So yesterday I graduated but don't have a diploma. A few weeks ago, when I had to pick up the cap and gown, as well as the tickets for my guests, I noticed on the envelope that it said "Sara Elizabeth Pardee." I was worried that it might appear like that on my diploma, so I consulted the registration people, who assured me there would be no problem with my diploma.
Yesterday, when I arrived at the graduation, the program also stated "Sara Elizabeth Pardee." And sure enough, so did my diploma.
And it's a whole process getting it fixed, because it has to pass through an organization called the CONESUP, which I have no idea what it is, I only know that they certify the degrees and it takes a semester to do so, that's why our graduation here isn't until a semester after you finish with the university.
Anyways, there were many ups to the graduation, I was a cum laude honor student, I loved my outfit, I didn't fall (!), and Gustavo took me out to a delicious dinner at a restaurant named Bacchus…
Where we feasted on herb foccacia, rosemary bread, mini sesame breadsticks, cream of mushroom soup (with white truffle oil!), fresh pappardelle pasta with creamy artichoke sauce, oven- roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and for dessert, a decadent chocolate mousse and mascarpone preparation.
With the dim lighting, cream- colored sponge-painted walls, brick floor, funky artwork, wood ceiling and the aroma of fresh tropical flowers, it was the perfect finish to an exciting day.
Ok. Now I have a blogger confession to make. I'm feeling really lazy. I'm blaming my lack of inspiration on that. This week hasn't exactly been successful, or busy in the kitchen (a yucky "pasta alla vodka" ordeal went down), and on top of the fact that I didn't feel like making my weekly grocery list, it was really hard to get inspired by the recipes I looked at.
When this happens, (here comes the embarrassing part), I have 4 dinner staples that I turn to that hardly require any work. Maybe you have something like this going on, too. 1) Cereal with yogurt. Tonight was Post Crunchy Pecans cereal with orange- pineapple yogurt. 2) Mini pizzas- using either a flour tortilla or a pita for the crust, I heat it on the stove with some bottled sauce and mozza, with the occasional topping, if I'm feeling like putting in an extra effort. 3) Quesadillas- as simple as it gets with some cheddar or any other cheese I have on hand sandwiched between a folded tortilla and toasted until melty on the stove, topped with salsa. 4) You guessed it, my classic pb backup plan, which also happens to be the easiest and quickest- about 1.5 TBSP creamy peanut butter slabbed between 2 slices of whole grain or multi grain bread.
I'm getting sick of my 4 staples. Let's hope next week is more inspirational and I don't end up not making 2 meals I had planned (baba ghanouj on pita and gnocchi with zucchini ribbons and parsley brown butter).
As an emergency plan, I'm going to post recipes I've made in the past when this type of thing happens.
Roasted eggplant salad with pita chips and yogurt sauce
From Epicurious.com, this main dish salad is refreshing as well as filling, with a delicious combination of flavors.
- 3 large eggplants (3 pounds total)
- 6 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and finely diced
- 2 prepared roasted red peppers, diced
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives (substitute scallions)
- 2 tablespoon finely julienned fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups nonfat plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (I used canned)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 whole-wheat pitas, each cut into 12 wedges
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 2 tablespoon reduced-fat grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoon poppy seeds (did not have)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (did not have)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Poke holes in eggplants with a fork. Roast until they collapse, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut open, scoop out flesh into a bowl and discard skins. Mix flesh with 4 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Let sit 10 minutes. Place flesh in a fine-mesh strainer; press gently with a large spoon, squeezing out moisture. Chop eggplant. Mix in peppers, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, chives, basil, oil and remaining 2 tablespoon lemon juice. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.
Mix ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Reduce heat to 350°F. Coat 1 side of each pita wedge with cooking spray. Sprinkle each sprayed side with Parmesan, seeds and black pepper. Bake on foil until crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Serve eggplant with pita chips and yogurt sauce on the side.