Happy Saturday. It is a chilly, rainy day here in Winston and I am happy to be inside with nowhere to go! I am not feeling great...I think it is allergies - a little congestion, cough, and raspy voice. It doesn't seem to be a cold so hopefully it will pass with this day of rest. I have to work at Whole Foods tomorrow evening and need my voice!
I am still thrilled with Spring. Houston has a nice Spring as well, but Houston didn't have the bulbs that we have here. My house has a new surprise every day, since I have no idea what will come up. This week a new bush started to bloom. I have no idea what it is but it is so pretty. Any thoughts from the pictures below?
Here are a few more photos from some walks last week. I loved seeing the turtles out sunning. It reminded me of Austin.
I also found this scene under a bench in my backyard. I assume it is a battle remnant from the little boy who used to live here....It made me smile. I left them there, at least for the time being.
Let's see what else? Lots of people have asked me about working at Whole Foods. I must say I like it although it makes me realize even more that I need to find a job in my regular field. Seems like the hospice job is not going to happen. I was supposed to start with them when I went out of town to spend those last few weeks with my friend who died. I thought they would understand, and had asked to delay my start. They are not returning my messages or emails so I guess they changed their minds. Oh well. I am continuing to teach Kaplan when they need me, work at Whole Foods and of course, focusing on the job hunt. I never knew it would be so hard. In the meantime, here are some thoughts about Whole Foods.
- I love seeing what people buy. It is surprising how many people buy "healthy" chips. Some people buy 4 or 5 bags at a time, and one person bought a case of Terra chips when they were on sale. 12 bags! I had no idea so many people eat chips.
- Probiotics are all the rage. Many people buy them and they are expensive. I wonder if they help. Some bottles are $65, about $1 per pill. My thinking is to drink some kombucha, eat fermented sauerkraut, and avoid antibiotics if at all possible. I suppose if your GI system is out of whack expensive pills might be the only option.
- There is never a need to breast feed your baby while you shop. Yes indeed a woman walked around the store feeding her baby. She had a discrete cover on, but do we really need to multitask that much? Took me right back to the co-op in Austin where a lady was feeding her baby while she fixed a plate from the salad bar. I just don't get it. That said, seeing the kids with their moms is one of the best parts of the job. They are so cute, and most are regulars so I notice to other cashiers can all comment on how they are growing, etc. This week decorated Easter cookies were a big hit! Lots of kids holding tight to those little bags!
- The music is great. You probably never even hear it while you shop, but when you are there 4 or 5 hours, I definitely listen. Check it out next time you're there.
- I had no idea the effort stores put into keeping the shelves neat. They call it facing the shelves, meaning they pull the merchandise to the front of the shelf so there are no gaps where people have bought something. Staff who stock the shelves do this all day, but Whole Foods has a plan where at set times during the day a certain song plays and everyone stops what they are doing and faces the shelves. Cashiers only help if it is slow but it does make the store so nice. Things display well and you can always see what you need. Attention to details like this are what makes the store easy and nice to shop in.
- There is very little excess inventory in the store, so everything is fresh. I wonder if all stores are like that. If it isn't on the shelf they probably don't have it as there is no big warehouse of stock in the back. Who knew? Keeps things fresh, and doesn't waste money on inventory that isn't moving. I had a huge complaint with the way we did supplies at MD Anderson. It was mostly manual and there seemed to be so much opportunity to save money with an efficient system.
- It is really hard to ring up customers who don't use any plastic bags. Sometimes i have a huge mound of groceries on the belt, and none of the produce is in bags. And it is all mixed up. Think of lemons rolling everywhere, big stacks of lettuce, 4 different varieties of apples dispersed throughout the order. And they all ring up on a different code! Argh. And it makes a mess. Broccoli pieces and little leaves of kale get everywhere. Maybe some reusable bags would be a good idea.
- There are a million codes to learn. The code for the 25 cent discount you get if you bring your own coffee cup. The special pH water you can buy by the gallon. The 4 different kinds of sweet potatoes. Soap by the ounce. The hot bar, salad bar, breakfast bar, olive bar, candy bar, trail mix bar.....and everything that sells by weight you have to tare for the container and they all have a different code. It is so helpful when people actually know what they are buying.....ie organic Japanese sweet potatoes rather than just sweet potatoes. I can tell most of them but sometimes I have no idea, nor does the customer! I love it when produce has a sticker on it! And you have to know what is sold by weight versus by the "each". Lemons, limes, avocados, celery by the each, asparagus by weight. Garlic was by weight but this week it changed to be by the head. It is a lot to learn and they want us to be fast. I am still too slow as even the codes I think I know I am not confident and I either have to look at the sticker or look them up. This week I learned how to pay for your oder with part cash and part credit, or divided between several credit cards. How to reload a gift card. What to do if something won't scan. How to sell things by the case. (10% discount!) How to use the digital coupon. What to do when your register has too much cash in it. So many details! Moral of the story....be nice to your cashiers! I dream of ringing things up every night after I work!
So on to the recipe. This is a tangy little sauce that you can use for many things. It makes a great salad dressing. You can drizzle it on vegetables. Put it on a sandwich. Drizzle on scrambled eggs. It keeps well, so you can use it for 4 or 5 days, but it is so good I bet you won't have any left. If you hate cilantro I bet it would be good if you use half parsley and half basil. Or all basil. You can tweak it to what you like. I used veganaise as my base but I think you can use any kind of mayo or any kind of plain yogurt (soy, dairy, coconut). I ate it as a salad dressing, but also over roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. Delicious. I hope you'll try it.
Creamy Cilantro-lime Dressing
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: blender condiment sauce gluten-free vegan vegetarian
Ingredients (about 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup Veganaise, mayonnaise, or plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 big bunch of cilantro (can use leaves and stems)
- zest of one lime
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tsp Texas Pete or other hot sauce
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- few grinds of black pepper
Put all the ingredients into a high speed blender. Blend for a minute or two until the mixture is very smooth. Taste. Add more hot sauce, salt or lime juice as needed for your own taste. Serve.