Overwhelmed

IMG_8813“Sometimes, you think you have everything all under control.

Sure, there’s a lot to juggle. There are a lot of things to get done. There are to-do lists a mile long. But you’ve got it. You’re not worried.

And then, sometimes, everything goes wrong.

I’m sure you consider yourself an extremely calm person. You’ve worked in the restaurant industry for over a decade – nothing phases you anymore. No problem anyone could throw at you in a typical dinner service is enough of a big deal to get you all worked up. You deal with it. You take one step at a time. Things could be a lot worse. You’ve been through a lot worse.

But some things even trigger the calm ones. Sometimes when you’re doing big, scary, new things -you get overwhelmed. Sometimes you realize you can’t be there for everyone anymore and not be there for yourself. It’s hard for you, but you have to focus on you at these times. You have to  not be there for people you love. And maybe the ways you choose to deal with it aren’t always the best ways.

But, you’re learning. You’ll definitely know better next time.

Until then, just breathe. Just put your head down and do what you have to do to get through until you can simply rest. Lean on the people who love you. Lean on the people who are there to support you. You’ll get them back. You’re good for it. And then when you have the opportunity to, just rest. And rest until you are ok again. Do whatever it takes to get ok again.

No one ever thought starting this journey would be easy. No one ever thought you could just take over the world without a hiccup every now and then. So take this bump in the road. Figure out what it means and what you’ve learned from it. And then get back up, recover, and start driving forward again.

And when your pup crawls up next to you in the morning and pushes you over to be her big spoon, just move over and scratch her behind her ears until you both fall back asleep. Because she doesn’t have the words to tell you how much love she has for you, but she is confident in what you’re starting to know again.

You are great. You are going to be just fine. Plus, you will probably take her on a really great walk once you decide it’s finally time to get out of bed.”

– inner monologue

xoxo,

kels

Let Your Heart Soar

I don’t know what is compelling me to write tonight after being away from this blog for months and months.

I don’t even know where to begin. There have been so many changes, so many obstacles, so many alarms going off being the sun came up and so many new things to learn. There have been huge set backs and golden successes… and there are nights like tonight where I sit back over a bowl of hummus and a glass of wine and I just want to write again.

I started my own pastry business in 2014. I suppose enough people had eaten a crostata or a cake or a whatever-I-was-baking-that-day, and told me that THIS is what I should be doing. I guess I started to realize that baking was something I enjoyed and am good at. Maybe I thought that starting a small business from the ground up with no savings would be fun, and that’d I’d be just fine. I suppose I thought it’d be the next page in my story.

I can’t even begin to sum up what’s ended up happening since I got back from that East Coast trip in June. It’s been amazing. It’s been challenging and eye opening and thrilling and scary and exhausting, but it’s been utterly amazing. I’ve proven to myself that I am brave, I am strong, I am curious, I am smart… and I can operate on a lot less sleep than I ever thought I could.

I recently saw a woman from my restaurant with her daughter who had just completed grad school. I asked the typical question, “What were you studying?” And she gave back an answer I have used so many times.

“Oh, you know. Nothing that will actually get me a job that makes money.” She had just gotten her masters in fashion design.

I found myself reassuring her of all of the things people said to me when I told them I was a music major. What really matters is who you know, how hard you work, and how much you want it.

But I also told her this. Creative people will always be creative people. If the fashion industry wasn’t the thing that worked out for her, she would find a career and a way to live her life that suited her need to create and design. Creative people can’t be boxed into monotony. She was going to find something in some part of her world to work on that would make her heart soar. Fashion industry or not. First job out of school or not. 24 years old or not. No matter where she ended up, she would keep redefining herself and what it is that makes her come alive until the day she dies, so enjoy every second and every chapter of the ride.

I left that table feeling like maybe I was just giving myself the advice. That maybe I had just reassured myself that I am still a musician, but my pastry business is the next phase of how I express myself creatively. Or maybe this is the creativity I’ve been searching for all along. Maybe this is what I was really meant to be in this world. It seems like this chapter of me coming alive just makes sense in so many ways…

It was kind of like I had let the musician me off the hook for a little while – letting her free to simply sing in the car or in the shower. I let her know that I love that part of my soul, but it’s not the thing that makes me soar right now.

2015 has so many exciting things in store. Just in these first few weeks I’ve made huge strides toward expanding my business to the next level. But it’s always nice to take a step back and look at all that you’ve done. It’s nice to revisit old friends and neglected blogs. It’s nice to just sit down and write a little something that maybe a year from now I’ll read and think, “Oh you have NO idea what you’re in for.”

So thank you for having me back. I’ll try not to be a stranger.

xoxo,

kels

Open Letter to My New Apple Peeler

Dear Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer thingamajig that I bought yesterday,

I feel like we started out on the wrong foot. I assumed you were silly. I assumed you were one of those kitchen gadgets that would show up on a BuzzFeed list about stupid things people buy for their kitchen. I assumed you were something that no self-respecting baker would have in their cabinet. I assumed you would make not only a giant mess, but you would make my apple-pie making last at least four times longer than it should have.  But something in me said to just give it a try.

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Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer – I owe you an apology.

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Something happened to me after the first apple. I took out my phone and couldn’t stop taking pictures. The curly leftover peels! The slinky-like peeled, cored, sliced apple! I felt like I wanted to make a hundred apple pies. Maybe some apple sauce! Heck, I wanted to make apple butter, too!

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I peeled apple after apple after apple. I took pictures from every angle. I sent texts to my husband and best friend. I stuffed that pie so full of perfectly peeled apples that whoever ate it would have kept the doctor away for ages. Plus, I was done in about ten minutes. TEN MINUTES. You, my friend, are a life-saver.

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Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer, I am really, truly sorry. I’d like to start again. You are wonderful. You are helpful. I could never imagine facing Apple Pie Season again without you. Please, please can we be bffs?

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xoxo,

kels

Super-Quick Cream Drop Biscuits

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I’ve had an annoying cold for a little over a week now.

I’m finally on the upswing, off the Robutussin and Vicks VapoRub, but I am still getting coughing fits every now and then.

Like last night. At 3AM. When Brad finally came to bed, I immediately got out of bed and hit the couch.  Because no one deserves to have to sleep next to this hacking cough.  No one could even pretend to be asleep next to me during one of my fits.  It’s probably the worst sounding cough ever. In the history of the world.

Ok, it’s really not that bad.  But I finally drifted off to sleep again last night, and when I woke up there was a gray light shining through the living room windows.  I hadn’t brought my phone with me, so I figured it was just past dawn.  I stumbled back into the bedroom, where the shades were down and it was still nice and sleepy dark.  Just for good measure before I zonked out again, I checked the time…

It was already 9:30! What was that crazy gray dawn light? Where was the hot summer sun that had been blazing in on us for what seemed like weeks and weeks?

Hidden, I guess. That melting hot sun was hidden behind a cool, foggy mist. And for some I-can’t-wait-until-fall reason, I jumped right out of bed, made myself a cup of tea, and got to baking.

Because baking during the day is completely out of the question when your apartment is a balmy 82 degrees before you’ve even turned the oven on.  But when the high is 73 and the sun is nowhere to be seen?  I preheated all the way up to 400°F.

I was making biscuits.

And not the difficult, layers of butter, rolled out, cut with biscuit cutter biscuits. Nope – I had been up half the night coughing. I hadn’t drank anything but herbal tea and orange juice and good old H2O for a week straight. This was going to be a quick, simple breakfast biscuit.  I was going to whip up some scrambled eggs with ham and have a nice, hearty, foggy morning breakfast.

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Thirty minutes later, as I sat down with my sleepy husband, my room temperature cup of tea (I’m really bad at tea), and my fluffy drop biscuits with eggs, the sun was shining bright through those front windows.  The fog had already burnt off and the white hot sun was pouring in on us like every other sunny summer morning before this one.

But I had won breakfast. The 400° oven was already off, and the thermostat only read a cool 75.  Plus, I had yummy, yummy just-baked biscuits.

xoxo

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Super Quick Cream Drop Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cubed
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter, melted
turbinado sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Mix the first four ingredients in a food processor or stand mixer until just combined.  Drop the dough in six equal parts (about 3/4 cups each) and drop onto a greased baking sheet.  The less perfectly round, the better.  Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Eat them piping hot right out of the oven.

Giant Squashagne

Once, at the market, there was a stand that sold giant squash.

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They were the most giant squash in all the land. Or maybe not, but they were ridiculously huge. And there was one girl who couldn’t resist buying one of the giant squashes just to dream up something fun to do with them.

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So she went home. She pondered over it for a few days. She displayed the squash in a fruit bowl that was about 5 gallons too small for the it to actually fit in. And then, after having it catch her eye and make her laugh on the third day, she decided to do something magnificent with that squash.

But first, she wanted to make sure everyone realized how big this squash really was. And that it totally matched her new favorite nail polish. Super cool.

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The girl broke out her very dangerous mandolin and carefully sliced that giant squash into something that resembled lasagna noodles. She had recently been making zucchini into noodles (we call those “zoodles” around here, and – yes – they are delicious), and figured lasagne with squash may be just as delicious.

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She sliced and sliced until she had piles of beautiful zucchini noodles (zoodles!!).

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She piled on ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan. She browned her favorite local sausage and threw it into the tomato sauce she had made with early girls from her favorite tomato stand (the recipe is here!). She layered and layered, and then she baked that lasagne just like it was a regular, delicious pasta lasagne.

(this is where she forgot to take any pictures…)

She peaked in at her masterpiece as the timer went off. It was perfect!

But… then her phone rang!  Friends were gathering with wine by a fire! They would probably be hungry, too!

She quickly wrapped up the masterpiece and headed out with giant squash, local pork sausage, homemade tomato sauce lasagne in tow. (because this is a totally normal thing to do when invited to a campfire. just bring lasagne.)

The girl and her friends laughed and drank wine and ate grapes off of vines and listened to music by the fire late into the night. And everyone was happy that she made squash lasagne (squashagne?) and just happened to bring it to the party.

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No one even missed the noodles.

Moral of the story? If you are ever invited to a last minute campfire with wine, bring a squashagne. No one will be mad at you, I promise.

xoxo

Be still.

Be still

Way back in the beginning of July when i first got back from our glorious summer vacation (it seems like forever ago), I vowed to myself that I was going to come back recharged and ready to push forward on getting my new business up and running.

And push I did. Drive forward I did. I have made so many advances towards getting my pastry business (oh, I haven’t told you about that yet? oops…) legally running, and I’m so very proud of what I’ve accomplished even this far.

But today? Today I don’t want to make any business calls. I don’t want to take any notes or do any research. I don’t even want to fill any orders or come up with fun new ways to package things.

Today, I slept in until ten. I laid in bed on Instagram until eleven. Then I got up, put on a funky playlist, and whipped up some pancakes from scratch.

Today, I’m going to take Gibson on a couple of long walks. I’m going to bake myself something that I can put in my cake stand. I’m going to freeze cookie dough balls to eat randomly throughout the last of the hot summer days. And I’m going to go out and buy myself a nice bottle of wine to have with dinner.

Because every now and then it’s important to take a step backward from your two jobs and your non-stop life. It’s important to just sit. Be still. Be silent. Listen. Just look around and what you’re creating and where you’re going. Because creating a business and a life for yourself takes a lot of hard work, but it’s supposed to be a lot of fun, too.  I’m creating memories and friendships and learning a lot of lessons along the way.  Today is my day to just relax, soak it all in, appreciate myself for the good work I’ve done, and maybe go outside and get a little bit of sun while I’m at it.

In the near future, I’m looking forward to writing more.  I’m looking forward to sharing more challenges and recipes and stories. I’m looking forward to sharing my successes and my struggles. Because this blog has been one of my favorite projects I’ve ever taken on, and I’m ready to see it grow. I’m excited to keep it evolving and changing alongside of me.

But for now, I’ve got a sun to bathe in. I’ll see you very soon.

xoxo