I never used to be one of those people who would (or could) hole up and study for a test, but I’ve found myself suddenly capable of it. Having gotten a bachelor’s degree in writing, it took me a semester or two to relearn how to study science again. I’m still not the best studier, but I managed to clock some good solid hours yesterday.

I’m not going to lie, though—it was one of those days where I got a salad from the deli across the street for lunch despite having plenty of ingredients at home. Normally, cooking is my favorite procrastination tool, and I felt like stopping to actually prepare something would get me sucked out of Study Mode. Yeah, it was that intense.

Chris’ aunt and uncle also happened to be coming over for dinner last night, and I was so relieved when he offered to prepare all the food. It was great, too! I love how much you can do with the simplest ingredients.

For starters, he made a big antipasto with roasted peppers, grilled asparagus with truffle oil, garlic paste, roasted zucchini, caramelized onion, olives, garlic toast, parmesan cheese, and salad. There was also some mango habanero salsa on the side.

The main event was a pasta I brought home from Italy, served with some pesto and diced tomatoes with basil. It went quite well with the wine Tom and Gloria brought over. Chris used small plates and served small portions of the pasta at room temperature, which was perfect for the hot night. Since restaurants serve you so much, it’s amazing to realize how satisfying a small portion really is, especially when the company is good and the conversation flows.

For dessert, there was mango and blueberry sorbets as well as pistachio ice cream. We all ate it up on the roof.  It was the perfect study break for me, and I was able to fully enjoy it, thanks to a pair of helping hands around the house. I always say I like summer classes better, but I always manage to forget how intense those six weeks of work actually are! Ah, who am I kidding? No one ever said grad school was going to be easy…

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