Balloons & autumn Couscous salad

I love kid logic. Once when my kids were toddlers they were given a helium balloon. One day, It had floated to the living rooms 10 ft ceiling, far above the head of a toddler. In an effort to be independent – they devised a method to retrieve the ballon on their own.

I hear BANG BANG BANG from upstairs. I look the younger child had gone up stairs. “Is it down yet? .” The younger yells down. “Nope – your jumping in the wrong spot!” Finally after awhile they get frustrated and begin to cry and come to me and I grab a chair and grab it down …trying hard not to laugh.

They had complete confidence they could bounce the balloon back down. It made complete logical sense – science says what goes up must go down. I sit back and laugh at the thought, how often do we go through life trying to do things our own independent way – devising our own ways to bring things to ourselves… how hilarious we must look to God. Stomping up and down in determination. Our Family or friends encouraging us – just do it this way… When we finally get frustrated and cry out for help from God himself.

Until now you’ve not been bold enough to ask the Father for a single thing in my name, but now you can ask, and keep on asking Him. And you can be sure that you’ll receive what you ask for, and your joy will have no limits! – John 16:24

This salad is a lovely blend of autumn flavours. This uses apple juice to cook couscous – if you do not like sweet couscous – feel free to use water or a light chicken stock.

Originally found on

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds fresh pumpkin or butternut , cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups ounces Israeli Couscous
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Apple Juice or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fennel root
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground Black Pepper
  1. Microwave or steam the chunks of pumpkin for five minutes, or until almost tender.
  2. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop enough to make two cups. Store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook for two to three minutes, until the couscous browns a bit. Add the apple juice or water, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add the pumpkin and cook for one to two minutes longer, stirring to blend the flavors and color.
  4. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and cool slightly. Toss with the parsley, cranberries, fennel, and onion. Stir in the grapeseed oil and vinegar. Season with a few grinds of pepper. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Serve warm or at room temp.

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