For the Love of Brunch | Peaches and Scones

Peaches and Scones Nathan and I have a slight obsession with brunch. Like, for real … we even had a brunch wedding reception! Thanks to my brother, who also enjoys that glorious mid-morning meal, we're slowly eating our way through his list of the best Cleveland brunches. My mouth is watering just thinking about pancakes and omelets! We're not opposed to making our own brunches either, and we've racked up quite a few awesome recipes that make the perfect Saturday morning meal.

It's all about the little things, right? Well, these sugared scones I'm about to share with you are little, but they are big in the delicious factor. They're not too sweet, which makes them OK for breakfast, but they're sweet enough that you want to jump out of bed for the treat. I made them recently as the base of a peach shortcake (just add ice cream! Or vanilla bean whipped cream as they're shown here). Also delicious. The best part is that you probably have all these ingredients in your cupboard already. What are you waiting for?

Sugared Scones with Peaches (via Everyday Occasions) (makes 12) 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 1 T baking powder 1/2 t sea salt 12 T cold, unsalted butter, diced 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 cup cold heavy cream 1 t vanilla egg yolk course sanding sugar (I used Penzey's vanilla sugar)

In a mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low until the butter is mixed in and is the size of peas. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, whipping cream and vanilla with a fork. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the cream and egg mixture. Turn off the mixer once added.

Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Divide into two. Add some flour onto the top of the dough then pat it out into two disks, about 6 inches in diameter. Cut the disks into six pieces like a pie.

Separate the pieces and put them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush on a little bit of a beaten egg yolk, then top with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (I had to go longer than this, but I took them out as soon as they were golden brown on top.)

Let scones cool and top with freshly cut peaches mixed with a little sugar and lemon juice. Enjoy!

Peaches and scones

A Garden + My Favorite Summer Recipe

Summer Corn and Tomato Pasta Giveaway update: Congratulations to Jessica Waskin and Crystal Welsh for winning the pairs of tickets to Cleveland Magazine's Silver Spoon Awards party (winners were chosen using! I'll be putting the tickets in the mail today! :)

This year, with a little help from our neighbor, we have a garden! One of the few things I remember from the first open house we did at this house was our now-neighbor cleaning up her garden as we checked out the backyard. I remember thinking, "I've always wanted to live somewhere where people have gardens." And here we are.

Our neighbor was gracious enough to let us use her garden this year, and we've planted all kinds of things: spinach, green beans, peppers. My favorite of all, however, is the basil. I love fresh basil. I could bottle up that sweet, earthy smell and wear it as perfume (maybe). I could eat basil in anything. In just a week we've already gone through all of the basil leaves on our plant. Looks like we should have bought five more!

Summer Corn and Tomato Pasta

One of my favorite summer recipes calls for lots of fresh basil (surprise). It's my favorite for that reason, but also because the first time I had it I was celebrating being reunited with my four college roommates not long after we had graduated. We were all moving around my little kitchen at my first real grown-up house in Cincinnati, enjoying each other's company after months away (which probably seemed like years because we spent every day of senior year together). I think Leah found this recipe (she's the foodie of the group), maybe from Real Simple, and every time I eat it, it takes me back to that night.

Summer Corn and Tomato Pasta

Summer Corn and Tomato Pasta 1 pound bowtie pasta 2 tablespoons EVOO 2 garlic cloves, smashed 1 pint cherry tomatoes 3 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off (or 8-16 ounces of frozen) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces Parmesan for topping

Cook pasta al dente, and boil the corn. In the meantime, heat EVOO over medium heat. Add garlic and tomato. Cook about 5 minutes, until tomatoes are soft. Stir in corn and raise the heat, about 5 more minutes. Add the mix, butter, and basil to cooked pasta and toss to coat. Top with fresh parmesan.

Goodreads | Bread & Wine

I'm not a foodie. At all (unless you count having a severe sweet tooth as being a dessert foodie. Like right now? I'm dreaming of frozen yogurt with lots of hot fudge). Sometimes I'll act the part. You know, like taking lots of Instagram pictures of what I'm eating at such-and-such restaurant. But that's mostly because I like the colors or the artistic display on the plate, not really because I want to brag about what I'm eating. In all actuality, I'm quite boring. I eat when I'm hungry and I stop when I'm not. It's not a bad problem to have, but I always feel a little inadequate in today's food-loving culture. Despite all of this, when Shauna Niequist posted on her blog about giving away advanced copies of her new book, Bread & Wine, a compilation of recipes and stories about "finding community and life around the table," I was all about it. Sure, I might not qualify as a food lover, but I do love bringing family and friends together and I definitely identify with Shauna Niequist's writing. From the moment I finished Cold Tangerines, her first book, I knew I would read all her books. (That's a not-so-subtle plug. You should probably go pick up one or all three of her books this week!)

Shauna Niequist_Bread & Wine

When I read anything Shauna Niequist has written, I feel like I'm sitting down to coffee with an old friend. Her writing style is casual yet smart, honest, rich and God-filled. Bread & Wine didn't disappoint. Throughout the book I found myself—my non-foodie self—recalling moments where food, and more specifically the presence of food on a table surrounded by people that are important to me, meant something more than just quickly nourishing my body. Like the first lunch I had in Luxembourg with my host family or the hodgepodge dinners my college roommates and I would throw together or holiday meals around my grandparent's table.

Shauna helped me see that it's not about the food necessarily, although that's an important ingredient, but it's really about what the food does or helps us do around a table (or even a proverbial table).

"We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for."

This idea inspires me. It inspires me to cook more. To invite family and friends over more. To celebrate life more. If you are in need of nourishment for your body, mind and soul, I encourage you to pick up Bread & Wine.


I wasn't kidding about being inspired. I decided I was going to cook dinner a couple times last week, and one of those meals came straight from Bread & Wine. Shauna's O, The Oprah Magazine-adapted Mar-a-Lago turkey burgers seemed the perfect fit for our healthy-eating attempt, and we loved them. They were moist, a little sweet, and had a lot of unexpected flavor. It was a lot of chopping and preparing, but I took the time to do it and it was a nice break from staring at the computer screen.

Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burgers (makes 12 burgers) 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced Olive oil 4 pounds ground turkey breast 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon black pepper 2 teaspoons Tabasco (we left this out) Juice of 1 lemon 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped 1/4 cup mango chutney (we used mango salsa instead)

Special Sauce 1/2 cup chutney (salsa) 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup ketchup 2 dashes Tabasco, or to taste (we left this out)

Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in olive oil until tender. Let cool.

Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items and the remaining ingredients. Shape into 12 burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Shauna Niequist_Bread & Wine

Something Sweet

Cleveland Photographer I've always had a sweet tooth. (My first word was "more" after all. I couldn't get enough!) Give me a choice between salty and sweet and I'm always going to go sweet. Nathan's the same way, so we don't usually keep dessert in the house or it would be gone in record time.

This weekend, however, we had company, and I decided we should actually have some cookies. And I knew just the ones I'd make: my mom's signature brown sugar cookies with caramel icing. Mmmm ... they're SO good. Dense in just the right way and the caramel is so deliciously rich. I knew I needed to share the recipe with you all!

Brown Sugar Cookies 2 cups brown sugar 1 cup shortening (margarine) 1 cup milk 2 teaspoons baking powder 4 cups flour 2 eggs 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla

Caramel Icing 1/2 cup butter 1/4 cup milk 1 cup brown sugar, packed 1 3/4-2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream together brown sugar and shortening. Add eggs and continue beating. Add milk, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla. Slowly add four cups of flour. Drop from spoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake. While cookies are baking, make the icing.

Melt butter in 8-inch skillet; add brown sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add milk and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat well with spoon after each addition until thick enough to spread. Ice and enjoy!

You're gonna love these cookies! :)

Cleveland Photographer