Tortilla vs Tortilla

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 [Captured] who is now Following.

If you saw the word ‘tortilla’ on a menu, what would come to mind? That depends on where you live. The difference among tortillas is as wide as an ocean. For 10000 years, the Aztec and Mayan peoples of Mexico had been growing maize/corn and grinding it into a flour. Balls of maize dough were patted into flat rounds and cooked on a griddle.  In the native Nahuatl language, these were called ”laxcalli”. Spaniard Hernán Cortés and his fellow invaders observed the making of laxcalli in 1519. In Spanish, the word ‘tortilla’ means ‘little cake.’ When the corn laxcalli was introduced to Spain, it was called a tortilla — that along with a bunch of other little cake-like things. In Southern Spain, chickpeas were introduced during the Berber invasion and occupation from 711-1492 CE. Originally, a flat cake of chickpea flour was made in Greece. It migrated through trade to the Levant and entered into Arab cuisine. Today, a fritter made with chickpea flour is popular in Andalusia and they call it a ‘tortilla’. Enter Tortilla Espanola. In the 1830s, a Navarese woman cooked up a quick meal of eggs, potatoes, and cheese. When she served it to a hungry army general who was passing through town, he saw the potential for serving many hungry solders with this quick, inexpensive, nutritious meal. It was named ‘tortilla’ and became a hit all over Northern Spain. So, what is a tortilla? That depends on where you live. If you see the word on a menu, consider first where you are, so you will know what to expect.

Spanish Tortilla: 150 calories 9 g fat 1.5 g fiber 10 g protein 11.6 g carbs 189 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  In Spain, a ‘tortilla’ is a vegetable-potato-cheese and egg dish, usually cooked on the stove-top. This one is easier because it is baked. HINT: This recipe serves two [2] people.

1 clove garlic 1 oz/1 scallion ¼ cup/1 oz bell pepper 1 oz potato [I used sweet potato for its higher nutrition], cut in a small dice 2.5 oz egg = US extra large 25 ml/0.8 fl oz plain yogurt 2 tsp chives, chopped 1 oz grated Manchego or Cheddar cheese 2 oz watermelon   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]

Put the potatos in a small saute pan with a little water and cook until not-quite soft. Add garlic, scallion, and bell pepper and continue to cook until bell pepper is soft. In a small bowl, combine egg, yogurt, chives, and cheese. Stir in the cooked vegetables and spread in a baking dish that has been spritzed with oil or non-stick spray. Bake at 350F, 15-18 minutes. Plate with fruit and you are ready for an energetic day.

Corn Tortillas, homemade  makes 15 five-inch tortillas. 1 tortilla = 50 calories 1 g fat 0.8 g fiber 1 g protein 9 g carbs 12 mg Calcium

2 cups/185 g masa harina ¾ tsp salt 1.5 cups/340 g water 2 tsp oil 

Combine masa and salt in a wide bowl. Gradually add oil and water until evenly wetted. Knead 5-10 minutes until smooth and firm, adding more water if needed. Let rest, lightly covered 30 minutes. Portion into 15 pieces, each 30-35 g in weight. Cut two pieces of waxed or parchment paper each 6×6”. With a tortilla press, flatten each dough ball between the pieces of paper, until 1/8” thick and 4.5” in diameter. Cook on a hot, dry gridle 40-60 seconds, turning once. Freeze any that you are not using today.

Tostada for Dinner: 253 calories 13 g fat 5.6 g fiber 10 g protein 25 g carbs 119 mg Calcium  PB GF  Purchased tostada shells were the inspiration for this quick and easy meal. We will definitely enjoy this again!

1 tostada shell [fried corn tortilla @ 85 calories each]** 1/3 cup chili non carne   1½ Tbsp Guacamole ½ oz Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated ½ cup Mexican Vegetable Pickles

Warm the chili and grate the cheese. Plate the tostada and spread it with the guacamole. Spoon the chili on top and spread that to the edges. Sprinkle with the cheese and plate with the pickled vegetables. Ready in minutes, with minimal fuss.

**NB: if you can’t get tostada shells in your local market, here’s how you can make them from corn tortillas

Rule of Benedict

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.

Benedict of Nursia was born in 480 CE. Shocked by the worldly life in Rome, he became a hermit. After becoming a monk, he decided that monastic life had to be reformed. [The monks at his first monastery tried to poison him.] He thought that in 400 years, the Church had slipped a bit in its practices. More than a bit. After founding 12 religious houses, he wrote The Rule of Benedict in 516 CE. That sounds like laying down the law in an unpleasant and self-centered way, but it described a monastic life that could accommodate many different approaches. Thus it became the most prevalent way to live a monastic life all over Europe in the Medieval Era. The Rule described a monk’s day as dedicating 8 hours to prayer [during each of the canonical hours], 8 hours to work, and 8 hours to sleep. “Prayer and Work” were the order of the day. The work was hard: cutting trees, clearing fields, kitchen work, care of the sick, planting and harvesting. Benedict wanted the men to work hard so that they would be too tired to have unreligious or impure thoughts. Meals were part of supporting each man’s ascetic goals. There were two meals each day: late morning and evening. During Lent and on other fast days, there might be only one meal. At each meal, two different foods were served so that if you didn’t like one, you could eat the other. Each man was provided with 1 kilo/2.5 pounds of bread each day and 1/4 liter of wine. There was never any meat served from four-legged animals. Benedict thought that mammals’ meat caused ‘indigestion’ — a code word for carnal thoughts. Benedict believed that humans should suffer in life as Christ suffered, so life in the monastery was austere. Yet men flocked to the monasteries and women became Benedictine nuns. As centuries went by, the monasteries became rich, the work was not so hard, the food was more plentiful, and life was less austere. Therefore new rules arose: the Cistercians at Cluny, France reformed the Rule of Benedict in 910 CE, to get back to the core principles. In 1517, shocked by the worldly life in Rome, Martin Luther proposed reforms to the Church, and ended up tearing it apart in the Protestant Reformation. In 2019, there were 20,000 men and women living under the Rule of Benedict in 400 monasteries around the world, praying and working.

Not sure anyone today wants to eat like a 6th century monk, I have chosen elements from Benedict’s Rule: fish, vegetables, and only a tiny bit of meat — not enough to inflame the body and cause ‘indigestion.’

Maltese ScrOmelette: 152 calories 8 g fat 1.6 g fiber 12.5 g protein 7.6 g carbs 91 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  With the fish, the vegetables, and the fruit, these flavors have “Malta” written all over them.

1½ 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  ¼ oz cooked tuna 2 Tbsp frozen spinach 2 Tbsp Mediterranean Vegetables, chopped  ½ clementine  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Thaw and chop the spinach, and drain it through a sieve. Break the tuna into small bits. Combine all vegetables with the tuna. Heat the ingredients briefly in an oil-misted non-stick pan, then pour in the whisked eggs. Cook to your preference. Serve with the fruit and optional beverages of choice. Sunny flavors!

Goat Cheese with Figs: 287 calories 20.6 g fat 2 g fiber 18.5 g protein 25 g carbs 57.5 mg Calcium  PB Joanne Harris, in her French Market cookbook, offers this as a salad. But we saw it as a light dinner and we were very pleased with it. Easy to prepare – as long as you can find fresh figs. One might try plumping dried Turkish figs in warm water in lieu of fresh figs.

3 fresh figs, each ~½ ounce ½ oz Bayonne or Serrano ham 1 oz chevre cheese, a creamy type 4 mint leaves salt & pepper ½ plain croissant

Trim the stems from the figs. Sit the fig on its base and cut down into the fig, from top to almost-the-bottom. Make another cut at right angles to the first, so that the fig now is a bud with four petals. Slice the ham into ¼” slices and chop the mint leaves. Cream together the cheese, ham, and mint, along with some flavorful salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 3 equal portions. Open the petals of the figs and spoon the cheese mixture into the center. Warm the croissant and plate it with the figs.

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

1 extra large egg = 2.5 oz + scallion2 chocolate crepes + icing sugar
any color bell pepper2%-fat cottage cheese
white or sweet potato + chivesnon-fat vanilla yogurt + strawberries
plain, low-fat yogurt +Cheddar cheese30-calorie uncured bacon
Optional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chili non carne buckwheat galettes
tostada [fried tortilla]fresh tomato
Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheeseLeek&Bacon Filling
guacamole Mexican Vegetable Pickle basil or thyme
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Year of the Rabbit

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 ColdPressed who is now Following.

The word ‘zodiac’ means a ‘circle of animals.’ Eurocentric cultures use the Greek Zodiac, with 12 signs: some of animals [Capricorn the Goat, Pisces the Fish], some of humans [Aquarius the Water-Bearer, Virgo the Virgin]. These are based on constellations that are found on the ecliptic. As the sun moves across the sky, its path looks like a Sine Curve rather than going straight across the sky at the same elevation. This apparent shift is due to the Earth’s axial tilt. As the sun moves through each constellation, that set of stars is said to control the life of someone born during that time span. The Chinese Zodiac is different. Yes, there are 12 animal signs but each controls the entire year, thus taking 12 years to complete the cycle. This zodiac is ancient and is derived from the Taoist religion which believes, among other things, that the stars dictated one’s future and one’s personality. Taoism also contributed the concept of yin and yang, so each animal has a yin side and a yang side. In addition, the calendar is affected by the 5 Elements, showing the unity of people and things on Earth. Tomorrow is the start of the Lunar New Year, and it is the first day of the Year of the Rabbit: the Water Rabbit, to be more exact. People born in a Rabbit Year are polite, responsible, and cautious. On the down-side, they are timid and often fool-hardy — especially with finances. They are good workers, as they are industrious, devoted, and stable. Countries that have been influenced by Chinese culture [through past colonization] also observe the same Zodiac, though the animals might not all be the same. In Japan, there is a wild boar instead of a pig. In Vietnam, there is a cat instead of a rabbit. Astrologers predict peace, harmony, and financial success for this year. We’ll all wait and see what happens.

In the Year of the Rabbit, when one should work on better health and well-being, eating well can be a good goal for this year. Meals like these can keep your weight down and promote good health. Xīnnián hǎo.

Foo Yung Bake: 130 calories 5 g fat 2.4 g fiber 10 g protein 12 g carbs 57 mg Calcium   NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  Straight out of Guangdong, China, this is a no-fuss Chinese-American 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 cross-wise 1 clementine or 2 oz pear   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories] Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Gently mix the crab meat with sprouts, scallion, and mushroom. Lightly oil or spritz an oven-proof dish. Whisk the egg with the soy sauce, ginger, and garlic powder, then stir in the crab mixture. Pour into prepared dish, adding salt and pepper if you wish. Bake at 350 F. for 12-15 minutes. Plate with the pear and pour the optional beverages.

Dim Sum: 302 calories 5.6 g fat 1 g fiber 32 g protein 30 g carbs 28.5 mg Calcium I like to think of Dim Sum as the Asian version of Tapas or Meze: tastes of several different delicious foods. With prepared parts in the freezer, this meal is easy to assemble.

2 chicken Momos  2 oz raw chicken 1 tsp prepared Satay Sauce ½ tsp creamy peanut butter 2 pork Wontons  2 tsp chicken stock 1 oz Chinese BBQ Pork for steamed buns [purchased: 46 calories/oz] 2 oz tomato

Thaw the chicken and cut in cubes. Cream the Satay Sauce with the peanut butter and mix with the chicken meat. Let sit several hours. Thaw the momos, the wontons, and the pork. Combine the stock with 2 tsp water and put the wontons in the broth. Cook at a simmer until wontons are heated through. Remove them and continue to heat the stock until reduced back to 2 tsp. [Using ceramic soup spoons, I put 1 tsp of stock in each spoon and topped it with a warm wonton.] Thread the chicken onto a skewer and broil or grill for 10-15 minutes, turning to cook the other side. Place the momos in a steamer for about 15 minutes, until they are cooked through and the wrappers are translucent. Heat the pork in the microwave for about 1 minute. Slice the tomato and plate the Dim Sum components in the manner of your choosing.

The Alderney

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.

“The Dairymaid 
She curtsied, 
And went and told 
The Alderney: 
“Don’t forget the butter for 
The Royal slice of bread.” 
The Alderney 
Said sleepily: 
“You’d better tell 
His Majesty 
That many people nowadays 
Like marmalade Instead.”  The King’s Breakfast, A. A. Milne

And what, you ask, is an”Alderney” and why can it be rude to the King of England? The place called Alderney is one of the Channel Islands that lie off the coast of Normandy. They were traditionally owned by the Duke of Normandy. When, in 1066, the Duke of Normandy [William the Conquerer] became the King of England, the Channel Islands became part of England. Sort of. Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark are part of the sovereign ‘Bailiwick of Guernsey,’ which belong to King Charles III alone. In the poem above, the Alderney is a cow, one of a special breed from the island. Dairy cattle were important on the Channel Islands, provoking much pride and competition among their citizens. The Alderney was recognized in the late 1700s as an established breed, famous for its docility and the quality of its butter. The breed is mentioned by Jane Austin. In 19th-century England, ‘Alderney’ came to be a generic name for a cow from any of the Islands, so people were confused about the breed and authenticity of the brand name. On Jersey and Guernsey, they say that the Alderney is a degraded, inferior breed, but those who knew said that the three breeds were recognizably different, the Alderney being smaller, ‘deer-like.’ All of them originated centuries ago in Normandy and Brittany, and were subsequently affected by breeding programs on each Island. Before the Nazis invaded in 1944, many people and some cattle were evacuated. But however-many pure-bred Alderneys remained there were slaughtered by the Nazis, so the breed is no more. The most common dairy cow in the US today is the Holstein. There are herds of Jerseys, there are herds of Guernseys, but none of us will ever see an Alderney again.

Our meals, naturally, contain lots of dairy products — but no marmalade — in honor of the late, lamented Alderney breed of cow.

Herb Cottage Cheese Bake: 146 calories 5 g fat 4 g fiber 9 g protein 12 g carbs 36.4 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF crackers or omitting  This is a very pleasant and easy-to-prepare breakfast that takes advantage of the flavors of garden-fresh herbs.

One 2-oz egg 2 Tbsp fresh herbs, chopped 1 Tbsp cottage cheese 2 pinches crushed red peppers 2 oz peach 2 slices Finn Crisp crackers  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]

Preheat toaster oven to 350F. Spritz an oven-safe dish with cooking spray. Whisk together egg, herbs, cottage cheese, and red pepper. Pour into baking dish and bake 12-15 minutes. Plate with peach and pour an optional beverage. Simple and satisfying.

Ham Flan [Rigodon]: 284 calories 9 g fat 3 g fiber 27 g protein 25 g carbs 231.5 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF flour In Burgundy, they like their ham. Here it stars in the glorious ‘rigodon’ or ham flan. Easy to prepare and splendid to eat.  HINT: This recipe serves 2 [two].

3 oz ham, preferably 97% fat free 1 cup skimmed milk 4 two-oz eggs 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour big pinch allspice big pinch thyme Side Salad OR 2 oz green beans

Dice the ham and put it on the bottom of a glass or ceramic pie plate which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Bring the milk slowly to a boil. Whisk the eggs and flour until well combined. Take the milk off the heat and add to the eggs in a thin stream while whisking quickly so the eggs don’t cook. Stir in the seasonings and pour it all into the baking dish. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes, until set and golden brown. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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

1 two-oz egg + crab meat1.5 two-oz eggs 
soy sauce + ground gingertuna + clementine
sprouted seeds + scallionsFrozen spinach 
garlic powder + pearMediterranean Vegetables
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Chicken breast meat + chicken stock3 figs + mint leaves
Satay Sauce  + peanut butterchèvre/creamy goat cheese
2 chicken momos  + 2 pork wontonsBayonne or Serrano ham
1 oz Chinese BBQ Pork, purchased plain croissant
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Wyeth

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 domainworldtower who is now Following.

The Wyeth Family has given the world three generations of artists — so far. N.C. Wyeth [1881-1945] was the illustrator of the Scribner Classics for Younger Readers book series: Robin Hood, Treasure Island — the pictures of my youth. He also produced five children, three of whom were artists: Henriette, Caroline, and Andrew. All learned art at the feet of the master, and Andrew, born in 1917, became the most famous. His style was ‘Realism’ and he delighted in painting working people in country settings. After childhoods on the coast, Andrew went to Maine, finding inspiration in the family and the farm seen in his most famous work Christina’s World, painted in 1948. He painted in tempera and water color, and never deviated from his style despite living in the period of Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Some called him old fashioned — in the worst way, while some called him traditional — in the best way. Wyeth took delight in the small things and made them seem to be the most important: Wind from the Sea [can anyone see billowing sheer curtains and not think of Wyeth?] and Monday Morning stand out as examples. In all his work, there is a brooding quality that evokes….something. And you want to look at it again to figure out why it makes you feel that way. The ruckus caused by the discovery of the Helga Paintings was due to the public mythicizing Wyeth on the one hand and imagining a secret love affair on the other. Andrew Wyeth died on January 16, 2009. His [and wife Betsy’s] son, Jamie, is an artist in Pennsylvania and in Maine.

Although he was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Andrew Wyeth is associated with New England. Our breakfast has quintessential flavors and the dinner is straight from the ocean.

Rhubarb Pudding: 142 calories 3 g fat 2 g fiber 10.6 g protein 24 g carbs 155 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF – if using GF flour Hayden Pearson has a wonderful dessert called “Blanche’s Super Rhubarb Pudding” in his iconic Country Flavor Cook Book. Here is a scaled-down version that is fit for breakfast: slightly tangy, lightly sweet.

6 Tbsp cooked, mashed rhubarb 1 two-oz egg + 1 egg white 1½ 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]  + 1 oz strawberries Optional:  5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie[88 caloriesOptional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

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 350 F until the batter is firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. While the pudding bakes, cook the bacon and prepare the optional beverages. Delicious.

Clam-Stuffed Mushrooms: 205 calories 6.4 g fat 4.5 g fiber 18.4 g protein 20 g carbs 98 mg Calcium  PB GF- if using GF bread  So we had these small portobello mushrooms in the ‘fridge, and I thought “Stuff them!” and they were good! And very filling, despite the LOW calorie count.

3½ oz mushroom caps [four 2-3” mushrooms] ½ cup clam stuffing [see SPICY May 23, 2018]   2 oz tomatoes ½ oz SnapPea Crisps 

Poach the mushrooms briefly [2 minutes] in boiling water to cover. Using a paring knife, dig out any stem in the cap to create more of a cavity for the filling. Chop the stems and add to the clam stuffing. I used a 3-Tbsp cookie-scoop to distrubute the stuffing into the caps. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes. Plate with the cool tomatoes and the crunchy Crisps. Easy to prepare, a treat to eat.

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Jack London

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.

Jack London studying at Heinold’s Saloon.

John Griffith Cheney was born on January 12, 1876, and in the next 40 years, he did a lot of living and a lot of writing. His mother was an astrologer, his father was a no-show, and young Jack grew up in the grittier parts of San Francisco and Oakland. A step-father provided the last name ‘London’ but not much else, so Jack went to work early in life: farm hand, news boy, pin-setter, and a factory worker at age 14. On the docks of Oakland, he fell in with the hard-drinking sailors and fisherfolk around Heinold’s Saloon, where Jack sometimes did his homework. There, London got a taste for adventure and for liquor. In the Oakland Free Library, London got a taste for words and stories — R.L. Stevenson being a favorite. Buying a boat, he found more lucrative employment as an ‘oyster pirate,’ illegally harvesting bivalves at night to sell to restaurants. At age 15, he shipped aboard a sealing vessel which took him across the Pacific. Upon his return, he regaled his mother with his tales and she urged him to enter a short story writing contest. His $25 first prize set him on his career path. One semester at Berkeley was all he could afford, even after a loan from friend/patron Johnny Heinold, so he set off for the Yukon Gold Rush in 1897, seeking his fortune. What he found was illness and malnutrition and enough experiences to fill a bookshelf. His short story To Build A Fire lit up his career and Call of the Wild, published in 1903, made him a household name. Early on, London had seen the darker side of capitalism, so he became a committed socialist, often speaking eloquently on the subject. He continued to write 1000 words a day, through two marriages, and many travels. For the Hearst newspapers, he went to Japan to cover the Russo-Japanese War. London and other correspondents were annoyed by being prevented from going near the front lines, so London slipped away and made his way by fishing boat to Korea where the fighting was. During his stay, he was arrested three times for non-compliance with Japanese-imposed rules and spent some time in prison. President Theodore Roosevelt, a fan of London’s adventure stories, intervened to have him released. London loved to travel but he also had a special place for himself in Sonoma County: Beauty Ranch, which began as 130 acres in 1905, and blossomed to 1400 acres, where he pursued scientific agriculture. In his late 30s, his years of drinking and living rough caught up with him, but he refused to slow down his life or his drinking. He is buried at Beauty Ranch, now the Jack London State Historical Site. In Oakland’s Jack London Square, next to the Saloon, is a replica of the cabin where London lived in the Yukon, incongruously surrounded by palm trees.

Since Jack London is known for his gold-rush tales, our breakfast comes from the California gold rush and includes oysters. The dinner is pure Japanese cuisine — do you suppose that they served this to London during one of his several stays in a Japanese prison? BTW: Since London was an avowed socialist, the writings referenced above are linked to Project Gutenberg, a free library.

Hangtown Fry: 155 calories 9 g fat 0.6 g fiber 12.6 g protein 6 g carbs 62.6 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. GF  Turns out, this meal has nothing to do with being hanged and everything to do with striking it rich.

3 two-oz eggs of which you will use 1½ eggs per person HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week  2 shucked oysters, chopped ½ slice ‘American’ bacon, uncured if possible 1½ oz strawberries -OR- 3 cherries   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Dice the bacon and cook it in a hot pan until almost crisp. Add the oysters and cook a second or two longer. Whisk the eggs with salt, and pepper. Pour over the bacon/oysters in the pan and scramble or cook as an omelette. Plate with the fruit and serve with the beverages of choice.

Oyakodon (Chicken & Egg Bowl): 214 calories  5 g fat  6.5 g fiber 20 g protein 17 g carbs 38 mg Calcium   PB GF  Younger Son commended this recipe to us. That is fitting, since oyakodon means ‘parent and child’ because it contains both chicken and egg. The recipe is by Nakimo Chen from Just One Cookbookand we found it to be easy and delicious. HINT: This recipe is designed to serve two.  If serving with ¼ c cooked sushi rice, add 75 cal 0.1 g fat 0.6 g fiber 1.5 g protein 16.5 g carbs 38 mg Calcium. Brown rice would be an even better choice.

2/3 cup dashi
1½ Tbsp mirin  1½ Tbsp sake [or dry sherry]
1½ Tbsp soy sauce
1½ tsp sugar
Combine in a bowl or a measuring cup for liquids. 
Add sugar and mix all together until sugar is dissolved. Total volume = 7 fl oz
Divide the seasoning liquid into 2 equal portions and set aside. 
½ onion
optional: mitsuba [Japanese parsley]
Thinly slice the onion and divide into 2 equal portionsChop mitsuba and divide into 2 equal portions
2 large eggsBeat one egg in a small bowl. Beat the other egg in a diffferent bowl
6 oz raw boneless skinless chicken or turkey thighs Slice the meat diagonally + cut into 1.5″/4 cm pieces. Divide chicken into two equal portions
Use 2 small frying pans at the same time OR one pan used sequentially.
I used two 6” cast iron pans.
In each of two small frying pans, add ½ the onion in a single layer. Add ½ the chicken on top of the onion. Pour in the seasoning mixture. The sauce will come up to the top of the onion and chicken.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat to medium- low. Skim off any foam.  Cover + cook until poultry is no longer pink. About 5 mins
Slowly and evenly drizzle beaten egg over chicken and onion. Cook covered on med-low heat until egg is done to your liking. In Japan, Oyakdon is served with almost set but runny egg.
Garnish: small bunch Mitsuba or green onion/chives
½ c steamed rice [for 2 servings]
Add the mitsuba/green onion right before removing from heat. Pour the chicken and egg on top of steamed rice along with the sauce.

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

1 two-oz egg + 1 egg white1 two-oz egg 
rhubarb + sugar + milk2%-fat cottage cheese
white whole wheat flour [or plain] crushed red pepper
baking powder + ‘Canadian’ bacon/back baconpeach + Finn Crisp crackers
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

four 2-3″ mushroom caps3%-fat ham + 4 two-oz eggs
fresh tomatoes + SnapPea Crispsskimmed milk + green beans
Clam stuffing: clams, 70-calorie whole-grain bread, red bell pepperwhite whole wheat flour
tomato, turkey meatballs, plain yogurt, Parmesan, thymeallspice + thyme
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New Beginnings

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 Abel Pacheco Cuernavaca Morelos who is now Following.

Last week, in a fit of enthusiasm, you made some New Year’s resolutions. Have you kept them so far? Most of us don’t — only 16% of people keep the resolutions that they made. So let’s start over… Was one of your goals to eat healthier meals this year? That is a safe, achievable thing to do. What do you mean by ‘more healthy’: Smaller portions? Lower fat? Less red meat? Fewer calories? All of those will lead to healthy outcomes. Here are some tips to make it work for you. #1Start small. Rather than changing everything at once, try healthy meals one or two days a week, say: Monday and Thursday. #2Tell lots of people about your goal. Ask them to check in with you periodically as to how the new plan is going. Better yet, get some of your friends to join you. You can check up on each other, even plan and share those healthy meals together. #3Keep track of your progress. Remember when you were a kid and you looked forward to earning a star on the calendar for doing all your chores? Make note on the calendar of the days that you stuck to your goal. Having that visual can be an incentive to keep you going. #4Get back on the horse. If you run off the rails, it isn’t the end of the game. Everyone goofs up once in a while. Get back to the plan instead of beating yourself up and thinking you are a loser. If healthy eating is your goal, I’ll help you by providing recipes twice a week, every week via this blog. Can’t hurt to try, can it? Now is the time.

These meals are delicious and easy to prepare. Plan your meals ahead of time and have the ingredients on hand. Prep ingredients the night before so that everything goes smoothly.

Parmesan-Chive Bake: 138 calories 7 g fat 2 g fiber 9.6 g protein 1 g carbs 112.6 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages. PB GF  While I was away for 10 days, Dear Husband invented this breakfast to take advantage of the fresh chives in the garden. Clever man. 

One 2-oz egg 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped 1.5 tsp reduced-fat ricotta cheese 1 oz kiwi fruit  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]

First set the toaster oven to 350 F. Dear Husband is the one who prepares the breakfasts. He says to start the coffee next and then to prepare the smoothie. Spritz an oven-proof dish with oil or non-stick spray. Whisk the egg with the cheeses and chives and pour into the dish. Bake in the toaster oven at 350 F. for 12-15 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. Prepare the kiwi fruit, pour the beverages and have an easy day.

Greens, Garlic, & Beans: 265 calories 6.6 g fat 12.6 g fiber 9.4 g protein 40 g carbs 95 mg Calcium  PB GF  Kay Chun, writing in the New York Times, inspired this recipe. It is very good.

2 servingsHeat oven to 350 degrees.
2 tsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large oregano sprig
In an oven-safe pot, combine these and heat over med until garlic is fragrant but not browned, ~1 min.
3 oz/4 cups collards- kale-Swiss chard- combo
¼ c water
Coarsely tear leaves, thinly slice stems. Add water to pan with some greens and stems. Add salt and pepper, and stir until wilted.
Kosher salt and black pepperAdd remaining greens and stems in batches, with salt and pepper, stirring until wilted before adding more.
1 cup canned beans, ex: kidney or butter beans Once all greens have been added, stir in shell beans.
¼ cup waterAdd water and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in oven until greens are tender, ~20 minutes. Discard oregano.
1 Tbsp minced shallot
½ tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Add shallot, lemon juice and parsley to the pot, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
3 oz cooked whole-wheat pasta 0R
½ c cooked brown rice/barley
Stir into cooked greens. 
Pinch of red-pepper flakes 
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Sprinkle with red-pepper flakes and parsley. Serve warm or at room temp

Twelfth Night

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.

As the song tells us, there are 12 Days of Christmas. The counting begins on Christmas Day and continues into January. The 12th Day is the day before Epiphany, January 6, which traditionally marks the day that the Three Kings and their gifts visited the baby Jesus and his family. Because of this, January 6 is a day of gift-giving in many countries. It is also called Three King’s Day and it marks the official ‘end’ of the Christmas Season. Because the twelfth day was the end of festivities and the next day was a Holy Day, the night before Epiphany was the last night for partying and took on particular significance. That night before is called ‘Twelfth Night.’ Yes, Shakespeare wrote a play of that title. Special parties and revelry were planned, along with certain foods. A King Cake was a typical in France, a tradition transplanted to the French colony of Louisiana. This confection was baked with non-edible tokens inside and party-goers would hope to find in their slice of cake a coin [symbolizing wealth for the up-coming year] or a ring [next to marry] or, in today’s New Orleans, a tiny plastic Baby. If you find the Baby, then you are crowned King or Queen of the night, complete with a crown — and you will have to host the party next year. And after Twelfth Night came the Feast of the Three Kings and after that it was back to the hum-drum work-a-day world. Except that we are talking about celebrations in the 12th through 17th centuries and the nobility who lived then — their work-a-day world was far different from that of the hundreds of peasants and servants who made the nobles’ lives possible. My parents always gave their seasonal party on 12th Night, and it was always a success.

Our breakfast contains three principle ingredients, in honor of the Three Kings. Our dinner is typical of the American South at New Year’s: greens and sausage are a classic meal, right down to the touch of molasses.

Carne-Green Chili ScrOmelette: 168 calories 13.5 g fat 1.4 g fiber 12.5 g protein 13 g carbs 48 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  The directions below are for an omelette, or as the name ScrOmelette implies, you could scramble it all.

1½ 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 roasted green chilies [Hatch brand is very good] ½ ounce carne adovada [pork shoulder with hot spices boiled until it falls apart: make ahead and freeze for future use] 1½ oz apple or unsweetened apple sauce  Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 caloriesOptional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Whisk the eggs with salt + pepper to taste. Drain the chilis, if too liquidy, and stir with the carne. Put the eggs into a hot pan spritzed with cooking spray. Once the bottom of the eggs are set, sprinkle with carne and chilis, fold and plate. Slice or dish the fruit, prepare your beverages. Enjoy your fine South-Western breakfast with mocha coffee for authentic taste.

Andouille with Beans & Greens:  213 calories 7.5 g fat 6 g fiber 16.5 g protein 22 g carbs 120 mg Calcium  PB GF  After reading Vallery Lomas’ recipe in the New York Times, I decided to see if I could make these flavors suitable for a Fast meal. Here is the result and it is a treat.  HINT: This recipe serves three [3].

6 oz Andouille, slicedCook and stir sausage in a heavy skillet until browned, 5-7 mins.
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
Mince shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent, ~2 mins.
3c/4 oz collards
salt & pepper
Coarsely chop and add greens. Add 3 Tbsp water. Toss-cook to wilt, 2-3 mins. Add salt and pepper. 
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 c. cannellini beans
1 c. diced tomato
2 tsp molasses
Rinse and drain the beans. Add these ingredients and toss to warm through. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
fresh chives + kiwi fruit2 oysters
Parmesan cheeseuncured American bacon
reduced-fat ricotta cheesestrawberries or cherries
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

olive oil + garlic + oregano sprig + parsleychicken or turkey thigh meat, uncooked + dashi
collards or kale or Swiss chard + shallotsoy sauce + mirin + chives/scallions
canned beans, like kidney + red pepper flakessaki or dry sherry + sugar
whole wheat pasta or brown rice or barley2 eggs + parsley: Italian or Mitsuba
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Berchtoldstag

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.

A Hasselnuss Hock

January 2 is the date to celebrate Berchtoldstag or Berchtold’s Day in many cantons of Switzerland. Oddly, no one seems to know who Berchtold was! He might have been the Duke Berchtold V, who in 1191, founded the capital city of Bern. Or the day could be named for a Swiss-German Benedictine monk named Berchtold of Engelberg. Perhaps the name comes from the word “berchten” which means ‘to wander about asking for food.’ Whatever. German-speaking descendants of the Alemenni tribe in Germany, Switzerland, and Alsace seize the day for village feasts, costumed parades, and celebration of local tradition. This is not a religious holiday or a saint’s day, but a cultural observance. Protestants tried to stamp out the festival during the Reformation, but it has persisted. Children go around asking for nuts, a rather more healthy ‘trick-or-treat’ tradition. With the nuts, they play all sorts of games and build tiny towers called ‘hocks’ with four nuts as the base and one balanced on top. Try it. Go nuts on 2 January, and celebrate an ancient festival.

Nuts are on the menu for Berchtoldstag — but not the walnuts or hazelnuts that the children expect. Our breakfast will use almonds and the dinner will include peanuts as an ingredient. Ok, ok — peanuts are not true nuts, but they are enjoyed worldwide.

Peachy Waffle Hearts148 calories 3.4 g fat 3.6 g fiber 3.6 g protein 29 g carbs 59.4 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB  GF– if using GF waffles  Where is it written that hearts are reserved for Valentine’s Day? Make this breakfast to show someone that he/she/they are loved. Make it for yourself for affirmation.

3 sections of waffle that are heart-shaped [our waffle-maker has 5 heart-shaped sections] 3 Tbsp Vanilla yogurt, low-fat 2 Tbsp almond meal/flour 3 oz peach, mashed 2 oz pear, cut as 3 slices   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Combine the yogurt with the almond meal and let it sit to thicken a bit. Can be done overnight. Mash the peach through a sieve to make a mush. Warm the waffles to take off any chill and spread with the peach mush. Pipe or spoon the yogurt around the edges of the hearts and plate with the pear. A pretty treat.

Chicken Satay: 262 calories 9 g fat 3 g fiber 24 g protein 17 g carbs 23 mg Calcium  PB GF  It looks so elegant in the restaurant, yet it is easy to prepare at home. Feel free to vary the vegetables if you wish.

3 oz uncooked chicken breast 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp satay sauce [Taste of Thai or Thai Kitchen] 1½ tsp peanut butter pinch granulated garlic Sriracha to taste 1 oz cherry tomatoes 2-3 oz cauliflower, sliced across the entire head 

Cut the chicken into 1” pieces. Put in a bowl and mix well with 1 Tbsp of satay sauce. Let sit 4-12 hours in the refrigerator. In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp of satay sauce with the peanut butter, garlic powder, and Sriracha. Slice the cauliflower into a ‘steak’ [across the head] that weighs 2-3 oz and brush it with the peanut sauce. Skewer the marinated meat on wooden or metal picks. Broil or grill both the meat [takes less time] and cauliflower [takes more time] until done. Plate with the tomatoes.

Thomas Becket

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.

The Beket [sic] Family moved to England from Normandy after William of Normandy became King of England. They were well-known merchants, though not terribly wealthy. Determined to set their son, born 1119/20, on a good career path, they provided him with a good education. Young Thomas had to go to work during his teen years, due to his father’s financial reverses. Through family connections, he landed a job as a clerk, then moved up to a post in the entourage of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas was an able administrator and the Archbishop suggested to King Henry II that he should be Chancellor of England at age 35. King Henry and the Chancellor hit if off and became fast friends. Becket [French version anglicized] was the King’s ambassador, battle-leader, money-manager, and party buddy for years. Becket raked in money and enjoyed a lavish, libertine lifestyle. One problem nagged the King: the Church of England, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, often thwarted the King’s efforts to curtail its powers. In 1162, Henry took advantage of a vacancy in the post to appoint Thomas Becket, who was not even a priest, to be Archbishop of Canterbury AND Lord Chancellor at the same time. Becket suggested that this might not be a good idea: he would have to take holy orders and would have to carry out the dictates of the Pope, rather than those of the King. In June, he was made a priest and the next day, an archbishop. A change came over Thomas: he became pious, lived more frugally, and embraced the Church. When Becket resigned as Chancellor, the King was most angry. When Becket sided with the Church, the King threatened to confiscate his lands. Fearful of retribution, Becket went to France, where he stayed for six years. The King and the Archbishop reconciled, and Becket was assured that he could safely return to England to resume his duties. He returned to cheering throngs in Canterbury on 1 December 1170. Once there, he excommunicated some of Henry’s allies. The King was in France for Christmas. When he heard of this, he went ballistic in front of his followers. “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” he raged. Or maybe he said, “What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric!” At any rate, four of his trusted knights left Normandy for Canterbury straight away. Told of their arrival on 29 December, Thomas entered the Cathedral, sure that no one could harm him there. He was wrong. The knights pursued him, and when they could not remove him, hacked at him — cutting off the top of his head, then stabbing him and scattering his brains on the floor. Thus testified the several eye witnesses. Europe was horrified by the murder in the Cathedral: Henry was described as a monster, Thomas was hailed as a martyr. His grave became a pilgrimage site — that’s where Chaucer’s band of story-telling travelers is headed in Canterbury Tales. Within months over 700 miracles were attributed to Becket, and he was canonized a mere three years later. Henry was excommunicated, did penance in many different ways, and went on as King. He had never specifically ordered the killing of Becket, but the ‘your wish is my command’ tradition had lead to a grisly death. Leaders should be careful of the effects of their words — they can lead to murder or the attempted overthrow of governments.

For Becket’s Norman roots, a breakfast of typically Norman ingredients. Thomas was martyred just three days after the Feast of Stephen, a martyr who was killed by stones. Thus, Stone Soup for dinner, the ‘recipe’ based on a French Folktale.

Omelette Normande: 174 calories 11 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs 46 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  Cooking in Normandy naturally involves apple and cream, even at breakfast. This is the breakfast version of a Norman dessert omelette.

1½ 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.  1½ oz apple, peeled and sliced thinly 1½ tsp heavy/whipping cream ½ tsp butter ¼ tsp sugar ¼ tsp cinnamon 1 oz peach   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Peel and slice the apples and cook them slowly in a saute pan with the butter, sugar, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp water, and a healthy spray of non-stick spray. Add more water if the pan gets dry – you don’t want the apples to stick or scorch. Cook until the apples are almost soft and there is no more liquid in the pan. HINT: You can do this the night before. Whisk the eggs with the cream and a little salt while the apples heat/stay warm in the saute pan. Pour in the eggs and let them cook undisturbed until done. Fold and plate with the peach or other fruit of 11 calories. Picture apple trees in bloom.

Stone Soup: 125 calories 1.4 g fat 4 g fiber 7.5 g protein 21 g carbs 55.6 mg Calcium   PB GF –if using GF bread A recipe based on the old French folktale about ‘making soup out of stones.’ And it tastes good, too.  HINT: Makes 8 servings.

Stone Soup, served with a chunk of granite in each bowl.

½ pound granite or basalt stones, in large pieces – well scrubbed  2 quarts water 4 oz beef, diced 4 oz carrots, peeled and sliced 4 oz cabbage, sliced 4 oz parsnips, peeled and cubed 4 oz green beans, cut to 1” 4 oz red potato, diced 4 oz spinach, chopped 4 oz white beans lots of herbs + salt + pepper  Optional: slice of artisinal rye bread  adds 100 calories

Put the stones in the water and bring to a simmer. Add the other ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with the bread if you wish.

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

3 sections from heart-shaped waffles1.5 two-oz eggs 
almond meal/almond flourcarne adavado
low-fat vanilla yogurtroasted green New Mexico chilis
peach, fresh or canned + pearapple or applesauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chicken breast, uncookedAndouille sausage + shallot
purchased satay sauce garlic + collard greens
peanut butterfresh thyme + cannellini beans
cauliflower + cherry tomatoestomato + molasses
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