Food for Thought

Thinking of taking the plunge?  Thinking of moving from ‘I’d really like to lose those extra pounds’ to “I’m really going to try the Fasting Lifestyle”?  Welcome to a whole new you!   Read this blog and eat these menus and it will be easier than you might think.  Before you get started, read this:  Losing Weight: 5 Things You Must Do Before Starting a Diet  by Evie Carrick

Smoked Sausage ScrOmelette: 299 calories   9.5 g fat   1.7 g fiber    16.6 g protein   33 g carbs 216.4 mg Calcium   GF    Having been gifted with the Dakin sausage, we decided to use some in a breakfast. The sausage adds a nice smokey Autumnal flavor to the eggs. If substututing another sausage, know that the 1/2-oz of Dakin sausage has 30 calories per ounce.smoked-sausage-scromlette

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, crack three 2-oz eggs into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.                                    1/2 oz Dakin Farm cob-smoked chicken sausage, diced                                                                             1.5 tsp oregano and parsley, chopped                                                                                                                1 oz apple                                                                                                                                                          blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                                                     5-6 oz green smoothie or fruit smoothie or unpasturized apple cider

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Add the prepared sausage and stir to heat . Whisk the eggs with the herbs and a grind of pepper and pour into the pan, stirring to incorporate the sausage. Cook to your favorite degree of doneness. Slice the fruit, pour your beverages and off you go.

Chicken Curry:  220 calories   1.6 g fat    8 g fiber     18.5 protein    31 g carbs   71 mg Calcium PB GF     Curry is always a favorite and Craig Claiborne made it safe for dieters in his book Gourmet Dietchicken-curry-w-tomatoes

curry sauce [makes 3 cups sauce. you need 3/4 cup for tonight’s dinner]:                                          1 cup onion, chopped           1 clove garlic, minced         1/2 cup celery, chopped                                    1 cup apple, peeled, and diced         1-2 Tablespoons curry powder                                                      3/4 tsp dry mustard        1 bay leaf          3 cups chicken broth      1/2 cup water                                Spritz a sauce pan twice with cooking oil and add 2 Tbsp water.                                                    Sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and apple until soft.                                                                            Sprinkle the curry and mustard on top.                                                                                                         Stir in the bay leaf,  broth, and water.                                                                                                           Let cook down until it measures 3 cups.                                                                                                Measure out 3/4 cup for this recipe, then cool and freeze the remainder.

now complete the curry:           1.5 oz carrot rounds                                                                                    1/2 cup small cauliflower florets                                                                                                                       1.5 oz cooked chicken breast, cut in 1/2” dice or smaller                                                                              3 Tbsp peas                                                                                                                                                              1/4 cup boiled yellow lentils                                                                                                                               ¼ cup diced cucumber    +     1/4 cup diced tomatoes

Steam or boil the carrots and cauliflower. Boil the lentils. Warm the sauce, add the chicken, peas, cooked carrots and cauliflower and heat. Taste for seasonings. Plate with the lentils and top with cucumbers and tomatoes.


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

Here we are again, New Year and a slew of resolutions.  This year, the most important one is to be more healthy.  But that has several sub-sets: more exercise, losing weight, eating more healthy food.  I can’t help you with the exercise, but here is where I urge you once again not to use this blog as a Food Porn site, but to start eating the food.

Why should we Fast?  Read what Dr. Michael Mosley says: “We all know how you are supposed to lose weight: eat low-fat foods, exercise more… and never, ever skip meals. This has been standard dietary advice for decades and though it may work for some people, levels of obesity continue to soar. So is there an alternative? We think there is. Intermittent fasting. Based on the work of leading scientists from around the world, this is an exciting new alternative to standard dieting.

“Intermittent Fasting does not mean stopping eating entirely. It means reducing the amount you eat, but only for quite short periods of time.

“In The Fast Diet  book I outline my experiences of trying different forms of intermittent fasting, before settling on what I called a 5:2 regime. With 5:2 intermittent fasting you eat normally five days a week and diet two days a week, cutting your calorie intake for those two days to a ¼ of their normal level. This means that on, say, a Monday and a Thursday you will eat 500 calories if you are a woman, 600 if you are a man.

“If you stick to this plan then you should lose around 1 lb (0.46kg) a week if you are a woman, slightly more for a man. Success also depends on not over-eating on your normal days.

“You should not only lose weight but also enjoy a wide range of health benefits. Studies of intermittent fasting show that not only do people see improvements in blood pressure and their cholesterol levels, but also in their insulin sensitivity.

“As one of the medical experts I interviewed put it: ‘There is nothing else you can do to your body that is as powerful as fasting.’    Want more info? go to  http://the fast

So why not start today?  A traditional dinner for New Year’s  in Germany and the Alsace-Lorraine region of France is sauerkraut with sausages.  The sausages represent abundance.  In the American South, collard greens are eaten on New Year’s for good luck.  Put them together, and you’ll have an abundance of good food and a head-start on the rest of your life.

Sauerkraut and Sausage:  255 calories   5.7 g fat  12.6 g fiber   21.3 g protein   33.5 g carbs   196.4 mg Calcium                  GF  PB

sauerkraut-sausage-w-collards 1.5 cups sauerkraut, canned or bagged or fresh                                                                                              2 tbsp caraway seed                                                                                                                                              2 oz applesauce, unsweetened                                                                                                                            1/2 cup onions, chopped coarsely                                                                                                                          1 Dakin Farm cob-smoked chicken sausage with apple [OR any other flavorful sausage with 110 calories]    leave whole or cut into 1/2″ chunks                                                                                                                                                1.5 cups raw collard greens, chopped or cut cross-ways in 1/4″ slices [chiffonade]                             salt and pepper to taste.

Thaw the sausage if it is frozen.  Combine the sauerkraut, caraway seed, applesauce, and onions in a saucepan large enough to hold the sausage, if left whole.  Cook slowly, uncovered until half of the liquid is gone.  Add the sausage, cover, and continue to cook until everything is hot and the onions are tender.  Meanwhile, add 1/2 cup water to the greens in a skillet along with salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.  Cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.



In the Hanukkah Tradition

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On another day this week, eat the meals from another post.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

This year Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is observed December 24 to January 1.  I hope no one will think it ‘cultural appropriation’ if I suggest some meals in the Hanukkah Tradition which also conform with the Fasting Lifestyle.   Hanukkah celebrates the struggles of the People of Israel to over-throw the domination of outsiders.  Many recipes contain a lot of oil to remember how one-day’s worth of sacred oil miraculously burned for 8 days. Sorry, we won’t be eating Potato Latkes today.  Other foods recall how the brave and wily Judith lulled the enemy general Holofernes into drunkenness with her salty cheese and strong wine.  Then she cut off his head, defeating his whole army. Thanks to friend Carol for her editing help.

Bleu Cheese ScrOmelette:   281 calories  10.7 g fat   0.6 g fiber   18.5 g protein  19.6 g carbs 281.4 mg Calcium    GF PB     Since eggs are pareve, you can eat them with cheese.bleu-cheese-omelette-w-s-bs

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.                                                                           3/8 oz bleu cheese [yes, you can get Kosher bleu cheese]                                                                            1 Tbsp fat-free cottage cheese                                                                                                                              3 oz strawberries OR applesauce, unsweetened                                                                                           3 oz fruit or green smoothie  or apple cider                                                                                              blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water

Mash the cheeses together with a fork or the back of a spoon. Whisk the eggs and put into a hot pan spritzed with cooking spray. Once the bottom of the eggs are set, dab on the cheese, fold and plate. Portion the applesauce, brew beverage, blend the smoothie or take it from the ‘fridge and shake it before serving. Mmm-yummy!

Salmon Roasted with Tomatoes and Parmesan: 288 calories   14.5 g fat    2.9 g fiber   27.5 g protein   7.9 g carbs   268 mg Calcium      PB GF          One of the earliest meals we made when starting the Fast Diet, this recipe hails from the Fast Diet book in a slightly altered form. Salmon is popular at Hanukkah and this is a fine way to prepare it.Roasted salmon w: yellow tomatoes & peas

4 oz salmon                                                                                                                                                             10 cherry tomatoes [5 oz]                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup peas OR ½ cup green beans OR 2 oz sugar snap peas                                                                                   seasonings to taste                                                                                                                                                  1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Spritz a small oven-proof pan with olive oil or non-stick spray. Put the salmon in the pan and sprinkle with seasonings of your choice. Arrange the tomatoes on/around the salmon.  Put the grated cheese on top and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Meanwhile steam the green vegetables. So easy. 

French Cheeses

We love cheese.  Often when people are thinking about dieting, they think of all the foods that will be off-limits.  Cheese, high in calories and saturated fats, is often the first to go. But in the Fasting Lifestyle, it is possible to enjoy cheese — in moderation of course.  Today’s menu features two fine French cheeses which are available and delicious.

Chevre/Spinach ScrOmelette: 289 calories      10.3 g fat      1.8 g fiber     18 g protein      29 g carbs      287.5 mg Calcium         PB GF Unbelievable how delicious this is! Wonderful rich flavors for days when the sun barely gets up in time for breakfast.chevrespinach-scromelette

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 chevre cheese                                                                                                                                                 3 Tbsp cooked spinach [HINT: I try to keep small containers of cooked spinach in the freezer. Very handy]                                                                                                                                                               pinch lemon dill seasonings + salt + pepper                                                                                                  2 oz applesauce, unsweetened                                                                                                                                     3 oz fruit smoothie or natural apple cider                                                                                                          blackish coffee or tea or lemon in hot water

Strain and squeeze the spinach to get all the water out. Chop the spinach. Mix the spinach and chevre with the seasonings in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the eggs into the spinach/chevre and keep whisking until it is all mixed. Cook as you would for scrambled eggs in a lightly-spritzed pan. Portion the applesauce [unless you did this the night before], prep the hot beverage, shake or blend the smoothie and enjoy a really flavorful breakfast

Beet & Bleu Cheese Salad 288 calories   11 g fat   5.3 g fiber   13.7 g protein    19.5 g carb   212 mg Calcium    PB  GF      This recipe takes me back to an old restaurant 2 blocks north of Nôtre Dame in Paris. Dinner at Au Bougnat was a treat and eating this meal evokes fond memories.Beet & Bleu Cheese Salad

2.5 oz beets, cooked, skinned, sliced or cubed, cooled                                                                                1 and 1/4 oz bleu cheese, cubed or crumbled                                                                                                 1.5 oz tomato, sliced or cubed                                                                                                                          3.5 walnut halves [or use slivered almonds if you don’t eat walnuts]                                                       1 oz white beans, rinsed and drained if using canned                                                                             2.5 c. salad greens                                                                                                                                       Dressing: 3/4 tsp olive oil + 3/4 tsp balsamic vinegar                                                                        garnishes: pansy, chive, or nastursum flowers; scallions

Assemble and prep all vegetable ingredients. Whisk oil and vinegar in a wide bowl. Put greens in the bowl and toss. Place in serving bowl and arrange the other ingredients on top. Add a few garnishes. Voila! A beautiful meal.

Granny Food

Both of my grandmothers lived to ripe old ages, and I intend to as well.  Part of my plan is to stick with the Fast Diet.  The benefits of the Fasting Lifestyle include: weight management; lower risk of heart disease; lower risk of diabetes and certain cancers; giving the body a chance to rest; and the growth of new brain cells. I know that my grandmothers did not eat the menu which I propose for today, but the breakfast does contain ‘Granny Smith’ apples!                    Read this article if you think that skipping a meal is the same as Fasting: Fasting vs. Meal Skipping: What’s the Difference and is it Safe?

Gravlax & Grannies: 267 calories    3.9 g fat    2.4 g fiber    15.6 g protein     43 g carbs   199 mg Calcium       PG  GF   We enjoyed an appetizer at the Inn at Saint Peters:  their Smoked Trout with Apples. It occurred to me that this could be a fine breakfast for those who enjoy a savory/seafood taste in the a.m.   I substituted mackerel gravlax for the smoked trout, just because that was on hand, but it was a grey-brown instead of the lighter hue of the trout or the pink of a salmon.gravlax-apples

1 oz mackerel gravlax or 1 oz smoked trout or 1.5 oz smoked salmon                                                                       2 oz Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced; each slice cut into 1/2-moons                                                 ¼ c blueberries, with a couple of raspberries for fun                                                                                                                                        blackish coffee, blackish tea, or lemon in hot water                                                                                5-6 oz smoothie or natural apple cider

Slice the fish with the grain to create thin slices. Arrange the fish and apples in overlapping slices around the plate. HINT: I did this the night before, covered it with clingwrap and put it in the ‘fridge. So quick the next morning!! Brew your hot beverage, blend or shake your smoothie, dish out those healthy blueberries, and breakfast elegantly.

Mushroom Tart:    268 calories   10 g fat    3.2 g fiber   22.6 g protein   16.4 g carbs   241 mg Calcium PB GF – if you eliminate the Arnold Sandwich Thin or substitute 25 calories of GF bread    The Gunflint Lodge Cookbook supplied this recipe. Then, of course, I altered it to suit our requirements. But mostly, it is their’s!mushroom-tart

1 small clove garlic                                                                                                                                                ¼ cup leeks, white and/or green parts, sliced                                                                                                          6 oz mushrooms, cut into chunks or slices                                                                                                              2 Tbsp white wine                                                                                                                                              two 2-oz eggs                                                                                                                                                           1/4 cup fatfree milk                                                                                                                                                      ¼ cup Gruyère cheese, grated                                                                                                                           ½ cup lowfat cottage cheese, drained                                                                                                                 1 and ¼ oz carrots, cut as you wish                                                                                                                  ¼ Arnold Sandwich Thin

Saute/steam the leeks, garlic, and mushrooms in a little water until soft. Add the wine and cook uncovered until the liquid is nearly gone. Season with salt and pepper. Put the vegetables into a lightly-oil-spritzed baking dish, and cover with the Gruyère cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, and cottage cheese together and pour over everything in the baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees until the filling is set [knife stuck into center comes out clean]. Remove from oven and cool 15-20 minutes before eating. Prepare your carrots and slice the Sandwich Thin, toasting it if you wish.

Easy Does It

You are in the middle of what for some is the Mad Dash to Christmas. So we will enjoy our Fasting Lifestyle with more easy to prepare yet delicious meals. Keep calm, take it easy, and continue to eat food that is good for you.

Ham & Mushroom ScrOmelette 279 calories   8.9 g fat   4.7 g fiber    17.6 g protein    21.6 g carbs 242 mg Calcium   GF if you eliminate the breadham-mushroom-scromlette

3 small eggs of which you will use 1 ½ eggs per person 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 mushrooms, chopped                     1/4 oz ham [from a roast; if you use 3%-fat ham from deli, the fat will be reduced]               1/4 cup raspberries OR 2 oz applesauce              1/2 slice 70-calorie whole-grain bread OR  ¼ of an Arnold Sandwich Thin [optional]         blackish coffee or tea or lemon with hot water                     nb: no smoothie today

Chop the ham and mushrooms and combine. HINT: I did this the night before. Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Add the ham/mushroom combo and stir to heat and cook the mushrooms, if raw. Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan, stirring to distribute the ham/mushrooms. Cook to your favorite degree of doneness. Dish up the fruit, toast the sandwich bread, brew your hot beverage. What a treat!

Antipasto with chicken   287 calories    11 g fat    5.3 g fiber     22.6 g protein   29 g carbs 208 mg Calcium    PB GF – if using GF bread or eliminating   This one is a keeper. Simple, off the shelf, pretty on the plate, good to eat. The photo shows enough for 2 people. Invite a guest who is Fasting, too, or use the remainder for lunch tomorrow.amtipasto-w-herbs

2 oz roasted red pepper, without oil [I roast my own, slice and freeze them]                            2 oz mozzerella, cut into ‘sticks’ [I buy blocks of mozzerells for slicing]                                        3 oz chicken breast, cooked                                                                                                                        5 oz tomato slices                                                                                                                                             3 oz whole green beans, steamed, drained, cooled                                                                              1 ½ oz marinated mushrooms                                                                                                                  1/3 c. garbanzo beans, drained if canned                                                                                               4 black olives, pitted and sliced                                                                                                                   3 slices pepperoni, chopped                                                                                                                         1 tsp flavored olive oil, salt, chopped fresh herbs                                                                                 ½ slice 70-calorie whole-grain bread per person

Prepare the ingredients and keep separate. Combine the garbanzoes with the chopped pepperoni. On a platter, arrange the ingredients in rows as shown in the photo. Suit your own artistic nature as to what goes where. Be liberal with the fresh herbs.

Chilly Weather

As the weather becomes chilly, let’s opt for some chili!  One of the best things about stews and soups is that a batch makes a lot of servings.  When put into the freezer in serving-sized containers, they become almost an instant meal: no muss, no fuss. HINT: pull it out of the freezer and leave in on the counter to thaw. Ready when you need it. [Don’t get all anxious about bacteria while thawing: you do know that hot spices inhibit the growth of microbes.]

Chili non Carne:   PB   GF   The recipe is my mother’s, except that she used beef. And she served it on a heap of mashed potatoes, but we won’t do that on a Fast Day.                                                                                                                               1 cup serving =133 calories 0.7 g fat 6.3 g fiber 7.1 g protein 9.8 g carbs 70 mg Ca                                  1.5 cup serving =199 calories 1.1 g fat 9.1 g fiber 9.4 g protein 14.2 g carb 120 mg Ca                 HINT: This batch makes enough for 4 one-cup servings OR two 1.5 cup servings with 1 cup left over. Save the remaining chili for a lunch or check previous postings to see how we use it for breakfast.                                                                                                                                    For 1 cup chili served with cheese garnish and melon, as in photo: 276 calories 9.7 g fat 6.1 g fiber 13.3 g protein 19.4 g carbs 227 mg CalciumChili non carne w: melon

15 oz canned red beans, drained and rinsed                                                                                              16 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced, not drained                                                                      1 cup chopped onion                                                                                                                                              1 green pepper, chopped                                                                                                                                     2-3 tsp chili powder, or more if you like it hotter                                                                                     ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin                                                                                                                                       per serving: 1 Tbsp cheddar cheese, grated, as a garnish    +        2 oz melon

Saute the onion and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the stew is thickened. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. Serve one or one and a half cups for dinner tonight with the grated cheese on top.

Venison Chili:    299 calories    3.8 g fat    10.4 g fiber   30 g protein   45.6 g carbs   146 mg Calcium   GF    HINT: This is enough for 2 one-cup servings. Save the remaining chili for another dinner later or invite a fellow-Faster for dinner.venison chili w: melon

6 oz ground venison                                                                                                                                                    16 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced; drained, saving the liquid                                             1 clove garlic, chopped                                                                                                                                                1 cup red onion, chopped                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup green pepper, chopped                                                                                                                               3/4 cup canned red beans, drained and rinsed                                                                                                             2-4 tsp chili  +     ¾ tsp salt    +      ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin                                                                           per serving: a small slice of melon, as a garnish

Cook the venison, onion, garlic, and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the chili is hot throughout. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. Serve one cup for dinner tonight with the melon on the side.

No Time, version 2

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.

So you say you’ve got no time to comb your own hair let alone make special foods for a diet to make you healthier?  Here are some more menus which are super-fast to prepare and delicious to eat.  As always, planning ahead makes the Fasting Lifestyle go much easier: plan the meals ahead of time and prepare some parts of the meal ahead of time. Try it;  you’ll see how well it works.

Oatmeal Pudding: 301 cal  3 g fat   3 g fiber   15 g protein    16.3 g carb   199 mg Calcium   GF PB   A riff on a recipe found in Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book, this can easily be prepared the night before.      NB: THIS MAKES ENOUGH FOR TWO [2] SERVINGS

oatmeal-cottage cheese pudding

1/2 cup rolled oats, cooked in 1 cup water  HINT: do this the night before or days before                                       2 tsp maple syrup                                                                                                                                              ½ cup fat free cottage cheese                                                                                                                            pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon                                                                                                                   4 Tbsp. blueberries [fresh or frozen]                                                                                                              5-6 oz fruit smoothie or natural apple cider                                                                                        blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water

Cook the oatmeal in the water. Take off the heat and stir in the maple syrup and nutmeg. While it is still a little warm, stir in the cottage cheese. Let sit to cool. HINT: I did this part the night before while cleaning up after dinner. If making one portion, pour half of the pudding into a freezer container and top with 2 Tbsp blueberries. Freeze it. HINT: make the entire batch, eat half of it today and freeze the rest for a really simple-to-prepare breakfast for another day. With the remainder, stir in 2 Tbsp blueberries and pour the pudding into a ramekin. Nuke it for a minute to heat through – longer than that and it will bubble over. Serve with the fruit smoothie, and hot beverage for a hearty, healthy meal.

Tuna-Egg-Tomato Salad: 262 calories 10 g fat 5.8 g fiber 29 g protein 17 g carbs 79 mg Calcium PB  GF– if using GF bread   This is a Spanish-inspired meal from a cookbook called Everyday Tapas. I took out the potatoes and substituted garbanzo beans. The recipe is very simple and delicious as well – perfect to dress up with pansy blossoms [they are edible].  HINT: This makes enough for two meals. Invite a friend or enjoy it as a lovely lunch the next day. Today’s lettuce will wilt by tomorrow, so plan around that.

Tapas Tuna w: egg & tomatoes

5 oz canned white-meat tuna in water                                                                                                              2 eggs, hardboiled and cut into 1/2” dice                                                                                                          4 oz tomato, cut into 1/2” dice                                                                                                                                                     ½ cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed                                                                                                    1 cup baby salad greens                                                                                                                                                     1 ½ tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                                            1 tsp white wine vinegar                                                                                                                                       fresh parsley, salt, pepper                                                                                                                               pansy or other edible flowers for garnish                                                                                            optional: 1/2 piece 70-calorie whole grain bread

Drain the tuna and flake the meat into 1” pieces. Whisk the oil and vinegar together and toss with the lettuce. Add everything else, except the flowers, and gently toss to combine with the salad dressing. Garnish with as many flowers as you wish. Serve at room temperature.


The busy weeks of the holidays are ahead of us and you know what that means: hurrying to complete ever-longer lists; a little stress; ritual feasting; not a lot of time for planning a healthier you. The Fasting Lifestyle comes to the rescue! You can continue to Fast or you can begin to Fast starting now. By eating less on a Fast Day, you will have more time to chip away at that to-do list. By eating wholesome foods, you will have more energy and feel better about yourself.  Today’s menus are easy to prepare and satisfying to eat.

Still think it will be too difficult to stay on a healthy plan during the holidays? Read this:

Bleu Cheese Bake: 292 calories   7.3 g fat    2.3 g fiber  14.3 g protein  37 g carbs  250.7 mg Calcium PB GF  Every time we eat this, we go ga-ga over how delicious it is!  Hope you agree.bleu-cheese-bake-w-r-b-applesauceyog

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                                                ¼ oz bleu cheese, crumbly rather than creamy                                                                                             1 Tbsp fatfree cottage cheese, drained                                                                                                           2 oz applesauce, unsweetened with 2-3 raspberries stirred into it                                                              5-6 oz green smoothie or fruit smoothie or natural apple cider                                                              Black-ish coffee, black-ish tea, OR lemon in hot water

Mash the cheeses together with a fork and whisk in the egg. Bake in a lightly-spritzed ramekin at 350 degrees until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Dish up the applesauce, pour the smoothie, pour your beverage.

Thai Butternut Squash Soup 260 calories GF PB   Found in the newspaper in Nova Scotia, this recipe makes a lot of delicious soup. Although it looks complicated, given the long ingredients list, the soup goes together quickly.  It freezes beautifully, so you can enjoy it again and again. Don’t forget to add 3 oz of chopped shrimp to each serving. HINT: makes 8 cups of soup. Save out one cup for dinner and freeze the rest in portion-sized servings.Thai butternut squash soup

2 Tbsp vegetable oil                                                                                                                                                     2 cups chopped onion                                                                                                                                                2 cloves garlic, chopped                                                                                                                                        1 tsp salt                                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated                                                                                                            1 tsp Thai red curry paste, or more to taste                                                                                                    2.5 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped [about 6 cups]                                              3 cups water or unsalted chicken broth                                                                                                            1 lime, zest and juice                                                                                                                                                  1 cup unsweetened coconut milk                                                                                                                      per serving: 3 oz chopped shrimp [raw or cooked – it will cook as the soup is heated]                   1/4 cup baby spinach cut as chiffonade [strips]

Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook about 10 minutes or until onions have softened. Stir in ginger and curry paste. Cook for a minute or two longer. Add squash and water/stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Zest and juice the lime. Put 1 tsp of zest and 1 tbsp juice in the pot. Save remaining zest and juice. When squash is tender, stir in coconut milk. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Return to pot, reheat, adjust flavor with more lime juice and/or curry paste. For each serving, stir spinach and chopped shrimp into hot soup. Serve when spinach is just wilted.

A-B-Cs of Soup

Nothing is nicer on an late Fall evening than to curl up with a hot satisfying bowl of soup.  Did you know that our word ‘supper’ comes from the French word meaning ‘to eat soup’? The recipes presented today are delicious and easy to prepare. They are easy to eat, too, and have the benefit of providing multiple meals to store in the freezer for busy days.

Asparagus Soup   242 calories   10.7 g fat   7 g fiber   16.3 g protein   33 carb   [GF] PB   This fabulous soup is from Salute to Healthy Cooking and we have been loving it for years. Despite its rich taste, it is very low in calories and fat. HINT: the recipe makes enough for 6 servings. Freezes very well for easy meals later. I serve it here with Finn Crisp crackers covered with melted cheese. If you want to eliminate them, go ahead.asparagus soup

One and a half pounds asparagus                                                                                                          ½ c onion, roughly chopped                                                                                                                           1 cup potato in 1 “ dice                                                                                                                                     5 cups chicken stock                                                                                                                                        4 oz raw chicken breast cut into 4 pieces                                                                                                    salt & pepper                                                                                                                                                  per serving:  1 ½ tps Boursin cheese     4 pieces of Finn Crisp crackers           1 ½ oz Swiss cheese [1 deli slice]

Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and cut spears roughly in half. Pour the chicken stock into a sauce pan. Add the onion and asparagus. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables so that it will steam/poach while the asparagus is cooking. Bring the liquid to a simmer and put on a lid. Remove the chicken when it is cooked and put it in the blender. When the vegetables are cooked, remove them and put in the blender. Cook the potato in the pot and cook until soft. Pour the stock and the potatoes into the blender with evrything else. Blend until smooth. Return to the pan and season to taste. Cool and divide into 3 portions [or 6 portions if you are serving one] for the freezer.

To serve, thaw the soup and warm it gently. Adjust seasonings. Cut the slice of cheese into 4 strips, 4” x 2”, and put a portion on each cracker. Warm in the oven until cheese melts. Delicious.

*Baked Bean Soup   285 cal  3.5 g fat  8.3 g fiber   11.4 g protein    31.8 g carbs    83.4 mg Calcium  PB GF   This classic is from the Fannie Farmer cookbook and it sure hits the spot. Super easy to prepare.  OK, the carb count is high, but look how low the fat is! And baked beans are good for you!baked bean soup w: grapes & caulifower

1 cup baked beans, canned                                                                                                                               1/8” slice onion, chopped                                                                                                                               1 stalk celery, chopped                                                                                                                                ¾ cup canned diced or stewed tomatoes                                                                                                   1 ½ cup brown stock/beef stock                                                                                                                  dash hot sauce                                                                                                                                              salt & pepper                                                                                                                                                 per serving:  2 lemon slices  [OR squeeze of lemon juice in the soup]                                      1/2 hard boiled egg, sliced or diced to sprinkle on top

Simmer beans, onion, celery, and tomatoes in a covered pan for 30 minutes or until celery is soft. Add brown stock, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and heat through. Run it all through the blender or food processer. Serve with lemon slices and egg slices as a garnish. Fast, easy, inexpensive, good.

Chicken Noodle Soup   293 calories   10.1 g. fat    20 g. protein      28 g. carbs  HINT: This makes enough for two servings. Invite a friend or freeze for another easy meal.Chicken Noodle Soup

3 cups chicken or turkey broth                                                                                                                   2 oz chicken white meat, diced or shredded                                                                                         1 oz broken spaghetti or linguine                                                                                                            ¼ c. white beans, drained and rinsed if canned                                                                                 1.5 oz carrot, diced                                                                                                                                               1.5 oz green beans, cut into 1” pieces                                                                                                               1 0z Canadian or back bacon, slivered                                                                                    seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried sage                                                                    Per serving: 1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese + generous sprinkling of parsley

Bring the broth to a simmer and cook the noodles until almost tender. If the chicken is raw, throw it in the pot to cook. Add the beans, carrot, green beans, Canadian bacon and seasonings. When heated through, ladle into bowls and top with the cheese and parsley. Yum. Yum.