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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