*You guys! This Israeli Couscous salad is going to become your go-to for the summer (and all year long!) and I will give you the recipe I promise, but there’s a little something I want to share with you first!*
Little House on the Prairie came on everyday at 4pm at my house when I was a little girl. And my dad got home from work at around 5pm. Now, we three ladies of the house (me, my mom and my sister) were glued to the television for that one hour each day. This meant, that as the last credits began to roll, my mom would call out to us, “Girls, hurry and set the table so Daddy will think that dinner is going to be ready sooner than it will actually be ready!” My goal was always to do it so quickly that I would make it back in time to see that very final scene in every episode where Carrie trips and falls as they are running downhill through the field towards Ma and Pa who were waiting in the wagon with grins on their faces.
To this day, I can barely get through an episode of Little House without crying. There is so much truth and wisdom and heart. And in our current cultural climate I find myself craving this.
One of my favorite episodes is actually the very first episode of the show. The title is “A Harvest of Friends” and in it, the Ingalls family has just moved to Walnut Grove and Pa gets a job at the lumber mill so that they can actually build their “little house”. He also needs a plough and wheat seeds in order to get the crops started and ends up making a deal with a big ol’ mean merchant (not Mrs. Oleson but someone else!). All is going along just fine until Pa is injured and can’t fulfill his obligation to the mean merchant. He somehow manages to get himself to the barn where the grain is stored and attempts to do his job of moving and stacking the bags but soon realizes that he is way too injured to do it. He collapses in pain and Mary and Laura, who have secretly followed him to the barn, rush to him. They decided that they are going to try and finish the job for him. So, these two little girls begin to pull and drag these huge bags of grain. Soon, the neighbors all come out to see what is going on and when they realize what is happening they all jump in to help the Ingalls family. (I may or may not be tearing up just even typing this all out!)
I think the thing that always gets me about this particular episode is not only do these daughters instinctively want to do everything they can to help their father, this was the very first time that the Ingalls family felt the magnitude of what it meant to be apart of this new community. In this very tangible way, they were shown that they were being welcomed into the fold.
For much of my life, that type of community seemed elusive. We moved around quite a bit and just when it seemed like we were finally accepted, we would be starting all over again somewhere else. But now, at this stage of my life, I can finally say that I am apart of ‘the fold’. We truly have the most amazing community. And my children are growing up experiencing what this looks like in both big and small ways. Although, to me, the small ways really ARE big ways too!
As I sat at the pool with my friend the other day, we were chatting about her upcoming vacation and she mentioned that she had vegetables from her garden that she would need to harvest before they left. She asked me if I would like any and I couldn’t say yes fast enough!
The next day I arrived back home from running errands to find bags sitting on my front porch overflowing with the most beautiful, fresh tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.
It’s such a beautiful thing isn’t it? And to this girl who longed for it for most of her life, it means more to me than my friends can probably even realize. It’s such a seemingly simple thing, dropping off extra vegetables, but it represents so much.
AND, the bonus was that I got to use these gloriously fresh veggies to make a delicious summer Israeli Couscous Salad!
This is a family favorite and I make it practically weekly at our house. It’s fresh and light and oh so yummy! You can even add chicken or shrimp to it and really just mix it up in whatever way suits your fancy.
- 1 box of Israeli Couscous
- 1/2 cup diced English cucumber
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (red, orange or yellow are best)
- 1/2 cup tomatoes
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar (white or red wine)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (white sugar or sugar replacement)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the couscous according to package instructions.
- Once the couscous is done, allow to cool for 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, mix together the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper
- Drizzle over the top of the couscous and mix well
- Allow to cool to room temperature and then add in the cucumber, pepper and tomatoes. Stir to combine and then fold in the feta cheese crumbles.
- Serves 4 as a side dish
I know that realistically, there are many of you reading this who are familiar with that deep longing for community. You know what it’s like to look on wistfully as people gather around someone in need or drop off vegetables on a neighbor’s doorstep. You wonder if anyone would come to your aid if you found yourself in need of care.
And to you I say, I get it. Truly I do. So, know this, I am praying for you. But I’m not praying in the way you think I might be praying. I’m not praying that community would just fall into your lap. Instead, I’m praying that you would be BOLD and BRAVE in your pursuit of community. That you wouldn’t get discouraged when you take the huge risk of extending yourself and the love and care you offer isn’t offered in return. That you would continue to try and engage and reach out. I pray that instead of simply waiting for community to come to you, you would go to it. That you would offer care and support to others and bring them into the fold.
And, if you have extra vegetables from your garden, maybe you could leave them on a doorstep or two! 😉
Thank you so much for being apart of this community here at the picket fence,
Melanie Studer says
I grew up loving that show as well with my two little sisters! I must be a bit older than you because it was always and only on Monday nights. That is such a great episode:) Community is such a great thing and easy to take for granted. We haven’t moved ever, but our best friends moved 4 years ago, and the rest of the group fell apart subsequently since then. I have tried so hard to hang on to that, but have just recently had to let go of that idea. I can’t take us back in time, and things must have changed for everyone…So, I am doing what you talked about, praying so hard and trying to put myself out there. It seems awkward when this is my own hometown, but it is what it is. Thank goodness for old friends who are far because they have held me up! Friends are everything!
Lin Mossgrove says
YOU MADE MY HEART SMILE THIS MORNING!
Richella Parham says
Oh, friend, we really are kindred spirits. I, too, grew up watching Little House on the Prairie–but I was watching it at night, when it was first aired. Love that you watched it in the afternoon with your mom and sisters!
You’re right: we long for community, and I feel strongly that this is because God designed us to long for it. (In fact, I’m writing about that right now. . . a writing project that has been in the making for a long time.)
This recipe looks wonderful. One question: how many ounces is the box of couscous you use?
Such sweet memorie! When my children were young we would watch this program. Wish there were more family programs like this one! I am blessed to live in a small town and have a loving community! Enjoying your blog!
Vanessa – I grew up in “community” and raised my daughters in another place that was new to us. However, after reaching out for several years, we were finally accepted into community. Now, however, I have retired and moved to where my children and grandchildren are and am without community again. I so crave that – but I am going to take your prayer for me and to exactly that! Thank you!