Dear Reader – (day 25) Will Paint for Coffee

Dear Reader

About a month ago, I did some commissioned artwork for my sister.

Nothing huge, but still.

“How can I pay you?” she texted. “PayPal? Check?”

“A Starbucks gift card” I replied.

She “lol”ed.

“I’m serious,” I typed. “Just email me a Starbucks gift card.”

My weakness for a Starbucks double tall latte rivals my weakness for pizza or childish candy. Thus – it makes no sense at all to call it a “weak“ness. The pull is STRONG and relentless, not weak. Psh. What do dictionary people know anyway.

The gift card makes me feel not-so-guilty that I’m hooked on ridiculously priced coffee.

I’m telling you. When this card runs out, I’m going to have serious Issues. (with a capital “I”).


Just tie a sign around my neck with red scribbled ink:

“Will paint for coffee.”

Because I will.

Dear Reader – (day 23) Someone Slap Me

Dear Reader

Friends, if I ever say to any of you again that I’m going to do ANYTHING every day for thirty days, SLAP ME.


I should know this by now.

Obviously, this writing every single day challenge is not exactly going well.

(Hello yesterday, and a few days before that, and several other days along the way. . . . )

I’m failing at it partly because I’m just too busy and partly because some days, I couldn’t come up with a cohesive paragraph if you told me you’d pay me with a lifetime supply of jellybeans. (Some of you think that sounds like one giant gag and a stomach ache. I don’t. It sounds weirdly heavenly to me. It might make me TRY to write, at least, with all the gusto of a girl who’s never met a jellybean she doesn’t like – which actually I have, but that wouldn’t stop me from writing like I never had.)

I have some ideas, it’s just a matter of finding the time to sit and pound them out.

Plus, I’m so SO far behind on real life things right now. Things like cleaning my house and making doctor’s appointments, making curtains for the bookshelf (yes, the bookshelf. . . ), science projects, a 32 page fiction book writing assignment for my KINDERGARTENER (Lord, help me! – I really mean writing, like she has to write and illustrate ONE. WHOLE. BOOK.), and (hopefully!) wrapping up Christmas shopping for anyone who doesn’t live under this little roof.

I’ll tell you something else I’ve learned (again) through this challenge. There’s really only time (and not even really enough time, at that) in my life for one extra thing. I haven’t been able to do any art as I’ve been writing this last month, and that, my friends, leaves a sad and empty hole in my heart.

So, I’m going to sign off now – because although the little people have been good-naturedly playing Battleship up till now, I hear the winds shifting.

Now is not my time to be clicking away at the computer keyboard. Most likely it’s my time to school Short Stuff in my supreme maritime board game ways (one hundred percent joking).

Dear Reader – (day 20) On Pumpkin Spice and Body Image

Dear Readerpumpkin spice toast

This is my pumpkin spice cheater indulgence.

What I really want is one of those big fat pumpkin struessel muffins from Costco. The ones that hover around 340 calories in one fell swoop.

But instead, I’m opting for sprouted grain toast with pumpkin spice cream cheese spread – 110 calories, if I spread 3 teaspoons of cream cheese just so.

I know cream cheese isn’t the cleanest thing I can be eating, but it’s better than that whole dang muffin, and the toast gives me a little fiber and protein. Healthy stuff.

This whole calorie counting/ food swap inner discussion with myself took me to a whole new train of thought.

Body image.

Sometimes I need to convince myself that watching my calorie intake is actually worth the sacrifice.

I like food, and unfortunately, I have a very specific weakness for junk food.

I wish I didn’t, but I do.

The thing is, I’m a small person. And I think when I say I’m watching what I eat, or I count calories, or I’m working out to lose a few pounds, this might seem ridiculous to some people.

And this is where body image comes in.

When I look in the mirror, or try on clothes, I don’t usually see all the good parts. My eyes skim over everything and then zero in on the one part of my body that I particularly loathe.

My stomach.

I try to be ok with it. I try to tell myself its beautiful, and it’s ok that it bumps out over my pants, because if I didn’t have that tummy – that “blubby belly” or “doughnut dough” as my kids call it (because, unfortunately I said it first) – it would mean I never carried my four kids through 9 months of pregnancy. The wrinkles and blubber are battle scars of sorts, badges of honor. Something I should choose to be content with.

I tell myself this, I really do try to internalize it and make it truth for my heart, but I can’t convince myself of it.

I think most of us suffer insecurities about our bodies, and when we tell others exactly what they are, we look at each other like the other is crazy. We don’t necessarily see flaws in other people, just ourselves.

Last spring, my mom came to visit.

While she was here, my husband and I had a dressy event to attend, and I chose to wear a bright orange eyelet lace summer dress I had bought at Goodwill for $6. I paired it with gold snake-skin Guess heels (from Ross) that glimmered with a hint of aqua, and coordinated with aqua and gold jewelry.

I was nervous about this get-up. It was from Goodwill. Could people tell it was from Goodwill? Was the orange too much? Was I kidding myself that the whole ensemble was cute?

My mom complimented me on the way out the door – said I looked beautiful or something to that extent – I honestly don’t remember her exact words. I thanked her, but I remember wondering if I really did.

When we arrived at the dinner, two people complimented the dress – said they loved the color – and instead of taking these compliments at face value, I blushed a little and wondered if they really thought that or if inside they were really thinking it was godawful and someone ought to insist on acting as my fashion consultant, like maybe they were snickering on the inside that I was so unfashionably out of the loop.

Months later, Mom had a conversation with my sister. She recalled that night and that dress, and told my sister that I looked “stunning”. A couple of times she said it, and framed it in other compliments.

When my sister told me this story and I told her how I had been feeling that night – that I questioned every compliment and shrunk a little wondering if everyone was being genuine – and I confided in her that the majority of the time I feel like a fashion failure, we both ended up chuckling at how differently we all view ourselves from what other people see.

And this brings me back to my own body image and the struggle to get my brain in the right place.

I remember reading Shauna Niequist’s words in Bread and Wine,

“I want to be the kind of person who makes peace with her body. Also, I want to fit into my pants. Not size two pants. Not Barbie pants. Just, you know, very average-sized jeans from the GAP. I want to live with peace and confidence, without deprivation and shame, and while I’m being honest, I want to retire the maternity yoga pants that, unfortunately, I’m still wearing because they’re the only ones that fit.  I don’t want to live by rules and regulations, but I also don’t want to be ruled by my appetites.”

I remember reading that and thinking, “Yes! Me too!” I want my clothes to fit, and I don’t want to be ruled by regulations OR my appetites.

It’s a constant struggle – trying to find honest love and acceptance for this imperfect body that’s mine yet still enjoy food (because I do so love food from one end of the spectrum to the other) within reasonable limits.

I don’t have any answers, really, but I guess maybe sprouted grain toast with pumpkin spice cream cheese spread is part of it.

Maybe that is a move in the right direction – trying to keep myself in the realm of health + decadence and not overdoing it.

Then, there’s got to be a way to teach myself that this body is good and right regardless of the flaws I see. That, my friends, is (I think) the harder lesson of the two.


Dear Reader – (day 18) Complete Randomness

Dear Reader

Dear Reader –

I have absolutely no idea what to write today.

So maybe I’ll be utterly off the cuff and random – like one of those “right now” lists that circulate through Facebook.

Right now I’m sitting at my kitchen table, still in my workout clothes from three hours ago. I worked on a couple of paintings, but I’m feeling stumped there too – which is why I switched to writing. Pfff.

I’m listening to Imagine Dragons, and currently I’m drinking a glass of room temperature water but I really want coffee. Preferably Starbucks. I have an addiction. It’s bad.

I’m thinking I probably should eat, and noticing I’m not really hungry, which tells me I only want to eat because both writing and painting are frustrating me at the moment.

Usually, when I get stumped creatively, I head over to and watch a video to get me going. . . but then I feel like my finished products look too much like the work of the artist whose teaching. Which is ok, I guess, as long as I keep doing and doing and doing the different kinds of art I’m learning until they morph enough to be my own.

I have a half-finished menu plan (for the week) on the table, even though it’s already, um, Thursday?

I thought I had to run to the grocery store today, but I’m avoiding that too. Once I realized I have everything I need for dinner tonight, I scratched that errand off my list. Although, it’s starting to sound attractive now that I can’t kick my brain into creative gear.

No. I’m going to do it.

I am.

I can’t write today, but I’ll force something creative out in ink or paint, dang it!

Until tomorrow, friends. When hopefully I’m a little more interesting.

Oh – and PS – this is what I WISH we were having for dinner. Because they were Good with a capital ‘G’. Parm-Style Chicken Sliders by Cooking Light. (Photo cred goes to them too.)

Parm-Style Chicken Sliders Recipe

Dear Reader – (day 17) Solidarity

Dear Reader

It occurred to me that when, a few days ago, I referred to my “small group” this was probably a foreign term to some readers.

A “small group” in the context I was using it, refers to a small group of people (in our case women) from our church who meet on a weekly basis to study and grow.

I griped a little about the study we are doing now – Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community, but I do believe I tossed the possibility into cyberspace that I was hopeful it might improve, that I wasn’t sure if I was going to dislike the study all the way through.

Today I can admit, I like it much better.

One issue that was eating away at me in the beginning – a focus primarily on serving within your own little faith circle – was rubbing me entirely against the grain. I didn’t want to devote the next 40 days of study concentrating my efforts on serving others specifically according to which church they attend or according to whether they attend church at all.

Thankfully, that’s not the gist of the study.

You see, my panties were all in a bunch, because I don’t believe in spreading love categorically.

I don’t believe in sharing love conditionally.

I don’t believe in choosing “worthy enough” or marking off check-boxes.

I do believe we are asked to love, period.

No conditions, no strings attached.

I don’t get to judge whether someone is deserving of love, because, quite simply – no matter how many times I might be tempted to ask that question – “Is he deserving? Is she deserving?” – Every single time, the answer is going to be yes.

About a month ago, I started reading Tattoos on The Heart, by Gregory Boyle – a Catholic Jesuit priest who’s devoted his life to working with gang members in the ghettos of Los Angeles.

At first, I didn’t think I’d like this book. Something about Boyle’s writing style didn’t jive with my personal taste. A few meager pages in however, my mind was completely changed.

The stories he shares are heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, insightful, and full of respect for the individuals about whom he writes. His storytelling – his humor, his acuity, his desperate and unflinching love for these people to whom he’s entirely devoted his life, is nothing short of a stunning inspiration.

The particular copy of the book I am reading is from the library. If it was mine – if I owned it – I would have highlighted more than half the book.

There is a section I cannot seem to move beyond this week. It’s long, but I’m going to share it anyway:

Sr. Elaine Roulette, the founder of My Mother’s House in New York, was asked, “How do you work with the poor?” She answered, “You don’t. You share your life with the poor.” It’s as basic as crying together. It is about “casting your lot” before it ever becomes about “changing their lot.”

Success and failure, ultimately, have little to do with living the gospel. Jesus just stood with the outcasts until they were welcomed or until he was crucified – whichever came first.

The American poet Jack Gilbert writes, “The pregnant heart is driven to hopes that are the wrong size for this world.” The strategy and stance of Jesus was consistent in that it was always out of step with the world. Jesus defied all the categories upon which the world insisted: good-evil, success-failure, pure-impure.  Surely, He was an equal-opportunity “pisser-offer” in this regard. The right wing would stare at Him and question where He chose to stand. They hated that He aligned Himself with the unclean, those outside — those folks you ought neither to touch nor be near. He hobnobbed with the leper, shared table fellowship with the sinner, and rendered Himself ritually impure in the process.  They found it offensive that, to boot, Jesus had no regard for their wedge issues, their constitutional amendments or their culture wars.

The Left was equally annoyed. They wanted to see the ten-point plan, the revolution in high gear, the toppling of sinful social structures.  They were impatient with His brand of solidarity. They wanted to see Him taking the right stand on issues, not just standing in the right place.

But Jesus just stood with the outcast. The Left screamed: “Don’t just stand there, do something.” And the Right maintained: “Don’t stand with those folks at all.” Both sides, seeing Jesus as the wrong size for this world, came to their own reasons for wanting Him dead. Both sides were equally impressed as He unrolled the scroll and spoke of “good news to the poor”. . . “sight to the blind”. . . “liberty to captives.” Yet only a handful of verses later, they want to throw Jesus over a cliff.

How do we get the world to change anyway? Dorothy Day asked critically: “Where were the saints to try and change the social order? Not just minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery.” Dorothy Day is a hero of mine, but I disagree with her here. You actually abolish slavery by accompanying the slave.  We don’t strategize our way out of slavery, we solidarize, if you will, our way toward its demise. We stand in solidarity with the slave, and by so doing, we diminish slavery’s ability to stand. By casting our lot with the gang member, we hasten the demise of demonizing.  All Jesus asks is, “Where are you standing?” And after chilling defeat and soul-numbing failure, He asks again, “Are you still standing there?” – Gregory Boyle, Tattoos On The Heart

This passage has given me countless moments of pause since I first read it.

I think we can insert any of us into “the poor”. Certainly, yes – the literal poor. I don’t want his message lost here. The marginalized, those on the streets and in the ghettos, those who fight every day just for survival. Yes, the literal poor. But, I think, we can take these words and apply them no matter where we live or who we encounter on a daily basis.

You love someone by standing with them, unflinchingly. Over and over and over again, whether or not they disappoint you. Whether or not they are showing “improvement” by our book. Whether or not they are making healthy choices, whether or not they are doing what “they are supposed to do” by our standards.*

We are not called to judge, we are called to love.

I want to be aware of where I’m standing. I don’t want to be standing on the Right and shouting that whoever is not like me or doesn’t live up to some specific standard ought not be associated with, and I don’t want to be standing off to the Left spouting hot air that someone ought to change this or that or the other thing.

I don’t want to be shallow wind and stinging judgement.

I want to stand there in solidarity with Jesus and the person who’s right in front of me. Because I need Love and solidarity just as much as they do.

When I look around me, I want so stop seeing differences and entertaining criticisms in my head. I want to look into the face of the stranger across from me and know that they are just like me, regardless of where they are from or where they are headed.

I want to stand rock solid, in the same place, dependable and unflinching, over and over and over again without fail and regardless of outcome.

Not much was requested of us. Just love.

It’s one simple word.


*Dear Reader, I want to be sure to say here, that I am not in any way saying that if you are in a dangerous or abusive relationship that you should stick it out for the sake of love. If you are in an abusive or violent relationship, please seek professional counseling and intervention.

Dear Reader (day 15): A continuation of the letter to the mother I used to be (part 2)

Dear Reader

In continuation from the other day:

Dear fresh, young me,

I’m telling you now – 15 years later – appreciate it fully. Notice the peace of life as a newlywed couple with only one Little Nugget running around. Breathe in deeply the simplicity of one schedule, ONE SCHEDULE, by which you abide. Savor those long naps with your babe and the 7pm bedtimes that leave your nights free to be a grown up couple, because you’ll have more kids and you’ll have roughly 26 more years to go of raising people, and there will be times you’ll have to work to remember this same brand of joy.

You’ll get buried under laundry, you’ll do endless loads of dishes, you’ll do grades kindergarten through fourth four more times besides your own, until you release these kids to do the whole school thing alone. You’ll hope you can stop repeating elementary around 4th grade, but be careful how much you let go, because letting go too much is not good either. Of course, there is a book about exactly how to do this in exactly the right way and you will never make a mistake ever.

That’s a lie. You won’t know exactly how to do any of it. There is no book with step-by-step instructions, and the best you can do is your best. Try your darndest and don’t ever quit. Throwing in the towel is the only 100% wrong thing you can do here.

There will be times when it all feels so pointless. You’ll feel like your entire existence is picking up other people’s’ socks and dishes and broken things. You’ll feel sometimes like your life doesn’t even belong to you. And you’ll get upset about it.

You’ll have to do some work when this funk starts to pull you under. You’ll have to look at what is sucking you down and do your best to alleviate it. You might have to ask for help, or you might need to take an overnight trip with your husband, or you might need to study or create or build something new that goes hand in hand with your big picture, because you need to know you’re growing too. You need to feel yourself BECOMING as a mother and as an individual.

You’ll need friends. Good, solid friends who stick with you through thick and thin. Don’t ever shirk this piece of advice. You need them, and they’ll need you, and together you hold each other up. There is nothing like the soul deep friendship of a best friend to pull you out from under the garbage heap and pep-talk you back into loving the life you lead.

Eventually, you’ll realize your life does belong to you and it matters immensely. Even though you don’t always see it, your work is the most important (listen to your husband here. He tells you this but you don’t always take it to heart. He is right, Dear. Let it sink in.)

It is. IT IS.

I can’t say this to you enough. Your work matters. And one day, you’ll see this and you’ll actually feel it deep down in the very purest part of you. You’ll know it’s true.

Every time you look into those little people eyes, every time you hug, every time you sit and harass about homework, every meal you prepare, every time you put down your thing to pick up theirs, you are showing them they are loved. They are valuable, they matter. You are forming people who understand love and respect. You are growing, cultivating, training good and loving people to send out into the world.


To be continued (again). . . .

Dear Reader – (Days 13 and 14) – On Going Analog

Dear Reader

Dear Readers,

I’m taking the weekend off.

I don’t know if this makes me a slacker or a woman who’s just grown into knowing what she needs, and in turn, decides to respect herself.

I hope it’s the latter.

I’m spending today and tomorrow analog. No more screen time for me. I’ve been feeling buzzy and angsty at the ends of my days, and I suspect it might be because of how connected I’ve been to the Internets.

Some people can stay firmly attached to the www without repercussion, but I can’t. It’s not in my nature.

So while I’m away, I’ll direct you to a few articles or people who might strike your fancy:

Check out Austin Kleone if you’re looking for art or writing inspiration. He’s a creative based in Austin, Texas, and he just published a journal to go along with his book, Steal Like an Artist. I wanted to choose just one link from his page, but I just couldn’t do it – there’s too much good stuff over there. Here’s a video to whet your whistle.

And, perhaps, head over to Design Sponge. I couldn’t get over the simplicity and on-pointness (notaword) of this article: (How to) Get Over Comparing Yourself to Other Creatives

And speaking of comparing – through the Write31Days Challenge, I came across Alison Wren. Her entire thirty-one days are based on just that – overcoming the comparison trap. Make a cup of tea, and take a few minutes to see what she’s put together.

And, if you’re feeling “bake-y”, might I suggest this single crust apple tart that’s easy enough for a weeknight? I’m salivating all over again, and I’m ready to try it.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Dear Reader – (day 12) – A Letter to the Mom I Used to Be (in parts.)

Dear Reader,

I guess I’m into letters right now.


Dear Sweet Young Me,

You’re freshly into your twenties, freshly into marriage, and freshly into motherhood.

I see so much in you that reminds me of me.

Oh, wait.

Anyway, I was like you once. Gah!

Ok, this is the thing. I can see right through you, because I was you, and I know you.

I so envy and admire your intense love for being a mom. You’re so good at it, for real. You live and breathe for this gig, and that’s awesome. I see that in you, and you make me want to be a better mom these days.

Being with that little guy, cooking with him, reading to him, playing match box cars ad nauseam, undertaking that ridiculous plan to teach him to read at the ripe old age of three. . . those things feed you, and it’s beautiful.

But I have to let you in on something.

Stop trying so hard.

You are a great mommy. You love that little guy to pieces. You’ll love the next two little guys and one more girl to pieces too.

Just be you.

You don’t even have Pinterest yet, but if you did, you’d be all over it, and you’d surely stress yourself out staying up till 3am crafting a solar system made from meatballs and 18 types of spaghetti (or some other equally senseless project).

Right now you have Family Fun Magazine, and Parenting, and Martha Stewart Living, and it thrills you to be able to craft from those articles, to see what you can accomplish with your own two hands and your simple will to create.

But there’s something else in there too.

There’s neediness. There’s insecurity. There’s striving.

You don’t need to do those things. You don’t need to try so hard.

You make me cringe a little, when I look back and see you carrying in your tray on pre-k snack day. I see your gussied up grapes and homemade Chex mix in individual little cups, and I want to pat your little brown head and tell you, “Just stop trying so damn hard. You are a great mom. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone.” And I know what you’d do. You’d smile politely, blush a little bit, and keep right on striving. Because you don’t believe it yet, that just being you is enough. It’s coming though. Really. The day you stop trying so hard and you see that the world doesn’t stop turning. Buildings don’t fall in on themselves. The earth doesn’t even shake, for cripes sake. Everything just keeps humming along, and all your favorite people still love you. In fact, some of your favorite people might even love you a little bit more for just being regular old, not-trying-so-hard, you.


To be continued. . .

Dear Reader – (day 11): A goodbye letter to my jeans

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Today, I invite you to join with me in saying a sentimental goodbye to my beloved pair of jeans who finally became way too hole-y to wear in public or around my children.

Dear Jeans,

You were the best.

I remember the first day you came into my life. You were too long. You were hand-me-downs. You were a little too tight for my muffin top. But you know? There was just something about your stubborn characteristics that I loved from the get-go. I knew we’d do well together.

There was something about the way you came into my life – suddenly, and cheaply – (For free, even!) that gave me permission to cut you to size. I lopped you off at exactly 29″ with nary a care in the world. Your frayed hem gave us character, and we were proud. We were boho.

Your willingness to let me just be who I was, to not care, to mold you into who I needed you to be? Well, that just made us a rock-solid duo. Your stubbornness waned, and you became so selfless – giving me just the fit I needed without a single thread of resistance.

We did everything together. Probably too much, in fact. I’m not sure you were the best choice for the Honor Roll Awards ceremony at the kids’ school. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have worn you out to lunch at that 4-star restaurant, but I just loved you so much I didn’t care what people thought. Certainly not enough to leave you behind.

I wore you in the summer and the winter. In fact, I wore you in negative 5 degrees F. I just layered underneath and let my thermal leggings show through. That was super cool and ultra stylish.

I’ve never been a fashionista, but with all these hole-y jeans trending? You and me baby – we were top-notch.

But my dear, sweet Jeans, I think I was a little too hard on you. Your knees split open to gaping proportions. Both of them. And our thighs started to wear through. The thighs! (Dear Reader – have you ever worn through the THIGHS of your jeans??) I thought this might still be passible as apropos because, we do in fact, live in Miami. But. . . .

Then the fanny started to wear through. And though all this thin material felt heavenly in our high and humid temperatures, and I so appreciated your willingness to accommodate, I questioned whether I should still be wearing you out and about. Thus, I relegated you to “painting attire” only.

Well, just because I paint doesn’t mean I never needed to go out. I still needed to make a quick run to get milk, or go pick up the kids, and it was only going to be quick, so why should I have changed? So I didn’t. Of course I took you with me.

Then, the other day, my butt ripped clean through. Fanny hanging out. Sweet Mother of Pearl, I’m glad we were in the privacy of our own home.

I just want you to know this, Dear Jeans: we did so much together. We loved, hugged, scolded, shopped, dropped, cooked, and cleaned. We held babies together, we taught kiddos how to ride bikes, we re-learned our times tables for the fourth time together. We’ve been through the most of tragic traumas and the greatest of joys together. We’ve even been through a 10 lb weight swing over the years.

You’ve been dear and good jeans to me. You’ve been a steady and strong force in my life.

I wish that you could have stayed around longer.

I wish you could have met my grandchildren right along with me. Oh! The stories we could have told. . . .

But alas, it’s time for us to say goodbye. There is something so disconcerting about discarding you in the trash bin. I’ve wondered if I could transform you into a purse, or perhaps a snuggie. But no. Your threads are too thin. This is the end of the road for us.

It’s OK. I forgive you for moving on. You were so, so good to me, and I know I’ll never, ever, find another pair of jeans like you. Ever.

And I just want you to know: I loved you like no other article of clothing I’ve ever worn or will ever lay hands on again, and I’ll always have a precious little spot carved out in my heart for you.

So long, sweet friend.


Dear Reader – (day 10) Super Health-ified Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread A 550

Hey! It’s a food day! Yay!

In case you didn’t deduce so much from the title, it’s pumpkin bread – with the fat and sugar dialed down, and the whole grains and protein dialed up.

We’ve got just the eensiest bit of butter in there (by baking standards, anyway), and instead of processed sugar we’re using real maple syrup and molasses (because rumor has it that, as far as sugars go, these two are the healthiest).

So now we can bypass all that godforsaken, processed-pumpkin-everything looming on coffee shop pastry shelves and grocery store convenience isles.

If you’re craving fall in a breakfast/afternoon snack/dessert, I suggest you try this.

The icing is optional, of course, and made with real powdered sugar. There was no way to modify that one and enjoy even remotely similar results. The bread’s perfectly tasty without it – so whether or not you top it with icing is all about how decadent you want to be. And, if you happen to be a gluten-free eater, check the notes section. Something tells me this would work quite well with gluten-free flour too.

Dear Reader – (Day 10) Super Health-ified Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread

This quick bread could easily be made gluten free, simply by replacing the white and whole wheat flours with equal amounts of gluten free flour. I used glass loaf pans with this batch, and it worked well. I'm sure, however, that metal will do the trick too. A special note - because there is so little white flour in the recipe, the bread won't plump up as high as a regular quick bread might, but I assure you - even though it comes out fairly flat, and the slices end up rectangular, your pumpkin-loving heart won't be dissappointed!


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or ground rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup plain, 2%fat greek yogurt
  • For the icing
  • about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons half and half


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line two 9"x5" loaf pans with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine white flour, wheat flour, oat flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Stir to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine maple syrup, molasses, butter, eggs, and vanilla. MIx until incorporated. Butter will not mix in completely. It's ok.

Add half the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Fold until evenly mixed.

Add in pumpkin and greek yogurt. Mix again until incorporated.

Add in remaining dry mixture and fold until just mixed.

Pour half of the mixture into each loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. Test with a toothpick.When it's inserted into the middle of a loaf and comes out with just a few cakey crumbs it's done.

Allow to cool on wire racks, in the loaf pans for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from loaf pans and carefully remove parchment paper. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

For the Icing -

You really can eye-ball this one. Add your powdered sugar to a small bowl, then add small amounts of half and half, stirring well each time with a fork or whisk, until you reach the consistency you like. Voila!


Adapted by Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are, from