Under the Influence: Italy

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 Dominus O. Markham and bloghealth1 and Youth and Healthy and Scot Henry who are now Following.

Italian cooks are under the influence. No, they are neither drunk nor drugged, so let’s follow a culinary trail…. Central and Southern Italian cuisine involves tomatoes — everyone knows that. And in the North, there’s cornmeal polenta. And that’s been since forever, right? Well, no. Tomatoes and corn are not native to Italy or even to Europe. Spanish colonizers brought those foods from meso-America back to Europe in the early 1500s. The Spanish were not that impressed. From there, tomatoes and corn spread to Italy, where, by the 1600s, they were embraced like long lost relatives and quickly made part of the food culture. Tomato sauces and salads and pizzas abound all over the country, and corn shows up in the iconic polenta of the North — I even ate kernels of corn on a pizza in Rome. Italy owes much of its culinary traditions to the influence of far-away Indigenous Americans. Fancy that!

Our breakfast features tomatoes as part of a famously delicious Italian sauce, while dinner involves cornmeal polenta. You too can be under the influence.

Puttenesca Bake: 127 calories 6 g fat 0.6 g fiber 7.7 g protein 10 g carbs [10 g Complex] 77.7 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  Once you have Puttenesca Sauce in the freezer, preparing this breakfast is very easy.

one 2-oz egg 1½ Tbsp Puttenesca sauce, drained of excess liquid   ½ Tbsp Parmesan, grated ¼ cup peaches, fresh or canned in light juice   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]

Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Spritz an oven-proof ramekin or small casserole [if serving 2 or more] with non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs with the sauce and cheese. Pour into the baking dish and heat for 12-15 minutes. Portion the peaches and prepare the beverages. Que bella!

Seafood with Polenta & Vegetables: 291 calories 8.5 g fat 3.7 g fiber 30 g protein 28 g carbs [24 g Complex] 180 mg Calcium  PB GF  Mediterranean Food, anyone? Here it is, a splendid way to eat healthily.

oops! This photo shows 3 logs of polenta when it should have only 2.

½ cup Mediterranean Vegetables without chickpeas   2 ‘logs’ of home-made polenta, from a batch with 6 ‘logs’ 4 oz fish such as cod or tilapia, raw or cooked ¾ oz mushrooms, sliced 3 Tbsp Parmesan, grated Prepare or thaw the polenta. Prepare or thaw the Mediterranean Vegetables. Stir in the mushrooms and sea food and simmer, covered, until the fish is cooked through. Place the polenta on the side of the plate and spoon the warm mixture on top. Top with the grated cheese and enjoy your taste of Italy.

Henri Matisse

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 Your 2.0 Life, gerald kasanda, supersizegenius, and drjura who are now Following.

Henri Matisse was supposed to be a lawyer. After training and receiving certification, he began to dabble in painting while recovering from appendicitis. It was a revelation. Since then, Matisse’s art has been a revelation to many people. Matisse had a unique color sense and a new way of presenting what we see every day. He would apply flat, unmodulated, unshaded colors on a flat canvas and voila! — depth and form would emerge, tricking the eye into seeing 3-dimensionally. How was he categorized as an artist? At first, he was influenced by Edouard Manet, an early Impressionist. Then he fell in with Picasso, who developed into a Cubist. Through that interaction, Matisse’s work with color marked him as a Fauvist. But Matisse is all of them and none of them. His work is unique. None more so than the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, France — now called the ‘Matisse Chapel.’ There light and color and artless line drawings combine into a chapel of light, charm, and emotion: a culmination of a life’s exploration of art.

Matisse was born in Northern France on December 31, 1869. His northern origins are reflected in our breakfast. The dinner of vegetables and rice, typical of Southern France where Matisse settled, would be perfect for the period of time when he was unrecognized and impecunious.

Breton Breakfast: 195 calories 14 g fat 6 g fiber 10.5 g. protein 25 g carbs [17 g Complex] 104 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the galette/crepe, egg filling, and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB  Here is one way to use the galette/crepe batter which you saw in SLOW DAYS: Crepes and you stored in the freezer. You need one galette per serving. Make some extras for a lunch or dinner later this week. Put some cooked galettes in a zipper bag in the freezer for another time.

1 galette  1 two-oz egg 1 oz [3 Tbsp] diced tomatoes 1 Tbsp [1 oz] diced artichoke, canned or frozen 1/4-1/3 tsp curry powder [seafarers brought a lot of spices to Brittany’s ports] 1½ oz apple   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Put the vegetables and curry in a small sauce pan with any juice still in the tomatoes and cook uncovered until the veg are soft and the liquid has almost evaporated. HINT: do this the night before to save time at breakfast. If your crepe was cooked previously, warm it a little to take off the chill. Cook the egg by frying it in a lightly-oiled non-stick pan. Spoon the vegetables on the crepe, put the egg on top. Hold briefly, if needed, in a warm oven while you pour the smoothie and warm beverage, and while you slice the fruit.

Mediterranean Vegetables with Brown Rice:  281 calories 7 g fat 10.4 g fiber 16.4 g protein 40 g carbs 332 mg Calcium  PB GF  Here are those wonderful mediterranean vegetables again, served with brown rice for more fiber amd complex carbs.

2 cups eggplant, peeled & cubed OR 1½ cup bell peppers, cubed 2 cups tomato, cubed 2 cups zucchini, cubed 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1½ tsp oregano ½ cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained   per serving: 1 oz mozzerella, shredded + ¼ cup brown rice or whole-grain 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!

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

1 two-oz egg +milk1.5 two-oz eggs 
whole-grain bread + tomatosalt cod + Cheddar cheese
cooked chicken or fishmashed potato or instant potato flakes
cheese + strawberriesstrawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

codfish brandade4 oz ground lamb patty. 90% lean
2-inch diameter tomatoessugar + white wine vinegar
Finn-Crisp crackerscucumbers
fresh spinachdill weed
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Statue of David

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 Malcolm Rae who is now Following.

David was one of the major characters of the Old Testament. He was the youngest son of Jesse; a shepherd lad. While he was still a youth, the invading Philistines looked as if they were going to defeat the Israelites. Their champion, the giant Goliath, challenged Israel’s champion to single combat. David volunteered to fight the giant. He was offered armor, but it was too big. Armed with only his slingshot, David faced his enemy and killed him with a single stone, then cut off his head. During the Renaissance, sculptors vied with each other to depict David. In 1440, Donatello showed his statue of David. It was the first bronze statue of the Renaissance. It depicts a boy who’s voice is still changing standing with his foot on Goliath’s head. David looks thoughtful and, in a reference to Classical Greek art, he is nude. Thirty-five years later, Verrocchio produced a bronze on the same subject. This David is even younger and to avoid the criticism of prudes, he wears a tunic and a breastplate [that looks a bit like lingerie]. He has killed the enemy and stands with a hand on his hip and a cocky look as if to say, “I told you I could do it.” Here David represents the City of Florence, ready to defeat larger enemies. When most people think of a statue of David, they think of Michelangelo’s monumental work. In it, a larger-than-life nude man [not a young shepherd boy] casts a cool gaze at his distant opponent. The work, finished in 1504, is pure High Renaissance, designed to show that humans can achieve anything they put their minds to, through reason. In my opinion, the best of all of them is David by Gian Bernini. By 1623, the Renaissance gave way to the Baroque period of art, where motion and emotion replaced that measured calm of Michelangelo’s time. Here an older teenaged David gets ready to let-‘er-rip and you know Goliath is done for. Each statue tells the same story in its own way. Each is the triumph of their own time. Which one do you prefer?

Since David was a shepherd in Israel, our breakfast contains lamb and many flavors of the region. The dinner involves a stone, since that is how David killed Goliath.

Levantine Lamb Bake:  219 calories 14 g fat 1 g fiber 26 g protein 8 g carbs 108.6 mg Calcium   PB GF  Let’s take all the popular flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean and bake them with eggs. Great idea!! [If this sounds familiar, it is based on Lamb Gozleme, which was featured previously. If you had left-over filling (about 2 Tbsp) from that, you could use it.]

1 two-oz egg ¼ oz tomatoes, small dice 1/8 oz feta cheese, small dice 1 Kalamata olive, small dice 1/8 oz cooked lamb meat, small dice 1/8 oz spinach, chopped oregano + salt + pepper 2 oz peach or nectarine   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Prepare all the vegetables, meat, and cheese, and combine them well in a small bowl with the seasonings. Spray an oven-safe dish with non-stick spray and turn the bowl contents into the dish. Whisk the egg and pour over the other ingredients. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes. Plate with the fruit and pour the hot beverage. If I knew how, I’d say ‘delicious!’ in Greek, Turkish, Syrian, Palastinian, Hebrew, and Egyptian.

Stone Soup: 125 calories 1.4 g fat 4 g fiber 7.5 g protein 21 g carbs [21 g Complex] 55.6 mg Calcium   PB GF — if using GF bread or eliminating it.  A recipe based on the old French folktale about ‘making soup out of stones.’ And it tastes good, too. HINT: Makes 8 one-cup servings.

See the stone in the center, just under the bread?

½ pound stones, in large pieces – well scrubbed    2 quarts water 4 oz beef, diced 4 oz carrots, sliced 4 oz cabbage, sliced 4 oz parsnips, cubed 4 oz green beans, cut to 1” 4 oz red potato, diced 4 oz spinach, chopped 4 oz white beans lots of herbs + salt + pepper   Optional: slice of artisinal rye bread  adds 100 calories

Put the stones in the water and bring to a simmer. Add the other ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with the bread if you wish.

Saint Matthew

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.

Levi, son of Alphaeus, was born in Galilee and was raised as an observant Jew. Why he became a tax collector for the oppressive Roman Empire is anyone’s guess. As a consequence, he was shunned and reviled as a collaborator. In a stunning move, Jesus called him to be one of his disciples, a scene brilliantly and dramatically illustrated by Caravaggio’s ‘The Calling of St Matthew.’ When the ‘culture police’ complained, Jesus pointed out that his job was to reclaim the sinners, since the righteous didn’t need saving. Levi then came to be known as Matthew. Biblical scholars debate whether Levi is the Matthew mentioned in the Bible; whether the Gospel of Matthew was written by Levi or by one of his followers; whether it was written in Aramaic/Hebrew or in Greek; whether or not Matthew died as a martyr. At any rate, Matthew is considered the Apostle to the Jews: visiting Jewish groups in the region around Judea to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah. His Feast Day is October 21.

Foods to eat for Matthew’s Feast Day are Kosher, of course. Early Christian Jews observed the culinary cultural norms and holidays. Except for the tomatoes and Bell peppers, the ingredients would have been available in Judea and Syria in Matthew’s time.

Spinach-Mushroom-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 GF — if using GF flour Miri Rotkovitz presented this recipe via thespruceeats.com. It is her ‘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 1-½ teaspoons flour 1-½ 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.

Felafel with Vegetable Salsa:  205 calories 5 g fat 7.7 g fiber 9 g protein 26.5 g carbs 139 mg Calcium   PB GF V   The felafel recipe is from Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. Perfect for a hot summer day or any day that you need a quick and easy meal.

6 falefel patties ½ cup diced fresh tomatoes ½ cup diced orange or yellow bell peppers 2 Tbsp red onion, chopped 1 Tbsp lemon juice  

Combine the chopped vegetables with the lemon juice. If frozen, warm the felafel. Let the vegetables ‘marry’ while the felafel warms. Plate the felafel and the salad.  Its that easy?!? Yes, it is.

Slow Day: Eastern Mediterranean Sampler

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

The meal at Troy

When we visit Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, we enjoy dining at Troy. We usually order the Sampler Platter, along with local beer and cidre. Since dining there is not an option during these Covid Times, I decided to try my hand at preparing such a meal. Happily, the elements were at hand — in the freezer or in the ‘fridge or made from fresh ingredients.

From the left, going clockwise around the platter: Lamb Gozleme; turkey breast; beet hummus**; oil-cured olives; tomatoes; feta + green olives; red pepper spread; dried figs. The flat bread in the middle is the same as in the Gozleme, but un-stuffed and griddle fried. A delightful meal for two, served with memories of visits to the orchards and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

**HUMMUS: 1 Tbsp = 27 calories 1.3 g fat 0.6 g fiber 0.7 g protein 3 g carbs 0.7 mg Calcium   PB GF  makes 2 cups Recipe from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen . 1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed 4 cloves garlic 1-½ tsp salt 4 tsp lemon juice 5 T tahini pepper + cayenne ¼ c chopped scallions

Put everything in the food processor and whizz until smooth. Taste for seasonings. Freezes well. Variation: Add a few slices of cooked beet to obtain an amazing pink color.

Zucchini, Anyone?

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. 

Its that time of year again — the Days of Zucchini. In the Spring, when everyone decided to plant a ‘Covid Garden,’ people forgot that one zucchini plant is enough to feed a family. But that’s one seed out of a package of dozens — so plant more; heck, plant them all! Now you have enough for the village and, if the deer didn’t get them, enough for the county. What to do?? Give it away! To friends [Dear Friends gifted us with 2 zucchini and 2 yellow crook-necks] or to the Food Bank.

It is time for zucchini at breakfast and zucchini at dinner. On non-Fast Days, you can eat it for lunch as well. Might as well enjoy it now: it won’t be fresh from the garden in December, will it? These meals even qualify for the label “Mediterranean Diet.” How ’bout that.

Zucchini-Herb ScrOmelette: 152 calories 8.6 g fat 1 g fiber 11 g protein 7 g carbs 80 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Summer squashes were made to be combined with lots of herbs. Then add cheese: bliss! 

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.  ¼ cup zucchini, grated 2 Tbsp fresh herbs [or more!], chopped 2 Tbsp grated Jarlsberg cheese 1 oz applesauce OR 1.5 oz peaches  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]

Put the zucchini and herbs into a lightly-spritzed non-stick saute pan. Cook until softened and most of the liquid is evaporated. Whisk the eggs with the cheese and pour into the pan. Scramble it or cook as an omelette, hence ScrOmelette. Prepare the beverages and plate the fruit. Ahhhh. The taste of Summer.

Zucchini-Feta Fritter Plate: 288 calories 7 g fat 2.4 g fiber 27 g protein 22 g carbs 285 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF flour A delightful meal for a hot day: cool, savory, nourishing.

5 zucchini-feta fritters** 3 oz tomato, sliced or cubed or cherry tomatoes 3 oz shrimp, steamed or grilled previously 2 Tbsp plain yogurt

Arrange on the plate and enjoy your easy evening meal.

**Zucchini-Feta Fritters makes 23-24   each: 34 calories 1.3 g fat 0.3 g fiber 1.5 g protein 3 g carbs 34 mg Calcium  PB GF — if using GF flour 1-1/8 pound [18 oz] zucchini + salt 1 two-oz egg 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled or diced ¼ cup fresh dill weed OR 2 Tbsp dried 2 Tbsp fresh parsley ¼ c white whole wheat flour ¼ cup self-rising flour Grate the zucchini and put it in a collander over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and use your fingers to toss the zucchini to distribute the salt. Let sit several hours or overnight. Press on the zucchini to remove any lingering water. Place the zucchini in a clean bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Combine well. Heat a griddle/large skillet and spray with non-stick spray. TIP: I used a 1.5 Tbsp scoop, but a heaping tablespoon would do as well. Make piles of the batter on the cooking surface, then flatten them so the insides will cook. Heat until well-browned on both sides.

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

1 two-oz egg1 two-oz egg  + pear
carne adovadokippered herring
cilantro + apple/applesaucewhite whole wheat flour
roasted green chilis dry mustard + milk
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

egg + lean ground pork buckwheat soba noodles + egg + oil
onion + whole-grain breadsugar snap peas + onion + scallions
lean ground beef + gravysugar + garlic + lean pork + sprouts
ground veal + milk + peasfish sauce + hot pepper flakes + cabbage
Sparkling waterSparkling water

The Van Gogh Affair

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 adom1479 who is now Following.

On 27 July, 1890, Vincent van Gogh turned up at the inn where he stayed with a gun shot wound in his torso. Two days later, he died. Right away, even before a cursory investigation by the police in Auvers-sur-Oise, everyone proclaimed it to be a suicide. After all, the Dutch-born painter had seen a life-time of disappointments that sent him into deep bouts of depression… Like the time he threw his heart and soul into being an evangelical preacher to the poor in a Belgian mining town, only to be dismissed by the bishop for having given all his money to the poor and no longer looking distinguished enough to be a pastor. Or the time it took him two years to get over a broken heart. Wasn’t he more than a little crazy? Hadn’t he attacked his friend Gauguin with a knife and then cut off his own ear? Case closed on the death of an odd-ball artist who liked to paint things that were yellow. OR NOT! In 2014, a journalistic investigation sure made it look as if van Gogh’s death was not suicide, but either a prank gone wrong, if not murder. Does a man at the height of his artistic powers, who has placed an order for paints and canvasses kill himself? Does a right-handed man shoot himself in his left side? Read about it and draw your own conclusion. At any rate, 130 years ago a revolutionary artist died too soon. Poor Vincent, “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you,” wrote Don McLean.

In honor of the scenes of van Gogh’s life, we will enjoy a breakfast made with galettes/crepes from Brittany and ratatouille from sunny Provence, both places where he painted. For dinner, a soup that features potatoes and sauerkraut — foods that would have been familiar to the Belgian family depicted in The Potato Eaters, the first van Gogh work I knew as a child.

Ratatouille-Egg Galette: 151 calories 5.5 g fat 2 g fiber 9 g protein 14 g carbs 53 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages. PB GF – if using GF crepes  A perfect blend of the cuisines of Northern and Southern France.

1 crepe/galette   one 2-oz egg ¼ cup Mediterranean Vegetables, drain and reserve excess liquids ½ oz fresh mushrooms  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]

Drain the vegetables of excess liquids. Use the liquids to cook the mushrooms. Combine the vegetables and mushrooms and heat them. Warm the crepe and plate it. Poach or fry the egg. Spoon the vegetables over the crepe and top it all with the egg. Eat with your hands or use a fork.

Jota: 169 calories  4.5 g fat 7.4 g fiber 11.5 g protein 25.7 g carbs [all Complex] 83.5 mg Calcium  PB GF  The flavors of Africa and and the mediterranean meet in this bean stew. Very satisfying. HINT: This recipe is enough for 4 [four] 1-cup servings.

Here, the Jota is served with spinach leaves.

1-½ cups sauerkraut, drained 1-½ cups canned red beans, drained and rinsed bay leaf 4 oz red potatoes, cooked and diced 1 clove garlic, crushed 2 oz smoked ham hock, cubed ½ cup or more vegetable broth or water   Optional*: 1 clove garlic, crushed + 1 tsp flour + 1 tsp oil Optional**: raw leaves of baby spinach

Spray a heavy sauce pan with non-stick spray and cook the garlic until golden brown. Add the sauerkraut to the pan with the broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. In another pan, heat the beans with the bay leaf until warm. Remove half of the beans and put them in a food processor with the cooked garlic and half of the potatoes. Puree, adding water/broth to adjust the liquids. Add the puree, uncrushed beans, potatoes, and meat to the pan with the sauerkraut. Taste for seasonings. Add some water/broth to bring the volume to 4 cups. *Optional: Simmer a garlic clove in 1 tsp oil until brown. Remove garlic and whisk in 1 tsp flour, then add some stock to make a roux. Stir into the stew as a thickener. **Optional: When the soup is in the bowl, tear the spinach leaves into bits and poke them into the hot liquid to add some extra color, texture, vitamins.

Peter and Paul

Gen  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 J-O-G-E who is now Following.

Saint Peter and Saint Paul began their lives very differently and in the same region, but ended their lives similarly and in the same city [maybe]. To dissect that, we’ll start with their origins. Peter [then called Simon] was the son of a fisherman in the Galilee area of the Roman Province of Judea. Paul [then called Saul] was born a Jewish Roman citizen in Tarsus [now in Turkey]. Peter was one of the first followers of Jesus, while Paul, at first, ardently persecuted Christians. After Jesus’ death and resurrection and the conversion of Paul, they both traveled widely to promote the new religion’s beliefs. It is said that Peter went to Rome to become the bishop of the growing Christian congregation there. Paul, arrested in Israel for his faith, claimed the privilege due him as a Roman — to be put on trial in Rome. In Rome, we are told, they both were martyred for refusing to abjure their Christianity. The church of Saint John Lateran, in Rome, displays ornate reliquaries which are said to contain their heads.

In view of their Levantine origins and in honor of the Feast of Its Peter and Paul, our breakfast contains flavors which they would recognize. The dinner is one you might enjoy today, whether in Rome or in your own home.

Zucchini-Feta Fritters & Fruit:  178 calories 5.3 g fat 2.7 g fiber 8.4 g protein 31.6 g carbs 208 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF – if using GF flour  Savory with the feta, sweet with the melon – a flavor adventure for breakfast.

4 zucchini-feta fritters ** TIP: start them hours in advance 3 oz watermelon 2 Tbsp plain, fat-free yogurt   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]

Start the fritters the night before to allow the zucchini to drain thoroughly. Using 1.5 Tablespoons per fritter, place the batter on a hot griddle which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Flatten the fritters, and cook on both sides until well browned. Plate with the melon and yogurt. Serve with beverage of choice, noting their calorie count. [Refrigerate the remaining batter until you have time to cook and freeze the remainder.]

**Zucchini-Feta Fritters makes 23-24   each: 34 calories 1.3 g fat 0.3 g fiber 1.5 g protein 3 g carbs 34 mg Calcium  1-1/8 pound [18 oz] zucchini salt 1 two-oz egg 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled or diced ¼ cup fresh dill weed OR 2 Tbsp dried 2 Tbsp fresh parsley ¼ c white whole wheat flour ¼ cup self-rising flour Grate the zucchini and put it in a collander over a bowl. Sprinkle liberally with salt and use your fingers to toss the zucchini to distribute the salt throughout. Let sit several hours or overnight. Place the zucchini in a clean bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Combine well. Heat a griddle/large skillet and spray with non-stick spray.  TIP: I used a 1.5 Tbsp scoop, but a heaping tablespoon would do as well.  Make piles of the batter on the cooking surface, then flatten them outand cook until well-browned on both sides

Eggplant Parmesan: 263 calories 5.6 g fat 4.8 g fiber 19 g protein 44 g carbs [20 g Complex] 203 mg Calcium  PB GF I love eggplant parmesan but I can’t stand cooking all those slices in oil [!!] and then layering everything together. This preparation is just what I need. HINT: This recipe serves 2 [two] people. Dear Husband enjoyed this.

4 slices peeled eggplant to a total weight of 6.5 oz ¼ c part-skim ricotta cheese ½ cup reduced fat cottage cheese ½ oz egg 1-½ cup canned whole tomatoes basil + garlic powder 3 oz zucchini ribbons [use a vegetable peeler to slice lenghtwise] OR 2 oz spinach leaves 1 oz whole-grain linguine [or other of your choice]

Sprinkle the eggplant slices liberally with salt and lay them in a collander on a plate and let sit 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta and cottage cheeses with the egg. Combine the tomatoes with the basil and garlic powder. Rinse the eggplant slices and bake at 375F on an oil-sprayed pan for 15 minutes or until tender. Spray two 8” oven-safe saute pans OR one larger pan with non-stick spray. Measure ¼ c of tomato into each pan and flatten it out. Lay two slices of eggplant, slightly over-lapping, on the tomatoes in the pans. Smear 1 Tbsp of tomato on each eggplant slice. Arrange 2-3 Tbsp of ricotta/cottage cheese mixture on each slice. Put any extra tomato sauce on top and then a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400F for 15+ minutes or until eggplant is soft. Cook the pasta for 4 minutes, then take off heat. Add the zucchini to the pasta and let it sit, covered, for another 2-3 minutes. If using spinach, add it to the pasta pan with one minute to go. I like to serve it all in the skillet in which it was baked, but you can plate it to your individual wishes. Melty and tender – just the way I like it.

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 + celeryDanish bleu cheese
onion + cajun seasoningherring marinated in wine
cottage cheese + Tabasco sauceapple
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

White whole wheat flour + shrimpBéchamel without cheese +dill
egg white + scallion + lobsterham + spinach + celery
white fish + soy sauceonion + celery salt + basil
rice vinegar + chives + garlicgarlic powder + 2 crepes
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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.