Basquaise

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.

Have you ever seen the word ‘Basquaise’ on a menu? It often refers to a sauce served on chicken or fish. The word itself means ‘from the Basque country’ or ‘in the method of the Basque people.’ To the Basque people, it is ‘pipperade’ from their word ‘biperra’ for pepper. So who are the Basques and where is their country? The Basque people are unrelated, both in genetics and in language, to the surrounding people of France and Spain. Their ‘country’ spreads across the border of France and Spain at the Western end of the Pyrennes Mountains. Their culture and unique language developed in isolation over the centuries, escaping intrusion both from the Indo-Europeans [ex: Visigoths] and from the Muslims. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew of the Basques, and even they did not change the culture of the region. Their food is boldly spiced and influenced by fish from the ocean and meat from the pasturelands of the interior. Passionately independent, the Basques work to maintain their ways in a changing world. In the 1800s, economic hard times spread Basques to North America and beyond, just as their cod and whale-hunting ancestors dispersed across the seas in the past.

The ‘Sauce Basquaise’ shows up in our menu today — flavoring the eggs at breakfast in two different preparations. Other ways to use it are in the classic Poulet Basquaise or Cod Basquaise for dinner. Here’s how to make 5 cups of the sauce.

2 Tbsp olive oil Heat the oil in a large saucepan
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped  optional: 2 oz Bayonne/Serrano ham or pancetta, diced 
3 cups red bell pepper, diced [2 large peppers, abt 13 oz]  3 cups green bell pepper, diced [2 large peppers, abt 13 oz] 
4 cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
Add the onion, garlic, ham, peppers, and tomatoes.  Cook over medium-low heat until peppers are tender.
½ cup red wine 5 g ‘esplette’ pepper or ground cayenne pepper 2 tsp fresh thyme ½ tsp saltAdd to the pan. Simmer 10 minutes more.

Basquaise Sauce ScrOmelette: 153 calories 8.4 g fat 1.5 g fiber 10 g protein 8 g carbs [7 g Complex] 50 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF Basquaise Sauce takes eggs to a new level and it is so easy to use if you already have a batch in the refrigerator or freezer.

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 and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.  2 rounded Tablespoons Basquaise Sauce ¼ cup 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]

Heat a non-stick saute pan which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper to taste and pour into the pan. As the eggs just begin to set, spread the Basquaise Sauce over half of the egg. Fold and continue cooking to your liking. Plate with the fruit and serve the beverage of your choice. Have a spicy day.

Alternatively, if you didn’t have any Basquaise Sauce at your disposal, you could use my version of Jacques Pepin’s recipe for Basquaise ScrOmelette, posted on 30 September, 2015

Ingredients for next week: 

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

1 two-oz eggProscuitto ham
ricotta cheese + mushrooms
melon + Parmesan cheese
peach + blackberryred onion pickle
Watercress Sauce
mint or basil leaves + balsamic vinegar
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

watercress + sweet potato
sourdough rye bread + egg + dill
canola oil + onion + celery
turkey breast + spinach leaves
garlic + stock + potato
whipped cream cheese + tomato
optional: mozzarella + tomato
cucumber + white wine vinegar
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Mary’s Return

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 May 31, Mary ‘went over the mountain‘ to the town of Ein Kerem to assist at her cousin Elizabeth’s lying-in. Seven weeks after her cousin Elizabeth had safely delivered her son John, Mary decided to go back home to her family. This was going to be difficult for two reasons: it was a 135 km trip by foot and Mary was 5 months pregnant. That last one presented another problem: Mary was unwed. When she returned to her hometown of Nazareth, her pregnancy would become obvious to the neighbors and her fiancé. There would be talk. There would be disgrace — people would tell Joseph that he should call off the wedding. But Joseph would stand by her and Mary would endure the side-eye looks because both of them had been told by angels that this was all part of a Bigger Plan. The weather this year on May 31 was sunny and mild. That means it should rain tomorrow.

Today’s breakfast contains the flavors and ingredients of the area referred to as ‘the Levant,’ as in the Eastern Mediterranean ‘where the sun rises.’ A meal like this would sustain you on your way. Upon her return, Mary’s overjoyed mother, Anna, might have welcomed her back with a special feast of lamb, seasoned with typical spices.

photo courtesy of World Tree Photography: Fine Art Travel Prints

Levantine ScrOmelette: 142 calories 8 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 5 g carbs [4.6 g Complex] 50.5 mg Calcium NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF These fine ingredients yield a flavorful result. The sun rising in the East will smile on you.

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 Tbsp mediterranian vegetables, chopped [see Sidekicks II, 4-Oct-’17] 1.5 tsp hummus, homemade or purchased 1 oz strawberries  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]

Whisk the eggs, then stir in the hummus and vegetables. Pour into a saute pan which has been spritzed with non-stick spray and scramble to your taste or prepare as an omelette. Pour the optional beverages and plate with the berries.

Moroccan Lamb:  284 calories 6.3 g fat 8 g fiber 28 g protein 28.6 g carbs [28 g Complex] 81 mg Calcium PB GF  Mint, cumin, and coriander will make your meal taste like a trip to spice souk [see above photo taken by my son].

3 oz roast lamb + Moroccan seasoning ½ cup peas + pinch of mint or cilantro 1/3 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed 2 pinches of Moroccan seasoning or ground cumin mint tea

Dust the sliced lamb with Moroccan seasoning. Gently warm the meat by steaming or heating in a microwave. Cook the peas, drain and stir in a pinch of dried mint or dried cilantro. Heat the beans with the seasoning or cumin to taste. Best served with mint tea.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
2 oysters
Green + Red bell peppers
scallion = green onion
tomatoes + garlic + cayenne/chili powder
strawberries
onion + white wine
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

lobster meat + green beans
chicken breast meat
heavy cream + Béchamel sauce
green + red bell peppers + garlic
Dijon mustard + parsley
tomatoes + onion
Raspberries + peaches for dessert
white wine + cayenne/chili powder

Sparkling waterSparkling water

Home On The Range

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 is a popular American folk song entitled “Home on the Range.” I’m sure every school child learns it at some point. The words were written by a homesteading doctor in 1872, to express his delight in the country life in Kansas. The tune was written by the author’s friend. By 1925, sheet music was printed and the origin of the song was temporarily obscured. Then came recordings by the likes of Bing Crosby [who’s version is supposed to be the best], Frank Sinatra and John Denver. It is the State Song of Kansas. The song is nostalgic for a close-to-nature life [low population density and wandering wildlife right outside your door] which the Homestead Act, by encouraging people to move to the plains, was designed to wipe out.

To be ‘home on the range’ also refers to cooking your own food, often from scratch. [A ‘range‘ is an older term for a cook surface with an oven below it.] Many of the ills of being over-weight could be solved if people would cook their own food from fresh ingredients. That way one can control the amount of salt and sugar and fat in the recipe. Purchased food is often ultra-processed food and that creates a host of problems. If you really want to deal with your weight, change the way you cook: from calories to quantity of portion. And home-prepared food can cost less! Good reasons to try cooking at home.

To get you to be home on the range, try these recipes to remind you of the ‘roaming buffalo’ and the deer playing in the fields. Bison meat can be a revelation, so try to find it. And nothing says ‘open prairies’ like chili for dinner.

Bison ScrOmelette: 147 calories 8g fat 0.4 g fiber 14.5 g protein 4 g carbs [2 g Complex] 48.5 mg calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. GF Bison meat is a fine source of protein and is more healthy than beef. You should try it.

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.  0.6 oz ground, cooked bison ½ Tbsp [0.1 oz] sliced scallion ½ Tbsp spaghetti sauce 1 oz melon Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water Optional: 3 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [44 calories]

Briefly warm the bison and scallion in a saute pan spritzed with non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs with the spaghetti sauce and pour over the meat/scallion in the pan. Cook in your desired way: scramble or omelette. Plate with the melon and listen to Bing Crosby sing ‘Home on the Range.’

Venison Chili: 299 calories 3.8 g fat 10.4 g fiber 30 g protein 45.6 g carbs 146 mg Calcium  PB GF  HINT: This is enough for 2 one-cup servings. Save the remaining chili for another dinner later or invite a fellow-Faster for dinner.

6 oz ground venison 16 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 cup red onion, chopped 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped 3/4 cup canned red beans, drained and rinsed 2-4 tsp chili ¾ tsp salt ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin  per serving: a small slice of melon, as a garnish

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. Serve one cup for dinner tonight with the melon on the side.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
chèvre cheese
hummus
Mediterranean Vegetables
Sidekicks II, 4 -Oct-2019
Mediterranean Vegetables
Sidekicks II, 4 -Oct-2019
melon + herbes de Province
strawberries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

romaine lettuce + cherry tomatoesLamb + mint/cilantro
green beans/haricots + salmonMoroccan Spices
black olives + hard-boiled egg
canned white beans
white wine vinegar + olive oil
peas + Moroccan seasoning
Sparkling waterSparkling water or mint tea

Good Saint Swithin

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 weewritinglassie who is now Following.

Saint Swithin is one of my favorites. He is one of the ‘obscure saints’ [my terminology] who’s Feast Day does not make it onto the modern lists. It is his story that captivates me. Ethnically, he was a Saxon and he lived in the Kingdom of Wessex in England in the 800s. He was chaplain to King Egbert and tutor to his son. Swithin was still alive when the future King Alfred was a child and no doubt he assisted in his education as well. Swithin loved God’s Good Green Earth. Before he died, he asked that his grave be outside, where it could be sprinkled by the ‘gentle rains.’ For about 90 years, it was outside. Then an abbott decided he wanted to make the church a tourist destination by building a fancy shrine for Swithin inside. On the 15th of July, the body was dug up and moved. And it rained. No, it poured! For 40 days! Folks said that St Swithin was angered, and so, posthumously, he became a weather prophet. People still say, “If on St Swithin’s it should rain, for 40 days it will remain. If on St Swithin’s it be fair, for 40 days shall rain nae mair.”

By Robin Hood’s time [he is first mentioned in a ballad in 1370], St Swithin’s ability to cause rain was common knowledge. Thus, for breakfast, we have Robin Hood Eggs. [Swithin is credited with restoring broken eggs] For dinner, a meal with many vegetables, grown in the sun and washed by the rain. Keep an eye on the weather.

Robin Hood Egg: 150 calories 6 g fat 1 g fiber 15 g protein 26 g carbs [7 g Complex] 111 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages. What this breakfast has to do with the legendary outlaw, I don’t know. At least no robbery is involved – you can keep your wallet and your waistline.

½ Arnold multi-grain Sandwich Thin, or similar round bread at 50 calories one 2-oz egg 1 slice Jones-brand “Canadian bacon” [round, 1 oz = 20 calories] 2 oz sliced tomato

Lightly toast the sandwich thin and plate it. Broil the tomato slice and briefly warm the Canadian bacon while you fry the egg in a pan spritzed with non-cook spray. Assemble the layers in your order of preference and pour the optional beverages. Tuck [not Friar Tuck] in with knife and fork.

Fish Kabobs: 236 calories 8 g fat 4.3 g fiber 27 g protein 22 g carbs [all Complex] 77 mg Calcium PB GF Any firm fish will work for this simple meal. The Fresh Polenta is from Jacques Pepin and it is a keeper.

3.6 g firm fish [swordfish, tuna, halibut], cut in 1-2” cubes 1 oz eggplant cut in 1” chunks, skin left on 1 oz cherry tomatoes 3/4 oz red or yellow bell pepper, cut in 1” squares 2 tsp Pimenta do Queilo or other red pepper sauce ½ cup fresh polenta *** Second Fiddles I-9-’19 ½ cup side salad

Combine the pepper sauce with 2 tsp water in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Toss the eggplant and bell pepper in the pepper sauce and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove the bell peppers and microwave the eggplant 45 seconds longer. Cool the vegetables and save the marinade. Prepare the polenta. Assemble the kabobs on skewers and brush with remaining marinade. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Broil 4 minutes, then turn the kabobs, brush with marinade, and broil for 4 minutes more. Prepare the side salad and plate to applause.

No Exit

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 Kirilson who is now Following.

When it comes to Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre was in the forefront. In the Nazi-occupied Paris, he produced a one-act play titled “Huis Clos.”  That is a French legal term meaning ‘a trial behind closed doors’ although the title in English is usually given as “No Exit.”  French citizens during the war were presented with many choices: stay or flee; collaborate or resist; fight or be passive.  To Sartre, humans have the freedom to make any choices we want — even not taking an action involves choice.  But responsibility comes with each choice; with each non-action.  The play involves 3 characters who have made and continue to make choices, all of which makes their lives and those around them unhappy.  Whether or not you subscribe to the message that “Hell is other people,” Sartre wanted us to explore the options we have and the consequences of the choices we make.                                                       On May 27, 1944, the play opened. Since the play takes place in a drawing room in Hell, our menus contain ingredients with some fire in them: green chile and red curry paste. You can add more, if you like it hotter. You have choices about what you eat and how much of it.

Green Chile-Egg Galette: 147 calories   6 g fat  1.7 g fiber  9 g protein  24.6 g carbs [12 g Complex]  36.4 mg Calcium  PB  The bite of the green chiles, the nutty taste of the galette, the rich taste of egg: what a remarkable flavor combination. Eat with a fork or pick it up in your hand.Green Chili-Egg Crepe

1 galette/crepe [see SIDEKICKS ISept 17, 2017 for recipe]                                one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                 2 Tbsp roasted green chiles                                                                                   1 oz apples OR pears                                                                                                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]

Whisk the egg with the chiles and pour into a 6” cast iron pan or small saute pan spritzed with non-stick spray. [If serving two, pour egg mixture into a 4×6” oven-proof dish spritzed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 F. for 12 minutes] Cook the egg by gently lifting the edges to allow un-cooked egg to flow underneath. Meanwhile, gently heat the galette/crepe: wrap in a tea-towel and put in the microwave for 1 minute OR put in an un-greased sauté pan over low heat for less than 1 minute, then turn over for another 30 seconds. Plate the crêpe with the fruit, put the egg on top of it, then fold over. Pour the beverages and put some zip in your morning.

Halibut in Thai Coconut Curry:  258 calories  14 g fat   1.7 g fiber   21 g protein   9.7 g carbs [5 g Complex]   139 mg Calcium PB GF  This is from Alaska from Scratch by Maya Wilson and it is delicious.Halibut w: Coconut Curry

1 tsp olive oil, separated                                                                                             3 cups spinach, lightly packed                                                                                     1 Tbsp shallots, chopped                                                                                             3/4 Tbsp Thai red curry paste or more to taste                                                        1/4 cup chicken broth                                                                                                        3.5 fluid oz light coconut milk                                                                                pinch sugar                                                                                                                         3 oz halibut fillet                                                                                                         2 Tbsp scallion                                                                                                            1-1/2 tsp lime juice

Heat ½ tsp olive oil in a wide saute pan with 1-2 Tbsp water. Add the spinach with salt and pepper and toss in the oil until greens begin to wilt. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Put ½ tsp oil in the pan with the shallots and cook 2 minutes more. Add curry paste, chicken broth, coconut milk, and sugar. Whisk to combine and simmer on low until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Salt the fish and add to the broth in the pan, spooning some broth on top of the fish. Cover and poach 5 minutes per 1/2” of thickness. Put greens in the serving bowl and top with fish. Stir scalions and lime juice into broth, turn heat up briefly. Ladle broth over the fish and greens. Optional: ¼ cup brown rice.

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 Frittata

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.

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 Crepes

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.

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 egg1.5 two-oz eggs  +  ham
1 buckwheat crepecooked pork,
roasted green chilesSwiss cheese
peardill pickle
Whatever you need for your smoothieWhatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverageWhatever you need for your hot beverage

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

halibut   + olive oil + scallionsalad greens + chicken
spinach + shallot  + chicken brothgrapefruit  + avocado
Thai red curry paste1 egg +  lime-flavored oil
lite coconut milk + limewhite wine vinegar
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Ramadan, 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 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