Monday, April 10, 2006

Spendy $ocial Events (aka How to Make your own Hummus Dip)

Bo goes out to coffee several times a day with his friends and most of his spending money goes the way of a double latte with a shot of hazelnut. He's spending about $5.00 a day, if he has it, meeting friends and drinking coffee. Would it be cheaper to switch to regular coffee? Americano?

This got me thinking about the balance between enjoyable social events and not blowing the budget. I suspect the trick here is good planning and being able to stick to the plan.
We hosted two events this past weekend: a dinner for DD's brother who came into town Friday and stayed with us a couple nights and a cocktail/tapas party for friends and family to meet his brother on Saturday night.

We didn't plan dinner on Friday, and didn't prepare anything. At the spur of the moment we switched from the brew pub venue to the nouveau Northwest cuisine eatery, and picked up the tab for six----whoa. There went the monthly grocery budget: over $300. I was kicking myself for not planning ahead. I could have just bought a few Dungeness crabs, some great bread and salad fixings and eating at our house would have saved us a bundle.

On Saturday I did a little more planning: roasted spring veggies, assorted cheeses, breads, olives and homemade hummus. Everyone grazed and munched and the whole menu (with drinks) was under $42.00---this for eleven people. I packed up leftovers for us and our guests.
Because folks were arriving while I was still diddling in the kitchen making hummus, several guests came to learn how it's done. This is one dip that you should never spend $2.50/cup when you can make it so easily and cheaply.

Homemade Hummus Dip
Two Cans Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) Drained
1/4 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste or use olive oil)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
Paprika as garnish
Combine all the ingredients and pulse in a blender or food processor. Check and adjust seasonings. Scrape into a bowl and garnish with paprika.

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