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Thursday, March 17 2011
 When people envision the words Mediterranean diet, I think of sitting by a big blue sea eating olives and small little tapas that explode in my mouth with exotic flavors.

My thought process has me believing that making many different varieties of food will cause me to break one of my rules about meal planning. That rule is having one primary ingredient that can be used several different ways. When I think about tapas, my vision conflicts with what I am trying to do while staying within my budget. I have figured out a way that I can incorporate a variety of flavors while using a primary food.

One primary food that I will be using is the Chick pea. Hummus is a word that most people think has a very strange but exotic flavor. The reality is, hummus can be made to bring the flavors you like to life. If you like garlic then add garlic to your hummus. If you want it to have a curry taste then all you need to do is add curry spices to your chickpeas. If you like your food with some heat add your favorite hot sauce or red pepper chili flakes.

The next time you plan to go grocery shopping buy a can of chick peas, this is the easiest way to make hummus since they are ready to use. I purchase dry chick peas as they are inexpensive. They will require some preparation as you will need cook them in water yourself.

Hummus is a great appetizer dip you can combine with your meal plan and may even become part of a main course.

Olive tapenade is tasty and easy to make. Tapenade is the process of putting olives in a blender or food processor and coarsely blend with olive oil and a little salt. You can change the flavor by adding any ingredient you like. If you like your food spicy add cumin or red pepper flakes.

The biggest expense of eating hummus or olive tapenade will be the crackers. Eating a whole box of crackers is not difficult for any family. The Mediterranean diet means 4 -6 boxes of crackers could easily be consumed in a week. Making crackers by hand is not a difficult process if you have a pasta maker. The ingredients are inexpensive. Making crackers from scratch should save you a substantial amount of money compared to purchasing 4 - 6 boxes.

Making crackers will require you to invest in a pasta maker but start with a rolling-pin first and then graduate to a pasta maker. If you do not have a rolling-pin an empty glass jar such as a pasta jar will work.

You can always use fresh vegetables to dip your tapenade or toss with cooked pasta.

Rick and his wife have been able to reduce their grocery budget by almost 50% since they started this challenge in 2010. Their 15 years of grocery shopping for the family has led them to start a blog that includes using the Mediterranean diet, leftovers to save big, money, meal planning, cooking utensils, recipes, and grocery lists.
you can follow their blog and post comments at http://feed4forunder100week.blogspot.com/
Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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