I. F.

I.F. could describe the “Laconic answer”. [Back Story: The Greek city-state of Laconia, famous for the citizens’ terseness of speech, was besieged by an invading army. Their general sent a message: “If we take your city, we will kill every man, woman, and child. You had better surrender now.” Answered the head man of the city: “IF.” Laconia was not defeated.] Or, in this modern era, it could stand for “Intermittent Fasting.” What is that, you ask…. There are several ways to answer that.

Over-all, intermittent fasting is a way to become more healthy by losing weight and giving your body time to restore itself in a sort of resting phase that occurs during a time of limited calorie intake. Version 1: You abstain from all eating, but are free to consume all the water you want, for two to four days each and every month. Sometimes an electrolyte liquid is consumed during the fast. Version 2: You abstain from all eating, but are free to consume all the water you want for one full day — from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep again. This is done once or twice within a week. Version 3: You do all of your eating within an 8-hour window — say, 8 am to 4 pm. Before and after than, you may consume only water. Version 4: Every other day, you consume a limited number of calories — from 500 to 1000 — while on the alternate days you eat as you please. Also called “Alternative Day Fasting.”

Version 5: Two days each week, you consume 500-600 calories, eating as you please [but wisely] on the other days. Also called “5:2 Diet,” as developed by Dr. Michael Mosley. This is the eating plan that Dear Husband and I have followed for 6+ years.

Whichever method you choose, the goal is to train yourself to eat more moderately. If you never learn that, you will go off the diet and your weight will zoom up again. What’s the point of that?? People who do not get a handle on their over-eating are doomed to diet-and-gain over and over again. We view our eating plan as a Lifestyle, something that fits into the way we live and that we are happy to continue every week for the rest of our lives. Following are some of the meals we eat on a Fast Day.

B-T-O Bake: 127 calories 6 g fat 1.2 g fiber 9.3 g protein 8.6 g carbs [7.5 g Complex] 66 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  This bake has flavor and to spare. Delicious way to use left-over broccoli.

1 two-oz egg 1 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese 1 oz diced tomato, drained ¾ tsp Parmesan cheese ½ oz cooked broccoli 1 Kalamata olive 1 plum OR 4 cherries OR 4 oz strawberries Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Set the toaster oven at 350 F. Dice the broccoli and the olive. Stir the cheeses together. Spritz an oven-safe container with non-stick spray. Whisk the egg, then whisk in the cheeses. Distribute the tomato, olive, and broccoli over the bottom of the baking dish. Whisk the eggs once more and pour into the baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Portion the fruit and prepare the beverages of your choice. Now that’s a breakfast!

Tortellini w/ Black Kale:  209 calories 9 g fat 3.5 g fiber 10 g protein 24 g carbs [7.4 g Complex] 231 mg Calcium PB Packaged, dried tortellini is a handy item to have in the pantry. It makes for a fine Tuscan meal when pared with Black Kale. The recipe is from ‘thekitchn‘  NB: I used the recipe below for the kale as two servings, when paired with the pasta. But the calories are so low that you could use it as one serving. 

27 g dried cheese/spinach tortellini [Barilla brand is good] 3 oz diced tomato 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese PLUS ingredients shown below for the kale.

For the Kale:

3 oz black kaleUse your hands to pull the kale leaves from their stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Rinse them, but do not dry.
1 tsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic pinch red pepper flakesHeat the oil in large, wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute (do not let the garlic brown).
¼ tsp kosher salt pinch ground pepperAdd the kale, stirring as it starts to wilt. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.
2 tsp Lemon juiceRemove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve.

For the meal: Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 9-11 minutes, then drain. Combine with the diced tomatoes and Parmesan. Plate the pasta surrounded by the kale.

Hilaritas

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.

Do you like to laugh? Think about it: how often do you laugh out loud? Laughing is good for you, you know. The name Hilary, whether for a man or a woman, is based on the name of a Roman goddess “Hilaritas,” meaning ‘cheerfulness’. [Bet you can see where the word “hilarious” came from.] Tomorrow is the feast of St. Hilary of Poitiers, France, and it seems to me that it should be a good day for finding reasons to laugh. Look up a good joke on the internet and share it with friends, family, colleagues. Be open to finding the humor in a situation. Wear clothes that make you smile. Be with people who make you glad. Have fun.

Foods for St Hilary will have as an ingredient the cheese called “Vache Qui Rit” [the Laughing Cow]: in the eggs at breakfast and in a sauce at dinner. Even the picture of the cow logo should coax a smile.

Laughing Herb Bake:  129 calories 6.5 g fat 0.9 g fiber 8.8 g protein 6.2 g carbs [5 g Complex] 94 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  So rich! So creamy! So low in calories!

One 2-oz egg ½ wedge Laughing Cow low-fat cheese 2 Tbsp fresh herbs OR 1 Tbsp dried ½ Tbsp low-fat ricotta cheese 3 oz melon 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 non-stick spray. Set the toaster oven at 350 F. Cream the cheeses together with the herbs. Whisk in the egg and salt/pepper to taste. Pour into the ramekin and bake at 350 F. 12-15 minutes. Plate the fruit, prepare the beverages, and find something that makes you laugh.

Seafood Galettes:  269 calories  7.3 g fat 2.8 g fiber  18 g protein 19 g carbs [9.8 g Complex]  142 mg Calcium   PB This is very easy to prepare [IF you have prepared the galettes in advance. I had previously prepared the Bechamel as well.] and very easy to eat. Advance preparation is a key ingredient.  HINT: This recipe makes enough to serve 2 [two] people. 

7 oz Ahi tuna fillet OR mixed seafood, cooked and cut in 1/2” bits 1 wedge Laughing Cow [Vache Qui Rit] cheese 2 galettes 6 Tbsp Bechamel sauce without cheese 2-3 Tbsp fish stock 1.5 oz cauliflower florets 1 oz carrot ‘coins’ 2 oz zucchini slices

If your tuna isn’t cooked, poach it gently in fish stock – enough to come half-way up the fillet. Reserve the stock as you will use some of it later. Cut the fish into small chunks. Gently heat and whisk the bechamel with 2 Tbsp fish stock and the cheese until the cheese melts. Add the fish/seafood to the sauce, adding more stock if you wish. Prepare the vegetables and begin to cook them. Warm the galettes, wrapped in a tea towel, in the microwave. When the fish and sauce are warm and the vegetables are cooked, plate the vegetables and place the galette on the plate too. Divide the fish and sauce between the two galettes and serve. Delicious!

Epiphany

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

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

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

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

One 2-oz egg 2 Tbsp crab meat 1 tsp soy sauce ¼ cup sprouts [I used broccoli sprouts — suit yourself] ¼ oz mushrooms pinch ground ginger + pinch granulated garlic 1 Tbsp scallion, sliced across 2 oz pear OR 1 clementine   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 purchased pork dumpling/pot sticker: read the label 

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

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

NOW!

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.

We are one day into the new year. The resolution-making game is fraught with dilemmas: which resolutions to make? what if I can’t keep them? does that mean I’m a failure? Since the new year seems to be a good time for new beginnings, people make wild pie-in-the-sky promises to themselves which are impossible to keep. Some suggestions: make the resolution concrete [I will lose 10 pounds.]; make the resolution achievable [I will clean the kitchen and do the dishes right after dinner]; make the resolution something you really want to do for you [I will take a one-hour walk once a week to savor nature by myself]. Drinking water, reading more, moving more in a day — all are good resolutions.

Now is the time to lose weight/get healthier and I am here to help you. Re-read the paragraph at the top of the page. Does that sound too simple? Brain scientists say people think that the more rules a diet has, the better it must be! Nope — those are fad diets. This one is easy and it works. How to begin? Start small — if you think you can’t possibly exist on 600 calories per day, then begin with dinner. One day this week, eat a meal of 300 calories for dinner. Then do not eat until the next day at breakfast, but you may drink as much water/ sparkling water/plain tea/herbal tea/coffee/decaf coffee as you want. You will find that the dinner was satisfying enough to carry you through ’til morning. Do that one day per week, then try two nights in a week. Weigh yourself once a week and see if there is a change for the better. Here are two suggestions for dinners under 300 calories:

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!  HINT: Makes 6 [six] one-cup servings. What you don’t use today, freeze in serving-sized portions.

Very hearty. Very satisfying. And the recipe makes 6 servings!

16 oz bag dry green split peas [Goya 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 upThat’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.

Fajitas with Chicken + Vegetables: 286 calories 5 g fat 3.9 g fiber 24 g protein 35 g carbs 183 mg calcium  PB  TIP: This recipe serves 2 [two] people. It is quick, delicious, and a good way to put vegetables into dinner.

Great for using odds and ends in the refrigerator — and it tastes great.
1 tsp oil + 3 tsp water 6 oz chicken breast 2 cups veg, including: >3 oz sweet pepper + 4 oz zucchini + >1 oz red onion + 1.25 oz broccoli 1 tsp chili powder + sprinkle AdoboCut the meat into strips. Cut the vegetables into strips or other edible sizes. Heat oil in wok, stir-fry meat, veg, and seasonings for ~ 7 minutes or until cooked and vegetables begin to brown
4 five-inch corn tortillasWrap in damp kitchen towel. Nuke 30-45 seconds. -OR- Warm on a griddle/ dry skillet until pliable and starting to brown.
¼ c plain nonfat yogurt [1 Tbsp per tortilla] Divide the meat/veg among the tortillas and top with yogurt.
1 lime + ¼ c cilantro leavesServe as garnish

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

1 two-oz egg + pear1.5 two-oz eggs 
sprouts + crab meat
fresh chives
soy sauce + ginger
Parmesan cheese
garlic powder + scallions
kiwi fruit
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Assorted Asian foods for Dim Sum — examples:7 cloves garlic + butter
beef egg roll or shrimp spring rollbeef or chicken stock
chicken momo or chicken momo fillingpotatoes + parsnips + egg + marjoram
pork wonton + broccoli + Sriracharye bread + Swiss cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Saint Hilda of Whitby

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.

This week’s blog is dedicated to my friend Hilda B., who, being from Northern England, was probably named for St Hilda. Our Hilda is witty and wise, full of fun and a fellow bell-ringer. Be of good courage, Hilda.

In Whitby, Yorkshire in 657, there lived a remarkable women. She was born Hild or Hilda to a noble family in the days of a Christian Church so new that many of the ideas we have about the institution had not yet been thought of: clergy celibacy and the date of Easter and infant baptism, to name a few. Hilda moved to Whitby to start a new religious house, which invited men, women, and families to come together to live a godly life. In 664, she convened the Synod of Whitby which united Celtic believers with those who followed the rule of Rome, finally determining the date of Easter for everyone: first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Sounds complicated, but by using astronomical ‘signposts’ that anyone could observe, confusion was avoided. Hilda promoted learning and equality — of sexes and of classes. She was an able administrator who’s advice was sought by kings and clerics. Remarkable.

In honor of Saint Hild, we will eat the seafood for which Whitby is famous: Kippered Herring in Yorkshire Pudding for breakfast and a Whitby Fish Pie for dinner.

Kippered Yorkshire Pudding: 226 calories 5 g fat 5.8 g fiber 11 protein 33.5 g carbs [26 g Complex] 102 mg Calcium HINT: This recipe makes enough for two [2] servings. Nothing says Yorkshire like the iconic pudding and kippers. This is a meal to eat at home or to take on the road.

1 oz kippered herring ½ cup 1% milk ½ cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose, for lower protein and fiber] one 2-oz egg ½ tsp dry mustard + ¼ tsp salt 3 oz pear   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Soak the kippered herring in water for 30-45 minutes. Drain and mince. Whisk the milk, flour, egg, mustard and salt until combined, but do not over-mix. Spray a 7” pie plate with cooking-spray and sprinkle in some kippers. Carefully pour in the Yorkshire Pudding batter, then sprinkle with the remaining kippers. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Cut into 4 pieces. Plate two pieces per person along with the pear. What a flavor combination!

Whitby Fish Pie: 294 calories 15.4 g fat 1.7g fiber 17.5 g protein 15 g carbs [1.7 g Complex] 139 mg Calcium HINT: This recipe makes enough for two [2] servings. This fabulous recipe is from Paul Hollywood, of British Baking Show fame. It is simple and delicious. Dear Husband loved it.

This is a pie for TWO servings. We will serve this again!!
233 ml [1 cup] skimmed milk
½ bay leaf
½ small onion
2 whole cloves [the spice]
Put the milk in a pan with the bay leaf
and onion studded with cloves. Bring
slowly to the boil, turn off the heat and
let infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Strain the milk into a small bowl.
20 g butter
20 g = 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 40 g spinach, fresh or frozen
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
salt & pepper
Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour
and cook gently for a few minutes, then gradually stir in the infused milk.
Increase the heat a little, bring to a
simmer and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the spinach, parsley
and some salt and pepper.
133g/3.5 oz haddock
133g/3 oz smoked haddock 58 g/1.5 oz shrimp, cleaned [salt & pepper]
Skin the fish and remove any pin bones.
Cut into bite-sized pieces and put into
a 4”x6” dish with the prawns. Pour
on enough sauce to cover, gently mix
with the fish and check the seasoning.
Purchased puff pastry, 1/6 of a sheet


Heat the oven to 200°C/400 F/Gas 6. 
Roll out the pastry on a lightly
floured surface to form a 4×6” rectangle. Cut into 6 strips and use to form a lattice atop the pie.  Bake for 20-25 mins until pastry is golden brown.

The Mill Town

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 FunnyJokesOf TheDay who is now Following.

We live in a Mill Town. Mill Towns began to spring up in New England in the early 1800s as people harnessed streams and rivers to run a variety of enterprises. Big Mill Towns often had a bad rep — dirty, crime-ridden, filled with the uneducated — not the sort of place ‘nice people’ would choose to live. Bennington, New Hampshire had many ‘mills’ in 1830: paper, knives, fabric, gun powder — all were made in the town. These mills were small affairs — no belching smokestacks, no teeming tenements for workers — housed in family homes clustered along the tumbling Contoocook River. Up until 1842, Bennington did not exist as a community. It was part of the agricultural town of Hancock and it was called ‘factory village.’ Hancock had no river downtown, and so the factories/mills were located in what became the town of Bennington. Now all the mills have closed except one: Monadnock Paper Mill which opened in 1819. Don’t picture some dreadful, noisy factory polluting the river — MPM has been aggressively promoted clean air and water in a carbon-neutral plant. This year they will celebrate their 200th anniversary of making specialty papers and the legacy of the Industrial Revolution in our little town. The Mill whistle still sounds at 7 am, noon, and 5 pm, making a comforting punctuation to the day.

The meals today reflect the town of Bennington’s factory history. One of the first mills was built by James Carken. There he made gun powder — until the mill blew up. Picturesque Powder Mill Pond had a restaurant in the 1980s/1990s that served their signature egg dish. As the mills prospered, immigrants moved to town. Italians [our oldest restaurant is Alberto’s], Greeks, Irish [the Catholic church was St Patrick’s], Swedes, and Swiss all made the town grow. Our dinner of corned beef and cabbage is a real working man’s meal.

Powder Mill Scramble: 141 calories 8.3 g fat 0.7 g fiber 11.2 g protein 6 g carb [5.6 g Complex] 49.8 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the Scramble and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF This recipe is straight out of Jerry Willis’ Powder Mill Pond Restaurant where it was a favorite. Alas, that restaurant is not more, but you can enjoy this at home.

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 ½ oz smoked salmon ½ oz or 2 Tbsp sliced scallion greens 2 oz melon or clementine or 2 oz sliced apple or 1-1/2 oz mango Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Whisk the eggs [salt and pepper may not be needed depending on the seasoning of your salmon]. Pour into a pan which has been sprayed briefly with cooking spray. Quickly, before the eggs set, add the salmon and scallions. Scramble to taste. Prepare your optional beverage. Plate with fruit of choice.

Corned Beef & Cabbage: 299 calories 22 g fat 3.8 g fiber 22.7 g protein 14.8 g carbs 220.5 mg Calcium PB GF Fannie Farmer provides the inspiration for this recipe. Add deli corned beef to creamed cabbage with cheese, and you are in the spirit of mill town America.

3 cups sliced cabbage ¼ cup plain bechamel sauce 2 oz corned beef [pre-sliced from the deli] cut into strips ½ oz deli Swiss cheese salt & pepper

Steam the cabbage for 5 minutes. Stir in the bechamel sauce, corned beef, and seasonings. Put into an oven-proof dish and lay the cheese slice on top. Bake at 350 degrees F. until the cheese melts.

Breakfast Beverages

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat a breakfast and a dinner from the Archive tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, for a second 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.

Those of you who read my blog regularly [thank you for that!] will notice that in a breakfast menu I always mention ‘optional beverages.’ Today I’m going to flesh out what I mean by that — breakfast beverages without the extra flesh. We have always consumed a cold beverage and a hot beverage at breakfast, and I will explain how those evolved as we embarked on our Fasting Lifestyle. The beverages detailed below are what we drink everyday, since they are too delicious to serve only two days a week.

Cold Beverage: Dear Husband and I grew up drinking cold orange juice at breakfast. Our generation was taught that this was important for our health [advertising by the Florida Orange Growers Association is to blame for that]. But our bodies see orange juice as just sugar water — without the fiber in whole fruit, the sugar in the fruit is digested just as sugar is. 5 oz orange juice from concentrate = 74 calories 0 g fat 0 g fiber 0.6 g protein 17.9 g carbs [0 g Complex] 12 mg Calcium WITH the fiber, digestion is slower and the sugar spike is minimized. So we began to make our own smoothies: whole fruit, whole juices [fruit pressed, seeds removed], yogurt, some orange juice. The two most popular are these:

Berry-Yogurt Smoothie: 88 calories 0.1 g fat 1 g fiber 4 g protein 20 g carbs [5.2 g Complex] 105 mg Calcium  PB GF Dear Husband was inspired to create this, in an effort to get more Calcium in our diet. HINT: Makes 4 [four] servings Food values above are for one serving.

1 cup yogurt [plain, fat-free] 2 oz banana 2 oz mixed berries or all one kind — strawberries/raspberries/blackberries ½ cup fruit juice with fiber [or ½ cup unsweetened applesauce – adds 1 g carbs and 2 more calories] 1 cup orange juice  HINT: I combine the fruits and put those in the freezer as ‘kits.’

Put the yogurt and fruit in the blender/VitaMix or container for using an immersion blender. Whiz it on HIGH until everything is blended and no bits of berry are seen. Add juice/applesauce with the orange juice and blend on low. Put what you don’t use today into the ‘fridge for another day.

Blueberry Smoothie: 118 calories 0.2 g fat 3.1 g fiber 5.7 g protein 30 g carbs 99 mg Calcium  PB GF From the people at Wild Blueberries of North America comes this excellent smoothie. Take the calorie count into account when you meal-plan. HINT: Recipe makes enough for 2 servings. The food values above are for one serving.

3 oz banana ½ cup plain, fat-free yogurt ½ cup blueberries ½ cup orange juice

Put banana, yogurt, and berries into the blender and process until smooth. Add the juice and blend on low. Wonderful berry flavor!

Hot beverages: Dear Husband’s family used to joke that if you didn’t drink coffee, you weren’t old enough to get married. In truth, he didn’t drink coffee at the time of our marriage [age 23], and I often drank tea. Together we moved to drinking our only cup of coffee at breakfast, and together we learned to love cafe-au-lait. Then we heard about cocoa flavonoids, and began to make ‘cocoa milk’ to make our coffee a mocha.

How to prepare cocoa milk: ½ cup 1% or 2% or whole** milk ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder The night before, put the milk and cocoa powder in a jar with a tight lid. Shake it well, then put in the refrigerator over-night. This overnight time permits the milk to ‘wet’ the cocoa powder enough to hold the powder in suspension, rather than floating on top. **values for coffee, sugar if using whole milk: 87 calories 4.2 g fat 0.5 g fiber 4.2 g protein 9.4 g carbs 140 mg Calcium

Blackish Coffee: 55 calories 3.4 g fat 0 g fiber 0.9 g protein 5.6 g carbs 32 mg Calcium There’s ‘black coffee’ [no sweetener, no lightener, no calories] and then there is Black-ish Coffee. 1 cup black coffee 1 tsp sugar [doesn’t matter what type] 3 Tablespoons half & half [10% milk fat]

Frothy Mocha Cafe au Lait: 65 calories 1.4 g fat 0.5 g fiber 4.6 g protein 9 g carbs [1 g Complex] 159 mg Calcium High in Calcium, this has 5x the protein for only 10 calories more than Black-ish coffee, if using 1% milk. [35 more calories if using whole milk]

½ cup hot black coffee ½ cup cocoa milk ½ level teaspoon sugar

Shake the cocoa milk well, and warm it in the microwave or in a hot water bath on the stove. Put the coffee in a large [one cup+] cup or mug. Shake the milk again and pour into the coffee, adding the sugar. Use a frother to whip up the milk and coffee. Elegance with a great chocolate taste.

Ingredients for next week: 

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
zucchini + onion + garlic
Swiss chard + strawberries
jalapeño or hot pepper flakes + sage
Parmesan cheese
vinegar + roasted red pepper
paprika + garlic powder
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

1 pound zucchini + dill weed
salad greens + tomatoes
cooked chicken + Parmesan cheese
red bell pepper + pork roast
garlic + olive oil + onion
cranberries + zucchini
cooked brown rice + paprika
balsamic vinegar + olive oil
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Lenten Fare

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.

Now we are entering the 4th week of Lent and you might be running out of food ideas.  When I was a child, my mother would always ask what my sister and I would “give up for Lent“.  Sometimes it was candy or chocolate, but then we would always say bubble gum. [We were forbidden to chew gum of any sort, so that was said in jest. I’m sure my mother always hoped we’d stop bickering with each other.]  Six weeks was a long time to a child.  Adults sometimes vow to eat more plainly; to give up meat; or to practice other food-related abstentions. The idea of Lenten eating is to deprive yourself.  Here are some ideas for meatless meals, for Lent or anytime you want to eat on a lower trophic level. You won’t feel deprived. Just virtuous.

10-Grain Pudding:  181 calories  1.3 g fat  5.4 g fiber  10.4 g protein  35 g carbs [29 g Complex]  43.5 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the cereal pudding only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB  V   Delicious hot cereal for any day of the week. The applesauce and maple syrup give just the right touch of sweetness.10-Grain Porridge

1/4 cup uncooked Bob’s 10-Grain Cereal                                                                                 2 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                                     1 tsp maple syrup                                                                                                                                                              1.5 Tbsp applesauce                                                                                                                     large pinch of nutmeg + large pinch of cinnamon                                                                       blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                  3 oz berry-yogurt smoothie [40 calories], green smoothie or natural apple cider

Put the cereal in 3/4 cup of boiling water, turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, for 8 minutes. HINT: Do this the night before. Cool the cereal, then mix in the cottage cheese, maple syrup, applesauce and spices until well-combined. Put into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds until hot through. Pour the optional beverages and you will have a warm, filling start to your day.

Codfish Brandade:   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 a favorite. The garlic, olive oil, and fennel mark this version as Provençal. [HINT: This batch serves 4. Either invite friends or use what you need and freeze the remainder.] The recipe is from Jacques Pepin.Brandade w: tomatoes & Carrots

8 oz salt cod                                                                                                                                     ¼ cup potatoes in 1/2” cubes                                                                                                                        1 cup cauliflower puree                                                                                                                     ½ cup milk                                                                                                                                         4 cloves garlic                                                                                                                                    ¼ tsp fennel seed                                                                                                                                          1 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                         ¼ tsp pepper, more to taste                                                                                                            per serving: 4 oz sliced tomatoes  +  2 oz raw carrot, as coins or sticks + parsley leaves

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 to 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. Freeze the remainder. Slice the tomatoes and spread with brandade. Serve remaining amount in a bowl with the carrots stuck into it. Very traditional flavor.

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg 1.5 two-oz eggs
cottage cheese   + granulated garlic Swiss cheese  + cooked pork
cod brandade [St Bernard 19-Aug-’18] 3%-fat ham
peach + blueberries dab of mayonnaise  + dill pickle
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your hot beverage

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

zucchini   +  garlic + mozzarella Ham chunks + fresh pineapple
roasted red peppers  + Parmesan cheese asparagus +  Swiss cheese
1 slice polenta [Sidekicks II, 4-Oct-2017] Béchamel sauce with cheese  [Sidekicks I, 17-Sept-2018]
firm white fish  +  herbs de province Yorkshire Pudding [Not by Bread.., 7-Feb- 2018
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Ups & Downs

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.

One feature of the book Bridget Jones’ Diary was her frequent recording of her weight — up and down it would go, much to her dismay.  Of course we readers knew it would do that, since Bridget was an ‘emotional eater‘ and often drank too much.  But those fluctuations were very relatable to dieters, even Fasters.  We want to think that once we get to our Target Weight [and there is no magic to that — it is the weight you want to be], we will magically remain there, day after day.  Having Fasted for many years, I can tell you that weight can rise by as much a 2 pounds [0.9 kg or 0.14 stone] from one day to the next. And then a Fast Day or two sets things to right again. Or weight could drop by a pound — inexplicably!  Do not be discouraged if your weight fluctuates. It happens and life goes on.  It is what you do with the information that matters — does it make you stop the Fasting Lifestyle or does it make you double down and do better? Your choice.    On March 15, 1892, the modern escalator was patented, designed to take people up and down stairs without effort.  Did you think that maintaining your weight and avoiding its ups and downs would be without effort?  Fasting is the closest thing to that I know.

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.Mackerel ScrOmelette

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   [I clean and cook mine as soon as I get it home, then freeze it.]                                                                                                                        1.5 oz leeks                                                                                                                                                     ½ tsp Dijon mustard                                                                                                                        1 oz strawberries                                                                                                                       Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                     Optional: 3 oz green or berry-yogurt smoothie [38 calories]or unpasteurized apple cider

Spritz a hot sauté 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!

Beef & Beet Salad:   248 calories  8.5 g fat  3.4 g fiber   24 g protein  17 g carbs [10 g Complex]  24 mg Calcium   PB GF   This unusual salad was found in James Peterson’s Glorious French Food. Should you have left-over roast beef, this is the dish to try.Beet & Beef Salad

2.75 oz thinly-sliced roasted beef                                                                                                 3.5 oz pickled beets, as thinly-sliced rounds                                                                              1/4-1/2 cup shredded lettuce                                                                                                            dill pickle spear                                                                                                                                1.5 tsp dressing***

Dressing   [makes 6 teaspoons — save the remainder]                                                                                                      2.25 tsp Dijon mustard                             1 Tbsp chopped shallot                                                 1.5 tsp wine vinegar                                     4.5 tsp olive oil

Slice the beef and the beets as matchsticks about 2-3” long. Put in the serving bowl/plate and drizzle the dressing over the top. Gently toss to coat the salad with the dressing. Plate it. Wonderfully simple.

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg 1 two-oz egg   + beef or chicken broth
Ham Florentine [see Savory 27-Feb-’19] soy sauce  +  mirin
applesauce scallion + sweet onion
dry Japanese Soba Noodles [190 cal/ 2 oz]
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:

Trout filet Bulk pork sausage meat
butter chickpeas  + potato
hazelnuts onions  +  scallion
haricots or green beans Savoy cabbage
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Shipwrecked!

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 laurarose who is now Following.

Tomorrow, February 10, is “San Pawl Nawfragu.” But you knew that, right?  You would have known if you were familiar with Chapters 27-28 of the Book of Acts.  There, Luke, the author of Acts, describes being transported from modern-day Crete to Rome with St Paul who was a prisoner. [Paul, in 60 CE, was accused of crimes against the state, but being a citizen of Rome, he demanded that the trial be held in Rome. Hence the sea voyage.]  The ship was in a storm off southern Italy and the crew were fearful for their lives.  Paul told them they would all live and when the ship ran aground, everyone survived. Once safely on shore,” wrote Luke, “we found out that the island was called Malta.  The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”  The shipwreck at Valletta or possibly St Thomas Bay was the start of the conversion the Maltese to Christianity. After three months, the crew and passengers continued to Rome and to this day, the people of Malta celebrate the shipwreck and the rescue of all hands.                                                                                                         “Mediterranean Vegetables” [similar to French Ratatouille] are a popular ingredient in Maltese recipes [a recipe will call for ‘a can of Mediterranean Vegetables’], and so we use them in today’s meals.  From breakfast to dinner, we can dine like those unusually kind people of Malta. The dinner is a scaled-down version of the local favorite “Torta tal-Ispinaċi u t-Tonn taż-Żejt.”

ratatouille-egg crepe

Ratatouille-Egg Crepe:    292 calories   5.7 g fat   4 g fiber   15.5 g protein   43 g carbs [37 g Complex]   205 mg Calcium    PB  GF – if using GF flour in your crêpes     Straight out of Malta – if it weren’t for the crêpe! A perfect blend of French/Mediterranean flavors.

1 crêpe [see Sidekicks I, 17 Sept 2017]                                                                                                            one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                                               ¼ cup Mediterranean Vegetables [Sidekicks II, 4 Oct 2017], drained of excess liquids [reserve the liquid]                                                                                                                                                   ½ oz fresh mushrooms                                                                                                                                           5-6 oz green smoothie or fruit smoothie or unpasturized apple cider                                            blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water

Drain the vegetables of excess liquids. Use the liquids to cook the mushrooms. Combine the vegetables and mushrooms and heat. Warm the crêpe and plate it. Poach or fry the egg. Spoon the vegetables over the crêpe and top it all with the egg.

maltese spinach-tuna pie

Maltese Spinach-Tuna Pie:   185 calories   9.6 g fat  5.3 g fiber  19 g protein   24 g carbs [16 g Complex]   49 mg Calcium   PB   This dish is a classic in Malta and you will enjoy it at home too. Lots of ingredients, but it is really easy to prepare and remarkably tasty. NB: This recipe serves two.

1/6 sheet purchased puff pastry                                                                                                       100 g frozen spinach                                                                                                                                 1 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                    ½ cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                           2 cloves garlic, chopped                                                                                                                     100 g tuna                                                                                                                                           100 g Mediterranean Vegetables [see Sidekicks II,  4-October -’17]                                                                                 ¼ c peas                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp capers                                                                                                                                     2 anchovies, rinsed                                                                                                                              2 Tbsp tomato puree 

Put the puff paste sheet on the counter to warm for 30 minutes. Thaw the spinach and squeeze out the moisture. Heat the oil in a pan, then saute the onions and garlic. When they are just cooked, add everything else except the puff pastry. Stir and cook until everything is warmed through. Transfer to a lightly-oiled oven-proof dish. Cut 1/6 of the pastry sheet. Rewrap and refreeze the rest. Place the puff paste on top of the tuna/vegetable mixture. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is browning and flakey.