Adobo Sweet Potato Flatbread


It is pizza and I am a big, lying liar.

I don’t even know how it happened. One night, I was roasting some sweet potatoes after I got home from class. I wrapped them in foil and set them in the oven and then I realized just how long it was going to take.

Before I knew it, I had company. I made mashed potatoes with my yukon golds while the sweet potatoes baked. Sometimes, life pieces together that way.

Anyway, I decided that I like to bake sweet potatoes to have around for easy munching throughout the week. That’s what got me to this point.

The next night, I found myself mashing some of the sweet potato and sprinkling in some spices. Before I knew it, I was dotting cornmeal on a baking sheet and toasting up some pizza dough.

Fresh out of the oven, I layered slices of avocado. And I am lucky, because Tacocat delivers and I save the little cups of salsa that accompany my guacamole order.

Which is to say, I drizzled my slice with that and yes, we can all cry now.


Magnolia’s Chocolate with Vanilla [Birthday] Cake

Y’all. I am thirty years old today.

THIRTY! I cannot believe it. I don’t know where I was when this happened. Six months ago, I sat in the corner of a cozy, little pub telling one of my classmates that I was going to make a To Do list for myself before I enter my next decade. When asked what it might entail, I had a few ideas, but nothing concrete.

I don’t even think I did any of the things I said back then. But, almost immediately, I went and got a drastic haircut. I rocked a fringe for a couple of months before the styling got too frustrating for me. Note to future 30-something KC–

You forgot, and that’s okay. It had been about ten years, anyway. Like a dog gobbles up its own vomit almost immediately, so, too, will you wish you could take those bangs back. You will not enjoy the extra maintenance. They will still be growing out in June for your 30th birthday. Don’t do it to yourself when the mood strikes you again in a few years, as it always does. We just don’t have to.

Anyway, my lack of To Do clarity was something that kind of nagged. I’ll go dancing, I thought. I’ll get another tattoo. I’ll travel somewhere. And honestly, I only achieved that last item.

The truth is, I realized that the work I wanted to do was internal first, with some external consequences. Which is to say, I am told I look well-rested these days. For those of you who follow me and have been customers over the last six and a half years, please know you can always reach out to me and I would love to stay in touch. My contact page is here, and we can go forward from there. I am so grateful to have formed relationships with many of you, and I appreciate you following me here. ❤

And then, I realized why I wasn’t dancing. You don’t need to dance to change your narrative. Because even though the one I was using was always true, it wasn’t working for me anymore.

The truth is, I was waking up every day plagued by what had brought me to where I am every day. Meanwhile, all things considered, I am kind of a raving success. I have survived a lot of things, and that is all I need to see when I look back. So, I gave myself this due date. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give yourself time, but I can confirm as the leading lady of my own life that it was time. By my 30th birthday, I wanted to finally feel better.

It isn’t that everything disappeared, and it isn’t compartmentalization. It is simply a daily choice that I have decided to make-with every effort I am capable of-every day until it is a habit. Because, I am not defined by what has happened to me. I deserve to wake up every day feeling good. Some days, that means this decision is conscious. Some days, that means recognizing that even though I feel worse than the day before, I still deserve to feel good, ultimately. [If you are not in a place to observe this for yourself right now, I just want you to know that I really respect that and I see you and I am sending you all of the love. You’ve got this.]

The grief button may always be there. And there may be days when it gets hit hard. But. It doesn’t rule me. I am still here. I made it. I won. I win.

Boom. How does it feel to blow those candles?

Anyway, I don’t want to become birthdayzilla here, but the odds of me leading a normal life seem to be quite slim (let’s be real, I have always been the woman in the fountain with the hat and the gorgeous ice cream, anyway), which means bride-dom is someplace on its own timeline, and I think I deserve a day. So, I’m naming that day this one. And all of the next ones. And the ones after that.

To celebrate, I have my favorite cake, ever. Complete with my favorite cards I ever pulled.

Happy Birthday. I love you.

The Summer Playlist 2019

Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Each and every year, we have celebrated her just before my favorite turn of the seasons. When the sun gets bright yellow like egg yolk and the pavement is hot enough to fry.

For those of you who don’t remember, my grandmother passed away last summer. It felt unexpected, but truthfully, she had been mentally gone in that nursing home for a long while.

I suppose I just thought she would be there forever. I wanted her to always be around.

But, you know, I am grateful to have known someone I felt that way about.

She hated having her picture taken, so a lot of the images I have of her look something like this. I like my people with a little personality. It’s so strange to think I wasn’t even alive when this one was taken.

But this was her.

And so, with the fresh waning of the moon and the shift of spring to summer, here we are. Playlist in hand.

(Her favorite song is toward the end of the list, and I know like I know she is waltzing to it somewhere.)

Hawaiian Guava Cake

God, I don’t even know where to start. It’s my mother’s sixtieth birthday today.

Thirty years ago at this time, she was about to pop. In fact, I stayed ten days late. Our birthdays were supposed to be five days apart. Finally, she decided to eat some fried chicken, to which I replied “PEACE!” After 24 hours of labor, she brought me into the world. What a powerhouse.

I also want to point out, because she always says that he isn’t around to stand up for himself whenever anyone tries to speak ill (classy af), that my mother raised me.

I remember when she worked and went to school and took care of me, and I think sometimes we don’t know when to high-five a person. Because I don’t think I ever saw her receive a high-five, and she is the most deserving person I have ever known.

She used to eat my pizza crusts when I was a kid so I wouldn’t have to. She would leave notes in my lunch sometimes. Also, she didn’t make fun of me that one time when she found my hidden love notes for Zac Hanson.

One time, I left my teddy bear at my grandmother’s house in Canada, and we realized it when we’d already made the drive home. Y’all, I was shook. I was so distraught.

That bear houses a piece of my soul that needs the most tender love.

(She packed up the car immediately and we drove back to get him.) ❤

My favorite memory is a simple one, though. We were at the grocery store picking out produce and one of us made a derogatory comment and we cracked up. At the SAME TIME, we both snorted, leaned in, and bumped heads.

As I have grown to become who I am now, I hear how much I am like her. We have the same mannerisms. We have the same laugh (and snort). We are both safe spaces for people (often, without trying).

Most recently, she accidentally texted me instead of her boyfriend, and she hushed my, “MUM NO” with, “Sweetie, I am just giving you hope.” And honestly, she is. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

So, I made the most festive cake I could find, delicately pink velvet infused with guava concentrate, topped with nonpareils. Because fancy begets fancy.

Happiest Birthday to my wonderful mama. There ought to be a picture of you in the dictionary next to the word inspiration. I love you!

Macaroon Brownies

Sometimes I feel like the woman in Chocolat, traveling when the winds tell her to.

Most recently, I keep thinking of the air between the mountains in Asheville. The last time I went was over three years ago. My mother had flown in to meet me in Atlanta on Christmas Day after my shift was over and we drove through back roads to get there. All of that, to eat sushi together on the big day and wander around on all the others.

On that particular visit, I discovered that French Broad Chocolates had moved from its previous perch. I remember that moment.

We were emerging from tapas, full of butternut squash soup. I received the last text message I would ever receive, ever, from the person I really loved back then. He told me to travel safely, and I wondered if we would ever traverse the wall that had risen suddenly and painfully. [spoiler alert: nope.]

Anyway, this matters because I remember looking up from my phone and my disappointment and my uncertainty about how to even respond and…I gasped. French Broad was just in front of me.

Its new home is beautiful, friends. Or, at least, those few years ago, I found it to be so. I suppose it isn’t so new anymore.

Every trip to Asheville I have ever taken has involved French Broad drinking chocolates and truffles. One time, perhaps my first visit ever, when they were in the old building off the beaten path with its hidden sign–I snuck one of their macaroon brownies to the movie theater down the street.

And, wouldn’t you know, I have meant to make my own version of that brownie I broke the rules for all. this. time.

This is to say, I looked in the cupboard recently, and I realized–I finally have all the things I need, years later. This was not planned.

I made extra macaroon filling (with mini chips and two types of coconut) to ooze out the middle, and to brown into toasty on top.

You know what that means.

Mission accomplished. The winds are changing course, and I am ready.

Pecan Pie Baklava

Y’all. It has been a MONTH.

Every recipe I have tried to make lately has not worked out. I have been a disaster! I don’t even know what that’s about.

Normally, I am so good at anticipating a recipe. I research and make educated decisions for how to treat the ingredients.

Then, I come up with something inventive that I would like to eat.

For the last month, every recipe I have tried has been a delicious-smelling fail. We’re talking, grapefruit curd soup bars. And maybe Martha Stewart is the only person who can successfully make Martha Stewart’s delicious-sounding polenta cake.

I don’t know.

All I know is, I have made a lot of life decisions lately, and each one has been complemented by a unique and utter kitchen fail.

I don’t like not being good at the things I know I’m good at.

I was honestly worried about another flop when my dear friend, Clarissa, and I decided to do the thing that it seems we have decided we do together: make baklava.

The last time we did so, we lovingly followed her grandmother’s recipe, with rosewater and lemon. We even called her parents midway through for guidance. Of course, those little, walnut-y diamonds turned out amazing.

The process takes several hours, during which time we like to talk life over each buttery layer. As the baklava rests in its syrupy throne, we perhaps have an intermittent tarot sesh or take a nice spring walk to the metaphysical shop.

This time around, before she arrived, I hesitantly wrote out what I thought should be the ingredients to make baklava express itself like pecan pie.

We’re talking salt and honey and mini chocolate chips and some quality bourbon that was donated in a jar because I don’t drink ever and there isn’t a point in my purchasing two tablespoons’ worth.

And just like that, it didn’t flop. With the help of an important friend, confidante, and fellow mystic, we encountered a success.

Happiest Birthday to you, Clarissa. I dearly appreciate your friendship, and I am so happy to know you.

Ruby Chocolate Cloud Cake

An Open Letter to the Woman I Was, Leaving Nashville:

You will find yourself omitting coffee early this morning to beat traffic. You will think it is a smart idea to wait until you are outside the city. It is not.

Five hours later, you will finally pass a Starbucks. You will go in, and you will order Blonde Roast, and they will give you Pike. You will never forget the guilty look on the barista’s face when you say before paying that you want your employee discount. You will also never forget that first taste of…fucking Pike.

You will eat yogurt covered raisins when you are hungry. You will be forced to listen to the same few songs, over and over, because your phone is acting funny. You will miss the mountains, years later, and you will always wonder how everyone there learned they needed to put up signs indicating random, tumbling rocks. You will feel the change when the weather becomes just a little bit chillier.

You will keep waiting on the drive for the tears you wanted to cry but did not have time for because you were tired and you just needed to keep going. They do not come. Instead, over the next few years, they will squeak out just a little every day before there comes a time that you realize they have not visited lately. Spoiler alert: this is the moment that they return, because grief is not linear, but rather, it is a button whose pressing changes and becomes perhaps less trigger-able, though nonetheless responsive, over time.

The tears will make their first appearance when you meet the only person who knows in Chicago on the way. You will be standing in front of a Monet, and the soft pink-kissed-yellow makes you long for the time that has now passed. When you headed in this direction, you were not quite certain that you would ever find that space again. The one where you are loved like the softest place on earth. You are right to wonder.

It will hit you the second you sit down in the passenger seat of your own car. The depression. It is not the first time you have felt it, but it is the first time you have recognized it. Old friend.

For this leg of the trip, you will have company to finish the drive home again. It helps, I guess, in some ways. But the depression never goes. It will not leave you for the next few years, as you haul ass to rebuild your life again in Minneapolis without telling anyone what you experienced, what you have carried.

It will be hard. And nobody is guaranteed a damn thing. But there will come a time when you realize that you need to see that you deserve it, even-and, perhaps, especially-if there is nobody else to tell you so.

You do not need to be perfect to receive it. Just decide. Decide right now. Like you did back then, driving away. Because even though there was a tough road ahead you knew that you had to count on there being something better. And I appreciate that. I am looking back and feeling for you, because I know how that was and how hard it has been.

I want to be more like you, back then. Back then, you knew what it should be like, and that you deserved it, and you did all that you could to make it happen, even if it meant braving the void. And back then, you never would have listened to anyone who made that voice a little quieter. You would have breathed through it, because you did, because you knew there had to be something greater. Greater than anything that wanted to silence your voice.

And maybe it doesn’t look the way everybody says love should. It’s just that some things don’t match up with what we have come to know = pink chocolate, cake like a brownie, and where is the fucking frosting, but

I want you to take a second and enjoy the weird and unlike-any-other and pretty wonderful thing you made out of what you had.