Comfort Choc-ful Pumpkin Loaf + Nutty Quinoa Pancakes

Recipes for Choc-ful Pumpkin Loaf + Nutty Quinoa pancakes follow this entry.

I’ve been writing this post since Thursday. I first began working on the content for this post (in my mind and through baking) on Tuesday. It is amazing how much has changed since then and how also this post has changed.

Originally I’d named this post Double Delights: Choc-ful Pumpkin Loaf and Nutty Quinoa Pancakes. It is still true that both recipes are delightful. They’re perfect for fall weather -rich in cinnamon and brown sugar. With the addition of chocolate chips in the loaf and a drizzle of maple syrup on the pancakes they’re also a sweet tooth’s delight. The post was to be a light-hearted recipe adaptation- a celebration of fall.

And then I realized that these recipes are both a comfort and a stress to me; they are both gift and albatross.

Here I need to note that this blog has varied throughout the year thus far of writing it. I began Dangerous Opportunity to talk about my experience with unemployment. I have done some of that. Early in this process I also began writing about my Friday afternoons baking challah, reflecting on Self and learning religion. This practice helped me cope with unemployment. Shabbat was my ballast in the rough sea of the week. Since those early posts on Shabbat and challah-making, this blog has morphed to include more recipes and my thoughts and experiences in baking and cooking. There have also been rogue entries- those in which I simply blog about what’s going on now- whether feelings or experiences.

At first glance, it appears as if this blog has no theme. And yet, it has. Dangerous Opportunity is a blog about unemployment and re-employment. It is a blog about religion. It is a blog about baking and cooking. It is a blog about learning. It is a blog about being re-introduced to oneself. It is a blog about coping. It is a blog about taking those next steps, as scary as they are, and finding a new and different path.

During these past 9 months of un- and under-employment I have tried to live out the idea of “dangerous opportunity”. I made a decision to explore other career paths- to give up the “should” and try on “what if”. This crisis has led me to work in a bakery, walk and train dogs, teach college classes, and come to the realization that higher ed is where I need to be.

Additionally, after years of owning “stoic” and “under-emotional”, I have taken steps to listen to myself, understand my feelings and respond to my needs. I’ve tried on being an “achiever” instead of an “overachiever”; I’m still working on that. Through religion and my love of Judaism, I’ve worked to find and make quiet space through ritual (mostly challah, reflection, service and prayer). I made the decision to lose a few coping habits- namely alcohol, overwork, and non-feeling- and find new practices. Baking, recipe-adapting, and blogging are part of those practices.

I still have work to do. The recipes I make are comfort-ful. Their ingredients make my tongue and my belly happy: butter, sugar, chocolate, honey, maple syrup, pecans, walnuts, jam. Yet, these same ingredients form recipes that I am still learning to appreciate without falling into an old coping habit of replacing feelings with food. As a recovering bulimic, I usually leave my body/food/exercise/bulimia posts for my second blog- A Big Lass- and yet I find that work overlapping here. I have shied away from bringing “food stuff” (emotional eating, food as comfort, etc) into this space- thinking it to be a separate issue. And yet, I now realize that reclaiming food, reclaiming baking and cooking, learning to listen to my feelings and learning to eat food while understanding my feelings, is its own dangerous opportunity.

I cannot continue this change process without self-care. I must bake. I must reflect. I must write. I must eat. Yet, I cannot create and write about food without talking about how I feel about food. And so, I open Dangerous Opportunity to redefinition. As I wrote in my original “About” page:

The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two symbols which translate to the English phrase “dangerous opportunity”. I find myself in that time of dangerous opportunity- newly unemployed and considering my next path.

This time is a dangerous opportunity. A time for exploration. For consideration. For movement.

And I’m going to write about it.

So here we are.

To this “About” I make an adaptation:

The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two symbols which translate to the English phrase “dangerous opportunity”. I began this blog to help me cope with a change in my life- unemployment and the ensuing crisis that came thereafter. After nine months of unemployment I realize that, while not all of life is crisis, life at its essence is a dangerous opportunity.

Life is the process of uncovering dichotomies, exploring celebrations and redefining challenges. Life is Process. Consideration. Movement. Change.

And I’m writing about it.


This week’s blog post was supposed to be about the joy of baking and the joy of fall. In part, it still is. I am joyed that I could make the following recipes. And, I am overjoyed that in baking this week I learned that I have work to do. My work is of compassion. It is of owning my need to bake and my need to eat. It is understanding that when faced with feelings and crisis- a new job on the horizon, a fear of reverting back to “overachiever”, an ill loved one and impending loss, and an ongoing wrestle with body shame and bulimia- that I may revert back to eating a cake with a fork right out of the pan. I may eat an entire Ritter Bar. I may crave chocolate. I may have quinoa pancakes for breakfast and dinner. And yet, it is embracing myself afterwards, owning that I am a work in progress and that my life is a dangerous opportunity for me to explore and celebrate.

Choc-ful Pumpkin Loaf


  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Baking cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine almond milk and outs in a separate dish; allow to soak for 30 minutes
  3. Whisk dry ingredients (pastry flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt) in a large glass bowl.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour the pumpkin, oats and milk, applesauce and oil in the well. Mix until just combined.
  6. Add in walnuts and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
  7. Spray glass loaf dish with cooking spray and then pour in batter.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50mins
  9. Enjoy 🙂
  10. Note: When this cake first pops out of the oven it’s rather crumbly but is so *very* good when first warm: take a fork, take a bite, and savor the taste.

Nutty Quinoa Pancakes


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1  tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup  unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans, broken into large pieces


  • Whisk flour, cinnamon, and baking powder in a medium glass bowl until ingredients.
  • Add quinoa. Whisk until quinoa is coated with flour mixture.
  • Add brown sugar. Whisk until combined.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients.
  • Add canola oil, almond milk and vanilla. Mix until just combined.
  • Add pecans and mix until just combined.
  • Heat up your griddle or cast iron skillet, lightly greased.
  • Scoop approx. 1/4 batter per pancake.
  • Cook and enjoy!
  • Note: These pancakes are dense, which is how I like my nutty pancakes 🙂 However, if you like a fluffier pancake, take the flour down to 1/2 cup.

Yield: 6-8 pancakes

Adapted from Upsidedownia 


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