Simply Healthy Family: Moroccon Cous Cous with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar


Moroccon Cous Cous with Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

 What to make for dinner when you don't feel like making dinner.

I decided that I wasn't going to talk about how amazingly delicious this cous cous was. I'm also not going to tell you how simple it is even though it looks all fancy and exotic and some what like an elaborate, artistic masterpiece. I'm also not going to even mention the fact that besides being sweet and tart and complex and lovely, it is light and healthy and nutritionally perfect. No meat necessary. Mum's the word.

Instead, I decided that I was going to talk about balloons. And motherhood. But mostly about balloons.
Every kid loves balloons right? Begs for them at the store. Plays with them at birthday parties and happily marches around the house with one tied to their wrist, squealing in delight.
Not. In. This. House. We have a balloon hater in this house. No, that does not even begin to describe the chaos, turmoil and complete madness that consumes our home when a balloon enters it.

Is there a certain word for severe balloon phobia? There must be, there's a phobia for everything. Does anyone know what the word for fear of balloons is?

My sweet little 4 year old, Nolan, is utterly and completely terrified of balloons for some reason. I thought he'd have gotten over it by now, hopefully he will someday I mean he's only 4... and 1/2. In the beginning I didn't think much of it, 'eh, he's just a little kid, he'll get over it. I mean how often do you run into balloons in every day life? Well let me tell you.
Birthday's, obviously. So a year has gone by since the last birthday party balloon fiasco I didn't think anything of getting some balloons for Jack's 6th birthday a few weeks ago. Bad idea. BAD. Good grief, you can not imagine the torture this poor 4 year old boy went through because of a couple of regular ol' balloons! I spent All morning trying to sympathize, coax, reassure and rationalize with an insanely out of control 4 year old that there was no reason to be afraid of a balloon.

Why is he afraid?
It starts at the store. He's afraid the string is going to come loose and it's going to blow away. You should see his poor little face, genuine fear I tell you. Then, in the car {good Lord, the car ride home!} he completely stiffens up and stresses and cries out in panic the entire time that they are going to blow out of the (closed) windows. Jack, his 6 year old brother who's birthday is causing all the ruckus, is of course perfectly intent on further torturing his little brother; what are brothers for? Jack holds onto his balloon string with one hand while tapping it with his other so that it bops Nolan in the back of the head (3rd row seating) just to aggravate the situation.

Then baby Mona happens to get her hands on Nolan's balloon and with her chubby baby hands begins squeezing the balloon which makes that squeaky balloon sound (which kind of irks me too) and that really sets off poor Nolie. I mean at this point I'm a little unnerved. I don't like seeing my baby this upset. I'm thinking o.k. we're in the drive way, things will get better. No. We get inside and the ceiling fan is on...............................

Have you ever seen a 4 year old have a nervous breakdown? Come completely unglued.  Not pretty. Of course I had to take away the balloons, right? There was no rationalizing with him at this point. This of course upset the birthday boy, Jack.  So,

Give Jack back his balloon.

Take away Jack's balloon after further torture treatment ensues in hallway.

Put both boys to bed to give it a rest (my sanity, not the boys).
Listen to Nolan cry for 20 minutes about how he needs his balloon.
Put the balloon back in Nolan's room and tell him to take a nap and the balloon will be just fine.
Listen to Nolan cry for another 45 minutes about how the balloon is going to pop.
Finally, I pop. I take the balloon out of the room and well, pop it. No more balloons in this house ever!

So today, we stop by Sonic for a treat and what does the car hop/waitress bring to our car window?
A stinking balloon!

Go back up to the beginning of this story and this is what I dealt with all stinking over again today.
I don't get it. He is scared to death of them but is equally upset if I let it fly away or pop it.

The morale of my story is:  Sometimes you just don't have the energy or give a crap to make dinner.

Unfortunately, I hate take-out and boxed meals even more than making dinner when I'm exhausted. So, I come up with a fuss-free, throw together dinner that is still healthy and delicios-O. Cuz that's how I roll. Makes mamma happy.

This is one of those meals. I promise.
So, super simple and you just won't believe how tasty.
Keep things like slivered or sliced almonds, currants or raisins, mixed dried fruit, kalmata or green olives, a variety of canned or dried beans, cous cous, quinoa and millet in your pantry and you will always, always have
the makings of a last minute, throw together dinner.

I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to vote for me to be
one of's Top 100 Mommy Bloggers of 2011
I was nominated for's Top 100 Mom Food Bloggers 2011! Follow this link to vote for me!

Adapt this recipe how you like it! Here's what I used this time.


1 cup cous cous
1 cup chicken broth (or water, I like the vitamins in home-made chicken broth)
1/2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1-14 oz. can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, Raw
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup flat parsley , chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
*1/2 tsp. Mediterranean seasoning
sea salt to taste
Kalmata olives

I found this Orange Muscat Champage vinegar at Trader Joe's. No perservatives, all natural. You could also use: 1/4 cup O.J. 1/4 cup Muscat grape juice (white grape juice), 1 tbsp. champagne vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar

* use garlic powder, onion flakes, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes etc. I'm loving Braggs Organic 21 seasoning and Sea Kelp delight seasoning.  

Throwing it all Together:

Bring broth to a boil. Add olive oil and cous cous, stir, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for at least 5 minutes while you get everything else in order.

In a large bowl throw all other ingredients together and toss to combine.

Add cous cous. Toss.

That's it! Bam! Dinner in 10 minutes.

Serve with grilled fish if your really hungry. Serve with a glass of wine if you deserve one. I know I do!



  1. My god, I feel overwhelmed FOR you just reading about this! Note to self - never give Nolan a balloon. Ever. Got it.

    At least the couscous looks delicious! So many fabulous and varied flavors all in one bite. What's not to love?

  2. This couscous looks amazing and by the sounds of it, VERY well deserved my friend ;)

    SO glad you won that TEA giveaway, much deserved - and I didn't even know!

  3. Hey Gwen, I voted for you! Such a beautiful couscous. Couscous is my go to meal whenever I eat alone. I'll have to try out some of your seasonings and extra touches next time.

  4. Wow I love the look of this ! So healthy and bright. Plus, couscous is a favourite ingredient of mine.

  5. That does look easy! and delicious!

  6. Love all the wonderful ingredients you used in your couscous recipe....full of flavour. The orange muscat vinaigrette really brings it about a notch.

  7. I just found the Orange Muscat Champage vinegar at Trader Joe's and made a delicious salad using this dressing recipe: I used it with my amazing home-grown romaine letter, shredded chicken, apple, cucumber, and sunflower seeds, and DH declared it the Best Salad Ever! In my search for other recipes using this tasty vinegar, I came across your couscous, which is next on my list! Thanks for sharing. I love a mix of sweet and savory flavors, and this dish sounds perfect.


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