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Feeding your family healthy by shopping local sales - bargains for 7/26

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This week I don't have a complete grocery list. With it being summer, Rick and I have been doing some traveling, so I've been caught short.

However, I do have a suggestion for getting your veggies in a delicious and inexpensive way. Why not make some gazpacho?

If you've never made it before - it's wonderful to make on a hot summer day because you don't need to cook it - it's an uncooked vegetable soup. And it's really delicious, particularly after you let it sit in the frig overnight. The flavors blend beautifully. It's a very refreshing side course or even main course on a hot day. Rick and I often just have a big bowl for dinner on those muggy Texas days.


Plus, right now, the fixings for gazpacho are dirt cheap. While normally I would advise you to make an extra big batch and freeze some to thaw out later, unfortunately gazpacho doesn't lend itself to this.

To make your gazpacho for less, head over to Sprouts first. Get a cucumber for $0.49, a bunch of cilantro for $0.49, 2 avocados for $0.79 apiece and some green onions for $0.49. I sometimes use a finely minced red onion instead of green onions; you can choose whichever you prefer. I also use the Sprouts organic vegetable juice which costs $5 for a quart, but you can get V8 at HEB instead and save a couple of bucks. While you're at HEB, pick up a red pepper for $0.79 and a jalapeno for $0.20. You can also pick up a quart of beef broth here, if you didn't stock up last time there was a sale. I still have several boxes of organic beef broth I paid $1.80 for last time it was on sale. The non-organic stuff will be less expensive. And, of course, if you are Vegan or Vegetarian - just get two quarts of the veggie juice or V8.


Finally, head on over to Randall's and pick up 2 pounds of Roma tomatoes at $0.88 a pound, 3 limes for $0.60 and a green pepper for $0.34. Total cost for my gazpacho fixings - $13.54 if you go with organic juice, $11.54 if you use regular V8. Plus a clove or two of minced garlic, a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and a dash of red wine vinegar, which are hopefully in your pantry.

This will give you about 18 cups of soup. That's enough for 12 side servings of 1 1/2 cups each, or 6 main course servings of 3 cups apiece. For a hearty summer meal, my  husband and I will grill up some burgers and serve them with a side of gazpacho. For a light summer meal, we'll just have a large bowl of gazpacho. It's mostly raw, except for the beef broth, and with all the veggies, it's really healthy for you.


Now, how do you make it?


The way I make gazpacho - I first squeeze the juice of 3 limes into a large bowl. Then I dice up the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and avocados into bite sized pieces, taking care to discard the seeds first. Then I either mince the onion or finely cut up the spring onion - all of the white and about 1/3 of the green part, and add to the mix. Finally, I very finely mince up the jalapeno. I usually discard the seeds, but if you like spicy foods, you might add the seeds to the mix. They are the hottest part of the jalapeno.


Mix it all up, then add the veggie juice and beef broth and take a quick taste. Now it's time to add the spices. I usually add all of the leaves from the bunch of cilantro, but I like a lot of herbs. You might add less, or, if you don't like cilantro, you can substitute parsley. I also add 2 cloves of minced garlic, a tablespoon of red-wine vinegar, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Take another taste, and see if you want to add salt. You might also like to add more lime juice, or a teaspoon of honey or sugar, or a dash of Tabasco sauce.


Once the mixture suits your taste, stick it in the frig to chill for a few hours, and to let the flavors blend. I find that gazpacho improves after a night in the frig, however, if you want to eat it right away, it will still be tasty. If you don't have time to let it chill before you serve, stick an ice-cube in each bowl and pour the gazpacho over it.


Other great meal combos - gazpacho served as a starter, followed by grilled shrimp over rice pilaf, with some lightly steamed broccoli or zucchini. Or a vegan meal of gazpacho, grilled corn on the cob, grilled portobello mushrooms marinated in miso-honey dressing, and a mixed salad of baby greens.

BTW, while you are looking for ways to feed your family healthy meals for less, remember to check out the local farmer's markets here in Austin. Peaches are in season and they are absolutely divine right now. I like to just eat them plain, but they are also delicious with a little bit of vanilla ice-cream or home-made whipped cream.


Enjoy, eat well and stay healthy and cool!

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