I decided that it was time I took the bull by the horns. My partner and now husband of 13 years has cancer....a particularly painful form. I am basically the sole caregiver, though we have Hospice and his nephews are helping out. My nerves are shot, and I have been eating to make up for all that John is NOT eating. I cannot envision a life without John. But you did not start reading this to hear about my troubles.
I thought that I had better get back on track with a Mediterranean diet. Also, I expect to be on a more restricted diet...budget-wise, so I limited myself to $50.00 for a week. I could easily have dropped this down to half that as it turns out.
The Mediterranean diet is fairly easy and not TERRIBLY expensive with a couple of exceptions. I figured that this would be a good trial run, as I hope to retire to Italy, and guess what they eat there!?
Fruits and vegetables, pasta(whole wheat would be good though not necessarily traditional), legumes, fish, garlic and olive oil are hallmarks of the diet there. Protein, other than the fish, comes from eggs and tiny amounts of meat, used more as a flavoring than as a slab of flesh. A glaring exception to this rule is the Chianina beef steaks. They are a T-bone...of course there are other cuts.. which is cut like 3 inches thick...barely heated through over a bed of coals, and served sliced from flat side to flat side about 3/4 of an inch thick. Absolutely a luxury dish in Tuscany.
1 can of Chick peas(dried beans and peas are cheaper by far, but I do not have the time this week to deal with them..to be honest, I do not know what I would do with a whole pot of these.. I have enough trouble getting through a can on my own unless I am making soup.).
1 can of white Cannelini beans
2 Red Bell Peppers (I had a small bag of mini peppers in the refrigerator)
Small Potatoes about 20 red skin minis.
Half a pound of Prosciutto Crudo
1 pound of frozen bay scallops
2 fillets of sole
6 sweet sausages
2 baby zucchini
1 dozen eggs
1 bunch of Asparagus
1 bottle of capers in brine(dry salted are better, but not as easily available)
1/2 pound of mixed olives
1 ball of Mozzarella
1 pound bag of carrots
1 jar of Romano cheese(I would usually grate my own, but I was trying to do one weeks worth of food at one time instead of buying a big piece)
2 heads of garlic
1 small container of Gorgonzola
1 pound of Spaghetti
(I had flour and whole wheat flour at home)
2 pounds of Plum tomatoes
1 loaf of wheat bread.
1 container of pesto
Alternatives for me would include:
Calamari, swordfish, tuna(canned or fresh), cod or salt cod, shrimp, Eggplant, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Savoy cabbage, radicchio, pears, lentils, Pancetta, Salami, Chicken, pepperoni, olive oil, grapes and raisins. dates, citrus fruit, Aged Provolone, Fontina.
I roasted a whole lasagna pan full of Italian vegetables in olive oil salt and pepper and whole cloves of garlic. I will use them bit by bit all week in various combinations to save work. Sometimes I add balsamic vinegar.
Day one, Tuesday:
1 Egg and grilled peppers in a bread frame.
Sole covered in chopped black olives, chopped tomato, capers, chopped onion and a few Tablespoons of left over marinara, baked and served with a few spears of roasted Asparagus, and about a cup of pasta.
I was nervous about a health care issue for John late in the day, so I had a big piece of chocolate cake...Damn...I made up for it by having a big apple for supper.
Day two Wednesday:
No breakfast...that is my norm.
I baked fresh whole wheat rolls and filled them while hot, with roasted vegetables (I made a lasagna pan full the previous day) and Prosciutto.
1 sausage, a cup of pasta with pepper and Romano cheese and roasted veggies with a bit of Romano cheese.
Day three Thursday:
1 cup of whole grain cereal
A three egg omelet with grilled onions, red peppers and one sliced sausage.
Left over fillet of sole as above.
Day four Friday:
A broiled open face sandwich ,wheat roll, baby figs, walnuts and goat cheese with Prosciutto. Drizzle with honey. I do not like honey as a rule, but this is wonderful.
1 cup of spaghetti with Gorgonzola sauce and roasted vegetables.
I cup of whole grain cereal with almonds
Day five Saturday:
Whole grain cereal
A Fritatta made with three eggs, roasted vegetables, a cup of Pasta and a bit of Parmesan cheese. Heat the veggies and pasta in the pan and pour the beaten egg with a little water into the pan to cover. Fry on both sides.
Apple and Prosciutto ham. Olives, marinated mushrooms and rounds of grilled bread drizzled with olive oil topped with roasted asparagus.
Here I ran into a road block. John wanted Pizza and felt a little, left out, of the routine, so I went off the TRUE PATH and ate with him and made pizza(not really a variation on the Mediterranean, but the volume and toppings sidetracked me)...back to the routine tomorrow, or when I regain my composure and resolve. I will continue with the days as if they were in sequence. Just like an alcoholic...It is best to confess your sins!!!
Day six Sunday:
Whole wheat cereal
Hard boiled egg, toasted whole wheat bread, rubbed with a clove of garlic...served with warm white bean Hummus, chopped tomato and red pepper.
Apple, ham and toasted Italian bread.
Day seven Monday:
Whole wheat cereal
1/2 cup of Grilled bay scallops in olive oil with garlic. Served with pasta and a more or less, fresh sauce of chopped tomatoes and asparagus.
Grilled vegetables, potatoes and prosciutto.
Left over from my purchase,
I have half a bag of scallops, one cup of bean hummus, most of a bag of onions, a can of chick peas, one tomato, 1 red pepper, most of a container of pesto, the ball of mozzarella, most of the olives, 3/4 bag of carrots, half of the Gorgonzola, and a number of other scraps and odd and ends.
Obviously, I did not lose any weight, but I feel better knowing that it is possible to live on far less than $50.00 and I know that that week of food was very healthy compared to my normal fare. Perhaps this proves that I will be able to eat during my retirement years...I knew I would have to cut something...I was hoping it was not going to be food!!!
Roasted potatoes carrots and peppers in oil, served with several slices of Genoa Salami and two slices of bread with Parmesan.
Steam half a bunch of asparagus(that was just what appealed to my pocket book and my craving this week...could be green beans, broccoli florets etc... cut them into two inch pieces. Saute half an onion minced, in plenty of olive oil. Add one chopped tomato, and three slices of chopped Prosciutto crudo... cook till the tomato and onion have softened. Add the Asparagus and 2 cups of cooked pasta shells. When all is heated through, add Parmesan and serve.