Sap Season

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: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier. Welcome to nycdesmond who is now Following.

Most people joke that Northern New England has only 2 weeks of Spring. Ha. Ha. Are they expecting the soft season of the deep South, filled with weeks of blossoms? Spring here begins in late February/early March when the Sugar Maple trees begin to wake up. The air is still cool but the sun is warm on your back. The sky is a brilliant blue and a light jacket is all you need. Present but silent all Winter, the Mourning Doves begin to sing, which tells us that the sap is running. Last Fall, the sap drained from the upper twigs and branches. Down into the roots it went, to be stored during the Winter. [That’s why the leaves turn colors and fall off: no sap to keep them alive.] When the days get longer in the late Winter and the sun sails higher in the sky, the sap begins to rise. When the night temperatures fall below freezing, the sap returns to the roots. The next day, it rises again. This is what we tap [literally] into by drilling holes in the bark [a 12″ diameter tree will have one tap, while a larger tree could have two or more], and hammering in a metal cone called a spile. A bucket is hung from the spile to catch the dripping sap. Such a sweet sound! The sap is collected, boiled down [we do it over a wood fire outside], filtered, and boiled some more until it turns to syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. After four to five weeks, the day and night temperatures equalize, the trees bloom, and the sap season is over. In late April, the daffodils flower; in May, the apple trees bloom; and in June, the lilacs. It takes more than flowering shrubs to make a Spring in northern New England.

During the sap run, we like to make our coffee with maple sap instead of water. Sweetens it just enough that you don’t need sugar! Since we have many jars of syrup in the Root Cellar, we can use it a lot: pancakes, of course, but also in porridge and some dinners.

10-Grain Pudding: 175 calories 1 g fat 5.4 g fiber 7.5 g protein 35 g carbs [29 g Complex] 39 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB Here is delicious hot cereal for any day of the week. The applesauce and maple syrup give just the right sweetness.

¼ cup uncooked Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal   1½ Tbsp cottage cheese 1 tsp maple syrup 1 Tbsp applesauce pinch of nutmeg + pinch of cinnamon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Put the cereal in ¾ 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 microwave it until hot through. Pour the beverages and you will have a warm, filling start to your day.

Maple-Glazed Salmon: 249 calories 8.4 g fat 2.4 g fiber 26.5 g protein 18 g carbs 54 mg Calcium PB GF What’s not to love about maple syrup on salmon?! Served with mounds of asparagus, it is early Springtime on a plate. 

4 oz salmon fillet, skin removed 1 Tbsp maple syrup ½ tsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp yellow Sriracha 4 oz asparagus, trimmed and sliced

30-40 minutes before dinner: whisk together the syrup, soy, mustard, and Sriracha, and pour over the salmon on a small pie plate. Marinate, turning frequently, for 20 minutes. NB: Be sure to save the marinade when you remove the fish from it. Trim and slice asparagus and put in a pan with some water, but not enough to cover. Turn heat on under asparagus to bring it to a simmer. Heat a non-stick or cast-iron skillet and spray it with cooking spray. Put salmon in the pan and cook 4 minutes on one side. Turn and cook 4 minutes on the other side. Remove fish to serving plate. Pour marinade into the hot pan from the fish and take off heat. It will foam and bubble up quickly as it thickens. With a plastic scraper, ease the sauce onto the fish. Drain the asparagus and put it into the now empty skillet to get all the sauce from it. Mound the asparagus around the fish, sprinkle with salt.