Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Getting My Bearings Back

This past week I've been on the crazy train.  The late bus.  The backwards Buick.  (Okay, that last one was totally made up... but I'm making it a thing right now!)

I came back from break last Sunday and it was as if I'd never met life before.  Hello, I'm Kasey, and I'm new at everything and will screw it all up!  That was what it was like.  I couldn't win... and the rest of the week followed suit.

We get in ruts.  You know what that's like, right?  As if everything you touch gets broken, messed up, or two darker shades of cray-cray.  Oh hi, you're going to ask me a simple question?  I'm going to answer with something that's totally from left field!  What?  That's not what you were looking for?  Watch my head spin!  Is that better??

And no... it was not "that time of the month".  I kinda wish it would have been, because then I would have had more of an answer as to why I was being weird.

I just needed to... reset.  I needed to have time to step back, take in a deep breath, and think about what I was doing and why I was wound so tight.

So I did what comes easy and is totally therapeutic for me.  I made food.  Wonderful, fluffy, light, flavorful food.  I made couscous.

If you're having one of those weeks, I'm going to suggest you not reach for the chocolate.  Instead, reach for this.  Make your own dressing.  Recognize that cinnamon will cure you.  Cumin will make you feel warm and centered.  And a really good olive oil will fix ANY mood you may want to get out of.

We're putting in bright, crisp, sweet red peppers, toasted slivered almonds, and fistfuls of fluffy herbs.  Herbs are fluffy.  This is not something I'm making up.  A handful of cilantro feels like a handful of feathers.  Okay, okay... wet feathers.  Psh.  Let's not split hairs.

We all need a little help, and a certain kitten decided it was her job to "help".  Maybe she was a therapist in a previous life... or maybe she's just a nosy kitten who likes cilantro.

Oh hey!  We're putting in cranberries, too!  Dried cranberries are nature's candy, and nature knows what's up when it comes to life and all its woes.  Sweet, tart, and tangy, these little gems are one of my favorite things to add to salads like this one.  Total pick-me-ups!

Also, I promptly polished off the rest of the bag of dried cranberries the next day.  Two giant fistfuls of dried cranberries were gone in about 3 seconds.

I'm going to ask you to join me in this self-therapy with couscous.  It feeds your soul, nourishes your body, and makes you feel right again.  Plus, the more you make, the longer you get to enjoy it during your... recovery.

See how colorful?  See how easy??  How can this not turn your frown upside down?  It's got everything our cranky hearts need to reboot!

Moroccan Couscous Salad
Adapted from For the Love of Salad

1 1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon grill seasoning
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup couscous
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper
1 small sweet red pepper, diced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 handful dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 small handful each fresh cilantro and fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (pine nuts would be good too!)

In a medium sauce pot, bring the water, grill seasoning, olive oil, cumin and cinnamon to a boil.  Stir in the couscous and remove from heat.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Fluff couscous with a fork and set aside to come to room temperature in a large bowl.

To make the dressing, whisk together the garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  While still whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Add the red pepper, scallions, cranberries, and herbs to the couscous.  Gently toss to combine.  Drizzle in the dressing and toss again until thoroughly mixed.  Serve in small bowls with the slivered almonds on top.  Can been kept in a tightly covered bowl in the fridge for up to 3 days.  The salad tastes best when served at room temperature.


  1. Yum! I love cranberries/raisins and such in cous cous.

    What a doozy of a week you had. Onward and upward!