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Yesterday I braved the afternoon frenzy that is shopping at New Seasons, a local market. I have a love/hate relationship with New Seasons. It has such fresh produce and a lovely meat and cheese counter and a deli to die for. It also has a crazy, crowded parking lot and prices that are somewhere between Safeway and Whole Foods.

I usually only go to New Seasons for specialty items that I can’t get at Safeway or Fred Meyer, my typical go-to weekly shopping sources. But, at a brief stop at Safeway earlier in the day I had an unfortunate encounter with a panhandler, that I didn’t want to aggravate if he should happen to be there upon a return trip (or come out to a keyed car or slashed tires). In sum, this guy has been hanging around the parking lot with a squeegee and a rag (no bucket or water mind you) and goes up to every car that pulls into the lot and every person who comes out of the store. And he’s aggressive. I waved him off when he approached me and he kept pleading, but I turned away. Soon an older woman pulled up in the spot next to me (I was waiting in the car while Terry ran in the store) and the panhandler made a beeline for her. I saw the frightened look on her face and she immediately began rolling her windows up. But he didn’t stop and started in on her and was pushing for her to let him “wash” her windshield. She looked pleadingly over at me with a look of panic and fear in her eyes. So I rolled down my window and told the guy to “quit harassing people and get lost.” He didn’t like that. He walked away, but as soon as the woman went into the store he came back and yelled at me through my rolled up window, trying to convince me his quest to “do a service” was legit. Riiiigghhht.

About that time, Terry came up and exchanged words with the dude as well, who apparently made some disparaging remarks about me and our BMW vehicle to Terry…..who did not appreciate it. He went right back into the store and got security and they shooed the guy off and told Terry they have already called the police on this guy numerous times for similar “altercations.”

So, I think I’ll avoid the Safeway for awhile just to let the whole thing cool off and avoid running into the guy again. Hummm, maybe he’s hired by the competitors to get me to shop their stores. Nah.

So, among the stuff I picked up at New Seasons was a package to make Tabouli Salad. If you haven’t had it, it is a “refreshing salad made with pre-cooked wheat, parsley, lemon juice, onion and fresh mint.”

I have made it from scratch before, but yesterday I picked up a box of the Casbah brand dry ingredients. It calls just for 1-1/2 cups of hot water (to reconstitute the dry ingred), 1/3 cup olive oil and 2 diced tomatoes. I used more like 2 tbsp of olive oil, the tomatoes, half a cucumber peeled and diced and 1/2 cup of mediterranean Feta cheese crumbles. You mix it all together and refrigerate at least an hour, stirring occasionally so the water absorbs into the wheat, etc.

I plan to take it for lunch tomorrow, but I had a few bites before dinner tonight and it is quite tasty. Quick, easy, refreshing, healthy and low cal…..what more could you want? Oh, your windshield washed, maybe?