What have you been up to? A lot of feedings and diaper changes around here. They say you have to feed and change a baby every two to three hours but I think it’s really more like every hour and a half. Sometimes it seems like that’s all I’m doing all day long.
“You know, you’ve done it before…”, said the nurse at the hospital checkout. “But I forgot…uh, it’s been a while!”, I replied. I really did forget so many things. It’s feeling like the first time again and I’m as clumsy as ever trying to handle a tiny, delicate baby without squeezing him too hard or breaking him.
But between feeding and changing him, I have been finding time to do things such as cooking, writing, exercising and light socializing. I’ve worked out a (forever changing) schedule of sorts so that my routine includes a little more than continuous mothering. It helps that James does sleep between sessions.
It was between feedings that I thought I’d revisit the kitchen for some cooking. I had enough Thanksgiving meat leftovers for about a week but nothing to go with them. The only problem is I hadn’t done any grocery shopping lately and had to just see what’s available in my pantry and work with it.
There were three boxes of whole-grain instant couscous on the middle shelf, a can of olives on the bottom shelf, aging carrot and celery sticks left from a holiday appetizer tray in the fridge, and plenty of condiments to make it all taste good.
Whatever I was going to make needed to be ready quickly so that I can be available every minute of James’s waking time. I’m truly soaking up every moment with him. Oh, if only life could be one long maternity leave…
And so the ingredients turned into a couscous casserole. It could very well have been stuffing or dressing to eat with a holiday dinner but, no matter, it also makes a wonderful side dish anytime—as well as a recipe to tuck into the back of my mind for next Thanksgiving.
COUSCOUS CASSEROLE RECIPE
Yield: 4 SERVINGS
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 MIN
- 1 cup finely diced carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 2 tablespoons grated onion
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons harissa or other hot sauce
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ cup sliced green olives
- 1/8 cup capers
- 1 ½ cups whole grain instant couscous
- 2 cups vegetable broth
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Place the carrots, celery, onion, olive oil, hot sauce, salt, pepper and turmeric powder in a medium sauté pan. Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the olives and capers.
Step 3: Place the couscous in an 8-inch square pan. Add the vegetable broth. Add the vegetables. Toss to combine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Step 4: Enjoy warm with your choice of meat or by itself.