Margaret Wise Brown

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 Runaway Bunny, 1942. The Little Fur Family, 1946.  Mr Dog, 1949. Goodnight, Moon, 1947.  Did you love those books as a child? Did you read them to your own children? [I read the Runaway Bunny so often to our older son that I memorized it.  Our younger son would not take a nap unless Mr Dog was read to him.] Those titles and almost 100 others are the work of the author Margaret Wise Brown who was born on May 23, 1910.  After college, she trained as a writer then became an editor of children’s books at Harper.  Although she famously once said, “I don’t particularly like children,”  she clearly understood the sort of book would appeal to them: books with adventure, independence, and the reassurance of home. And then there were the wonderful illustrations by Clement Hurd, Garth Williams, and others.  She was not, as an NPR article put it, “the quiet old lady whispering ‘hush’.”  Brown was ever questing and out of the box. Her love affairs might have shocked the parents who bought her books. Just as she was getting ready to settle down, she had emergency surgery in Nice, France.  Upon release from bed rest, she executed an exuberant high kick, dislodged a blood clot, and died. Good night, Margaret. And yet, as James ‘Pebble’ Rockefeller, her fiancé, said of her, “her light is burning ever brighter.”                                                                                                                            To celebrate her birthday, we will eat colorful foods [The Color Kittens, 1949] and foods from Southern France, which she toured before her death.

Spinach Fritatta: 131 calories  9.4 g fat  1.5 g fiber  17.2 g protein  24 g carbs 311.5 mg Calcium  PB GF Long an item in food magazine brunch articles, it was time to take it to the Fasting table. Worth the wait: delicious and filling.Spinach Frittata

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                                               1 egg white                                                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                                                          1/4 oz Manchego cheese, grated                                                                                                                                        2 Tbsp scallions, chopped                                                                                                                        ½ clove garlic, minced                                                                                                                                     3 Tbsp cooked spinach pressed, drained, chopped                                                                                                     salt to taste + nutmeg  + garlic powder                                                                                                  2 oz kiwi/strawberry                                                                                                                                  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water               Optional: 3 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [44 calories]

Combine the cheeses, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and flavorings. Spritz a 4” custard cup with non-stick spray and spread the cheese mixture evenly in the bottom. [I was cooking for 2 and used an oval 5×7” baking dish] HINT: do this the night before and leave on the counter. Set the oven for 375° F.  Beat the eggs until broken up and frothy. Pour over the spinach/cheese mixture and bake for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the optional beverages and plate the fruit. Breakfast is great.

Chicken Ratatouille Galettes: 267 calories   7.6 g fat   5 g fiber   24 g protein   38 g carbs  321 mg Calcium     PB     Galettes/Crêpes are wonderful to have on hand for use with a variety of fillings. If you had the galettes/crepes and the filling previously-made, then the meal goes together in no time.Chicken Ratatouille Crepes

2 galettes [that’s the name for a buckwheat crêpe] [see Sidekicks I, Sept 17, 2017]                                                                                                                               1.5 oz chicken breast, cooked                                                                                                           ½ cup Mediterranean Vegetables [see SIDEKICKS II Oct 4, 2017]                                                      1 Tbsp goat cheese    +    1 oz mozzerella cheese                                                                                  herbes de Province OR tarragon

If making crepes/galettes from scratch now: prepare the batter and let stand 30+ minutes. If using frozen crêpes, put them in a plastic bag on the counter and let them thaw. Turn on the oven to 250 F.. Cut or shred the chicken into small pieces. Put into pan with the Med.Veg. and heat enough to warm the vegetables, to reduce the liquids, and to cook the chicken. Take off heat. Prepare the crêpes/galettes: either cook them now from batter or finish the thawing process by putting them in a warm oven. Add cheeses to mixture in the pan, and stir to combine. Toss in lots of herbes de Province or fresh herbs and taste for seasoning. Arrange the galettes on a cookie sheet and divide the filling among them. Fold over, pressing down gently. Heat in the warm oven.

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg 1.5 two-oz eggs  +  ham
1 buckwheat crepe cooked pork,
roasted green chiles Swiss cheese
pear dill pickle
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:

halibut   + olive oil + scallion salad greens + chicken
spinach + shallot  + chicken broth grapefruit  + avocado
Thai red curry paste 1 egg +  lime-flavored oil
lite coconut milk + lime white wine vinegar
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Ramadan

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.

Ramadan is the Muslim religion’s holiest month. As the ninth month of the lunar calendar, it moves around from year to year [this is because a lunar calendar month of 28 days is shorter than the average Gregorian Calendar month of 30-31 days]. This year, Ramadan began on 5-6 May and will end on 4 June with the Festival of Id al-Fitr.  1.8 Billion Muslims are obliged to Fast during Ramadan in honor of the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Mohammed.  [The Prophet was an early proponent of Fasting.] What does this Fasting entail? No food or drink during daylight hours.  [This is what some people today would call ‘intermittent fasting’ or ‘time restricted fasting’ — in other words, eating during a limited number of hours of the day.]  The fasting of Ramadan is not done to lose weight, but rather to show devotion to one’s religious beliefs.  Often what people save on food, they donate to charity. Is all food forbidden? Yes, but only during daylight hours.  Breakfast is permitted [before sunrise] and dinner is permitted [after sunset].  Can one observe a 5:2 diet during Ramadan?  Of course.  These meals are based on the cuisine of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam. From the Hawayij spice, to the coffee [native to Saudi Arabia], to the dates [you are supposed to eat 7 of them each day], to the chicken [Saudis eat more chicken per capita than any other nation], to the watermelon [cultivated in Egypt 1000s of years ago and welcome in the Saudi desert]:  these flavors will put you in touch with the food traditions of the holy month.  If you are Muslim, I wish you “Ramadan Mubarak.”  If you are not Muslim [neither am I], read some of the Qur’an or Ask a Muslim a question, whether at the online site or with a colleague at work. We should all aim to break down barriers and work at understanding.

Arabian Eggs:  153 calories  7.4 g fat  2 g fiber  10 g protein  12.5 g carbs [11 g Complex] 58 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the eggs and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Hawayij spice is widely-used in the cuisine of Saudi Arabia. And it clearly shows trade links to countries further East. Coffee [Coffea arabica  is a native plant] and dates round out the flavors of the country. The sweet dates are a wonderful counter-point to the spicy eggs.Arabian Omelette

1-1/2 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 to store in the ‘fridge for next week.                                       1 to 1.5 tsp Hawayij spice                                                                                                              2 deglet noor dates                                                                                                              Optional: blackish Arabian coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water    Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Whisk the eggs with the spice mixture and pour into a heated skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Turn down the heat. Leave the eggs undisturbed until puffy and the top is set. Remove from skillet, and serve folded or flat. Pour the beverages and enjoy the fruit/spice combination.

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.Arabian Spiced Chicken

6 oz chicken thigh meat, boneless, skinless                                                                                        1.5 tsp Hawayij spice                                                                                                                     2/3 cups water                                                                                                                                         1/3 cup dry quick-cooking barley                                                                                              1/3 cup chicken broth                                                                                                                    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. Toss the chicken with the spice and sauté it until the meat is 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, turn down the heat, 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.

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg 1.5 two-oz eggs + cooked spinach
carrot  + broccoli + granulated garlic grapes  + fat-free ricotta
apple sauce + curry powder mozzarella  +  garlic
curry sauce    [Sidekicks I, 17-Sept-2017] mushrooms
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:

firm, white fish    + egg 2 buckwheat crepes + Chèvre cheese
[white whole wheat] flour + paprika chicken breast  + Mozzarella
sweet potato  +  canola oil + asparagus Mediterranean Vegetables
garlic powder  +  lime juice herbes de Province/ fresh herbs
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Stuffed

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 my sister and I were children at the table, and my mother would ask, “Would you like some more to eat?”, there were two answers which were not allowed. “I’m full” and “I’m stuffed.” It had to do with the inelegance of the phrasing. [The polite response was, “No, thank you.”]  Heck with that — today we will talk about meals that are ‘stuffed’ and will fill you up on a Fast Day.

Clam-Stuffed Mushrooms:   205 calories   6.4 g fat   4.3 g fiber  18.4 g protein   20.2 g carbs   98 mg Calcium    PB- if you don’t mindClam-Stuffed Mushrooms the meatballs in the stuffing  GF- if using GF bread  So we had these small portobello mushrooms in the ‘fridge, and I thought “Stuff them!” and they were good! And very filling, despite the LOW calorie count.                                                                3.5 oz mushroom caps [four 2-3” mushrooms]                                                                                      ½ cup clam stuffing [see SPICY May 23, 2018]                                                                                2 oz tomatoes                                                                                                                                                  ½ oz SnapPea Crisps                                       Poach the mushrooms briefly [2 minutes] in boiling water to cover. Using a paring knife, dig out any stem in the cap to create more of a cavity for the filling. Chop the stems and add to the clam stuffing. I used a large cookie-scoop to distrubute the stuffing into the caps. Bake at 400° F. for 15-20 minutes. Plate with the cool tomatoes and the crunchy Crisps. Easy to prepare, a treat to eat.

Cucumber Boats with Salmon: 258 calories 12.4 g fat 3.2 g fiber 20.4 g protein 19 g Cucumber Boat w: salmon and 3-bean saladcarbs 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                                                                1/2 Tbsp watercress sauce [see Sidekicks II, posted 4 Oct, 2017]                                                  1 tsp Dijon mustard                                                                                                                           1/8 oz leek [2 Tbsp]                                                                                                                                               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 sauce, mustard and leek. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out most of the seeds with a melon-baller. Discard the seeds.  Mound the salmon into the cucumber boats and plate with the 4-bean salad.

Ham-Stuffed Fish: 260 calories  3.5 g fat   23 g protein  16 g carbs  139 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF bread  Another recipe of unknown origin. Glad I saved it.                                4 oz tilapia or perch                                                                                                                           1 oz sliced ham from the deli                                                                                                          1/2 tsp soy sauce + ½ tsp sherry + 1 egg white                                                                              ½ piece of whole-grain 70-calorie bread                                                                                               1 Tbsp finely-chopped walnuts                                                                                                              1-2 oz carrots, julienned or sliced as coins                                                                                                 1 scallion                                                                                                                                         Slice the fish so that it is in 2 pieces of equal length and thickness. Crumble the bread into the finest crumbs and blend thoroughly with walnuts. Whip the egg white until it is very frothy. Blend in the soy sauce and sherry. Make a ‘sandwich’ of the ham slice between the two pieces of fish. Dip in the egg mixture to coat, then dip in the bread/walnuts. Cook in a heavy non-stick pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, until fish is cooked – about 5 minutes per side. Cook the carrots. Plate the fish and carrots and sprinkle with sliced scallion.

Earth Day

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 toting alipis who is now Following.

Tomorrow will be Earth Day.  First observed in 1970, on April 22, its goal was to harness the energy of college students to point out the dangers that threaten the environment.  Rallies, protests, and marches were held all over the country.  Even better, people turned out to clean parks, beaches, and roadsides.  Now the movement has gone world-wide.  Clean air and clean water are vital to everything’s existence — our’s and that of every other living thing on the planet.  Small steps that individuals take build up into widespread change.  We must each be part of that change by using less water; by keeping toxic chemicals out of our air or soil; by saving energy.  Some people will do that by eating less food and eating lower in the trophic pyramid:  less meat, more plants.   Today’s Earth Day menus are low on meat and high on nutritious plants. Just what you’ll need for a day of environmental activism.

Prosciutto & Melon Plate: 125 calories  7 g fat  1.2 g fiber  16.8 g protein  13.4 g carbs [13 g Complex]  135 mg Calcium  PB GF  Once again the Inn at Saint Peter’s inspires a breakfast! Nothing beats the salty-sweet flavor combination of this meal. HINT: I plated everything the night before and stored the plates in zipper bags in the refrigerator.Prosciutto-Melon Plate

4 oz cantaloupe melon [Charentais melon would be fabulous!]                                                           1 oz thinly-sliced prosciutto                                                                                                             ¼ cup red onion pickle                                                                                                                              0.1 oz shavings of Parmesan cheese                                                                                               fresh basil or mint leaves OR crumbled dried basil                                                                    drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction, optional                                                                         Optional:  blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                         Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Cut the melon into bite-sized cubes [8 pieces look well on the plate]. Cut the prosciutto into 8 long strips [mine were 1”x4”]. Arrange the melon and ham in a circle on the plate with the red onion in the center. Shave off curls of Parmesan and place them on top. If using fresh herb leaves, tuck them in here and there. If using dried herbs, rub the leaves in your palms to crumble over the plate. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you wish. Serve with your chosen beverages. Wonderful flavors, however you combine them on your fork.

Feta-Tuna-Bean Salad: 306 calories  14.6 g fat  5.3 g fiber  19.3 g protein  24 g carbs [23 g Complex] 230 mg Calcium PB GF This salad has a lot going for it:  easy to prepare, made from simple and available ingredients, filling, and delicious.  Perfect for Earth Day after a day of service to the environment. Feta:tuna:bean:egg Salad

1 oz canned tuna, drained                                                                                                            1/4 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed                                                                                     1 oz feta cheese, crumbled                                                                                                                    2 oz tomatoes, cubed                                                                                                                      1.5 oz red bell pepper, cut as large dice                                                                                                   2 pitted ripe olives, sliced                                                                                                                                                         1/2  hardboiled egg, chopped                                                                                                          1-1/2 cups baby greens                                                                                                                       1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp lemon juice + lots of herbes de Province + pinch garlic powder

Prepare the vegetables as described above. Whisk the oil, lemon juice, herbs and garlic in a 2-cup bowl. Add the greens and toss gently but thoroughly. Place the greens in the serving bowl and nestle the tuna in the center. Arrange all the other ingredients on top in a manner that pleases you.

Maundy

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

Colorful Veggies

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 nutrifitvitamins who is now Following.

Time was, when it was late winter, vegetables were in short supply.  Home-canned green beans were an option or vegetables that had been stored in the root cellar: cabbage, turnips, potatoes, parsnips.  Carrots if you were lucky.  While there is nothing wrong with those plant products, what do you notice about that selection? Not much color variation. Now we have many more varieties of vegetables available most of the year ’round.  [Thanks, globalization.  Caution, locavores]  And now we know that the more colorful the vegetables are, the more nutrition they provide. Today we will celebrate the orange veg; the green veg; the red veg  — all served up in a riot of flavor.

Eggs In Sweet Potato Nests: 163 calories   9.7 g fat   1.2 g fiber  10.6 g protein  9 g carbs [8 g Complex]  137.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg/potato mixture and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF Saw this discussed on line and decided to try it. Preparation is a little fussy but it is done the night before making for an easy morning. HINT: this recipe serves 2 [two] people, each person gets 2 nests. I’m told these refrigerate well for the next morning.Eggs in Sweet Potato Cups

½ oz [¼ cup] grated sweet potato                                                                                                                  1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                       1 Tbsp grated Cheddar cheese                                                                                                           pinch or two garlic powder                                                                                                                  1 Tbsp chopped watercress or parsley to sprinkle on top                                                                 5 cherries                                                                                                                                      Optional:  blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                       Optional:  3 oz  fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [44 calories]

Grate the sweet potato and cheese. Toss thoroughly in a bowl with the garlic. Divide among 6 cups of a muffin pan and push it around, pressing up the sides a bit. NB: I used a flexible non-stick muffin pan which worked well with no sticking. If you don’t have one, use liners or spray the muffin pans very well.  Bake the cups in a 375° F. oven for 10 minutes. Whisk the eggs with some salt and pour over the baked sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the egg with chopped watercress or parsley. HINT: I left this on a cool counter/refrigerator over night.  Bake at 350° F. for 15+ minutes or until the eggs are set.  Let them sit just a bit to firm up before using a knife to loosen the egg nests, then removing them to the plates. Add cherries and the beverages of your choice and try this new flavor combo.

Red & Green Shakshuka:  220 calories  10.6 g fat  5.3 g fiber  11.6 g protein  16.7 g carbs [15 g Complex]   207 mg Calcium  PB GF   There is Red Shakshuka and there is Green Shakshuka. And here we have the combination: Christmas colors! It is delicious!Christmas Shakshuka

½ tsp oil                                                                                                                                                              ¼ c onion, chopped                                                                                                                          3 Tbsp chopped celery                                                                                                                      1 clove garlic, chopped                                                                                                                            1/3 cup red or green sweet pepper, chopped                                                                                 1.5 cups fresh spinach                                                                                                                       ½ cup mashed whole tomatoes                                                                                                      1/3 cup eggplant cubes, optional          If not using the eggplant, add more bell peppers.                                                                                                   cumin + paprika + oregano                                                                                                             1 egg                                                                                                                                                  1.5 Tbsp Feta Cheese

Use an 8″ cast iron or other oven-safe skillet that has an oven-safe lid. Set the oven at 375° F. Cook the onion and celery in the oil until a bit softened. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the sweet pepper, tomato, and eggplant, along with the seasonings. Cook until tender. Put the spinach in the bubbling vegetables and stir/toss them until the leaves are softened but not limp. Make a slight indentation in the vegetables and crack an egg into it. Sprinkle with the Feta. Cover the skillet and bake it in the oven for 5 minutes. Check to see if egg is done to your liking. If not, recover and cook another minute or two. Serve in the skillet. NB: You could cook two eggs on top for one person if you wanted to boost the protein = 290 calories /15 g fat / 5.3 g fiber / 18 g protein / 17 g carbs / 235 mg Calcium

Blackthorn Winter

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.

What, you ask, is Blackthorn Winter?  Well, in merrie olde England, this is the time of year that the Blackthorns [Prunus spinosa] bloom.  The creamy white blossoms are widespread and from a distance they look like snow or frost.  Further, the weather takes a colder turn, feeling more like Winter after a little taste of Spring. [Some say it is a corollary of Indian Summer in the Fall.]  In Autumn, the Blackthorn produces a blue fruit which is covered with gin to make a liqueur — Sloe Gin, anyone?  The thorns on the dark bark made this plant a good natural hedge for fencing in livestock.  Blackthorns grow all over Europe and they have been gathered and eaten for at least 5,300 years.

Although this is blackthorn winter, this is not “a winter of our discontent.”   April 10 marks the 6th anniversary of Fasting for us.  We think this is a great way to lose weight and to be healthier.  Here are two very different recipes for Fasting, from two places where Blackthorns are found. Sloes are native to Denmark and they have naturalized in the Eastern US, perhaps near Philadelphia.

Danish ScrOmelette: 140 calories 10.4 g fat 0.5 g fiber 12 g protein 5.6 g carbs [3 g Complex] 242 mg Calcium   PB GF  This breakfast was developed in honor of Tycho Brahe, famous astronomer and Denmark’s pride. The taste of the sea, the bleu cheese, the star in the apple: all sing praise to him.Danish Omelettte

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                              1/2   oz Danish bleu cheese                                                                                                                          ½ oz herring marinated in wine                                                                                                         1 oz apple, sliced so you can see the star inside                                                                  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                     Optional:  5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Mince the herring. Crumble the bleu cheese and whisk with the eggs. Hold the apple on its side and slice it around the equator so that the star of seeds and core in the middle is revealed. Cut a slice parallel to your cut to end up with a slice that weighs 1 oz. Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and put the minced herring in the pan. Quickly pour the egg-cheese mixture in the pan. As the egg begins to set around the edges, lift the egg with a fork or spatula and tip the pan so that uncooked egg flows underneath. Continue like that until the bottom is fully cooked and the top is set. [Flip the omelette if you dare, or put it under the broiler if you like your eggs well cooked.] Slide the eggs on to the plate next to the apple, pour the beverages, and meditate on the wonders of astronomy.

Philly Cheesesteak en Casserole: 264 calories 11 g fat   1.2 g fiber   33.7 g protein  11.3 g carbs [8.9 g Complex]  263 mg Calcium  GF   The iconic street food of Philadelphia has been made over for Fast Day.  By the way, provolone is the original cheese for this dish – NOT Cheeze-Whiz.Philly Cheesesteak en Casserole

2-1/2 oz rare roast beef, shaved  [get this in the deli section of the supermarket]                                                      0.8 oz provolene cheese [2 thin slices]                                                                                                    1 oz onions, sliced                                                                                                                                    1-1/2 oz broccoli florets                                                                                                                 1 slice 80-calorie whole-grain bread, from which you will cut a 3-4” bell using a cookie cutter

In a small skillet sprayed with non-stick spray, cook the onions in a little water until they are limp but not browned and set them aside. Take a slice of Martin’s whole-wheat potato bread and cut out a bell shape using a 3-4” cookie cutter. Lightly toast the bread. Add the beef to the pan and cook the meat while chopping at it with a metal turner. Add the onions when the beef is grey-colored and soft. Boil/steam the broccoli while the meat cooks. Lay the cheese over the meat and take off the heat. The cheese will melt onto the beef. Make room in the pan for the broccoli and top with the bread bell. Enjoy your taste of Philadelphia while you hum the theme to Rocky.

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg felafel  [Stocking Up   4-Jan-’17]
Sweet potato  + watercress or parsley pineapple or cantaloupe
cheddar cheese Greek-style yogurt
garlic powder   +   cherries mint leaves
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:

olive oil  +  onion  + bell pepper + celery green split peas
spinach  + eggplant  + tomato + cumin 2 slices uncured bacon
paprika + oregano + feta cheese  + egg thyme
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Food in Wrappers, 2

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

Here is a continuation of our series of foods from around the world which consist of meat/vegetables wrapped in something  — sort of the early idea of a ‘wrap‘.  This worldwide culinary occurrence is seen today in meals from New Mexican burritos, Danish cabbage rolls, and Haitain pate.  How interesting it is to me that such diverse cultures should share the same idea and interpret it in such diverse ways.  Food is fascinating. Cuisine is creative. Even on a Fast Day.

Breakfast Burrito: 225 calories 12 g fat breakfast burrito3.5 g fiber 11.7 g protein  29.4 g carbs 108 mg Calcium NB: The food values shown are for the tortilla, egg filling, and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.   Inspired by breakfasts enjoyed at the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M., this has all the tastes of the Southwest in a filling yet low-calorie meal.                                                one 6” corn tortilla, MUST be 65 calories per tortilla                                                       one 2-oz egg                                                                     1 oz roasted green chiles, available canned    under the ‘Hatch’ brand                                                                                                                               1 Tbsp carne adovada – this is boiled pork shoulder with hot spices. Make a batch and freeze it in small amounts or see if you can find it at a Mexican market.                                                Large pinch oregano, Mexican oregano if you can find it.                                                            [Hot sauce to taste]                                                                                                                               1 tsp cheddar cheese, finely grated                                                                                                      1 oz of apple                                                                                                                                   See the full recipe posted on June 26, 2016 in Street Food

Danish Stuffed Cabbage:  282 calories  5.7 g fat  5.7 g fiber  35 g protein  25 g carbs  125 Danish Stuffed Cabbagemg Calcium  PB GF  Craig Claiborne’s NY Times International Cookbook provided this recipe. Its history involves a Swedish king and the Ottoman Empire. Very royal origin for a common meal found all over, where cabbages are grown.                                                              4 oz turkey meat, raw                                                 2 oz pork meat, raw                                            2.5 oz veal, raw                                                           ½ cup fresh bread crumbs [from whole-grain 70-calorie bread]                                                                                                                             2 oz milk                                                                                                                                            1 oz egg white                                                                                                                                sage + salt + pepper                                                                                                                            4 whole cabbage leaves from a whole head                                                                                       1/3 c pickled beets  +   dab of mustard                                                                                      See the full recipe posted on 14-October-2018 in Diocletian.

Haïtian Chicken Pate Filling:   makes ~2 cup        1 Tbsp = 10 calories                                           One, as shown, wrapped in puff pastry:   64 calories  4.0 g fat  0.4 g fiber  1.2 g protein  6.4 g carbs   2.3 mg Calcium                                               1 habañero pepper                                             Haitian Chicken Pate                                                                             ¼ cup chopped onion   + 2 tsp garlic, minced                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ½ pound ground chicken                                                                                                               ¼ cup shredded carrot                                                                                                                     2 tsp no-salt tomato paste                                                                                                                      2 tsp lime juice   + 1 tsp cider vinegar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Tbsp chopped scallion  + 1 Tbsp chopped parsley  + 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ½ tsp pepper + ¼ tsp salt + 1/8 tsp ground clove + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg                              Cut the pepper lengthwise and scrape the seeds out of one half. Chop both halves. Prepare a mise en place. You will be adding ingredients at rapid intervals, so do the prep now. Spritz a non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Saute the pepper, onion, and garlic for 3 minutes until tender. Add the chicken and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir constantly for one minute. Pour in the lime juice and vinegar, then stir and add the scallion and all the seasonings. Stir, take off heat, and cool. Run it all through the food processor. Use in omelettes, bakes, quiches. Wrap in wonton wrappers or roll out purchased puff pastry and cut into 20 squares. Use 1 Tbsp filling per square, seal edges and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes.  Look for it on May 5 when the foods from Haïti will be featured.

A Real Ham

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.

Hello, CQ, CQ.  Hello, CQ. This is W3DHO calling.”  My father was a real Ham.  No, not one who mugged on stage or monopolized a party with corny jokes: he was an Amateur Radio Operator, and a member of the world-wide community of ‘Hams‘.   As a child, he built a “crystal set” and plucked radio waves from thin air.  When he was 13 years old, the youngest you could be to qualify, he passed the test to get an amateur license and a call sign.  For the rest of his life, he was a dedicated Ham, sitting up late to catch a conversation with a fellow Ham on the other side of the world and then exchanging QSL cards with him or her.  When I was a child, he taught me to build a ‘cigar-box radio’ and then a receiver from a kit. That’s how I learned to wire and to solder. To his disappointment, I never became a Ham.  Tomorrow would be his birthday. “73“, Dad.                                                                                                                                                     We will enjoy two of my father’s favorites today: Western Omelette and for dinner, what else? Ham!

Western ScrOmelette: 140 calories  8 g fat  2.2 g fiber  10 g protein  8 g carbs [7.4 g Complex]  54.5mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.   PB GF  My father used to love a western sandwich for lunch on Saturday and I developed a taste for them too. Here’s all the flavor, without all the bread.Western ScrOmelette

1 ½ two-oz eggs   HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid to store in the ‘fridge for next week.                                     2 tsp catsup, made without corn syrup                                                                                            1.5 Tbsp green pepper                                                                                                                       1 Tbsp chopped onion                                                                                                                      ¼ cup raspberries OR 3 Bing cherries                                                                                             Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                               Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Prepare the beverages of your choice. Chop the green pepper and onion, and put them in a hot saute pan spritzed with olive oil or non-stick spray. Cook until soft. Whisk the catsup and eggs and scramble with the vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. Plate the fruit and tuck in.

Ham & Asparagus Popover:  298 calories  14.8 g fat  4.6 g fiber  17 g protein  33 g carbs [16 g Complex Carbs]  146 mg Calcium   PB   What a fine way to recycle the components of a Sunday dinner.  HINT: Recipe serves 2 [two] people.  Easy to double.Ham-Asparagus Popover

3 oz ham [from a roast, this has 11% fat]                                                                                        6 oz asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces                                                                                 ½ cup Béchamel sauce with cheese [see Sidekicks I, Sept 17, ’18 for the recipe]                         ½ oz Swiss cheese                                                                                                                                    ½ cup Yorkshire Pudding batter[see ..Not by Bread.. Feb-7-’18for recipe]                                per serving: 2 oz fresh pineapple

Set the oven to 400° F. Prepare the Yorkshire Pudding batter and let it sit at room temperature for 30+ minutes. If asparagus is raw, snap off the woody ends. Slice the spears and cook until tender. Cut ham into bite-sized chunks. Grate the cheese and add it to the béchamel sauce in a sauce pan. Warm gently until the cheese melts. Add the ham and asparagus. HINT: This could be done hours in advance.  Beat the pudding batter until it is frothy. Lightly oil 4 holes of a mini-muffin pan OR 2 holes of a full-sized muffin pan. Warm the pan briefly in the oven, then pour in the batter. Bake 20 minutes until puffed and browned but not dry. Rewarm the ham/asparagus sauce,  if needed, while the Yorkshire Pudding bakes. Plate the fruit along with the ham mixture and mini-puddings. OR break open the full-sized popover and spoon the ham filling over it.

Ingredients for next week:

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

Next Monday, I will continue the 1.5 two-oz eggs
discussion of Food in Wrappers Danish blue cheese
herring marinated in wine
choose a favorite from the Archives apple
  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:

shaved roast beef, rare
Choose a favorite dinner from provolone cheese   +  onions
the Archives broccoli
Potato bread
Sparkling water Sparkling water

No Fooling!

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 claridad who is now Following.

Tomorrow will be April 1st — April Fools’ Day.  What is the origin of that expression?  Why is that day a time for playing tricks?  The most widely-held origin story relates to the switch [anytime from the 1500s to the 1900s] from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar.  There was a 14-day gap [akin to the clocks ‘springing forward’ to Daylight Savings Time] and what had been the start of the new year on March 25 was now on April 1. Confusing to anyone to be sure, but those who got it wrong were labeled ‘fools.’  In France, the butt of a prank is called a ‘poisson d’Avril’ [April fish], since the young fish are foolish enough to be caught more easily.[??]  A popular joke is to tape a picture of a fish to someone’s back.  [At least it doesn’t say ‘kick me.’]   What is your favorite prank for April 1?                                                                                                                        We will not be fooled — we will know that April 1, 2019 will be a Fast Day and we will be ready for it.  Neither will we be fooled by other diets which promise great results and can’t deliver.  Today’s menus include fish so that you can eat the Poisson d’Avril rather than being one.  Interested in the Mediterranean Diet? I’m not kidding: these meals are for you.

Brandade Bake:  145 calories  8.3 g fat  1.2 g fiber  11.2 g protein  4.3 g carbs  [2.8 g Complex] 44.8 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.   PB GF  The food of Southern France, brandade is worth trying. Here it is at breakfast, all creamy and garlicy.Brandade Bake w: peach:b-b

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                               ½ Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                                 1 Tbsp brandade [see St Bernard, posted 19 August 2018]                                                                shake or more of granulated garlic                                                                                                      1 oz peach slices + ½ oz blueberries                                                                                           Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                            Optional:  5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Cream together the cottage cheese, brandade, and garlic. Whisk in the egg. Bake in a lightly-spritzed oven-proof dish or ramekin at 350° F. until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. With the fruit and beverages, you have a fine start to the day.

Fish with Polenta & Zucchini Ribbons:  261 calories   5.6 g fat  3.9 g fiber   32 g protein 23 g carbs [Complex]   225 mg Calcium  PB  The polenta needs to be made ahead. Simple to prepare and delicious and filling [even though I forgot to add the cheeses!].Fish w: Polenta & Zucchini Ribbons

1 slice of polenta [that’s 1/6 of the recipe from SIDEKICKS II Oct 4, ’17]                                                  3 oz zucchini ribbons                                                                                                                                       1 oz roasted red peppers                                                                                                                   1 clove garlic                                                                                                                                     2 Tbsp crushed tomatoes                                                                                                                                      4 oz firm fish filets, skinless and boneless                                                                                       large pinch herbes de Province or thyme                                                                                            1 Tbsp Parmesan, grated                                                                                                                        ½ oz mozzerella, grated

Slice the garlic as a julienne. Using a potato peeler, make lengthwise cuts on the zucchini to produce thin ‘ribbons.’  Alternately, use a spiralizer.  Cut the slice of polenta in half so it is about 1/3” thick. Heat a heavy skillet and spray with a non-stick product. Lay the fish on the skillet and sprinkle with pepper and and salt. Cook on one side, then flip to the other. Add the polenta to the pan at this point. Cook it in the hot pan on both sides until it is warm and beginning to brown. Remove cooked fish and polenta and keep warm. Put the garlic in the pan and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the other vegetables, herbs, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Stir to combine until everything is warm, about 45 seconds – the zucchini will be just barely cooked. Plate the fish and polenta slices, spoon the vegetables around the polenta, then sprinkle with mozzerella.