me-me-me-me

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.

Tomorrow will be my birthday, and this blog is all about ME. I know a woman who describes people who are vain or show-offy as ‘Opera Singers’ – – all ‘me-me-me’. So this will be my opera singer day as I talk about some of my food favorites. There are people who say, “I couldn’t diet because I love food too much. You who diet obviously don’t like food.” What I don’t like is eating when I’m not hungry. What’s the point? No food tastes as delicious as when you are hungry! I like foods that are savory; and foods that are sweet; and foods that are easy to prepare; and foods that take some finagling. One of the reasons that Dear Husband and I look forward to Fast Days is that the food will be varied and delicious. [Yes, I’m bragging again.]

Fasting works. It is a break from high-on-the-hog eating and a chance to re-set the bathroom scale to a more reasonable number. What foods would I choose if my natal day fell on a Fast Day? A strawberry-filled crepe at breakfast seems so elegant, yet is simple to pull off. The fish and vegetables for dinner is a meal SOOOO easy and yet really delicious. Through Fasting, I have maintained my average weight at my Target for over 4 years. If you can say the same, good for you! If you are not where you want your weight to be, try Fasting.

Strawberry Crepe: 193 calories 7.5 g fat 1.9 g fiber 9.5 g protein 23 g carbs [8 g Complex] 211 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB  Isn’t it a treat to enjoy ‘Strawberries & Cream’ once in a while? If you haven’t made the crepes already, this is a good reason to try them. Mine were ready in the freezer.

1 sweet crepe*** 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese 3 Tbsp vanilla low-fat yogurt 3 oz strawberries, sliced and put in a sieve over a bowl, especially if frozen 1 slice uncured bacon or 1 slice ‘Canadian’ bacon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]  NO SMOOTHIE 

Stir the ricotta and yogurt together. Add most of the berries, saving some for garnish. If there is a lot of juice, cook it down slowly to make a little syrup. Cook the bacon. Place the crepe on the plate and spoon the cream filling onto it. Fold over the crepe and top with the extra berries and syrup. Plate with the bacon and prepare your hot beverage of choice.

***CREPES, SWEETmakes 16 eight-inch crepes  each = 55 calories 0.7 g fat 0.2 g fiber 2.7 g protein 9 g carbs [0 g Complex] 39 mg Calcium 154 g all-purpose flour 14 fl oz milk [416 g] 2 tsp vanilla sugar 2 two-oz eggs

Whisk the flour and sugar together. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Add the eggs one at a time. Whisk vigorously until the batter runs off the whisk in ropes. The batter can rest for up to an hour. Heat a small cast-iron pan or ceramic saute pan.  Lightly spritz with oil, then wipe out the pan. Dip a ¼ cup measure into the batter and let the extra drain off. Grasp the handle of the cook pan with one hand as you slowly pour the batter into the center of the pan. Tilt the pan in a swirling pattern to let the batter form a circle roughly 6” in diameter. Don’t get hung up on perfectly round or perfectly flat. Watch the crepe cook and look to see when the edges start to dry and curl a bit. Using a heat-resistant but non-scratching tool [I use my fingers], lift the crepe and turn it over. Cook the other side until done. Time will vary, depending on the heat of your pan. Lift out the cooked crepe, put it aside, and cook the next one. HINT: if storing them for later today or tomorrow, let them cool on a tea towel, then stack and freeze in a plastic bag. 

Arctic Char with Peas, 3 ways: Arctic Char is a member of the Salmon Family which can be both sustainably fished in the wild and farm-raised. It is delicious, too. There are three presentations given: two are ridiculously easy, the other slightly more complex. All are great.

Version I: 263 calories 8 g fat 3 g fiber 28 g protein 10 g carbs [10 g Complex] 25 mg Calcium  PB GF   4 oz arctic char fillets ½ cup green ‘English’ peas, fresh or frozen Salt and pepper the fish and bake at 400 F. for 10 minutes/inch of thickness or grill for 4 minutes/side. Cook the peas and serve over/around the fish.

Version II: 247 calories 8.7 g fat 2 g fiber 26.7 g protein 7.3 g carbs [5.5 g Complex] 74.7 mg Calcium   PB GF   4 oz arctic char fillets ¼ cup watercress sauce [see SIDEKICKS II oct 4, 2017 ] 1 cup snow peas, stems and strings removed Salt and pepper the fish. Bake at 400 F. for 10 minutes/ inch of thickness or grill for 4 minutes/side. Warm the watercress sauce and serve over the fish. Cook the peas and plate. 

Version III: 274 calories 7.4 g fat 8 g fiber 25 g protein 16.4 g carbs [16.4 g Complex] 54.5 mg Calcium  PB GF  3 oz arctic char ¼ cup edamame [soy beans] ¼ cup ‘English’ peas ½ cup snow peas

Remove the stems and strings from the snow peas. Bake the fish at 400 F. for 10 minutes/ inch of thickness or grill for 4 minutes/side. Meanwhile, cook the peas and edamame according to package directions. Plate the fish and surround it with beautiful green peas.

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

1.5 two-oz eggTWO BREAKFAST MENUS:
anchovies3%-fat ham + sourdough rye bread 
tomatoHermelin or Camembert cheese
melon or mangoyellow plums
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken meat + stock + stock cubes [bouillion cubes]THIS IS A BREAKFAST MENU
canned creamed corn + scallions1 two-oz egg + chèvre cheese
sesame oil + corn starch + gingerspinach, frozen or pre-cooked
egg white + 1 oz ham slicelemon-dill seasoning + apple/pear
Sparkling wateroptional beverages

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.

Crossroads: Europe

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.

Many peoples have crossed Europe — North to South, East to West. Despite the idea that ‘all roads lead to Rome,” the cultural melting pot of Europe has got to be Trier. When I was growing up, I never heard of it. [blush] But it kept being mentioned in many areas of my research, leading me to find out more.

Located on the Mosel river where it joins two other rivers, the city is on several intersecting travel routes. During the Iron Age, the Celtic Treveri tribe lived there, eventually giving their name to the town, which is called ‘Treves’ in French. The Romans arrived in 16 BCE and founded a major city which was the capital of their Northern European empire. In 459, the Franks took over, eventually becoming a major center during the rule of Charlemagne. As Christianity grew, Trier became a religious hub. Saints Helen and Ambrose both visited, though not at the same time. Eventually the city belonged to the French, then the Germans. Wars brought new people, new languages, new foods to this crossroad of Europe and made it what it is today. Karl Marx was born there, Saint Mathew is buried there — how much more diverse does it get?

Because the Vikings [aka ‘Danes’] sacked Trier in 882, our breakfast will contain Danish/Northern elements. Our dinner evokes Italy, whence came the Romans. Look up Trier on a map and plan to visit the UNESCO World Heritage city some day.

Danish ScrOmelette: 140 calories 10.4 g fat 0.5 g fiber 12 g protein 5.6 g carbs [3 g Complex] 242 mg Calcium   PB GF  This breakfast is in honor of Northern Europe. The taste of the sea, the Danish cheese, the apple: all are flavors of the region.

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 1/2 oz Danish bleu cheese ½ oz herring marinated in wine 1 oz apple, sliced so you can see the star inside 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]

Mince the herring. Crumble the bleu cheese and whisk with the eggs. Hold the apple on its side and slice it so that the star of seeds and core in the middle is revealed. Cut a slice parallel to your cut to end up with a slice that weighs 1 oz. Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and put the minced herring in the pan. Quickly pour the egg-cheese mixture in the pan. As the egg begins to set around the edges, lift the egg with a fork or spatula and tip the pan so that uncooked egg flows underneath. Continue like that until the bottom is fully cooked and the top is set. [Flip the omelette if you dare, or put it under the broiler if you like your eggs well cooked.] Slide the eggs on to the plate next to the apple, pour the beverages, and meditate on the wonders of ancient trade routes across continents.

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 Fillingmakes 1.5 cups ½ cup no-cheese Bechamel 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 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.

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

1 two-oz egg 
leek + dill weed
Choose a new favorite from Archives
lemon juice + salmon

dab of plain Greek yogurt/sour cream

Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken breast meat
a stone + herbs + meaty bones
carrots + celery
carrot + parsley + spinach/kale
parsnip + parsley
cabbage + green beans
egg noodles + rich chicken broth
red potato + canned white beans
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Far-flung Food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telling the Bees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

white fish + soy sauce
onion + celery salt + basil

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

Hanukkah Season

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

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

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

Spinach-Muchroom-Feta Bake: 178 calories 10.7 g fat 1 g fiber 13 g protein 8 g carbs [3.8 g Complex] 214.7 mg Calcium  PB  Miri Rotkovitz presented this recipe via thespruceeats.com which she recommends as a ‘dairy meal for Hannukka’. Her version is a dinner pie, complete with an olive oil crust. My version packs a punch of flavor at breakfast. HINT: This recipe makes two servings. The other half of it would be a terrific lunch on another day.

½ tsp olive oil + non-stick spray 2 cloves garlic, chopped = 2 teaspoons 3 oz mushrooms, chopped or diced 3 oz chopped, frozen spinach 2 two-oz eggs 2 Tbsp milk + 1-1/2 teaspoons flour 1.5 oz feta cheese, crumbled   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

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

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

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

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

Bernini!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a child I loved to look at a book called Famous Paintings, An Introduction to Art for Young People by Alice Elizabeth Chase. One of the paintings shown and described was “The Dream of Saint Ursula” by Vittore Carpaccio. Into the Saint’s peaceful bedroom, walks an Angel who heralds Ursula’s eventual martyrdom. But all is calm and we know that Ursula will go serenely to her violent death on October 21, in the year 383. The story of St Ursula is an odd one. She was a princess of a kingdom in Britain and she was betrothed at age 12. Ursula, buying herself time before the marriage, proposed a pilgrimage to Rome. She chose 11 gal-pals to go with her — and here the confusion begins. Poor translation from early latin texts turned “Ursula and 11 Virgins” into “Ursula and 11,000 Virgins”!! According to the legend, they all got to Rome, were blessed by the Pope, and turned around to go back home. While sailing down the Rhine [how many boats does it take to transport 11,001 or more people??], they were attacked at Cologne by Huns and all died when Ursula refused to marry their leader. When a midden of bones was discovered in Cologne in 1155, they were declared to be the remains of Ursula and her friends. [Even though some of the bones seem to belong to large dogs…] Take this tale as you will: in 1969, the Roman Catholic Church took Ursula off the list of official saints. Medieval and Renaissance artists loved to depict her, and when I arrange my slippers under the bed, as Carpaccio shows in his painting, I think of Saint Ursula.

Since Ursula went to Rome, we will enjoy a Roman Breakfast. And since she was boating down the Rhine to return home, our dinner will be served in Cucumber Boats.

Roman Breakfast: 270 calories 3.3 g fat 3.2 g fiber 9 g protein 28 g carbs [20.8 g Complex Carbs] 35 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB Though a bit unusual, this is a very good plate of breakfast food, based on ingredients available to Romans in the 1st century BCE. It is satisfying and flavorful.

1 Pan Muffin** 1 oz pear 1 oz cooked chicken, diced 1 oz radish 1 oz cucumber [optional: 1 deglet noor date = ¼ oz]   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 caloriesOptional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Dice all the fruits and vegetables. Add the chicken and a good finishing salt, and gently stir to combine. HINT: I did this the night before and refrigerated the mixture. Prepare the pan muffin or take from freezer with time to thaw/heat. In the time it takes to brew the coffee, you can plate the muffin and the fruit-veg mixture. Romans did not drink smoothies or coffee, but we will. Hope you’ll enjoy your throw-back breakfast.

**PAN MUFFIN each = 71 calories 2.5 g fat 0.8 g fiber 1.8 g protein 10.8 g carbs 8.5 mg Calcium

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain hot cereal mix   1 and 1/4 cup buttermilk [combine cereal + milk and let sit while preparing other ingredients. 1/3 cup butter 1/3 cup sugar 1 cup unbleached flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda

Cream the butter and sugar; mix in the egg. Add the dry ingredients and the cereal/milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Cream the butter and sugar; mix in the egg. Add the dry ingredients and the cereal/milk mixture. Stir until just combined.  Use 2 Tbsp batter for each griddlecake [and use 4 Tbsp batter in muffin tins for Slow Day breakfasts].

Cucumber Boats with Salmon: 258 calories 12.4 g fat 3.2 g fiber 20.4 g protein 19 g carbs 162 mg Calcium   PB GF  So easy for the summer or anytime.

2-¾ oz cooked salmon one 3.5 oz cucumber, of which you will use half to serve one person 1/2 Tbsp watercress sauce [see Sidekicks II, posted 4 Oct, 2017] 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1/8 oz leek ½ cup 4-bean salad [see Sidekicks I, posted 17 Sept, 2017]

Slice the leek and blanch in a little water in the microwave. In a bowl break up the salmon and combine with the watercress sauce, mustard and leek. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out most of the seeds with a melon-baller. Mound the salmon into the cucumber boat and plate with the 4-bean salad.

S.A.D

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.

How curious that the initials of what nutritionists call the ‘Standard American Diet‘ spell the word ‘SAD.’ That diet is blamed for many of the Western World’s health woes. It makes one sad to think about it. How did this start?? In the late 1800s, there was a health-food movement that saw the invention of processed breakfast cereal. By the early 1900s, growing urban populations needed food and they couldn’t afford to have it spoil. Enter the Kraft brothers. J.L. Kraft moved from Canada to Chicago in 1904, and sold cheese door to door in a cart. He lost lots of money since the unsold cheese became either moldy and too dry to sell. In 1906, brother Charles joined the company. They started trying to make a ‘processed cheese‘ in a tin which would have a longer shelf life. In 1916, they perfected it — just in time to sell thousands of tins to the US Army during WWI. Doughboys returned with a taste for the stuff and the company took off. By 1923, company sales equalled $22 million! Five years later, they added salad dressing and ‘oleomargarine.’ This was the start of the Kraft Food Company. Now allied with the Heinz Company, they make 200 items sold world-wide.

Charles Kraft was born on October 17. We will note that while eating foods that are purchased but are low in sugar, saturated fat, simple carbs — unlike the overly-processed foods that constitute the S.A.D. Today’s menu features meals with lots of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and flavor.

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

3 Tbsp uncooked Bob’s 10-Grain Cereal ¼ cup low-fat milk + 1/3 cup water  Toppings: 2 Tbsp blueberries, fresh or frozen + 2 Tbsp milk  Optional: blackish coffee [ 53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

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

Tortellini with Black Kale:  209 calories 9 g fat 3.5 g fiber 10 g protein 24 g carbs [7.4 g Complex] 231 mg Calcium PB Packaged, dried tortellini is a handy item to have in the pantry. It makes for a fine Tuscan meal [Mediterranean food!] when pared with Black Kale. The recipe is from ‘thekitchn‘  NB: I used the recipe below for the kale as two servings, when paired with the pasta. But the calories are so low that you could use it as one serving alongside the pasta. 

27 g dried cheese/spinach tortellini [Barilla brand is good] 3 oz diced tomato 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese PLUS ingredients shown below for the kale.

For the Kale:

3 oz black kaleUse your hands to pull the kale leaves from their stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Rinse them, but do not dry.
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic pinch red pepper flakes
Heat the oil in large, wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute (do not let the garlic brown).
¼ tsp kosher salt pinch ground pepperAdd the kale, stirring as it starts to wilt. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.
2 tsp Lemon juice Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve.

For the Meal: Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 9-11 minutes, then drain. Combine with the diced tomatoes and Parmesan. Plate the pasta surrounded by the kale.

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

one Pan Muffin1 two-oz egg  + pear
cucumber + pear
turkey breast meat, raw or cooked
cooked chicken + radish
olive oil + celery + onion
optional deglet noor date
70-calorie whole-grain bread + herbs
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverage optional hot beverage

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

cooked salmon + Dijon mustard
ground lamb
medium-sized cucumber
Gruyere cheese
4-Bean Salad + leek
brown rice
Watercress sauce
Mediterranean Vegetables
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Emergency Meals

Sometimes the lights go out. And how do you cope then? We have frequently experienced outages, the worst being in December of 2008. That was the year of a dreadful ice storm that hit New Hampshire like a jack hammer. Phone poles and limbs came down, trees were uprooted, and we had no electricity for 9 days. We have lost power so often [usually in the Winter] that we have a routine. We quickly remove necessary perishables [milk, butter, meat, sausage, eggs, chicken, cheese] from the freezer and refrigerator, and place the items in a camping cooler on the back porch. There, they stay cool enough to use. Then we keep the freezers and refrigerator closed and covered with blankets for the duration. By having a gas cooktop and a pantry full of useful items, we can feed ourselves and even observe Fast Days under most conditions. Recently, Hurricane Dorian plowed across Prince Edward Island where we were staying, cutting off the juice for 48 hours. We coped just fine. The following are Fast dinners we have prepared and enjoyed during black-outs. The gratin cooked nicely on the cooktop, although the recipe would have you broil it at the end. [The gratin would also be a useful breakfast meal, served without any beverages.] And the dumplings were cooked in a bamboo steamer by candle-light, as you might tell by the darkness of the photo.

Egg-Tomato Gratin: 235 calories 10 g fat 4 g fiber 16 g protein 16 g carbs [15 g Complex] 200 mg Calcium  PB GF V Jacques Pepin, in his book Fast Food My Way, tells about this family recipe. HINT: The recipe serves two. Invite a friend or save for lunch tomorrow.

3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced into wedges 3 oz onions, sliced 2 tsp garlic, chopped 1 tsp dried thyme + 1 tsp salt + ½ tsp pepper 1/3 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed 10 fluid oz of tomatoes, drained [save the juice] 1 oz Swiss cheese or Gruyere, grated 

Cook the onions and garlic in some of the tomato juice, about 3 minutes. Add seasonings, tomatoes and the remaining juice. If tomatoes are in large chunks, crush with a fork and add the garbanzo beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer covered for 4 minutes. Nestle the eggs in the pan, then sprinkle with cheese. Cover and simmer another 2 minutes to warm everything and to melt the cheese. Excellent antidote to outrageous fortune.

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.

5 pork dumplings 3-4 oz bok choy 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce 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:

Next week I will discuss how to
start the Fast Diet and how to
stay on it.
Bob’s 10-Grain Cereal or equivalent 
Look for a new favorite breakfast
in the Archives
low-fat milk

blueberries, fresh or frozen


Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Next week I will discuss how to
start the Fast Diet and how to
stay on it.
purchased dry tortellini
Look for a new favorite dinner
in the Archives
black or Tuscan kale +
red pepper flakes

garlic + tomato

olive oil + Parmesan cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water