James Whitcomb Riley

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 air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

James Whitcomb Riley wrote those words in his poem When the Frost is on the Punkin. Although my poetry-loving mother disdained Riley’s work, this one struck a chord with me: the Fall of the year; the brilliant foliage; the cool days; the feeling of satisfaction when the ‘harvest’ is in and the pantry is stocked for winter. I have that feeling every Autumn. Riley was born and raised in Indiana. He had trouble in school and finally finished 8th grade at age 16 [some sources say age 20], yet he had a knack for rhyming which he put to use as a sign-painter. A stint as a snake-oil salesman in a traveling show taught him how to read a crowd and how to pitch to everyday people. In his heart, he wanted to be a poet and to be acclaimed nationally, like his idol Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Riley sent poems to local newspapers, which were published, and he sent them to Longfellow, too. The great poet sent a letter of encouragement to Riley, which he took as an endorsement. But it wasn’t enough. Since Riley liked to write in dialect, as seen in the above quotation, his work was dismissed as merely ‘regional’ and sentimental, not on a par with the great poets of the East Coast. Yet he wrote more and more, and participated in poetry-reading tours around the country in the 1880s. There his down-home dialect and ability to play to the audience paid off. In the 1890s, Riley was a best-selling author, hailed as the “Hoosier Poet” [a Hoosier is a native of Indiana] and the ‘Children’s Poet.’ But it wasn’t enough. His alcoholism deepened as he battled the demon who told him that he wasn’t any good. There is a Riley Festival every year in Indiana, and he has been credited with the formation of a Midwest Cultural Identity. And every October, I recite his Little Orphant Annie.

For JW Riley’s birthday on October 7, some foods for Fall featuring seasonal vegetables: pumpkin and corn. Corn is the ‘fodder in the shock’. Enjoy them while the frost is on the punkin’. Read one of his poems to a child.

10-Grain Pumpkin Pudding: 175 calories 2 g fat 5 g fiber 8 g protein 32.6 g carbs [26.6 g Complex] 83 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB  The delicious, nutty grains in the cereal seemed to called out for pumpkin and spices, and here’s the result. This recipe is easily prepared the night before and refrigerated for a quick and delicious breakfast.

4 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal Mix  ¾ cup water 1 Tbsp ricotta cheese, reduced fat 1 Tbsp pumpkin puree, canned or fresh 1 tsp maple syrup nutmeg + cinnamon   Optional garnish: ½ oz raspberries, fresh or frozen [7 calories] Optional garnish: 1 Tbsp pecans, chopped [49 caloriesOptional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories

Cook the cereal with the water for about 8 minutes on the stove.  HINT: do this the night before to save time in the morning. Stir in the cheese, pumpkin, syrup, and spices. Pour into a microwave-safe ramekin.  HINT: you could get this all done and put it in the ‘fridge until morning. Brew the optional beverages. or not. Microwave the ramekin for no more than 1 minute. Plate with the fruit and optional pecans on top of the hot cereal. Ridiculously easy for a meal so satisfying.

Australian Chicken-Corn Soup: 198 calories 3 g fat 1 g fiber 12 g protein 20 g carbs [6.5 g Complex] 9 mg Calcium  PB GF  This remarkable version of a Chinese soup is found in the “Australian Women’s Weekly’s” Chinese Cooking Class book. From such an easy preparation comes a wonderful, complex flavor. HINT: this recipe makes four cups of soup. One serving = one cup.

1 liter water 
1 pound raw chicken – meat and bones
1.25 cm piece ginger = small knob
½ onion, peeled and quartered 2 peppercorns
2 sprigs parsley ½ tsp salt –OR-3.5 c. chick stock + ginger knob + salt + 2 peppercorns
Put chicken or chicken pieces into saucepan and add water, peppercorns, peeled and sliced ginger, onion, parsley and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat and skim well to remove any scum; reduce heat and simmer gently, covered, for one and a half hours. Remove any scum from top of stock. Strain and reserve three and a half cups of the stock.-OR-Simmer premade stock, ginger knob, salt and peppercorns covered for 30 mins. Strain.
3.5 cups stock
240 g creamed corn, canned 
1 stock cube= 1 tsp dry bouillon grains ¼ tsp dry ginger powder
2.5 chopped fresh scallions
pepper to taste
½ tsp sesame oil
Combine everything in a large saucepan. Bring to boil. Take off heat and taste for salt.
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
Make a smooth paste of cornflour + water; add to soup while stirring. Put back on heat and stir until soup boils and thickens. Reduce heat, simmer for 1 min.
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water 
2 tsp soy sauce
Beat egg white and water lightly. Add to soup in a thin stream, while stirring well. Add soy sauce. Taste for seasoning.
1 slice ham = 1 oz, thinly sliced
½ cup chicken chopped scallion/chives/spinach leaves
Shred meats finely, add to soup and heat gently. To serve, top with extra chopped scallions or chives or baby spinach leaves.

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

1 two-oz eggfour bannock 
corn-tomato-black bean salad
smoked salmon
crushed red pepper flakesapplesauce
cantaloup melonlow-fat vanilla yogurt
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

butternut squash + corn kernelspotato + skim milk + leek + butter
canned kidney beans + canola oilground mace + egg white + broccoli
red + green sweet bell peppercauliflower + Cheddar cheese + cabbage
ground cumin + oregano + paprikasalad greens + tomato + vinaigrette
Sparkling waterSparkling water