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Deliciously delightful summery southwesterny couscous salad

21 Jun

**UPDATED**

My oldest sister made this delicious couscous salad and shared some with me. I’ve made it once myself and aside from all the chopping, it is not a lot of work. Plus it’s delicious, so it’s worth a little effort in the end.  I don’t remember what she called it, so feel free to give it your own delightfully delicious moniker.

1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
3 T. olive oil
2 T. lime juice
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. cumin
**avocado
8 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
salt/pepper to taste

**I completely forgot to mention that I like to throw in a couple of avocados as well. If you toss it into the dressing with the lime juice before mixing the rest of the ingredients in, the avocado pieces will stay nice and green, even for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

I like to top mine with tri-color tortilla strips. Yummm…

Boil broth, add in couscous, cover and remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Whisk oil, juice, vinegar and cumin together. Add to rest of ingredients and toss to coat.

Fluff the couscous, breaking up the chunks, and add to the rest. Season with salt & pepper.

It makes quite a bit. I made a recipe and a half, using one full box of Near East plain couscous, and I filled 1 1/2  largish tupperware bowls (not the huge one, but the half-size hugish one).

My older girls loved it, but the men of the house were less impressed. They seemed to think the couscous made it taste too “healthy”.  I would happily eat it as a meal by itself, but I served it with grilled chicken to give the boys some meat.

Enjoy!

Do you have any delightful summery recipes to share? Something new or an old favorite?

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Thought on Thursday

20 Jan

The problem with low calorie snack food options is that when you eat multiple servings, they cease to be low calorie snack food options.  That just seems wrong to me somehow.

What seems wrong to you?

Thanksgiving Momories

25 Nov

Every year as I’m preparing the turkey for roasting, I am reminded that I’m much too squeamish to ever be a proper chef.

My daughter asked me last night if I’d be doing the turkey dance.  The turkey dance is a tradition passed down from mother to daughter.  I don’t recall when it began, but one year some of us kids were watching my mother prepare our turkey for roasting, and as she was rinsing and shaking the naked bird to get out the excess fluids, she suddenly had the turkey break out in dance.  With wings extended he waltzed, he sashayed, he did a little jig.  It was just like my mother to turn something as mundane as cleaning a turkey into something bizarre and delightful.  It would be nice if I could say that right then and there I swore to myself my own children would know the joys of the turkey dance, but I didn’t think much about it until a few years ago when I was preparing my own turkey in front of my kids.  I think it was DynaGirl who commented on how disgusting the whole procedure was (which it is).  I agreed and then told the story of the turkey dance with an accompanying demonstration, of course.  She was as delighted as I had been when I first experienced it, and knowing DynaGirl, I wouldn’t be surprised if she swore to herself right then and there that her own children would know the joys of the turkey dance.  I didn’t do the turkey dance this year.  All the kids were still asleep this morning during the turkey preparations (and are asleep still), and it seemed silly to do the dance without benefit of an audience.  I find myself wishing now that I had done it anyway just so when DynaGirl asks I can tell her yes, and she would know that she can depend on her mother to do all the things she expects her mother to do even when she’s not there to witness.

My culinary skills generally leave a little something to be desired.  I am a decent cook, I think.  Actually, if I were to compare myself to others based on the offerings of most of the potlucks I’ve attended, I may even be slightly better than average.  But I’m no Julia.  Or Martha.  Perhaps I get that from my mother.  Growing up, Thanksgiving meant stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, some sort of vegetable, rolls, pie, candied yams, the obligatory cranberry sauce (though I don’t recall anyone ever actually eating it) and turkey dust.  My mother was notorious for overcooking the turkey.  Every year it would come out of the oven richly and beautifully browned, renewing all our hopes of a Thanksgiving turkey to remember.  But then as she began to carve it, inevitably the breast would begin to disintegrate into dry clumps of turkey dust.  With enough gravy it was still delicious (I’m convinced a good gravy can fix just about any culinary disaster).  I think my first turkey met a similar fate–perhaps not quite as crumbly, but still a little on the parched side.  It was comforting—a little bit of mom at our Thanksgiving table.  I don’t think it was too many tries later when I produced a turkey of traditionally desired moistness and consistency.  As I carved into the breast forming perfectly sliced portions, it almost felt like a betrayal of my mother’s memory. 

I hope she knows that no matter what I do now—whatever “mom” traditions I do or don’t keep going—I will always look back with acute fondness and gratitude.

I would love to hear any Thanksgiving “momories” you would like to share.  Among the many blessings I am grateful for today, are all of you, dear friends and readers. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Take 5-O! O! Oh!

28 Sep

Once upon a time, Madhousewife introduced me to a little piece of heaven. 

Chocolate. Pretzels. Caramel. Peanuts. Peanut Butter.

The only thing that could make it more enjoyable is if Alex O’Loughlin personally unwrapped it for me.

(There are better pictures of Mr. O’Laughlin, but none that lend themselves quite so nicely to a fistful of sweet and salty goodness.)

What’s your favorite treat?  Edible or otherwise.

Bad candy

18 Dec

I told myself I would not be buying any holiday candy this year because I just don’t need that kind of temptation.  But I was in need of a little sumthin-sumthin to fill out the teacher gift bags, so I picked up a bag of Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Centers.

Normally, I enjoy the menthe.  Those little Andes mints they bring you with the check at Olive Garden?  My favorite part of the meal.  So I popped one of those babies into my mouth fully anticipating minty goodness.  Not so, my friends.  Not so.  Blech.  Blickety-blech. 

These were not bliss.  They were like the opposite of bliss, which would be what?  Sorrow?  Unhappiness?  Misery?  Yes, misery.  These are misery mints.

Guaranteed to hobble your tastebuds.

I personally recommend you not go there, though a quick search on the internets revealed quite a few people who would disagree with me (see link above), so maybe it’s just me.  At least I hope so because I still gifted them to all of the girls’ teachers.

Day before Thanksgiving woes

25 Nov

I need to go to Walmart.  I know what you’re thinking, there can’t possibly be any reason on God’s green earth compelling enough to justify a trip to Walmart the day before Thanksgiving.  The thing is, I promised DynaGirl that I would make her pumpkin cookies for Thanksgiving dessert.  These special pumpkin cookies (the ones my allergy stricken children can eat) require a spice cake mix.  But not just any old spice cake mix.  No, no, no.  I need a particular brand of cake mix because all of the other brands have milk in them.  And naturally, the only store in our town that carries the particular brand I need also happens to be the only store that I particularly avoid at all costs.  The sacrifices we make for our children.

We typically get together with my oldest sister and her family for Thanksgiving.  It makes sense, seeing how they live just three miles down the road.  We share the meal responsibilities.  We each make a turkey.  I make the potatoes, rolls, jello and a dessert.  She makes the stuffing, green beans, yams and pumpkin pie.  This past year her husband has had some health concerns, which have resulted in changes in their lifestyle and diet.  Instead of my sister’s delicious homemade stuffing (the part of the meal I look forward to the most), we will be having low sodium Stove Top.  There will be no bacony, sweet and soury green beans.  There will be no pumpkin pie.  The yams will not be candied (which is actually fine since as far as I’m concerned yams are a non-food group).  And yes, I’m perfectly aware that there are starving people living under bridges who would gladly give their right pinkies for low sodium Stove Top and bacon-free green beans, but we’re talking about me right now.

While waiting for my girls to get out of school yesterday, I had a brief conversation with the mother of one of Goose’s little friends.  We were having a perfectly lovely conversation until she casually mentioned that she had their turkey thawing in the bathtub.  IN THE BATHTUB.  She further explained that they do this every year, and if it’s not fully thawed by Wednesday night, they just run warm water into the tub.  Thanks to her, I don’t even think I’ll be able to enjoy my turkey this year.

In short, Thanksgiving will suck.

But I am grateful for all of you and hope you have a lovely day of gratitude and thanksgiving.  Please know I will be thinking of you as I’m choking down my fat free pumpkin-like dessert.

Another one bites the dust

28 May

So, I’m sitting here in my underwear (I was just starting to get dressed after taking a shower when I thought of something I wanted to tell Chuck, so I decided to send him a quick e-mail before I forgot and then I got distracted by Facebook IM because one of my favorite people was on), and BigHugs walks in and says, “Ew, Mom, that’s gross.  You need to get some clothes on.”  And I thought, “She’s right, I really do need to get some clothes on”, but I was still chatting.  And then BigHugs asks if she can have some chocolate teddy grahams and I thought, “Sure, why not?  It’s 9:45 am and you haven’t had breakfast yet—go for it.”  So I told her yes and she went downstairs to get the teddy grahams and a bowl for me to pour them into.  Then, of course, the teddy grahams were just sitting here on the desk, so I help myself because, hey, I haven’t had breakfast yet either, and before I know it, they are all gone and I’m shaking out the bottom of the box into my hand so I can finish off every last dismembered teddy graham appendage.  And now my underwear is littered with the carnage of my teddy graham massacre.

teddy graham

Hey, I’m gonna eat you two!  Another one bites the dust-ah!

 

Happy Thursday to ye!