Flowering Moon

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 First Nations People of North America had names for all of the full moons. Beautiful, descriptive names. The Ojibwe tribe called the moon in May the “Flowering Moon.” The ancient Romans had a goddess of flowers named Flora. Her festival was in late April/early May. In the early USA, putting baskets of flowers on neighbors’ front doors was a custom on the first of May. In Japan, the famous Hanami [admiring blossoms] Festival is spread out from March to April, depending on blooming times. In Northern Japan, they are admiring cherry blossoms as late as May 1. How wonderful that such disparate cultures and locations in the same hemisphere all shared an appreciation of Springtime and its flowers! You can celebrate the early days of May by spending time in your garden or nearest public park. Enjoy the fresh air and the growing plants. Renew yourself outside, then renew your determination to change yourself inside by eating a healthier diet.

Our meals, this early May, will highlight one of the flowers that we commonly eat — asparagus! And it comes up in the Spring. Full of flavor, fiber, and nutrition, asparagus is a great addition to the Faster’s diet.

Asparagus Roll-ups:  107 calories 7 g fat 1.2 g fiber 8 g protein 2.6 g carbs [2.7 g Complex] 51.5 mg Calcium PB GF Pretty on the plate and a delight to eat.

1 two-oz egg 2 oz asparagus spears, tough lower stalks snapped off 1 Tbsp whipped cream cheese 1-2 tsp tarragon, chopped A few fresh berries: golden berries, blueberries, raspberries  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [87 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Break the tough lower part of the asparagus stalks, wash, and steam or cook in minimal water until tender. Drain, salt lightly, and set aside. HINT: You could do this the night before. Whisk the egg with the cream cheese and tarragon, along with a pinch of sea salt. Heat an 8”-9” skillet and spritz it with non-stick spray. Pour in the egg and tilt the pan so that the egg forms a thin, even layer over the bottom of the pan. Without stirring or moving the egg, cook until the egg is set and as your like them – this will not take long. Remove the egg to your plate, like a big pancake. Put the cooked asparagus in the pan and shake it a bit over heat to re-warm. Lay the spears on the eggs so that the blossom ends hang over the edge. Roll the egg so that the asparagus is inside and plate attractively. With your optional beverages, you are set for a Spring-time breakfast treat.

Beef & Asparagus Stir-fry:  289 calories 8.4 g fat 5.2 g fiber 20.7 g protein 35.7 g carbs [12.6 g Complex] 69 mg Calcium  PB GF— if omitting the noodles   The flavors of beef, asparagus, and oyster sauce are a real WOW.

2 oz sirloin, raw, sliced thinly across grain 2 tsp oyster sauce 2 tsp soy sauce 2-3 tsp cornstarch ¼ c chicken stock 2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced 1 clove garlic, sliced hot pepper flakes to taste 5 oz asparagus, roll-cut in 2” pieces 3 oz red pepper, sliced into strips 1 oz onion, sliced   Optional: ½ oz Japanese buckwheat noodles, broken into 2” pieces

Prepare the meat as described. Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, stock, and cornstarch. Add the sliced meat and set aside. Boil the noodles for four minutes, drain [saving the cooking water], rinse, and put aside. Cut the vegetables as described and put in a bowl. In another dish, put the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes [those are the ‘aromatics’]. Heat a wok or cast iron skillet until it is hot. Spray with oil or non-stick spray. Add the vegetables and stir-fry for 3 minutes [if needed, add some noodle water to keep it cooking. Push the vegetables aside and add the aromatics. Count to 30. Add the beef with marinade. Stir-fry for 1 minute more or until the beef is mostly cooked and the sauce begins to thicken. If the sauce gets too thick, add some of the noodle water. then add the cooked noodles. Stir to combine and warm, then plate. 

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

1 two-oz egg + Cheddar cheeseoatmeal 
chili non carne strawberries
canned green chilis [Hatch brand]blueberries
melon
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken breast + bell peppers smoked salmon + cucumber
canned green chilis + red onion + garlictomato + red onion + romaine lettuce
canned white beans + scallionsourdough rye + olive oil + honey
cumin + chili powder + oregano + salsa verdehard-boiled egg + lemon juice + dill
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Fast Day, New Hampshire

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 I first moved to New Hampshire, I was interested to note on a calendar that the day following Easter was marked as “Fast Day.” “How clever!” I thought. “After all that Easter candy and treats, to have a special day of no eating. Brilliant.” But this is not the case. The tradition of Fast Day harks back to colonial times. It seems that in 1681, the President of the [governing] Council was gravely ill, so a day of prayer and fasting was declared for his recovery. Didn’t work. He died. But for centuries afterward, the day was observed anyway, on the 4th Monday of April, and only in the past 50 years has fallen into disuse. I think the grand old idea should be revived! I declare tomorrow, the day after Easter, to be a Fast Day. Wherever you are, eat only 600 calories. Think hard about how to change your relationship with food. Start small, and see what can be accomplished by little steps.

As for foods for Fast Day, the mushroom and sausage are hearty New England flavors; and the mussels in the dinner will remind the world that New Hampshire has 18 miles of seacoast — in case you forgot.

Mushroom-Sausage Bake: 138 calories 7.6 g fat 0.7 g fiber 10.3 g protein 6.3 g carbs [5.9 g Complex] 40 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF Here’s a fine combination of rich flavors. Breakfast deserves flavors like this.

1 Applegate sausage [or other chicken sausage at 33 calories] 1 two-oz egg ¼ oz mushrooms 3/4 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1/4 tsp dry mustard 1 oz unsweetened applesauce + 3-4 raspberries 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]

Cook the mushrooms [if raw] by poaching in a little hot water for a minute, then chop. Slice the sausages thinly. Combine the mushrooms and sausage slices, and sprinkle with the cheese and mustard. Stir to distribute the flavors. Spritz a ramekin with oil or non-stick spray and set the toaster oven at 350F degrees. Put the mushroom-sausage mixture into the ramekin. Whisk the egg and pour into the ramekin. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Spoon out the applesauce and garnish with the berries. Pour the optional beverages. Happy breakfast.

Moules Gratinees:  268 calories 14 g fat 3 g fiber 19 g protein 35 g carbs [11 g Complex] 168.7 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF crackers This is a spin-off of a dish we enjoyed in Brittany: they used scallops but mussels work wonderfully. There are those who opine that you never combine cheese with seafood but they are WRONG.  HINT: This recipe serves two [2].

10 oz [22] mussels ½ cup Bechamel Sauce with cheese   1 oz grated Cheddar cheese 1 Tbsp white parts of scallion + 1 Tbsp green parts of scallion   per serving: 2 oz broccoli + 2 Triscuit crackers or GF crackers of your choice

Cook the mussels in a little bit of water until the shells open. Remove from shells. In a sauce pan, put the Bechamel, the cheese, scallions. Cook gently until warmed through and the cheese is melted. Add the mussels and pour into oven-proof dishes such as ramekins or porcelain ‘shells’ or genuine shells, such as surf clam or scallop. Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and starting to brown. Plate with the broccoli and crackers for a really good and easy meal.

T. Geisel

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.

If the name ‘Geisel’ doesn’t ring a bell, then you probably know him better by his nom de plume, ‘Dr. Seuss.’ Ted Geisel attended Dartmouth College as an undergrad and did cartoons for the school paper. Banned from the paper [for drinking on campus], he invented a new name for himself to continue cartooning — he called himself Dr Seuss, using his mother’s Swiss maiden name. [BTW: in German, ‘seuss’ rhymes with ‘choice.’] After failing to earn a doctorate in English Literature, he drew cartoons for an advertising agency. On a cruise to Europe, the sound of the ship’s engines caused him to say “and to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street,” which became the title of his first children’s book in 1936. Not a big seller. In 1940, he wrote Horton Hatches the Egg, which did very well. Then his publisher sent him a list of words ‘that children could read’ with the idea of using them in a book. Geisel wrote a book with 220 of those words: The Cat in the Hat, published in 1957. [As a child, I couldn’t stand the book: a ‘home invasion’ did not seem funny to me. My favorite is Bartholomew and the Oobleck from 1949.] Despite the fame it brought him, he considered children’s books as ‘literary slumming.’ But he knew how to get children laughing and reading and he did so in 44 books over many decades. Geisel once said, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.” Enjoy some nonsense today.

In honor of Dr Seuss’ birthday on March 2, we will of course eat Green Eggs and Ham at breakfast. It was one of our sons’ favorite books [written on a bet that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words] and it makes for a fine meal. For dinner, an opportunity to channel your inner child: turn French Codfish Brandade into as silly and fanciful a creation as your imagination allows. Then eat and enjoy it.

Green Eggs & Ham: 144 calories 8.8 g fat 1.1 g fiber 12.8 g pro 8.6 g carb [7.5 g Complex] 55.6 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  GF These are a treat anytime there is still ham from a roast and the chives are fresh in the garden. This dish is named, of course, for the delightful book Green Eggs and Ham which the narrator insists that he will not eat — not in a box, nor on a train, nor under any circumstances.

Three 2-oz eggs of which you will use 1 ½ eggs per person  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 oz. ground or chopped ham 3 Tbsp fresh chives 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]

Whisk the eggs with salt & pepper to taste. Put the white part of the onion into a hot pan sprayed with cooking oil. Stir around for a few seconds. Add the eggs. When bottom of eggs begin to set, sprinkle the ham & green scallions over the eggs, scramble to taste, and plate. Pour the beverages of your choice, prep the fruit, and “Eat them! Eat them, here they are!”

Brandade a la Seuss: 250 calories 5.8 g fat 5.7 g fiber 77 g protein 22.3 g carbs 270 mg Calcium  PB GF  Since salt cod is so popular all over southern France, it follows that Brandade is also a favorite. The garlic, olive oil, and fennel mark this version as Provincal. [HINT: This batch serves 4. Either invite friends or use what you need and freeze the remainder.] The recipe is from Jacques Pepin.

8 oz salt cod ¼ cup potatoes in 1/2” cubes 1 cup cauliflower puree ½ cup milk 4 cloves garlic 1 tsp olive oil ¼ tsp fennel seed + ¼ tsp pepper, more to taste per serving: tomatoes + celery + carrot + broccoli + green pepper

Soak the cod in water for 8 hours. Drain and put in a sauce pan covered with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and cook gently for 5 minutes. Drain. Pick over the fish and break it into 1” pieces, removing bones, skin. Put fish in a pan with potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, and milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and gently simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Pour it all into a food processor and process it for about 10 seconds. Add the pepper and add the oil with the machine running. Mixture should be smooth and thick. Adjust seasonings. Divide the brandade into 4 portions of 1/2-cup each. HINT: Freeze the portions you are not serving today. To serve today, be whimsical and “Seussical.” Position the brandade in the center of a plate. Use the vegetables to create a strange creature with the brandade as the body. Spiders? hedgehogs? insects? Let your inner child off its leash and have fun. Very traditional flavor in an unusual presentation for Dr Seuss.

Saint Eleuthere

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. Later 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.

In Tournai [modern-day Belgium], there lived a man named Eleuthere or Eleutherius. That name is derived from the Greek, meaning ‘free/ independent’. This was in the time after the fall of the influence of the Roman empire in Western Europe. The Christian church was spreading its influence and so were the Franks. By the time Eleuthere was made bishop of his home town, Clovis the Frankish king had dominion over much of what is now France/Belgium/Netherlands/Germany. Eleuthere was determined to convert Clovis to Christianity. With the help of Queen Clothilde, a closet Christian, and the turning of the Battle of Tolbiac [the queen told Clovis to call on Jesus if the battle went against him — it did, he did, and he won the battle], Clovis was baptized in 496. This began the link of the Church and the rulers of Europe, of which much has been written.

Be independant, a la Eleuthere, and eat some unusual foods. Mackerel may be difficult to find in your area, but try to find it for the breakfast below. There is an island in the Bahamas named Eleuthera where surely a version of our dinner selection is enjoyed.

Mackerel-Leek ScrOmelette:  157 calories 9.5 g fat 1.1 g fiber 12.6 g protein 5.8 g carbs [6.2 g Complex] 61 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  If you can’t find fresh mackerel, substitute another high-Omega-3 fish like salmon or arctic char . 

1 ½ 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 oz cooked mackerel 1.5 oz leeks ½ tsp Dijon mustard 1 oz strawberries 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]

Spritz a hot saute pan with non-stick spray and stir in the leeks and mackerel, to soften the leeks and warm the fish. Whisk the eggs with the seasonings and mustard. Pour into the pan and scramble to your taste or prepare as an omelette. Pour the beverages and plate the berries. Oh my!

Lobster ‘Lambi’ & Plantains: 270 calories 8.3 g fat 2.8 g fiber 17.8 g protein 35 g carbs [34 g Complex] 51 mg Calcium  PB GF  A simple meal with flavors of the Caribbean. Easy any season of the year. Ordinarily lambi is made with the meat of the Queen Conch, but if they are unavailable, try lobster tail instead. The plantains are oven-roasted and are a fun new vegetable for us.

3 oz lobster meat 3 oz plantain slices, from a ripe [yellow skin with some black spots] not green plantain ½ Tbsp olive oil 3 oz canteloupe melon 1 lime, cut in half Fresh spinach leaves

Peel the plantains and carefully slice them so they don’t get squished. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Brush with the olive oil and sprinkle with a flavorful salt. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes, then turn the slices and bake for a further 10 minutes.  If the lobster is uncooked, grill it indoors or outdoors while you squeeze juice from half the lime on it. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.  If the lobster meat is cooked already, cut it into bite-sized pieces and squeeze lime juice on it. Place the spinach on the plate with the lobster on top of it. Then arrange the melon and plantains. Keep the other half lime for more juice-squeezing to your taste

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

1 two-oz egg + cornmeal1.5 two-oz eggs 
crushed tomatoes + applecanned white beans
chicken breast meat + green chiliscallion + shrimp
plain yogurt + Monterey jacktomato + peach/clementine
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

0ne 2-oz egg + onionbeets + one 2-oz egg
canned white beans + garlic potato
crushed tomatoes + cuminCanadian or back bacon
Swiss cheese + chili powderonion
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Quid Pro Quo

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.

There are so many words and phrases in the English language which were lifted directly from latin [that’s a lower-case ‘l’ since the language is no longer spoken in daily life]. “Quid pro quo” has seen a lot of use lately. From its early use in medicine, in common law it has come to mean “something for something” or in the vernacular, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your’s.” Dieting is a bit of a quid pro quo — you do this and you should get that result. It doesn’t always happen that way — due to illness; or slow transit; or cheating on the diet; or there is a food that causes you to gain weight [for me, it is white rice]; or it is the wrong diet for you. Someone I know tried a low fat diet, but that didn’t do anything; then tried cutting calories every day, but that ended because it seemed like a punishment. Then the Fast Diet worked! Two days of 600-calorie eating [QUID] with the result of losing 1-2 pound each week [QUO]. This could work for you, too. Give it a try.

Sweet Potato Pancake Plate: 122 calories 2.2 g fat 2.6 g fiber 9.4 g protein 26.4 g carbs [21 g Complex] 27 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF – if using Brown Rice Flour I suppose you could call these ‘hash-browns’ but they look more like pancakes. Sorta. These potato pancakes are a fine side dish and they hold their own as the star of this breakfast.

2 potato pancakes *** 2 oz applesauce 30-grams Canadian bacon/back bacon = 2 slices Jones brand 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]

Prepare the pancakes or warm them if prepared the night before. Warm the applesauce, and the bacon. Savory and delicious.

***Potato Pancakes  makes 8   8 oz sweet potato, peeled and grated 1.5 oz egg [Whisk one entire egg and measure 1.5 oz of it for this recipe. Use the remainder in baking.] 2 Tbsp minced/grated onion 4 tsp white whole wheat flour OR brown rice flour ½ tsp salt Combine the ingredients while you heat a griddle or heavy skillet. Melt a dab of bacon fat or olive oil in the pan, then spray with non stick spray. Drop the ‘batter’ in 10 piles [I used a ¼ cup measure] on the griddle, then flatten them out to a diameter of 3-4”. Cook on one side, then flip to cook on the other. Save the remaining pancakes for a side dish tomorrow or as part of lunch another day.

Squash-Cupped Bison Chili: 215 calories 3.5 g fat 6.8 g fiber 14.7 g protein 34 g carbs 120 mg Calcium  PB GF  What an easy, delicious, and satisfying meal.  HINT: One squash is enough for 2 servings, so invite a fellow-Faster for dinner. Save the remaining chili for another meal later.

Bison Chilimakes 4 one-cup servings per cup – 136 calories 3.2 g fat 4.8 g fiber 13 g protein 14.5 g carbs 57 mg Calcium  4 oz ground bison 15 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced drained in a sieve [save the juice] 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 cup red onion, chopped 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped 3/4 cup canned red or black beans, drained and rinsed 2-4 tsp chili + ¾ tsp salt + ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin   Cook the venison, onion, garlic, and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the chili is hot throughout. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. 

For tonight’s meal: 5 oz delicata squash, seeds removed one cup Bison Chili or use Chili Non Carne [Sidekicks II, posted 4-Oct-’17] 2 oz melon, as a side savor

Weigh the delicata squash whole and uncut to get a sense of how much will be 5 oz. You will be cutting off one end of the squash and removing the seeds. Cut a small slice off the very end, so it will stand up as a cup for the chili. Put the squash in the microwave oven and cook it until it can be easily pierced with a skewer. Assemble by standing the squash cup in the middle of the plate and pouring the chili in and around it. Then position the melon. Unusual! Teriffic!

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

2 two-oz eggs1.5 two-oz eggs 
sweet onion + beef/chicken brothcooked mackerel
soy sauce + mirinleek + Dijon mustard
scallionstrawberries
Japanese dry noodles, 190 cal/ 2 ozoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

ham slice + walnuts + egg whitelobster tail + plantains
whole-grain bread + carrotslime + olive oil
tilapia or perch + soy saucespinach leaves
sherry wine + beets + scallionmelon
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Saint Scholastica

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 Skinny Spatula who is now Following.

Scholastica was a member of one of those families in the early Christian church when everybody joined the church and became saints. You’ve got Walburga, her father, and her 2 brothers; Nonna, her husband, and her three children; Basil and his 10 saintly relatives; and then there is Scholastica. I often try to imagine a family of saints sitting down to dinner at Thanksgiving….how would that conversation go? But with today’s saint, we know what she and her brother Benedict talked about: prayer, religious life, and the life here-after. They were twins and each was the head of a religious house in Italy. Once a year, they left their cloisters to meet together for a day of conversation, right up until a few days before the death of Scholastica. Unfortunately, Scholastica is better known for a deadly event which began on her feast day, February 10, 1354 [or ’35] in Oxford, England. The students had a day off and went drinking. In one tavern, a student berated the publican for serving lousy wine and threw it on him. Relations between Town and Gown being poor at best, a brawl ensued. The next day, more fighting broke out. After three days and 62 deaths, the Saint Scholastica’s Day Riot was to go down in history as a horrible event.

We will begin our recognition of Scholastica with a breakfast of Italian ingredients and end it with food that those English rioters might have recognized.

Asparagus-Proscuitto Bake: 124 calories 5.9 g fat 2 g fiber 8.3 g protein 9.7 g carbs [9.2 g Complex] 53.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF This is such a great flavor combination as an appetizer, that it must be wonderful with eggs. Yum!

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp [1/3 oz] thinly sliced, cooked asparagus ½ Tbsp [1/8 oz] proscuitto, thinly sliced or diced 1.5 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1 oz pear   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]

Spritz a ramekin with cooking spray and put the sliced asparagus and proscuitto into it. Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Whisk together the cheese and egg, and pour into the ramekin. Add salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the meat is salty. Bake 12-15 minutes. Slice the pear, prepare the optional beverages of choice. Nice way to start the day.

Steak & Mushroom Pie: 277 calories 4.8 g fat 6.9 g fiber 27 g protein 25.6 g carbs 34 mg Calcium Two very compatible flavors together again, topped [not encased] in puff pastry. Similar to a meal enjoyed at The Sign of the Angel in Lacock, Wiltshire, England. A real treat. HINT: recipe serves 2 [TWO], photo shows one serving.

4 oz grilled sirloin steak [leftover from a previous meal?] 1.5 cups mushrooms 1 Tbsp red wine ¼ cup creamed onions ½ tsp thyme + salt & pepper to taste 1/6 sheet puff pastry [Pepperidge Farm, frozen sheets are easy to find and use] per person: 1/3 cup peas

Thaw the frozen puff pastry for 40 minutes on the counter. Rewrap and return one sheet to freezer. Remove one of the sheets, unroll it carefully, and cut the sheet into 6 squares. [TIP: stack the remaining 5 pieces with waxed paper or cling wrap between the layers. Pop into a zipper bag and freeze for later use.] Cut the steak into 1/2”-1” cubes. Combine the meat with the mushrooms, wine, onions, seasonings in an oven-proof dish just large enough to hold the meat mixture yet large enough to be topped with the puff pastry. Heat the meat mixture until it is warm. Lay the puff pastry on top, decoratively slitting the crust. Bake at 400 F. about 15 minutes, until the crust is well-browned. Cook the peas and imagine that you are in an English country restaurant.

Marvelous Mixtures

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Tomorrow, eat meals with 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.

There are food combinations that we can’t get enough of. Here are three ‘mixtures’ of ingredients which were originally imagined as dinners or snacks — in Haiti, in the USA [under an Italian alias], and France — which also glide into eggs at breakfast time. These are some of our favorites:

HAITIAN CHICKEN PATE FILLING:  makes ~2 cup 1 Tbsp = 100 calories   Use in omelettes, bakes, quiches. 1 habanero pepper 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, leaving the seeds in the other half. Chop the pepper. 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. As an appetizer or dinner treat, roll out puff pastry sheets and cut into 20 pieces. Use 1 Tbsp filling in each piece and bake until golden. 

HAM FLORENTINE FILLINGmakes 1.5 cups  The recipe is from Peter Christian’s Recipes and we think it is delicious. Upper left photo above shows a Bake with this filling and the upper right shows the dinner crepes.   ½ cup no-cheese Bechamel Sauce [see SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17 ] 1 cup ham in 1/4” dice 1 cup [5 oz] cooked spinach, fresh or frozen ½ cup chopped celery + ¼ cup chopped onion celery salt + dill + granulated garlic + basil

Be sure to squeeze the spinach until most of the liquid is out of it. [save the liquid] Spritz a saute pan with non-stick spray and add some of the spinach liquid. Cook the celery and onion until the onions are transluscent, adding more spinach liquid as needed. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat until warmed through. 

BACON & LEEK FILLING:  makes ~1.5 cups  ¼ cup = 62 calories 1.8 g fat 0.6 g fiber 1.7 g protein 6.4 g carbs 57 mg Calcium This recipe is from Joanne Harris’s book French Market Cookbook and it is useful at breakfast as a bake or omelette filling and at dinner in crepes. 2 oz American/streaky bacon 3 cups sliced leeks 1 clove garlic ¼ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded 2 tsp mayonnaise  Saute the bacon in a large skillet, remove and slice cross-wise. Saute leeks and garlic in the bacon fat until limp. Off heat, stir Gruyere and mayo into the mixture. 

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

1 two-oz egg1 two-oz egg 
asparagus + pearsweet potato + apple sauce
prosciuttoonion + Canadian bacon
Parmesan cheesewhite whole wheat flour
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

grilled sirloin steakdelicata squash + ground cumin
mushrooms + creamed onionsbison meat + melon + chili powder
puff pastry sheetred onion +canned red beans + garlic
peas + thyme + red winecanned tomatoes + green bell pepper
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Baldwin’s Readers

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.

My mother made sure to stock the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom with books. Good books by good authors: Beatrix Potter, Margaret Wise Brown, and 3 books by the American Publishing Company who’s publication dates made them older than she was.  The Baldwin Reader [1895], Fifty Famous Stories Retold [1895], and Old Greek Stories [1895] were among my favorite books. They were the work of James Baldwin [not the later James Baldwin, the author from the Harlem Renaissance], born 1841 in Indiana. At age 11, he decided that he wanted to be a writer, so he sent his story “Two Soldiers” to Forrester’s Boys and Girls Magazine and never looked back. Although he had not much formal education, he taught school and organized the school systems in Noblesville and Huntington, Indiana. One of his educational goals was to promote a love of good literature. To that end, he published Introduction to English Literature in 1882. His reward was an honorary doctorate from DePauw University and later a job offer from Harper and Brothers Publishing in their education department. There, he authored several series of books for school use. From 1894 to 1924, he was an editor at American Book Company where he wrote books used in half the schools in America. Baldwin’s books were well-written, interesting, and a bit preachy. I still have those three books. 125 years later, the beloved stories are still good reading.

In honor of Baldwin’s Old Greek Stories, we will enjoy Greek flavors in our breakfast. One of the Fifty Famous Stories was the tale of William Tell shooting the apple from his son’s head. Because of that, we will dine on Swiss Steak.

Greek ScrOmelette: 152 calories 9.3 g fat 0.6 g fiber 12.6 g protein 4 g carbs [3 g Complex] 88.5 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Feta cheese is such a lovely ingredient. Enjoy it often.

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, pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid, and put it in the ‘fridge for next week. 0.37 [3/8] oz feta cheese, reduced fat 1 Tbsp tomato puree [not tomato paste] 2 large pinches of cinnamon + of oregano 1 Tbsp pomegranate seeds –OR– 1-1/4 oz applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon 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]

Cream the tomato puree with the feta cheese and seasonings, then whisk in the eggs. OR Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan. As soon as the bottom of the eggs sets, spread the cheesse-tomato-seasonings on top of the egg. Scramble or cook as an omelette. Prepare the optional beverages and spoon out the pomegranate/apple for a real taste of Greece.

Swiss Steak: 226 calories 7 g fat 4.5 g fiber 27 g protein 14.5 g carbs [14 g Complex] 58 mg Calcium This is a recipe from Fannie Farmer’s cookbook  which I fondly remember from my childhood. HINT: This recipe makes enough for two [2], so save half of it for a future lunch or dinner.

½ pound chuck steak, cut 1 to 1.5” thick 1 Tbsp white whole wheat [OR GF] flour + salt + pepper 1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned are OK ¼ cup minced green bell peppers ¼ cup minced onion herbs to taste  per serving: 1/4 cup cut green beans + 1/4 cup carrots, diced

Leave the meat in one piece or cut into two parts. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper and dredge the meat in it. If you wish, pound the meat with a tenderizing tool or the edge of a sturdy plate. Combine the tomatoes with the vegetables and herbs. Heat a heavy skillet with a lid and spray it well with oil or cooking spray. Brown the meat on both sides and pour the tomatoes over it. Cover and cook very slowly for 2 hours until the meat is very tender, adding water if the tomatoes are in danger of sticking. This can be cooked on the cooktop at low or in the oven at 325 F. Steam or boil the beans and carrots to serve along-side the beef with its sauce.

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

1 two-oz eggThis will be a discussion of 
ricotta cheese + cottage cheese‘marvelous mixtures’ —
flour + sugarfor dinner meals or for
banana + molassesbreakfasts
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

6-9 two-oz eggsThis will be a discussion of
Swiss chard or spinach, fresh‘marvelous mixtures’ —
olive oil + Parmesan cheesesuitable for dinners or
granulated garlic + paprikafor breakfasts
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Start With Breakfast

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.

On January 1st, I suggested that you ease into the Fasting Lifestyle by eating a Fast Dinner two days each week, to see how you liked it and if you lost any weight. How did that go for you? You might be brave enough now to start to add breakfast to your regimen. So here are two possibilities.

Some people don’t eat breakfast: either they aren’t hungry when they wake up or they find that once they start eating, they want to continue to eat. OK. Breakfast is not the ‘most important meal of the day’, despite what the cereal-makers tell you. So for those who want to have their first meal later, this Czech breakfast is fabulous — it is more like a lunch! Whether you eat it at 7 am or at noon it is delicious and satisfying. It would be an easy meal to pack to eat at work.

Czech Breakfast:  233 calories 5 g fat 3.8 g fiber 11.7 g protein 37 g carbs [18 g complex] 65.6 mg Calcium   NB: The food values are for the meal and fruit only and do not include the optional coffee. I’m told that the majority of citizens of the Czech Republic eat this for breakfast daily. Join them.

1-1.6 g sourdough rye bread 1 oz sliced ham, 3% fat ½ oz Hermelin cheese, or substitute Camembert 2 yellow plums   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] NO Smoothie today

Whether you pile everything on the bread and eat it that way, or sample each item separtly, this is a hearty way to start the day. For those of you who start your day with lunch, this is for you.

If you are the hot-food-at-breakfast type, then try this meal. The protein in the eggs staves off hunger, while the fiber in the spinach makes it extra filling. The cheese just makes it taste even better. With pre-preparation and packaging, this meal could be taken to work to eat later in the morning — if you have access to a toaster oven. Nothing says the eggs must be eaten at dawn.

Chevre & Spinach Bake:  132 calories 7 g fat 1.9 g fiber 8.8 g protein 9.3 g carbs [8.7 g Complex] 57 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  This one is really delicious.

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp cooked spinach, drained/squeezed and chopped [frozen works well, just be sure to thaw and drain it the night before] 2 tsp creamy chevre cheese lemon-dill seasoning + salt + pepper 2 oz pear OR 2 oz apple OR applesauce   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]

Combine the spinach, cheese, and seasonings. Whisk in the egg and pour into a lightly-oiled or spritzed ramekin. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the beverages of your choice and plate the fruit. What a nice way to start the day.

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

1 two-oz egg + Parmesan cheese1.5 two-oz eggs 
tomato + black olive [kalamata]feta cheese + cinnamon
cottage cheese, low-fat + broccolioregano + tomato puree
plum OR cherries OR strawberriespomegranate seeds or applesauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

purchased, dried cheese tortellinibeef chuck steak + green pepper
garlic + tomato + lemon juicewhite whole wheat flour + onion
black kale + olive oilstewed tomatoes
Parmesan cheese + red pepper flakescarrots + green beans
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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.