Author Archives: withthegrains

About withthegrains

Blogging about whole grains, film grains, wood grains, words and wanderings.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread

November 2014

Do you need this recipe in your life?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread 01

Editing these photos made me crave this bread anew, so I argue yes. However, I am a reasonable person, and I understand you can’t please all people all the time. For the sake of busy holiday schedules, venturing through madhouse grocery stores, waiting in long-ass turkey lines and the constantly nagging fear of snowflake graphics on iPhone weather reports, I’ll help you expedite this decision making process for yourself. Proceed.

Do you even enjoy baking?
I hope so. I hope that’s why you’re here. If yes, continue!

Are you still craving pumpkin goodness?
If yes, continue!

Do you live your life by the philosophy “chocolate makes everything better?”
If yes, continue!

Do you enjoy a slice of something wholesome and sweet with your morning coffee and maybe a sliver for dessert?
If yes, continue!

Do you need to bake for a gathering or visiting guests?
If yes, continue!

Pumpkin Choc Chunk Bread 02

You made it!

As I mentioned before, pumpkin haters gonna hate, but I’m all about pumpkin, and I obviously live my life by the add-chocolate-make-better principle. As such an adamant disciple of said chocolate philosophy, I may have even gone a little overboard here, but when you bite into the dark chocolate chunks and the spiced pumpkin flavor, you’ll be floating in a lifesaver right along with me. This bread’s natural ingredients make it a wholesome breakfast choice, but it’s also sweet and cake-like enough to satisfy a dessert craving.

Pumpkin Choc Chunk 03

Lastly, this is a recipe that gives and gives and keeps too. Initially, I thought the batter would become two loaves, but it divided magically into three- a real Thanksgiving miracle! You’ll be able to keep a loaf for your own breakfast slices (and dessert bites) and still have plenty to share, which comes in handy this time of year.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread
Makes 3 loaves

Dry ingredients

3 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups organic cane sugar

Wet ingredients

15 oz canned organic pumpkin puree
4 whole eggs (organic, cage-free)
1 cup raw honey
1 cup olive oil
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups dark chocolate chunks, divided


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls.  Be sure to thoroughly mix both wet and dry separately before combining.

Add the dry to the wet in four stages, and stir until just barely combined, careful not to overmix.

Fold in 2 cups of the chocolate chunks.

Use olive oil or butter to grease three loaf pans. Line with parchment paper, and pour the batter evenly between the three.

Disburse remaining 1 cup of chocolate chunks over the surface of each loaf.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center (avoiding chocolate chunks) comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes.


You made it this far! I really hope you make it all the way to a sweet, chocolatey bite with your morning brew. Thanks for joining me!


Instagram Lately: What Do You Think?

November 2014

“What do you think?”

Sometimes the answer to that question can be a tough pill to swallow. I’m one who thrives off collaboration, and I seek critiques. I want to be better. I want my work to improve. I want to know what I am missing. However, when that feedback seems to undermine my thought process, it can sting a bit. This week stung a bit.

Bleak Skies

However, sometimes the lessons have to sting in order to shake us from moving too fast and redirect us. After feeling accused and defensive, I found new inspiration. I remembered why I open myself up to feedback in the first place.

Pinks Too

There’s still a little sting on the mend, but there are also bright pinks despite the bleak skies.

What do your Instagrams reveal lately?



p.s: You can follow all my Instagram adventures here.

Donut o’ the Month for JoJoTastic: Whole Wheat Cranberry Cake Donuts with Whiskey Cider Glaze

November 2014

As one who thrives on the adrenaline rush of working until the very last minute, I prefer the role of hostess in the production of Thanksgiving. This year, however, I feel like more of an understudy to an understudy. I’m not sure which part I’ll be playing, where I’ll be performing or what I’ll be eating.

November Donut o the Month

I’ve been in such a frenzy of projects, Thanksgiving had been hiding in the shadows of deadlines, and it very quickly sneaked up on me. Despite my lack of plans, I couldn’t let the Donut o’ the Month series pass November without a nod to the month’s star holiday.

November Donuts

This recipe draws inspiration from Thanksgiving’s cranberry sauce tradition, fall herb accents, mugs of hot cider, and the shot of whiskey you need when dad digresses into politics at the dinner table.

Cranberry Donuts 05

Check out my original November donut post and all the other fantastic content at JoJoTastic!

Whole Wheat Cranberry Sage Donuts with Whiskey Cider Glaze

makes about 12-15 standard sized donuts

4 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup organic raw cane sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest (~2 lemons)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped sage

1 cup organic whole milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten (organic/cage-free)

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (8 Tbs) organic, unsalted butter, melted

3 cups fresh organic cranberries

Organic, non-GMO Safflower oil for frying (about 1 quart)


In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, salt, zest and sage, whisking to combine.

In another bowl, combine egg, milk and vanilla extract, mixing together.

Add melted butter to the dry ingredients, quickly stirring to disperse the butter and form small crumbs.

Stir in milk and egg mixture, bring the dough together with a spoon.

Before it comes completely together, add in cranberries, mashing some as you stir, and bring dough together with your hands.

Form the dough into a large ball, then roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut donuts using a biscuit cutter. Use a smaller cutter to create the donut hole. Repeat with dough scraps until all the dough is used.

Heat oil in a large pot or deep fryer, bringing it to 375 degrees. Fry donuts 1-2 at a time, frying for about 1 1/2-2 minutes per side. After your first donut, check it by cutting into the center and making sure the dough is cooked. Finish remaining donuts, transferring to a cooling rack as you go. Once all the donuts are made, add the glaze.

Cider Whiskey Glaze


2 cups organic powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Hickory Finished Wigle Whiskey
1/4 cup apple cider

For the Glaze

Whisk ingredients together until a smooth glaze forms. If the glaze is too thin, add sugar a few tablespoons at a time, while whisking. if the glaze is too thick, add more water by one very small drop at a time, whisking constantly. Dip donuts in the glaze and set aside for the glaze to harden slightly. Note: You may need to make a second batch depending on the size of your donuts and your glaze preferences.


May your Thanksgiving morning be stress free and donut filled!

p.s: A bite of one of these donuts with a dollop of all natural pumpkin ice cream (and maybe a coffee on the side) is the stuff dreams are made of.

#TBT: Gobble Up The Turkey

November 2014

Do you have any Thanksgiving food responsibilities? Are you nervous about serving a new recipe? Feeling stressed? Allow me to offer a little advice…


Here are six ways to make sure sure your family gobbles up the turkey:

1. Do not serve gravy from a jar (or can!).
2. Do not serve gravy from a jar.
3. Do not serve gravy from a jar.
4. Do not serve gravy from a jar.
5. Do not serve gravy from a jar.
6. Do not serve gravy from a jar.

I might suggest copying that cranberry styling though. It’s so classy!


Here’s to a stress (and gravy jar) free holiday!

#TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) glimpse into the vintage visual feasts in my personal collection of food and entertaining books and magazines.

A Fall Lunch at Out of the Fire Cafe

October 2014

I once stood blissfully in the general store of an old mill. A friendly older couple regaled me with the history of the town, of the brewery where the man worked as a young brewmaster, and of the grains sold in the shop. I felt like I had stepped back in time until I asked for lunch recommendations. “There’s an Eat ‘n Park or a McDonalds if you get back on the main road.” You could hear my idealism deflating slowly and dramatically like a punctured party balloon.

Out of the Fire Cafe

Hence my excitement when a recent fall adventure, through the quiet, misty mountains, resulted in a unique eating opportunity as well. My friend and I had worked up an appetite touring Kentuck Knob, the mountain home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. About halfway between Kentuck Knob and home is Out of the Fire Cafe, a place I had often passed and had tucked away in my memory. This was the day at long last!

Out of the Fire Scallops

Sea Scallops with Butternut Squash Butter, Vanilla Emulsion and Crispy Pork

Family owned and operated, as well as a member of Slow Foods USA, Out of the Fire was just what the day demanded. We dined on seasonal flavors while taking in the view of the Laurel Highlands and a hillside of cows. Unlike my General Store anecdote, this time lunch completed the feeling of escaping the city.

Out of the Fire Cheeseburger

Grilled Cafe Burger on Brioche with Farmhouse Cheddar, Roasted Tomatoes, Charred Onion Jam , Arugula and French Fries.

Out of the Fire Cheeseburger Half

Out of the Fire view

If you’re planning a trip to Falling Water or Kentuck Knob or hiking in the highlands, I highly recommend incorporating Out of the Fire into your route.


Happy Wandering!

#TBT: Magnificent Muffins and Latte Moments

November 201

Professionally, I have one foot firmly planted in the world of editorial/retail, which means that foot is already planted in snow, knotted cords of Christmas lights, and perhaps stepping on a delicate ornament or two (hopefully not!). However, I am intentionally rooting my other foot in the festivities of fall, the crunching leaves underfoot, and the colorful swirls as those leaves hit the ground. In the spirit of savoring fall, this Throwback Thursday offers muffin inspiration, as well as the most romance one can possibly extract from a cream based, instant coffee beverage.

Magnificent Muffins

Thanks so much to my dear friend Anne, of this magical place, who filled my mailbox with a snail mail surprise to keep these #TBT posts coming! Stay tuned for more Thursday autumn magic.


Happy Fall!

#TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) glimpse into the vintage visual feasts in my personal collection of food and entertaining books.

Instagram Lately & Whole Wheat Pumpkin & Chocolate Swirl Bread

November 2014

This past weekend, moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief all swirled in me simultaneously. Amidst long to-do lists and last-minute rushing, I had to remind myself to be excited about a very thrilling new venture. Once I allowed that excitement to surpass my chaotic nearsightedness, it was like the floodgates released. I had to play It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia quotes in my head to balance the sappiness I was exuding. I couldn’t arrive to our preview with watery eyes!

Opening and Julep

With to-do lists and enthusiasm still swirling wildly inside me, I decided to escape everything and focus on my Julep. Before I knew it, my perfect fall afternoon was a tumble of dogs and human, with one aggressive dog’s jaw fixed firmly on my dog’s neck. These things happen with animals, and I couldn’t blame anyone, but I had a mini breakdown nonetheless. I had expected to see my Julep’s neck ripped open, and though she was still in one piece, my mind had already begun to reel with the worst case scenario. I felt helpless as I watched her in fear and pain, feelings prolonged by a cautionary vet visit. Shaved, injected and medicated, Julep is returning to her normal self, but talk about a reminder to squeeze the ones you love!

Swirl bread

I had reminded myself to be excited for the opening of 4121 MAIN, but in the case of the dog park, the universe had reminded me to cherish all those near and dear to me. Moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief will continue to swirl. That’s life, and those swirls are beyond my control. That doesn’t mean I can’t embrace life’s roller coaster in a wholesome and delicious way.

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread

Whole Wheat Pumpkin & Chocolate Swirl Bread
makes two loaves


4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 1/2 cups olive oil
4 large eggs (organic/cage-free)
3 cups (24 ounces) canned pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup pure cocoa powder
4 Tablespoons organic milk or heavy cream


Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease (butter or olive oil) and line two 8- by 4-inch loaf pans with parchment paper, allowing edges to overhang. Grease any remaining unlined part of the pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.

Whisk sugar, oil, pumpkin, eggs, pumpkin, and salt in a large bowl until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the batter, and then whisk until completely combined.

Spoon 2 cups batter into each pan.

Spoon 2 cups batter into measuring cup and reserve.

Whisk cocoa and milk into remaining batter, and then divide between the two pans.

Using a butter knife or small offset spatula, swirl the batter a few times, lifting pumpkin batter from the bottom. Then spoon reserved pumpkin batter over the top and swirl a few times more.

Bake until top is just set and skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 60 to 75 minutes.

Let cool in pan 45 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.


May your swirls be sweet and chocolaty!