Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Welcome to the jungle: squash and couscous salad

California is opening up against expert recommendations, so while others venture out, we adventure in!  It'll be a looooong time before we go to the zoo or Safari park, so this past weekend we turned the house into our very own jungle so we could go on a safari here.

Now, realistically we blended the African Savannah with the Asian jungles, in terms of what animals we incorporated, but this is a fake adventure, so lions and tigers and monkeys and giraffes all mingled together.

We started the morning by turning ourselves into animals with masks.

Then gave ourselves some jungle animal tatoos.

Next we made Safari animal pendants.

After that it was time to make our own quicksand.

We took a break for lunch and had chicken and mango skewers with plantain chips.

After nap I hid stuffed animals all around the house and wrote up a scavenger hunt for the kids.

The boys went on safari to try to find the animals.  Thatkid, being older and needing a handicap, had to figure out what animal the clues were referring to.

We finished up our activities by coloring our own animals.

To go along with our theme, we rented Jumanji for the evening and ate our Safari-dinners.  Roast squash and couscous salad.  Sure it's not authentic, but neither is the rest of our day and this seemed like a nice cool way to end a hot day in the jungle.   I even made the kids strawberry banana coconut smoothies to drink out of our non-authentic coconuts.

This salad really does make for a great summer dinner.  I roasted the squash early in the day, because really - no one likes a hot oven heating up their house. You can prep the couscous ahead of time also.  After that, all the ingredients are cool and easy to throw together.  The dressing is really simple, but simple and salads are all I really want as the days get warmer. 

Squash and Couscous Salad
1 butternut squash 
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup toasted almonds
  1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Peel the butternut squash and cut into bite sized pieces.  
  2. Toss the squash with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for 20 minutes, until browned.  Let cool.
  3. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.  Let cool.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey.  
  5. Add sliced onion to the dressing and let sit while putting together the rest of the salad.
  6. Toss couscous, arugula, squash, and almonds together.
  7. Fold in the onions/dressing mix and serve.