Tropic of Capricorn

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 Earth tilts as it spins on its axis. Currently [and this is subject to change], the tilt is 23 degrees, 27 minutes from vertical. As the Earth orbits the sun, the tilt causes the sun to shine more directly on some places and less directly on others. This is the cause of our seasons. On a map of the world, you will see the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. It is at 23 degrees South of the Equator. That is the point over which the sun shines most directly during the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. The same day marks the Winter Solstice for those in the Northern Hemisphere, which has winter due to the lack of direct sunlight. This line gets it name from the fact that the Sun was moving through the constellation of Capricorn on the December solstice day when the line was first named around 2000 years ago. The line marks the southern limit of the warm areas called ‘the tropics’ aka: the Torrid Zone. Now you know.

Today’s meals were chosen because they are eaten in countries through which the Tropic of Capricorn passes. As I write this, they are having Summer. Breakfast is my adaptation of food from Chile and dinner is a well-liked soup from Australia.

Pumpkin Sopaipilla Breakfast:  202 calories 4.2 g fat 2.7 g fiber 7.5 g protein 73.8 g carbs [11.9 g Complex] 45 mg Calcium  PB  This breakfast is based on Chile’s favorite snack, a deep-fried street-food concoction. Our’s are the same recipe, but lower in calorie, served for breakfast with some yummy sides. The recipe comes from hispanickitchen.com.

3 pumpkin sopaipillas+++ 1 Tbsp jelly sauce** 1 clementine + 1 Tbsp fat-free vanilla yogurt 1 or 2 slice Canadian Bacon [back bacon, 20 calories/slice] Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]

Prepare the sopaipillas, which I did the night before so that I could bake them in the morning. Prepare the jelly sauce. Peel and section the clementine and stir in the yogurt. When ready to serve, heat the sopaipillas at 350 F for 5 minutes, Heat the jelly sauce for about 15 seconds in the microwave. Cook the Canadian bacon. Plate the bacon, fruit, and sopaipillas. Sprinkle the latter with confectioners sugar and spoon the syrup over them. Putting cocoa in the coffee gives you another taste of the Americas, the source of both squashes and cocoa.

+++Pumpkin Sopaipillas yields 10-11 two-inch rounds ½ cup flour 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ½ cup pumpkin puree, canned 1 Tbsp melted butter Combine into a smooth dough. Let sit 20 minutes, then roll out on a floured surface. Cut into 2″ rounds with a cookie cutter or the top of a glass.

**Jelly Sauce  yields 2 Tbsp 2 Tbsp water 1 tsp fruit jelly [grape, raspberry, strawberry] Stir together in a custard cup and heat in the microwave until the jelly dissolves.

Australian Chicken-Corn Soup: 198 calories 2.8 g fat 1.2 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 chick – meat and bones
1.25 cm piece [small knob] ginger
½ onion, peeled and quartered
2 peppercorns
2 sprigs parsley
½ tsp salt



OR-3.5 cups whchick stock
ginger knob
salt + pepper
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 pepper 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 ground pepper ½ tsp sesame oil
Combine in a large saucepan the reserved chicken stock, creamed corn, crumbled stock cubes, ginger, scallions, pepper and sesame oil. Bring to boil. Take off heat and taste for salt.

2 Tbsp cornstarch/cornflour 2 Tbsp waterMix cornflour to smooth paste with 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 sauceBeat egg white and water lightly and add to soup in a thin stream, stirring well. Add soy sauce. Taste for seasoning.
1 slice ham =1 oz, thinly sliced ½ cup chicken, shredded chopped scallion/chives/
spinach leaves
Remove meat from bones, shred finely. Add meats to soup, heat gently. Top with extra chopped scallions or chives or baby spinach leaves.

me-me-me-me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Epiphany

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

Tomorrow will be the Feast of the Epiphany, aka: Three Kings’ Day or the 12th Day of Christmas [got room for those 12 Drummers Drumming?] or the start of Carnival Season. In the church, it marks the day that the three Magi arrived in Nazareth to visit the child Jesus. [Contrary to what is shown on the Christmas Cards and in most artwork, this visit occurred around two years after the nativity in Bethlehem. Jesus was then a toddler.] In a wider sense, ‘epiphany’ means ‘an awakening.’ Have you come to a new understanding of something? That was an epiphany.

The Kings are described as coming “from the Orient” which simply means anywhere East of Judea. They were most likely astronomers from Persia who had seen the planet Jupiter [a king] move into the constellation Pisces or Aries [which the Persians associated with Israel]. This celestial event lead them to the knowledge that a new king was born in Israel. In honor of the greeting card notion that one or all of them were from Cathay/China, our meals hale from the Eastern end of Asia. In the dinner, you have choices. I suggest that you limit yourself to three types of items, to remember the “Kings who traversed afar”.

Foo Yung Bake:  129 calories 5 g fat 2.4 g fiber 10 g protein 12 g carbs [11 g complex] 56.8 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB  Straight out of China, a no-fuss bake.

One 2-oz egg 2 Tbsp crab meat 1 tsp soy sauce ¼ cup sprouts [I used broccoli sprouts — suit yourself] ¼ oz mushrooms pinch ground ginger + pinch granulated garlic 1 Tbsp scallion, sliced across 2 oz pear OR 1 clementine   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]

Lightly mix the crab meat with the sprouts, scallion, and mushroom. Lightly oil or spritz an oven-proof dish. Distribute the crab mixture over the bottom of the dish. Whisk the egg with the soy sauce, ginger, and garlic powder, and pour over the sprouts and crab. Add salt and pepper if you wish. Bake at 350 F. for 12 minutes. Plate with the pear and pour the optional beverages.

Dim Sum Choices: Dining at a dim sum recipe is all about choices: the trolley arrives covered with savory dishes – how do you decide?! You can make those choices easily at home if you have a freezer that contains a little of this and a bit of that. My egg roll/Spring roll recipes prepare 5, of which we eat 4 at a meal. One left over to save for a Dim Sum Dinner. The wonton recipe makes 26, so save some for Dim Sum night. Same for the momos. Got some frozen pot stickers? Good choice. Add steamed vegetables and your own sauce and you will be all set for a fun meal. Make some choices from the following, being sure to add up to 300 or less calories, including the dipping sauce of choice and some cherry tomatoes or steamed vegetables:

1 chicken momo: 34 calories 0.2 fat 0.2 fiber 2.4 g protein 4.5 g carbs 15.7 mg Calcium 

2 Tbsp balls of chicken momo filling: 25 calories 0.2 g fat o.2 g fiber 3.6 g protein 1.4 g carbs 8.6 mg Calcium 

1 beef egg roll: 136 calories 4.6 g fat 1.2 g fiber 9.4 g protein 17.5 g carbs 23 mg Calcium 

1 shrimp spring roll: 88 calories 2 g fat 1 g fiber 7 g protein 8.4 g carbs 33 mg Calcium 

1 pork wonton: 41 calories 6.6 g fat o g fiber 3.4 g protein 7 g carbs 0 mg Calcium 

1 purchased pork dumpling/pot sticker: read the label 

1 oz purchased Asian BBQ pork: 46 calories 1.5 g fat 0 g fiber 6.7 g protein 8.4 g carbs 0 mg Calcium

2 oz chicken + 1 tsp satay sauce: 76 calories 1 g fat 0 g fiber 13 g protein 0.7 g carbs 6.2 mg Calcium 

Literary Reference

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

A literary reference is when an author has a situation/event/character in one book which is recognizable as something in another book by a different author. I love to see those: it is as if the author is winking and nodding at me, saying “I know you’ll get that”. Some people debate whether one can have a ‘literary’ reference to a movie or TV show, but hey — a screen play is literature, too. Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones Diary makes recurring reference to Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. Anyone who asserts that he/she is “Shocked. Shocked!” is referring to the screenplay of Casablanca. The list goes on and on! Shakespear, Homer, all authors are grist for the literary reference mill. What fun.

Today’s meals are a culinary form of literary reference. The Keats poem The Eve of St Agnes describes in length the meal set by the love-struck swain Porphyro for his beloved. Read The Arabian Nights by Richard Francis Burton and you will want a meal flavored with ‘the spices of the East’.

Porphyro’s Picnic:   252 calories 5.7 g fat 6 g fiber 6.5 g protein 53 g carbs [43 g Complex] 128 mg Calcium   PB GF   This is based on the foods described by Keats in his romantic poem The Eve of St Agnes. The meal is rather sweet [key to a teenage girl’s heart?] despite its low calorie count – it needs some other taste to cut it. A cup of black coffee? Full of fiber, this meal is sure to kick-start your tally of fruits/vegetables for the day. HINT: The photo below shows the meal for two [2] people on one plate — true love doesn’t mind sharing.

2 Tbsp lowfat Plain OR French Vanilla yogurt + 2 Tbsp almond meal 2 oz apple, diced 2 oz melon, cubed ¼ cup pitted plums [I used canned plums in light syrup, drained and rinsed], use fresh if in season 2 tsp cider syrup [or use 2 tsp syrup from the plums] + ¼ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ oz Medjool date, cut in 4 pieces. NO smoothie coffee or tea ONLY if it is black or lemon in hot water

Stir the yogurt and almond meal together and spoon onto the center of the plate. Chop the apple, cube the melon, and arrange them around the almond cream, along with the plums. Place the pieces of date at random. Combine the cider syrup with the cinnamon and drizzle it over the apple and melon. All set to eat and you still have 48 calories left over. Not responsible for what happens if you eat this by moonlight on January 20.

Arabian Spiced Chicken:  297 calories 4 g fat 5.4 g fiber 24.4 g protein 46 g carbs [45 g Complex] 35 mg Calcium   PB GF  Using ingredients originally from the region, it is possible to craft a very authentic meal that could have been enjoyed by ancient Arabs. They would have eaten by grasping the stew with the flat-bread called fatir — but on a Fast Day, we will choose a fork.  TIP: This recipe makes enough for 2 [two] meals.

6 oz chicken thigh meat, boneless, skinless 1.5 tsp Hawayij spice 2/3 cups water 1/3 cup chicken broth 1/3 cup dry quick-cooking barley   Per serving: 3 deglet noor dates + 5 oz watermelon cubes

Skin and bone the chicken thigh and cut it into 1” chunks. Heat a non-stick skillet and spritz it with non-stick spray. Sprinkle the chicken with the spice and saute it until partly cooked. To the pan, add the water and heat it, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Stir in the dry barley. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add the chicken broth and stir gently until everything is heated through. Plate with the dates and watermelon on the side. Sprinkle the stew with more Hawayij if you like. The peppery stew is fabulous with the cool, crisp melon and the sweet, musky dates. What an Arabian Delight.

Stone Soup

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.

It was once told to me about three soldiers who tramped down the road, returning home from war. They were hungry, so they planned to stop in the nearest village to ask for some food. But the villagers had seen them coming. The country-folk had had enough of soldiers coming and taking their food, so they had hidden it — down the well, up the chimney, in the cellar, in the attic. The soldiers knocked on door after door, but each cottager said the same thing: “We are poor people, good sirs. We have no food for our children, let alone you three.” The three soldiers huddled in the town square and whispered to each other. Then loudly they said, “These poor people have nothing to eat! We will help them to fill their bellies. We will make our magical Stone Soup for them.”

The villagers peeked out of doors and windows, asking “What could they mean?” They watched in amazement as two of the soldiers brought some rounded stones from the brook and washed them under the pump. The third soldier called out, “Who will lend us a cauldron so that we can prepare the soup? And who will provide some fire wood?” The items were quickly provided, a fire was lighted, the cauldron was filled with 2 quarts of water, and put over the flames. “And now the magic begins!” announced the soldiers. Everyone watched as they put the stones in the water. Everyone wondered how soup could be made from stones and water.

“M-m-m-m! It smells good,” opined one of the soldiers. “Do you remember that soup we made in Grosswaldstadt and how good it tasted? If only we had 4 ounces of carrots, the way we did there…”

A woman shyly came out of her house and handed them some carrots from those hidden in her cellar. They were cut up in no time.

Another soldier rejoined, “Then there was the soup we made in Yffinac — the one with the parsnips and cabbage. That was really delicious.”

A woman hurried out of her house with 4 ounces of parsnips which she had hidden in the woodshed. Not to be out-done, her neighbor rushed over with 4 ounces of cabbage which had been secreted up the chimney.

In Siena,” one soldier hinted broadly, ” we added some beef.” With that, the butcher’s wife ran off to retrieve some meat which had been hidden down in the well.

“If only we had some ….” would no sooner be said, than it appeared: a hand-full of herbs; 4 oz green beans; 4 oz red potatoes; 4 oz red beans; 4 oz spinach leaves; salt, and pepper. That was the wondrous part: food the villagers said they didn’t have seemed to appear magically and then disappear into the simmering water.

At last the soup was done. Everyone gathered ’round with bowls and spoons — not forgetting a bowl for each of the soldiers-turned-chefs. The baker’s wife hurried to get some sourdough rye bread which she ‘just remembered’ was up in her attic. Everyone ate soup and bread. Everyone congratulated the soldiers on their marvelous soup. And everyone learned that if we work together, everyone is better for it.

This is my retelling of a story that was first recorded in 1720, in France by Madame de Noyer. The tale has been told and re-told: in England, in America, everywhere that there are children to be entertained. If you are in the company of children during the holidays, read the story with them while you prepare the soup together. The soup yields 8 one-cup servings.

Tomorrow, December 26, is the Feast of St. Stephen. He was killed by being stoned, so it seems fitting to put stones to the more pacific purpose of making soup today. Most cooked soups benefit from being prepared the day before.

Per cup: 125 calories 1.4 g fat 4 g fiber 7.5 g protein 21.5 g carbs [ALL Complex] 55.6 mg Calcium 1 oz sourdough-rye bread: 72 calories 0 g fat 1.2 g fiber 2.4 g protein 14.5 g carbs

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

apple + melon + almond meal 2 dinners next week
deglet noor date + plum
cider syrup or plum canning syrup
cinnamon + plain yogurtdried green split peas
Optional smoothiebacon + thyme
optional hot beverage

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

chicken thigh + chicken broth oil + chicken breast + broccoli
deglet noor datesItalian pepper + zucchini
quick-cooking barley + watermelon corn tortillas, ~70 calories each
hawayij spicechili powder + Adobo + red onion
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Far-flung Food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hanukkah Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernini!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why so many saints?

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.

Our elder son and I were in the Louvre together. He asked me to show him what I knew about pre-Renaissance art, since I had studied it and he hadn’t. At one point I leaned in toward a medieval work to see the details and the title. “Oh. Saint Barbara,” I said. “I should have known from the tower.” Curious, my son asked what that meant. He had never learned about the “iconography” of saints in art — that every saint has an “attribute,” a symbol to carry, to stand next to, or to wear so that we can recognize them when we see them: in a statue; on a window; in a painting. [Saint Barbara’s symbol is a tower. Saint Catherine’s is a wheel.] He was as intrigued as I had been, sitting in a dark lecture hall viewing slides during Freshman year in college: it was like a secret code book to a world of identification. Fascinating! Thus I became interested in saints [and knowing their iconography got me through many art history courses]. That’s how a “nice Protestant girl” got to know a lot about saints, and why I often choose saints for blog post topics. Some of the saints are old favorites, others are obscure yet interesting. I like their stories and how they fit into old customs and cultures. By their attributes shall ye know them.

Italy and France, respectively, have more native saints than any other countries [Spain is a close third] so our foods today will come from those nations. Breakfast is named after a French Saint and the dinner from Parma recalls their patron saint, Ilario.

St Denis ScrOmelette:  144 calories 8 g fat 2.2 g fiber 12.5 g protein 6.4 g carbs [5.3 g Complex] 57 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesGF James Beard’s comprehensive volume American Cooking gives us the recipe for this breakfast. Delicious, and rich, and wonderful. Worth getting up for.

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 leek or scallion, minced ½ clove garlic, minced ¼ oz mushrooms ¼ oz ham [3% fat], minced 1 tsp chicken liver OR chicken liver pate parsley for garnish 1 oz watermelon OR 4 Bing cherries   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]

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron or non-stick pan and spritz it with oil or cooking spray. Add the leek, garlic, ham, and mushrooms and stir to cook. Whisk the eggs with the pate and pour over the vegetables in the pan. Cook as thoroughly as you like. The optional beverages are prepared and the fruit is plated. What a remarkable start to your day.

Chicken Parmesan: 238 calories 2.6 g fat 4.7 g fiber 31 g protein 11.4 g carbs 242.5 mg Calcium  PG GF – if using GF bread  At last! The restaurant classic made suitable for Fasters, with lots of protein and Calcium. And it is delicious. 

3-½ oz raw chicken breast meat, boneless, skinless 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tsp dried oregano and/or thyme ¼ oz whole-grain breadcrumbs, fresh not dried 1 Tbsp milk ¼ cup marinara sauce, homemade or jarred ¾ oz mozzerella, grated 2 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese 1 cup baby greens + ½ oz grated carrots ½ tsp olive oil + ½ tsp red wine vinegar

Heat the toaster oven to 350F. Spritz an oven-proof pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Pour the milk onto a small plate. On another plate combine the Parmesan, herbs, and bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Cream the other two cheeses together until well-combined. Dip the chicken in the milk on both sides. Dredge the chicken in the crumb/cheese mixture to coat it completely. Place on the oven-proof pan and spray with olive oil. Bake the chicken about 10 minutes, until golden. Top the chicken with the marinara sauce, then mound the cheese over it. Broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is melty and starting to brown. Prepare the salad ingredients and toss with dressing. For atmosphere, light a candle stuck in a wine bottle.

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

Next week I will discuss actual
menu choices made while on vacation.
1.5 two-oz eggs 
Choose a new favorite from
the Archives.
2″-diameter slice of pepperoni

mozzarella + bell pepper

crushed tomato + apple
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Choose a new favorite dinner from
the Archives.
Chicken breast, boneless, skinless

sherry wine + carrot + broccoli

Bechamel sauce with cheese

angel hair pasta + Parmesan cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Astrid Lindgren

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.

When our sons were little, we read to them at bedtime and nap-time. Every children’s book was grist for our mill. At some point, we discovered The Tomten and The Fox, by Astrid Lindgren and we were all charmed by it. We read it again and again, along with The Tomten and the Christmas Tomten. Astrid Lindgren was born on November 14 in 1907 on her family’s farm in Vimmerby, Sweden. She grew up to be an author with world-wide recognition for her books, especially the best-selling Pippi Longstocking series. Astrid Lindgren was also a life-long activist for equality; for animal rights; for fair government; for fighting violence against children. She wrote: ‘A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.’ Read to a child today. Give books to children for birthdays and holiday gifts. Share the joy.

The Swedes like their smoked sausage. We’ll have to substitute for their favorite ‘falukorv‘, but you’ll get the idea when you cook it with eggs at breakfast. Dinner involves, what else — herring, one of the staples of the Scandinavian diet since forever.

Smoked Sausage ScrOmelette: 299 calories 10 g fat 2.7 g fiber 19 g protein 37 g carbs 206 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF Having been gifted with Dakin smoked chicken sausage, we decided to make it a breakfast. The sausage adds a nice smokey Autumnal flavor to the eggs. If substituting another sausage, choose one that has 30 calories per ounce.

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.   3/4 oz Dakin Farm cob-smoked chicken sausage, diced 1.5 tsp each oregano and parsley, chopped 2 oz apple OR apple sauce, unsweetened  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]

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. Plate the fruit, pour your optional beverages and off you go.

Herring Salad:  278 calories 6 g fat 6.8 g fiber 16 g protein 24 g carbs 103 mg Calcium  PB GF  Eating herring goes back centuries in Scandinavia. This fine Old World recipe is from Luchow’s German Festival Cookbook. NB: if you take a MOIA anti-depressent, be aware that herring has high amounts of tyramine. 

 1- 1/2 oz herring marinated in wine, drained 1/4 cup beets, cooked, cooled and diced 1- 1/2 oz apple, peeled and diced 1/4 cup white beans, drained and rinsed 1/2 hard-boiled egg, sliced 2 Tbsp onion, minced 1/2 oz dill pickle, chopped pinch sugar 2 tsp vinegar, or more 1 cup lettuce, shredded

Put the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently until everything is well-incorporated. Taste to see if it needs more sugar or more vinegar. A herring-lover’s delight.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs  + Bing Cherries
kippered herring
3% fat ham + leek or scallion
white whole wheat flour
garlic + mushrooms
milk + pear or apple
chicken liver or chicken liver pate
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

shrimp/prawns + parsley
chicken breast + marinara sauce
haddock or other white fish
optional: puff pastry
Parmesano cheese + fresh bread crumbs
smoked haddock + milk
mozzarella + cottage cheese
onion + cloves + spinach
butter + flour + bay leaf
baby greens + carrot + vinaigrette
Sparkling waterSparkling water