Madama Butterfly

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 Rachel Alexandra who is now Following.

On February 17, 1904, Giacomo Puccini‘s opera Madama Butterfly debuted in Milan at La Scalla Opera House. It was loudly and soundly booed, possibly by a claque of the composer’s rivals, and the opera was withdrawn. This was a stunning blow to Puccini. Ever since he saw an American company perform a short play about an American sailor and his ill-fated affair with a Japanese girl, Puccini wanted to turn it into an opera. He learned Japanese songs from the ambassador’s wife; one of his librettists went to Japan to gain some authenticity. After the disastrous premiere, the team reworked the piece and re-staged it in May to great success. Now the poignant story of the selfish Lt Pinkerton and the trusting Cho-Cho-San [called “Butterfly”] is one of the most popular works in any company’s repertoire and the aria Un Bel Di makes you sad just to hear it, especially when you know the tragic ending.

While we ponder the tale of poor Butterfly, we will eat a very Japanese breakfast which is good tasting and easy to prepare. For dinner, a rather American meal of fish combined with ham and walnuts.

Japanese Onion Soup with Onsen Tamago Egg: 215 calories 5 g fat 2.2 g fiber 16 g protein 29 g carbs [9 g Complex] 48 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg soup and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Our Younger Son prepared this for us one morning after a lot of heavy eating and it was a revelation: light yet hearty and so delicious. “Onsen Tamago” means ‘hot spring’ and it is a very different [to me] way to cook a soft egg.  HINT: This recipe is enough for 2 servings. Very easy to save for another breakfast or lunch one or two days from now.

2 two-oz eggs cooked Onsen Tomago-style** ½ cup sweet onions 2 cups chicken broth 3 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp mirin 1 oz Japanese noodles, such as soba @ 95 calories/ounce garnish: scallions, chopped + Sriracha, to taste 2 oz melon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

**Onsen Tomago EggHINT: The eggs can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. 2 whole eggs in shells + 1 liter water + 1 cup cold tap water Bring 1 liter of water to a boil. Once it boils, remove it from the heat, and add 1c of cold water. Using a slotted spoon, place eggs into the hot water and cover. Let sit for 17 minutes, then remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Serve hot or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Onion Soup: Cook noodles according to package, shock in cold water and put in serving bowls. Place sliced onions and stock into pan and bring to boil. When stock comes to boil, reduce heat to a strong simmer and cover. Cook until onions are soft (they should not be rigid when you pick them up with chopsticks). When onions are almost finished, add soy sauce, mirin, and sriracha and stir. If the liquid has reduced noticibly, add water.  When the onions are finished, pour the onion and broth over noodles. Carefully crack onsen tamago egg into broth. Garnish with green onion and serve the melon on the side. Eat with chopsticks and Japanese soup spoon.

Ham-Stuffed Fish 270 calories 3.5 g fat 23 g protein 16 g carbs 139 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF bread  Another recipe of unknown origin. Glad I saved it.

4 oz tilapia or perch 1 oz sliced ham from the deli 1/2 tsp soy sauce + ½ tsp sherry + 1 egg white ½ piece of whole-grain 70-calorie bread 1 Tbsp finely-chopped walnuts 1 oz carrots, julienned + 1 oz celery, julienned + 1 oz beets 1 scallion

Slice the fish so that it is in 2 pieces of equal length and thickness. Crumble the bread into the finest crumbs and blend thoroughly with walnuts. Whip the egg white until it is very frothy. Blend in the soy sauce and sherry. Make a ‘sandwich’ of the ham slice between the two pieces of fish. Dip in the egg mixture to coat, then dip in the bread/walnuts. Cook in a heavy non-stick pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, until fish is cooked – about 5 minutes per side. Cook the vegetables. Plate the fish and vegetables and sprinkle with sliced scallion.

Saint Scholastica

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 Skinny Spatula who is now Following.

Scholastica was a member of one of those families in the early Christian church when everybody joined the church and became saints. You’ve got Walburga, her father, and her 2 brothers; Nonna, her husband, and her three children; Basil and his 10 saintly relatives; and then there is Scholastica. I often try to imagine a family of saints sitting down to dinner at Thanksgiving….how would that conversation go? But with today’s saint, we know what she and her brother Benedict talked about: prayer, religious life, and the life here-after. They were twins and each was the head of a religious house in Italy. Once a year, they left their cloisters to meet together for a day of conversation, right up until a few days before the death of Scholastica. Unfortunately, Scholastica is better known for a deadly event which began on her feast day, February 10, 1354 [or ’35] in Oxford, England. The students had a day off and went drinking. In one tavern, a student berated the publican for serving lousy wine and threw it on him. Relations between Town and Gown being poor at best, a brawl ensued. The next day, more fighting broke out. After three days and 62 deaths, the Saint Scholastica’s Day Riot was to go down in history as a horrible event.

We will begin our recognition of Scholastica with a breakfast of Italian ingredients and end it with food that those English rioters might have recognized.

Asparagus-Proscuitto Bake: 124 calories 5.9 g fat 2 g fiber 8.3 g protein 9.7 g carbs [9.2 g Complex] 53.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF This is such a great flavor combination as an appetizer, that it must be wonderful with eggs. Yum!

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp [1/3 oz] thinly sliced, cooked asparagus ½ Tbsp [1/8 oz] proscuitto, thinly sliced or diced 1.5 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1 oz pear   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Spritz a ramekin with cooking spray and put the sliced asparagus and proscuitto into it. Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Whisk together the cheese and egg, and pour into the ramekin. Add salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the meat is salty. Bake 12-15 minutes. Slice the pear, prepare the optional beverages of choice. Nice way to start the day.

Steak & Mushroom Pie: 277 calories 4.8 g fat 6.9 g fiber 27 g protein 25.6 g carbs 34 mg Calcium Two very compatible flavors together again, topped [not encased] in puff pastry. Similar to a meal enjoyed at The Sign of the Angel in Lacock, Wiltshire, England. A real treat. HINT: recipe serves 2 [TWO], photo shows one serving.

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

Thaw the frozen puff pastry for 40 minutes on the counter. Rewrap and return one sheet to freezer. Remove one of the sheets, unroll it carefully, and cut the sheet into 6 squares. [TIP: stack the remaining 5 pieces with waxed paper or cling wrap between the layers. Pop into a zipper bag and freeze for later use.] Cut the steak into 1/2”-1” cubes. Combine the meat with the mushrooms, wine, onions, seasonings in an oven-proof dish just large enough to hold the meat mixture yet large enough to be topped with the puff pastry. Heat the meat mixture until it is warm. Lay the puff pastry on top, decoratively slitting the crust. Bake at 400 F. about 15 minutes, until the crust is well-browned. Cook the peas and imagine that you are in an English country restaurant.

NOW!

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.

We are one day into the new year. The resolution-making game is fraught with dilemmas: which resolutions to make? what if I can’t keep them? does that mean I’m a failure? Since the new year seems to be a good time for new beginnings, people make wild pie-in-the-sky promises to themselves which are impossible to keep. Some suggestions: make the resolution concrete [I will lose 10 pounds.]; make the resolution achievable [I will clean the kitchen and do the dishes right after dinner]; make the resolution something you really want to do for you [I will take a one-hour walk once a week to savor nature by myself]. Drinking water, reading more, moving more in a day — all are good resolutions.

Now is the time to lose weight/get healthier and I am here to help you. Re-read the paragraph at the top of the page. Does that sound too simple? Brain scientists say people think that the more rules a diet has, the better it must be! Nope — those are fad diets. This one is easy and it works. How to begin? Start small — if you think you can’t possibly exist on 600 calories per day, then begin with dinner. One day this week, eat a meal of 300 calories for dinner. Then do not eat until the next day at breakfast, but you may drink as much water/ sparkling water/plain tea/herbal tea/coffee/decaf coffee as you want. You will find that the dinner was satisfying enough to carry you through ’til morning. Do that one day per week, then try two nights in a week. Weigh yourself once a week and see if there is a change for the better. Here are two suggestions for dinners under 300 calories:

Green Split Pea Soup: 262 calories 1.6 g fat 19 g fiber 20 g protein 46 g carbs [46 g Complex] 30 mg Calcium  PB GF  For years we have loved this soup from Picardy, France which comes to us via Anne Willen’s  French Regional Cooking.  The easiest recipe in the world!  HINT: Makes 6 [six] one-cup servings. What you don’t use today, freeze in serving-sized portions.

Very hearty. Very satisfying. And the recipe makes 6 servings!

16 oz bag dry green split peas [Goya is excellent] 1 quart water 2 slices bacon 2 stems of thyme salt + pepper to taste

Put the dry peas in a bowl and add water to cover them by 2”. Let them sit and soften for 1.5 hours. Drain. [TIP: you will not need the water for the soup, but use it to water the houseplants] Put the peas, bacon, thyme, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 1.25 hours.  NB: Not all the liquid will be used upThat’s fine. Remove the bacon and the thyme stems. Using a food processor, blender, or immersion wand, puree the soup. There should be 6 cups. Soup should be loose enough to run off a spoon, but not too thin. Add water, if necessary, to adjust thickness. Taste for seasonings. Cook the bacon in a saute pan until it is crisp. Crumble it and add to the soup.

Fajitas with Chicken + Vegetables: 286 calories 5 g fat 3.9 g fiber 24 g protein 35 g carbs 183 mg calcium  PB  TIP: This recipe serves 2 [two] people. It is quick, delicious, and a good way to put vegetables into dinner.

Great for using odds and ends in the refrigerator — and it tastes great.
1 tsp oil + 3 tsp water 6 oz chicken breast 2 cups veg, including: >3 oz sweet pepper + 4 oz zucchini + >1 oz red onion + 1.25 oz broccoli 1 tsp chili powder + sprinkle AdoboCut the meat into strips. Cut the vegetables into strips or other edible sizes. Heat oil in wok, stir-fry meat, veg, and seasonings for ~ 7 minutes or until cooked and vegetables begin to brown
4 five-inch corn tortillasWrap in damp kitchen towel. Nuke 30-45 seconds. -OR- Warm on a griddle/ dry skillet until pliable and starting to brown.
¼ c plain nonfat yogurt [1 Tbsp per tortilla] Divide the meat/veg among the tortillas and top with yogurt.
1 lime + ¼ c cilantro leavesServe as garnish

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

1 two-oz egg + pear1.5 two-oz eggs 
sprouts + crab meat
fresh chives
soy sauce + ginger
Parmesan cheese
garlic powder + scallions
kiwi fruit
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Assorted Asian foods for Dim Sum — examples:7 cloves garlic + butter
beef egg roll or shrimp spring rollbeef or chicken stock
chicken momo or chicken momo fillingpotatoes + parsnips + egg + marjoram
pork wonton + broccoli + Sriracharye bread + Swiss cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Little Christmas Eve

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.

A book we read when our sons were little was all about how Christmas is celebrated around the world — countries and their customs. One that we really liked was “Little Christmas Eve” from Norway. According to the book, that day was given over to final preparations, from baking to wrapping gifts, so that the tree could be decorated that evening. The date for this was December 23, the eve of Christmas Eve. The idea of getting everything taken care of before December 24 sounded like a good idea to this busy mother. To this day, I do get all the baking done before then, as well as my shopping and wrapping. Rushing in all directions and staying up late on Christmas Eve never appealed to me. [Pre-planning helps a lot.] What do you think? These days, we enjoy spending the 24th relaxing with our family and enjoying being together.

Breakfast features salmon, a fish that thrives in the cold waters of Scandinavia. The dinner is soup. Our book described a pot of soup being on the stove all day — if you were hungry, you could help yourself. What a fine idea for a busy day!

Leek & Salmon Bake: 129 calories 6.7 g fat 1 g fiber 9.8 g protein 7 g carbs [7 g Complex] 64.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Simply delicious. 

One 2-oz egg ½ oz salmon [could be leftover from a previous meal] 1/3 oz leek, sliced thinly 1 tsp low-fat sour cream OR plain Greek Yogurt dill weed to taste dash lemon juice ¼ cup blueberries or 1 plum 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 an oven-proof ramekin [for 2 people, Dear Husband likes to use a 6×4” oval casserole] with non-stick spray and set the oven for 350 degrees F. Slice the leek and put in a microwave-safe dish. [NB: if the fish is raw, cut it into small pieces and put it in the dish, too] Cook in microwave for 30 minutes at high heat to soften the leek. Add to the ramekin. Whisk the egg with the sour cream, dill, lemon juice, and salt/pepper to taste. [NB: some people find dill to be a very strong flavor] Pour over the salmon/leek mixture and bake for 12-15 minutes. Prepare your beverages and dish the berries. Have a wonderful breakfast and a wonderful day.

‘Therapeutic’ Chicken Soup:  278 calories 3.4 g fat 5 g fiber 18.5 g protein 36 g carbs [26 g Complex Carbs] 78 mg Calcium  PB  The recipe is from It’s All American Food  by David Rosengarten. Simple, filling, and Granma says it is good for you.  NB: One serving = 2 cups of soup! The recipe easily doubles or triples.

1-1/2 cups excellent chicken broth, homemade or purchased 2 oz [½ cup] parsnips, diced 1 oz [¼ cup] carrots, in coins ¼ cup celery, sliced 2 oz cooked chicken breast, cut in 1/2” cubes 1/2 oz Pennsylvania Dutch noodles  3 Tbsp parsley

Prepare the vegetables. Cook the noodles in water until just underdone. Heat the stock to a simmer and add 3-4 Tbsp water, which will boil away as you cook. I added the parsnips first and cooked for about 5 minutes, then added the carrots. After another 5 minutes, I put the celery in the soup. Cook until all the vegetables are tender, then adjust the seasoning of the broth. Add the pasta and chicken. It will need extra flavor now since the pasta will have used it up, so add salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley and cook about 5 minutes longer.

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

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.

Crossroads: Indian Ocean

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 WeightLossNearMe who is now Following.                                  

Locations where the tides of history throw divers cultures together are fascinating to me.  Goa is on the West coast of India. If ever there were a place where “East meets West,” this could be it.  Petroglyphs and stone tools show that people were living there at least 10,000 years ago.  By 1400 BCE,  immigrants had arrived from Africa, Australia, and Southern India.  Then came the Buddhists, bringing their Nepalese religion and cultural ways. Many Buddhists are vegetarian/vegan, but the Goan Buddhists were not due to their contact with the Saraswat Brahmins from Northern India.  In the heyday of the Greek and Roman Empires, their ships would stop in Goa to take on food and water.  And in 1510, the Portuguese arrived, making Goa a territory of Portugal until 1961.  The languages, the religions, the culinary traditions of many peoples swirl in the daily life of Goans. Perhaps because of the well-stirred melting pot, the Hindu majority lives in harmony with the minority Christians, and Muslims.  In some instances, the same foods are prepared one way by the Catholic population, and another way by the Hindu population — but they all agree on the rich spices and flavors of one of India’s smallest provinces.  Goa is an unusual little slice of the Indian mosaic. ‘Visitors’ have been arriving for centuries and they still visit today.                                                                                                                          Due to the coastline and the influences of the “spices of Indies and the East” which lured the Portuguese, breakfast will include shrimp and mixed spices.  Dinner will be that most cross-cultural dish: pork vindaloo

Goan Scramble: 150 calories 7.6 g fat   0.8 g fiber 10.4 g protein 10 g carbs [7 g Complex] 57 mg Calcium NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF The mixture of spices and spicy foods called Cafreal Masala is typical of Goan cuisine. It really delivers a punch to these eggs!

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, pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid, and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.                                                                                                      1.5 tsp cafreal masala [see recipe on above website]                                                           ½ oz shrimp, cooked and chopped                                                                           1.5 oz mango                                                                                                        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 the eggs and pour into a hot pan that has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle the shrimp on top. Drizzle the masala paste onto the eggs and swirl it into the eggs as they cook, sort of like putting the chocolate into marble cake batter. Plate with the mango and serve with your choice of optional beverages.

Vindaloo Pork & Mushrooms: 250 calories 7.2 g fat 5 g fiber 21 g protein 15 g Carbs [10 g Complex] 52.5 mg Calcium  PB GF From southern India comes the complex flavor of vindaloo. You can substitute turkey for the pork or eliminate the meat and use extra mushrooms for a meatless meal. 

¾ Tbsp vindaloo seasonings 1 clove garlic ¼ tsp ground ginger 1 tsp canola oil 1/3 cup [~1.25 oz] onion 1.5 Tbsp cider vinegar ¼ tsp sugar 2.5 oz pork OR turkey, cut in matchsticks 100 g [3.5 oz] mushrooms 1.5 oz broccoli ¼ cup brown rice couscous

Mince the garlic and add the vindaloo spices and the ginger. Stir in vinegar and toss the meat with this marinade. Let sit for 30-60 minutes. Saute the onions in the oil until beginning to brown, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the meat and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the broccoli and cook further for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sugar and cook for one minute more. Serve with the couscous or brown rice.

La Florida

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 1539, Hernando de Soto thought he was on to something.  After helping to subdue Peru and Mexico for Spain, he retired back home as a very wealthy man.  Though newly-married, the young father was restless for the soldier’s life. He had been named ‘Governor of Cuba and La Florida‘, so he sold everything [What did his wife have today about that??] to provision 10 ships with 700 chosen soldiers. Off they went to the new world.  After a stop in Havana to drop off his wife, they landed in Tampa Bay (Florida) on May 30, 1539. And then they sought gold: North through Florida, into Georgia, North Carolina; West into Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana they went, doing their usual Conquistador deeds. [For God and King? The king might have approved, but God surely didn’t.] Three years later, no gold, no riches, no fountain of youth: only angry natives, sickness, battles, and wounds. In May, 1542, de Soto died of fever on the banks of the Mississippi River and his body was sunk into the water to preserve the illusion that he could not die.  There was a car named after him…                                                                                              In memory of all the indigenous peoples whom he killed or oppressed, we have a breakfast based on the Cuban/Miami sandwich ‘the Cubano‘ and a dinner with ingredients grown in the sunshine of modern Florida.

Cubano ScrOmelette: 151 calories  8.5 g fat  0 g fiber  12.2 g protein  0.8 g carbs   71 mg Calcium NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  GF  The famous Miami sandwich comes to the Fasting breakfast table, with every flavor intact!Cubano ScOmelette

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.                                                                                                   1/8 oz ham, diced                                                                                                                                   ¼ oz Swiss cheese, diced                                                                                                                   ¼ oz pork, diced [this could be from a previous roast or a grilled tenderloin]                                           ¼ tsp mayonnaise                                                                                                                           1.5 tsp dill pickle, diced                                                                                                                               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]

Cut up the meats and combine in a small dish. Dice the pickle and whisk with the mayonnaise and the eggs. Spritz a saute pan with non-stick spray and heat it. Put the meat mixture into the hot sauté pan to warm, then add the eggs. Scramble together [or cook like an omelette] until the way you like it. Pour your beverages and enjoy a semi-tropical start to your day.

Grapefruit-Avocado Salad:  289 calories  20 g 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, 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 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 for Monday ………………… single portion for Thursday:

next Monday I will discuss ways to 1 two-oz eggs
maintain a 5:2 lifestyle while Camembert cheese
traveling Dijon mustard   +  nutmeg
apples/strawberries
choose a new favorite from the Archive Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage

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

baked beans
choose a new favorite from the Archive low-fat hotdogs, 110 calories
carrots
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Margaret Wise Brown

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

The Runaway Bunny, 1942. The Little Fur Family, 1946.  Mr Dog, 1949. Goodnight, Moon, 1947.  Did you love those books as a child? Did you read them to your own children? [I read the Runaway Bunny so often to our older son that I memorized it.  Our younger son would not take a nap unless Mr Dog was read to him.] Those titles and almost 100 others are the work of the author Margaret Wise Brown who was born on May 23, 1910.  After college, she trained as a writer then became an editor of children’s books at Harper.  Although she famously once said, “I don’t particularly like children,”  she clearly understood the sort of book would appeal to them: books with adventure, independence, and the reassurance of home. And then there were the wonderful illustrations by Clement Hurd, Garth Williams, and others.  She was not, as an NPR article put it, “the quiet old lady whispering ‘hush’.”  Brown was ever questing and out of the box. Her love affairs might have shocked the parents who bought her books. Just as she was getting ready to settle down, she had emergency surgery in Nice, France.  Upon release from bed rest, she executed an exuberant high kick, dislodged a blood clot, and died. Good night, Margaret. And yet, as James ‘Pebble’ Rockefeller, her fiancé, said of her, “her light is burning ever brighter.”                                                                                                                            To celebrate her birthday, we will eat colorful foods [The Color Kittens, 1949] and foods from Southern France, which she toured before her death.

Spinach Frittata

Spinach Fritatta: 131 calories  9.4 g fat  1.5 g fiber  17.2 g protein  24 g carbs 311.5 mg Calcium  PB GF Long an item in food magazine brunch articles, it was time to take it to the Fasting table. Worth the wait: delicious and filling.

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                                               1 egg white                                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                                                          1/4 oz Manchego cheese, grated                                                                                                                                        2 Tbsp scallions, chopped                                                                                                                        ½ clove garlic, minced                                                                                                                                     3 Tbsp cooked spinach pressed, drained, chopped                                                                                                     salt to taste + nutmeg  + garlic powder                                                                                                  2 oz kiwi/strawberry                                                                                                                                  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water               Optional: 3 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [44 calories]

Combine the cheeses, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and flavorings. Spritz a 4” custard cup with non-stick spray and spread the cheese mixture evenly in the bottom. [I was cooking for 2 and used an oval 5×7” baking dish] HINT: do this the night before and leave on the counter. Set the oven for 375° F.  Beat the eggs until broken up and frothy. Pour over the spinach/cheese mixture and bake for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the optional beverages and plate the fruit. Breakfast is great.

Chicken Ratatouille Crepes

Chicken Ratatouille Galettes: 267 calories   7.6 g fat   5 g fiber   24 g protein   38 g carbs  321 mg Calcium     PB     Galettes/Crêpes are wonderful to have on hand for use with a variety of fillings. If you had the galettes/crepes and the filling previously-made, then the meal goes together in no time.

2 galettes [that’s the name for a buckwheat crêpe] [see Sidekicks I, Sept 17, 2017]                                                                                                                               1.5 oz chicken breast, cooked                                                                                                           ½ cup Mediterranean Vegetables [see SIDEKICKS II Oct 4, 2017]                                                      1 Tbsp goat cheese    +    1 oz mozzerella cheese                                                                                  herbes de Province OR tarragon

If making crepes/galettes from scratch now: prepare the batter and let stand 30+ minutes. If using frozen crêpes, put them in a plastic bag on the counter and let them thaw. Turn on the oven to 250 F.. Cut or shred the chicken into small pieces. Put into pan with the Med.Veg. and heat enough to warm the vegetables, to reduce the liquids, and to cook the chicken. Take off heat. Prepare the crêpes/galettes: either cook them now from batter or finish the thawing process by putting them in a warm oven. Add cheeses to mixture in the pan, and stir to combine. Toss in lots of herbes de Province or fresh herbs and taste for seasoning. Arrange the galettes on a cookie sheet and divide the filling among them. Fold over, pressing down gently. Heat in the warm oven.

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs  +  ham
1 buckwheat crepecooked pork,
roasted green chilesSwiss cheese
peardill pickle
Whatever you need for your smoothieWhatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverageWhatever you need for your hot beverage

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

halibut   + olive oil + scallionsalad greens + chicken
spinach + shallot  + chicken brothgrapefruit  + avocado
Thai red curry paste1 egg +  lime-flavored oil
lite coconut milk + limewhite wine vinegar
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Vasco da Gama

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

On May 20, 1498, the first Europeans reached the Indian subcontinent by sea.  Vasco da Gama was the leader of the expedition under orders from King Manuel of Portugal. Up until then, no one had any idea of reaching India by sailing around Africa — but it worked.  By following the currents in the South Atlantic Ocean, da Gama rounded the southern tip of Africa [which the explorer Dias optimistically named the Cape of Good Hope] and then followed the currents up the east coast.  He took on a native pilot and arrived at Calicut [aka Calcutta, now Kolkata].  Da Gama’s return to Portugal with spices and silks earned him wealth and fame.  How did this sit with the Indians?  Not too well, aperently — he was sent back to put down a rebellion against Portugal and then returned as governor in 1524, when he died. Was da Gama’s arrival in India a good thing? Probably not — colonialism is rarely beneficial to the colonized people. But it established a link between ‘East’ and ‘West’ and perhaps some good has come from the mixing of cultures.                                                                                                                                                   The meals today begin with vegetables and Indian curry cooked into eggs. Appropriate since curry is a melange of spices the like of which the Europeans craved.  Dinner is purely Eurocentric: fish and chips with a Portuguese twist: just the sort of thing you get when cultures meet in the kitchen.

Curried Vegetable Bake: 123 calories   5 g fat  1.3 g fiber  7 g protein  11.6 g carbs [9.5 g Complex]   41.5 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.   PB GF   If you like the warm, spicy taste of curry, then feel free to add more to this dish.Curry Bake

one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                     1/2  oz broccoli, cooked and diced                                                                                                              1/2 oz carrot, cooked and diced [HINT: use leftovers from a dinner]                                     1 Tbsp Indian curry powder -OR-  4 Tbsp curry sauce [see Sidekicks I, from Sept. 17, ’17] additional curry powder, salt, garlic powder, all to taste                                                                   2 oz applesauce                                                                                                                                  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]

Spritz a ramekin with non-stick spray and set the toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the vegetables, seasonings, and the curry powder/sauce until well blended. Whisk the egg into the mixture and turn into the ramekin. Bake about 15 minutes while you portion the applesauce and prepare the optional beverages.

Portuguese Fish & Chips:   260 calories    6.3 g fat     4.7 g fiber   24 g protein    28 g carbs [27 g Complex]    60 mg Calcium    PB GF – if using GF flour  From our favorite dinner place in Souris, PEI, 21 Breakwater , comes this house specialty from the chef’s native cuisine. The batter is so light that it lets the lime-infused fish shine through. The recipe takes little time to accomplish. I have described it in detail so you can be successful.Portugese Fish & Chips

3 oz tilapia or hake or other firm-fleshed white fish                                                                                                                          1 fl. oz lime juice or lemon juice                                                                                                                    1 egg white + 1 egg yolk, separated                                                                                                  2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour                                                                                                3 oz sweet potato, peeled                                                                                                                 ½ tsp canola oil                                                                                                                                 ½ tsp granulated garlic     +   ¼ tsp paprika    +      black pepper                                                                                                                           2 oz asparagus or broccoli

Marinate the fish in the lime juice with a pinch of salt and pepper for up to 30 minutes. Set the oven to 425 F. Peel the sweet potato and cut lengthwise into 1/4” slices. Cut each slice into 1/4” sticks. Put the oil in the non-stick pan that you will use to cook the fish. Add the potato sticks to the pan and toss about to coat with oil. Combine the granulated garlic, paprika, and pepper, and sprinkle on the potato sticks. Toss to distribute the seasonings. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil with the dull side up. Spray liberally with non-stick spray. HINT: You could do this 1-2 hours in advance.Distribute the potatoes on the pan so they do not touch. Put in oven for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, put the asparagus on to cook. Take the fish from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Dredge lightly with flour. Whip the egg white into soft peaks. Fold in the egg yolk and remaining flour from dredging the fish. Heat the non-stick pan and spray with non-stick spray. Remove the fries from the oven and turn them over. Return to oven for 10 minutes more. Dip the fish in the egg batter so that it is coated on all sides. Cook the fish on one side over medium heat for 6 minutes, then on the other side for 6 minutes or until fork tender. When fries are done, turn off oven, open the door, and leave the fries in there for up to 5 more minutes. Plate all that good food and live it up.