Far-flung Food

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.

Sometimes one gets into a culinary rut: meal after meal of ‘________’ [you fill in the blank: American comfort food? Thai fried rice? Mexican? Chinese takeout?] Let’s go a little wild and crazy and get out of that rut. Our meals today are easy to prepare, made with ingredients you might have on hand, and are a delicious departure from the ordinary. Plus, they are geographically and culturally divergent as can be: Cajun and Korean!

Cajun Bake:  128 calories 5.2 g fat 2.5 g fiber 8.6 g protein 13 g carbs [11.8 g Complex] 78 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Green peppers, onions, and celery are three key ingredients in Cajun cooking, so naturally they find their way into this breakfast. A ‘Cajun’ is someone from Louisiana who is descended from the French ‘Acadians’ of Canada. They were deported to Louisiana by the English in the 1700s.

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp green pepper [3/4 oz], chopped 2 Tbsp celery, chopped 2 Tbsp onion, chopped 2 pinches Cajun Seasoning dash or two of Tabasco   1 Tbsp reduced-fat cottage cheese, drained 2 oz pear Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Drain the cottage cheese overnight to remove excess liquid. Chop the pepper, celery, and onion and cook them in a little water until they are softened. This can be done in the microwave or on the cooktop. Drain the vegetables and put them in an oven-proof dish that has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Whisk the egg with the cottage cheese and Cajun Seasoning, and pour into the ramekin. Bake at 350 degrees F. 12-15 minutes. Prepare beverages of your choice and plate the fruit. Pass the Tabasco if you like extra heat.

Korean Seafood Pancakes “Haemul Pajean”: 266 calories 2.1 g fat 5.6 g fiber 33 g protein 37 g carbs 88 mg Calcium   PB  What’s not to love about this pancake, plump with yummy seafood and served with a savory sauce?

1/4 cup white whole wheat flour ½ cup water 1 egg white 1.5 oz scallion, sliced 4.5 oz cooked seafood – all one type or a mixture [ex: shrimp, chopped into 1/2” pieces, if large; lobster, chopped into 1/2” pieces or use smaller shreds; flounder, flaked] Per serving: 2 oz tomato dipping sauce** or commercially-available Korean spicy sauce

Whisk flour, water, and egg white until well-blended. Combine the seafoods in a bowl with the scallions. Heat a non-stick pan [I found a ceramic pan to work very well] and pour in ½ of the batter. Swirl it around so that it covers the bottom. Quickly sprinkle half of the seafood/scallion mixture over the top of the pancake before it sets. [ALTERNATELY: Combine half of the batter with half of the seafood and pour into the pan.] Cook for 6-8 minutes, then flip and cook until beginning to brown. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Pile the cooked pancakes on top of each other and cut into wedges. Serve with tomato wedges and 2 Tbsp dipping sauce**.

**Dipping Sauce [HINT: THIS IS ENOUGH FOR 2-3 SERVINGS]  3 Tbsp soy sauce 2 tsp rice vinegar 3 Tbsp chives, chopped pinch crushed red pepper flakes pinch sugar Combine in a micro-wave-safe bowl and heat until sugar dissolves.

Slow Days: Tree-Decorating Dinner

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

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Here we are in early December with Christmas fast approaching — how can one fit everything in? Years ago we worked out a multi-tasking method for the day we trim the Christmas Tree, and it works so well that we still do it that way. We always decorate the tree on December 13. [Dear Husband grew up in a German family where the tree went up Christmas Eve and came down seven days later. He loves having the tree up longer. Me too.] Dinner consists of finger food which can be prepared ahead: salmon piroshki

, with cheeses, vegetables, and a dipping sauce [plain, fat-free yogurt + dill weed]. For dessert, the full array of our families’ cookies. And to add to the celebration, a glass of sparkling wine. The meal is for ‘grazing’ — nibble, hang an ornament, nibble, sip.

The salmon piroski are filled with cooked salmon mixed with enough Dijon mustard to make a moist pate. One tablespoon of the mixture is placed inside rounds of pie crust which are folded over and crimped, turn-over/empanada style. [Yes, I know this is very non-traditional, but that’s how Craig Claiborne made them.] Made a day ahead, they are kept cool until being baked at 400 F for 15 minutes. Each year we enjoy this very special little feast — and still get the tree decorated!

Telling the Bees

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.

Bees, in the ancient world, achieved almost mythical status. The 7th century BC people of Rhodes had a Goddess Honeybee. The Celts thought that bees were messengers between this world and the next. Honey was a valuable commodity, so a hive of bees was prized. Seemingly without reason, bees swarm out of the hive and go away — a real calamity for a homestead. Thus, superstitions grew up around bees. One is ‘telling the bees’ about any changes in the household: births, marriages, departures, deaths. It was feared that if the bees weren’t told, they would up and leave. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poignant poem, Telling the Bees, about the death of a young man’s girlfriend and how the bees were being informed.

My friend Hilda B., who kept bees with her husband David, died last week. I hope he told the bees. Or if there are no more hives at their house, I hope he told the garden that he and Hilda tended so faithfully and happily together.

There is a lot of buzz about cutting down on sugar in our food. People hear that and they think, “OK, I’ll put honey in my coffee instead.” Or agave juice or cane syrup or maple syrup. They must be better — they are all natural, right? Sure those sweeteners are naturally occurring, but sweet is sweet and our bodies use all sugars the same way. ALL sugars are bad for us in excess. If you could eat the recommended amount of added sugar [6 teaspoons per day], then you can have your sugar and eat it too. One teaspoon = 4 grams of sugar. 6 teaspoons = 24 grams. Try putting 6 teaspoons of sugar in a small dish. Use some of that sugar when you sweeten your coffee/tea. If you eat one medium chocolate chip cookie, take out another teaspoon. Check the cereal box to see how many teaspoons to remove for a bowl of cereal. The sugar in fruit? Don’t worry about that since it isn’t added to the fruit. See how far into your day you get before you run out of sugar. Then think about it: how much sugar do you really need.

Here’s what Harvard School of Health says about sugar in the foods we eat: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/ Below, find a recipe for a meal that could be for breakfast [with the coffee] or for dinner [with another felafel patty added and vegetables in lieu of fruit]. It shows how a meal can be good tasting and filling but low in added sugar.

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

4 felafel patties 4 oz canteloupe melon or pineapple 3.5 oz fat-free Greek-style yogurt ½ tsp mint leaves   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea

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

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

1 two-oz egg + pear1.5 two-oz eggs 
green bell pepper + celery
Danish bleu cheese
onion + cajun seasoning
herring marinated in wine
cottage cheese + Tabasco sauce
apple
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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


White whole wheat flour + shrimp
Béchamel without cheese +dill
egg white + scallion + lobster
ham + spinach + celery

white fish + soy sauce
onion + celery salt + basil

rice vinegar + chives + garlic
garlic powder + 2 crepes
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Hometown Heroine: Geneva

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.

Catherine Cheynel Royaume was no doubt an unassuming woman. She had lived with her second husband Pierre in Lyon, France until 1572. At that time, the Protestant Huguenots were being persecuted by the Catholic majority, so the Royaumes and other families left France for Geneva. Pierre found work there as an engraver of coins and because of that, they had an apartment in the city wall above the Port de la Monnaie [Coin Gate] where taxes were collected on goods brought into the city. On December 11/12, 1602, when Catherine was 62, couldn’t sleep so she went to stir the soup that was always cooking over the coals of the fire. Hearing a noise outside the window, she looked out to see soldiers of an invading army from Savoie! As they began to scale the walls to take Geneva by surprise, Madame Royaume picked up her pot of hot soup and threw the contents on the soldiers. Then she sounded the alarm and hit an invader on the head with the pot. Other residents joined the fray, throwing furniture from windows to knock soldiers off their ladders. Eventually, the Savoyard army gave up and Geneva was saved. Catherine is remembered as “Mere Royaume” and tiny chocolate soup pots filled with marzipan vegetables are consumed every year in her honor.

The Royaume family was from Lyon, France, a rich agricultural area. Our breakfast features a French recipe using ripe cherries. Our dinner is one version of the soup that Mere Royaume used to save the day.

Cherry Flamusse:  194 calories 5 g fat 1.3 g fiber 11 g protein 27.6 g carbs [10 g Complex] 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, one serving has 177 calories, since there would be no clementine.]

2 two-oz eggs 6 oz milk 4 tsp flour OR tapioca flour 1.5 Tbsp sugar 10 sweet cherries, pitted ½ clementine Optional:  blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Spritz 2 ramekins or an oven-proof dish [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. You won’t believe this is a ‘diet.’

Soup Royaume: 152 calories 0.3 g fat 6.3 g fiber 12.6 g protein 24.6 g carbs 84 mg Calcium   PB GF  A fine meal for winter, made hearty with autumn vegetables and lentils. Add as much seasoning as you wish. Any soup can be improved by preparing it ahead and letting it sit for 8-24 hours. HINT: The recipe makes four [4] servings.

2.5 oz pork loin, raw or cooked ½ cup onion, chopped 3.5 oz dry lentils, small green ones from France if possible 3 oz rutabega/turnip, cubed 2 oz carrot, diced 3 oz parsnip, diced 3 cups chopped cabbage mace + dry mustard + caraway seed [optional] salt + pepper ½ cup frozen spinach, chopped 3 cups water per serving: several leaves of fresh spinach

Put the pork, onions, and lentils in a heavy saucepan and cook until browned. Add the rutabega/turnip, carrot, parsnip, cabbage and seasonings. Cover with water, using more if needed. Cover and cook for about 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Taste for seasonings, add the frozen spinach, and heat through. Divide into 4 equal servings and freeze the servings you don’t need today. Roughly chop the fresh spinach and put it on top of the soup when serving. 

Whodunit? Who ate it?

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 favorites.

In the China Trillers by Peter May, the wonderful Mei Yuan prepares street food. Throughout the books, we learn of her difficult days during the Cultural Revolution and we marvel at her resilience in recreating herself as a seller of ‘jian bing’ aka: Chinese egg pancakes.

Jian Bing ‘Chinese Pancakes’:  154 calories  5 g fat 1.4 g fiber 9.3 g protein 19 g carbs [3 g Complex] 32.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages. PB This delicious treat is a popular Chinese street-food. And now it is popular in our household. Quick to cook and fun to eat. The crisp tart apple slices are a nice foil to the salty-spicy food. HINT: this recipe makes 4 pancakes, of which 2 will do for the breakfast. Save the remaining 2 to eat cold for lunch tomorrow.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour + 1.5 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 1 Tbsp semolina flour 2 two-oz eggs ½ cup water ¼ cup chopped scallions, white and green parts Kosher salt 2 tsp Sriracha sauce + 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce per person: 1 oz apple Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Whisk together the flours, water, and one egg until lumps are gone.  Hint: this can be combined the night before. Whisk again in the morning. In a separate bowl, beat the other egg thoroughly. In a custard cup, combine the hot sauce and soy sauce. Using a good non-stick pan, add 2 brief puffs of non-stick spray, then wipe with a paper towel. [Keep the paper towel handy.] Heat the pan and add 3-4 Tbsp of batter, swirling the pan quickly to distribute the batter evenly to make a thin pancake that coats the bottom of the pan. Let cook for a minute or 2, then spoon some of the egg on top and smear it around. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and one tablespoon of the scallions. Cook until the egg on top is a bit set, then flip the pancake over. Brush the hot sauce mixture on top. Cook for 30 seconds, fold the pancake in 4ths with the hot sauce inside, and plate. Use the paper towel to wipe the pan and repeat the cooking process until all the batter and scallions are gone.  NB: I had whisked egg left over. If your hot beverage is brewed, your apples are sliced, and the smoothie is ready, then you are set for a real good start to a new day.

In Louise Penny’s Three Pines Mysteries, the former fitness trainer Gabri has become the cheerful, chubby chef in the bistro he runs with his partner. He is always making food — to cheer someone up or to add to a pot-luck feast. In Still Life, he contributes a Cottage Pie.

Cottage Pie:  219 calories 7 g fat 1.8 g fiber 21.7 g protein 15 g carbs 35 mg Calcium  GF Cottage Pie is the beef version of Shepherd’s Pie. The addition of mashed cauliflower is a great trick to lessen the calorie and carb count of mashed potatoes. Some people like this with mashed cauliflower only, but I enjoy the combo for a more authentic taste. HINT: serves 2. Freeze leftovers for another dinner or invite a guest.

1 cup roast beef, ground or minced 1 two-oz egg, separated ½ cup mashed potatoes + ½ cup mashed cauliflower ½ cup beef gravy, as fat free as you can make it   per serving: 2 oz peas OR 1 cup lettuce + 1 oz tomatoes ½ tsp olive oil + ½ tsp lemon juice

Add the egg yolk and gravy to the beef, along with salt and pepper to taste. Whip the egg white until stiff and fold into the mashed vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Put the beef mixture into an oil-spritzed oven-proof dish [2-3 cup capacity] and spread it out evenly. Smooth the mashed vegetables on top and ruffle it with a fork or spoon. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until the top begins to brown a bit and the inside is hot. Whisk the oil and lemon juice in a wide bowl, add the lettuce and tomatoes, and toss gently.

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

1 two-oz eggNext week’s topic is sugar
in the diet.
milk + sugarChoose a favorite or new
favorite from Archives
flour + sweet cherries

clementine

Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

cabbage + onion + mace
+ pork loin + dry mustard
Find a new favorite dinner
in the Archives
rutabaga/turnip + carrot + parsnip

caraway seed + green lentils

fresh and frozen spinach

Sparkling waterSparkling water

Hanukkah Season

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 asgarmollart who is now Following.

Does it bear mention that Hanukkah is not the “Jewish Christmas”? The only things they have in common is a December occurrence and a joyful theme. “The Feast of Lights” celebrates the re-consecration of the Temple in Jerusalem after it was sacked by enemies. Miraculously, one day’s worth of sacred oil burned for seven days. Another aspect of holiday, involves two women, Judith and her maid-servant, who killed the general of the invading Assyrians. They fed him salty cheese and then slaked his thirst with wine. When he fell asleep, the two women cut off his head with his own sword. His demoralized army gave up and went home. Two miracles in the history of the Descendants of Abraham.

This time of food and family feasting begins on December 1 this year. Foods are eaten that contain salty cheese, in honor of brave Judith’s gory deed. Our breakfast does that. Foods are eaten that are prepared with lots of oil, to remember the lamp that kept burning. Children play games, hoping to win ‘Hannukka gelt,’ chocolates wrapped in foil to look like gold coins. Our dinner is prepared with a little oil and has many hues of gold.

Spinach-Muchroom-Feta Bake: 178 calories 10.7 g fat 1 g fiber 13 g protein 8 g carbs [3.8 g Complex] 214.7 mg Calcium  PB  Miri Rotkovitz presented this recipe via thespruceeats.com which she recommends as a ‘dairy meal for Hannukka’. Her version is a dinner pie, complete with an olive oil crust. My version packs a punch 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 + 1-1/2 teaspoons flour 1.5 oz feta cheese, crumbled   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Thaw the spinach in a sieve to remove extra water. Gently cook the olive oil 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.

Apricot-Glazed Lemon Chicken: 252 calories 1.6 g fat 3.5 g fiber 29 g protein 33 g carbs [21 g Complex] 54.5 mg Calcium  PB GF  Lightly sweet, slightly sour, completely delicious. This chicken is very easy to prepare, but don’t save it for a busy night — you will want to eat this often. The recipe comes from the Great Hadassah Wizo Cookbook, via Omgyummy.com. OK. And then I modified it.

3-4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast 1.5 tsp apricot preserves/jam ½ tsp chopped lemon zest 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 or 2 slices of lemon ½ cup delicata squash, cubed 3 oz sweet potatoes + garlic powder + paprika + pepper + salt

Take one boneless chicken breast and place it on a cutting board. Put one hand flat on top of it and cut through the meat parallel to the cutting board. This should give you two equal pieces of breast meat, each 3-4 ounces. [Set aside the other piece of meat, unless you are serving two today.] Whisk the jam, mustard, lemon juice, and zest. If the jam is too solid, warm it gently so it will combine with the other ingredients. Spray a baking pan or pie plate with olive oil and put in the chicken. Pour the sauce over it and place the lemon slices on top. Cut the delicata squash, skin and all, and put into an oven-proof dish, such as a pie plate. Cut the sweet potato into skinny French Fries, toss them with garlic powder, paprika, and pepper, and add them to the pie plate. Spray liberally with non-stick oil or olive oil. Put the chicken and the vegetables into a 400 F oven for 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables and salt them. Return to oven, raise the temperature to 425 F and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Happy eating awaits.

Bernini!

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.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini died on November 18 in 1680. He was the greatest Baroque-era sculpture and architect who ever lived!! I absolutely adore his work. He was the founder of the “Baroque” style of art. As opposed to the staid, calm, classical figures of the Renaissance, Bernini imbued his work with motion, and energy and passion. Compare his statue of David to the one by Michelangelo — it checks off all the boxes for a work that grabs your attention for all the right reasons. He was also an architect, or one might say, a ‘designer of space.’ The colonnade around Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City? He designed it. The Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome? He did that. The Church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale in Rome, with its playful putti floating heavenward? Yup, Bernini did that. And his masterwork: the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa in the Cornaro Chapel. Wow. Amazing piece of devotion as theater. When I was in Rome, I went on a ‘Bernini pilgrimage’ to see as many of his works as I could, right down to his grave in Saint Peter’s Cathedral. I was never disappointed by his art.

Bernini was born in Naples, then spent most of his life in Rome. The pizzas of Napoli inspire the breakfast. The dinner is an American invention, named after an Italian opera star. What’s the connection? Grand opera, as we know it today, was developed in the Baroque period in Italy, just like Bernini’s art. Buon appetito.

Pizza ScrOmelette: 145 calories 8.5 g fat 0.7 g fiber 11 g protein 5.7 g carbs [5 g Complex] 77 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  Your favorite flavors at breakfast – cheesey and delicious. Sure beats a cold slice from a box….

1 ½ two-oz eggs  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week  1 Tbsp crushed tomatoes [feel free to add hot pepper flakes if you like] one 2”-diameter slice pepperoni 1/8 oz mozzerella cheese, grated [add some ‘Italian herbs’ ad lib] ¼ oz bell pepper 1 oz applesauce or fresh apple  Optional:  blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Chop or dice the bell pepper and cook it in a pan spritzed with non-stick pan. Chop the pepperoni and stir it in with the cheese, tomatoes, and peppers.  Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper. Pour into a pan which has been sprayed briefly with cooking spray. When the bottom of the eggs have set, add the cheese mixture and scramble to your heart’s content or fold like an omelette. Portion the fruit, and plate. Truly a treat.

Chicken Tetrazzini: 281 calories 5.6 g fat 3.9 g fiber 26.6 g protein 23 g carbs 103 mg Calcium  PB  This well-known dish is infamously high in fat and calories…. Until now. Enjoy it without guilt.

3 oz chicken breast ¼ cup Bechamel sauce without cheese [see Sidekicks II, October 4, 2018] 1 tsp sherry wine, NOT ‘cooking sherry’ 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese 1 oz capelli d’angelli pasta [angel hair] 1 oz carrot + 2 oz broccoli

If the chicken is raw, slice it thinly and poach it in water until it is just cooked through. Reserve the chicken-poaching water for cooking the pasta. Start cooking the pasta and the vegetables. [TIP: if you have a boiling pot with a steamer insert, you could do it in the same pot at the same time.] Warm the Bechamel sauce and add the sherry, Parmesan, and chicken. Taste for seasonings. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Plate with the vegetables. Delicious.

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

1 two-oz egg2 two-oz eggs  + scallion
spinach, frozen + flour white flour +/or white whole wheat flour
mushrooms + milk
semolina flour + Sriracha
feta cheese + garlic
soy sauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken breast + lemon
roast beef slices + one 2 oz egg
Dijon mustard + lemon juice
potato + cauliflower
apricot jam/preserves
peas or side salad
sweet potato + summer squash
low-fat beef gravy
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Dinners on the Wall

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

In May of 2016, I went for a hike with our cousin and her son. Nothing much…just walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path in northern England. [84 miles in 7 days] This was not an ‘all-inclusive holiday’ tour by bus with a guide and meals provided. Cousin Peggy found the places to stay and we figured out on the fly where we would have dinner each evening. Walking an average of 12 miles/day sounds arduous — but it wasn’t really, if you trained for it. You might think that this was no place for a Fasting Lifestyle. With all those calories being expended daily, surely one would need to chow down like a lumberjack every day. Again, not so. A Fast Breakfast can take you a long way into a busy, active day. The remainder is up to mind-set [like any diet plan]. And don’t forget — this was only two days out of the week — the rest of the time I could eat what I liked.

So what did I eat?

At Bistrot 34 in Brampton, I enjoyed this plate of legumes and goat cheese. It was really delicious and full of protein to fight hunger.
At the Gilsand Inn, the meat pie beckoned to me from the menu. The pie was small and tasty and the vegetables were abundant. Without the potatoes and gravy, it might almost be a Fast Meal. Ordering from the menu has limitations.

The take-aways? 1] With determination, one can Fast on vacation. 2] One will not perish by exercising on a Fast Day. 3] It is possible to order off the menu and still be true to the Fasting Lifestyle.

Did I eat salads while suffering from hunger all week? No way! The last day, we walked 21 miles from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway. [The map says it is less, but taking the wrong turning adds miles!] We dined well that night at the King’s Arms. It was a Saturday so I could eat what I wanted. And I did.

The meal of fish & chips was delicious and I ate it all [I did share the chips with fellow diners]

Why so many saints?

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.

Our elder son and I were in the Louvre together. He asked me to show him what I knew about pre-Renaissance art, since I had studied it and he hadn’t. At one point I leaned in toward a medieval work to see the details and the title. “Oh. Saint Barbara,” I said. “I should have known from the tower.” Curious, my son asked what that meant. He had never learned about the “iconography” of saints in art — that every saint has an “attribute,” a symbol to carry, to stand next to, or to wear so that we can recognize them when we see them: in a statue; on a window; in a painting. [Saint Barbara’s symbol is a tower. Saint Catherine’s is a wheel.] He was as intrigued as I had been, sitting in a dark lecture hall viewing slides during Freshman year in college: it was like a secret code book to a world of identification. Fascinating! Thus I became interested in saints [and knowing their iconography got me through many art history courses]. That’s how a “nice Protestant girl” got to know a lot about saints, and why I often choose saints for blog post topics. Some of the saints are old favorites, others are obscure yet interesting. I like their stories and how they fit into old customs and cultures. By their attributes shall ye know them.

Italy and France, respectively, have more native saints than any other countries [Spain is a close third] so our foods today will come from those nations. Breakfast is named after a French Saint and the dinner from Parma recalls their patron saint, Ilario.

St Denis ScrOmelette:  144 calories 8 g fat 2.2 g fiber 12.5 g protein 6.4 g carbs [5.3 g Complex] 57 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesGF James Beard’s comprehensive volume American Cooking gives us the recipe for this breakfast. Delicious, and rich, and wonderful. Worth getting up for.

1 ½ two-oz eggs  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.   1 Tbsp leek or scallion, minced ½ clove garlic, minced ¼ oz mushrooms ¼ oz ham [3% fat], minced 1 tsp chicken liver OR chicken liver pate parsley for garnish 1 oz watermelon OR 4 Bing cherries   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Add the leek, garlic, ham, and mushrooms and stir to cook. Whisk the eggs with the pate and pour over the vegetables in the pan. Cook as thoroughly as you like. The optional beverages are prepared and the fruit is plated. What a remarkable start to your day.

Chicken Parmesan: 238 calories 2.6 g fat 4.7 g fiber 31 g protein 11.4 g carbs 242.5 mg Calcium  PG GF – if using GF bread  At last! The restaurant classic made suitable for Fasters, with lots of protein and Calcium. And it is delicious. 

3-½ oz raw chicken breast meat, boneless, skinless 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tsp dried oregano and/or thyme ¼ oz whole-grain breadcrumbs, fresh not dried 1 Tbsp milk ¼ cup marinara sauce, homemade or jarred ¾ oz mozzerella, grated 2 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese 1 cup baby greens + ½ oz grated carrots ½ tsp olive oil + ½ tsp red wine vinegar

Heat the toaster oven to 350F. Spritz an oven-proof pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Pour the milk onto a small plate. On another plate combine the Parmesan, herbs, and bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Cream the other two cheeses together until well-combined. Dip the chicken in the milk on both sides. Dredge the chicken in the crumb/cheese mixture to coat it completely. Place on the oven-proof pan and spray with olive oil. Bake the chicken about 10 minutes, until golden. Top the chicken with the marinara sauce, then mound the cheese over it. Broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is melty and starting to brown. Prepare the salad ingredients and toss with dressing. For atmosphere, light a candle stuck in a wine bottle.

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

Next week I will discuss actual
menu choices made while on vacation.
1.5 two-oz eggs 
Choose a new favorite from
the Archives.
2″-diameter slice of pepperoni

mozzarella + bell pepper

crushed tomato + apple
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Choose a new favorite dinner from
the Archives.
Chicken breast, boneless, skinless

sherry wine + carrot + broccoli

Bechamel sauce with cheese

angel hair pasta + Parmesan cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Saint Hilda of Whitby

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.

This week’s blog is dedicated to my friend Hilda B., who, being from Northern England, was probably named for St Hilda. Our Hilda is witty and wise, full of fun and a fellow bell-ringer. Be of good courage, Hilda.

In Whitby, Yorkshire in 657, there lived a remarkable women. She was born Hild or Hilda to a noble family in the days of a Christian Church so new that many of the ideas we have about the institution had not yet been thought of: clergy celibacy and the date of Easter and infant baptism, to name a few. Hilda moved to Whitby to start a new religious house, which invited men, women, and families to come together to live a godly life. In 664, she convened the Synod of Whitby which united Celtic believers with those who followed the rule of Rome, finally determining the date of Easter for everyone: first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Sounds complicated, but by using astronomical ‘signposts’ that anyone could observe, confusion was avoided. Hilda promoted learning and equality — of sexes and of classes. She was an able administrator who’s advice was sought by kings and clerics. Remarkable.

In honor of Saint Hild, we will eat the seafood for which Whitby is famous: Kippered Herring in Yorkshire Pudding for breakfast and a Whitby Fish Pie for dinner.

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 recipe makes enough for two [2] 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] or lemon in hot water

Soak the kippered herring in water for 30-45 minutes. Drain and mince. 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!

Whitby Fish Pie: 294 calories 15.4 g fat 1.7g fiber 17.5 g protein 15 g carbs [1.7 g Complex] 139 mg Calcium HINT: This recipe makes enough for two [2] servings. This fabulous recipe is from Paul Hollywood, of British Baking Show fame. It is simple and delicious. Dear Husband loved it.

This is a pie for TWO servings. We will serve this again!!
233 ml [1 cup] skimmed milk
½ bay leaf
½ small onion
2 whole cloves [the spice]
Put the milk in a pan with the bay leaf
and onion studded with cloves. Bring
slowly to the boil, turn off the heat and
let infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Strain the milk into a small bowl.
20 g butter
20 g = 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 40 g spinach, fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
salt & pepper
Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour
and cook gently for a few minutes, then gradually stir in the infused milk.
Increase the heat a little, bring to a
simmer and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the spinach, parsley
and some salt and pepper.
133g/3.5 oz haddock
133g/3 oz smoked haddock 58 g/1.5 oz shrimp, cleaned [salt & pepper]
Skin the fish and remove any pin bones.
Cut into bite-sized pieces and put into
a 4”x6” dish with the prawns. Pour
on enough sauce to cover, gently mix
with the fish and check the seasoning.
Purchased puff pastry, 1/6 of a sheet


Heat the oven to 200°C/400 F/Gas 6. 
Roll out the pastry on a lightly
floured surface to form a 4×6” rectangle. Cut into 6 strips and use to form a lattice atop the pie.  Bake for 20-25 mins until pastry is golden brown.