Preparing for a family vacation : cleaning out the freezer/pantry couscous

Fam­ily Vacation.

The most pow­er­fully ter­ri­fy­ing com­bi­na­tion of words ever to have crossed the lips of man.

I’m cur­rently prepar­ing for one, our first to be more spe­cific. Next week we will load up the car, buckle the kids into their lit­tle seats and head off to France.

As you can imag­ine I’m equal parts trilled and ter­ri­fied. Trilled because I get to leave my musty office and dirty house behind me for two weeks and ter­ri­fied because it is the very first time I’m vaca­tion­ing with a pair of tod­dlers and I have no idea what I am in for.

I have dreams of strolls through pic­turesque French mar­kets, my girls enthu­si­as­ti­cally tast­ing boar or ostrich sausage, sam­pling olives, tast­ing cheese, munch­ing on a piece of baguette, my hus­band and I sit­ting on a lawn chair, enjoy­ing a glass of chilled rosé while read­ing our book and bask­ing in the golden glow of a splen­did sunset.  

Of course I real­ize these are just day­dreams and that real­ity will be quite dif­fer­ent, I mean my hus­band hates rosé….Chances are very real that I will dream fondly of the peace and quite of my office at the end of two weeks, because there at least peo­ple don’t dis­turb me when I’ve got my ipod –ears in posi­tion. But I can’t help but look for­ward to two bliss­ful weeks in flat shoes, jeans and a t-shirt. Or bikini… I’m not choosy…

But any­how, we are in the midst of prepar­ing for what might just be the biggest chal­lenge of our par­ent­ing career so far. And this requires ade­quate prepa­ra­tions. I’m not going to annoy you with all the things we do. Or rather don’t do… We should be mak­ing a pack­ing list, we should be going through the kid’s toy box to deter­mine what to bring and what to leave, we should dust the bags, check out the weather chan­nels, deter­mine where to stop en route… All of those things we do not do and prob­a­bly will never do until the very last minute of the very last day. I might just as well take this oppor­tu­nity to tell our neigh­bors to close their win­dows that day: there will be some heavy cursing…

What we ARE doing how­ever is clean­ing out our refrig­er­a­tor and eat­ing our way through what­ever is in the pantry and the freezer. Right now this is alright, we have just begun and there is plenty of choice, but at the end of next week we will prob­a­bly be eat­ing gummy bear pizza with Tuna and choco­late sprinkles.

Here is one of the things which is com­pletely com­posed of things I had in the pantry/freezer/refrigerator and which is highly edible:

Mer­guez with cous­cous, chick­peas and yoghurt dip (for two)


-          Mer­guez or any other kind of spicy sausage you have

-          100gr of couscous

-          1 can of chickpeas

-          1 shallot

-          1 clove of garlic

-          100 ml of chicken stock

-          1 activia yoghurt

-          A hand­ful of walnuts

-          A hand­ful of raisins

-          A table­spoon of freshly plucked mint

-          But­ter

-          Olive oil

-          Salt and pepper

How to:

-          Dice the shal­lot and the gar­lic clove

-          Put some olive oil in a lit­tle pot and heat it, add you shal­lot and gar­lic and sauté until they glaze over, next add your can of chick­peas. Now fill up the can with plain stu­pid tap­wa­ter and throw on the chick­peas, add a cube of chicken or beef stock and let them gen­tly shim­mer until the chick­peas are tender.

-          Now for the dip: take the activia yoghurt and empty it in your blender, add the wal­nuts, raisins and mint, blend all of them together and sea­son with salt and pepper

-          Make the couscous

-          Bake the sausages in some olive oil.

-          Add some rucola if you feel like it


Voila, noth­ing dif­fi­cult. Now please excuse me while I go and google ‘gummy bear pizza’




6 thoughts on “Preparing for a family vacation : cleaning out the freezer/pantry couscous

  1. I won’t lie to you–a fam­ily vaca­tion with tod­dlers WILL BE the chal­lenge of your life. But I’m pray­ing for you :-)

  2. Oh dear. My heart stopped when I read ‘vaca­tion with two toddlers’.

    On the other hand, eat­ing through the fridge sounds like a fun daily activity!

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