Saint Perpetua

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

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Perpetua.  In Carthage  at the close of the 2nd Century, there once lived a young Roman matron who was happy to admit to being a Christian. Her mother, several friends, and her enslaved servant Felicity were also converts.  Faced with the usual choice, Perpetua chose prison and death. Felicity, after a pep-talk to reinforce her beliefs, went along. In prison, Perpetua kept a diary.  Up until the day Perpetua and Felicity were taken out to be beheaded, she wrote about her faith.  So it is that instead of being a saint ‘who’s origins are vague’ [as many hagiographies tend to say], we know exactly who she was and when and why and from her own hand. Her infant child and her diary were handed over to friends on the outside, and her fame spread. The story of Perpetua, most fittingly, has been ‘lasting’ [the translation of her name from latin] and to some who do penance during Lent, that season can seem to “go on in perpetuity.”                                                                  Since Perpetua and her Companions lived and died in northern Africa, we will enjoy a breakfast that was born in Morocco, and a dinner featuring lamb and fresh vegetables which surely Perpetua’s wealthy family might well have eaten too.  Whether you are Fasting for Lent or Fasting for improved health, think about Perpetua and the lengths she went to in following what she knew to be the right thing to do.

Moroccan Omelette:   135 calories  8 g fat  1.4 g fiber  10 g protein  7.7 g carbs  49 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the main dish and fruit only, not the optional beverages.    PB GF    Suggested by our First-born, this is the easiest omelette in the world to prepare. For the compete flavor profile, serve with mint tea.Moroccan Omelette W: Apples

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 tsp or more ground cumin                                                                                                             ½ tsp paprika                                                                                                                                     salt + pepper                                                                                                                                         1.5 oz apple + 2 Golden Berries  OR  5 Bing cherries                                                                       MINT TEA, blackish coffee [53 calories]or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                       5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories] or unpasteurized apple cider

Combine the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small dish. Whisk just the 1.5 eggs vigorously. Pour into a heated skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Turn down the heat.  Sprinkle the eggs with the seasonings and leave undisturbed until puffy and the top is set. Remove from skillet, and serve folded or flat. Pour the beverages and enjoy the fruit as a counter-point to the spices.

Lamb Kabobs: 227 calories  6.2 g fat  5 g fiber  22 g protein  31.4 g Complex Carbs   41 mg Calcium   PB GF  This is so easy and so perfect for indoor grilling.Lamb Kabobs w: corn relish

3 oz lamb leg in cubes                                                                                                                             1 Tbsp tomato juice OR water + granulated garlic + crumbled rosemary                                                  1.5 oz red bell pepper, in 1-1/2” chunks                                                                                                1.5 oz zucchini, sliced 3/4” thick, then cut in quarters                                                                     1 oz red onion, cut in chunks                                                                                                             ¾ cup Corn-Tomato Salsa [see Second Fiddles  9-Jan-’19]

Salt the tomatoes and put into a sieve over a bowl to catch the juice.  Combine the tomato juice, garlic, and rosemary with the lamb. Stir to coat and set aside to marinate for 30-60 minutes. Prepare the vegetables and Corn Salsa while the meat sits. Impale the vegetables and lamb chunks on skewers, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan [indoors] or an outdoor grill and cook the kabobs on all sides. The meat will brown and the vegetables will begin to char a bit. Plate with the salsa for a very colorful meal.

Ingredients for next week:

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

whipped cream cheese 1.5 two-oz eggs
Herring marinated in wine cooked mackerel
Finn Crisp crackers leek  +  Dijon mustard
cherries or strawberries strawberries
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:

hake  + onions +  Feta cheese cooked roast beef slices  +  pickled beets
garlic  + pinch sugar Dijon mustard  + shallot
whole tomatoes, canned red wine vinegar
dry red wine olive oil
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Creole Carnival!

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                                Welcome to Rekol Group who is now Following.

If people on the Gulf Coast of the USA says, “I’m Creole,” they could be telling you that they are native born or they are saying they are of mixed stock.  In the 1600s, when French and Spanish Colonizers moved to the area, everyone except for the Native Americans was ‘from away.’  After a generation or two, there were people who were native-born of European stock.  The snobs would distinguish them from true Europeans, by designating the born-on-American-soil people as “Creole.”  Later, those bloodlines included Native American and African lineages.  So Creoles became ingredients in the mixture called the American melting pot. So it is with creole food.  This cuisine evolved in New Orleans: a subtile, sophisticated use of local ingredients put together with flavors influenced by France and Arab Africa.  [NB: Creole does not equal Cajun.  Two different people, with two different stories.]                                                                                                                             It is Carnival time in New Orleans: a time to party with the tourists.  Technically, the word ‘carnival’ means “farewell to meat,” as one was supposed to use up all the meat, fats, and eggs in the house so that one wouldn’t eat them during Lent. “Mardi Gras” or Fat Tuesday was the last day to get those foods off the menu.  So tomorrow it will be eggs for breakfast, seasoned with lots of spices and the creole signature of green pepper-onion-tomato.  Those same flavors appear in dinner’s Jambalaya, along with several meats.

Creole Bake: 137 calories  6.5 g fat  2.1 g fiber  8.4 g protein  11.6 g carbs [10 g Complex] 67.3 mg Calcium    NB: The food values given above are for the main dish only, not the optional beverages.    PB  GF   Creole flavors add zip to the morning eggs.Creole Bake w: apples

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                       1.5 Tbsp tomato dice or puree                                                                                                           1 Tbsp onion, minced                                                                                                                        1 Tbsp bell pepper, minced                                                                                                               1/2 Tbsp bacon [1/8 oz], chopped and measured raw                                                                                    1.5 tsp Cheddar cheese                                                                                                           Pinch file powder + 1.5 tsp creole seasoning                                                                                              2 oz pear or apple                                                                                                                             5-6 oz fruit smoothie [79 calories] or green smoothie or natural apple cider                      blackish coffee [53 calories], blackish tea, or lemon in hot water

Put the tomato, onion, bell pepper, and bacon in a small pan with a little water and cook until the bacon is mostly cooked. Spritz an oven-safe pan with non-stick spray and set the oven to 350 F.   Whisk the egg and then stir in the cheese, vegetables, and seasonings. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes. Prepare your beverages of choice and slice the fruit.

Jambalaya:  275 calories   5 g fat   4 g fiber 14.8 g protein  39 g carbs   81 mg Calcium    PB GF      What else would you eat for Mardi Gras? Or any other time you want delicious Creole  comfort food: jambalaya, of course.   HINT: This recipe makes enough to serve 4 [four]. Invite friends.

Jambalaya w: broc

2/3 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                   2 cloves garlic, chopped                                                                                                                    2 tsp creole seasoning                                                                                                                         ½ cup green pepper, chopped                                                                                                              1/3 cup celery, chopped                                                                                                                      2 oz andouille  sausage [or sweet Italian], sliced                                                                            3 oz chicken breast, cubed                                                                                                                                2 oz [½ cup] ham, cubed                                                                                                                 12 oz crushed tomatoes                                                                                                                 1/3 tsp crushed red pepper +  1/3 tsp black pepper +  2/3 tsp salt  +   ¾ tsp file powder                                                     ½ tsp Tabasco sauce +  1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce                                                                              ¾ cup brown rice                                                                                                                                   1.5 cups chicken broth                                                                                                                      2 oz broccoli

Cook the onion in a little water and a dash of olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cajun seasoning and cook until fragrant. Stir in the green pepper and celery and then add the meats. Pour in the tomatoes, seasonings and sauces, the rice, and broth. Cover and simmer for 25-40 minutes, stirring every once in a while to prevent sticking. The mixture will not be soupy, as the rice will have absorbed the liquids. Cook uncovered if too much liquid remains. Portion the jambalaya and freeze what you don’t use today.  Prepare the broccoli and plate.

Savory

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

“Savory” is the name for two different herbs: Summer Savory [Satureja hortensis] and Winter Savory [Satureja montana]. “Savory” connotes a rich blend of pleasing flavors. Today, we mean the latter.  Here are three savory, succulent fillings, which are versatile enough to use for breakfasts, to flavor baked eggs or an omelette; or at dinner, when they are so easy to fold into crêpes.

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

HAM FLORENTINE FILLING     makes 1.5 cups     Coming to us from Peter Christian’s     Ham Florentine CrepesRecipes, it can fill crêpes or egg dishes.       ½ cup no-cheese Béchamel Sauce  [SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17]                                                         1 cup ham in 1/4” dice                                                                                                                     1 cup [5 oz] cooked spinach, fresh or frozen                                                                                       ½ cup chopped celery                                                                                                                      ¼ cup chopped onion                                                                                                                   celery salt + dill + granulated garlic + basil                                                                                            Be sure to squeeze the spinach until most of the liquid is out of it. [save the liquid] Spritz a sauté pan with non-stick spray and add some of the spinach liquid. Cook the celery and onion until the onions are transluscent, adding more spinach liquid as needed. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat until warmed through.

MOUSSAKA SAUCE          makes 3 cups;    ¼ cup = 110 calories   Moussaka Bake w: melonMixed with eggs, it is a hit at breakfast. Or, have it as dinner.                 1 pound ground lamb                                                                                                                           1 pound eggplant                                                                                                                            ¼ cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                        1 c. marinara sauce [Saucy 6-Dec-’17]                                                                                     3/4 tsp [or more] ground cinnamon                                                                                                   Cook the lamb without added fat. Pour off the fat that accumlates and put the lamb in a strainer. Run it under hot water to remove excess fat, then crumble the meat. Peel and cube the eggplant. Chop the onion. Cook the two vegetables in a pan sprayed with non-stick spray until the onion is transluscent. [Add a little water if needed.] Pour in the marinara sauce along with the cinnamon, and continue cooking slowly until the eggplant is soft. Run the sauce through the blender/food processor, then add the meat and adjust for seasonings.

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg  + American/streaky  bacon 1.5 two-oz eggs
tomato, fresh or puree   + Cheddar ground cumin
onion  +  sweet pepper  + filé powder paprika
creole seasoning  +  apple or pear Bing cherries or apple
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:

andouille sausage  +  chicken  + ham cubes of leg of lamb  + zucchini
onion  + brown rice  +  celery + garlic red bell pepper  + garlic powder
sweet pepper  + crushed tomatoes  + chicken broth corn-tomato salsa [Second Fiddles Jan-9-’19]
red pepper flakes  + Tabasco + broccoli cajun seasoning + filé powder rosemary  + red onion    + optional tomato juice
Sparkling water Sparkling water

 

Saint Walburga

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                    Welcome to Raluca S. who is now Following.

Saintliness seems to run in families.  This was certainly the case for Saint Walburga. She was born in Devon [now part of England] in 710, to a well-to-do Saxon family.  Her father was St Richard and her mother was Winna, sister of St Boniface [born Winfrid].  Walburga’s brothers were St Willibald and St Winnibald.  [I could not make this up if I tried.]  What does a family of saints talk about at dinner?  Prayer, I suppose. And Fasting, no doubt, since Walburga was known for it.  In her day, Walburga ran several religious houses and some credit her with being the first female author of England and Germany since she wrote a biography of her brother.  After she died on February 25, 779, her tomb seemed to exude a liquid which is said to have healing properties.  Somehow the good saint’s story became tied in with witches and their revels on the eve of May 1st.  Called ‘Walpurgis Night,‘ it is celebrated in Scandinavia and is likened to a little Hallowe’en in the mountains of southern Germany.                                                                                                           In honor of the origins of Walburga, we’ll breakfast in the English countryside.  For her gift of the healing oil, dinner will be the good-for-what-ails-you chicken soup, long touted by grandmothers as a universal panacea.

Cottage Breakfast:   157 calories   7.5 g fat   1.2 g fiber   8.3 g protein   14.8 g carbs 38 mg Calcium   PB  I wanted a breakfast that evoked a cottage in the English country-side, so here it is. The pan muffins are very good.Cottage Bfast A

1 pan muffin [see …Not By Bread…posted 7-Feb-2018]                                                                1 oz applesauce                                                                                                                                   one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                      5-6 oz fruit smoothie [79 calories] or green smoothie or natural apple cider                                   blackish coffee [53 calories], blackish tea, or lemon in hot water

HINT: I prepared 8 pan muffins from the 10-grain mufffin batter, cooked them, and froze them. I made the remaining batter into muffins to eat on Slow Days. Take one pan muffin from the freezer the night before and let it thaw. Cook the egg to your taste and warm the pan muffin. Dish the applesauce, brew the hot beverage, pour the smoothie. What a sweet and easy meal.

‘Therapeutic’ Chicken Soup:   278 calories   3.4 g fat   5 g fiber   18.5 g protein   36 g carbs [26 g Complex Carbs]   78 mg Calcium   PB  GF — if using GF noodles The recipe is from It’s All American Food  by David Rosengarten. Simple, filling, and Granma says it is good for you. NB: One serving = 2 cups of soup! Eat less if you need to.Therapeutic Chicken Soup

1-1/2 cups excellent chicken broth, homemade or purchased                                                          2 oz [½ cup] parsnips, diced                                                                                                             1 oz [¼ cup] carrots, in coins                                                                                                                         ¼ cup celery, sliced                                                                                                                            2 oz cooked chicken breast, cut in 1/2” cubes                                                                                1/2 oz Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles                                                                                                 3 Tbsp parsley

Prepare the vegetables. Cook the noodles in salted water until just underdone. Drain them and plunge into cold water. Drain again and hold at room temperature until needed.  Heat the stock to a simmer and add 3-4 Tbsp water, which will boil away as you cook. I added the parsnips first and cooked for about 5 minutes, then added the carrots. After another 5 minutes, I put the celery in the soup. Cook until all the vegetables are tender, then adjust the seasoning of the broth. Add the pasta and chicken. It will need extra flavor now since the pasta will have used it up. Add the parsley and cook about 5 minutes longer.

Italian Style

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Monday, eat the meals that will be posted on Sunday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

“Italian Style” can mean many things.  There is the style of dressing [fashionably].  The style of driving [with abandon]. The style of decorating [looking rustically antique].  The style of living [leisurley]. The style of eating [abundantly].  From films such as “La Dolce Vita” and from books such as Under the Tuscan Sun, non-Italians suddenly get the yen to depart for Chianti-shire and never return. Italian food can be carb-laden [potato-topped pizza is a thing] or light [Mediterranean Diet, any one?] and goes way beyond pasta+tomato sauce+lots of grated cheese.  Today our meals celebrate Italian ingredients!

Aubergine ScrOmelette: 128 calories  7.5 g fat  1 g fiber 10.4 g protein 4.6 g carbs [3.5 g Complex]  61 mg Calcium   PB GF  Eggplant, or malanzana in Italian, goes back to at least the 12th century in Italy.  Once considered a cause of insanity, you could go nuts over the combination of eggplant and tomatoes. They can be cooked and frozen in season to eat all year.Aubergine ScrOmelette w: pears

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.                                       1-1/4 oz fresh tomatoes, diced OR same amount of tomato sauce, such as Hunt’s                           1-1/4 oz eggplant                                                                                                                                 ¼ oz onion OR 1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped                                                                      large pinch Herbes de Province + pinch crushed red pepper flakes                                                 1-1/4 oz pear                                                                                                                              blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                                       5-6 oz fruit smoothie [88 calories] or green smoothie or natural cider

Chop the eggplant and onion/garlic. Simmer the vegetables and herbes in the tomato sauce in a covered pan until they are tender. If too thick, add a little water. Whisk the eggs with the vegetables and put into a hot pan spritzed with cooking spray. Scramble or cook as an omelette. Slice the pears and prepare your beverages. Savor the flavors of summer.

Turkey Picatta:  257 calories   5 g fat   1.3 g fiber   31 g protein   21 g carbs  28 mg Calcium   GF Rush Hour Cooking provided this recipe which is one of our all-time favorites. Quick and delicious.Turkey Piccata

4 oz uncooked turkey breast                                                                                                                                      salt & pepper                                                                                                                                                             ½ tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                                                1 Tbsp white wine                                                                                                                                                      1/3 cup chicken stock                                                                                                                                                                      1.5 tsp lemon juice                                                                                                                                                                   2 Tbsp shallots, minced                                                                                                                                             pinch garlic powder                                                                                                                                                       2 tsp capers                                                                                                                                                                    3 oz tomatoes, sliced                                                                                                                                             ¼ cup brown rice

If starting the rice from scratch, cook it now. Combine the wine, stock and lemon juice. Pound the turkey meat, if needed, to even out the thickness. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle with some good salt.  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the turkey on both sides until cooked through, adding a little of the stock mixture if needed. Remove turkey to a plate and keep warm. Add the stock mixture and shallots to the pan along with the garlic powder, stirring up the brown bits on the pan. Cook down until only 3-4 tablespoons of sauce remain. Lastly add the capers. Warm the rice [if using cooked left-over rice] and slice the tomatoes. Plate the rice, drizzling 1 Tbsp sauce over it. Plate the turkey, pouring the remaining sauce on it. Plate the tomatoes.

Ingredients for next week: breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg 1 two-oz egg
unsweetened applesauce chicken stock
pan muffin [Not by Bread, 7-Feb-’17] mirin + soy sauce
sweet onion
asian noodles: rice/wheat/buckwheat
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your hot beverage
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your smoothie

Dinner, single portion:

chicken breast, cooked savoy cabbage
rich chicken broth bulk Italian sausage
carrots potato
celery chickpeas or other white beans
parsnip  +  parsley onions
Egg Noodles scallion
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Fra Angelico

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                       Welcome to WJ Fulton who is now Following.

When Guido di Pietro was born in the Mugello Region of Tuscany in 1395, no one would have dreamed that this baby of small-town origin would become a major figure in the world of art. Early on, he trained as an illuminator, creating drawings for religious texts. Around 1420, he became a friar in Fiesole, Tuscany, taking the name ‘Fra [brother] Giovanni’.  His artistic work now flowed onto the walls of the monastery where it caught the eye of Cosimo di Medici, who brought the young friar to Firenze in 1439, to a wider world of trends in art. In Firenze, the Renaissance in art was beginning.  Masaccio in fresco; Donatello in sculpture; Brunelleschi in architecture were all looking at the natural world and putting more naturalism in their work. The stylized views of the Gothic school of art were being nudged aside by the art of linear perspective and realistic landscapes. Influenced by these heady ideas, Fra Giovanni’s frescos and paintings show graceful yet fully-grounded people who inhabit realistic spaces which are flooded with light. The Annunciation, c. 1440, shows this well and it is one of my favorite paintings.  His works are sweet without being cloying, emotionally evocative without being over-wrought. After his death on February 18, 1455, people began to refer to him as ‘angelic’ due to the grace of his art and his piety in life. Thus the name “Fra Angelico” was attached to him, though he was never called that while alive.                          The cooking term ‘Florentine’ often means that spinach is a key ingredient.  Fra Angelico painted in the ‘Florentine School‘ of art, which strove for naturalism [as opposed to the ‘Sienese School‘ which was more stylized.]  Today’s menus include spinach and they are delicious.  Gaze at some of Fra Angelico’s work at breakfast and dinner.  Your day will be better for it.

Spinach Frittata:   131 calories  7 g fat   1.9 g fiber  11 g protein  6.6 g carbs [5.8 g Complex] 127 mg Calcium  PB GF  Whether it is breakfast or dinner, Spinach Frittata checks off all the boxes.Spinach Frittata

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                        1/6 cup [3 Tbsp] cooked spinach, squeezed and chopped                                                              1 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                    1/8 oz [2 Tbsp] chopped scallions, white and/or green parts                                                         ¼ oz Manchego OR Cheddar cheese, grated                                                                                    dash of grated nutmeg   +  dash of granulated garlic                                                                       2 oz strawberries                                                                                                                        blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                    5-6 oz fruit smoothie [79 calories], green smoothie or natural apple cider

Cook the spinach, drain it, and squeeze it in your hands to remove excess water. [TIP: save the drained water for cooking vegetables or pasta]Chop the spinach and mix with scallions, both cheeses, nutmeg, and garlic. Lightly spray a baking dish with oil or non-stick spray. Pour the vegetable-cheese mixture into the dish and arrange so it is evenly distributed. Whisk the egg and pour over the mixture. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Plate with the berries and pour the beverages.

Ham Florentine Crepes:   299 calories   11.3 g fat   5.6 g fiber 15.6 g protein   33 g carbs   307 mg Calcium   PB  Peter Christian’s Tavern was a very popular New Hampshire restaurant and their cookbook was a local best seller. The restaurant has closed but the cookbook is a goldmine and it served as the source of this meal. Very easy if the crepes and Bechamel sauce are pre-made.Ham Florentine Crepes

Ham Florentine Filling:    makes 1.5 cups                                                                                              ½ cup no-cheese Béchamel Sauce [see SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17]                                                1 cup ham in 1/4” dice                                                                                                                    1 cup [5 oz] cooked spinach, fresh or frozen                                                                                        ½ cup chopped celery                                                                                                                            ¼ cup chopped onion                                                                                                                     pinches of celery salt + dill + granulated garlic + basil

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

For the Dinner:       2 crepes [see SIDEKICKS I, 17-Sept-’17]                                                                                               ¾ cup Ham Florentine                                                                                                                   Set the oven to 350 F. If the crepes are frozen, thaw and wrap in a tea towel. Put them in the oven as it warms. When the crepes are soft and pliable, lay them on a baking sheet, covered with the tea towel. Warm the Ham Florentine filling and spoon over half of each crepe. [I saved out a bit of liquid from the filling.] Fold the crepes over the filling and pat in place. Put the crepes in the oven until warmed through. Top with reserved filling before serving.  NB: in the photo above, you see a serving of vegetables. They add 50 calories.

Love Thyself

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On your next Fast Day, eat the meals that will be posted here in 3-4 days.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Why do you diet? Because you think your body has betrayed you by gaining weight and you want to punish it?  If you are angry at yourself, you will not succeed in improving your health — physically or mentally. You must like yourself well enough to want to figure out why you over-eat and to recognize that having the right relationship with food will help you to be successful.  Eating more health-fully is the key.   If dieting is about ‘punishment,’ it won’t work.  If it is about loving yourself, then you will want to take care of your body and feed it in a way to make it healthy.  Do you think you will be hungry all the time when Fasting?  There are many moods that masquerade as hunger.  If hunger is not the problem, food is not the answer. In Fasting, you will find a better way to eat, focusing on what foods are good for you so that you can feel and look your best.  How can you “Love your neighbor as yourself” if you don’t love yourself?   Be your own best Valentine.                                                                                                                                           In honor of Valentine’s Day, breakfast looks like an indulgence but has lots of delicious nutrition.  Dinner is a meal my Dear Husband and I have often enjoyed on February 14th, and it is very nice indeed.

Fruit Hearts: 198 calories 5.6 g fat 2.7 g fiber 13 g protein 25.8 g carbs 82.6 mg Calcium NB: These values are for the Fruit Hearts alone.PB GF V  This breakfast looks as if it came from the pastry cart, but it fits within our guidelines for Fasting. If you don’t mind doing ‘fiddly food,’ treat someone you love to a special breakfast.Fruit Hearts

1 oz whole-grain bread cut using a 2+” heart-shaped cookie cutter                                                2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce                                                                                                         2 Tbsp low-fat French Vanilla yogurt                                                                                               1 Tbsp almond meal/flour                                                                                                            fresh fruit of your choosing: fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries or peach slices or blueberries  [The fruit in the center is a ‘Goldenberry’]                                                                      1.1 oz Canadian bacon/back bacon cut into hearts with the same sized cutter                              3oz fruit smoothie [34 calories] or natural apple cider                                                            blackish coffee [53 calories]or tea or lemon in hot water

First, stir the yogurt and almond flour until thoroughly combined. It will thicken slightly. Cut the bread and the Canadian Bacon into hearts.HINT: I did this the night before, storing the bread in a plastic bag overnight to prevent them from drying.Gently cook the bacon hearts so that they are warmed through yet retain their pinkness. Lightly toast the bread hearts. Spread the applesauce evenly over each heart. Pipe the yogurt/almond around the edge of each heart, then arrange the fruit in the center. Sip some low-fat cafe au lait this morning and think lovely thoughts..

Filet Mignon with Tarragon:  278 calories  14 g fat  2.3 g fiber  28.6 g protein  7.2 g carbs [6 g Complex]  49 mg Calcium  GF  We have enjoyed this sumptuous Joanne Harris recipe for years and we still turn back to her My French Kitchen to make it again. HINT: This recipe is enough for two. Worth sharing with a special friend. If serving one, prepare all of the sauce and save it to put in eggs at breakfast or to use at dinner.

2 tsp butter                                                                                                                                       1 portobello mushroom cap                                                                                                               1/4 tsp olive oil   +  1/4 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                  ½ large shallot [1 Tbsp]                                                                                                                                             2 Tbsp white wine                                                                                                                              1 Tbsp heavy cream                                                                                                                          1 tsp grainy mustard                                                                                                                       ½ clove garlic [½ tsp minced]                                                                                                          2-3 Tbsp fresh tarragon                                                                                                                   two 4-oz filet mignon                                                                                                                           10 spears asparagus, snapped off at the bottom to remove the woody section

Cook the mushrooms on both sides in butter and a spritz of cooking spray. Keep warm off the stove. Heat the oil with a spritz of cooking spray, and cook the shallots until softened. Add the wine to the pan, then simmer for 3 minutes. Lower the heat, add the cream, mustard, garlic, and tarragon. Heat long enough to heat the sauce but do not let it boil. Cook the asparagus. In a separate heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and a spritz of non-stick spray over high. Cook the meat 1-1/2 minutes/side if you like it rare or 2 minutes/side for medium. Place the cooked steak on the mushroom cap, surround it with asparagus, and top it with the sauce. This is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg   +  cooked spinach 1.5 two-oz eggs
cottage cheese   +  scallion  +  nutmeg eggplant  + garlic
Manchego cheese tomato/tomato sauce +  Onion
granulated garlic   +  strawberries pear  +  Herbes de Province
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:

no-cheese Béchamel [Sidekicks I 17-Sep-’17]     +     spinach [5 oz]  +  ham no-cheese Béchamel [Sidekicks I 17-Sep-’17]     +  chicken breast
celery  +  onion  + celery salt sherry wine  +  carrot
garlic powder + dill + basil angel hair pasta
2 crepes [Sidekicks I 17-Sep-’17] broccoli   +   Parmesan cheese
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Citrus

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On your next Fast Day, eat the meals that will be posted 3-4 days from now.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

If you were to list 5 citrus fruits, would you name pineapple? cranberry? kiwi? I might have since I thought of ‘citrus’ as a tart fruit with a good ‘pucker.’  But I was wrong! Citrus fruits are indeed pucker-y, but they are a genus of plants which are in the same family as the garden herb Rue [the Herb o’ Grace]. All citrus fruits are similar in that they have segments inside a thick, leathery skin. They have a long history, going back to their origins in Asia, just south of the Eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains 8 million years ago.  This is the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when citrus fruits ripen and are widely available. Sought out for their tangy flavor, they are an important source of dietary Vitamin C in the middle of our winter.  Some people go overboard, causing the makers of anti-cholesterol drugs to print disclaimers about not eating grapefruit while on the medicine.  I asked the drug company rep and was told that the warning only applies to those who eat in excess of 6 grapefruits daily.  There used to be a ‘Grapefruit Diet‘ but that is now on the trash-heap of failed experiments.                           For our foray into citrus-inspired meals, we’ll enjoy clementines in a healthy yogurt parfait for breakfast and a salad with grapefruits for dinner.

Mango-Citrus Parfait:   288 calories  5 g fat   2.2 g fiber   26 g protein   36.7 g carbs [24 g Complex] 413 mg Calcium  PB GF  Fast Food Restaurants decided years ago to offer ‘healthy options’ in the form of yogurt parfaits. Yogurt with lots of sugar, fruit, and lots of high-fat, sugar-rich granola. Poor choice. Here is a more acceptable breakfast option, full of protein yet low in fat and calories.  NB: This could be a Slow Day lunch option, since without my coffee, it comes in at 229 calories.citrusparfait

½ cup reduced-fat cottage cheese                                                                                                   ½ cup plain yogurt                                                                                                                           1.5 oz mango cubes                                                                                                                           ½ clementine [skin it and use half the segments]                                                                            2 Tbsp granola                                                                                                                            nearly black coffee or tea or lemon in hot water         NO Smoothie today.

Stir the cottage cheese and yogurt to combine thoroughly. Divide the fruit into two portions. Spoon half of the dairy mixture into a wide-mouthed wine glass and top with half the fruit. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of granola. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order, topping with granola. Or just put all the granola on top. Prepare the coffee and enjoy that dairy-fruit goodness. The mango and clementine really perk up the creamy dairy flavors. Good choice for healthy eating.

Grapefruit-Avocado Salad:   289 calories  20 g fat [half of that is plant fat]  6.4 g fiber  18 g protein   15.3 g carbs [14.5 g Complex]   75.5 mg Calcium   PB GF  This is delicious, attractive, nutritious, and satisfying. Real food. Good food.grapefruit-avocado salad

1 two-oz egg, hard-boiled                                                                                                               2.5 oz avocado [this was half an avocado], sliced in 4 pieces                                                        3.3 oz pink grapfruit sections [you need 4 sections]                                                                     1.75 cups lettuce, sliced/shredded                                                                                                    1 oz cooked chicken breast [you could substitute 4 shrimp for a vegetarian meal]                             ½ tsp white wine vinegar + ½ tsp lime-infused olive oil + ¼ tsp ground ginger                            pinch of lemon finishing salt

Whisk the oil, vinegar, and ginger in a meduim-sized bowl. Add the lettuce and toss to coat with the dressing. Remove the lettuce to a serving plate, letting some of the dressing drip back into the bowl. Spread the lettuce evenly over the plate and sprinkle with the finishing salt. Starting at the center with the egg, arrange the grapefruit and avocado around the plate. Place the chicken as you wish. Brush the remaining dressing on the grapefruit and avocado.

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg 70-calorie whole grain bread
mushrooms applesauce  + Canadian bacon
1 crepe [Sidekicks I 17-Sept-2017] almond meal  + fresh fruit
Mediterranean Vegetables  [4-Oct-2017] fat-free French Vanilla yogurt
Whatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

Frozen spinach   + tuna 4-oz filet mignon  + fresh tarragon
peas  + garlic  + onion butter + oil  + portobello mushrooms
olive oil  +  anchovy  + puff pastry shallot + garlic + white wine + asparagus
Mediterranean Vegetables  [4-Oct-2017] grainy mustard + heavy cream
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Our Town

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                      Greetings to the group of frequent visitors from India. I hope this blog helps your on your Fasting journey.

On February 4, 1938, Thornton Wilder‘s play Our Town debuted. This is one of my all-time favorite plays, which I directed three times in 10 years at the high school where I was Drama Coach. Wilder is said to have based the play’s characters and location, “Grovers Corners, New Hampshire,” on Peterborough, NH which he knew when he was a resident at the MacDowell Colony there.  Certainly the play has a real small-town New Hampshire feel and many mentions of local towns [Contoocook, Jaffery] and landmarks [Mount Monadnock]. Like his contemporary, the artist Norman Rockwell, Wilder was working during the turbulent and troubled Depression Era, evoking nostalgia for a simpler, more idyllic life in turn of the century America.  And people responded to those images of their remembered youth.  Despite its unusual lack of fancy sets, the play was a hit and has been popular ever since its opening which featured the author in the lead role of “Stage Manager.”  It tells a highly relatable story of young love, of death, and of life. I would tell my players that if I wasn’t crying by the 3rd act, they weren’t doing their part. Sure enough, night after night the Third Act would have me in tears. Hug those near and dear to you, and be sure to “… realize life while [you] live it…every, every minute.”                                                           In their gardens, Mrs Webb and Mrs Gibbs would surely have grown rhubarb [more efficacious than the ‘lots and lots of Comfrey’ grown to ease constipation], so we will have some of that for breakfast.  Thornton Wilder had studied French at Yale. He must have had fun writing Mrs Gibbs’ line about wanting a trip to France: she longs to “visit a country where they don’t talk English and don’t even want to!”  He spent a time in Italy after college studying archaeology, so we will dine ‘in Italy’ on Parmesan Fish.

Rhubarb Pudding:  283 calories  3.6 g fat  2.7 g fiber  17 g protein  46.7 g carbs [36 g Complex] 406 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF flour      Hayden Pearson has a wonderful dessert call “Blanche’s Super Rhubarb Pudding” in his iconic Country Flavor Cook Book. This is a scaled-down version that is fit for breakfast: slightly tangy, lightly sweet.  NB: This recipe makes enough for two [2].  Rhubarb Pudding

6 Tbsp cooked, mashed rhubarb                                                                                                                 1 two-oz egg + 1 egg white                                                                                                               1-1/2 Tbsp sugar                                                                                                                                             2 Tbsp flour OR 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour                                                                            2 Tbsp milk                                                                                                                                       ½ tsp baking powder                                                                                                                          per person:1 slice Canadian Bacon [= ½ oz back bacon]                                                       blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                                      5-6 oz fruit smoothie, green smoothie or natural apple cider

Cut up 1 cup rhubarb and stew it in a little water. Drain thoroughly and mash. Measure the 6 Tbsp you need and save the remainder for another use. {Add to a smoothie; serve with yogurt] Whisk the egg and white, then add all the other ingredients [but not the bacon!] Spoon into a baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick spray. HINT: I did all this the night before. A real time-saver.Bake at 350F. Until the batter is firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. While the pudding bakes, cook the bacon and prepare the beverages. Delicious.

Parmesan Fish:  238 calories  2.6 g fat  4.7 g fiber  31 g protein  11.4 g carbs  242.5 mg Calcium   PG GF – if using GF bread    A new version of the restaurant classic, made suitable for Fasters. And it is delicious.fish parmesean

4 oz fish, firm-fleshed variety                                                                                                            1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated                                                                                                      1 tsp dried oregano and/or thyme                                                                                                 ¼ oz whole-grain breadcrumbs, fresh not dried                                                                                1 Tbsp milk                                                                                                                                      ¼ cup marinara sauce, homemade or jarred                                                                                 ¾ oz mozzarella, grated                                                                                                                    2 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese                                                                                                             2 oz green beans

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

In Our Cups

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Monday, eat the meals that will be posted on Sunday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

“To be in one’s cups” means to be in the act of consuming alcoholic beverages. No doubt about it: you could be mildly impaired or roaring drunk, but you are drinking. Often the term begs immunity for whatever one says or does in such a state.  Would that stand up in court?   Usually we do not recommend drinking booze on a Fast Day, due to the fact that it represents ‘empty calories.’  Spend your calories wisely on a Fast Day on food that is nutrient rich.  Save the drinks for a Slow Day  [see peterspicksblog for some good wine pairings] but don’t go over-board then either.                                                                      We can have our food “in cups” on a Fast Day, enjoying delicious meals without fear of a hangover.  Both menus today are easy to prepare, with make-ahead options.

Ham-Cup Eggs:   284 calories    7 g fat    2.4 g fiber    18.4 g protein      31 g carbs [15 g Complex] 319 mg Calcium   GF  Easy to prepare ahead and easy on the taste buds.ham-cup egg

1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                                                         1 slice “Cottage Ham” [4” diameter thin slice of ham] I used North Country Smoke House brand at 21 calories/slice                                                                                                                                                                          1 Tbsp cottage cheese                                                                                                                                                         1.5 tsp Parmesan cheese, grated                                                                                                                         2 oz apple                                                                                                                                                                     5-6 oz fruit smoothie or natural apple cider                                                                                       blackish coffee or tea or lemon in hot water

Fit the ham into an oven-proof container that measures 3.25” in diameter and 1.25” deep. [I used a cleaned tuna can. It was perfect.] You will need to snip  the ham on 2 sides and overlap the meat to make it fit better into the mold. Combine the cheeses and season with herbs/salt/pepper. Whisk in the egg and pour into the ham cup. HINT: I did this the night before and put it in the ‘fridge.Turn on the toaster oven to 350 F and bake the ham cups for 20+ minutes, until the filling is puffed and set. Prepare the beverages and the apple. Use a wide knife to loosten the ham cups from the mold before plating. Some of the egg will have oozed into the mold as it baked, but that was easy to remove too. This breakfast was a real hit.

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

Bison Chili:    per cup – 136 calories  3.2 g fat  4.8 g fiber  13 g protein  14.5 g carbs   57 mg Calcium           4 oz ground bison                                                                                                                                                   15 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced drained in a sieve [save the juice]                                      1 clove garlic, chopped                                                                                                                                                     1 cup red onion, chopped                                                                                                                                   1/2 cup green pepper, chopped                                                                                                                         3/4 cup canned red or black beans, drained and rinsed                                                                            2-4 tsp chili   +   ¾ tsp salt   +   ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin                  

Cook the venison, onion, garlic, and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the chili is hot throughout. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. makes 4 one-cup servings

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

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

Ingredients for next week:

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

1 two-oz egg + 1 white low-fat cottage cheese
rhubarb  + sugar + milk plain fat-free yogurt
flour or white whole wheat flour mango  + clementine
baking powder  + Canadian Bacon granola
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:

fish  + Parmesan cheese + mozzarella Salad greens  + red grapefruit
1/4 cup marinara sauce [Saucy 6-Dec-’17] avocado  + 1 large egg
fresh bread crumbs chicken breast meat + white wine vinegar
cottage cheese  + green beans lime-infused oil  + ginger   + lemon salt
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