How The Spunky Coconut Came to Be

Five and a half years ago we moved from Annapolis, Maryland to just outside Boulder, Colorado. We had no jobs waiting for us, and no family nearby. It was a total leap of faith. To pay for the move we sold one of our two cars, plus most of our furniture and belongings.

We moved into a teeny-tiny apartment. You can see the whole kitchen in this photo of Zoe. She is using the mixer on top of the stove because there was almost no counter space. I put up a bakers rack to hold my appliances, pots and pans.


Look at that smile on Zoe’s face. We were tickled to be here.

Ashley was so little! She had just turned three.

At the playground a new friend of mine pressured me to, “start a blog.” “A blog?” I said. “I don’t know how to do that.” “You can figure it out,” she said confidently. “You can put your recipes there.”

After several of these park days and my friend’s relentless pressuring, I set my mind to doing it. I got Andy to help me figure out a name for my blog. We were listening to the band Hot Chip while throwing out ideas for the name of the blog. “Hot Chip is a cool name. You should do something like that: an adjective plus a food noun,” Andy said. “I use a lot of coconut,” I told him. “It could be something ‘coconut’… What about ‘funky coconut’?” “No,” Andy said. “That sounds like it’s rotten.” “How about ‘spunky coconut’?” I said. “Yeah, I like that!” Andy agreed. And that’s how we got the name.

The first year I think I blogged a recipe every day …and no one knew. I didn’t know how to reach people, how to get readers. But gradually I started networking, and people began finding my blog.

Then one day Andy said, “Don’t you have enough recipes for a cookbook?” “A cookbook? I don’t know,” I said. We were still in our 800 square foot apartment, barely scraping by. “I guess so,” I told him.

We bought a little duplex, moved in, and published our first cookbook. Andy made new clients, and about a year later we published another cookbook. Then we had another baby, and then another cookbook, and still more clients. With every year our businesses grew a little more.

Ashley has had her ups and downs, but she’s doing awesome, and I never could have imagined that this would be our life (smiling as I say this). I get stressed once in a while, of course, but then I let it go. I know that everything is going to be okay. Why? I don’t know. It just will be :-)

This song pretty much sums up how I feel most of the time.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

♥, Kelly

P.S. Thanks so much to everyone who volunteered to test recipes for me! Sorry I haven’t emailed any of you yet—I’ve been busting a move to meet my first deadline. I will email many of you ASAP!


  1. Anonymous says

    Thank goodness you decided to do a blog. You have helped me so much and I have enjoyed your beautiful family. Even though we have never met I count you as my friend.

    And for everyone else out there if you haven’t figured it out yet, Kelly is a genius when it comes to allergy friendly cooking!

    Jenny L.

  2. says

    Way to go! I admire your fearlessness and determination. Your value of your family priorities is inspirational.

    I look forward to hearing about the recipe testers. As I expressed before, it would be a true privilege for me to be one of your recipe testers.

    God bless!

  3. says

    Kelly as someone who has been a fan of yours since 2009, I just want to thank you for taking a leap of faith. You inspired me to start my blog The Soulful Spoon and because of that, I found my true passion as well. I love your recipes and have to eat exactly how Ashley does. As a 28 year old that can be challenging. Thank you for your recipes. They have in essence, given me back my taste for food and life again. PS- Coconut has been my favorite food since birth practically lol:)

  4. says

    I’m so thrilled for your success, Kelly–SO well deserved! As everyone here has said, you’ve helped so many people with everything you put out into the world. And what an amazing world it is when you can do what you love, help people, and earn your living all at the same time! YAY for you! Your newest cookbook is going to SHINE. Kudos and big hugs! xoxo

  5. says

    Go you! Thanks for sharing your story, am sure it will inspire many people. I think it is all the small steps adding up that get you we here you want to go (even if you weren’t sure where that was when you started out).

    I also have a special request. Please, please, lease do an e-book version of your ice cream book. I’m on the opposite side of the planet to you and would much rather download it than ship it. Eventually I am sure I will cave and just ship it as it is on my list of things I lust after.

  6. says

    I JUST found your blog, and this post really moved me! My Hubby and I are about to make a pretty bold move so he can pursue is dream of being a musician and producer. Thanks for sharing your story and adding to my faith!

  7. says

    I’m soo glad that I found your blog!! I actually found it through against all grain’s Instagram!! I have ibd and have decided to go gluten and SCD free and your blog is a breath of fresh air!! I also started a blog to document my journey and recipes!! Thank you for sharing your story!! Very inspiring! :-)

  8. says

    I have so loved reading your blog since I first found you. I am curious … you used to share lots of recipes using beans but it now appears you have transitioned to a paleo emphasis. So have you eliminated beans from your family’s menu? If so is that working better healthwise?

  9. Jo says

    It’s so lovely to hear your story, and encouraging too! I often wonder about your life and how you got where you are. More of this please! The internet is too full of negativity.

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