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Bringing lots of rain. Hopefully that will translate into lots of tasty greens in a few weeks but it is putting a damper on my digging out the worm bin project.
So many projects lined up. Tonight I spent some time readying a chest of drawers for my daughter’s room. Secondhand and the staples and a few knobs were loose, so I got out the wood glue, a screwdriver, and a hammer to tighten it all back up. I have drawers sprawled across my living room drying tonight; hopefully tomorrow they’ll be ready because I’d really like to get the dresser moved into one of my daughter’s closets to give her more floor space and further the organization of her room. She wants a big girl room and I told her that the only way she’s going to get it is if we can get the clutter under control on an ongoing basis. Her room is the victim of generosity from family and friends. We just don’t have enough storage space for everything she’s been given.
I was hoping to carve out time tonight to do some cutting and sewing. I have some old sheets that I’d like to turn into circle skirts and shorts for her before summer. I also have to cut and sew new insoles for my favorite pair of scuffs. The soles and uppers are still good, but the insoles are a tattered mess. I’ve been looking at fabrics trying to figure out what would be cushiony on my feet yet durable. I’m thinking that I might layer some fabrics to get the effect I want. I have some thick, soft felted wool scraps and an end of upholstery fabric. The upholstery fabric would probably adhere nicely to the interior of the shoe with a layer of strong glue and the wool would be comfortable on my feet. I really love my scuffs, I don’t want to replace them if I can repair them.
I also need to get my canning jars out and prewashed since the farmers’ markets are opening again and I can get cheap produce to can. I didn’t can hardly anything last year because of my eye surgery and such. Definitely can’t let that happen again this year. I need to at least put up several quarts of bean soup for convenience eating all year long.
Sounds strange, I know, but I had 1.5 lbs. of honey that had started to crystallize and needed to do something with it, so I decided to brew some cough syrup. I scooped the honey out into an enamel pot, added one chopped, strong white onion, and two cold care tea bags from my ample tea supply. It’s been cooking over low heat for the past four hours. I’ll check it again before bed to see if enough of the juice from the onions has reduced for it to be strained and ready for bottling. Once it’s cooled, I’ll add some echinacea/goldenseal extract to it. I find the syrup to be handy for coughs and that under-the-weather feeling during cold season. You can make it with just onion and honey or even garlic and honey for a soothing simple syrup, or you can add more herbal ingredients for whatever cold symptoms plague you most. If you cook it down to a very thick syrup, you can either pour it into candy molds or pour it out on a silicone mat, let it cool, score it into pieces after half an hour, and have your own homemade lozenges. I may go down and add some fennel fronds to mine just for flavor here in a bit.
There was a local produce sale at my neighborhood store, so I went over to check it out and came home with some nice hot and sweet peppers, onions, and corn. I made some salsa with the peppers and onions and some tomatoes I had on hand from the CSA delivery. Tomorrow I’m taking some to share with a friend when I go to visit her. I might make and can some fennel onion relish in the morning before I leave. I haven’t done nearly as much canning as I’d have liked this summer and I’m feeling inspired after my parents brought several jars of home-canned salmon to me when they came to pick up my daughter for the week.
I plan to do a lot of cooking and preserving while she’s away. Mostly to keep myself from missing her so much, but also to have a head-start on easy meals for when she goes back to school. I’m going to prepare muffin batter and freeze it in the paper liners so that I can bake them the night before for an easy homemade breakfast when served with sliced fruit and a glass of milk. I also want to stuff potatoes to freeze for quick and easy dinners, as well as freezing plenty of soups, stocks, and pesto. I’ve also had more apples drying so that we have plenty for school snacks. I might do some pears as well for variety.
I’ve spent much of today pondering my attraction to the slow lifestyle. What makes a woman with ready access to all manner of urban conveniences go out of her way to make as much of her own stuff as possible? A large part of it is quality. I can be a quality snob and yet I’m still a pennypincher, so it’s always made the most sense to me to do as many things as I was capable of myself so that I would be pleased with both quality and price. I’m also a perpetual student. I love to learn new things and, since science and history are two of my favorite subjects, learning how to do things the old-fashioned way or knowing why it is that a certain process works is very satisfying. I’m also not someone who has an easy time sitting still, so the handicrafts give me a way to sit a spell and still get something done. Do a granny square a day on the bus and pretty soon you have a blanket. I prefer to use my time doing things that are either very useful or make me very happy, even better when I can combine the two. Last, and one that has become so important to me since becoming a mother, the projects that I do relax me and give me a creative outlet. Sure, it can be a pain to have to come home after a long day to make a loaf of bread for the next day’s lunches, but once I start working the dough and get into that rhythm, it seems like so many of my cares just fall away and, by the time I’m pulling the loaf out of the oven, I’m calm and happy again.
I like this slower pace. Americans spend so much time dashing around that we forget about the small pleasures of life, the little things that make a big impact and bring us happiness and contentment – that’s why so many of us are sick and stressed out. An hour in my little garden or in my kitchen is worth a dozen psychiatrists and personal trainers. And now that I’ve done some research on various DIY topics and put them into practice, I’m more conscious of my impact on the world around me, how the choices I make affect others not only in my immediate neighborhood, but around the world. Sometimes I make it a game to see how I can reduce my impact even more. What else can I make or do differently?
Believe it or not, for all of my ambitious tendencies, I’ve spent much of today relaxing with a crochet project and a selection of documentaries, getting up to stir a pot or move dishes and clothes around, then back to my yarn. I love days like these. I made a big, delicious glass of apple/carrot/beet/spinach juice about midday with some yogurt on the side, then had a delicious dinner of soft polenta with fresh tomatoes, mixed mushrooms, fresh basil, and roasted garlic while I listened to Haydn on the radio. It’s like a vacation without leaving home.
The other day I got an email from Sara Star over at Spirits Craft telling me that I’d been selected as a winner of the Domestic Witch Blog Award. I’m touched to have my writing so honored.
Today has been a difficult one. Last night I tried taking an L-tryptophan capsule to help with my ongoing insomnia and it worked too well, I’ve been exhausted all day and my stomach has also felt very off. So, of course, what do I do but come home and find myself in the middle of a whirlwind of projects before I can rest? But they were necessary, so I gritted my teeth and hurried through as best I could so that I could get to right here and right now, relaxing in bed with my feet elevated and a big bowl of rice dressed with garlic, Bragg’s, and butter (my palliative for every ailment) cooling so that I can eat.
When I picked my daughter up from summer camp today, her face wobbled when she saw me and she got teary. I asked what was wrong and she sobbed that they had been promised popsicles later that afternoon. She can’t take a popsicle on the bus, so I picked her up and carried her inside, thinking, thinking, thinking. Then I said, “I bet we can make a better popsicle at home.” Her tears stopped, then she looked at me, and said, “Really, mama?” Of course, now that I’ve made this suggestion, I must deliver on it if at all possible, so I started thinking of what we might have to make popsicles with at home. She was very specific that she wanted “fancy” popsicles, meaning she wanted something analogous to store-bought pops, not our usual juice or applesauce popsicles. I started digging through her snack cupboard and found a box of strawberry gelatin and a packet of unsweetened grape soft drink mix. I poured half of each packet into a big pyrex measure along with a half-cup of sugar and a cup of boiling water, stirred it until all of the powders dissolved, added a cup of cold water, then poured the liquid through a small funnel into our popsicle mold (it makes eight; if you have two molds, you could easily double this recipe for delighting many, many kids). They’re now chilling in the freezer, so she’ll have popsicles tomorrow and, given how good the solution smelled while I was mixing it up, I’m betting that they’ll be a winner with my daughter.
She also reminded me that we’d used up the last of the bread this morning, so I put the ingredients for a small loaf of honey oatmeal bread into the bread machine. I usually only use the machine for mixing dough while I’m busy with other things but since I’m not feeling 100% today, I decided to sacrifice quality for convenience this time. I’m having a craving for a loaf of jalapeno bread, something with a nice corn and pepper flavor that will make great, savory toast or grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato. I’m going to tinker with a recipe for cubano bread that I really enjoy, and maybe I’ll roast the peppers to bring out their sweetness and spice.
My lower back continues to bother me as well after straining it awhile ago, tonight I’m thinking of making a castor oil pack to break up any adhesions in the muscles. To make a castor oil pack, you wet a flannel cloth with enough castor oil to soak the cloth but not be a drippy mess, then you place it over the affected area, bind it with some plastic wrap or a strip of old sheet, then lay a heating pad or hot water bottle over the wrap and rest awhile. Once you remove the compress, wash the skin that was covered and do some gentle massage to further relax the area. The flannel can be saved in a container in the fridge and reused many times.
I should make some rice packs for myself, too, mine are about at the end of their useful lives. Using cotton or cotton flannel, sew a square, rectangle, or roll and fill it with rice or rice and herbs – lavender is really nice – then you can heat the packs in the microwave for 30-60 seconds and place them on sprains, strains, or aching tummies. Sometimes when it’s very cold out, I’ll warm them up and put them in bed so we can slip between pre-warmed sheets that feel so cozy.
In a few more minutes, my pick-me-up tea should be ready: kombu (a seaweed easily found in Asian groceries), adzuki beans, and a shiitake mushroom steeped together, tightly covered, for 30 minutes; then you drink the broth and, if you like, eat the kombu and the mushroom – the beans can be composted. I discovered the kombu and adzuki tea in a whole foods cookbook awhile back. The mushroom was my own addition and I think it really adds to the overall nutritional value of the brew. I’m not sure exactly why it works, but it always make me feel better when I’m under the weather. A bit of an acquired taste, though, sometimes I toss in a bit of ginger or tamari for flavor.
My daughter is going away for a week to visit her grandparents before school starts. While she’s gone, I’m planning to split my time between work, projects, and relaxation, probably with plenty of spa treatments thrown in. One of my projects will be making a schultute (literally, school horn) for her first day of first grade. It’s a German tradition. You make a big cone out of posterboard and tissue paper, fill it with their school supplies and some treats or small gifts, then, when class starts on their first day, they get to open them, then display them on the classroom wall for the rest of the year. I think it’s a very sweet tradition and one that my daughter is very excited about. She wants me to make her a red schultute with sharks on it, so I need red posterboard, a bunch of shark stickers or gray paper to make cut-out sharks, then some tissue paper. I have all of her school supplies for next year, so I just need to come up with some treats, preferably homemade.
But, for tonight, I’m going to take it easy in the hopes of feeling much better tomorrow.
My hanging bunch of basil feels dry enough to crumble and package into a spice jar, probably with enough left over to share with a friend or two. All day I’ve had a wide variety of fruits and vegetables rotating through my low oven: apples, nectarines, blueberries, sweet cherries, and zucchini. Tomorrow I’ll dry more zucchini and summer squash; I like them as a healthy substitute for chips. If you slice them thinly and dry them, they become nicely crisp. I like them plain, but sometimes I dress them up with herbs and spices or a thin coating of curry paste for the sake of variety. I may also smoke some almonds tomorrow since my home-smoked almonds have become a very popular treat among my family, friends, and co-workers. This fall I want to try smoking some mixed soup beans before I make calico bean soup. I’ve tried making vegetarian versions of this family favorite, but without the customary ham or sausage, it just doesn’t taste right. Maybe a light smoking of the beans would give the soup some of that rich, smoky flavor that I associate with it.
My lower back gave out after scrubbing the floor, so I took it easy the rest of the day and, between rounds of dehydrating for winter, I made progress on my current embroidery project and spent some time playing with and reading to my daughter. So, once again, tired after a long, fruitful day.
My daughter had some impacted wax in her ear that was causing problems, so we were home Thursday and Friday to take care of that with a combination of heating pads, homeopathic ear drops, and gentle massage around the affected ear. It drained on Friday morning and she’s been feeling better ever since.
However, since she was mostly laying in bed, that gave me time, when I wasn’t working from home or taking care of her, to do some cleaning and work on projects.
I’ve been drying excess fruit in the oven pretty much around the clock and my daughter is eating it as fast as it cools off. Today there are the last of the apples, nectarines, and blueberries in there. The house smells amazing. We also baked sugar cookies because I wanted to experiment to see if I could bake cookies in the solar oven. I baked most of them in the conventional oven, but put a dozen onto the bare floor of the solar oven, then promptly forgot about them as I got busy with laundry and washing the kitchen floor. My daughter reminded me that they were out there. They didn’t come out soft like the ones from the regular oven, they came out thin and crispy but still very tasty, the butter and sugar both browned to a deep golden color. I won’t call them an absolute success, but they helped me learn some more about my solar oven. next time I’d bake them on a silicone mat for ease of removal and I might form and chill a butter-heavy dough before putting them in an already-heated oven so the butter didn’t just melt off and the cookies might retain some loft and softness. My other thought was to make a pan-sized sugar cookie and place it into a heated, covered pan for baking and slicing.
Even when things don’t come out perfect, I like learning more about what I can do with my oven. Every mistake that I make teaches me more about how to work with this marvelous piece of equipment. I really want to take it to the beach on a sunny day and bury it in the sand for insulation, then use it to cook a late lunch.
I’ve been out in the garden a lot, last night I spent an hour sifting old potting soil to remove perlite, rocks, and large debris. I’m trying to get as much of the perlite out of my garden as I can. I hate to throw perfectly good soil away, though, so I’m out there with an old colander sifting it all into buckets, then I’ll separate out the rocks and bark from the perlite and compost the natural materials. I haven’t decided if I’m going to throw out the perlite or use it as a white mulch around something that needs some protection from the heat – I really hate to throw things out if there might be a use for them. Tonight I’m going to use yesterday’s reclaimed soil to prep the carrot and radish pot. I’m hoping to get at least two harvests of carrots, maybe even more of the radishes.
Last night I added an organic activator to the outdoor compost barrel. I need that barrel for one of next year’s apple trees, so I wanted to break down the components as much as possible well ahead of spring planting. I also set up a folding plastic table and, until I can build the box planters that I want, it doubles my planting space so easily and gives me a place underneath for plants that need some sun protection.
In our walks around the neighborhood, I can’t say how sorry I am that so many useful plants are planted way too close to the road, soaking up pollution from traffic. There is a juniper near us that is drooping with the weight of its berries (they’re used as a spice and as a medicine) and it’s way too close to traffic for me to feel safe about harvesting any. What a waste! So many wild edibles and medicinal plants that I can’t harvest. I really need to get back to the land so “traffic” is no longer a reason for not foraging for free, useful plants.
There are some exciting events coming up in my area. There is a Portland Fermentation Festival on Thursday, August 27th 6-8pm at Ecotrust’s Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center, 721 NW 9th Ave. Portland, OR. I’m going to try to make it to that to see what people are doing with natural fermentation processes and, hopefully, to taste lots of yummy treats. There is also a native plant sale coming up at the nature park on Millikan Way on October 3rd from 12-4pm. I’m going in the hopes of finding some native edibles such as Indian plum. That nature park also has family hikes and a lot of other fun, educational activities throughout the year, usually free or very cheap.
I found out that the recreation center near our house is going to start offering a parent-child martial arts class. My daughter is very enthusiastic about the idea. I’m going to see if I can get us registered for that, as well as get her registered for swim lessons again.
Still so much to do but my back is aching from doing the floors. I’m hoping that a lie-down will give me the relief I need to finish my other projects for the day, not to mention tomorrow’s projects.
I’ve had my backpack for about two years now. I carry it almost every single day and it takes a beating. Recently two large holes opened up in one of the side pockets. I stitched the long, thin one closed but there was a second, round hole that needed a patch, so I cut a corner from a piece of thrift store fabric, cut it into a heart shape, and sewed it over the hole. My shoulder straps also need repairs. I’m out of fray check, so I found nail polish in matching black and painted the fraying areas to that I can try stitching them later, though, honestly, it may be a duct tape job. The wall between two inside pockets is also coming apart. I know that I could get another day pack for $10-20 but I really hate to toss something that still has a useful lifespan, so I’ll try to repair that this weekend.
For dinner we had pasta with the whole foods pesto I made yesterday. It was delicious and there’s enough left over for our lunches tomorrow. I served it with sliced tomatoes and fresh blueberries on the side for a great, nutritious summer meal.
After dinner I planted peas in the container I prepped yesterday. I’d had them marinating overnight in legume inoculant. It would be nice to have some more fresh sugar snaps before winter. There were a few leftover seeds; I tossed them in the outdoor compost to see if they’d volunteer. We already have volunteer cherry tomatoes ripening in the compost – far be it from me to turn down free food where I can find it. Hopefully my other seeds will get here soon so that I can tinker further with my tiny garden.
The cake turned out fantastic, a little more dense than a cake made with white flour but very tasty, not overly sweet. We did end up making a peanut butter chocolate icing for it by melting a square of bitter chocolate with butter and peanut butter over low heat, then whisking in powdered sugar until it was the proper consistency for spreading.
I tried to come in and finish my day early, I really did. My back is aching from bending and carrying; however, I felt that I had to go out and put together a pot for bush peas since I only have about another week to plant those for a late fall crop. I layered wet newspaper, fine soil, worm castings, a thin layer of dead, crumbled leaves, and more soil, then watered it with a dilute solution of worm tea and water. The pea seeds are soaking overnight in legume inoculant. I’ll plant them in the morning in a zig-zag pattern to get more plants into the long window box I prepared. I like the bush peas because they tend to web together and not need much in the way of extra support and they’re fairly compact. Good, sweet flavor in both the peas and the pods.
Took a shower and decided to give my skin a treat, so I brought a little plastic bowl of sugar into the shower and exfoliated my face, neck, and chest. You just wet your skin and rub the sugar in gently until it turns to syrup, then rinse it away. It leaves your skin feeling so soft and smooth. Got out and gave myself a scalp massage with a few drops of rosemary and lavender essential oils, easing away tension, feeling a bit luxurious. I need to get some more sweet almond oil for my skin and hair, nothing else I’ve found makes it softer.
I still haven’t finished the dresser cloth but I did make progress on it during my breaks today. We have some good food for the week and I’m looking at Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces,
playing with potential garden plans for next year while I sit here watching a movie. I ordered a bunch of nursery catalogs online tonight so that I can spend happy winter hours cozied up with a stack of them and a cup of hot tea.
I may need to get my dad or someone else handy to come help me build some planter boxes for next year. I mostly need someone to cut the lumber and help me get it out to my deck. I’m pretty sure I could get it put together from there. I have this idea for a two tiered box against the back wall with a trellis attached or a single, wider box with a trellis so that I can grow pole beans, cucumbers, and other vining plants. I’d like to have two half-barrels for columnar apple trees as well as the strawberry barrel I already have, and maybe another half-barrel for another dwarf fruit such as a fig or mulberry. I need to make much better use of my railing, too, installing planter boxes all around for herbs and small or trailing plants. I’m going to make the strawberry jar I already have into a planter for herbs and lettuce. I need to get rid of some of the smaller pots people have gifted to me since they’ve not proven to work well in the microclimate of my deck. Unless I can find compact, useful houseplants to put in them.
Alright, it’s time to sleep. I am one tired girl after my busy Sunday.
This morning I started the major project of revamping my container garden. It fell into terrible disrepair after my ruptured cornea and some personal troubles. Until recently I just didn’t care about my usually vibrant deck and now that I’m feeling better, I miss having that space full of useful plant life. My strawberries, green onions, and parsley survived my rampant neglect, but everything else went the way of the dodo but this does give me the opportunity to correct some mistakes I made the first time around and hopefully to revamp my containers for more efficiency. I would love to create a tiered box system along the back wall so that I could do a miniature version of crop rotation for optimal plant health and productivity. I’d also like to re-dedicate some of my half-barrels to naturally dwarfed fruit plants.
I need to reread my book about lasagne gardening for some inspiration. All I did today was mulch the strawberries and parsley with dead leaves that had blown onto the deck and the remains of the plants that died in the heat, then emptied some of the smaller, unproductive pots into a double-layered garbage bag. It started getting warmer out after about an hour, so we stopped there and maybe I’ll go back out after dinner to start refreshing the dirt with worm castings and “tea”. Sieving out the worms is going to be a project since I don’t have any screen to fashion a sifter
I finally finished the pillowcase dress a few days ago (pictures below); I think it turned out really well and I’d like to make a few more.
[caption id="attachment_295" align="aligncenter" width="215" caption="Hand-sewn pillowcase dress"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_296" align="aligncenter" width="289" caption="Hand-embroidered hem of pillowcase dress"][/caption]
Today I made homemade pesto, hard-boiled eggs, and rice pilaf. I have a lovely head of cabbage that I’m trying to find culinary inspiration for. I wish I had a fermenting crock, some homemade sauerkraut would be so good. Maybe a stir-fry or some coleslaw with an interesting twist.
All of this despite a serious bout of the lazies making me want to kick back and do very little.
Last year I found a big bag of laundered and folded linens sitting next to a dumpster, so I brought them home and they turned out to be clean and in nice condition; however they’re a lot of mismatched pieces that I’m most likely going to repurpose. Currently I’m turning a pink pillowcase into a dress for my daughter. Tonight I cut the top opening and armholes, now I’m hemming them by hand because I don’t have machine thread in a color that matches well enough. I’m going to use red bias tape to make ribbon ties at the shoulders and I might attach more bias tape at the sides to make a back tie. I have a scrap of red cotton with tan polka dot. I might use it to make appliques in the shape of hearts or strawberries. I haven’t decided yet. I could also embroider a simple floral motif along the hem, though that would take a bit more time.
Hand sewing can be tiring but it has a soothing rhythm to it and I find it easy to make small adjustments as I go if I notice that the fabric is shifting as I work. I do need to pick up some more machine thread in some basic colors. I currently only have black and white, but I could use some blue, pink, red, and purple to match the fabrics I have on hand. I need to get another storage bin big enough to hold my odds and ends, too, so I can clear off my workspace for cutting and piecing.
My daughter is on a camping trip and working on her dress is helping with how much I’m missing her while she’s gone. Every stitch another little bit of love for her. I hope I can finish it before she gets home and surprise her with it. I’ll post pictures once it’s done.
Quite unexpectedly, I was offered a chance to dig through a box of pantry goods today. My daughter’s father is deploying for Iraq in October and he’s busy getting ready to leave. He stopped by the house today to pick up clothing and supplies to take our daughter camping next week and brought in the box, letting me go through it before he donated the rest to a food bank.
I scored a canned ham, popcorn, a near-full resale case of spiced cider packets, hot cocoa (with marshmallows!), vegetarian baked beans, pumpkin pie filling, and whole black olives. That adds some nice variety since the bulk of what I currently have is very basic staples such as grains, beans, and canned goods like broth and evaporated milk.
Today I saw a very exciting thread on a survivalist forum about vacuum-packing your own MREs for emergencies. The ones pictured were very meat-heavy, though I could easily tailor my own around foil-packed seafood or vegetarian pouch meals. However, I also started thinking about how I could repackage my own homemade mixes such as my lemon-herb couscous (recipe below) for long-term storage in an MRE type bag. I’m not sure yet if it would be best to try to vacuum seal the portions of homemade mixes (I would, of course, be packing meals for two) or if I could put them in less expensive zip-style freezer bags and then put those into the larger vacuum pouches. Intriguing. I’m going to have to experiment to see if I can make predominantly vegetarian equivalents that are both tasty and nutrient-dense. Let’s not forget cheap!
I could make the couscous but add in a handful of dehydrated or freeze-dried vegetables – sometimes sold as soup base at stores with bulks bins – or mix and match individually processed vegetables to suit our tastes. Freeze-dried can be expensive, but I bet you could stretch out a pound into several individual portions if you were pairing them with couscous, potato flakes, pasta, or some quick-cooking grain. And you could add black or pinto bean flakes for some protein, also available at some stores with bulk bins or sometimes in the organic section sold in small boxes. I’d be concerned about the sodium content, though I suppose if you’re in a situation where you need your home-prepped MRE, sodium count is the least of your problems, though too much salty food can increase thirst and cause dents in a stored water supply.
I already keep store-bought ready-to-eat meals in dry storage in my attic but they tend to be expensive unless you find them on sale and their packaging is designed for hanging on a peg in a store, it’s oddly bulky for something you’re supposed to stick in a backpack to save weight while in the great outdoors. It would be nice to fill up the rest of that dry storage bin with meals for two, especially if they were more compact than their store-bought cousins and could be completely prepared with just the addition of boiling water.
I’m going to start keeping my eyes peeled for single-serve products, something I usually avoid because of wasteful packaging and its environmental impacts, but if it’s just for emergency food supplies, I can justify that use.
Lemon-Herb Couscous Mix
4 cups couscous
5 teaspoons dried, grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons dried herbs (basil, dill, parsley, etc.)
2 teaspoons minced, dried chives
2 teaspoons salt
8 teaspoons instant bouillon powder (chicken or vegetarian)
Mix it all together, makes about 4-1/2 cups of mix. Store in a cool, dry place.
To prepare, combine 1 part mix with 2 parts water, bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit 15 minutes.
Note: I have cooked this by pouring boiling water over it, covering it tightly, and letting it sit 20 minutes. Edible but not as light and fluffy as if cooked in the pot. You can substitute rice or bulgur wheat for the couscous, just adjust your cooking times accordingly.