Vacation & the Elimination of Excess – Curried Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, Peach Chutney & Cilantro Yogurt

I’m back after a blissful week of vacation up at Hume Lake.  The eating wasn’t so “real”, but seriously I don’t care.  It was an entire week of no cooking and that’s a welcome change once a year.


There were, however, plenty of other real experiences.  Completing the High Adventure Ropes Course (I have done it once and I sure hope my kiddos remember this moment because I have virtually no intention of ever doing it again), shooting a 3 pointer with a pinecone and playing peek-a-boo with an unsuspecting adult during the parent scavenger hunt (in other words, the kiddos came up with all the things to do/find during the hunt), playing some weird version of flag football without any flags, and off- roading in Suzuki Samurais and getting COVERED in dust – just to name a few.

This is our third year enjoying Hume Lake.  It is the total vacation for us. This year we even roped friends into joining us.  I think they loved it as much as we do, and may make it an annual deal as well.

I think I might have mentioned before that our vacation week fell during my “clothing fast” that I did as part of my book club which is studying Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  For the first time in my entire life, I packed for our 8 day vacation in . . . . drumroll, please . . .  my kid’s school backpack!  Unheard of in my world of meticulous forethought and uber-preparation.  But hey, I was only packing 7 items of clothing (I did decide that bathing suit didn’t count, so I guess that technically means I packed 8 items).  I had all the encouragers tell me how freeing it would be to not have to worry about clothes and clothing choices.  Nice try, folks, but nope.  This was a stressful endeavor for me.  First of all, do you know how dirty a person can get in one day at Hume Lake?  And second of all, I have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old.  I’m lucky if I make it past breakfast without spit, snot, food, or some other unidentified substance smeared on me.  By the third time of wearing black running shorts and and turquoise t-shirt (aka, outfit number 1) I was downright gross.  But I persevered and held the course.  I’m still processing the stress  associated with this “experiment” and may let you know later if I figure any of that whole deal out.

The one (possibly only) thing I do know from this foray into clothing minimalism was that it made packing a whole lot easier.  When you are packing up a tribe of 7 for a week away, there’s just a lot of “stuff” involved.   Eliminating MY stuff really lightened the load.  Even though the preparation can be exhausting, this week away is always so worth it.  Kind of like this little recipe for Curried Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, Peach Chutney & Cilantro Yogurt (say that 3 times fast).  It’s a little heavy on the preparation time because it contains a lot of  “stuff”, but the result is so worth it.

I started by knocking out the yogurt sauce.  You just throw some cilantro, lime juice and coarse salt into the food processor.

curried cous cilantro

You puree all of that goodness and then mix in some sour cream and plain yogurt.  Phew.  Step one, completed.

Veggie preparation is next. I cubed some eggplant and summer squash (you could also use zucchini). I then  place each veggie on two separate baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray.  Then I tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  I roasted the eggplant for about 50 minutes and the squash for about 25 minutes (thus the reason for 2 separate baking sheets).

curried cous eggplantcurried cous squash

While the veggies were roasting, I charred a bell pepper over the grill and then placed in a paper bag for about 10 minutes,  I then removed the skin and chopped it into bite-sized pieces.

I also prepared the couscous.  In this time around, I combined regular couscous and Israeli couscous just because I had a little of the latter and wanted to finish it off.  The mixture gave a nice texture variation.  I sauteed a little onion, added some curry powder and then did the basic couscous prep.

curried cous plain

I chopped up some cashews and was finished with all the prep work.

curried cous cashews

Finally, I fluffed the couscous, tossed in the roasted veggies and bell pepper, mixed in the cashews and some currants.  I was a slacker and decided I just didn’t have it in me to make the peach chutney.  I went with Major Grey’s Mango Chutney and served with the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce as well. A flavor explosion well worth all the steps involved in the recipe.

curried cous

Here’s the complete Curried Couscous with Roasted Veggie & Cilantro Yogurt Sauce Recipe.

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