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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:

    http://bit.ly/azzT3n

    (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.)

    Thanks!

    _________________________________

    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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