboutit! Gustave Eiffel certainly left an indelible mark on the world with his structures. A genius.

You might think that Eiffel’s birthday should call for that restaurant fad of ‘tall food,’ but we will enjoy simple French meals that are easy to prepare and enjoyable to eat.

Cherry Flamusse: 194 calories 5 g fat 1 g fiber 11 g protein 27.6 g carbs 157 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF – if using GF flour  This breakfast custard is borrowed from the dessert section of the cookbook, and it works very well either way! It is similar to a clafouti, but simpler. Served with cherries or any fresh fruit, it is sure to be a hit. HINT: This makes enough for 2 [two] servings: share with a friend or save the rest for a future breakfast or dessert. [As a dessert, without the clementine, one serving has 177 calories.]

2 two-oz eggs 6 oz milk 4 tsp flour OR tapioca flour 1.5 Tbsp sugar 10 sweet cherries, pitted ½ clementine  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 2 ramekins or an oven-proof dish with 1.5 cup capacity with non-stick spray. Cut the cherries in half and arrange on the bottom of the dish. Whisk eggs until foamy, then add flour and sugar, whisking until there are no lumps. Stir in the milk and pour the batter over the cherries. Bake at 375 F. for 20 minutes. Turn the flamusse out of the dish so that the cherries are on top. Plate with the clementine sections, serve with the beverages. Sure doesn’t taste like a ‘diet.’

Beef & Beet Salad:  243 calories 8.5 g fat 3 g fiber 24 g protein 17 g carbs 24 mg Calcium   PB GF  This unusual salad was found in James Peterson’s Glorious French Food. Should you have left-over roast beef, this is the dish to try. It is crazy easy.

2¾ oz thinly-sliced roasted beef 3½ oz pickled beets, as thinly-sliced rounds a few leaves of spinach, cut as chiffonade dill pickle spear 1½ tsp dressing*** 

***Dressing [makes 6 teaspoons] 2¼ tsp Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp chopped shallot 1½ tsp red wine vinegar 4½ tsp olive oil

Slice the beef and the beets as matchsticks about 2-3” long. Put in the serving bowl/plate along with the spinach, and drizzle the dressing over the top. Gently toss to coat the salad with the dressing. Plate it with the pickle. 

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

2 two-oz eggs + olive oil1.5 two-oz eggs 
garlic + mushroomsscallions
frozen spinach + milkbasil + tomato
flour + feta cheesestrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

zucchini + 2-oz egg + dill weed8”, 170-calorie whole wheat tortilla
feta cheese + parsley + shrimpcrushed tomatoes + mozzarella
white whole wheat flour + tomatoonion + mushrooms
self-wishing flour + plain yogurtprosciutto + calamita olive
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Night Sky: Cassiopeia

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 ominousthespirit who is now Following.

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. Some constellations are seen seasonally, like Orion in the Winter, but some are seen all year ’round. In the Northern Hemisphere, there is a group of star pictures which are made up of the circumpolar stars. Cassiopeia or Cassiopeia’s Chair is one of them. I remember my mother pointing it out to me when I was a child — it was my first constellation. The ancient Greeks had stories to explain why these pictures were in the sky and here is the myth of Cassiopeia:

She was the Queen of AEthiopia, ruling with her husband Cepheus. Cassiopeia was very vain about her good looks, and her daughter Andromeda had inherited her mother’s beauty but not her personality. Cepheus and his wife were lining up suitors for their daughter’s hand when disaster struck. Cassiopeia had bragged that she and Andromeda were prettier than the the Sea Nymphs and Posiden, their father and God of the Sea, was upset. So he sent a sea monster to wreck havoc on coastal towns of Ethiopia. An oracle told the king and queen to chain their daughter to a rock as a sacrifice to the monster. So, with a few tears, they did. Just when all hope was lost, the hero Perseus came flying out of the sky on a winged horse, Pegasus. Perseus tried using his sword, but to no avail. Saying, “Avert your eyes, Andromeda,” he took from his satchel the head of the Gorgon Medusa and turned the monster to stone. Perseus then rode back to the palace with Andromeda and asked to marry her. Cassiopeia turn him down, because he wasn’t good enough for her daughter, and Perseus was rather annoyed at that. Saying, “Avert your eyes, Andromeda,” he took from his satchel Medusa’s head, and turned the Cassiopiea to stone –right there, sitting on her throne. The gods put her in the sky, to remind women not to be vain about their looks. As her constellation circles the Pole Star, her chair is sometimes right-side up, and sometimes up-side down — a terrifying punishment for the foolish queen.

Cassiopeia has five stars, shaped like a ‘W’ or an ‘M’. It is visible all year in the Northern sky. Once you see it, you will find yourself picking it out again and again. Happy star-gazing.

For some reason, shirred eggs always struck me as elegant, an elevated way to prepare eggs, so for the hoity-toity Cassiopiea we will have them for breakfast. Since Perseus saved Andromeda with his sword [and the Gorgon’s head], we will impale some meat for our dinner — along with some vegetables.

Shirred Egg: 147 calories 8.5 g fat 2 g fiber 10 g protein 10 g carb 106 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF – if using GF bread  I learned to prepare this dish when working on my Girl Scout ‘Cooking’ badge. I still eat it because it tastes so good. Easy to serve to guests, as well.

One 2-oz egg 1 Tbsp half&half = 10% milk-fat salt & pepper to taste 1½ tsp Parmesan cheese 1 oz melon  half a slice of 70-calorie whole-grain bread, toasted 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]

Heat the toaster oven to 325 F. Spritz a 1-cup ramekin with cooking oil or spray. Break the egg into the cup, and pour the half&half on top. Sprinkle with cheese, add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then let sit 2-3 mins. Plate with the toast and fruit. Serve with your choice of beverages. 

Shashlik: 292 calories 10g fat 3 g fiber 19 g protein 32 g carbs 53.4 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF bread  Here is the meal of nomadic herdsmen in the grasslands of Asia and Eastern Europe. Originally made with lamb or beef, this Ukrainian version uses pork shoulder. It can be enjoyed with or without the bread. The recipe is from natashaskitchen.com. For the flatbread, I used Mongol Bread, full recipe in the blog about Kublai Khan, 4 May 2022

Sv 2 = Fast dinnerGrill or broiler.
5 oz pork sirloinCut pork in 1” pieces and put in a bowl.
1½ cloves garlic, pressed
½ medium onion 
Cut onion in 1” pieces. Press garlic and add both to bowl with pork.
2 pinches salt
pinch pepper
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir everything to combine.
1½ Tbsp red wine
2 tsp olive oil
Add oil and wine. Stir to combine. Cover, put in fridge 3-4 hours.
wooden skewersCover skewers with water for 20 mins. 
Preheat grill/broiler. Before cooking, set to medium.
3 oz Bell pepper, 1”chunks
3 oz zucchini, 1” chunks
Skewer meat and onions, but not too closely together. Skewer vegetables separately.
Strain marinade and boil it briefly.
Grill 4 mins on all sides until cooked. 
Flat bread =86 caloriesServe in flatbread with drizzle of marinade.

Religions: Mithraism

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.

The Roman Empire left a big imprint on Europe and many of its influences lingered after the Empire fell. Think: Romance Languages. But its religions did not remain, having been supplanted by Christianity. Many of us are familiar with the deities of their official religion, since the planets bear their names. Few are familiar with a secret cult which flourished among the Roman military and merchants who dealt with the far-flung army. It was the Cult of Mithras and from 100-300 CE, it gave Christianity a run for its money. Although Mithras is mentioned in Persian texts many thousands of years age, his Roman following sprang into existence only in the late 1st century CE. Mithras was a young, clean-shaven, free man who was born from a rock. [why? how? when? who knows] He is friends with Sol, the invincible Sun god. For some reason I can’t explain, Mithras, with the approval of Sol, hunts and kills the Bull, symbol of fertility and vitality. Mithras and Sol then eat the flesh of the Bull and drink its blood. This paves the way for rebirth and renewal and resurrection. The Cult of Mithras was a secret society from which there are no written records. Their temples were built in caves or under-ground, to promote mystery and secrecy in dark places. Every temple had a sculpture or painting of Mithras killing the Bull over the altar. What little we know of their religion involves a baptism [in water? in blood?] to mark the start of a new life; a ritual of pretending to die and then come to life again [perhaps going under-ground then reemerging was symbolic of that]; and a shared communion of wine and food. The religion was monotheistic, unusual in pantheistic Rome, and Mithras’ birthday was December 25th. Perhaps the ‘date’ of Christmas was said to be December 25 [even though it wasn’t] to take the day away from Mithras’ followers. Indeed, many scholars see so many similarities between the two religions that one might think that the Cult of Mithras was established to counter Christianity. Dr Martin Luther King, while at theological school, wrote a paper on the influences of the two religions on each other. The Mithras Cult was a secret males-only society, like a men’s fraternal lodge, and it thrived for several centuries — until it didn’t. Being a member of ‘the in-crowd’ surely attracted members, but that exclusivity also probably killed it. Christianity spoke of resurrection too, but for everyone — not just the few. As the power of the Roman Empire faded, the soldiers left the outposts of service, and the Cult of Mithras dwindled and died, not to be revived.

Eating meat in ritual meals was a big part of the Cult of Mithras. Excavations of temples reveal a variety of bones from the feasts, including rabbit, game birds, and pig. Our breakfast is about the rabbit that got away, causing the hunter to make a cheese meal instead. Our dinner contains meat from the sacrificial bovine itself, cooked in a pie with mushrooms. Of the four Mithraic sites in the UK, one is in Wales, one is in London, and three are on Hadrian’s Wall. These meals are very British.

Welsh Rabbit ScrOmelette: 152 calories 9.5 g fat 0.6 g fiber 11.4 g protein 3.4 g carbs 97.5 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  The origional version of this recipe is served in Old Williamsburg, Virginia at Chowning’s Tavern. We love it for a homey supper, just as people did in Colonial Days and here are the same flavors in breakfast form.

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.  ¼ oz Cheddar cheese ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp dry mustard 1 oz pear or 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]

Grate the cheese and stir in the Worcestershire and mustard. Spritz a fry pan with olive oil or non-stick spray and heat over meduim. Whisk and pour in the eggs. Add the cheese mixture and scramble or let cook then fold as an omelette. Prep the fruit and the beverages and ponder the rebellious days of Colonial America.

Steak & Mushroom Pie: 277 calories 5 g fat 7 g fiber 27 g protein 25.6 g carbs 34 mg Calcium Two very compatible flavors together again, topped [not encased] in puff pastry. Similar to a meal enjoyed at The Sign of the Angel in Lacock, Wiltshire, England. A real treat. HINT: recipe serves 2 [TWO], photo shows one serving.

4 oz grilled sirloin steak [leftover from a previous meal, perhaps] 1.5 cups mushrooms 1 Tbsp red wine ¼ cup creamed onions ½ tsp thyme + salt & pepper to taste 1/6 sheet puff pastry [Pepperidge Farm, frozen sheets are easy to find and use]  per person: 1/3 cup peas

Thaw the frozen puff pastry for 40 minutes on the counter. Rewrap and return one sheet to freezer. Remove one of the sheets, unroll it carefully, and cut the sheet into 6 squares. [TIP: stack the remaining 5 pieces with waxed paper or cling wrap between the layers. Pop into a zipper bag and freeze for later use.] Cut the steak into ½”-1” cubes. Combine the meat with the mushrooms, wine, onions, seasonings in an oven-proof dish just large enough to hold the meat mixture yet large enough to be topped with the puff pastry. Heat the meat mixture until it is warm. Lay the puff pastry on top, decoratively slitting the crust. Bake at 400 F. about 15 minutes, until the crust is well-browned. Cook the peas and imagine that you are dining in an English country restaurant.

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

1 two-oz egg + Parmesan cheese2 two-oz eggs 
70-calorie whole-grain breadmilk + sugar
half & half [blend cream]white whole wheat flour
apple or strawberriessweet cherries + clementine
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

pork shoulder + garlicslices of cooked roast beef
onion + red wine + olive oilrounds of pickled beets
zucchini + bell pepperDijon mustard+ shallot
Mongol bread or other 86 calorie flatbread.red wine vinegar + olive oil
Sparkling waterSparkling water