Wow I have been MIA for longer than I wanted.... Life has a way of taking you up in a whirlwind. Plus, I think the fact that I am now only using my computer for blogging purposes and not taking my laptop to school might have something to do with it.
Honestly, my schedule has me coming home so late most nights of the week that dinner is becoming more practical planning than a gourmet adventure. Usually I make a large about of something on Monday night, and it needs to last through wed night. Thursdays I get home fairly late, but can still whip up something, albeit for a late dinner. Now, ironically Fri-Sun are the days I have "most time" to be coming up with new recipes. That is, after I do homework, copious amounts of reading and visit with some family and friends so they know im still ok and have not become a social recluse . lol
Oh, and did I tell you. There is a good chance I will be starting a part time job in a couple of weeks :) I'm excited -- a new opportunity to learn, excel.... and the added income doesn;t hurt, right ;)
Once that starts there will be even more adjusting to do, and maybe re-purposing of the blog. I could go the route where I document my daily eats, but would you be interested in that? Not sure what to do just yet, but I also dont want to leave the blog.... May turn into fitness/food/stories and the occasional recipe get together ( i hope)...
Anyhow, here are a few pics and notes from the past week or so...
Unfortunately my options are very slim (vegetarian/vegan wise). Its pretty much exactly what you see ... salads, fruit and baked potato.
Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like if I took over the cafeteria for a week, just a week.
I also picked up a few ethnic ingredients from the market. Slightly ambitious, I was opening to use all of them in one week. Needless to say, I still have the grape leaves waiting for me and lots of pickles!
When I was a little girl I used to hate anything made with grape leaves, I think I might have just been anti-green for a year or two. But now, I love using grape leaves to make sarma a vegetarian recipe with rice, onions, herbs, lemon juice and tomato sauce... I did buy the big bottle of lemon juice, because you never know, I could use it in cooking or making lemonade. But fresh lemons win, always.
The Patak's mixed chutney/relish is for others, as are the pickled mangos. I'm not a big fan. If I had any at all, I think i'd like to make it fresh myself. Finally there is the huge can of MID EAST pickles ( my favorite brand). Wouldn't you know, when I was buying the small cans or didnt have any we wanted them the most, and now that I have two tupperwares full in my fridge, I barely cook meals that are accompanied by these delicious salty gems.
I finally found my HONEYCRISP apples ( Whole Foods, of course). They are definitely a splurge at $2.99/lb. Hopefully, trader joes will bring these in soon as well, at least there you get 6-7 apples for about $8.
I also found my favorite LARABAR flavor so far... Cherry pie. I'm a sucker for tart dried cherries to begin with, so it was an easy win for them.
There was also some roasting of Italian eggplants to go along with the whole wheat rotini marinara pictures below.
I wasnt to happy -- either my oven failed me, or technique. There was smoke at one point ( apparantly?) accompanied by the smoke alarm, but the eggplants were no where near burned, crisp or otherwise. I was baffled. I know one thing I can do is slice them thinner - I think I was hoping for the same effect you get when you put a half Italian eggplant on the barbecue -- wishful thinking.
See what I mean?? Don't get me wrong, they still tasted amazing. Roasted with a bit of olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.
I also had lots of fun with vegetables. I think I enjoyed taking pictures and capturing their color more than I enjoyed eating them. Is that blasphemous? But look at the simplicity of the sweet potato and yam, and the vibrant colors of the gold and red beets!
This next dish also made its way into the weekly menu at some point. It was simple enough. Boil some orzo in just enough stock so that the stock is absorbed by the time the orzo is cooked ( I added sliced sun dried tomatoes in with the orzo so they would plump up in the process -- you could leave them out completely or soak them earlier and add them in at the last minute). Then in a separate pan caramelize some onions and sautee with eggplant. Toss the onions and eggplant in with the orzo along with some sliced bell pepper and green peas. The sauce, it oh so simple! Slowly add cream cheese and stir so it melts, add as little or as much as you like. Season with salt, pepper, basil, rosemary and oregano.
Seems like a decent way to get the kids to eat their veggies wouldn't you say? When I described it to my aunt and cousin they said it sounded like an updated, colorful mac n cheese.
I think I like that description -- perfect.