Party In My Mouth

Alternate Title: Sometimes I Make Food

In my house hubby does the cooking and I do the dishes. It's not a perfect arrangement - sometimes he gets bored with cooking, sometimes I get bored with dishes - but it's better than the alternative. I'm not creative in the kitchen and he loads a dishwasher like a blind monkey.

That being said, every now and then I plan to cook a meal. Even rarer, I actually follow through with my plan.

Yesterday I got a wild hair and decided to make a giant batch of couscous that I could bring to work for lunch for the next 2 weeks. Verdict: I have a winner. It's tasty, and filling and I made that giant batch in well under an hour. I'm particularly proud of myself because I didn't follow a recipe and yet it isn't terrible. Huzzah!

In case you want to try it too, here's the recipe:

4 C dry couscous (I bought plain couscous in bulk, not the flavored side dishes)
1 t salt
4 t butter
3.5 C water
1/3 C red wine vinegar
2/3 C olive oil
--1 can diced tomatoes, drained
--1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
--1 can garbanzo beans, drained
--1 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
--3 handfuls shredded carrots
--1/2 C feta cheese

- bring salt, butter and water to a boil
- add dry couscous to boiling water, stir quickly
- remove couscous from heat, cover and let sit for 4-5 minutes
- fluff couscous with a fork, add vegetables and toss in oil and vinegar

yields 10-12 lunch sized portions

The great thing about couscous is you can make your filler out of just about anything in the pantry or refrigerator. Old canned veggies? Throw em in. Leftover salad carrots? Throw em in. Random 2 year old feta that mysteriously doesn't go bad? Throw it in. And like I said, this is really fast to make. The couscous itself cooks in about 10 minutes, then the rest of the time is in prepping your "filler" however you like it, and then combining the whole she-bang.

So what do you think? Get cooking!

The Official Christmas Re-Cap

It's been a few weeks since I've posted, but that's because I've been enjoying all the amazing stuff the family got for Christmas. We got practical stuff, fun stuff and everything in between.

Christmas Eve the hubby's family got together for perogies and presents. We all were thoroughly gifted, but my big gift was this super swanky wet/dry dust mop. It's like a robotic swiffer, but better. I think it officially makes me an old lady when I get this excited over receiving a floor cleaner as a gift.
buy it here
Luke's big gift (and when I say big, I mean BIG) was this bouncy castle from the whole family. It has a bounce area, climbing wall, slide and ball pit. Even better, we can add a hose during warm weather and we get a water slide with a splash pool. Seriously, could this gift be any cooler? Unexpected gift? The mini-shed we had to put up to store it :)
buy it here
The next morning, the whole family convened at our house for the opening of stockings. Luke's not really old enough to understand Santa but just in case I wanted us to have full stockings to open. Steven and I made a deal that we would stuff Luke's stocking together, but that we would buy each other a few surprise stocking stuffers.  Luke got a Nerf gun that was not-so-secretly for my husband. So what if the package says Age 8 and Up? Hubby thought it was best to start him early.
buy it here
I got a drying rack and a hand-made coral ring that I pinned ages ago. Now, before you go scolding my husband through the internet, getting a drying rack was actually exciting. Thrilling even. Prior to Christmas I had a flimsy wooden drying rack that was on its last leg and fell apart every time I tried to use it. This guy is sturdy and will be around to dry my sweaters, bras and cloth diapers for years to come.

buy it here
buy it here

Steven got some stainless steel soap (it removes cooking odors, like garlic and onions, from your hands), a really, really big clamp and (drum roll please) tickets to the Belk Bowl. After Christmas was wrapped up, we head to Charlotte and watched the Wolfpack whoop up on the St Louis Cardinals. Don't worry, I didn't go into debt over those tickets, they were free - my friend got them free from her work, yada yada yada.

buy it here

After brunch we loaded up the car and headed to my uncle's house to have Christmas dinner with my mom's side of the family, where we continued to rack up the pressies. Luke got lots of gifts, but my favorite one was a board book that teaches everything you could ever need to know about being a Wolfpack fan. Let's just say our ENTIRE family is on a mission to add one more State fan to the fold.

buy it here

I got a piece from the new CorningWare Etch line from my aunt and uncle. I've had my eye on them for a while, but pretty bakeware isn't high on the priority list when money is tight, so I was glad to find it under the tree. Also, the color is much brighter and lime-y in person which I love.

buy it here

Not to downplay the CorningWare, but my favorite gift this year was a collection of owls from my Grandmother. I've mentioned before how much I love owls because they remind me of my Granny, and my grandmother gave me 3 owls from my Granny's collection: a metal owl lantern, a mug with an owl on it and this fantastic gray and navy cutie (that is already making a home on my mantel).

Steven and I got a few joint gifts, including a luxurious new sheet set and a rugged fold-up wagon both from my mom and step-dad.
buy it here

i can't find the link for mine, but this one is similar
Last, in the Christmas gift-a-palooza is this Electrolux stick vacuum I bought with my Christmas money. Someone else I know has one and I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. After scoping out Electrolux's website I found out that the base model is $100 and the fancy-schmancy version with the built-in hand vac is $120. Imagine my surprise when I stopped by my local Bed, Bath & Beyond and found the fancy version on sale for the same price as the base version. I whipped out my 20% off coupon and took this bad boy home for $80. Don't you just love getting things for 2/3 the market price? I do! I love, love, LOVE this vacuum - it is lightweight and convenient, meaning I actually use it frequently. With the frequent vacuuming it makes it that much easier for my new dust mop to do it's thing. What was I saying about being and old lady who gets cleaning appliances for Christmas? It's totally true.
buy it here
So, what did you get for Christmas?

Note: I wasn't paid or perked in any way to mention the above products or companies. I just love this stuff and thought you would, too! Although if Electrolux is listening, I wouldn't mind a new refrigerator or washer/dryer set.

New Year, New Job

Guess what? I'm employed again! I know you guys are probably tired of the hired/laid-off/hired roller coaster. Well, I'm tired of it too. But life goes on and I blog about my life, so that's that. I had some behind-the-scenes training last week and today was my first day on duty. All my co-workers seem very nice and the job itself seems straight forward and stress-free.

I won't tell you where I'm working, but let's just say it rhymes with "Shmow's" and I have to wear a red vest. No, my current position isn't really related to by design background but it's a company I believe in and I'm happy to be there. Plus, they are big on promoting from within and I could see myself moving up and getting comfortable over the next several years.

What's new with you in 2012?
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