What’s for Dessert? Peach Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits

Today, we bring you part three of our collaboration series with food stylist, Mary Valentinfood10 food12Peach Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits

With all the apple recipes this time of year, we chose this gluten free, hearty peach cobbler dessert as a delicious alternative! For the crust of the cobbler, we used a recipe from the latest, most up-to date book on gluten free baking.food11

1 cup cornmeal 
1 cup gluten free flour blend
1/3 cup sugar
about 3 tablespoons sugar (separate)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼ inch pieces
¾ cup buttermilk, chilled (yes, it has to be buttermilk)
4# ripe but firm peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into ½  inch slices
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of cinnamon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Adjust oven rack to center of oven and preheat oven to 375°.  Pulse cornmeal, flour blend, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda and ½ teaspoon of salt together in food processor until combined.  Scatter chilled butter over the top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  It will have a few larger lumps.
  • Transfer mixture to a large bowl, add buttermilk and stir with a fork until dough gathers into moist clumps.  Using a greased ¼ cup measured scoop, scoop out and drop 8 mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about an inch apart. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon (or more, if you like) of sugar and bake until biscuits are lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Combine peaches, 1/3 cup of sugar, ginger, cinnamon and pinch of salt together in Dutch oven, or large cast iron skillet.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat until peaches have softened and released their juices, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Wisk lemon juice and cornstarch together in a bowl, then stir into peaches and continue to cook, uncovered, until liquid has thickened, 2 to 5 more minutes.  Season with extra sugar to taste.  
  • To serve, arrange biscuits on top of peach mixture and bake until heated through 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve immediately with some melty ice cream.


Peach cobbler recipe by Mary Valentin.
Photography and  styling by Heather Day.

Read full feature and interview of Mary Valentin here.

Weekly Dose : Subtleties

It’s not until you take the time to notice little subtleties that you stop to appreciate them. Whether it’s visual details such as the subtle nodes of blush, the frothy texture on the surface of a drink or small crumbs out of focus appearing as sparkles of light — or the way an ever so slight movement during a stretch in yoga makes you feel — take note of these subtleties and your humbleness of life will grow.

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All images found via Pinterest.

Photos curated by Sara Chars.

Playlist : Let It Go

Music has always been a stress relieving, meditative outlet for me. I usually find meanings in songs which I interpret in my own way. Often this shifts my perspective on life to that of something more purposeful and in the end, positive. If you’re a close friend of mine, you’ll know I get really into certain songs and listen to them on repeat because it’s sort of meditative in a way.

Naturally, I enjoy seeing artists perform live. My favorite concerts are small performance venues as they are much more intimate and moving. I recently saw Jose Gonzalez at the Cedar Cultural Center. I had never been there before but know many that would say this is their favorite venue in Minneapolis. It was an exceptional concert in a great space. I could even feel the vibe of the crowd – mellow and so appreciative of good music.


Below is a playlist I have been working on the past few months. It’s a great mix of songs that I have found a personal connection to and have helped serve as an outlet to release whatever I need to let go.



Image from The Every Girl

♫ Music curated by Sara Chars.

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy

There’s nothing wrong with a little visual candy to get us through the rest of the week.

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch

This photo says so much. It’s capturing my favorite color and creates a beautiful abstract silhouette with the Pantone square.

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch

This Raspberry Sorbet is next on my list to try.

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch

I have a major art crush on Bobbie Burgers paintings. Who would’ve thought that flowers could be so visceral?

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch

This Juan Luis Fernandez piece would be such a great companion to her painting.

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch

Love this simple table setting with the large moody photograph. Photo by Even Wilson.

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch

I’ve also been enjoying the work of Caio Fonseca

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch

I’m a sucker for large enough text that makes the numbers appear like abstract shapes.

Weekly Dose : Eye Candy | Taupe & Birch A neutral workspace leaves room for an open minded and creative thought process.

Content curated by Heather Day for Taupe & Birch.

Erin Mitchell : Virtual Prism

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share a sneak peak of what to expect at Erin Mitchell‘s first solo show in San Francisco : Virtual Prism. Her work has come a long way since we spoke last June.

Erin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & Birch

Mitchell’s studio was chalk-full of shiny materials. The light was shining bright into the studio during my visit and it was pure magic. Her materials reflected pops of color from paint cans to the art on the walls. The process is clearly seamless and she has nothing to hide. The new work is raw and confident in it’s presence. Here’s what Mitchell had to share with us:

It’s great to reconnect with Taupe & Birch as I finalize everything for my first solo show in San Francisco! It’s funny just how much can change in a year. Since the last time we spoke, my work has continued to develop by leaps and bounds, which is really exciting. I’m continuing to unravel my core interests and explore the ways I can best use materials to reflect what’s around me.

Erin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & BirchErin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & Birch

For my forthcoming solo show, Virtual Prism, which opens May 1st at Hang Art Gallery, expect a lot of new surfaces and raw materials. I’ve been working on everything from solar film to mirrored Mylar to acrylic plastic to holographic surfaces. These works come out of exploration of interfaces, physical and conceptual windows, and the superficiality of internet culture. I’ve become really fascinated by the role of the screen (smart phones, computers, TV) as a contemporary viewfinder, and this series of work focuses more on that lens and its boundaries, which we look through to see the content we’re searching for.

Erin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & BirchErin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & Birch

This body of work also subtly plays with ideas of internet aesthetics, and the flatness of contemporary culture, where images stand in for actual ideas or experiences. More and more, the representation or image of something proceeds its reality. Easily digestible viral content and memes reign supreme. Our short attention spans have been trained to glom onto the next quick, shiny thing. In this way, the online places we create become a reflection of us as well.

Erin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & BirchErin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & BirchErin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & BirchI’m at an exciting place in my work. I’m spending more time in the studio now, and I’m really able to dedicate serious time to my craft. I’m still growing each step of the way, but have been really lucky to have the time and space to devote to taking creative risks and exploring new territory. I’m looking forward to continuing to make and share my work, and it’s thrilling to engage in the dialogue around what I’m making.

Erin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & BirchErin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & BirchErin Mitchell : Virtual Prism | Taupe & Birch

Here’s a link to our interview from last June. Virtual Prism opens at Hang Art in San Francisco on Friday, May 1, 2015. A reception will be held on Thursday, May 7th from 6-8pm.

Homemade Donuts with Amanda Frederickson

Homemade Donuts | Taupe & BirchLast month, I visited Amanda Frederickson for a fun afternoon in the kitchen. We were calling it a collaboration but let’s be honest – Amanda made everything while I took some photos and sampled the frosting.

I got to know Amanda through the lifestyle blog, Sacramento Street and through Instagram. She’s a professional chef for the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen and a food stylist for her personal blog, A life Well Lived.

Homemade Donuts | Taupe & Birch

You can find the full recipe for the donuts on Epicurious.

Vanilla Glaze:

  1. 2 cups of powdered sugar
  2. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  3. 3 Tbs water

Combine sugar, vanilla extract and water. Stir well and dip donuts into glaze.

Homemade Donuts | Taupe & Birch
Homemade Donuts | Taupe & Birch
Homemade Donuts | Taupe & BirchHomemade Donuts | Taupe & BirchHomemade Donuts | Taupe & Birch
Donuts by Amanda Frederickson | Photos By Heather Day for Taupe & Birch.

Weekly Dose : Growth

Growth can be incredibly transformative to who you are if you open yourself to it. I read an article recently that women often struggle with contentment in their 20s and are happiest around age 33-35 where their careers and relationships tend to be more stable and they are more comfortable with who they are. Here are a few ways that I have been trying to personally grow and connect with my inner self.

Grab coffee with someone new. Find someone who inspires you, who changes your perspective on life if only for a instant to give you a different outlook, and reach out to them. You never know where the conversation will lead and the more connections you build, the stronger your network.

Image found on April & May.


Make a new recipe. I always find it stress-relieving and a great way to unwind after a long day to make a new, simple recipe. A lot of times it’s hard to turn my brain off, even when I am physically exhausted. By following a recipe, I am focusing on measurements, smell, feel, taste – reawakening all of my senses that have been idle all day.

Farmers market season is here which means you can stock up on local fruits and veggies. This recipe for Baked Vegetable Chips is both quick and healthy and great to take as a snack throughout a busy work week.


Meet international people or study a foreign language. This is one of the most satisfying ways to lift my mood because it leaves me feeling incredibly inspired. There is so much life out there – never limit yourself to one way of seeing and experiencing the world.

Image found on Noe Blog.

unnamed-1Let your intuition take its own direction freely and organically. Be open to new opportunities even if it’s not what you initially planned on or if it’s not the path you thought you would be on. You may be surprised where it takes you.

Image found on Domaine.

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Post by Sara Chars.

SBG Designs

We sat down with Sara Beth Goldfine of SBG Designs, located in the North Loop Warehouse District of Minneapolis, to get the details on her line of timeless adornments, how it all began and the exciting plans of a fresh new look rolling out this fall.SGB Designs | Sara Chars

How did you first get into jewelry making and what ultimately inspired you to start SBG Designs?

As a little girl, I loved to take apart my moms jewelry and see what kind of creations I could come up with.  My tools included her nail scissors and eyebrow tweezers.  I had NO idea what I was doing, but I figured out how to put a piece together by taking other pieces apart.  Fast forward to my senior year of college at the University of Kansas… I was in the Fine Arts School getting my degree in Textile Design.  After taking a couple of Jewelry Design classes as electives, I fell in love again with jewelry design and started selling my work at local boutiques in Lawrence, Kansas as well as my home town of Minneapolis.  I was so inspired by the positive response to my collections that I decided to incorporate my business during my senior year and see where it took me.  A year later I was in Los Angeles launching my brand and seeing my jewelry on the cover of magazines.  It was the most amazing feeling!  I spent 6 years building my brand in Los Angeles before moving back to my stomping grounds.  The love and support I have received from my customers and the community is what keeps me inspired every day.

SGB Designs | Sara Chars

What is a typical work day like for you?

There really isn’t a typical work day… During the week, I have set responsibilities: completing special orders, replenishing inventory, responding to emails, etc.  Every day is so different.  Some days will be booked with appointments (customers stopping into the showroom) and other days consist of meetings outside of the showroom, photo shoots, Trunk Shows and Pop-Up Shops.  We also do a lot of traveling to cities like Chicago, New York, Florida and Los Angeles where we meet with our retailers and set up private showings and Pop-Up Shops.

SGB Designs | Sara CharsSGB Designs | Sara Chars

Do you have a particular style? How was this style inspired?

My personal style changes depending on my mood.  Most days I like to dress in oversized flowing tops and layer on the Boho necklaces with a stacked mixture of delicate bracelets.  If I’m going to a Black Tie event, I like to go with a Vintage or Hollywood Glam look:  Either pile on the Allure Bracelets and pair them with Goddess earrings or start with a Statement necklace or Glam Paisley and compliment the look with a Glam bracelet.

SGB Designs | Sara Chars

How long has SBG Designs been around and where can we find these gems?

Since 2004!  Available on our website (sbgdesigns.com) as well as the following places:

Minneapolis Boutiques

  • A La Mode Boutique and Nail Spa
  • Arafina
  • Flutter
  • Indulge & Bloom
  • Primrose Park
  • MinQ
  • Three Rooms
  • SBG Designs Showroom


  • Denim Lounge
  • Willow
  • Tria

Los Angeles

  • The Beach House

SGB Designs | Sara CharsSGB Designs | Sara Chars

What is your favorite Minneapolis clothing boutique that you love to pair with your jewelry?

Can I say three?  Primrose Park, Arafina and MinQ!

Can you explain “Shop for a Cause”?

Throughout the years, we have collaborated with different nonprofit organizations and raised money and awareness for national and local charities.  We believe that the opportunity to build the community around us by supporting these organizations will allow the world to be a much better place.  By hosting fundraising events, creating special collections and donating to silent auctions, we hope to impact our community in a positive way.

SBG Designs | Sara Chars

What does the future look like for SBG Designs?

Stay tuned!  We have been really busy…working on something BIG!

Photographs by Sara Chars for Taupe & Birch

Coffee in Brooklyn : Jessica Williams

Coffee in Brooklyn : Jessica Williams | Taupe & Birch

Back in November, I made a trip to the east coast and was lucky enough to stay with my old friends Jessica and Luke Williams. I met the couple while studying at Maryland Institute College of Art and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Jessica Williams is an interior stylist/ designer and is currently running her own business in the New York area. Since I had some time with Jessica, I decided to sit down with her and catch up / learn some of her secrets to success. 

Coffee in Brooklyn : Jessica Williams | Taupe & Birch

What kind of projects are you working on at the moment? I have a variety of exciting projects at the moment! A handful of residential clients, a coffee shop in Philadelphia, and exciting restaurant spots here in Brooklyn. The most recent being a juice bar in Carroll Gardens that I’m designing with my husband. It’s a project we’ve been working on from scratch and we’re nearing completion in the coming month!

How did you end up in New York? I collected NYC memorabilia as a kid and always dreamt of moving here one day. My husband and I lived/worked in Baltimore and Chicago before making the hop to New York. It naturally felt like the next (and possibly last) move for us.

What’s your favorite coffee shop in New York? There’s delicious coffee around every corner in New York! A few of my neighborhood favorites are Cafe Pedlar, Smith Canteen and Bacchus Bistro.

Coffee in Brooklyn : Jessica Williams | Taupe & Birch

How would you describe your design aesthetic?I typically don’t aim for a style with my clients and rather incorporate meaningful moments of the old and new, while adding personal touches with family heirlooms. When creating my own spaces, I refer to raw textures and historic architectural details inspired by my upbringing in Frederick, MD and layer it with contemporary art and objects collected from places we’ve lived or traveled to.

Where do you see your business going in the next couple of years? hope to see the scale of my projects grow, so I can focus on fewer clients at a time. Having a studio space/bespoke shop are part of the plan too!

What advice would you give to someone looking to switch up the interior design in their home? Where do you start? Some of the ways to refresh your home without a big overhaul are to change up the paint colors, rearrange the placement of art, dispose items without personal meaning/memory and reupholstering soft pieces.

To learn more about the designer, visit her website and be sure to follow Jessica on Instagram for your weekly dose of inspiration. Content and photos by Heather Day

Queen For Dinner

Do you ever feel like there are so many small online shops that it’s hard to keep track of all of them? Me too. Rebecca Butler launched a new website this week where she does all of the hard work for us. It’s called Queen For Dinner. I was pretty excited about supporting small vendors so naturally, I had to sit down with the Etsy Curator and learn more.

Queen For Dinner | Taupe & Birch

We love Queen for Dinner and the product that you’ve curated! Can you tell us more about how your company evolved?

I came up with the idea of QFD from being both a seller and a buyer on Etsy. I love Etsy and love what they’re doing, but from a consumer point of view, it can get really overwhelming when you search for a necklace and over 250 pages of results come up – more than half of which I’m not even slightly interested in. It makes it hard to find things as a consumer, and hard to stand out as a seller. Yet, still, I always want to support small-vendors and small-business. Basically Queen For Dinner is my solution to this. We require a much more strict approval process, and we only feature items that we would want to purchase for ourselves. Most importantly, we don’t allow for any paid promotion – i.e. you can’t pay more money to have your item featured more frequently or higher up in search results. Promotion is solely based on what we like and what we think you’ll like, not money. In coming up with the tag line, “Cool stuff for cool girls,” it was really important to me to emphasize that we’re not saying, “buy this and you’ll be cool;” instead we’re trying to support every girl’s own unique cool self and style by providing them with things they might like. We don’t want to promote the idea that you need things or to look a certain way to be cool; we want to support women in being the cool girls they already are.

Queen For Dinner | Taupe & Birch
What’s your selection process like?

Sourcing vendors and products right now happens in two different ways. We have a submission form, through which we get a lot of great vendor submissions (as well as some that don’t quite fit into the QFD style). If we want to work with them, we send them the details on how exactly Queen For Dinner works, which items in specific we’re interested in, and a few of our forms they need to sign off on (including a quality standard form). Other than vendor submission forms, we find most of our vendors from Instagram actually. We’ve established a great presence on Instagram and are growing everyday. Queen For DinnerI find a lot of vendors just by digging through layers and layers of instagram accounts and photos. Some are found through Etsy and random places like craft fairs and farmers markets, but right now the majority I’m finding through Instagram. In order to be allowed on QFD (other than having really cute products), you must have a somewhat smaller following (i.e. a somewhat undiscovered artisan), and you must have reasonable prices (once again, we ask the question, “would I buy this?”). We love items made by other women, ethically made products, and US made products, but we don’t exclusively sell those things. We like to give all small artisans equal opportunity. Items are only on the site for 2 week batches and then we rotate vendors and items. After items ship, we do a quality check with customers to make sure they had a great experience and their purchases were as they had hoped. Vendors who receive below a four out of five rating will be reviewed and may not be allowed back on the site. The idea is that even though we’re a community of small vendors, we should be able to compete with (or be better than) the big boys. Quality and professionalism is extremely important to us.

Queen For Dinner | Taupe & Birch
What’s next?

In the future I see Queen For Dinner evolving into a more app-based platform. It seems to want that more instant and quick form of interaction because it is a flash-sale style site. Therefore, with an app it could easily update users any time a new batch was released so they can purchase the goods before they sell out since these are limited quantity products. I also think QFD could easily branch into a subscription based arena as well (similar to BirchBox) where women could sign up and receive a box of our favorite small vendor goods a few times a year – once we’ve built our reputation as trustworthy lifestyle tastemakers that is. Anyway, these are all quite a ways down the road, but I just think this idea has a lot of potential for growth and expansion.

Shop more from this weeks batch over at Queen for Dinner and be sure to follow them on Instagram for daily updates. Photos by Celisse Beruman. Content by Heather Day