Quick-fix meals for a study-worm

That defines my last 4 days in a nut-shell. It’s finals week and I’m in cram-mode! I haven’t been able to spend much time in blog land because I’ve been so wrapped up in school work. But tonight I realized blogging is kind of a de-stressing thing for me these days, and I really needed a little bit of unwinding from all my studying before I hit the sack tonight. 

Because I’ve been so busy with school, wrapping up my semester, planning my next trip to Colorado to see my sweetie, getting things settled for my summer classes, etc. my eats have been kind of boring and hasty this week. BUT still quite yummy. I’ve been noshing on a lot on quick-prep stuff like this…

Sliced and baked sweet potato topped with natural peanut butter, raisins and unsweetened coconut. So absolutely delicious, and packed full of fiber, healthy-fats, healthy carbs and nutrients to help me plow through my day, and my books :) I was buying an organic natural jarred peanut butter but one of my local grocery stores now sells this deli-made natural peanut butter with no added sugar, salt or preservatives. It’s not organic but I decided to give it a try anyway, and I really like it. It doesn’t top my fav though–raw cashew butter. So delish, and I make it myself :)
I did squeeze in the time to make myself a decent dinner tonight. I took a break sometime between financial statements and stock dividends to squeeze in a light italian-inspired meal. This meal was super quick and easy and turned out really delicious. The key is to find yourself a really good organic tomato sauce by the jar and stock up your pantry for emergency nights when homemade is just too far out of the park. 
Grilled Veggie Pasta
1/2 eggplant, cubed
1 large zucchini, coarsely chopped
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and halved
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg. shallot, chopped
1 tbs. capers
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 jar organic tomato sauce, herb infused 
salt and pepper to taste
pasta of your choice (I used spinach linguini)
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Wash and prep all your veggies. Toss in 1 1/2 tbs. olive oil and salt and pepper and lay in small dutch oven or casserole pan. 
2. Use kitchen scissors to trim rosemary on top of veggies. I love this trick! It saves me from the time and mess of using a chef’s knife and cutting board. Plus rosemary can be so sticky so I usually opt for a rosemary trim if I can get away with it :)
3. Place veggies in the oven for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes pull them out and drizzle balsamic vinegar on top and place back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes or until veggies are cooked to your liking. 
4. Saute garlic and shallots in stovetop pan in 1/2 tbs. olive oil until softened. Add tomato sauce and capers and turn to a low simmer. 
Oh dear capers, how I love thee so… sometimes I pack you in my suitcase when I travel because I can’t get enough of your sweet and salty brine. Sometimes I dream in capers, and sometimes I cry caper tears. Tis true. I have a mad love affair with the caper. 
5. Cook your pasta, al dente if you prefer, and top with caper tomato sauce and grilled veggies. Serve with a little garlic bread and tossed salad and you are good to go. This could go in the book Vegan Dinners for Dummies… if there ever were one ;) simply cuz it’s so darn easy and so darn good. 
*optional: add black olives, peppers or any other veggie you have on hand. Top with fresh basil if you have it too!
In other news. I’m breaking up with a loved one. I’ve been holding on for some time now because the parting is too bittersweet. But alas, he has been sitting in the garage unused because a bigger and badder version of himself has taken center stage. I’m parting ways with my darling Weber gas grill. 
My new house already has a grill, so when I moved out of my condo I almost sold my Weber right away. But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I put it off until absolutely necessary. Well the necessary word finally crept up on me. I’m needing a little extra cash-flow for my ridiculously over-priced school books for summer term, so in one heart-wrenching moment, I put my darling Weber up on Craig’s list. ::::insert SOBBING::::: 
Okay, I’m over it. :::one more tear::::  Kind of. What can I say, we’ve had some good times together. It’s hard to let go. :( The thing that irks me though, is that I’ve kept this thing in such beautiful shape the short time I’ve had it, and the one guy that looked at it today picked out a few rust spots on the inside and turned his nose in the air and departed empty handed. : / Completely bewildered me. Although I suppose it didn’t help things that I told him my price was firm. I have about 6 other people that have emailed me since putting up my ad yesterday so I wasn’t too concerned about his dismissal, but I’m really hoping someone scoops it up tomorrow and gives it a good and loving home. We’ve had some good times together, Weber and I, and he will be dearly missed. 
Do you see a single spot of rust on the exterior? NAY. How often do you come across a heck-of-a-deal used grill on Craigslist in such spectacular condition? Hardly ever. I know this because of the overwhelming amount of responses I’ve received in just 24 hours, not to mention most of them are willing to drive from other cities, some over an hour away. I’m scheduling them as appointments, because I didn’t really think first-come-first-serve was fair and the idea of my house being flooded by internet strangers completely freaked me out beyond words. This is my first Craigslist sale by the way. Even though Weber has been turned down by the first prospective buyer, I have a good feeling I’ll find him a good home tomorrow :) Even the guy that turned him down said he was priced perfect and I would surely sell. Huuuumph. 
Hopefully by this time next week I’ll be in Colorado with my man, if all goes well! Counting down the moments until school is out and I can breathe a sigh of relief. 
G’night blog land. 
~Peace, Love & Veggies


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