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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Why I Didn’t Craft Today

So I didn’t get any crafting done today.  Why?  Well, I was busy being Mom’s Taxi Service, with kids at three different camps in two locations 20 miles apart. Sounds like fun, huh?  But it was only for today, not the whole week. Consequently, I am forcing you to see what we did Sunday to liven up our lives.

First, we went to our favorite Lake Michigan beach.  After ninety minutes of playing in the sand and splashing in the water, a lady out for a walk asked if we saw the “no swimming” sign.  Apparently there’s e coli in the water. We came home and scrubbed everyone, practically turning them inside out, and are hoping for the best. We rock this parenting thing.

In our defense, there was one small sign posted under the regular one that says no lifeguard on duty, no fires, etc.  It was red and said STOP in bold letters, but none of us even glanced that way as we headed down the trail to the beach. Oh, well.

See how (relatively) clean and shiny they look?  They inhaled some pushups on the front porch while discussing the various bugs and butterflies they could see from there. It was actually a peaceful ten minutes. Look how dry their little legs are from the showers…we used about a quart of lotion on them before bed.

And my GI Joe missed the peace because he was mowing the yard, which has made a heroic comeback from the drought.  We didn’t water this part a bit, and it grew so much the deer were out there grazing as if it were a meadow Saturday morning.

Oh, and I painted Princess Thundercloud’s toenails to match mine, in honor of the Olympics.  It’s hard to paint stripes on constantly moving toes, so don’t judge me.

Then I made an amazing, less-than-thirty minute meal with some Apple Gouda Chicken Sausage that wound up in my cart at Costco last week.  Those sample ladies know what they’re doing when they offer it to the kids! Then they pester me until I at least read the label.  These are actually pretty healthy, with no nitrites and all natural ingredients, as well as being fairly low in fat and high in protein.

Anyway, here’s the recipe I found and tried.  It was delicious enough that all three kids and the hubs stressed that they really liked it and would like it another time. They know if they don’t, we’ll probably never see that recipe again.

Chicken Sausage with Couscous

*Note: I like to use Trader Joe's whole wheat couscous. When I cook it, I use chicken broth instead of water to give it a boost in flavor.
*Serves 4-6
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces precooked sweet apple chicken sausages, or other type sausage/kielbasa, cut in 1/4-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dry whole wheat couscous

Start the couscous cooking according to the package directions. I like to cook the couscous in chicken broth to give it a boost in flavor.

Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet (12-inch), toast the pine nuts over medium-low to medium heat, tossing frequently, until they are golden. Remove the pine nuts to a small bowl and return the skillet to medium heat.

Heat the olive oil until rippling and hot. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken sausage and brown lightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of the chicken broth to the skillet with the salt, pepper, thyme, cumin, coriander and curry powder. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the onion is very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated and/or absorbed. It should still be slightly wet but not soupy.

Add the cranberries and the remaining chicken broth (2/3 cup) to the skillet. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the cranberries are heated through and softened a bit. Stir in the cooked couscous and let the entire mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed but the couscous is not dry. It should still have some tender moisture to it but not be saturated with broth.

Stir in the toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.

It’s from Mel's Cafe Kitchen.  You can find the printable there.  I doubled all the spices, except salt and pepper, and diced my onion instead of slicing it.  It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but it really was very quick and easy to make, 

So your takeaways from this post:
1. Read the signs at the beach and don’t be bad parents like us.
2. The chemicals in pushups will probably kill any bacteria that the scrubbing didn’t.
3. You, too, can have patriotic toes!
4.  This recipe really is a keeper…it was light enough for a summer dish, but the flavors would be fabulous in the fall, as well. From Googling recipes to serving it up, it took less than thirty minutes.


  1. Yes, it is a bummer that we can't use the lakes around here during the summer because of the E Coli that grows out of control. They always try to blame the seagulls for the problem. At least you had the beach to yourselves? The recipe looks great. I will have to give that a try :)

    1. We did enjoy having the beach all alone! And the recipe really is tasty...and quick, which as you know, is important these days!

  2. I wouldn't be so sure you didn't get in any crafting--seems to me you crafted some great family memories! (Bummer about the lake, though. It LOOKS lovely.)

    1. What a fabulous spin to put on my crafting laziness...and you're right! Thanks for pointing that out!

  3. I love reading about your family's adventures just as much as I like seeing your crafty projects! Thundercloud's patriotic toes are super cute!


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