Books, Boxes, Bread, and Babies

You know what’s not easy?

Dealing with mortgage lenders. Also, finding contractors who actually show up when they say they will to give you an estimate. And most of all, staying off Facebook when you have 101 opinions about the recent election that need expressing, but also a dozen different deadlines that need meeting.

You know what else isn’t easy? Blogging and moving houses at the same time. It’s kind of like patting your head and rubbing your belly. Only harder.

Regardless, now that Facebook is moving on from the “Trump versus Clinton” debate to the Gilmore Girls’ “Dean versus Jess versus Logan” debate (I’m an ABD girl: Anyone But Dean), the publishers and I have decided that maybe it’s time for us to start talking about the little project that kept me hopping all last spring…


The Catholic Table: Finding Joy Where Food and Faith Meet is here It’s bee-yoo-tee-ful! And it makes the perfect Christmas gift for anyone you know who likes to cook…or eat…or support the Help Emily and Chris Put Heat and Electricity in the Attic Where They’ll Be Living for the Next Four Months Fund.

Which should pretty much be anybody who has a stomach or a heart.

So, what’s behind the prettiest cover you’ll see all year?

The title should give you a clue. In the book, I talk about many of the things I talk about here, only in much greater depth: how food is a sign of God’s love, goodness, and generosity; the connection between our daily bread and the Eucharist; the need for fasting and the glory of feasting; what Sacred Scripture has to say about food; the nature of hospitality; how the virtues help us eat well and eat right; and what it means to eat with the Church.

I also talk quite a bit about my own struggles with anorexia and binge eating. I wasn’t planning on talking so much about that, but I found when it came to writing a book length treatise on food, I couldn’t separate my history from my theology and practice. So, my story—the roots and causes of my eating disorder and the process of my recovery— serve as the narrative thread that binds all the other topics together.

I was talking to one of the publishers the other day, and he described it as my conversion story. I guess, in a way, it is. Leave it to me to have a conversion story that revolves around food.

In addition to all that, there’s also all sorts of fun little bitsy stuff to break up the theology: saint stories, anecdotes, movie and cookbook recommendation, quotes from people smarter than me, and, best of all, recipes.

This is one of them: My Grandma Miller’s Pumpkin Bread.


A couple weeks back, right before I had surgery, we had my in-laws over for lunch. Because I am insane, I decided I needed to make and photograph a couple recipes from the book, while I was also preparing a meal for them, cleaning the house, and packing the kitchen. Then, the in-laws arrived half an hour early.

Don’t try this at home kids. It didn’t go well. There was definitely weeping and gnashing of teeth. (And maybe some cursing as well.)

Nevertheless, the bread still turned out. It’s missing the walnuts the recipe calls for (making it was a very last minute decision, and I had none on hand), but it’s still super tasty. Pro-tip: resist the urge to eat it straight out of the oven; it’s even tastier the next day. (Recipe below).

Over the next few weeks, while we relocate from our beautiful lovely home to a cold, dark attic, I’m going to try (emphasis on”TRY”) to both rub my belly and pat my head. There will be some book excerpts and more recipes (photographed on that fateful October day), plus pictures of the work we’re doing  on our new money pit in Crafton, PA.


(Yes, it’s big. Yes, it needs work. And yes, the picture is blurry…best I’ve got.)

In the meantime, Chris and I could use some prayers that all goes well with our closing and we’re actually able to get out of here on November 29, as planned. Prayers that no walls collapse or pipes explode would also be welcome.

Oh, and prayers for a (yet to to conceived, No this is not an announcement) Baby Chapman are also appreciated. During my surgery, our wonderful, wonderful NaPro Surgeon discovered that my fallopian tubes were obstructed by scar tissue from an old fibroid surgery back in 2009. Now that the pipes are open, he assures us the odds for a little redheaded tike are quite good. We would like to improve those odds even more, however, with the prayers of a couple thousand friends and strangers on the Internet. Thanks in advance for those.

Okay, I have a dozen deadlines that need meeting, 110 more boxes that need packing, and 8 gajillion mortgage forms in my inbox that need signing. And you need a pumpkin bread recipe!


Grandma Miller’s Pumpkin Bread
Makes: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes

Growing up, it wasn’t Thanksgiving or Christmas, without my Grandma Miller’s pumpkin bread. It still isn’t.


  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • .5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together; set aside.
  3. Mix eggs, sugar, oil, water, and pumpkin together.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
  5. Fold in nuts.
  6. Divide into greased pans and bake for 90 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Enjoy!


24 thoughts on “Books, Boxes, Bread, and Babies

  1. Andrea says:

    Hi, Emily! I’m looking forward to reading your new book. I found your website and writing through an internet search spurred by musings on the connection between theology of the body and my own eating disorder recovery. There isn’t a lot out there, unfortunately, as most of the TOB materials (in my experience and opinion) tend to focus on marriage and sex. But the connection makes perfect sense to me, and your book These Beautiful Bones has really helped me in recovery. Keep it up!

    • Emily says:

      That’s so good to hear, Andrea. I’ve had people look at me so strangely when I tell them how much the TOB helped me in my recovery. Being able to write more about here was a huge blessing. Hope you enjoy the book!

  2. Jaime says:

    That pumpkin bread looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it. Will be praying for you and your desire to conceive. I know the journey it can be as it took about 5 years for us to get our son who is now 4 and after 3 miscarriages since then we are now 14 weeks pregnant with a little one that’s due in May. Hopefully you’ll find yourself with some little ones to fill that cool house over the coming years!

  3. Kathleen Ready says:

    I’m glad the surgery went well and am praying for a healthy bundle of joy for you! Your new house looks like it had great bones. I’m sure you’ll make it beautiful. Also, thank you for your correct grammar. It was so refreshing to read that your deadlines “need meeting” and your boxes “need packing”, instead of “need met” and “need packed”. I hate that! Anyway. Go, fight,win!

  4. Rosemary says:

    Your book is next up on my to-read list, once I finish re-reading Silence! I should buy a few copies for gifts, too. 🙂 Glad your surgery went well, and I hope things go smoothly with your move!

  5. Ree Laughlin says:

    Missed you, glad you’re back! Blessings for a wonderful future and that your house doesn’t take twice as long as the contractors said it would.

  6. Lisa Desmond says:

    Is this the same house you said on FB was a duplex and a wreck? Because I am green with envy…I think it looks really lovely!!! Excited to see how you make it your own; I’m sure it will be beautiful. Many blessings for you!!

  7. Sara @ CatholicAgain says:

    Ah! I had just roasted a pie pumpkin and had gotten 2 cups (exactly!) out of it… but I was tired of holding it in the fridge so I hastily made muffins and pancakes out of it. Had I waited one more day, I could have tried this recipe instead! I guess I need to go get another pumpkin… 😉 Looking forward to reading your book!

  8. thewisershopper says:

    Wonderful news so happy for you. You NaPro doctor sounds like a miracle! I had to laugh when you wrote you forgot the walnuts; I also forgot the walnuts in my pumpkin bread a few weeks ago but I didn’t have an excuse, they were chopped and sitting right there! Can’t wait to look into your cookbook!

  9. Lauran says:

    I just made your pumpkin bread recipe with my little kids. Easy to make and delicious. thanks for sharing this gem. Gonna keep this one.

  10. Sue says:

    Just found this…will be praying to St.Gerard for your little ones. Perhaps the house will be the beginning. We bought our 100+ year old home (a few towns over) when we were just pregnant with #2 and we now have five blessings on earth and two in heaven. Construction prayers as well (what Saint is that?)

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