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What to get the man who is giving away everything?

As we get rid of unnecessary things we’ve accumulated during almost 6 years of married life, the last thing we need is more stuff in the apartment. I knew L’s birthday gift had to be something intangible or consumable (tickets, magazine subscription, nice dinner, etc.).

The gift: I’m packing his lunch for a month. But we’re not talking BP&J and an apple. No, this has got to be good. I did this about two years ago, and he seemed quite happy to bring it back.

The week started out with a baguette and some meat and cheese from Eastern Market. I also made some chicken shawarma, greek yogurt-tahini dip, and pitas. We’ll finish out the week with a couscous salad. I can’t say that I’m not tangentially benefiting from his gift.

My bosses reaction when I mentioned my plan: “What, you don’t always pack him a lunch?”

Um, no.

Click below for my adapted recipe for the couscous salad.

Prepare couscous as directed. I made 2 cups of dry couscous which required about 2 ½ cups water. Fluff couscous with a fork and spoon into a large bowl; cool slightly.  Add the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 Tbs pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 ½ cups plum tomatoes, quartered

Toss gently to combine.

To prepare dressing:

Combine ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 1 ½ Tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste, stirring with a whisk. You might want to double this if you make the full 2 cups of dry couscous.

Drizzle the dressing over salad; toss to combine. You can serve warm or cold.

Adapted from this recipe on CookingLight.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. It’s Friday, and it’s the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup’s Three Month Blogiversary – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)



    By the way… LOVE the title of this blog post! Very, very witty!

    May 7, 2010
  2. Will definitely be checking out your cous cous recipe – at least once I get back to the States in a few weeks and have good ingredients to make it…

    but had to reach out and tell you that my nearest and dearest friends are in Nicaragua now – been there about 3 months now for their 3 year tour (it’s their 5th post) and absolutely LOVE it.

    Best of luck on your move!! If you don’t already know people there, I”m happy to pass along their address – she said that 2/3 of the Embassy is in transition this summer cycle – so a “familiar” face may be nice for both of you!

    May 7, 2010
  3. Great idea! Look forward to more lunch recipes.

    May 7, 2010
  4. Rebecca #

    1) Love your boss’s comment. I literally snorted water out my nose. Colleagues appreciated that.
    2) How do I get me some of your chicken shwarma?
    3) Please please please don’t let Josh read this blog post.

    May 12, 2010
  5. Chris & Dani #

    What a great birthday idea!! I’m going to bookmark this one for when we make it back to the States and lunch out is no longer so cheap/delicious

    May 14, 2010

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