Nothing feels better compared to the unexpected surprising you with things you’ve had on your to-do list, but just never got around to accomplishing them. That one thing on my list was going to Whole Foods and purchasing a bunch of alternative baking crap. Certain flours and sugars are more expensive at regular grocery stores because they’re considered “specialty items.” Instead, I go to either Whole Foods or Trades Joe’s, where these items are the norm and priced competitively with the others. Thankfully, someone was shadowing me yesterday and decided to help a girl out.
It all started with my mother and me catching up. She just returned from a month in Jamaica and she wanted to get something to eat. While we were eating, she was talking about how she went to Marshalls before she left and found these delicious Bailey’s chocolates. Wanting to see if they still had any, even though most items don’t last longer than a few weeks there, we decided to go have a look. We drove to the shopping plaza and entered the store, on our quest for Bailey’s chocolates, which is not something you usually got into Marshalls initially searching for. As we journeyed to the back of the store, through the endless racks and display tables, we finally made it to the food stuffs aisle. It was a mess, as usual, since products randomly appear in stock and there’s zero consistent inventory. So we started digging, trying to find some sort of hint that would indicate Bailey’s on the shelves.
Mom spotted something first. It was a box of Kahlua chocolates. Similar packaging and made by the same company who sold the Bailey’s chocolates. After a good 10 minutes, we gave up. There were no more. Our hopes dashed, we started mindlessly gazing over what was actually on the shelves. I saw a lot of pink, Himalayan salts, various bags of veggie chips and interestingly flavored popcorns, and prepackaged k-cups (which I refuse to even consider buying because they’re such a waste. Have we really become this lazy as a society to where pouring coffee grinds into a machine is now too much of a hassle for us?! Ugh, no. I refuse).
Still skimming, a blue and green bag caught my eye. I had to do a double-take because my mind couldn’t comprehend what it was seeing, but there it was. It a was bag of organic coconut palm sugar. I couldn’t believe it! That was one of the items I had on my Whole Foods shopping list for months (Yes, I am that lazy. Still not lazy enough to buy k-cups, which I remind myself with a sense of pride)!
Suddenly motivated by a new sense of excitement, I started re-searching the shelves for anything else that could be of use to my baking spirit. After some time, I came across the only bag of 1:1 gluten free flour! I was a little skeptical on how well it would bake, but it was cheap enough to where I didn’t feel as much guilt than if I were to buy it at Whole Foods (the only two 1:1 gluten free flour blends I’ve tried were Cup 4 Cup and Bob Red Mills Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour. Both definitely held up and no one missed the gluten in either recipe. Love them). Plus, the bag had a super adorable design that I couldn’t resist. I HAD to try it. It suddenly felt like I was in this tiny version of Whole Foods that was having this incredible sale on all baking items.
The next item I found was the vanilla extract, but this wasn’t some regular, plain ol’ vanilla extract. No. It was some fancy kind that had bourbon and Madagascar in the name, AND the bottle was HUGE! The cost of this entire bottle was just under half of what I would have paid if I had bought the same volume and flavor of vanilla somewhere else. If I had bought this exact brand and bottle size, I would have spent about 28% more. I fancied the idea of popping that bottle like champagne and celebrating my finds with a few shots of vanilla instead. Obviously, I didn’t, but it did make me smile.
So, this was perfect! I just found 2 alternative baking ingredients and a delicious sounding variant of one of my baking essentials for super cheap and I didn’t even plan for it. In fact, these items were so far from my mind at the time that I had almost forgotten that they were in there at all.
Now, my final find felt like a fluke.
That bag of Kahlua coffee was the last bag, placed on its side, hidden behind all of the other boxes of prepackaged k-cups. I would have completely missed it if I wasn’t looking up from underneath the glass shelves. I had to make sure I was being thorough in my search since I had just struck the goldmine for my baking.
When I finished triple checking the shelves, I felt confident in knowing they no longer held any other valuables (except for that pink, Himalayan salt. I was so tempted, but I resisted. It wasn’t a necessity and I don’t have the luxury for extra right now. Maybe some other time). As we made our way to the to the cashier, I was on cloud 9. I couldn’t believe what just happened. I thanked whichever deity who was watching over me that day and paid for everything with the biggest smile.
In the end, I made a promise to myself that the next thing I bake will be gluten free.
I also vowed to visit Marshalls more than once a year…