Lucy Turns One

Lucy Turns OneOne year ago. Has it already gone by this fast? On the eve of your birth, I walked hand-in-hand with your papa through a nearby field. We knew you were coming soon and yet the unfolding of your arrival seemed as distant as the mountain that hovered above us.

_DSC0241WEBAnd then, on that next hot June morning, you came. Far quicker than I imagined. My labor was intense and beautiful and calm. You were welcomed with joy and love. Open arms and open hearts. I watch the video of your birth to remember discrete moments and emotions: the determination, the fear, the exhaustion, the ecstasy, the tears. I look at these images of your sweet second-old face, and it comes back to me effortlessly. June 25th. The best day of our lives.

1009157_589969276398_1383088975_o-1024x685And so, sweet girl, we’ve known you for one year now, and yet…I now feel like I’ve known you since the beginning of time. We were knit together somewhere else, far far away and long long ago. I can’t imagine life without you in it. And so I believe, in some mysterious way, you’ve been with me all along.

DSC2622-copy-2-678x1024We are so proud of you. You approach the world with openness, with laughter, with unashamed curiosity…and yet you still find refuge in our arms. There aren’t enough words to describe you…and most of the ones I try fall painfully short. Because our love for you is on a level that transcends nouns and verbs and adjectives. Our love for you exists in that same secret place we were knitted together long long ago.

Lucy Turns OneToday, we’ll celebrate your birthday…just the three of us. We’ll go to the ocean (we’re in Portland!), we’ll pick berries, and we’ll take time to honor the special place you have in our lives…and the impact you’ve already had on your world. I love you Lucille Amelia Moutrie-Kulp. I am blessed to be your mother.

Lucy Turns OneKadi Spurlock from Up in the Sycamore photographed our birth and came down to Colorado Springs to photograph us after Lucy’s first birthday. She’s an incredible photographer and friend.

Cherry Pie (with almond flour and coconut sugar)

Cherry Pie (with almond flour and coconut sugar)Despite all the baking I’ve done over the past five years, I’ve never made a cherry pie. Growing up, we were all apple. Why bother with juice that stains and hundreds of pits when you could just peel and slice? But when I went to Whole Foods earlier this week only to be greeted by bins and bins of bright, plump cherries, I knew I had to try.

And no surprise, making and eating cherry pie is delightful. While pitting cherries requires time, it quickly becomes methodical. And if you don’t have a one-year old tugging at your pants, it might even become meditative. Ryan has made no effort to hide his general distaste for cherry pie, but when he smelled the browning crust and bubbling fruit, he was first in line for a slice. I probably don’t have to tell you he loved it.

Cherry Pie (with almond flour and coconut sugar)

What makes this cherry pie unique is the addition of almond flour to the crust and the use of coconut sugar in the filling. Both add flavor and nutrition to this American classic. Coconut sugar is a great alternative to cane sugar. Low on the glycemic index, coconut sugar also retains several nutrients from the coconut itself. And I find the taste to be slightly nutty, a bit more complex. It worked beautifully in this cherry pie.

Wish me luck as I try to pull together all the last-minute details for Lucy’s first birthday party on Sunday. I can’t wait to share pictures with you all!

Cherry Pie (with almond flour and coconut sugar)

Cherry Pie (with almond flour and coconut sugar)

*adapted from Bon Appetit

⅓ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt
3 pounds fresh cherries, pitted, or 6 cups frozen cherries
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Demerara sugar (for sprinkling)

Pulse almond flour, coconut sugar, salt, and flour in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles small peas.

Whisk egg yolks and ice water in a small bowl and drizzle over flour mixture. Pulse until dough just comes together (adding more water by the tablespoon if necessary).

Gently knead dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half and pat each piece into a disk; wrap in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°. Allow dough to sit at room temperature to soften, about 5 minutes. Roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12” round. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

Combine coconut sugar and lime zest in a large bowl, rubbing together with your fingertips to release oils in zest. Whisk in cornstarch and salt until there are no lumps. Add cherries and toss to coat.

Carefully transfer one chilled crust to a 9” pie dish. Trim edges to even out crust if needed. Scrape in cherry filling.Using a small cookie cutter, punch out holes in remaining crust. Fold edge of top crust underneath edge of bottom crust and press together to seal.

Brush crust with egg and sprinkle with  sugar. Chill pie until crust is firm, 20–30 minutes.

Place pie on a  foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and bake, tenting with foil if crust is browning too quickly, until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, 50–60 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 4 hours before slicing.

24/52

2452Tomorrow is June 19th. Lucy’s due date. Of course, she decided to stay inside me for almost another week (and now that we know our daughter one year later…this decision of hers makes perfect sense). But her due date will always hold a special place in my heart. Her due date came after years of loss, of fear, of uncertainty. Her due date was received as this incredible promise of new life and hope.

And one year later, she brims with all the emotions that were first tangled up in that special date given to me by my doctor. Joy. Laughter. Love.

2552THREELucy is almost one year old and decided to start walking this week. She’s tentative but clearly capable. Yesterday, she took a solid eight steps. Of course, this happened in our kitchen. It’s the place Lucy and I spend the most time during the day. I imagine it will stay like that for quite a few years.

We’re in a flurry of activity as we get ready for her birthday party on Sunday. I can’t wait to see my plans come together because right now our house is a small disaster. Thankfully, Lucy doesn’t seem to mind.

2452FOUR

Little One in Houston

I was born in Houston, TX, and I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t on the top of many “must-visit” lists. When I tell someone in Colorado that I’m going down to Houston, I often get a grimace and a statement about either the humidity or the traffic. But….if you do Houston right…you’ll find an eclectic and vibrant city, full of culture, good food, and community. Ryan, Lucy, and I spent a few days there earlier this month, and we’re happy to share another Little One Travel Guide.

Little One in HoustonBlacksmith. Ryan and I look for good, third-wave coffee everywhere we go. Blacksmith happens to offer some of the best coffee in town, along with a simple but well-executed menu. Not only do they make precise and delicious cappuccinos, but they also serve their homemade square scratch biscuits. Ryan’s favorite way to eat them is with an egg, while I prefer their jam and mascarpone cheese. Lucy loves watching the people filter in and out of this bustling coffee shop in Montrose. And yes, while she doesn’t drink coffee, she certainly eats biscuits.

Little One in HoustonLittle One in Houston

Little One in HoustonNeighborhoods. If you stay in the suburbs of Houston, expect traffic, chain restaurants, and big box stores. So we suggest moving inward and exploring the eclectic neighborhoods that give Houston it’s food and cultural prowess. Montrose and the Heights are favorites in our book, but there are several others that you might want to visit. Despite the heat (and yes, it’s hot), I enjoyed wearing Lucy as we walked down oak-lined streets. She fell asleep quickly and easily, which allowed for me to get exercise and for her to get a much needed nap. You will find locally owned boutiques and restaurants. Good food, great shopping, and beautiful homes to look at too.

Little One in HoustonLittle One in HoustonLittle One in HoustonLittle One in Houston

Little One in Houston

The Pass & Provisions. This pair was listed as one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants, and it’s easy to see why. Take an old Houston landmark (an Italian deli and import company) and turn it into an expertly run kitchen with a wood burning stove and you’ve got a clear winner. We enjoyed brunch late on a Saturday afternoon. By far the “fanciest” restaurant we visited, Provisions made us feel at home. Lucy enjoyed a beautiful berry smoothie and a melt-in-your-mouth baguette. Because we ate brunch at the tail end of their serving hours, the restaurant wasn’t nearly as crowded (which allowed for a much more relaxed mom and dad).

Little One in HoustonLittle One in HoustonLittle One in HoustonLittle One in HoustonCatalina Coffee. Another Houston coffee institution. Catalina coffee was packed on Sunday morning with a line going out the door. We sampled one of their fresh fruit danishes (made by a local baker in the Heights). Once again, our little one loved people-watching (and there were a lot of people to watch in this small coffee shop downtown).

Little One in HoustonLittle One in HoustonDown House. Coffee shop. Bar. Restaurant. Down House does it all, and does it all well. We came here for brunch on Sunday morning and enjoyed two big plates of food. Local ingredients and pastured eggs made for a delicious (albeit greasy) start to the day. In typical baby form: one of us took Lucy outside while we waited for our food. This often makes all the difference in a peaceful restaurant meal. It worked for us at Down House, and I have no doubt we’ll use this method in Portland and Pittsburgh later this summer.

Little One in HoustonLittle One in HoustonAl Aseel. Houston has amazing food from all over the world. On a rainy Sunday afternoon, we visited Al Aseel in a small strip center near my grandparent’s house. (For really good and authentic ethnic food, you often need to leave the city center). We were warmly greeted by the owner, an elderly Palestinian man. We were seated right away and ordered some of the best hummus I’ve had since traveling to Jordan and Egypt. And the chicken kebobs? Well, they were delicious too. Some of the best food we’ve had in quite a while. The only downside? In the back, they offer hookah. The odor wasn’t terribly strong, but it wasn’t somewhere I’d want to take Lu (or a child with sensitive lungs).

Little One in HoustonWe had a quick but great trip to Houston…and we’re excited that Portland is just around the corner. If you’d like in-the-moment updates, follow me on instagram. You can find us here: @cakestand.

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