October 11, 2018


It’s October, and for many people that means glorious crimson and gold leaves on the trees, sweaters and scarves, Halloween decorations and pumpkin spice everything. For me, it isn’t October until I get the first stomach virus of the season.

So hooray! It’s October!

As some of you who follow me on Facebook know, I threw up in the middle of the grocery store this week (aisle 6, near the salsa, if we’re being specific). It was pretty horrifying and definitely embarrassing, especially when you have to slink to the customer service desk and ask for a “wet cleanup in aisle 6, sorry.”

My only proud moment was actually being able to function enough to pay for the groceries I did have and get out of there before hurling again. Where is my medal?

I was the lone member of the family who got this grossness, but both girls did say that it’s making the rounds at their respective schools, so maybe I’m speaking too soon. Maybe I should just shut my mouth while we’re ahead. While the Minxes are prone to the sniffly cold viruses, I’m the one who tends to get the vomiting afflictions. There’s something in my constitution that leans towards the “yucky gut” side of the equation. It’s always been that way. My sister got strep throat at least twice a year growing up and I only got it one lone time. I was really jealous of her because while she did, indeed, have strep throat, it always seemed to be of the milder variety. She was instructed to stay home for 2-3 days until the drugs kicked in, but she felt perfectly okay. She’d park on the couch with a mug of spiced tea and binge on Love, American Style on television all day. When I got sick, I’d either be best friends with a bucket every hour or have something deathly like pneumonia.

My sister is proof that life is not fair, man.

Once I even had pneumonia ON Halloween, which is seven kinds of assholery. I’m over being bitter about that now, forty-two years later. Sort of. I think.

Two other things herald the month of October:

a) A crapton of birthdays. Miss M., my husband, Mozz-man and my Daddy-o all have October birthdays. What happens in late December/early January that makes people so shag-a-licious? Oh yeah. The holidays. Celebrated in all ways, apparently.


b) Parent-Teacher conferences, round 1, which translates to the bi-annual begging for the food from the PTO. I’ve written about it a lot, most notably here and here, both when my kids were in elementary school and the head of the PTO was determined to be wildly creative with the meal donations. Now that my daughters are in middle school and high school, the PTO is way more chill. Really the only hard thing about managing teacher meals on conference days is figuring out who will bring a vegetarian or vegan offering, or the dessert that is gluten and nut-free.

We live in Boulder county, where access to that kind of food is relatively simple, but I still usually offer to bring something vegetarian (or vegan, if it’s soup), just because we eat plant-based meals quite a bit and I think I can do a little bit better than a green salad. I’m a former teacher and know how hard that job is; trust me when I say that they deserve way more than a green salad. Like a bag of diamonds, or something.

I can’t afford a bag of diamonds but I can handle something like this yummy recipe for tabbouleh. I love tabbouleh, and it wasn’t until I went to Greece with my husband (*sob, ten years ago*) that I discovered that taboulleh wasn’t really a grain-forward salad. The American versions I had were all about the bulgur; the Greek ones flipped the ratio of grain to herb/vegetable completely, focusing on the parsley, mint, tomato and cucumber. They also were decidedly more heavy on the lemon, which I loved. This wasn’t the oily, boring version I’d had in the states. This salad has something to say, y’all.

I especially love this salad in hot weather, but it’s also a good one to bring to a fall potluck or perhaps a buffet for a bunch of hungry vegetarian teachers. It can be served cold or at room temperature, so it’s easy that way. If you’re doing it vegan, leave out the feta cheese on top but otherwise, do the cheese! Cheese makes everything that much more delicious (I like the Greek feta, if you can spare the extra bucks).

Happy October, readers.

     ^^Enjoy the beauty of it and everything else it has to offer. Besides stomach viruses.



                                                 ~Look! This one has cheeeeese!^^



serves 4-6 (can easily be doubled or tripled, if you are making it for the PTO dinner)


2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced


1 cup regular or red bulgur (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)

boiling water

3 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/3 cup finely chopped scallions or red onion

1 large hothouse cucumber, seeded and diced

1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

optional but awesome: 2/3 cup crumbled Greek feta


Place tomatoes and a healthy sprinkling of salt in a colander set over a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes. Pat tomatoes dry with a paper towel and take the water that’s drained off of the tomatoes and place in a measuring cup.

Add enough boiling water to the tomato water to measure once cup. Pour over the bulgur and stir. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit one hour. Drain any remaining liquid off.

Place drained bulgur in a large bowl. Add parsley, mint, scallion, and cucumber.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Whisk well. Pour over bulgur mixture.

Chill for at least one hour. Taste and adjust salt to taste.

If desired, top with crumbled feta.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie Jones October 11, 2018 at 5:51 am

Oooh I need to run out and get some bulgur to make this! My garden is full of parsley and mint but only for a few days until the frost hits it hard. I hope your stomach is on its way to recovery.


Dana Talusani October 11, 2018 at 9:39 am

Annie, it’s getting better but I was worthless for two whole days. As for the taboulleh, it’s also genius with farro instead of the bulgur. I find I need to go a little heavier on the dressing if I use farro but that’s the only difference.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me October 11, 2018 at 6:23 am

I saw your puke post – so sorry that happened. I think I’d probably die on the spot. Kudos to you for getting out of there with food and without another incident.
This is exactly how I love my tabbouleh – always make it very similar. This summer I was looking for a way to use carrot tops from the organic farm and guess what – they are perfect for tabbouleh! Seriously. Try it. Works just like parsley and no one ever has to know.


Dana Talusani October 11, 2018 at 9:40 am

Lisa, I have enough mint right now to fuel a mojito factory, but that will change by this weekend. The low on Sunday is supposed to be 19 frigging degrees! I never would have thought to use carrot tops, though. You are a genius.


Arnebya October 15, 2018 at 10:58 am

Man, vomit is always and will forever be a bad time and place jerk.


elizabeth October 17, 2018 at 5:56 am

Oh man, stomach bugs are the WORST. The last one I had was a few years ago on New Year’s Eve when we were visiting friends up in Boston. So not only was I a pukey mess, I was while shivering and then sweating on an air mattress.

I love tabbouleh, and I too prefer the veg-forward version (I have a few recipes, one being from the excellent book Moro which I highly recommend). One other upside to serving it versus a regular green salad is that parsley won’t wilt the second you look at it even with an acidic dressing, so if a teacher can’t tuck into it until later it still tastes as good as ever, if not a little better.

I’m glad that you’ve been able to transition to a more chill PTO. Offering food for the conferences is such a nice idea, but the over-complication of things totally misses the point.


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