Finding a running buddy is like dating.
You can run a lot with an assortment of people, hoping to find the right group or person you click with enough to start meeting on a regular basis.
The unwritten rule of running with a buddy is what is spoken on the road stays on the road. The relationship gets pretty intimate, in the emotional sense. Things are said, discussed, you are exposed, walls fall. If it’s the right person, the trails become a safe place. You can just speak with no filter and there is no judgement.
But, life happens and when you and your running buddy split ways, it’s like breaking up.
It takes time to recover and to move on. It took awhile to get back into the game. I had a rough time running alone once again. It didn’t help that winter had settled in, and those cold pre-dawn hours were so much harder to face without that friendly face waiting for me outside the door. I took a break to rediscover the joys of running alone.
Time has passed, life moves on, and I am now once again open to finding another running buddy. I’m ready to open up again, find someone new to de-stress with, to gab nonsense, work through problems and just run ideas past. Someone to share spectacular sunrises with, explore new trails, keep me accountable.
I’ve asked many people to run with me, but 6am runs aren’t many people’s cup of tea. It’s going to take time.
Until then, something comforting to hold me over: Shrimp and Coconut Grits
Shrimp and Coconut Grits (adapted from A Girl Defloured)
Swirl of extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of large uncooked shrimp (shelled, no tails and de-veined)
About a teaspoon of garlic powder (or 1 tablespoon of minced garlic)
1 red pepper, chopped into about 1/2″ pieces
Three really big handfuls of baby spinach
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Creole Spice (1 tablespoon sugar + 1 tablespoon smoked paprika + 2 teaspoons cayenne + 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper)
1/2 cup stone ground grits (not the instant kind)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup coconut milk (the canned variety…I used the light one from Trader Joe’s)
Toss the shrimp in with the garlic (or garlic powder, if you ran out of garlic) and some salt and set aside.
First make the grits. In a saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Stir in the grits and turn the heat to very low. Stir until pretty thick and keep stirring frequently for about 8 minutes. Once super thick, slowly add in the coconut milk. Stir frequently for another 5 minutes until pretty thick.
Turn off the flame and cover until ready to serve.
In a large pan, pour in one turn of extra virgin olive oil and put over medium heat.
Once hot, add in the chopped pepper and sautee for a few minutes.
Add in the shrimp and cook until pink, but not done yet. Add in the pat of butter, the Creole seasoning and about a quarter cup of water. Stir to coat. Once the shrimp is done, add in the spinach and cook until just wilted. Turn off the flame.
Serve a top of a scoop of grits.
The absolute beauty of this recipe is that it’s so customizable. I’ve done it with her original recipe with the addition of kale, and it was also divine. This version was also really good. The coconut grits tempered the heat of the Creole seasoning beautifully. Even by itself, the coconut grits were really yummy. The coconut milk lends a richness, but the coconut flavor keeps it light.
The creole seasoning goes on anything. Especially yummy in scrambled eggs or fresh veggie omelettes. It’s just hot enough for me, but if you want it less hot, just tone down the Cayenne to a teaspoon.
The combinations are endless…