Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tabouli Salad and a Kayak Adventure

Going back to work is tough after a vacation.  Everyone says you are supposed to be refreshed and ready to dig back in.  I must have gone wrong by taking too few days off.  A week really flies by in no time.  Despite it rushing by so quickly, Hubby and I had a great time on our recent trip to the central coast of California.  We can't get enough of the beautiful rolling hills that line Highway 1 on the east and the sweeping rocky coastline on the west.

After leaving the hustle and bustle of southern California the largely undisturbed expanse of mother nature is a breath of fresh air.  It's quiet, peaceful and pristine. 

Part of our trip included a kayaking adventure in Morro Bay given to Hubby as a birthday gift by his mom through a cool website called

The adventure started just before 6 pm on a Monday evening where Hubby and I boarded a 2 man kayak and set out with our guide Mandy.  The weather was cool and a bit windy so we bundled up with several layers. We kayaked around the bay to observe the local wildlife, like the egrets and herons that inhabit part of the coast line.  Mandy was amazing and provided us a ton of information about the bay and estuary.  Eventually we made our way across the bay to the sand dunes also known as the sand spit.

We beached our kayaks and our guide unloaded her (just over 200 pounds of ) gear and prepared a dinner for us on the beach as we explored the dunes with beers in hand.

Our guide (right) leading Hubby (left) and I to show us where we could explore

Our guide setting up camp and grilling dinner

When we returned from our tour of the sand spit, dinner was served.  The accommodations weren't fancy...we ate off fun summery plastic type plates and sat on the sand, but the food was really delicious.  Our guide grilled gourmet chicken sausages, zucchini and red peppers to go with pear, blue cheese and walnut salad, tabouli salad and homemade brownies.  The food was awesome and we went back for seconds. 

If it hadn't been foggy out the dinner would have been accompanied by a sunset.  The fog was kind of nice though and a little mysterious...

The best part of the trip was the kayak ride back...the winds died down and the bay was completely calm as we made our way in the last bit of lingering daylight, bordering on darkness.  Our paddles pulled through the water with ease and everything was so quiet and serene.  It was pretty magical. 

It was an awesome adventure.  

All the food was great, but the tabouli salad really stood out.  I knew I wanted to make it when we got home.  It is a simple and delicious, no cook, summer salad.  It comes together quickly and it tastes even better the next day.  Give it a try!

Tabouli Salad
adapted from Central Coast Outdoors

For the salad:
2 cups couscous
1 7/8 cups water, just shy
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 english cucumber, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 3.8 ounce can sliced black olives (I omitted)
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (I omitted)
8 ounces of crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Place dry couscous in a large bowl and cover with cold water.  The water will moisten the cooking required!  Allow couscous soak in the water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  It will be completely absorbed and ready to go by the time you are done prepping.  When the remaining ingredients are ready, fluff up the couscous with a fork.  Gently stir in the green onions, mint, parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, garbanzo beans and feta cheese with the couscous.  Pour dressing over the salad and mix until fully combined.


  1. Your trip looks like so much fun Gloria! I've never been to California but someday I hope to convince Shane to drive down the coast with me :) Oh, and I'm totally with you - I always feel like I need another vacation to recover from my vacation when I get home...

    Your salad looks great, I'm a huge fan of couscous but so rarely make it. This might be the solution to some of my lunch woes - I can never figure out what to eat. Also wanted to mention - I don't specifically remember the SMS pumpkin whoopie pies being a favorite - there's a recipe in the book from the Baked guys that I prefer. That one is on my site too (from last fall I think).

  2. Thanks Tracey. This salad makes a great lunch. It tastes great after letting all the flavors come together for a day. Ours only lasted a little more than 24 hours!

    Thanks for the tip on the whoopie pies. I have the Baked books, so I will check out their pumpkin recipe.

  3. Oh man I can't believe I missed this post! I didn't notice it until you were sharing your screen with me on skype today! You're pictures are beautiful!!! I am glad you have fun and have yummy food!

  4. Thanks K! You should try making this salad. It's delicious and somewhat healthy and the best part is there is no cooking involved!