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To Last Forever

At some point in your life, I’m sure you’ve found yourself wanting something to last forever, however long that felt at the time. In high school, it was the night of my senior prom, when a bunch of friends and I sat atop a hill overlooking Silicon Valley after an epic night of eating, singing and dancing on a boat in the San Francisco Bay. All the twinkling lights and dark shadows and crevices and cars. Just us and some alcoholic beverages (oops) and the last hurrah before we all went off to college. It felt like the end of time and I remember watching the sun begin to rise and thinking, “I want this to last forever.”

The night of my wedding, I thought I would burst with happiness and awe and the purest feeling of love not just for my new husband, but for the people who have stood by me, reveled in my joy, and pushed me to be a better human being. It was better than any single night I had ever imagined. Every time the DJ suggested the last song of the night was approaching I kept thinking, “No! No! No! But I want THIS to last forever.” I had a hard time going to sleep, knowing that the next morning would confirm that no night can last forever.

In a way, I wanted our family as a twosome to last forever. Not because I wasn’t the type to want children and grow our little unit but because life over the past few years has been that good. Matt and I had been married for two and a half years before I got pregnant and although we had discussed the topic of children and even went back and forth about when we’d actually start trying, a little voice inside of me kept protesting, “But I want this to last forever.” I’d gotten comfortable. I began to believe that ‘forever’ was a possibility and it was something I actually wanted.

The thing is, to enjoy new life experiences, push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, find wisdom, love, courage, friendship, and fulfillment in your life’s work, forever just isn’t something to strive for, at least not in its static form. As people, we inevitably grow (and outgrow), change, and learn. As my friend Sara aptly described in a beautifully-written post on her blog, fear holds us back from taking risks but those risks and our changing circumstances are often what make the next stage better than the last. The forever we want today may not be the forever we want tomorrow.

I have faith that my relationships with the most important people in my life, especially with my husband, will last forever, but it’s a different type of forever than I used to dream of (and may still occasionally long for). It’s a flexible version of forever, the kind that bends and mends and stretches. The kind that accepts the old and the new, the kind that is open-minded and both enveloping and freeing.

A part of me always wants the cakes and cookies I bake to last forever. Perhaps that is why I have a hard time stopping at just one cookie or a slice of cake. I usually let myself have a second helping, and I enjoy it tremendously, as I did with this incredibly moist apple bundt cake. But by day three, I usually come to the realization that my creativity and my waistline will thank me if I move on to the next (or just indulge in a few squares of my favorite dark chocolate instead).

I know our life as a family of two is about to come to a halt, but as much as I’ve enjoyed this strange time of long walks and leisurely cooking and lounging and quiet (I’ll tell you: waiting for baby is weird), I don’t want it to last forever. And even though some people are quick to remind me (educate me?) that I’ll never sleep again, never cook again, never dress up again, I know that my version of what’s next is certainly not forever, and will be shaped by what I want this life to be.

Delores’s Apple Cake (Southern Apple and Pecan Cake)
adapted slightly from Southern Comfort

My mom is famous for her apple cake, a version of which I adapted for a recipe collection in one of our very early Pairings Boxes. For this reason, I rarely make apple cakes using any other recipe. However, this cake jumped out at me: the combination of finely diced apples and pecans sounded divine. And boy was this cake. It is just as good on day two and day three, if it lasts that long, that is. I say: enjoy it while it lasts and savor every last bite.

2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon*
1 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3 cups of all-purpose flour (I used a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour)
3 green apples, cored, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch cubes (approximately 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups of sugar**
1 1/2 cups of pecans***, toasted and roughly chopped
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

* I eyeballed and probably ended up using close to 1 1/2 teaspoons of Saigon Cinnamon.
** The original recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar which I find to be unnecessary. I used 1 1/2 though I imagine even 1 cup of sugar would be plenty.
*** I intentionally chopped my pecans somewhat unevenly. Some pieces were a bit larger while others were very fine. I appreciated this in the cake, which was super moist and tender, but had a nice toothsomeness to it.

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and generously butter and flour every crevice of a bundt pan.
2. Add the vanilla, eggs, oil and lemon juice to a large bowl and whisk well. Whisk in the salt, cinnamon and sugar.
3. In another bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Whisk it into the oil mixture.
4. Add the apple pieces and pecans, stirring with a spatula until thoroughly incorporated. Your batter will be VERY thick (your arms may get sore from stirring!).
5. Use a silicone spatula to transfer the batter to your prepared bundt pan, spreading it evenly.
6. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). Let the cake rest for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a plate or cake stand. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar just prior to serving.

Musical Pairings – Mac DeMarco – 2 + Delores’s Apple Cake (Southern Apple and Pecan Cake)

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Posted by Kasey

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Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • http://foodloveswriting.com/ Shanna

    Truly lovely. I feel so much excitement and anticipation for you guys and this new phase! I relate so much to what you wrote (we’re not pregnant and we get those reminders, so I can only imagine how much you’re getting them, ha!), especially to enjoying the just-the-two-of-you phase. Grateful that with every ending there is a beginning — feeling hopeful and joyful for you with the one about to come. : )

  • http://twitter.com/SLadenburger Stacy Ladenburger

    I love the phrase “flexible version of forever.” As your list of memories demonstrate, the good times we want to last are followed by more goodness, in a lovely, unending chain. I think you’re absolutely right that the core of what we want to last WILL, but its shape may bend and change, and that, too, can be beautiful. Also: may baby come soon!!

  • MJ

    What a beautiful and incredibly insightful post, Kasey. I often read TK and appreciate how well you seem to understand yourself, even in the moment. It usually takes me significant hindsight to gain that type of perspective, if ever. I have been fortunate in my life to have many of those moments that I wish would last forever, but am ultimately lucky that they don’t. After all, that next amazing moment would never have happened if the first didn’t end. Here’s to a new year of moments for both of us, amazing, unique, and fleeting.

  • http://twitter.com/cindyishungry cindy ensley

    I couldn’t have read this post at a better time, it speaks directly to the thoughts I’ve been having for the last 6 months. I LOVE life with my husband, just the two of us, especially since we have moved away from family and friends (for a job). We have become even closer, better friends–which I didn’t think was even possible. Kids have always been in the plans…but, I find myself thinking how different things will be whenever we start that parent journey. I’ll miss our life, right now, but you are right–it can’t last forever. I’m so grateful for this time, but I think maybe it will be time for the next step soon.

    So many happy wishes for you, your husband, and that sweet babe!

  • sara forte

    I can’t imagine what it feels like to be waiting for that baby! The nerves and excitement! I know the feeling you’re talking about. It always seems like now is just fine, but we don’t know how good change can be. This seems the perfect cake for company. Something sweet to sit around for snacking or to go with coffee. Yum. Thinking of you, friend.

  • Laura

    I am sort of scared of moving beyond the “just the two of us” thing that I have going with my man. It feels right! But your words are all good reminders that life ebbs and flows and what feels right moves along with that pretty swiftly.

    Also, so much anticipation for your sweet little gal! Cannot imagine that level of waiting. Pieces of delicious cake with tea are a good way to bide some time though :)) I’ve yet to foray into the world of apple cakes, but the pecans in this sound so dope! xo

  • http://twitter.com/kitchconfidante Liren Baker

    I loved this post, Kasey. It brought me back to that threshold of unknowns when I had my first, and while it’s true that there will be a time when you won’t be getting dressed up or going out, you will again, and there will be the progression to the new chapter in life. I used to get irritated with the veteran parents who would advise, etc., and looking back, I understand now why they felt compelled to do so :) But I love how you express that feeling of wanting these good moments to last forever. It reminds me of all the blessings in our lives! Like with that piece of cake, it may not last forever, but then it’s time to make more :)

  • http://londonbakes.blogspot.com Kathryn

    I love the idea of that ‘flexible kind of forever’; it exactly sums up how I feel about so many things at the moment and the realisation that sometimes you can have a strange kind of forever where everything is different and yet the same.

    Sending you guys lots of happy baby thoughts! xo

  • http://www.xobreakfast.com noelle

    Yes! “weird” is the perfect word for being in baby limbo! And things are going to get even weirder, I guess? (No cake?!) But the way you’ve been handling it, you’ve been setting such a good example for those of us who limbo-ing a little longer. Thank you for that.

  • http://www.aidamollenkamp.com Aida Mollenkamp

    What a beautiful post, Kasey, but I’ll be anxious to hear your thoughts on how your forever changes once the little one arrives. You guys will be in my thoughts these next few days!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you so much, Shanna. It’s understandable how much people want to share their experiences with you, but I find that some people doing it in a much gentler and friendlier way than others. I hope so much that I am one of those and not the others. And you’re so right – endings only indicate new beginnings. P.S. Your book is so, so lovely. I am so glad I finally got some downtime to read it! x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Stacy, it was great to run into you yesterday. Next time, let’s ‘plan’ a runin :) Sometimes I think if those good times lasted forever, they wouldn’t be so good anymore! Baby is still brewing- I appreciate your well wishes. I hope the rest of your birthday week is lovely.x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you so much for your really thoughtful comment, on this post and others – they’re very much appreciated! I’m glad it comes across as though I really understand myself in the moment. Truth be told, I’m not sure I’ve got it figured out as well as it might sound, but I do try hard to remind myself, when I get too in my head about things, that life need not be taken so seriously. It’s the accepting these truths and living them that I have a hard time with! Many cheers to a year of unique and fleeting moments! x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Cindy – I’m glad the post was timely for you. I can very much relate to where you’re coming from…after all, a part of me is still there (despite all this anticipation!). It’s definitely hard to envision what your life will be like when such a huge dynamic shifts, but it’s true that the perfect little lives we’ve created for ourselves can’t stay stagnant forever…and if we let them, we may miss out on some really amazing opportunities. Thank you so much for the well wishes, they are very much appreciated! x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Hi, friend! It’s that whole ‘why fix it if it ain’t broken’ approach. Your post about fear, and facing your fears, really resonated with me and I think these feelings are very much connected. If we don’t step out of our comfort zones, and proactively take the next step…well, we’d never make babies…and write books…and follow our dreams! Wish I could share a slice of apple cake and a cup of coffee with you. x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Laura, trust me, I was very much in disbelief when I found out and when it hit me that the ‘end,’ so to speak, was near. But, in many ways, life would be boring if we just kept on chugging the same way. I’ve been baking up a storm these days, trying to keep my mind and hands occupied. It feels like I’ve never waited for something so long in my life! And yes to apples and pecans – I bet you could put a deliciously healthy spin on this. x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you, Liren! It’s always so nice to hear from moms who are encouraging rather than discouraging. You certainly seem to find great balance between your passions for food and photography and being a mother. I’m sure once I become a mother I will understand more of this ‘strange parent speak’ as you say, but I do hope to retain some of my current perspective! Thank you for the lovely words. x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Kathryn, ohh I do know what you mean about everything being different yet the same. I think about the years I’ve lived in San Francisco and the places I visit, the people I spend time with. It’s funny how the seasons change, we change, the landscape changes, yet some things feel exactly the same (in the best kind of way!). Thank you for the warmth and support! x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Noelle, when are you due?! People kept asking me if pregnancy felt long and I have to say that the moment my doctor suggested the little one could arrive early was when time stopped and it feels like it’s been stopped ever since. I’m trying to enjoy this time (even though it’s a weird and hard time in a lot of ways) – limbo-ing is definitely the best way to describe it. I hope you are feeling well and excited for your arrival as well. Thank you so much for the sweet sentiments. x

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks, Aida! I know that, inevitably, this experience will shape my understanding of forever, and I’m ok with it, and look forward to sharing it with others. Thanks so much for the support – it’s very much appreciated! x

  • thyme (sarah)

    This is indeed a lovely post. I think you are one of those people who sees the glass always “half full” instead of “half empty”. That is a wonderful outlook. From your introspective nature and happy outlook on life so far, I think you will gracefully move into parenthood with just as much love, acceptance, and happiness. But, I do agree…pregnancy “is weird” and I wasn’t one of those who enjoyed every minute of it, either. Good luck to you and your husband. rileymadel.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/brooklynsupper Elizabeth Stark

    Oh, yes. There are so many things I’ve wanted to last forever, but it’s true–we need to grow, and get to the next thing. I’m thinking about you three so much these days, and empathize so much with the waiting during those last days of pregnancy. I can’t wait to hear all about your new adventures as parents, and am just so thrilled to meet whoever she is, whenever she’s good and ready. Take care!

  • Nicole

    This post is so beautiful. I definitely relate to being caught up in the romance of how things are. Sometimes I find it hard to balance the what’s next with loving where I am and what I have. I’ve been thinking lately about decisions I made out of fear without realizing it. Working on being more conscious of that, for sure. All the best, love! Can’t wait for baby Hickey!! xo

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you! I’m glad it sounds like I’m a glass half full person because I actually think I’m not always so optimistic…perhaps it’s when I sit down and write out my thoughts, I talk myself into the fact that the glass IS half full. I really appreciate the encouraging words and I can only hope I can move into parenthood gracefully. I can’t complain too much about the pregnancy but I can’t imagine why anyone loves it! Even if you get through it with relatively few side effects, it’s not ‘fun’ but I imagine holding that babe makes up for it all and makes you forget all your malaises :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Ahh, to be young and stupid again :) Jk. There are a million and one things I’ve wanted to last forever, but gosh, looking back, I’m so glad many of those things didn’t! Thank you so much for all of your love and support throughout this time! Funny to think when I saw you in New York, I had *just* found out I was expecting. It was hard not to blurt it out then, especially since you have such good perspective on parenthood. Can’t wait to share the experience with you! xo

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks so much, Nicole. It’s wonderful to be in love with the way things are but I do think when we get too comfortable, it’s easy to avoid pushing yourself into trying something new. And I know exactly what you mean about making decisions out of fear without realizing it – fear can be a good thing…and overcoming coming it can lead to great adventures. Thank you for all of the love and support! Can’t wait to introduce her to you. xo

  • http://www.ladomestique.com Jess O’Toole

    This post is so beautifully written, Kasey. I’ve always embraced the change in our lives and sometimes my friends don’t understand how I can just go with it, but usually it’s just as good if not better than I could imagine life to be. Life unfolds as it will and aren’t the surprises what keeps it interesting?

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks, Jess! People who are flexible and open to change are people who inspire. Know how to go with the flow, I’m sure, helps you navigate life much better than some of us worrywarts :) Thanks for the reminder to let things happen to us! x

  • http://www.xobreakfast.com noelle

    Kasey! I’m due the first week of March. You’re almost there, aren’t you? I hope when it happens that you have a happy birth day!

  • Stephanie

    I love this post. Soso good.

  • nadeinthekitchen

    thanks for the recipe! i made the cake today, but slightly changed it… first, i used olive oil and spelt flour. I used almonds instead of pecans, and the cakes was delicious!! Note: 15 minutes were waaaay to short, mine was in the oven for about 40 minutes! thanks anyway :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Awesome! Glad the substitutions worked well. Fyi, baking time is an hour and 15 mins, not 15 mins :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks, Steph!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mlewicki Michael Lewicki

    This bundt cake looks amazing. And this whole post. There have been countless moments in my life that I wanted to stop time to let it linger forever. Most have something to do with my wife. And if we`re blessed one day to grow our family I`m sure it will fall in the same category. Congratulations. I`m hope the feeling really does last forever!

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