Greek Couscous Salad and Puppy Heaven

Big news guys!  After 23 years of pleading, begging, and all-around badgering, I have finally gotten my lifelong wish…a sister!

Boxer puppy!

 

Ok, so maybe not a “sister” in the most conventional meaning of the word.  But still.  I am fairly certain I couldn’t be any more obsessed with her than if she were an actual baby sister.  I mean, look at that face.  And those eyes!  And her one little sock! I’m so in love.  I was lucky enough to be visiting home when my parents got her, and I spent the rest of the weekend snuggling her entirely too much and turning her into more of a lap dog than she will ever be able to actually be once she’s full grown.  Sorry, mom, dad, and couches.

In other non-puppy news, BF and I got together with some of my very favorite people this past weekend for an annual weekend in Pittsburgh, and it was (per usual) lots of fun!  One of my favorite highlights each year is the night we go to Hofbrauhaus.  It is SO much fun!  And one of few places where dancing on a bench/table isn’t trashy/taboo after you’ve left college.  So, big win, obviously.  The only things I’ve ever eaten there are pretzels, which are very good, but let’s be honest: the beer is the star of the show at a German beer house (who saw THAT coming).  It comes in liter steins and is terrifyingly large.  But hey, if nothing else, it makes for a good photo op!

See?

See?

Now that I’m back home for almost three weeks straight– something that hasn’t happened since April– I’m getting excited to get back into the kitchen!  I sort of feel like I say that every other post.  But weeknight cooking, while occasionally creative (case in point: tonight I made up a tuna casserole recipe out of thin air, and miraculously enough it ended well), isn’t usually where the really fun innovation happens for me.  That’s generally on weekends, often after a trip to the farmer’s market, so when I’m not around for multiple weekends in a row, I sort of feel like I lose touch with the cooking side of myself.  So my goal recently has become to try less ambitious projects that are a bit more doable on a weeknight.

 

Starting with this salted bourbon vanilla granola.  WHAT. EVEN.  How good does that sound, right?  So good.  Because it IS so good.  I took the last of it on the road to Pittsburgh this weekend and I’m already trying to decide if it’s too soon to to make some more.  Because holy WOW batman.  Plus it has flax seed in it, and I am weirdly completely obsessed with flax seed.  Not flax seed powder, just flax seeds.  Adding obscene amounts of flax seeds to your overnight oats will make them SO much better, I promise.  Plus they’re super cheap to buy in bulk and good for you.  That’s a Charlie Sheen level of #winning right there.

Veggie Gnocchi

I also ad libbed this creamy summer veggie gnocchi last week.  The sauce is pretty much just a béchamel (skim milk-based) with peas and corn thrown in towards the end of the process (you can totally do this with frozen veggies too), with a solid dose of red pepper flakes that gives it a real kick.  I sort of expected this to be more of a getting-the-job-done kind of meal than anything inspiring, but I was happily surprised at the result.  Who knew?

Greek CousCous

But what I really want to talk about– even though it’s the worst-lit and therefore the ugliest photo in the bunch– is this greek-ish couscous.  If my new breakfast obsession is overnight oats, its evening obsession counterpart is israeli couscous.  I LOVE IT SO MUCH.  Which reminds me, there’s a great couscous salad I’ve been meaning to share with you forEVER.  Oops.  I gotta do that one.  It’s my favorite dish of the summer and I struggle not to eat the whole thing before anyone else has even seen it every time I make it.  Next time, I promise.

In the meantime, this dish is pretty great too.  Super easy to put together, and the only stove/hot-machine-why-am-I-being-punished-with-the-fires-of-hell-when-will-autumn-arrive time is making the couscous.  It has loads of dill because I find every excuse to eat it that I can, and none of that icky kalamata olive business because no.

Greek Couscous Salad

  • 1 c. Israeli Couscous, cooked according to package directions
  • Several handfuls of Baby Spinach, cut into ribbons (do you “ribbon” spinach?  Is that a thing?  Slices?  Slivers?)
  • 1 c. Cherry Tomatoes, chopped and seeded
  • 1/2 c. Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 LARGE handful Dill, chopped (I will only be mildly offended if you use less dill than I do.  But I know you won’t because you’re not evil)
  • Approx. 3 T. Olive Oil
  • Salt, Pepper

So, I arrived at this part only to realize there really isn’t anything to write here.  Do the prep steps listed for each ingredient and then stir it all together and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Also, there might have been lemon juice in there but I think I may be conflating couscous salad recipes.  So probably don’t do that.  Unless you’re feeling adventurous, in which case by all means do!

Summer, man.  I know when winter comes I’ll be wanting to eat all that warm, comforting stuff, but man.  Right now all I want to do is eat salads for the rest of my days on earth.

In closing, puppy.

Boxer puppy!

This is the moment she met me. I swear she likes me as much as I like her.

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