Natural Selections

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.

On August 20, 1858, Charles Darwin woke up to a day that was going to bring the world down around his ears. As a 22-year old, he had been the naturalist on the research vessel Beagle in her circumnavigation voyage. What he saw opened his eyes and mind to new possibilities about the variety of life on Earth. He became famous for his journals from the trip, since they formed an exotic travelogue for early Victorians. Very quaint. But now, after 30 years of dithering, his article was going to be published in the Journal of Proceedings of the Linnean Society. A letter from Alfred Russell Wallace, another amateur naturalist who was working on the Malay Peninsula, had shocked Darwin into action: Wallace had developed the same ideas and was going to publish them. What ideas were those? That all the species of plants, animals — all life on Earth — had achieved their characteristics slowly, over time, through a process Darwin called “Natural Selection.” He could not explain how that worked, except that it was similar to how hobbyists bred a variety of dogs and pigeons to look very different from each other. After the publication of “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection“, and the full book in 1859, the world of science was never the same.

On that August morning, Darwin probably ate a normal breakfast [unless his stress-induced digestive problems prevented it], and might have enjoyed kippers, perhaps with Yorkshire Pudding. The dinner honors Wallace, who’s name was listed as co-author on Darwin’s paper, who was probably eating food very much like Pork Pad Thai in his research area. By the way, when Fasting, a selection of natural foods [as opposed to processed foods] is always preferable.

Kippered Yorkshire Pudding:  226 calories 5 g fat 5.8 g fiber 11 protein 33.5 g carbs [26 g Complex] 102 mg Calcium  HINT: This is enough for 2 [two] servings. Nothing says Yorkshire like the iconic pudding and kippers. This is a meal to eat at home or to take on the road.

1 oz kippered herring ½ cup 1% milk ½ cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose, for lower protein and fiber] one 2-oz egg ½ tsp dry mustard + ¼ tsp salt 3 oz pear   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]

Soak the kippered herring in water for 30 minutes. Drain and mince. [If the herring is still quite firm, soak it longer.] Whisk the milk, flour, egg, mustard and salt until combined, but do not over-mix. Spray a 7” pie plate with cooking-spray and sprinkle in some kippers. Carefully pour in the Yorkshire Pudding batter, then sprinkle with the remaining kippers. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Cut into 4 pieces. Plate two pieces per person along with the pear. What a flavor combination!

Pork Pad Thai:  265 calories 7.3 g fat 4.7 g fiber 20 g protein 28 g carbs 94.4 mg Calcium  PB GF  This is our son’s recipe, with a few tweeks by me to make it fit our calorie requirements. HINT: This makes enough for 2 [two] servings. Share with a friend or pack it up for a later lunch or dinner.

1 oz Asian noodles [I used buckwheat soba noodles] ½ tsp oil + 2-3 Tbsp water ½ cup onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 cups sliced cabbage 1 cup mung bean sprouts or chopped celery 2 oz scallions [about 3], slice in 1” pieces 3 oz lean pork, cooked or raw, sliced into thin pieces about 1” square 6 oz sugar snap peas, cut in half cross-wise one 2-oz egg 2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce pinch hot pepper flakes + 1 tsp sugar

Heat a wok or large cast iron pan. Stir-fry all the vegetables in the oil and 3 Tbsp water for 3 minutes, adding more water if the vegetables ever stop sizzling in the pan. Boil the noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse, and set aside.  If using raw meat, add to cooking vegetables after 2 minutes. Add the raw egg to the pan of vegetables and scramble it in.  If using cooked pork, add it now. Stir the noodles into the wok and combine with other ingredients over the heat. Mix well as you add the fish sauce, the sugar, and red pepper flakes. Pass the Sriracha for added kick.

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

1 two-oz egg + watermelon1 two-oz egg + blueberries 
4″-diameter thin ham slicewhite whole wheat flour
red bell pepperyellow cornmeal + strawberries
fresh polenta + Srirachafat-free French Vanilla yogurt
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken breast + cilantro100-calorie hot dog + tomato
part-skim ricotta + sugar snap peashard-boiled egg + yellow mustard
Swedish cucumber salad + Sriracha4-Bean Salad
cherry tomatoes + Finn CrispParmesan cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

At the Diner

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 diner is an American institution. Once upon a time, trains had ‘dining cars’ — watch old movies to see what I mean. When they were phased out, the cars themselves were taken off the tracks and sold. Some were repurposed as small restaurants; other people got the idea to build a restaurant to look like a train car — and the ‘diner’ was born. These eateries had a reputation of being places to get cheap, filling, local food, and awful coffee at any hour of the day or night. Once that reputation was established, a diner could move to become a bricks-and-mortar restaurant and still call itself a diner. “Greasy Spoon”? Maybe, but reliable and homey. So many films noir, so many cop shows had scenes in diners. Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper, caught up in the zeitgeist, showed diners in their paintings. Very much a part of the American scene.

Today’s menus recall the diner menu: local and basic. And delicious.

Carne Bake: 138 calories 6 g fat 2 g fiber 9 g protein 6.7 g carbs [4.3 g Complex] 34 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Carne adovado and roasted green chilis are the signature flavors of New Mexico, and they are wonderful in eggs for breakfast in every South-West diner.

1 two-oz egg 1/3 oz carne adovado ½ oz roasted green chili, canned or frozen 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves 5 cherries    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]

If the carne or the chilis have a lot of liquid, put in a strainer and let drain overnight or for several hours. Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Spritz an oven-proof ramekin/dish with olive oil or non-stick spray. Whisk the egg with the carne/chili mixture and pour into the dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes while you pour the beverages and plate the fruit.

Meatloaf: 236 calories 11 g fat 5 g fiber 23.5 g protein 13.4 g carbs [11.4 g Complex] 40 mg Calcium Here it is – meatloaf, the kind my mother used to make and you can eat it on a FAST DAY! Who would have thought!

one 3-oz slice of meatloaf** ½ cup peas 2 Tbsp beef gravy   Prepare and bake the meatloaf. Slice into 6 pieces. Plate and enjoy one serving now, with peas of course, cool, wrap and freeze the remainder for a Slow Day or another FAST Day.

**Meatloaf one 18-oz loafMakes 6 slices
½ of a whisked egg [0.9 oz] 3 Tbsp milk 1/3 cup soft bread crumbs, NOT dried 2 Tbsp minced onion ½ pound [8 oz] ground beef ¼ pound [4 oz] ground veal ¼ pound [4 oz] ground lean pork 1 tsp salt + pinch of pepperCombine the ingredients thoroughly  
Bake in a 4″x8″ pan at 350 F for 20 minutes
Pour off any fat before removing from pan.  

Zucchini, Anyone?

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. 

Its that time of year again — the Days of Zucchini. In the Spring, when everyone decided to plant a ‘Covid Garden,’ people forgot that one zucchini plant is enough to feed a family. But that’s one seed out of a package of dozens — so plant more; heck, plant them all! Now you have enough for the village and, if the deer didn’t get them, enough for the county. What to do?? Give it away! To friends [Dear Friends gifted us with 2 zucchini and 2 yellow crook-necks] or to the Food Bank.

It is time for zucchini at breakfast and zucchini at dinner. On non-Fast Days, you can eat it for lunch as well. Might as well enjoy it now: it won’t be fresh from the garden in December, will it? These meals even qualify for the label “Mediterranean Diet.” How ’bout that.

Zucchini-Herb ScrOmelette: 152 calories 8.6 g fat 1 g fiber 11 g protein 7 g carbs 80 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Summer squashes were made to be combined with lots of herbs. Then add cheese: bliss! 

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.  ¼ cup zucchini, grated 2 Tbsp fresh herbs [or more!], chopped 2 Tbsp grated Jarlsberg cheese 1 oz applesauce OR 1.5 oz peaches  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]

Put the zucchini and herbs into a lightly-spritzed non-stick saute pan. Cook until softened and most of the liquid is evaporated. Whisk the eggs with the cheese and pour into the pan. Scramble it or cook as an omelette, hence ScrOmelette. Prepare the beverages and plate the fruit. Ahhhh. The taste of Summer.

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 hot day: cool, savory, nourishing.

5 zucchini-feta fritters** 3 oz tomato, sliced or cubed or cherry tomatoes 3 oz shrimp, steamed or grilled previously 2 Tbsp plain yogurt

Arrange on the plate and enjoy your easy 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  PB GF — if using GF flour 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 collander over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and use your fingers to toss the zucchini to distribute the salt. Let sit several hours or overnight. Press on the zucchini to remove any lingering water. 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 so the insides will cook. Heat until well-browned on both sides.

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

1 two-oz egg1 two-oz egg  + pear
carne adovadokippered herring
cilantro + apple/applesaucewhite whole wheat flour
roasted green chilis dry mustard + milk
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

egg + lean ground pork buckwheat soba noodles + egg + oil
onion + whole-grain breadsugar snap peas + onion + scallions
lean ground beef + gravysugar + garlic + lean pork + sprouts
ground veal + milk + peasfish sauce + hot pepper flakes + cabbage
Sparkling waterSparkling water

St. Lawrence

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 marthabernie who is now Following.

You might ask yourself: Is she going to talk about the Canadian river or about the saint? Both, actually. The Saint was a deacon in the early church in Rome, who was martyred on August 10, 258 CE. Knowing that a crack-down was coming, he is said to have given the church’s wealth to the poor. As a Roman Citizen, he was beheaded, but legend says that he died horribly by fire, cheeky and cheerful to the end. The St. Lawrence River, named after the saint of course, drains the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean, pouring into the wide Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It carries 25% of the world’s fresh water to the sea. The Great Lakes were carved by the action of the glaciers of the Last Glacial Maximum and the river flows along a fault system which accounts for its straight path. The Maritime Provinces of Canada border the Gulf of St Lawrence. Jacques Cartier, arriving in the Gulf on August 10, gave it the name.

From the Maritime Provinces, a fitting breakfast of local flavors. Saints often become ‘patrons’ of certain activities for really twisted reasons. Due to the legend of his death, Lawrence is the patron of grill cooks. Dinner will be grilled.

Maritime Bake:  155 calories 6.5 g fat 1.2 g fiber 16.6 g protein 6 g carbs [5.5 g complex] 84 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  To us, the Maritimes of Canada are all about seafood, potatoes, local cheese, and lots of the herb Savory, winter or summer. Then there are the strawberries: June/July in Nova Scotia; July in PEI; August in Newfoundland. Good people, good food.

1 two-oz egg ½ oz salt cod [cover with water and soak 30 minutes] 1/8 oz Cheddar OR ADL brand “Old/Fort”, grated 1 tsp dried savory ½ Tbsp dry potato flakes + 1 Tbsp water pepper to taste 2 oz strawberries   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   Optional:  5-6 oz berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

The night before: 1] stir the potato flakes and water together in a small bowl and let sit to moisten. 2] cover the salt cod with water and soak 30 minutes. Drain and flake into small pieces.  Next morning: Spritz a ramekin with cooking spray. Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Combine the potato, cod, and savory and put into the ramekin. Whisk the egg and pour over the cod. Top with grated cheese and bake 12-15 minutes. Prepare your beverages as you like them and plate the berries.

Blue-Burger: 294 calories 6.5 g fat  4.9 g fiber 31 g protein 27 g carbs [10.3 g Complex] 62 mg Calcium The winter 2004 issue of Eating Well  magazine was the inspiration for this recipe. But this version suits our Fasting needs a little better. It is yummy.

3-oz ground bison meat 4 Tbsp blueberries, fresh or frozen 1 Tbsp egg white ¾ tsp Dijon mustard + ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce pinch garlic powder + large pinch black pepper 1 Martin’s potato slider bun cherry tomatoes, grilled     ½ cup coleslaw made with red cabbage instead of green  

Thaw the meat and break it up in a bowl. Add the blueberries and all the flavorings. Gently combine ingredients with your fingers, without squishing the berries. Shape in a patty using a 4” muffin-cutter as a mold. Try not to pack the burger too much, but it does need to hold its shape. Broil or grill 4-5 minutes per side. Serve on a toasted potato bun. Grilled cherry tomatoes are nice as a topper. And don’t forget the coleslaw.

Keeping the Trains Running

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 five of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

If you watched television adverts [especially for the evening news] during the past several decades, you might think that there had been a sudden plague of constipation — unlike anything seen before. In truth, many of the remedies described in ancient herbals were for the promotion of bowel movements. Two major causes of this condition are: increasing age [the micro-biota are not working as well] and poor diet. By poor diet, I mean a diet low in fiber, high in simple carbs — like the S.A.D. [Standard American Diet]. Poor diet decreases the health of the micro-biota that help us to digest our food. To help yourself to stay regular, you need to pay attention to fiber. By varying our diet and adding fiber, we improve the micro-biota, which helps us to be healthy and to maintain a healthy weight. How much fiber do you need? Around 30 grams per day.* Eat more vegetables, more fruit, more whole grains — there’s a good plan! *DO NOT jump to that level all at once. Build up to it gradually over several days to give the micro-biota a chance to accommodate to it.

In our family, we ‘keep the trains running’ by having an emulsion of dark green leafy vegetables every day. In plain speech, a vegetable smoothie at lunch. Yes, even on a Fast Day. As Maintainers [our weight is where we want it to be and it is stable], we can allow ourselves the extra calories, especially since it is for a good purpose. The micro-biota just love to digest pureed greens. My Primary Care Physician was giddy about the ingredients of the Green Milk, and how it provides greens, fruit, and Calcium.

Green Milk: 145 calories 0.6 g fat 3 g fiber 10 g protein 25 g carbs 340 mg Calcium  PB GF I drink this for lunch daily because it tastes really yummy.  HINT: When I have fresh greens, I make up kits [everything but the milk] in 1-cup jars and freeze them.

8 oz skimmed milk ½ oz dates, cut into 4 pieces [deglet noor have fewer calories than medjool] 1 oz spinach/kale/Swiss chard, fresh or frozen 1 tsp psysillium husk NB: do NOT ingest within one hour of taking prescription medicine Put everything in the blender/VitaMix/container suitable for using with an immersion blender. Whirl on low speed at first, to break up the ingredients, then at the speed that will pulverize everything to a lovely shade of green. Makes 1.5 cups.

Sludgie: 169 calories 0.2 g fat 5.7 g fiber 2.7 g protein 26.6 g carbs 78 mg Calcium  PB GF From the name, you would think it was just awful – a real ‘hold your nose and drink’ sort of thing. The name is an affectionate nod to the unlovely color and the slow-pouring viscosity. As part of lunch, is really quite palatable.  HINT: This makes 3 cups. Serve one cup/day.

2 oz kale/spinach/Swiss chard, fresh or frozen 2 oz bananas 2 oz figs or prunes or a mixture, each cut into 4 pieces 2-½ c tomato juice 1 Tablespoon physillium husk NB: do NOT ingest within one hour of taking prescription medicine

Put everything into a Vita-Mix [or use the immersion blender] and blend it until it is smooth and uniform in color. HINT: When I get fresh greens, I make up as many one-quart kits as I can and freeze what I don’t need that day or the next. Handy.

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

1 two-oz egg + strawberries1.5 two-oz eggs 
salt cod + herb savoryzucchini + peach
mashed potatoes or potato flakesmixed fresh herbs
Cheddar or ADL cheeseJarlsberg cheese
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

ground bison meat + blueberrieszucchini + feta cheese
coleslaw + Worcestershireegg + dill weed + parsley
garlic powder + Dijon mustardwhite whole wheat flour + self-rising flour
Martin’s potato slider buns + egg whitetomato + plain yogurt + shrimp
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Lammas Oncemore

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 inthecaldron13 who is now Following.

We’ve come another quarter turn in the old Celtic calendar, from Beltane [in May] to Lammas, the Harvest Festival. It runs for several days, as did all good ancient fests, in the first few days of what the Romans called August [after Caesar Augustus]. The Christians co-opted the old celebrations, turning the original Luignasa into Lammas — a corruption of the words ‘Loaf Mass.’ [Though possibly ‘Lady’s Mass’ since the Assumption of Mary is on the 15th.] Thus the harvest festival, marked by making breads from the new grain, became a church service for blessing loaves of bread [probably from the new grain] at a service dedicated to Our Lady. Thus the Grain Mother, embodied in the corn dollies made from the last grain harvested, became the Virgin Mary and the bread became the eucharist.

We’ll bake a Lammas Bread for breakfast on a Slow Day. For our Fast Day, we will celebrate with foods of Summer: BLTs and vegetables at their peak. For a touch of cereal grains, whole-grain bread at breakfast and whole-wheat pasta at dinner. Take some long stalks of grass and learn how to make a corn dolly.

Breakfast BLT:  191 calories 8.6 g fat 4 g fiber 10 g protein 18 g carbs 54 mg Calcium  NB: The food values are for the meal and fruit only and do not include the optional coffee.  PB GF – if using GF bread   A Summer evening favorite is the inspiration for this filling breakfast.

By wrapping the lettuce leaf around one side, you provide a handy place to hold the sandwich while you bite into it.

1 slice whole-grain bread [such as Dave’s Killer Bread] one 2-oz egg 1 strip uncured bacon [the streaky American type @ 30 calories/slice] 0.75 oz tomato, sliced 1 large leaf of lettuce 3 cherries   NB: with the high calorie count, be mindful of the beverages you add to the meal. Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]

Eggplant Patties w/ Onion Marinara: 273 calories 4 g fat 8.3 g fiber 46 g carbs [20 g Complex] 43 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF bread/flour/pasta Marcella Hazen, in her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, gives the recipe for the patties and a sauce in which to serve them. I added the pasta to the meal. Even Dear Husband, who is aubergine-averse, enjoyed these.

A serving should be 4 patties, but only 3 seem to have gotten into this photo…

4 eggplant patties**, portioned with a 1-½ Tbsp scoop 1 oz pasta– If you use a whole grain or high fiber pasta, so much the better ½ cup tomato-onion marinara++ 

**Eggplant Pattiesmakes 7 when using a 1-½ Tbsp scoop = 32 calories each   9 oz eggplant with skin still on 2 Tbsp bread crumbs 1 Tbsp spinach, cut as a chiffonade 1 tsp minced garlic 1 egg yolk 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan 1 Tbsp white whole wheat flour Roast the eggplant at 400F until soft, around 15 minutes. Peel it and cut in rough cubes. Place in a collander over a bowl and let it drain, pressing down lightly. Put in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir with a fork until well-combined. Heat a skillet and spray with non-stick spray. Using a 1-1/2 Tbsp scoop, place the eggplant mixture into the hot pan, flattening it a bit. Cook on each side until starting to brown.

++ Tomato-Onion Marinara makes 1.5 cups  1.5 cups onion, thinly sliced 1.5 cups canned whole tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Spray a saute pan with non-stick cooking oil and heat it. Add the onions and cook at medium-low until the onions begin to turn golden. Add the tomatoes, chopping them into smaller pieces with a plastic or wooden utensil. Cook until the tomatoes have thickened a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the pasta while the patties are cooking. Heat the marinara, then add the cooked pasta. Put some of the sauce in the center of your plate and position the patties on top. Arrange the pasta and sauce around the center, as pleases your eye.

Slow Days: Lammas Bread

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.

One of the most popular topics on which I have blogged is that of Lammas. Maybe it is a love of all things Celtic. Maybe it is a yearning for simpler times. Maybe it is a renewal of interest in growing and producing one’s own food. The festival was called Lughnasagh in Ireland; Lunastain, in Scotland; and became Lammas [Loaf Mass] after the missionaries Christianized it. As a harvest festival, it was observed on the mid-Summer cross-quarter day around August 2 — usually August 1, 2,3. At that time the cereal crops* [wheat, rye, barley, oats] were being harvested. Flour was quickly ground from the grain, baked into loaves to be savored by the entire farm family while giving thanks for a successful harvest and offering prayers for future crops. Bread, therefore, is the recipe of the day. *Note: in the UK, cereal crops are all called ‘corn.’ This is confusing to Americans, to whom ‘corn’ is Zea mays for eating on the cob or for popping. When you follow the links, keep that in mind.

Here is a non-yeasted recipe, making something like a biscuit. This is probably the “real” bread for Lammas, since it is prepared quickly. Buttermilk Bread Charm for Lammas goddessandgreenman.co.uk

3 mugs strong white flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp bicarbonate of sodaPlace the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda
500 ml of Buttermilk Pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon or your hand until the dough feels springy.
Sprouted seeds – these represent regenerationMix in the sprouted seeds. If it feels too sloppy, just add a little more flour.
Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Take time to focus on the bread you have created. Turn the loaf three times saying “From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Lammas Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”
Place on a greased baking tray and pop it into a moderate oven for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. When the bread is ready, it will change colour and will sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, tie it with Lammas ribbon in your choice of colour – gold, orange, yellow

Sour Dough Fruited Summer Bread: The one I’ll make this year is based on a sourdough, in keeping with all of those who are attempting that during the current lock-down. This bread is easy to make. [Original recipe from Paul Hollywood] With the addition of Summer fruits and whole wheat, it seems fit for a festival.

All the ingredients, ready to mix.
64 g bread flour 64 g white whole wheat flour 125 g active sourdough starter 3.8 g salt 65-88 ml H20 + 2 tsp honeyCombine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey to the water. Pour it in a little bit at a time and mix with your hands to make a soft dough. You may not need all the water. If you have extra water, add it to the next step.
½ cup chopped dried apricots ½ cup dried cherriesPut the fruits in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain, reserving the water. Add to the dough.
Coat work surface w/ olive oil + knead the fruit into the dough on the oiled surface for 10-15 mins or until the dough is smooth + elastic and the fruit is well-incorporated.
Put in lightly-oiled bowl + cover w/ film. Rise in warm place 5 hr or overnight in a cool place
Knead dough until smooth, knocking the air out. Shape into an oval. Let rise on a well-floured towel [a couche], up-side down, in a loaf pan for 4-8 hrs or overnight in a cool place.
Bread is rising on a floured towel in a small loaf pan to help it to keep its shape.
Reserved soaking water 2 tsp honeyPut in a small pan and simmer while adding the honey. Cook down until it is syrup-y, not runny.
Put a tray of water on the bottom of the oven. Preheat to 425F Gently tip the risen dough onto parchment paper on a baking tray. With a lame or sharp knife, score the top of the bread: down the center, then 3 on each side at an angle – sort of like a fern or the veins on a leaf. When you open the oven, add more water to the tray at the bottom of the oven to produce steam. Bake 30 mins at 425. Brush loaf with fruit syrup, then reduce oven to 400 F and bake 15 mins more.
The very dark syrup made the crust a rich mahogany color. Serve with comb honey.

Who Dunnit? Who Ate It? Chapter III

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.

Dear Husband and I love to read ‘whodunits.’ Crime literature in English harks back to Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders on Rue Morgue in 1841. As the genre took off, a sub-genre developed: culinary crime. These books are read as much for the procedural as for the vicarious thrills of the meals that are described along the way. There are many authors who tantalize our tastebuds while they challenge our little grey cells and today, I will feature foods from two widely different sources.

Flavia de Luce is an 11-year-old English girl who’s family has many secrets. She is also an unlikely sleuth, solving many murders through 10 books by Alan Bradley. The GoodReads website describes her thusly: A “Precocious, motherless 11-year old fascinated with chemistry and death, bicycles around Bishop’s Lacey from ancient country house Buckshaw in 1950s England.” The few servants at the house have secret strengths, but the cook does not have cooking in her repetoire. All she serves for breakfast is a horrid porridge which Flavia loathes. She would like this better, I’m sure.

10-Grain Cereal: 143 calories 0.8 g fat 4.3 g fiber 8 g protein 28 g carbs [22 g Complex] NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB This is one of our favorite breakfasts – even on a Slow Day! 

3 Tbsp uncooked Bob’s 10-Grain Cereal   ¼ cup low-fat milk + 1/3 cup water  Toppings: 2 Tbsp blueberries, fresh or frozen + 2 Tbsp milk   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]

If preparing the night before: Cook the cereal with the water/milk for about 8 minutes on the stove. Pour into a microwave-safe bowl. Next morning: Heat the cereal in the microwave for about a minute, then top with berries and milk.  If preparing in the morning: Cook the cereal with the water/milk for about 8 minutes on the stove. Pour into the bowl and top with berries and milk.

Easy Rawlins is a detective created by Walter Mosley. De-mobbed after the 2nd World War, Rawlins gets into detective work without wishing to but finds that the work suits him. His life and experiences are real and sometimes his decisions are unsettling, all of which make him very human. The author decided on the character after hearing his father’s stories of his life as a veteran in segregated America. Easy Rawlins books are not known for talk about food, but I’m am captivated by this Mosley anecdote about his father: “….like the time he decided to eat at an all-white cafe in the late 1940s. Making it as far as the counter, he ordered a tuna melt. “That sandwich tasted like freedom,” he told me. But suddenly the white man sitting next to him dropped dead. “I realized right then and there that, freedom aside, no man, no matter who he is, can escape his death.” Here is a Fast Day tuna melt and I hope that everyone who eats it will feel and be free.

Tuna Melt: 309 calories 18.5 g fat 2.9 g fiber 33.1 g protein 24.6 g carbs 300.5 mg Calcium PB GF – if using gf bread  This is the All-American classic sandwich, open-faced and delicious.

1 slice 70-calorie multi-grain bread [I like Dave’s Good Seed] ½ of a 5-oz can of water-pack tuna, drained 1 Tbsp onion, finely chopped 1 Tbsp celery, finely chopped 1 pinch celery seed + salt + pepper 1 and ½ tsp low fat or ‘made with olive oil’ commercial mayonnaise OR BÉCHAMEL Sauce without cheese 1 slice Swiss cheese, the deli kind ½ cup romaine lettuce, shredded 1 oz tomato, cubed ½ tsp lemon juice & ½ tsp olive oil

Combine the tuna, onion, celery, celery seed, and mayo/Bechamel as you would for tuna salad. Toast the bread. Spread the tuna mixture over the bread and top it with the cheese. Toast or broil until cheese is melting. In a wide bowl, whisk the oil and lemon juice. Toss the lettuce and tomato with the dressing and relax while you dine.

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

1 two-oz egg + tomatoNext week, I will discuss the
uncured baconrole of fiber in the diet
70-calorie whole-grain bread
large lettuce leaf + cherries
Optional smoothieFind a new favorite breakfast
optional hot beverage from the Archive.

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

eggplant + spinach leaves + pasta Next week, I will discuss
egg yolk + garlic + onion + breadthe role of fiber in the diet
Parmesan cheese + whole canned tomatoes
white whole wheat flourFind a new favorite dinner
Sparkling water from the Archive.

…not by bread…

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.

As it is my habit to link a new post to recipes in an older post, imagine my dismay when I discovered that the ‘Not by Bread’ post [from February 2018] had disappeared into the ether! Here I have resurrected it, as best I could, for your use.

The Good Book says that “Man shall not live by bread alone.” [Matthew 4, verse 4] Most people on a diet of any sort start by cutting down on bread and some diets cut it out altogether. With the Fast Diet, entire food groups are not eliminated: on a Fast Day, they might be minimized; on a Slow Day, they are fine to eat in moderation. Here are a few ‘breads’ that I use on Fast Days as part of a meal. You will notice that I usually use ‘white whole wheat’ flour instead of just plain white. The former is higher in fiber and slightly lower in calories, which makes it a better choice for a Fast Day.

BANNOCK:  each 2” bannock = 16 calories 0.5 g fat 0.2 g fiber 0.4 g protein 2.2 g carbs 4.2 mg Calcium  Bannock is part of the diet of the Scots, the way Soda Bread is to the Irish. This recipe makes the full batch, which yields 3 cups of dry mix. The dry mix keeps well in a sealed glass jar in a cool dry place. Splendid for breakfast [ex: Bannock & Bacon] or with a soup. NB: 1-½ cup of dry mix makes 16 [sixteen] 2” bannocks 

Bannock & Bacon with applesauce = an excellent start to the day.

1 cup flour ½ cup white whole wheat flour 1 cup rolled oats, called ‘old fashioned’ in the US, as opposed to ‘instant’ 4 Tbsp butter at room temperature or cold 1.5 Tbsp sugar + pinch of salt + 1 Tbsp baking powder

To prepare the dry mix: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until well-incorporated. Measure out the amount you need into a bowl, and put the remaining dry mix into a jar for storage. To prepare the dough: Add milk a little bit at a time to the bowl of mix and stir with a fork. Add a little more milk until a stiff dough ball is formed. Roll out on a lightly-floured board until 1/3” thick. Cut out with a 2” round cutter. Gather the scraps together, reroll, and continue to cut out the rounds. Bake on a lightly-greased baking sheet at 400 F. for 10-12 minutes.

DUMPLINGeach = 70 calories 0.2 g fat 2.6 g fiber 3.0 g protein 23 g carbs 130 mg Calcium This savory dumpling is the type you cook over a stew, such as Chicken Fricasse. It comes from Fannie Farmer. HINT: makes 2, but the recipe can be easily increased.

Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings is one of our favorites.

5 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 2/3 tsp baking powder pinch salt + pinch sugar + spices or herbs 2 Tbsp/1 fl. oz milk 

Combine all the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk. The batter should be stiff but not dry. [add a little stew broth or water if needed] Bring your stew to a simmer. Spoon the batter onto the stew so that the batter is on not in the liquid: the dumpling should steam not poach. Cook uncovered 10 minutes, then cover and cook another 10 minutes.

PAN MUFFIN  each: 71 calories 2.5 g fat 0.8 g fiber 1.8 g protein 10.8 g carbs 8.5 mg Calcium These are a dandy little bread to add to a breakfast plate. You will see them in Roman Breakfast, and Cottage Breakfast with egg.

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain hot cereal mix   
1-¼ cup buttermilk/soured milk
Combine cereal and milk in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, while preparing other ingredients.  
1/3 cup butter   1/3 cup sugar 1 two ounce egg Cream the butter and sugar, then mix in the egg. 
1 cup unbleached flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Add the dry ingredients and the cereal/milk mixture. Stir until just combined. 
2 Tbsp batter for each pan muffinPortion the batter onto a hot griddle or flat-bottomed pan spritzed with non-stick spray. Cook on both sides.

YORKSHIRE PUDDING:  ¼ cup = 77 calories 0.7 g fat 0.6 g fiber 4 g protein 17 g carbs 25 mg Calcium 1/3 cup = 107 calories 1 g fat 0.8 g fiber 5 g protein 23 g carbs 35.6 mg Calcium On a Fast Day, Yorkshire Pudding and its sister, the Popover, are a delightful addition to a meal. On a Slow Day, this treat is still permissible in meals such as Toad in the Hole and Kippered Yorkshire Pudding.

Here are mini Toad in the Hole for breakfast near Christmas.

one 2-oz egg ½ cup white whole wheat flour 1/2 cup unbleached white flour ½ tsp salt ½ cup water + ½ cup fat-free milk

Mix all the ingredients together and let the batter stand at room temp for 30-60 minutes or in ‘fridge overnight. You will need ¼ cup to 1/3 cup of the batter per person. HINT: The remainder can be frozen in 1 cup or 1/3 cup batches for future meals. When it is time to use the batter, beat it with a rotary beater until it is frothy.

The Van Gogh Affair

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 adom1479 who is now Following.

On 27 July, 1890, Vincent van Gogh turned up at the inn where he stayed with a gun shot wound in his torso. Two days later, he died. Right away, even before a cursory investigation by the police in Auvers-sur-Oise, everyone proclaimed it to be a suicide. After all, the Dutch-born painter had seen a life-time of disappointments that sent him into deep bouts of depression… Like the time he threw his heart and soul into being an evangelical preacher to the poor in a Belgian mining town, only to be dismissed by the bishop for having given all his money to the poor and no longer looking distinguished enough to be a pastor. Or the time it took him two years to get over a broken heart. Wasn’t he more than a little crazy? Hadn’t he attacked his friend Gauguin with a knife and then cut off his own ear? Case closed on the death of an odd-ball artist who liked to paint things that were yellow. OR NOT! In 2014, a journalistic investigation sure made it look as if van Gogh’s death was not suicide, but either a prank gone wrong, if not murder. Does a man at the height of his artistic powers, who has placed an order for paints and canvasses kill himself? Does a right-handed man shoot himself in his left side? Read about it and draw your own conclusion. At any rate, 130 years ago a revolutionary artist died too soon. Poor Vincent, “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you,” wrote Don McLean.

In honor of the scenes of van Gogh’s life, we will enjoy a breakfast made with galettes/crepes from Brittany and ratatouille from sunny Provence, both places where he painted. For dinner, a soup that features potatoes and sauerkraut — foods that would have been familiar to the Belgian family depicted in The Potato Eaters, the first van Gogh work I knew as a child.

Ratatouille-Egg Galette: 151 calories 5.5 g fat 2 g fiber 9 g protein 14 g carbs 53 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 crepes  A perfect blend of the cuisines of Northern and Southern France.

1 crepe/galette   one 2-oz egg ¼ cup Mediterranean Vegetables, drain and reserve excess liquids ½ oz fresh mushrooms  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]

Drain the vegetables of excess liquids. Use the liquids to cook the mushrooms. Combine the vegetables and mushrooms and heat them. Warm the crepe and plate it. Poach or fry the egg. Spoon the vegetables over the crepe and top it all with the egg. Eat with your hands or use a fork.

Jota: 169 calories  4.5 g fat 7.4 g fiber 11.5 g protein 25.7 g carbs [all Complex] 83.5 mg Calcium  PB GF  The flavors of Africa and and the mediterranean meet in this bean stew. Very satisfying. HINT: This recipe is enough for 4 [four] 1-cup servings.

Here, the Jota is served with spinach leaves.

1-½ cups sauerkraut, drained 1-½ cups canned red beans, drained and rinsed bay leaf 4 oz red potatoes, cooked and diced 1 clove garlic, crushed 2 oz smoked ham hock, cubed ½ cup or more vegetable broth or water   Optional*: 1 clove garlic, crushed + 1 tsp flour + 1 tsp oil Optional**: raw leaves of baby spinach

Spray a heavy sauce pan with non-stick spray and cook the garlic until golden brown. Add the sauerkraut to the pan with the broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. In another pan, heat the beans with the bay leaf until warm. Remove half of the beans and put them in a food processor with the cooked garlic and half of the potatoes. Puree, adding water/broth to adjust the liquids. Add the puree, uncrushed beans, potatoes, and meat to the pan with the sauerkraut. Taste for seasonings. Add some water/broth to bring the volume to 4 cups. *Optional: Simmer a garlic clove in 1 tsp oil until brown. Remove garlic and whisk in 1 tsp flour, then add some stock to make a roux. Stir into the stew as a thickener. **Optional: When the soup is in the bowl, tear the spinach leaves into bits and poke them into the hot liquid to add some extra color, texture, vitamins.