love light loss and pinterest

A journey into my messy life, mind, and kitchen.

Category: Food for thought

Putting Things Together

When Thomas and I got married my lovely friend Mari asked us all these questions about our likes and dislikes for my bachelorette party, it was amazing and pretty hilarious.  My favorite question and answer from my sweet husband went something like this: Question: “What is your favorite food that Blake makes for you?” Answer: “Anything that has to be put together…you know like sandwiches or casseroles.” Bahahaha, too true my darling, too true.  I love putting things together sandwiches, casseroles, salads, tacos,  people, performances, play dates, parties, you name it.  Bringing things and people together makes my heart happy.  Putting things together is a gift I 100% got from my Mom.  She had the real talent.  I have been feeling off of my game lately.  Without her, it is not easy.  None of it is.

I spent last weekend celebrating my sister’s impending marriage (#tiffsmethermatch) with a bachelorette party in my favorite city in the world, Chicago.  Had this just been any bachelorette party I may not have been up for it.  But, thank goodness, it was my amazing sister and she and her lovely friends were on board to really explore the city that I love so much.  And, explore we did we walked (a ton), we saw stunning sights, we visited with animals(ummm free zoo!), we danced with some of the coolest kids around, we bought local art, we ate amazing food (thanks to some beyond generous friends),we had drinks with the cast of the jersey shore (ok not really but it felt like it), we cheered for the local team, we wandered,  and we shared countless laughs.  It was perfect and yet after it was all said and done I found myself feeling a bit down.

Ok, so down isn’t exactly right..just feeling extra feels for this place that I used to call home.

I was not fully prepared for how much I would feel going back to the city that gave me so many amazing moments.  The city that challenged us to live a life we had never known.  The city that gave us friendships that would last a lifetime (and now their precious babies to hug and kiss).  The city that gave us a chance to fall in love with each other all over again. The city that gave us amazing memories with our families especially our Moms.

Don’t get me wrong, the blahs did not overwhelm, it was amazing.  And, I am ok.  I was able to see some of my favorite people ever.  I was able to fall right back into the world, that because of the hardships of the last two years, seemed like a lifetime ago.  I needed that.  And, of course as always Chicago pulled through giving me just want I needed.

I came back home both exhausted and inspired to put some shit together(oops, sorry guys , it just slipped out).

So here is the pin… I changed a lot of things.

Here’s what you will need for my version:

1/2 pound of shrimp (you will see no shrimp in the original but we have fresh North Carolina shrimp right now and I could not resist)

1 tbs butter

1/3 cup white wine

3 cloves garlic

2 large beets cubed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar)

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoon red onion, minced, divided in half

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

4 cups spinach

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

here is the original recipe.

Here is what I did:

Spread cubed beets and garlic cloves on baking sheet drizzle olive oil sprinkle with salt and pepper cover with aluminum foil bake at 375 for 20mins uncover remove the garlic and bake for another 20mins.

While beets are cooking combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, red onions (1/2), dijon mustard, and whisk together. I sliced some stunning cherry tomatoes into the mixture to let them soak up the yumminess.

In the last 20 mins of beet baking (I like how that sounds…maybe a future kid’s band “Blake and the Baking Beets”) heat up a pan, add butter, the other 1/2 of the onions, garlic (should mash easily since roasted), and white wine.  When sauce is bubbling add shrimp distribute sauce and cover for about 4 mins till all shrimp are pink…be careful not to over cook.

Let the beets and the shrimp rest and then combine all the ingredient in a bowl for a yummy salad.

.beet salad

click the picture for the link

roasted beets

Roasting Beet Business

salad makings

Salad Makings

shrimp sauce

Shrimp Sauce in progress (featuring beet stained garlic)

shrimp

Yummy Local Shrimp (if not available where you live come visit us!)

  salad

Final Product (not at great picture…but soooo yummy)

While in Chicago a friend gave me the best complement in the world…she told me that reading my blog was just like talking to me…that she could hear my voice as she was reading it.  I hope I am able to maintain that feeling.  I hope I am able to continue to write my truth.  I love all of you for being here to listen and support.  Thank you.

None of this is easy but this is my way of putting it all together.

Bitter Sweet

So here we are.

I am writing this on the eve of Mother’s Day 2016.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you…I feel stuck.

Life is good, really not just lifey.

Here’s a list to prove it:

  • amazing husband
  • a lovely home
  • really incredible friends who let me steal their kids from time to time
  • perfect siblings who talk and listen to me
  • wonderful family all around
  • precious dog child
  • smart kind niece and nephews
  • reasons to leave the house
  • new health goals and help achieving them
  • travel plans and the ability to make plans a reality
  • support from marvelous people, some I barely know
  • did I mention an amazing husband?

With all of these blessings I still find myself wishing for things that I can’t have.  I find myself feeling resentment toward people who physically have the things I want.  The things I miss.

I am not that person.  I am not the person who gets jealous of other people’s happiness.  I lift people up.  I celebrate others victories. I really do. This is not me but, lately it has been.  I feel anger towards Mother’s Day ads. I feel jealousy directed at the tributes I see honoring remarkable women.  I feel sadness seeing mothers at the park with their children. Then I get angry with myself for even having those feelings.  What is this anger?  I am not an angry person.  How am allowing this grief to turn me into this person I don’t recognize?

Even happy moments have a way of turning sour in my mind.

This week we finalized a European trip that will start with all of my siblings and myself traveling down the coast of England to the Minack Theatre (just look at this place) to join Gwyn in spreading Mom’s ashes.  Mom loved to travel and England was one her favorite places on Earth.  She made a point to make sure to get us all over there.  But, never all together.  And, now we are going together, without her.  Everything we do from now on is without her.  It is a reality I have been living with for two months now and it still stings like it happened yesterday.  I am beyond thrilled to travel and get to see parts of the world I have only seen in books and on screens.  I understand that it is a privilege and a luxury and it is not one that is lost on me.  I humbled by the opportunity.

I do not feel this sadness and anger all the time.  It comes in like a flash flood and most of the time goes just as quickly but, it is all consuming.  I know that there is a lesson in here somewhere and a growth I must be open to.  I also know Mother’s Day is just a day.  A day when you honor your Mom with an outpouring of love.  Love that honestly we should all show every day. I get that.  I know that and yet here I am in my head making it all about me.  It is not about me. It is about my wonderful mother, her mother before her, the incredible mothers my sisters are to their beautiful children.

So in honor of my Mom on this Mother’s Day I am going to try and squeeze in some of her favorite things. I started tonight with the heart shaped sushi box my darling husband brought home and the new season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix.

Here’s a list:

  • Margaritas/Mexican food
  • A little pampering
  • Thrift stores (charity shops)
  • Spending Time with loved ones
  • Musical Theatre
  • Travel Planning
  • The Beach
  • Reading
  • “Gentle” tv show or movie (Gilmore Girls or some Downton anyone?)

I honor my Mom by continuing traditions and enjoying the small things.  I honor her by continuing to try and keep our connection alive.  I honor her by celebrating our similarities and embracing our differences.  I honor her by allowing myself to miss her.  I honor her by being true to my emotions.  I honor her by working to be the best version of myself I can be.

I am ready to show the universe I can and will get through this. I just have to figure out how to do it without begrudging others happiness, without becoming cynical and bitter, without losing myself.

sushi

A heart full of sushi is a heart full of love.

My heart is currently both full and broken.

The Unimaginable

“There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable”

-It’s Quiet Uptown, Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Following the last post was difficult for me.  I re-read and re-read the amazing words people had written about Mom’s lifetime of incredible work.  It left me in awe.  It left me angry.  It left me heart-broken.  It left me searching.

I finally found some inspiration in, of all places, the grocery store.  A place that I could not even enter a few months ago with out a panic attack (read Grocery Store Dilemma).  As I walked the aisles by myself I thought back on the last few weeks.  What has changed? What will never be the same?  Although, my whole world has been turned upside down it all still continues to spin.

As I was having my grocery store meditation I spotted something that I knew I had to cook and write about.  A beautiful corned beef roast.  Not, something I had ever made before.  But, something that immediately flooded me with memories.  Any time we saw a corned beef hash on a menu Mom and I were both drawn to it.  We had a system.  One of us would order the corned beef hash and one would order something sweeter like pancakes (breakfast dessert is a totally legit thing).   We would share, what a great team we were.

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Birthday Hash

Sausage Hash that is.

Thomas and I were both extremely lucky to have mothers that LOVED celebrating birthdays…their children’s birthdays at least.

Thomas’ Mom would fill up baskets and boxes full of little things that reminded her of you. Seriously, the most amazing random finds: books, scarves, hats, silly t-shirts, cooking utensils, perfect smalls, and always something for the dog as well.  I still remember my first birthday with Cissy, and somehow she already had me figured out. She got me: chocolate, craft stuff (including STICKERS!!), a pair of sandals, a Pyrex bowl, and a summer scarf. Honestly, with me it does not get much better. I am not sure how I will ever be able to fill this void for Thomas. Although, thankfully, I did have Cissy teach me some of her shopping tricks.

My Mom would talk about upcoming birthdays for months before it actually happened.  Two months before my birthday she would buy me shoes, or a dress (that “looked just like me”) and then say, “this is for your birthday”.  And, without fail, 2 months later she would completely forget (although I am not sure she ever actually forgot) and buy another gift. They were always so well thought out, personal, and fun.   She somehow managed to get something that was both slightly frivolous and yet still practical.

Birthday food was very important to both of them.  Whether it was cooking your favorite meal or taking you out for delicious yums, they both made sure that you ate well on your birthday. They both believed in celebrating moments.  So, I tried to make that happen for Thomas’ Birthday last week…with this pin.  It totally ROCKED and will for sure be repeated in our house.

Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash

Ingredients

1 (14 ounce) package kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (the pin calls for turkey I used pork because we are able to get good quality)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic (not in the original recipe but, I felt it was necessary)

3 small or 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

olive oil (use as needed, I did not need much because I used the grease from the sausage)

salt and pepper

 

Instructions

In a heavy bottomed skillet (I like to use my cast iron) brown the sliced kielbasa for around 5 minutes in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside (I put on a paper grocery bag to soak up extra grease). Then add the potatoes and onions to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, around 8-10 minutes, stirring a few times to ensure even browning.

Add the peppers to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Add kielbasa to the skillet with the onions and peppers and mix everything together.  Serve nice and hot! We added some hot sauce to send the flavors over the edge.

Your favorite…Picture Time:

peppers

Love the color and flavor peppers add

hash

The official “Birthday Hash”

I followed dinner with my first ever pound cake.  Wasn’t quite “Beth’s Famous Pound Cake” but the birthday boy was into it.

yum yum yum

It was still warm

My goal for now is to let these two incredible women inspire me to make the most of all the time I have.  To live and love with all that I have.  Not just to be in the moment, to CELEBRATE it.

Everything’s Gravy

So today, 31 years ago, my lovely husband was born.  I could go on and on about what he means to me but, it would embarrass him. So, I will just say he is amazing and I am beyond grateful of his existence.  I will be forever in the debt to his Mom.  Happy Birthday Thomas!

His Mom, like mine, was an amazing home chef.  Their cooking styles were very different but both amazing.  Cissy, Thomas’ Mom, was a true soul food loving, add some sugar, and use that pork fat, South Carolina girl.  Mine was more: start every meal with olive oil, garlic, and mirepoix (celery, onions, carrots). They shared one key foodie thing they could both rock a gravy.  I mean seriously, they both understood the power of a strong roux.   Continue reading

Misleading Title

Has anyone ever felt like some titles are misleading? Like, how many of you wanted the musical Gypsy to actually be about gypsies? Or thought Meryl Streep was going to make one bad-ass woman superhero in Iron Lady (instead of the terrifying Thatcher)? Both great works of art…but with somewhat misleading titles. That is how I felt about this first pin. Continue reading