SHOPPING WITH FREE MONEY, HOW FAST IT GOES, BEING MINDFUL, AND ADVENTURE!

POST #948
So, I went up to Grace Institute this morning because, since I am a graduate of one of their programs, they let me use the printer there, and I wanted to print off my Groupons.  Some of them are dangerously close to expiration, and having them in hand might make it easier for me to use them (now, they have apps for that, but I have an app-less phone, so…).  Groupons in hand, I headed across town to Westerly Market, which is an experience! It’s very bright and shiny, but the aisles are extremely narrow. I had such a wonderful plan, and a carefully-made list (on my new list-making app on my Kindle, which I figured I would need so I could stay as close to $40 as possible, and I have a calculator on it) I cautiously put a few things in my basket on way through the store, but when I got the cashew $10/lb is not bad, but I wanted to stick to the groupon limit, so I only got 1 lb.. I went for 2 lbs of lentils because they were on special for $1.59. Then I found the probiotics cooler – $26.95 for my New Chapter All Flora! The All Flora is a necessity for culturing vegetables and making cheeze (and, excitingly, it was mentioned by name and demonstration in  my Russell James Home Chef course (which I am taking on-line), and it will do fine in the refrigerator for quite some time, and I can always pick up a tomato or a cucumber(or a couple of jalapenos!)  here and there. I did get a container of something called “raw vegan crab”, mainly because it was marked half-price, and I never try raw prepared from the natural markets because it is so pricey (and, of course, I was playing with free money – dangerous!). In the end, I only went over by about $3.00. Sure am glad I really only paid $20, because I came home with this puny bag with a measly four things in it (and I do know how much I would have had to pay for it, so I should be happy and grateful). 

So, let’s get on to that crab stuff:  It was made of almonds, celery, red bell peppers, lemon juice, sea salt, and kelp.I tried a forkful, and yes, it did taste like somebody’s idea of crab (not even close to what anybody I know from the Chesapeake Bay area would consider decent… and it was to grainy for my taste.  I through it in the food processor, to ground it down more to a paste, and then I had my inspiration. As it needed liquid, I added the rest of the salad dressing I made last night (garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Spike, and onion powder) – a quick taste test told me I was almost there, so I splashed in a couple of drops of Worcestershire sauce, gave it another whir in the food processor, and, voila! a taste very close to my Mom’s crabcakes which are the best! Then I just scarfed it right down!

Tomorrow, I’m signed up to go on a foraging trip in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, with the legendary Wildman Steve Brill.  He says we might find june berries, chickweed, lamb’s quarters, burdock root, mulberries, poor man’s pepper, and, perhaps even chicken mushroom and wine-cap stropharia mushrooms. I have scissors, but I don’t have a digging tool. I am going to carry a strong spoon (why would a die-hard city girl who has never been closer to a garden than the other side of the window have a shovel?) Wow! If I get some of those things, I will consider myself lucky, and make something delicious tomorrow night!  For sure, I’ll post and let you know what happened (I mean, have you ever gone on a foraging tour with a knowledgeable guide? All those years that I had weekends off, I never even thought of it, even though I saw the announcements for Wildman Steve Brill’s tours at least once a month. Now it is hard for me to schedule one of these tours and it’s the only thing I really want to do — other than get married!)

I am excited. I’ll put on designer jeans from Salvation Army, my purple Converse high-tops and venture into the wilds! Adventure!!!! (and I don’t even have to leave my city! This will be my next BIG vacation!) 

By the way, I do want to tell you about Grace Institute: If you are a woman in New York City, fresh out of school, or if you are out of work, and/or need some job training, Grace Institute offers virtually free education in secretarial/administrative/office technology skills – the only thing you have to pay for are your textbooks, which isn’t much, considering how much such training costs in other programs. They have a new program starting up in September. This is a private program that was established 0ver 100 years ago to assist women in need. You decide if you are in need, and you apply. I attended their Fresh Start program a couple of years ago, along with women of all ages and backgrounds.

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