Fresh Fridays 
May 16, 2014 
  Vol. VI, No. 10      

Whether you're cooking for a family of four or five in the suburbs, or preparing meals for one or two in a small city kitchen, or feeding an extended family in the country, everyone goes grocery shopping. And, when it comes to grocery shopping and meal prep, we're sure everyone worries about both time and money.  We're here to help you cut down on time and reduce your spending!  The best way to save money and save time is to have a strategy, a plan for the week.  

Planning gets a bad rap - it's boring; it takes too much time. But good food habits can quickly become routine, and in the end will pay you back in time saved from avoiding the last minute supermarket dash and in better, more economical meals. To celebrate Mediterranean Month, here are Oldways' Seven Habits of Highly Effective Food Shoppers - which pair perfectly with our Mediterranean Grocery List (click here to download). We're also including a few family-friendly, plan-ahead, Mediterranean meals to start you saving time and money and enjoying the delicious pleasures of the healthy Mediterranean Diet.

What are your favorite shopping tips, and your favorite Mediterranean pantry staples? Visit the Oldways Forum to share your ideas.

Effective Habit 1: Stock your kitchen with staples  
A "staple" is whatever you need to make the kind of food you like to cook. For many people, pasta is a staple, or canned tuna. For others, soy sauce or anchovy paste might be must-have foods. With a well-stocked pantry, you can make many of your favorite dishes any day of the week without stopping again at the market.
Habit 2: Space allowing, back up your staples  
This boils down to buying and storing one more of each staple if you have space, keeping you from dashing to the market at the last minute for just a single essential ingredient. It's like having your own private store at your fingertips!

Habit 3: Keep a running grocery list
Tuck a long skinny pad into the front of your silverware drawer, or clip a sheet of paper to the fridge with a magnet, or keep a list in your mobile device, and try to add things to your grocery list throughout the week. Be sure to check out your pantry and fridge before you go to the store--you'll likely find last minute omissions, or get ideas of what to buy to pair with other foods on hand.

Habit 4: Plan a week's worth of meals
Here's the step most people resist: planning the week's meals. Write the days of the week on a piece of paper, and jot down your dinner plan for each day. At first it might take you a half hour, but you'll pare that down to 10 minutes or so once you get in the habit. (Hot tip: there's nothing wrong with making one plan, then using that same plan every week. Or make two plans and just alternate them, week by week. You're the cook. If someone else wants more variety, let them volunteer to cook!) Most of the stress of cooking comes from arriving home late, with no clear idea of exactly what ingredients you have that you can use to cook. By creating a dinner plan for the week, you eliminate all that stress. You know what you're planning to cook, and you know you'll have all the ingredients on hand. But back to that list. Once you know what you'll be eating for dinner each day, add any additional dinner ingredients to your existing running grocery list. Think about lunch, and breakfast, and add any routine ingredients for those meals. Now your list is complete and it's time to go to the store.

Habit 5: Shop intentionally
Armed with your list, you should be able to shop fairly quickly. At the start of each aisle, glance down at your list and note which items you'll find in that aisle. (Some people even like to circle or highlight each aisle's items so it's easier to make sure they get them all.) Try to buy only what's on your list, and limit impulse items to a minimum. Resisting impulse items is easier if you don't shop with an empty stomach!

Habit 6: Store food thoughtfully
Before you put away your food, clean out anything in the fridge that's on its last legs. Toss the leftover containers with three bites of moldy green beans, or the jug with an inch of sour milk. Make a pile of tired veggies you can turn into a zesty stir fry or our favorite "Clean The Fridge Chili" tonight. Rearrange what's left, and only then put away your new purchases. Pantry snack Items such as crackers, cookies, pita chips, and cereal can go stale quickly after opening, increasing the risk of food waste. Try using small size binder clips from the office (much less expensive than "chip clips") to help seal the bag. You can also use gallon-size Ziploc-type bags, and reuse them for similar types of foods. If you have room, freeze your backups of foods that have oil content to avoid rancidity. These include whole wheat and whole grain flours, nuts, and butter. Store olive and other cooking oils in a dark place, and refrigerate cooking vinegars to ensure optimum freshness.

Habit 7: Prep food ahead of time
There's one more step after you return home and unpack your food, and that's prepping fruits and veggies, especially greens. Slice up a melon; wash and spin-dry lettuce; cut up carrot and celery sticks and put them in appropriate containers. Why? To extend their shelf life, and make it easy to grab healthy foods quickly.

Click on a photo or recipe title below to link to the full recipe (for antipasti, no recipe is needed; use your imagination):  

In this Issue
Avocado Pasta Salad
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Antipasti, Dips and Salads
Easy Hard-Boiled Eggs

Med Month Contest
Share a photo of your own Mediterranean meal during May, and you may be a winner. We're giving away a gift basket of delicious Mediterranean foods, including olive oil, flavored dipping oils, pasta, walnuts, Medjool dates and more -- worth over $300. It's easy to enter (details here), and you may also win a copy of our  Oldways 4-week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan book.

Man drawing cartoon people on glass.
What plans do you have in store to celebrate Mediterranean Diet Month?  Visit the Oldways Forum to share your favorite Mediterranean inspired recipes, stories of celebration, and ideas you have to join in the fun!

Oldways Bookstore.

The menus you'll find in the Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan are designed to take you on a 28-day journey through many of the delicious and satisfying tastes of the Mediterranean Diet.
The producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie David's new mission is to help America's overwhelmed families sit down to a family dinner, and she provides all the reasons, recipes and fun tools to do so. 
Avocados are a flavorful, nutrient-dense fruit that can liven up any snack or meal, even when you only have a few ingredients! They not only add rich flavor to meals, but provide nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, along with "good fats" (poly- and mono-unsaturated fats). Avocados can be used in a variety of Mediterranean style dishes and snacks, including this classic pasta salad.  
Content, recipe, and photo courtesy of California Avocado Commission
Keep cooked shrimp on hand as a quick and easy mix-in for this fresh, luscious salad.  While you'll want to eat shrimp simply because they're delicious, your body will appreciate that shrimp are high in calcium, protein and healthy omega-3 fats.

Photo, recipe, and content courtesy of National Fisheries     
A nutritious Mediterranean-inspired lunch can be found at your local olive or salad bar.  No-cook solutions make for easy brown bag options. A combination of your favorite olives, antipasti, dips, salads and pita bread is a filling and crave-satisfying answer to more standard fare such as sandwiches or pizza. Lunch on-the-go just got fun!
Photo and content courtesy of FoodMatch   
Hard-boil some eggs and chop some veggies ahead of time for a nutrient-rich and easy meal.  Add hard-boiled eggs to your lunch or snack bag.  Here's how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs every time!

Recipe, photo, and content courtesy of Egg Nutrition Center
Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.   

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        



Let the old ways be your guide to  good health and well-being.       



Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter 

Find us on Pinterest   

By Amy Pennington  
This book covers kitchen essentials, like what basics to keep on hand for quick, tasty meals without a trip to the store, and features recipes that adapt old-fashioned pantry cooking for a modern audience. 

Travel with Oldways.

Join Ana Sortun and Oldways in Turkey for a week-long journey from Bodrum to Izmir and on to Istanbul.

Contact Abby Sloane at 617-896-4875 for more information.

Support Oldways.
Or call Abby Sloane at 617-896-4875 to make your tax-deductible gift.