Items of Appreciation




I will admit, it’s a little ridiculous to be snapping pictures and writing a blog post about a bowl, but I was so excited about this gift that I just had to say something! It’s funny the things we come to appreciate. After getting rid of nearly ninety percent of our belongings and moving around the world with only 4 suitcases between Mr. Robinson and myself, then driving the New Zealand countryside for nearly 2 months, sleeping in a converted '94 Toyota Townace (that has an unreliable radio at best) with a man who took up the entire length of the back when he laid down - I can confidently say I have learned A LOT about appreciation (and my space requirements)! 

The other night, Drew surprised me by bringing home this gift for me. It’s the mixing bowl I’ve been eyeballing for the last month. It’s not designer or from a fancy boutique, but it’s what I’ve been wanting… and something that hasn’t been high on the priority list for this currently one-income, trying to establish ourselves in a new country, and a new home kinda budget.  Since we moved into our tiny flat on Gloucester Street I’ve been using empty ice-cream containers as mixing bowls. And anyone who knows me knows just how frustrating that is for me! Not just because I love my kitchen gadgets and I’ve been feeling deprived of the array of kitchen tools I once enjoyed (which I certainly do), but because I have a dairy allergy, which prevents me from helping create these repurposed containers.

For anyone wondering why I don’t just walk on down to my local thrift store and pick up a couple of bowls for cheap, I assure you – I am well acquainted with our local Eco-Shop. Most of the home-wares we currently have either came from a thrift shop, are second hand, or were bought on clearance. Sometimes though we long for things that are exactly what we've been dreaming about and not just something that will suffice for now or because it fits our budget. So we just choose to wait patiently for them. Even though it can be a bit frustrating to wait, I have found that it is always worth it in the end! I waited 28 years to meet my husband, often frustrated by the patience that took, but without a doubt, he was definitely worth waiting for!

I like to think that this move has made Drew and I far more aware of all that we have and what is really important. I like to think that it's motivated us to be more intentional with everything we do in life including the purchases that we make. I think that’s why I am so over-joyed by this gift. My sweet husband knows how much I love to cook and that I would love this bowl, as simple and small a gift as it is. We have been so careful with money lately, I think he knew just how special it would be to me. And quite honestly, he was right. Drew is the sweetest, most thoughtful person I know, and I am truly blessed to be his wife.

As soon as I whipped this gift out of it’s wrapping I wanted to use it! So I took a look in the cupboards to see what we had on hand and this is what I came up with – a simple pearl cous cous salad with fresh herbs from the garden we share with our neighbors and sweet cherry tomatoes from our local farmer’s market. Delish! 

Before I forgot everything I tossed into this bowl for the first time, I thought it would be a good idea to write it down and then I decided to share it. 














Pearl Cous Cous with Fresh Garden Herbs and Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups pearl cous cous (also known as Israeli cous cous)
2 3/4 cups chicken stock, vege stock, or well seasoned water
100 grams (about 1/2 a cup) black olives (I prefer to use dry cured olives, such as black Moroccan because I find them to have a far deeper, earthy flavor than brined olives like Kalamata, but whatever you have will be just fine) 
250 grams or 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
½ of a small red onion
1 large clove of garlic
110 grams feta cheese (Danish marinated and cubed feta can be found in the deli section at your local market. I cheat and include the oil the cheese marinates in to build on the flavors)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (approximate)
1/4 cup olive oil (approximate)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Tblsp Italian parsley

Tools:

Mixing Bowl
Ramekins
Spatula
Sharp chef knife
Cutting board

How To:

Start by making the cous cous-
Bring water/stock to a boil
Gently stir in the cous cous
Let it simmer for 6 minutes uncovered
Remove from heat, cover, let stand for another ten minutes to finish absorbing the liquid
Fluff with a fork and cool to room temperature

Meanwhile-
Wash the tomatoes and slice them stem end creating thick tomato rings
Chop the olives
Thinly slice the red onion along the rib (I like to slice the onion for recipes like this because otherwise the onion is overpowering and can ‘burn’ your pallet)
Mince the garlic
Finely chop the herbs

Once you have all of your ingredients chopped and measured, mix together everything, but the cous cous in a large mixing bowl. Once the cous cous has cooled to room temperature and all the other ingredients are well tossed add the cous cous to the tomato mixure. Taste and adjust the proportions as necessary to suit your fancy.

Note: This salad keeps well for a couple of days, however the cous cous will continue to absorb the liquid, so you may need to adjust the dressing before serving. It's best served at room temperature.

If you plan to make this in advance, prepare and mix together all ingredients, but the cous cous. Add the cous cous several hours before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

Now Enjoy!

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