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.