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

Back to the blog – Part II, {Plus Zucchini Pound Cake!}

zucchini pound cake

We’ve got cake!

Far overdue, in my humble opinion, because this baby arrived in my kitchen back in May, it just never made it to the posting stage, because, well, you know – life.

As I type, I’m actually a little concerned I won’t be able to find my little notepaper where I scribbled my itsy bitsy changes. The bottom line is, it’s a Joy The Baker recipe, and there’s really never a need to change any of her cakes. Or doughnuts. Or pumpkin scones. They’re pretty much perfect. The girl knows her sugar/butter/egg combos. The only reason I changed anything at all had much, much more to do with what I had on hand than it had to do with necessity to alter anything. (If you love to bake and haven’t bought either Joy the Baker Cookbook yet, you probably should. At least one. Right now.)

But before we get to the recipe (just scroll to the bottom if you’re too antsy to wait!), I’ll finish the catch-up game:

Food? I spent nearly all of my internet trips back here revisiting old recipes – like shredded beef sandwiches, burritos, and roasted chicken. I also repeatedly searched for my Chimichurri recipe – which I now realize I need to post – because it’s not here. Posts I’m sure need to happen at some point? Buttermilk Biscuits, Chimichurri (I like redundency. I like redundency. (That’s a joke. Clearly.)), Asian chicken lettuce wraps, Sauteed corn with lime and cilantro and a delightful Mexican cheese whose name eludes me at this particular moment, and a dreamy fried french toast we had this morning. . . .

Art?  Why do I feel like such a poser when I write about this? I feel like an imposter trying to be an artist. It’s been so long since I’ve been fully immersed in it – 16 years, actually.  I feel genuine satisfaction in creating again, yet, at the same time I feel such anxiety over what people might think of me and the  crappy (< that’s the mean voice in my head) art I’m making. I’ve partially trained, yes, but not totally. I’m learning as I go all over again. There is a huge shame factor I’m going to need to overcome if I’m going to progress at all. I enjoy making art; it brings me peace. I feel at the same time like I know it, but I still have so incredibly much to learn. I love the way I feel when I make it, and I want to work on projects for hours and hours and hours. Until I make something I hate and then I crash and burn and loathe it all and want to crumple it up and thwack it into the trash can. No, not really, (kind-of really) but there is a true and real depression to sludge through when I can’t make something work. In fact, I currently hate this painting:

unfinished abstract

And I was dissappointed by this outcome.

rock sketchbook


They were just practice. The painting is unfinished, and well, there’s no reason I can’t still work on the sketch. #worksinprogress.  I’m trying to find what’s mine by trying out what I see elsewhere, by taking classes, by experimenting to see what feels good to me. What comes naturally? What is satisfying? What makes me feel happy when I’m finished with it? What do I want to know how to do that I don’t know how to do? What is it that feeds me and brings me the most joy and in turn will feed others and bring them joy too? I’m still searching. . . . I imagine it’s a long, long journey that never really ends.

Speaking of never ending . . . ramble!

Enough about all this. Let’s make cake and we’ll finish catching up when our mouths are full of confection.

Part III coming next. . . .

Zucchini Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese (& Sour Cream) Frosting

This cake is delicious, homey, and like Joy describes, almost grandmotherly. You really don't even need the frosting if you feel like skipping that step. The original recipe is divine. I only changed this because 1) I always feel the need to substitute whole wheat flour when I can, and 2) poor planning meant I ran out of cream cheese and had to substitute sour cream in the frosting - however - it still turned out to be an incredible crowd pleaser. So, enjoy it either way. You can find the original recipe in Joy's book, the Joy the Baker Cookbook, 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.


    For the Cake:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • For the Frosting:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream (plus 1 more, if necessary for texture)
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (plus more, if needed for texture)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


For the Cake:

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside. (Grease well! Make sure there is no spot left un-buttered, or it will spell doom for your cake!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition, then add vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the melted butter and increase speed to medium-high to beat until velvety smooth, about 3 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture, all at once, to the mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the zucchini, and incorporate the rest of the flour. The batter will be thick, not pourable.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When completely cool, frost the entire cake with frosting, recipe below.

For the Frosting:

Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese for about 1 minute, ensuring that it is soft and pliable. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the softened butter to the bowl. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Add in 2 tablespoons of the sour cream and mix again until well combined and smooth.. Add dark brown sugar to the cream cheese mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla.Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all the powdered sugar has disappeared and mixture is velvety soft. If the frosting is too firm, add a couple teaspoons of sour cream to soften it up. If it appears too wet, add more powdered sugar by the tablespoon until you reach your desired consistency. Remember, it will firm up some once it is refrigerated. Use immediately by spreading over cake.

Store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook, by Sara|Home is Where the Cookies Are


Raspberry Lemonade Bars + Random Things. . .

raspberry lemonade bars

I have a bit of writer’s block right now. Or blogger’s block.

I can’t seem to motivate to write about. . . hmmm.  Anything.

I sat here today (actually last Wednesday), wondering, “If I could write about anything right now, what would it be?”

And it was all so random.

Continue reading

Caramel Apple Dark Cherry Crisp

Caramel Apple Dark Cherry Crisp

Look at this, Guys.

It’s a miracle: a seasonal dish, ON. TIME.

I know! Who kidnapped me and replaced me with an organized, punctual imposter?!

I’m still trying to figure it out too.

Meanwhile though, let’s talk Crisp.

As in crisp that’s perfect for backyard barbeques. As in July 4th barbecues. As in crisps that feature summer cherries and good ol’ Granny Smith apples for a hearty dose of Americana dessert on this, our American holiday.

Crisps are easy. They’re all the goodness of pie, without the hassle of crust.

So, when you’re considering what you want to be nibbling as the sunset turns to night sky and the crickets start to chirp and you’re all anticipating the first firework, give this recipe staunch consideration.

It’s star-spangled yum.

Ooo. And make sure to serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – because even if you don’t like ice cream (*ahem*) there’s no better way to eat warm, subtly caramel crisp than with a scoop of melting sweet cream.Caramel Apple Dark Cherry Crisp

By the way – there should be a recipe category called, “Paleo, But You’d Never Know It”.

Because this is, but you wouldn’t.

And also? It’s gluten free.

If you’re not proponent of butter in your Paleo dishes – you can swap it out for coconut oil – although, I make no promises about how that will bode for the caramel element of the filling. Best of luck, and let me know. 😉

Caramel Apple Dark Cherry Crisp

Yield: about 8


    For the Crisp topping:
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons (light colored) maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons really cold butter, cut into cubes
  • For the Fruit filling:
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 cups diced Granny Smith apple
  • 2 cups pitted and halved dark red cherries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 5 tablespoons light colored maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crisp:

In a medium sized bowl, combine the pecans, almond flour, almonds, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. stir with a fork to combine. Add in maple syrup and stir again. Crumble will stick together in clumps. Work cold butter in with fingers. Pinch it into the crumbs as evenly as you can, but some butter-chunks will remain. That's OK. When finished, put crumble in the fridge until ready to use.

For the filling:

Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt as the skillet heats.

In a medium bowl, toss together diced apple, cherries, lemon zest, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, and salt. Toss to combine. Add in maple syrup and toss again. Add all ingredients to butter in the hot skillet. Cook until a thick, caramel sauce forms, stirring constantly (this will only take a couple minutes depending on the temp of your skillet. Continue to cook and until apples are crisp-tender ( about 3 - 5 more minutes). Remove from heat. Remove crisp topping from the fridge and use fingers to crumble it over the top of the fruit/caramel mixture as evenly as possible. Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the edges are bubbly and the crisp topping is golden brown.


Sara| Home is Where the Cookies Are

Easy Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies

Easy Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies

This, right here, is my split (food)personality showing up for you on bright, shiny display.

Do I want to be healthy? Yes.

Do I sometimes follow a Paleo regimen? Sometimes, but not so much lately.

Do I bake cookies? Yes. Almost all times.

Is sugar bad for you? *Ahem*.

I guess. . . if you want to get all scientific-y and high-and-mighty truthful about it.

Am I exercising and counting calories and trying to shed the most sticky, annoying 4 pounds on earth? Yes.

Sometimes, does a girl just want a freakin’ cookie?!

That was a rhetorical question.

Because, of course.

Just like everyone else this time of year, we’ve been on the superbusy train.

I don’t have time for intricate, hours long recipes for my high-calorie, non-healthy sweet fix.

For one day, I didn’t care, and these cookies are what came of it.

Small, soft in the middle, crispy on the edges, and a cinch to make – just mix, sugar dip, and drop on a tray.

No refrigeration, smooshing down, or fork-tine stamping required.

If you make them small enough (36 cookies per batch), my rough calculations are that they are about 90-100 calories each.

And I’m just going to throw this out there because it IS summertime and all – these would make ideal sandwich sides for a middle smoosh of Moose-Tracks ice cream. (I know – coming from the girl who doesn’t like ice cream. But can anyone really turn down Moose Tracks? I probably could, actually, but you know – would anyone else? Would you? Now I really want to know. Club Moose Tracks or not?? Ok, but even as I write this, I’m thinking, if someone handed me a peanut butter sugar cookie/Moose Tracks ice cream sandwich, I’d for sure eat it.)

It’s like window shopping for the junk-food deprived, folks. I’ve been dreaming in high-fat, calorie dense sweets lately.Easy Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies

Aaaaaand, we’re headed into summer with a wham-bang start!

PS – Do you guys have a summer bucket list??

What are you going to do for the next 10 weeks?

I want to know – ’cause I might steal your ideas so we can keep this house clicking at a nice happy tic.

Easy Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Total Time: 24 minutes

Yield: 36 cookies

1 cookie


These cookies are quick and simple, and for that reason, I abandoned the traditional baking order of mixing dry ingredients in a different bowl beforehand. Here, you mix everything in one bowl, starting with wet and ending with dry. The only additional bowl you'll need is a small one - for dipping the dough in granulated sugar before you bake. **A note on measuring your flour: For this recipe, I went with the stir, scoop, level method. This means you'll stir and fluff your flour with a fork while it's still in your storage container. Then use a spoon to lightly add it to your measuring cup, then level off the top with the flat side of a butter knife. If you want to eliminate the spooning step, you can gently scoop up your flour in a quarter-cup measuring cup (being careful to scoop lightly and not pack the flour into the measuring cup), then level it with the flat side of the knife.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup crunchy, natural peanut butter ( I used Jif Natural)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (table salt would work too)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar (for dipping)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer, add butter and peanut butter. Cream together. Add sugar and cream again.

Add in vanilla and egg. Cream together.

Add in baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup all purpose flour and mix just until incorporated. Add in 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour and mix until incorporated.

Scoop dough by heaping teaspoons, dip or roll in granulated sugar, and place on parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees F, for 7-10 minutes, or until bottom edges are just turning golden.


Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are

One Dough, Twelve Ways

One Dough, Twelve Ways: A versatile drop sugar cookie dough. Make one recipe and dress it a dozen different ways!

What happens when you discover a cookie dough that works as both chocolate chip cookie dough and the best sugar cookie dough ever? (Sugar cookie lovers, Pin this one!)

You make it about once a week, that’s what happens.

Then you start sticking all kinds of accessories on top of the naked dough balls – candied orange bits, salted nuts, white chocolate chunks, leftover peppermints from Christmas (Hey – don’t judge – I bet you have some too. . . .), purple and pink star sprinkles. . . .

And on top of all that kooky fiddling, you realize the dough chills perfectly well rolled up into a nifty little log that can be sliced, topped, and baked any time you darn well please. Continue reading

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Cookies


Snickerdoodle cupcake cookies, bite size cookies in cupcake form, filled with delicious spiced buttercream frosting.Urgh.

I keep writing, deleting. Writing, deleting.



I just can’t seem to pull something together.

Mostly, I think, it’s because there is an ongoing skirmish simmering low inside me.

It’s all about Christmas, and no matter how much I want to ignore it, I can’t deny that there are two sides to this story – and they both are hunting down prime real estate in my heart. Continue reading