Fra Angelico

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                       Welcome to WJ Fulton who is now Following.

When Guido di Pietro was born in the Mugello Region of Tuscany in 1395, no one would have dreamed that this baby of small-town origin would become a major figure in the world of art. Early on, he trained as an illuminator, creating drawings for religious texts. Around 1420, he became a friar in Fiesole, Tuscany, taking the name ‘Fra [brother] Giovanni’.  His artistic work now flowed onto the walls of the monastery where it caught the eye of Cosimo di Medici, who brought the young friar to Firenze in 1439, to a wider world of trends in art. In Firenze, the Renaissance in art was beginning.  Masaccio in fresco; Donatello in sculpture; Brunelleschi in architecture were all looking at the natural world and putting more naturalism in their work. The stylized views of the Gothic school of art were being nudged aside by the art of linear perspective and realistic landscapes. Influenced by these heady ideas, Fra Giovanni’s frescos and paintings show graceful yet fully-grounded people who inhabit realistic spaces which are flooded with light. The Annunciation, c. 1440, shows this well and it is one of my favorite paintings.  His works are sweet without being cloying, emotionally evocative without being over-wrought. After his death on February 18, 1455, people began to refer to him as ‘angelic’ due to the grace of his art and his piety in life. Thus the name “Fra Angelico” was attached to him, though he was never called that while alive.                          The cooking term ‘Florentine’ often means that spinach is a key ingredient.  Fra Angelico painted in the ‘Florentine School‘ of art, which strove for naturalism [as opposed to the ‘Sienese School‘ which was more stylized.]  Today’s menus include spinach and they are delicious.  Gaze at some of Fra Angelico’s work at breakfast and dinner.  Your day will be better for it.

Spinach Frittata:   131 calories  7 g fat   1.9 g fiber  11 g protein  6.6 g carbs [5.8 g Complex] 127 mg Calcium  PB GF  Whether it is breakfast or dinner, Spinach Frittata checks off all the boxes.Spinach Frittata

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                        1/6 cup [3 Tbsp] cooked spinach, squeezed and chopped                                                              1 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                    1/8 oz [2 Tbsp] chopped scallions, white and/or green parts                                                         ¼ oz Manchego OR Cheddar cheese, grated                                                                                    dash of grated nutmeg   +  dash of granulated garlic                                                                       2 oz strawberries                                                                                                                        blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                    5-6 oz fruit smoothie [79 calories], green smoothie or natural apple cider

Cook the spinach, drain it, and squeeze it in your hands to remove excess water. [TIP: save the drained water for cooking vegetables or pasta]Chop the spinach and mix with scallions, both cheeses, nutmeg, and garlic. Lightly spray a baking dish with oil or non-stick spray. Pour the vegetable-cheese mixture into the dish and arrange so it is evenly distributed. Whisk the egg and pour over the mixture. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Plate with the berries and pour the beverages.

Ham Florentine Crepes:   299 calories   11.3 g fat   5.6 g fiber 15.6 g protein   33 g carbs   307 mg Calcium   PB  Peter Christian’s Tavern was a very popular New Hampshire restaurant and their cookbook was a local best seller. The restaurant has closed but the cookbook is a goldmine and it served as the source of this meal. Very easy if the crepes and Bechamel sauce are pre-made.Ham Florentine Crepes

Ham Florentine Filling:    makes 1.5 cups                                                                                              ½ cup no-cheese Béchamel Sauce [see SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17]                                                1 cup ham in 1/4” dice                                                                                                                    1 cup [5 oz] cooked spinach, fresh or frozen                                                                                        ½ cup chopped celery                                                                                                                            ¼ cup chopped onion                                                                                                                     pinches of celery salt + dill + granulated garlic + basil

Be sure to squeeze the spinach until most of the liquid is out of it. [save the liquid] Spritz a saute pan with non-stick spray and add some of the spinach liquid. Cook the celery and onion until the onions are transluscent, adding more spinach liquid as needed. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat until warmed through.

For the Dinner:       2 crepes [see SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17]                                                                                               ¾ cup Ham Florentine                                                                                                                   Set the oven to 350 F. If the crepes are frozen, thaw and wrap in a tea towel. Put them in the oven as it warms. When the crepes are soft and pliable, lay them on a baking sheet, covered with the tea towel. Warm the Ham Florentine filling and spoon over half of each crepe. [I saved out a bit of liquid from the filling.] Fold the crepes over the filling and pat in place. Put the crepes in the oven until warmed through. Top with reserved filling before serving.  NB: in the photo above, you see a serving of vegetables. They add 50 calories.

Love Thyself

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On your next Fast Day, eat the meals that will be posted here in 3-4 days.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Why do you diet? Because you think your body has betrayed you by gaining weight and you want to punish it?  If you are angry at yourself, you will not succeed in improving your health — physically or mentally. You must like yourself well enough to want to figure out why you over-eat and to recognize that having the right relationship with food will help you to be successful.  Eating more health-fully is the key.   If dieting is about ‘punishment,’ it won’t work.  If it is about loving yourself, then you will want to take care of your body and feed it in a way to make it healthy.  Do you think you will be hungry all the time when Fasting?  There are many moods that masquerade as hunger.  If hunger is not the problem, food is not the answer. In Fasting, you will find a better way to eat, focusing on what foods are good for you so that you can feel and look your best.  How can you “Love your neighbor as yourself” if you don’t love yourself?   Be your own best Valentine.                                                                                                                                           In honor of Valentine’s Day, breakfast looks like an indulgence but has lots of delicious nutrition.  Dinner is a meal my Dear Husband and I have often enjoyed on February 14th, and it is very nice indeed.

Fruit Hearts: 198 calories 5.6 g fat 2.7 g fiber 13 g protein 25.8 g carbs 82.6 mg Calcium NB: These values are for the Fruit Hearts alone.PB GF V  This breakfast looks as if it came from the pastry cart, but it fits within our guidelines for Fasting. If you don’t mind doing ‘fiddly food,’ treat someone you love to a special breakfast.Fruit Hearts

1 oz whole-grain bread cut using a 2+” heart-shaped cookie cutter                                                2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce                                                                                                         2 Tbsp low-fat French Vanilla yogurt                                                                                               1 Tbsp almond meal/flour                                                                                                            fresh fruit of your choosing: fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries or peach slices or blueberries  [The fruit in the center is a ‘Goldenberry’]                                                                      1.1 oz Canadian bacon/back bacon cut into hearts with the same sized cutter                              3oz fruit smoothie [34 calories] or natural apple cider                                                            blackish coffee [53 calories]or tea or lemon in hot water

First, stir the yogurt and almond flour until thoroughly combined. It will thicken slightly. Cut the bread and the Canadian Bacon into hearts.HINT: I did this the night before, storing the bread in a plastic bag overnight to prevent them from drying.Gently cook the bacon hearts so that they are warmed through yet retain their pinkness. Lightly toast the bread hearts. Spread the applesauce evenly over each heart. Pipe the yogurt/almond around the edge of each heart, then arrange the fruit in the center. Sip some low-fat cafe au lait this morning and think lovely thoughts..

Filet Mignon with Tarragon:  278 calories  14 g fat  2.3 g fiber  28.6 g protein  7.2 g carbs [6 g Complex]  49 mg Calcium  GF  We have enjoyed this sumptuous Joanne Harris recipe for years and we still turn back to her My French Kitchen to make it again. HINT: This recipe is enough for two. Worth sharing with a special friend. If serving one, prepare all of the sauce and save it to put in eggs at breakfast or to use at dinner.

2 tsp butter                                                                                                                                       1 portobello mushroom cap                                                                                                               1/4 tsp olive oil   +  1/4 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                  ½ large shallot [1 Tbsp]                                                                                                                                             2 Tbsp white wine                                                                                                                              1 Tbsp heavy cream                                                                                                                          1 tsp grainy mustard                                                                                                                       ½ clove garlic [½ tsp minced]                                                                                                          2-3 Tbsp fresh tarragon                                                                                                                   two 4-oz filet mignon                                                                                                                           10 spears asparagus, snapped off at the bottom to remove the woody section

Cook the mushrooms on both sides in butter and a spritz of cooking spray. Keep warm off the stove. Heat the oil with a spritz of cooking spray, and cook the shallots until softened. Add the wine to the pan, then simmer for 3 minutes. Lower the heat, add the cream, mustard, garlic, and tarragon. Heat long enough to heat the sauce but do not let it boil. Cook the asparagus. In a separate heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and a spritz of non-stick spray over high. Cook the meat 1-1/2 minutes/side if you like it rare or 2 minutes/side for medium. Place the cooked steak on the mushroom cap, surround it with asparagus, and top it with the sauce. This is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg   +  cooked spinach 1.5 two-oz eggs
cottage cheese   +  scallion  +  nutmeg eggplant  + garlic
Manchego cheese tomato/tomato sauce +  Onion
granulated garlic   +  strawberries pear  +  Herbes de Province
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

no-cheese Béchamel [Sidekicks I 17-Sep-’17]     +     spinach [5 oz]  +  ham no-cheese Béchamel [Sidekicks I 17-Sep-’17]     +  chicken breast
celery  +  onion  + celery salt sherry wine  +  carrot
garlic powder + dill + basil angel hair pasta
2 crepes [Sidekicks I 17-Sep-’17] broccoli   +   Parmesan cheese
Sparkling water Sparkling water


How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                             Welcome to laurarose who is now Following.

Tomorrow, February 10, is “San Pawl Nawfragu.” But you knew that, right?  You would have known if you were familiar with Chapters 27-28 of the Book of Acts.  There, Luke, the author of Acts, describes being transported from modern-day Crete to Rome with St Paul who was a prisoner. [Paul, in 60 CE, was accused of crimes against the state, but being a citizen of Rome, he demanded that the trial be held in Rome. Hence the sea voyage.]  The ship was in a storm off southern Italy and the crew were fearful for their lives.  Paul told them they would all live and when the ship ran aground, everyone survived. Once safely on shore,” wrote Luke, “we found out that the island was called Malta.  The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”  The shipwreck at Valletta or possibly St Thomas Bay was the start of the conversion the Maltese to Christianity. After three months, the crew and passengers continued to Rome and to this day, the people of Malta celebrate the shipwreck and the rescue of all hands.                                                                                                         “Mediterranean Vegetables” [similar to French Ratatouille] are a popular ingredient in Maltese recipes [a recipe will call for ‘a can of Mediterranean Vegetables’], and so we use them in today’s meals.  From breakfast to dinner, we can dine like those unusually kind people of Malta. The dinner is a scaled-down version of the local favorite “Torta tal-Ispinaċi u t-Tonn taż-Żejt.”

Ratatouille-Egg Crepe:    292 calories   5.7 g fat   4 g fiber   15.5 g protein   43 g carbs [37 g Complex]   205 mg Calcium    PB  GF – if using GF flour in your crêpes     Straight out of Malta – if it weren’t for the crêpe! A perfect blend of French/Mediterranean flavors.ratatouille-egg crepe

1 crêpe [see Sidekicks I, 17 Sept 2017]                                                                                                            one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                                               ¼ cup Mediterranean Vegetables [Sidekicks II, 4 Oct 2017], drained of excess liquids [reserve the liquid]                                                                                                                                                   ½ oz fresh mushrooms                                                                                                                                           5-6 oz green smoothie or fruit smoothie or unpasturized apple cider                                            blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water

Drain the vegetables of excess liquids. Use the liquids to cook the mushrooms. Combine the vegetables and mushrooms and heat. Warm the crêpe and plate it. Poach or fry the egg. Spoon the vegetables over the crêpe and top it all with the egg.

Maltese Spinach-Tuna Pie:   185 calories   9.6 g fat  5.3 g fiber  19 g protein   24 g carbs [16 g Complex]   49 mg Calcium   PB   This dish is a classic in Malta and you will enjoy it at home too. Lots of ingredients, but it is really easy to prepare and remarkably tasty. NB: This recipe serves two.maltese spinach-tuna pie

1/6 sheet purchased puff pastry                                                                                                       100 g frozen spinach                                                                                                                                 1 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                    ½ cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                           2 cloves garlic, chopped                                                                                                                     100 g tuna                                                                                                                                           100 g Mediterranean Vegetables [see Sidekicks II,  4-October -’17]                                                                                 ¼ c peas                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp capers                                                                                                                                     2 anchovies, rinsed                                                                                                                              2 Tbsp tomato puree 

Put the puff paste sheet on the counter to warm for 30 minutes. Thaw the spinach and squeeze out the moisture. Heat the oil in a pan, then saute the onions and garlic. When they are just cooked, add everything else except the puff pastry. Stir and cook until everything is warmed through. Transfer to a lightly-oiled oven-proof dish. Cut 1/6 of the pastry sheet. Rewrap and refreeze the rest. Place the puff paste on top of the tuna/vegetable mixture. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is browning and flakey.


How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On your next Fast Day, eat the meals that will be posted 3-4 days from now.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

If you were to list 5 citrus fruits, would you name pineapple? cranberry? kiwi? I might have since I thought of ‘citrus’ as a tart fruit with a good ‘pucker.’  But I was wrong! Citrus fruits are indeed pucker-y, but they are a genus of plants which are in the same family as the garden herb Rue [the Herb o’ Grace]. All citrus fruits are similar in that they have segments inside a thick, leathery skin. They have a long history, going back to their origins in Asia, just south of the Eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains 8 million years ago.  This is the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when citrus fruits ripen and are widely available. Sought out for their tangy flavor, they are an important source of dietary Vitamin C in the middle of our winter.  Some people go overboard, causing the makers of anti-cholesterol drugs to print disclaimers about not eating grapefruit while on the medicine.  I asked the drug company rep and was told that the warning only applies to those who eat in excess of 6 grapefruits daily.  There used to be a ‘Grapefruit Diet‘ but that is now on the trash-heap of failed experiments.                           For our foray into citrus-inspired meals, we’ll enjoy clementines in a healthy yogurt parfait for breakfast and a salad with grapefruits for dinner.

Mango-Citrus Parfait:   288 calories  5 g fat   2.2 g fiber   26 g protein   36.7 g carbs [24 g Complex] 413 mg Calcium  PB GF  Fast Food Restaurants decided years ago to offer ‘healthy options’ in the form of yogurt parfaits. Yogurt with lots of sugar, fruit, and lots of high-fat, sugar-rich granola. Poor choice. Here is a more acceptable breakfast option, full of protein yet low in fat and calories.  NB: This could be a Slow Day lunch option, since without my coffee, it comes in at 229 calories.citrusparfait

½ cup reduced-fat cottage cheese                                                                                                   ½ cup plain yogurt                                                                                                                           1.5 oz mango cubes                                                                                                                           ½ clementine [skin it and use half the segments]                                                                            2 Tbsp granola                                                                                                                            nearly black coffee or tea or lemon in hot water         NO Smoothie today.

Stir the cottage cheese and yogurt to combine thoroughly. Divide the fruit into two portions. Spoon half of the dairy mixture into a wide-mouthed wine glass and top with half the fruit. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of granola. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order, topping with granola. Or just put all the granola on top. Prepare the coffee and enjoy that dairy-fruit goodness. The mango and clementine really perk up the creamy dairy flavors. Good choice for healthy eating.

Grapefruit-Avocado Salad:   289 calories  20 g fat [half of that is plant fat]  6.4 g fiber  18 g protein   15.3 g carbs [14.5 g Complex]   75.5 mg Calcium   PB GF  This is delicious, attractive, nutritious, and satisfying. Real food. Good food.grapefruit-avocado salad

1 two-oz egg, hard-boiled                                                                                                               2.5 oz avocado [this was half an avocado], sliced in 4 pieces                                                        3.3 oz pink grapfruit sections [you need 4 sections]                                                                     1.75 cups lettuce, sliced/shredded                                                                                                    1 oz cooked chicken breast [you could substitute 4 shrimp for a vegetarian meal]                             ½ tsp white wine vinegar + ½ tsp lime-infused olive oil + ¼ tsp ground ginger                            pinch of lemon finishing salt

Whisk the oil, vinegar, and ginger in a meduim-sized bowl. Add the lettuce and toss to coat with the dressing. Remove the lettuce to a serving plate, letting some of the dressing drip back into the bowl. Spread the lettuce evenly over the plate and sprinkle with the finishing salt. Starting at the center with the egg, arrange the grapefruit and avocado around the plate. Place the chicken as you wish. Brush the remaining dressing on the grapefruit and avocado.

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg 70-calorie whole grain bread
mushrooms applesauce  + Canadian bacon
1 crepe [Sidekicks I 17-Sept-2017] almond meal  + fresh fruit
Mediterranean Vegetables  [4-Oct-2017] fat-free French Vanilla yogurt
Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

Frozen spinach   + tuna 4-oz filet mignon  + fresh tarragon
peas  + garlic  + onion butter + oil  + portobello mushrooms
olive oil  +  anchovy  + puff pastry shallot + garlic + white wine + asparagus
Mediterranean Vegetables  [4-Oct-2017] grainy mustard + heavy cream
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Our Town

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                      Greetings to the group of frequent visitors from India. I hope this blog helps your on your Fasting journey.

On February 4, 1938, Thornton Wilder‘s play Our Town debuted. This is one of my all-time favorite plays, which I directed three times in 10 years at the high school where I was Drama Coach. Wilder is said to have based the play’s characters and location, “Grovers Corners, New Hampshire,” on Peterborough, NH which he knew when he was a resident at the MacDowell Colony there.  Certainly the play has a real small-town New Hampshire feel and many mentions of local towns [Contoocook, Jaffery] and landmarks [Mount Monadnock]. Like his contemporary, the artist Norman Rockwell, Wilder was working during the turbulent and troubled Depression Era, evoking nostalgia for a simpler, more idyllic life in turn of the century America.  And people responded to those images of their remembered youth.  Despite its unusual lack of fancy sets, the play was a hit and has been popular ever since its opening which featured the author in the lead role of “Stage Manager.”  It tells a highly relatable story of young love, of death, and of life. I would tell my players that if I wasn’t crying by the 3rd act, they weren’t doing their part. Sure enough, night after night the Third Act would have me in tears. Hug those near and dear to you, and be sure to “… realize life while [you] live it…every, every minute.”                                                           In their gardens, Mrs Webb and Mrs Gibbs would surely have grown rhubarb [more efficacious than the ‘lots and lots of Comfrey’ grown to ease constipation], so we will have some of that for breakfast.  Thornton Wilder had studied French at Yale. He must have had fun writing Mrs Gibbs’ line about wanting a trip to France: she longs to “visit a country where they don’t talk English and don’t even want to!”  He spent a time in Italy after college studying archaeology, so we will dine ‘in Italy’ on Parmesan Fish.

Rhubarb Pudding:  283 calories  3.6 g fat  2.7 g fiber  17 g protein  46.7 g carbs [36 g Complex] 406 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF flour      Hayden Pearson has a wonderful dessert call “Blanche’s Super Rhubarb Pudding” in his iconic Country Flavor Cook Book. This is a scaled-down version that is fit for breakfast: slightly tangy, lightly sweet.  NB: This recipe makes enough for two [2].  Rhubarb Pudding

6 Tbsp cooked, mashed rhubarb                                                                                                                 1 two-oz egg + 1 egg white                                                                                                               1-1/2 Tbsp sugar                                                                                                                                             2 Tbsp flour OR 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour                                                                            2 Tbsp milk                                                                                                                                       ½ tsp baking powder                                                                                                                          per person:1 slice Canadian Bacon [= ½ oz back bacon]                                                       blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                                      5-6 oz fruit smoothie, green smoothie or natural apple cider

Cut up 1 cup rhubarb and stew it in a little water. Drain thoroughly and mash. Measure the 6 Tbsp you need and save the remainder for another use. {Add to a smoothie; serve with yogurt] Whisk the egg and white, then add all the other ingredients [but not the bacon!] Spoon into a baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick spray. HINT: I did all this the night before. A real time-saver.Bake at 350F. Until the batter is firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. While the pudding bakes, cook the bacon and prepare the beverages. Delicious.

Parmesan Fish:  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    A new version of the restaurant classic, made suitable for Fasters. And it is parmesean

4 oz fish, firm-fleshed variety                                                                                                            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 mozzarella, grated                                                                                                                    2 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese                                                                                                             2 oz green beans

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 fish in the milk on both sides. Dredge the fish in the crumb/cheese mixture to coat it completely. Place on the oven-proof pan and spray with olive oil. Bake the fish about 10 minutes, until golden. Top the fish 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 green beans and plate with the fish. For atmosphere, light the candle stuck in the wine bottle .

In Our Cups

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Monday, eat the meals that will be posted on Sunday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

“To be in one’s cups” means to be in the act of consuming alcoholic beverages. No doubt about it: you could be mildly impaired or roaring drunk, but you are drinking. Often the term begs immunity for whatever one says or does in such a state.  Would that stand up in court?   Usually we do not recommend drinking booze on a Fast Day, due to the fact that it represents ‘empty calories.’  Spend your calories wisely on a Fast Day on food that is nutrient rich.  Save the drinks for a Slow Day  [see peterspicksblog for some good wine pairings] but don’t go over-board then either.                                                                      We can have our food “in cups” on a Fast Day, enjoying delicious meals without fear of a hangover.  Both menus today are easy to prepare, with make-ahead options.

Ham-Cup Eggs:   284 calories    7 g fat    2.4 g fiber    18.4 g protein      31 g carbs [15 g Complex] 319 mg Calcium   GF  Easy to prepare ahead and easy on the taste buds.ham-cup egg

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                                                         1 slice “Cottage Ham” [4” diameter thin slice of ham] I used North Country Smoke House brand at 21 calories/slice                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                                                         1.5 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated                                                                                                                         2 oz apple                                                                                                                                                                     5-6 oz fruit smoothie or natural apple cider                                                                                       blackish coffee or tea or lemon in hot water

Fit the ham into an oven-proof container that measures 3.25” in diameter and 1.25” deep. [I used a cleaned tuna can. It was perfect.] You will need to snip  the ham on 2 sides and overlap the meat to make it fit better into the mold. Combine the cheeses and season with herbs/salt/pepper. Whisk in the egg and pour into the ham cup. HINT: I did this the night before and put it in the ‘fridge.Turn on the toaster oven to 350 F and bake the ham cups for 20+ minutes, until the filling is puffed and set. Prepare the beverages and the apple. Use a wide knife to loosten the ham cups from the mold before plating. Some of the egg will have oozed into the mold as it baked, but that was easy to remove too. This breakfast was a real hit.

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

Bison Chili:    per cup – 136 calories  3.2 g fat  4.8 g fiber  13 g protein  14.5 g carbs   57 mg Calcium           4 oz ground bison                                                                                                                                                   15 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced drained in a sieve [save the juice]                                      1 clove garlic, chopped                                                                                                                                                     1 cup red onion, chopped                                                                                                                                   1/2 cup green pepper, chopped                                                                                                                         3/4 cup canned red or black beans, drained and rinsed                                                                            2-4 tsp chili   +   ¾ tsp salt   +   ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin                  

Cook the venison, onion, garlic, and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the chili is hot throughout. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. makes 4 one-cup servings

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

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

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion for Monday:                 single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz egg + 1 white low-fat cottage cheese
rhubarb  + sugar + milk plain fat-free yogurt
flour or white whole wheat flour mango  + clementine
baking powder  + Canadian Bacon granola
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your hot beverage

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

fish  + Parmesan cheese + mozzarella Salad greens  + red grapefruit
1/4 cup marinara sauce [Saucy 6-Dec-’17] avocado  + 1 large egg
fresh bread crumbs chicken breast meat + white wine vinegar
cottage cheese  + green beans lime-infused oil  + ginger   + lemon salt
Sparkling water Sparkling water

St Kitts

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                            Welcome to Ms Teense who is now Following.

It is the middle of Winter, so let’s go on a tropical sojourn. On 28 January 1642, the island of Saint Kitts was colonized by the English.  Its name was given by Christopher Columbus who dubbed it ‘St Christopher’ which the “Kittitians” shortened to its present form. The English and French colonizers eliminated the indigenous Arawak people and replaced them with enslaved Africans to work the sugar cane fields.  Once the ‘gateway to the Caribbean,’ St Kitts and the sister island of Nevis has had their share of bloodshed and glances of fame.  It became the smallest nation to host a World Cup Cricket event and several Olympic track stars were born there.  Off shore, Alexander Hamilton was born on a boat in Charlestown [Nevis] harbor and after a harrowing storm at sea, “Amazing Grace” author John Newton had his soul-changing enlightenment on St Kitts.                                                                                                           Blessed with fertile soil and abundant seafood, the cuisine of the island has much to offer, even on a Fast Day.  Since bananas are an export item from St Kitts and molasses from sugar cane was once a huge industry there, those two items make their way into breakfast.  Then local vegetables and salt cod star at dinner.

Bananas-Papanas:   294 calories   8.3 g fat  0.5 g fiber  23 g protein   34 g carbs [23 g Complex]  309 mg Calcium   PB GF– if using GF flour This recipe for Romanian papanas was prepared on the French TV show Télématin, and it looked so easy and unusual that I had to try them…. Then I added the bananas as a play on words.  HINT: The recipe makes enough for two [2] portions, so save half the batter for a few days from now.  NB: The cooked papayas do not do well as left-overs.banana papanas

1 egg, separated                                                                                                                              4 Tbsp [63 g] part-skim ricotta   [Sargento brand]                                                                                                  4 Tbsp [63 g] reduced-fat cottage cheese                                                                                         29 g  [3 Tbsp] flour                                                                                                                               ½ tsp sugar                                                                                                                                          3/4 oz banana, sliced                                                                                                                           1 tsp molasses + 1 tsp water                                                                                                              NO smoothie today                                                                                                                                        blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water

Separate the egg white from the yolk. Combine the yolk, cheeses, flour, and sugar in a bowl. Whip the egg white until they are stiff. Stir 1/3 of the egg white into the cheese mixture, mixing until blended. Gently fold the remaining egg into the cheese mixture. Heat a non-stick pan and spray with non-stick spray. Using a scoop or a spoon [I made 4 using a 3 Tbsp scoop and then 4 using a 1.5 Tbsp scoop], place the batter into the pan in two batches. Cook until browned on one side and loose enough that they will slide if you shake the pan. Carefully flip to the other side. Remove to a plate and thinly slice the bananas on top. Pour the molasses into 1 tsp hot water and stir to combine. Pour the molasses over the bananas.  As you sip your coffee, savor the tastes of the Caribbean.

Saint Kitts Fish Stew:  307 calories  2.5 g fat  4.4 g fiber  42 g protein   31 g carbs  279 mg Calcium   PB  This typical Caribbean recipe is made with salted fish. Plan ahead to leave time for soaking the fish overnight.St Kitts Fish Stew

2 oz yellow bell pepper, cut as 1/2”x2” pieces                                                                                                      1 oz scallion [about 5], sliced in 1/2” pieces                                                                                                                                                               1 clove garlic                                                                                                                                                                     ¼ cup onion, coarsly chopped                                                                                                                              2 oz salt cod                                                                                                                                                                       3 oz fresh tomatoes, cut in chunks                                                                                                                        1/3 cup fish stock +/or water                                                                                                                                        1 dumpling [see not by Bread, II-7-’18]

Soak fish ovenight in water. Next day, drain and cut into pieces 1”x2”.  Prepare the batter for the dumpling.  Put the broth/water, bell pepper, scalion, garlic, and onion in a saute pan and bring to a simmer. Place the dumpling on the vegetables so that it is not sitting in the broth. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Then put the fish around the dumpling and top with the tomatoes. Cover the pan and keep at a simmer for 10 minutes. The dumpling should be firm to the touch when it is fully cooked. Check to see if it is done. Taste the dish to see if it needs salt [!!]. Different, delicious, and very pretty.

Foods in Wrappers, One

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

I am fascinated by similarities among diverse cuisines from around the world. In geology, a layer of sedimentary rock can stretch for hundreds of miles. The source material was the same, but as it was deposited small variations creep in so that in some cases the further you follow that stratum, the more it looks like a completely different rock. Around the world there are meals made of food in wrappers.  All with different fillings, all with different seasonings, all with different wrappings: yet all those ancient cooks had a similar inspiration: let’s take this and wrap it in an edible envelope! Today, we will look at four of these, involving corn tortillas, buckwheat crêpes, dumplings, and egg roll wrappers.

Enchiladas Suizas:   293 calories  10 g fat   11.2 g fiber   31.6 g protein  43.4 g carbs  261.7 mg Enchiladas w: winter medleyCalcium PB GF  Rick Bayless relates this recipe in his book Mexico One Plate At A Time. Delicious and easy to prepare. Avoid assembling too far in advance, lest it turn to mush                                          2 six-inch corn tortillas [50 calories each]                   2 0z [½ cup] shredded cooked chicken breast                 ½ cup enchilada sauce: see SPICY II 12 Sept 2018              ¼ cup grated Cheddar or Monterey jack                     1 oz broccoli florets                                                               1 oz cauliflower florets                                                     ½ oz carrot                                                                                  The full recipe was posted on 31-oct-2018

Crêpes w/ Ham & Cheese, Street Version:  272 calories  9 g fat  2.4 g fiber  21 g protein  25 g Ham & Cheese Crepescarbs   212 mg Calcium NB: The photo shows a meal for 2 [TWO]. Or dinner today, lunch tomorrow. This is the familiar street-vendor lunch in Paris, except that the food values will not break the bank on a Fast Day. Very quick and easy to prepare if you had made the crêpe batter before and have it thawed out. HINT: can be prepared in advance and rewarmed later. Good for traveling or planning ahead.                                2 crêpes [see Sidekicks I, 17 Sep-2017]                           2 oz sliced deli ham                                                           1/2 oz deli sliced Swiss cheese                                           1 wedge “Laughing Cow” [Vache Qui Rit] cheese at room temperature                                                     2 oz tomatoes                                                                                                                                                          See full recipe posted on 21-May-2017

Beef Egg Rolls:  per roll — 111 calories  1.7 g fat   1.2 g fiber   7.8 g protein   14.4 g carb   23 mgBeef Egg Rolls Calcium   PB   Lower in calories than carry-out and easier than you think to prepare.            2 oz lean beef steak, cut in strips                                                        1 Tbsp soy sauce   + 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce                                                                                                             1 tsp. cornstarch                                                               1 clove garlic + 1 tsp ginger root                                                                                                                                         1 cup cabbage, chopped                                                       1/2 cup carrot, sliced in  1/4” thick rounds                                                                 1 scallion     +   1/2 cup sliced onion                                                                                                                               5 egg roll wrappers      + 1 tsp oil                                                  3/4 cup broccoli                                                                                                                                                                               dipping sauce:  Sriracha sauce  +   soy sauce     see full recipe posted on  17-May-2017                                       

Pork Dumplings Steamed with Bok Choy:   215 calories   8.5 g fat   2.3 g fiber   12.5 g protein 28 g carbs   190 mg Calcium   PB   Our older son suggested this ‘starter recipe’ to encourage us to prepare Asian meals. NB: the dumplings were purchased at an Asian market and were very low in calories.  You will need to have or to improvise a steamer to cook this.  NB: This recipe serves two. I ate 2 dumplings, Dear Husband ate 3.pork dumplings w: bok choy

5 pork dumplings  [84 calories each]  see above note for serving sizes                                                                                                                                                3-4 oz bok choy                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp hoisin sauce, thinned to drizzling consistency with water                                                          dipping sauce: 2 oz black vinegar** + 2 oz soy sauce                                                                                    ** in lieu of black vinegar, combine equal amounts of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water.

Set up the steamer [mine is a bamboo version which is used with a wok]. Trim the bok choy to remove the largest parts of the center vein, and arrange the leaves on the platforms of the steamer. Put the frozen dumplings on the leaves. Close up the steamer and position it in a dry wok. Add water to the wok so that it rises over the bottom edge of the steamer but not so much that the water level comes up to the bottom tray of the steamer. Bring the water to a simmer. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Mix the hoisin sauce with some water to thin it. Combine the ingredients for the dipping sauce. Remove the bok choy to the plate and drizzle the hoisin sauce over it. Place the dumplings on the plate and serve with the dipping sauce. Despite the low calorie count, this meal is very satisfying. Other vegetables could be added, as long as their steaming time is the same as the other ingredients.                

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion for Monday: single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz egg  +  flour   +  sugar 1 two-oz egg
ricotta cheese, reduced fat Parmesan cheese
cottage cheese, low-fat 4″ diameter very thin ham slice
banana  +  molasses cottage cheese   + apple
no smoothie Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your hot beverage

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

salt cod   +  fish stock delicata squash
yellow bell pepper  + onion 1 cup Chili Non Carne [4-Oct-2017]
tomato  + scallions  + garlic melon
dumpling [7-Feb-2017]
Sparkling water Sparkling water
















Saint Agnes

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Agnes was a child who, after being murdered in a Roman persecution, became a saint. Her innocence attracted a cult of followers and her feast day, January 21, has been celebrated since the 4th century. One aspect of her veneration involves young women traditionally following a ritual of fasting on January 20 in the hopes of dreaming of their future husband.  John Keats incorporated this in his Romantic poem The Eve of St Agnes. It tells the tale of star-crossed lovers, Madeline and Porphyro.  She fasts and falls asleep.  Porphyro sneaks into the castle and gains admittance to her chamber with the help of Angela, the old Nurse [further shades of Romeo and Juliet]. While Madeline sleeps, her would-be lover sets a fantastic feast of expensive delicacies in her room.  She wakes, sees the object of her dreams [the guy not the goodies], and they escape to his castle to get married.  All rather racy for a poem related to 13-year-old Agnes. The name ‘Agnes’ is Greek, meaning ‘chaste’ but it is similar to the latin word for ‘lamb.’  Therefore the innocence of Agnes and of little lambs is forever linked.                                                                   In honor of Agnes, we will enjoy a breakfast based on Porphyro’s fantastic feast and a dinner of lamb stew.  Also, we are Fasting — not because we want to see visions of a ‘dream-boat’ but because we want to be healthy.

Porphyro’s Picnic:   252 calories  5.7 g fat   6 g fiber   6.5 g protein   53 g carbs [43 g Complex] 128 mg Calcium   PB GF V  This is based on the foods described by Keats in his romantic poem  The Eve of St Agnes.  The meal is rather sweet despite its low calorie count – perhaps it needs some other taste to cut it. A cup of black coffee? Full of fiber, this meal is sure to kick-start your tally of fruits/vegetables for the day.porphyro's picnic

2 Tbsp low-fat French Vanilla yogurt + 2 Tbsp almond meal                                                                      2 oz apple, diced                                                                                                                                                         2 oz melon, cubed ¼ cup pitted plums [I used canned plums in light syrup, drained and rinsed], use fresh if in season                                                                                                                              2 tsp cider syrup [or use 2 tsp syrup from the plums] + ¼ tsp ground cinnamon                            ¼ oz Medjool date, cut in 4 pieces.  [in the photo you see more dates, but there should be fewer]                                                                                                                                                                                     NO smoothie                                                                                                                                                    black coffee or black tea or lemon in hot water

Stir the yogurt and almond meal together and spoon onto the center of the plate. Chop the apple, cube the melon, and arrange them around the almond cream, along with the plums. Place the pieces of date at random. Combine the cider syrup with the cinnamon and drizzle it over the apple and melon. All set to eat and you still have 48 calories left over. Not responsible for what happens if you eat this by moonlight on January 20.

Lamb Stew with Glazed Vegetables:  317 calories**    8 g fat**   5.8 g fiber   24 g protein  31 g carbs    62 mg Calcium  GFif using GF flour   The recipe is from Salute to Healthy Cooking, so you know it is good. We have enjoyed this often. If you double the recipe, then you’ll have some to freeze for another meal. Yes, the calorie count is a bit high, but it is worth it. NB: One serving = ¾ cupLambstew

½ pound lamb shoulder, boneless and cut in cubes                                                                                    ½ cup onions, chopped                                                                                                                                         ¾ tsp white whole wheat flour OR GF flour                                                                                                  1 oz dry red wine                                                                                                                                                    ½ Tbsp tomato paste                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp thyme + 1 bay leaf                                                                                                                                               ¾ cup carrots, cut in 2” batons                                                                                                                         ½ cup cubed potatoes                                                                                                                                            6 pearl onions                                                                                                                                                                  1 cup [5 oz] turnips, cut in 2” batons                                                                                                                        ½ tsp sugar** 1 tsp butter**                                                                                                                                 cold water                                                                                                                                                           optional:  1/4 cup green peas, cooked and added after plating

Sear the cubed lamb on all sides [about 3 minutes] in a heavy pan which has been sprayed with non-stick spray or oil. Cook the meat in batches so the pan doesn’t cool down. Remove the cooked meat to a Dutch oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the onions in the same cooking pan and sauté them with enough water to make them sizzle. When the onions are transparent, add the wine to deglaze the pan, stirring the brown bits up from the bottom. Heat the oven to 350 F. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to mix. Add to the Dutch oven. Pour in enough cold water to go to the top of the lamb but not cover it. Stir in the thyme and bay leaf. Heat to a simmer on top of the stove on medium heat. Then cover and put the casserole in the oven. Bake 1 hour, checking once in a while to adjust the temperature to make sure the stew is not boiling. After 1 hour, add the carrots, put the cover back on and bake for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, put the cover back on and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. While the potatoes are baking, put the pearl onions and turnips in a small non-stick pan with the sugar and butter** and enough water to rise half-way up the onions. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered and shaking the pan ocaisionaly. Add salt and pepper. Reserve, off the heat until the lamb is cooked. Plate the stew with the vegetables, adding the optional peas if you wish.  [add ___ calories and ___ g fiber]

** If you were to cook the onions and turnips without the butter and sugar, you would reduce the calories to 297 and the fat to 6.3 g.

Slow Days: Pissaladiere

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

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

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

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

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