It is still Lent

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. 

Lent began four weeks ago. Years ago, I was lunching with colleagues and the young Biology teacher told us excitedly about her new diet plan: for the first six weeks, you eat no eggs or meat or dairy and then you phase them back in slowly. “That’s not a new diet,” I jested. “That’s called ‘Lent.'” Her ‘new diet’ pretty well sums it up: Lent, in the Christian church, has traditionally been a time of dietary privation; of fasting; all toward the end of soul-searching and penitence before Easter. Nowadays, these ideas are not stressed in Protestant Christian churches so much, but doing charitable acts, opening your heart and mind to kindness, and ‘welcoming the stranger‘ are ways to come closer to God. Lent will last another 3-1/2 weeks. How you spend it is up to you — but it seems to me that you could at least take two days each week for ‘Fasting’ and see how it makes you feel about yourself.

In keeping with the tradition of egg-less breakfasts and meatless dinners, I propose these menus for your Lenten attention.

Rounds, with Pan Muffin:  122 calories 4 g fat 1 g fiber 6.6 g protein 15 g carbs [5 g Complex] 10 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB  All the foods in this meal are round, hence the name. Easy to prepare with Canadian bacon [back bacon to readers in Canada or the UK] and a pre-made pan muffin.

1 slice Canadian Bacon [‘back bacon’ to Canadians] one pan muffin  2 oz apple, sliced along the equator so the slices are round OR 2 oz applesauce, in a round dish  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]

HINT: For easiest breakfast preparation, mix and cook the pan muffin recipe the night before. Freeze remaining batter or bake as muffins tomorrow. Slice the apple and plate it. Cook the Canadian Bacon. Warm the previously-cooked pan muffin. Done!

Maltese Spinach-Tuna Pie:  185 calories 9.6 g fat 5 g fiber 19 g protein 24 g carbs [16 g Complex] 49 mg Calcium  PB  This dish is a classic in Malta and you will enjoy it at home too. Lots of ingredients, but it is really easy to prepare. HINT: This recipe serves two. So low in calories, you may choose your own side vegetables or fruit.

100 g/ 3.5 oz [weight] frozen spinach 100 g/ 3.5 oz [weight] tuna 100 g/ 3.5 oz [weight] Mediterranean Vegetables   ¼ c peas ½ cup onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 Tbsp capers 2 anchovies, rinsed 2 Tbsp tomato puree 1 tsp olive oil 1/6 sheet frozen, purchased puff pastry

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

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

1 two-oz eggCamembert cheese + watercress or micro greens
bleu cheese + leek plain yogurt
mushroomsedible flowers, optional
strawberrieshoney + Golden Berries or other fresh berries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

wild-caught salmonuncured bacon + mushrooms + garlic + egg
miso + mirinscallion + baking powder + mustard + green beans
sake or dry sherry or soy sauceWorcestershire sauce + white whole wheat flour
asparagusParmesan cheese + flour + skimmed milk
Sparkling waterSparkling water


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.

“Maundy Thursday” is the Thursday before Easter.  Are you asking yourself “What’s a ‘maundy'”??? You might not be alone. On Maundy Thursday 33 AD [which that year was the first night of Passover], Jesus sat down to a Seder with his 12 closest friends.  That ‘Last Supper‘ is what is usually celebrated on Maundy Thursday, with communion services at Christian churches reenacting the blessing and distribution of bread and wine by Jesus.  What also happened at that dinner was that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet [to demonstrate selfless service to others] and gave them a new mandate: that they love one another as He had loved them. The latin word ‘mandare’ [to command or order] became corrupted into ‘maundy,’ and here we are today.                                                                                         The foods we have for tomorrow are not what would have been eaten at the Last Supper.  Rather, they are in tune with the type of eating that is traditional during Lent: meatless.  In addition, they are simple meals — the sort that carpenters and fishermen might have eaten so many years ago. Felafel is typical of Palestine/Israel, and the soup is hearty peasant food from France.  We like to eat plainly on Maundy Thursday.

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 beverage.   PB GF V A simple meal, yet full of nutrition and flavor.Felafel Plate w: Pineapple

4 felafel patties   [from your freezer or see Stocking Up 4-Jan-’17]                                                     4 oz cantaloupe melon or pineapple                                                                                                      3.5 oz fat-free Greek-style yogurt  +  ½ tsp mint leaves                                                     Optional:  blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                         NO smoothie                                                                                                                                    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.

Green Split Pea Soup:   262 calories   1.6 g fat  19 g fiber   20 g protein   46 g carbs [46 g Complex]  30 mg Calcium   PB GF   For years we have loved this soup from Picardy, France which comes to us via Anne Willen’s French Regional Cooking. The easiest recipe in the world!Green Split Pea Soup

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

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

Ingredients for next week:

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

prosciutto     + melon 1.5 two-oz eggs
red onion pickle  + balsamic vinegar sauerkraut
mint or basil leaves corned beef
Parmesan cheese Russian dressing  + Matzo crackers
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your hot beverage

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

tuna  +  canned white beans + tomato canola oil   +  watercress + potato
feta + red bell pepper  + garlic powder celery  + onion  + garlic  + chèvre
black olives  + baby greens  + olive oil vegetable broth  + sweet potato
lemon juice  + herbes de Province + egg optional:  mozzarella, tomato
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Still Fasting During Lent

How this Fasting Diet works: Eat these meals, and only these meals, tomorrow.  Read the blog on Sunday to see what we’ll eat on Monday.  The rest of the week, eat what you like, but sensibly. If you are like me, you will see results.

Lent is almost over,  are you still Fasting?  Do remember, it isn’t just about low calories [aka ‘calorie restriction’], it means low fat, low carbs, and high protein. Here are some meals that fill the bill.

Gravlax & Grannies:   267 calories   3.9 g fat     2.4 g fiber     15.6 g protein    43 g carbs    199 mg Calcium   PB GF    At the Inn at Saint Peters, we enjoyed 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 the lighter hue of the trout is more attractive.  NB: the high carb count for this meal is due to the fruit, so these are high quality, complex carbs.gravlax-apples

1 oz mackerel gravlax OR 1 oz smoked trout [DuckTrap brand is very good]                                     2 oz Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced; each slice cut into 1/2-moons                                                  ¼ c blueberries + 2 raspberries for color                                                                                                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.

Mediterranean Vegetables w/grains & cheese:    281 calories       7.1 g fat     10.4 g fiber   16.4 g protein   40 g carbs      332 mg Calcium PB GF – if using GF couscous or brown rice  This is how to use some of the same vegetable mixture which we prepared for breakfast on Monday.  HINT: If you have these delicious veggies in the freezer, then you are ahead of the game. Mediterranian Meal

2 cups eggplant, peeled & cubed OR 1 and 1/2 cup bell peppers, cubed                                              2 cups tomato, cubed                                                                                                                                            2 cups zucchini, cubed                                                                                                                                          2 cloves garlic                                                                                                                                                         1.5 tsp oregano                                                                                                                                                        ½ cup chickpeas, rised and drained                                                                                                             per serving: 1 oz mozzerella, shredded     +        1/4 cup brown rice or couscous, cooked

Prepare all the veg., and put them in a saucepan. Simmer, covered, until cooked through. If watery, remove lid and continue to simmer. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and the chickpeas, and keep warm. Prepare the brown rice or couscous and place it on one side of the plate. Spoon 2 cups of the vegetables next to the couscous. Top with cheese and tuck into it!    [After cooling, freeze the remaining vegetables in serving sizes.]

Ingredients for next week:                                                                                                                 breakfast– portions for one

1 two-oz egg 1.5 two-oz eggs
Cooked turkey breast leek
¼ slice Whole-grain 70-cal bread Smoked salmon
Sage, rosemary, thyme Dill
Celery onion 1 oz Granny Smith apple or apple sauce
1 oz pear Light sour cream OPTIONAL
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your hot beverage
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your smoothie

dinner– portions for one

3/4 c cabbage                  3/4 c  broccoli Pieces of roast lamb
1/4 pound potato             milk Apple Walnut halves celery
1/4 pound cauliflower lemon juice Mayonnaise horseradish buttermilk
 leek                  butter 2 cups lettuce
2 egg whites Hard-boiled egg
cheddar cheese                  ground mace parsley
 Sparkling water Sparkling water


Lenten Fasting

Fasting is a tradition for the Lenten Season.  It shows a willingness to forgo some of life’s pleasures to atone for sins.  Fast Days used to be a staple in the old days:  the king or the Church would declare a day of fasting to drive away an invading army or to halt the spread of plague.  History does not say how well that worked, but I can tell you that if you stick to 2 Fast Days each week [and eat reasonably the other days], this diet will work for you.  Today at the start of Lent, meals which feature neither eggs nor meat.                   Are you up for a challenge?  If you haven’t yet begun a full 5:2 Fasting Lifestyle [dabbled around the edges but not ready to commit], try it for the next 6 weeks. You will find that by the end, it will be almost second nature.  Go ahead! Do it.

Red White and Blue  295 calories   1.4 g fat  3.8 g fiber     20 g protein   45 g carbs    504 mg Calcium   PB   GFif using GF bread    Ricotta is higher in protein and Calcium than cottage cheese, but you could substitute that if you wish.Red White & blue

½ cup fat-free ricotta                                                                                                                                                                 ¼ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen [if frozen, keep frozen until ready to use]                                              ½ cup sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen [after slicing, put in a strainer to drain the juices]                                                                                                                                                                            1 slice of 70-calorie multi-grain bread [Nature’s Own] cut into a star with the largest cookie cutter that will fit the bread                                                                                                                                            2 large pinches of cinnamon sugar                                                                                                       blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                                                 5-6 oz fruit smoothie, green smoothie or natural apple cider

Cut your slice of bread with a large star cookie cutter, freezing the scraps for use in Crab Cakes or Stuffed Clams or Crab-Stuffed Flounder. Sprinkle the bread with a small pinch of cinnamon sugar and toast it. Measure the ricotta onto your plate. Put the fruit on top. [I do not recommend stirring the fruit into the cheese, since it will ‘stain’ the cheese.] Top with a small pinch of cinnamon sugar and plate with the toast. Pour the hot beverage and the smoothie.

Felafel with Cucumber Raita:   276 calories   10.2 g fat   16 g protein   33.5 g carbs PB GF    The felafel is from the Eastern Mediterranean, while the raita is from India.  A happy blend of flavors and cultures.                           NO PHOTO                                                                                                                                                        5 felafel patties [see Because It’s June! June 1, 2016]                                                                                                    1 cup raw spinach                                                                                                                                                   1/2 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                                       large pinch ground nutmeg                                                                                                                                          4 oz plain, non-fat yogurt                                                                                                                                         1 scant cup cucumbers, cubed                                                                                                                               1 tsp white wine vinegar                                                                                                                                         1 ½ tsp fresh mint, chopped or dried dill weed

Thaw out 5 of those felafel patties what we prepared last June 1. Heat them in the toaster oven or in a non-stick pan on the stove. Do not cook them in oil. Cut the spinach into a chiffonade [make a pile of leaves and cut thinly across their width]and put into a bowl. Cube the cucumbers. Stir together the yogurt, vinegar, and dill or mint. Add the cucumber cubes and stir gently to combine. Toss the spinach with the olive oil and nutmeg. Plate it and love it.



1 two-oz egg
¼ oz ham
Ricotta cheese, low-fat [or cottage cheese]
Parmesan cheese
sage, salt, pepper, rosemary, crushed red pepper
Applesauce [unsweetened], 2 oz [or pear]
Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage


¾ cup lobster meat
Cream or ½ & ½
Bechamel sauce, 2 Tbsp
Dijon mustard
Green beans, fresh or frozen
Raspberries, 1 oz
Peaches, 2 oz