Slow Days: Holiday Eating

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

I know what you are thinking: what does this woman eat over the holidays and what does that do to her weight? Here’s the ‘skinny’ [or not-so-skinny] on our eating during Christmas and the results of that. Now I’ll do the Bridget Jones thing: In early December, my weight was at my Target Weight.

Our Christmas Season begins on December 6 with St Nicholas Day. Dinner that day is always Gulyas, followed by some early cookies. See St Nick for recipe and food values.
Next, we celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day, which involves trimming the Tree while dining. I wrote about that as a Slow Day post on December 13 of 2019.

That morning, weight was below Target by one pound. All the while, throughout December, we observe two Fast Days each week.

On December 22, we always eat my Sister’s Christmas Pasta which I wrote about in a Slow Day blog. With a salad and good bread, it is a treat we look forward to. If you want to know about that wine, visit Dear Husband’s wine pairing blog: peterspicksblog
On December 23, we observe Little Christmas Eve, beginning at breakfast with a tree-shaped bread fashioned from Lussekatter dough. For dinner, our take on Smorrebrod: canapé-sized open-faced sandwiches with varied and colorful toppings on dense rye bread.
We begin Christmas Eve morning with my mother’s recipe for Cinnamon Buns. And end it with the Seafood Chowder seen below, prepared by Dear Husband and Wonderful Sons.

What is the result of all this good eating? Did my weight go up? Yes it did. But then it came down again. Exactly one month later, I am 0.3 [3/10] of a pound over my Target Weight. Not too bad, I’d say. Do I eat like this every Slow Day? NO. This is Festival Food. But the fact that I could eat like that and still keep my weight down says something about the benefits of the 5:2 Diet. Join me in Fasting in 2020. Eat well on Slow Days, Fast on the Fast Days — lose weight and keep it off.

Slow Days: Tree-Decorating Dinner

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Here we are in early December with Christmas fast approaching — how can one fit everything in? Years ago we worked out a multi-tasking method for the day we trim the Christmas Tree, and it works so well that we still do it that way. We always decorate the tree on December 13. [Dear Husband grew up in a German family where the tree went up Christmas Eve and came down seven days later. He loves having the tree up longer. Me too.] Dinner consists of finger food which can be prepared ahead: salmon piroshki

, with cheeses, vegetables, and a dipping sauce [plain, fat-free yogurt + dill weed]. For dessert, the full array of our families’ cookies. And to add to the celebration, a glass of sparkling wine. The meal is for ‘grazing’ — nibble, hang an ornament, nibble, sip.

The salmon piroski are filled with cooked salmon mixed with enough Dijon mustard to make a moist pate. One tablespoon of the mixture is placed inside rounds of pie crust which are folded over and crimped, turn-over/empanada style. [Yes, I know this is very non-traditional, but that’s how Craig Claiborne made them.] Made a day ahead, they are kept cool until being baked at 400 F for 15 minutes. Each year we enjoy this very special little feast — and still get the tree decorated!

Slow Days: “French Lunch”

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

This is one of my favorite meals. Restaurants will call it a bread & cheese board or a charcuterie platter and we call it a ‘French Lunch.’ I don’t care what you call it — it is easy to prepare and it is good to eat. “Charcuterie” is the French word for the meats you don’t get from a butcher [boucher] — such as pates and sausages. Cheeses come from a ‘fromagier’ or sometimes from a ‘charcuterier.’ Then there is good bread — very important! We add fresh fruit, chutney, and/or mustard to the board. Pair that with a nice wine, settle down, and enjoy a very nice repast without having to cook/prepare anything.

Here we have two artisanal breads, some salad, a variety of cheeses, two jars of chutney, and four spreads: chorizo paste, chicken liver pate, salmon pate, and mushroom pate. [The pates store very well in the freezer if you don’t eat them all now.]
Here’s another version of the idea, with three cheeses, olives, a duck liver mousse, a country pate, and an artichoke spread — all served with a salad and lovely bread. Washed down with cidre from apples.

Slow Days: Lamb Gozleme

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

While browsing the Web, I saw a reference to a Turkish dish made with lamb, spices and feta cheese. The concoction was called Gozleme [approximately pronounced as: guzz-leh’-mah] and I wanted to try it. The blog ‘wife ofaturkishlife‘ had just the thing.

1-1/4 c flour
½ tsp salt
¼ c water
¼ c plain yogurt
Mix flour + salt in large bowl. Combine yogurt/water and stir in until well-combined. Add a bit more water if too dry. On a floured surface, knead for ~3 mins, until smooth and elastic. Cover and let sit.
½ tsp Olive Oil
1 cup onion
1 clove garlic
4 oz ground lamb
Saute onion over medium heat 3-4 minutes until onion is soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.Add lamb and cook while breaking up into chunks for ~5 minutes.
½ tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp tomato paste/puree
¼ tsp pepper + ¼ tsp salt ½ tsp paprika 1 tsp cumin, ground 3 oz spinach, fresh or frozen
Add tomato puree and spices. Add spinach. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Set aside to cool for a bit. Divide equally into 4 bowls.
¼ cup fresh mint 1 scallion ¼ cup parsley ¼ cup feta ½ medium-sized tomatoDivide these ingredients among 4 bowls so that each bowl has equal amounts. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll dough into 10-9” squares and spread ¼ cup of lamb mixture over each. Top with fresh ingredients. Fold over dough to form a triangle or rectangle. Moisten and crimp edges to seal.
Lemon wedges
olives
Spray a large skillet/griddle with cooking spray. Cook Gozleme 3-4 minutes/side until golden brown and crisp. Cut each in half diagonally and serve with lemon wedges and olives.

This is half of the recipe on line and it made enough for Dear Husband and me to eat it twice. [He eats 1-1/2 pieces and I eat one half, which is filling.] This is a recipe that calls for a mis en place, just to keep you organized.

Here is a full serving — one Gozleme cut in half.
The calories in this portion actually qualify it as a Fast Day meal! It suffices for me any day.

This is delicious and really quite simple to prepare. You don’t need to be experienced with bread-making, since the dough is not yeast-based. I will definitely make this again!

Dear Readers: What do you think of this ‘table-style’ format for ingredients and directions? To me, it is very clear and easy to follow, but I’d like to know your opinions.

“How to Succeed”

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

On October 14, 1961, the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” had its debut. The show was a cynical look at the business world, where whom you know and naked ambition could carry you far. Some of its popular tunes included “I Believe In You” and “The Company Way“. The original role of the striving J. Pierrepont Finch was created by Robert Morse, then played in 2011 by Daniel Radcliffe. With music by Frank Loesser and a book by Abe Burrows, it was a sure-fire hit. The show was based on a satirical ‘how-to’ book written in the 1952 by Shepherd Mead who really did work his way up from the mail room to the vice-presidency of his company.

Today, I want to discuss how to succeed at Fasting or ‘the Fasting Lifestyle’ as we like to think of it. Why do we Fast? There are many benefits of intermittent [not everyday] fasting: lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and lower weight. Furthermore, there is a reduction of HGH [human growth hormone]. This means that your body has a chance to rest and repair — rather like a good night’s sleep but more significant. The decrease of calories for many hours [600 calories in 36 hours, which includes one Fast Day + sleep hours before and after] gives the body a real break from its usual revved-up pace. Do this twice a week, because two Fasts are better than one.

How do you begin the Fasting Lifestyle? Start by choosing your days. You might do ONE day per week and see how you like it — say, Monday. Look at some of the previous posts and decide what you will eat that day. Write on the calendar that you will Fast that day and what you will eat — that makes it more of a commitment. Go shopping for the items necessary to prepare the breakfast and the dinner. If you keep it similar to what you usually eat, it might be a better transition.

Eggs scrambled with ham and served with applesauce will keep you going for hours.

Then do it. Weigh yourself before breakfast and write it down. Eat breakfast as late as you can and eat the second meal of the day about eight hours later. If you eat within an eight-hour window, you will maximize your weight loss. Weigh yourself the next morning to see how well it worked.

How do you STAY on the plan? I think that a key is to plan your meals ahead. Hide any foods that are of low nutritional value, so they won’t tempt you. Stick to eating protein-rich foods that will keep you full, such as eggs, lean meat, and fish high in Omega-3. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables so your mind thinks you are eating a lot.

Tuna with Grilled Vegetables is a wonderful dinner.

Keep busy on Fast Days, so boredom doesn’t convince you that you are hungry. Keep your goals in mind. It is really rather easy to say ‘NO’ to empty calories on a Fast Day: one because you have your goals firmly in mind and because you could always eat it tomorrow. This is only two days a week, my Friends. You can do it. I believe in you.

Slow Days: Baked Bluefish

People who are new to the Fasting Lifestyle often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Dear Husband grew up fishing for and eating Bluefish. It is a migratory fish off the East Coast of North America and they run in large, hungry schools. This is not to be confused with “Boston Bluefish” which is Pollock named after its betters. The genuine article is a dense, dark-fleshed fish with a fine taste. I enjoyed it once at Legal Seafoods in Boston, where it was baked with a very nice sauce. Rarely do we see it in markets, but when we do, we snap it up. When I tried to emulate the restaurant sauce, I do believe that I succeeded very well.

The topping mixture consists of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard with salt, pepper, and maybe a little lemon juice. Combine the topping and spread it evenly over 3-4 oz fillets of fish per person. Bake at 400F. for 12-15 minutes. Ordinarily I would cook fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish. But Bluefish is denser, so it takes longer to cook.

And here it is plated with 2 sides: wild rice pilaf and cut green beans. Delicious. If you want wine recommendations for blue fish, have a look at https://wordpress.com/post/peterspicksblog.com/610

Slow Days: Strawberry Breakfast Crepes

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers.  Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forumwhich attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Sunday Breakfast is enshrined in our house as a special meal: a day for something out of the ordinary. Pancakes and waffles were popular in Dear Husband’s family, while yeast-raised cinnamon buns were my family’s favorite. Recently, a large supply of luscious strawberries gave rise to inspiration: crepes in a strawberry-maple syrup. The crepes were already prepared and in the freezer, which made it SO much easier. [You know how I always urge you to make things in bulk and freeze them for later? This is why! And crepes don’t take up a lot of room, even in a small freezer.]

In the foreground, you see 1/3 cup maple syrup with a teaspoon of butter.

Six crepes [not the savory ones made with buckwheat flour, but the sweet ones that were made for the Strawberry Moon blog on 16-June-2019] were taken from the freezer and thawed in their plastic storage bag overnight. They were warmed on a griddle. The maple syrup was warmed with a little butter and the strawberries were put in briefly, so they didn’t cook down to mush. The syrup took on a wonderful color and flavor from the berries! Chicken sausages were cooked and plated. The crepes were put on the plate open, generously laced with syrup and berries, folded in half and doused with fruit and syrup again.

Served with cafe au lait and a berry-yogurt smoothie, it was a fabulous meal for strawberry season.

Slow Days: Lavender Scones

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forumwhich attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Breakfasts at our house are a treat. True, cereal [hot or cold] is on the menu twice a week, but the other days see a succession of delightful baked goods or savory egg dishes. I like to bake and Dear Husband likes to get up early to prepare breakfast — our’s is a marriage made in heaven. Often, the night before, I will prepare something to be baked and then leave it on the counter to be finished and presented the next morning. This works for most yeasted recipes and definitely for ‘quick breads’ which are raised with ‘double acting’ baking powder. One such recipe is Lavender Scones.

You’ll have to find your own recipe for scones — I’m sworn to secrecy about mine. The key is adding fresh lavender buds: 1-2 tsp of buds which have been picked off the stems.

That’s buttermilk, by the way, not plain milk. It makes the leavening act differently.

Since there are only 2 of us, all I need to bake are 4-5 scones for a breakfast. This requires 1 cup of the dry ingredients, even though the whole batch has been prepared. The remaining dry ingredients are stored in a jar for another day.

I’ll use 1 cup of the scone mix to serve 2 people with 2 scones each. The storage jar is labeled ‘buttermilk’ to remind me to use that. If you don’t have lavender, you could add dried black currants or zante currants or other dried fruit to the mixture.

Here the table is set with the full meal: fruit yogurt [we add our own fruit to low-fat yogurt], Canadian bacon [back bacon to many of you], cafe au lait, rhubarb juice, and of course the Lavender Scones. A delightful Summer meal.

Slow Days: Siracusa Pasta

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

This recipe is from Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s book The Italian Country Table. She describes visiting the market in Siracusa, Sicily: the people she chats with and the ingredients that inspired this recipe. From them she makes a wondrous pasta dish. The following ingredients make enough for TWO [2] servings.

You will really need a mise en place for this preparation, so set it up now.

Garlic [3 cloves], 1/4 cup red onion, zest of orange/lemon, oregano, 1/2 cup basil + 8 oil-cured olives, 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 3 oz mozzarella, 3 oz ditalini pasta. The garlic is sautéed until pale gold and removed. Over medium-high heat, the onion is sautéed the same way before the zest is added for 30 seconds. The oregano is added and cooked for 30 seconds. Take off heat while you cook the pasta for 5-6 minutes until it is still firm to the tooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add the pasta water to the sauce pan and cook, along with the garlic, for 30 seconds. Add the pasta, basil, and olives, tossing everything to coat it with the flavors. Put the tomatoes in the pan and taste for seasoning. Plate with the cheese. I added basil leaves and clementine sections for even more color and bright flavor.

Gosh it is good.

Slow Days: Florentine Sandwich

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically.

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day?  Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum  which attest to that.  Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Our FirstBorn and his wife love to travel.  On a trip to Firenze, Italy, in addition to the art and history, they discovered a panini shop and this sandwich.  They prepared it for us when we visited them and gifted us with the ingredients at Christmas.  How splendid to have generous, creative offspring!  The bread is a ‘no knead’ Focaccia, recipe perfected by FirstBorn, which is really easy to bake — although it needs an 8-12 hour rising time, which takes some planning ahead.  Surely you could buy some bread locally.  My batch produced 4 round loaves, 8″ in diameter, each weighing 6-7 oz.

The ingredients to serving two are simple: 1 loaf focaccia bread, 2 Tbsp creamy white cheese [Stracchino or crème fraiche or whipped cream cheese or Philadelphia brand 1/3 fat Cream Cheese [‘Neufchatel’], 2 Tbsp truffle cream [combination of mushrooms, oil, truffles], 1 oz uncured capicola ham, and 1.5 cups arugula or ‘spring mix’ greens. Florentine Sandwiches, mise                                       To assemble, cut the loaf around the equator into two equal rounds.  Spread the soft cheese on the bottom round, then spread on the truffle cream.  Arrange the ham evenly on top, then heap on the greens.  Sprinkle with a good finishing salt and top with the other piece of the loaf.Florentine Sandwiches, plated   This serves two very nicely, or three if you had more sides than the cherry tomatoes.