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Category Archives: Blueberries

O Beautiful, For Spacious Pies

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Blueberry pie, click image for recipe

Oh what I meant skies, not pies. But yes, it’s almost the 4th of July y’all! And in honor of that I feel the need to help you out a little bit. Trust me, I know the frenzy you feel. Grill recipes, pie recipes, treat recipes, snack recipes, goodness gracious how many times must I visit the Martha Stewart website before I can finish my menu!

But, wait, I’ve been baking for more than 2 years now, I should have some things…

What about some Mixed Berry Boy Bait?

Mixed Berry Boy Bait

I’m a pretty big fan of  blueberries. How great that it’s such a 4th of July classic, eh?

But that doesn’t mean blueberries are all! Check out Lemon Basil Shortbread Hearts. A delicious food to bring for a picnic if you’re one of those people heading out to parks to check out the fireworks this year.

Lemon Basil Shortbread Hearts

What if you’re going to a park and need picnic food? Well besides shortbread, look at peach crumb bars!

Peach Crumb Bars

Oh and drinks are on me too in the form of virgin mojitos.

Virgin mojitos

Maybe you’re looking for a summery cake that is just as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as it is to your taste buds? Try a ridiculously simple Summery Fruit Cake.

Summery Fruit Cake

I feel like I’ve covered most of my summer favorites for baking that you could surely incorporate into your own 4th of July menu. And just some last few options that might interest you:

Peanut Butter Blondies


Blueberry Milk for an Epic End to Summer Break

Well, it’s that time of year when I suddenly realize that there are only three weeks left before a whole new academic year commences and I sort of have a mini panic attack. I start wondering why I didn’t spend more nights huddled around a bonfire with my closest friends laughing till our insides hurt or pushing each other around in shopping carts in the middle of a deserted parking lot (while hoping that the DeLorean time machine suddenly lands in 2011 from 1985).

I have this sort of  nagging feeling that I could have lived up this summer in a much more radical way than I did. Say “Aye” if you know what I’m talking about. Ugh, why bother, I can’t hear you anyways. But I’m sure there are some of you who are saying “aye” at the moment.

But, hey, three weeks. Who knows what could happen in three weeks? In our fast-moving world, things change. For instance, the whole world recently saw Lady Gaga wearing pants while performing last week (was that the first time that happened? It sure feels like it). Seriously, Lady Gaga wearing pants? Did not see that coming.

So this is going to be an epic three weeks. Let’s do this.

As the Mad Hatter would say, your dear blogger Natalie is about to regain her “much-ness”.

So care less and be careless. Lie on the grass and stare mindlessly at the ever-changing clouds. Eat a mind-bogglingly delicious peach and let the juice dribble down your chin. Hop on random buses just because you see pretty people sitting on there and see where you end up. Spin around in a swivel chair till you’re dizzy while listening to this. Buy an overpriced, overly-caloric frappuccino and enjoy every sip of it. You get the gist, right? Do everything to make an unknowing onlooker question your sanity/normality and laugh at the people who give you strange looks because they’ve clearly never enjoyed the indescribable bliss that comes from being so childishly careless.

And this is a really short blog post…okay time for some music. Here’s one of my favorite love songs of all time with high relevance to one of my best friends K–‘s life at the moment. I’m so happy for you, K–! And with that, I log out and await the coming of Friday (…Friday, gotta get down on Friday…okay no, that reference is way overused to the point that I want to slap myself for using it now).


Blueberry Milk (From Pass the Sushi)


  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3-4 teas sugar, depending on how sweet you like
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk (per glass)


In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and blueberries to a boil over medium heat. Boil continuously for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

Strain mixture into a bowl or measuring cup through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing the berries to release all liquid.

Refrigerate syrup until cold. Set out glasses on counter, and place 2 teaspoons syrup in the bottom of each glass. Add 1/2 cup cold milk to each glass, stir and watch your milk become a pale shade of violet deliciousness.

The Wise Words of Natalie (And Summery Fruit Cake)

Having lived for a relatively extended period of time on this planet already (or so it feels), I feel that it is my duty as a human being to share with the world some tidbits of wisdom that I have gained from being a human in the late 20th/early 21st century.

First, never leave a CD drive open and jutting awkwardly out of your computer. Because while you may think that you only need to get up for less than a minute and retrieve the next CD to import into your iTunes library, fate/supernatural forces will have it so that you move your legs/arms/head in a sudden motion and break your CD drive. You will then be in a state of eternal lamentation until the CD drive is repaired and your inner music addict is no longer suffering from withdrawal. Okay? That’s lesson 1. Trust me, supernatural forces definitely exist when it comes to messing electronics up.

Lesson two: we are all foolish people, so don’t be afraid of foolishness. Even if a hundred unkind souls are snickering at you, you can bet there’s going to be that 101st awesome person who’s thinking “I’ve totally done something just as foolish” or “How sweet/cute/charming/adorable!”. So go out and be fools because that is better than becoming an unpleasant person in the process of avoiding foolishness. In the long run, the people who you’ll really like are people who appreciate your foolish side anyways.

Lesson three:  stop analyzing text messages. While Faulkner and Tolstoy may have mastered the art of generating “read between the lines” exercises for readers, most ordinary people (i.e. the person whose text messages you’re analyzing) are not quite as skilled in creating those sorts of exercises. So, gals (you know who you are), there is no hidden message in that text. Stop worrying about the lack of a smiley face, which could only mean that someone’s thumbs were too lazy to reach for a colon and parenthesis (ee cummings’s lack of punctuation could be a different story).

Lesson four: never assume the worst. Think of a smile as an expression of friendliness and not pity. Assume that a lack of response is a side effect of being busy and not avoidance. Think of being smiled/winked at by strangers as proof of just how adorable you are. Think of tripping on the sidewalk as a lesson that 1) you should stop texting while walking, 2) you should stop wearing 5-inch stilettos, and/or 3) even if you’re too busy staring at that cute guy on the other side of the street, please continue using peripheral vision, but NEVER think of that as proof that you are a clumsy, awkward person.

Have I enlightened you? Good. That was the point of this post. And now…the recipe. Summery Fruit Cake. MM MM!

Something to always remind me just how beautiful Seattle is.

Summery Fruit Cake (From Happy Home Baking)


100g butter, soften at room temperature
200g caster sugar (I cut down to180g)
50g sour cream (I replaced with same amount of low fat yogurt)
3 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
210g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
500g fruits* tossed with 2 tablespoon sugar*
(You can use strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas, oranges, pears, apples, pineapple, or any other fruits that are not too juicy. I omitted the sugar and used as much fruits, either fresh or canned, as needed to fill the top of the cake)


  1. Wash, cut (chunks or slices, as desired) and drain fruits, toss with sugar (if desired) and set aside. (if using canned fruits, wash the fruits to remove the syrup, omit the sugar).
  2. Grease (with butter) and flour the side of a 9″ round pan or a 8″ square pan and line the base with parchment paper.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and sour cream (or yogurt) till light and fluffy.
  4. Dribble in the eggs gradually and beat till incorporated in the batter. (The mixture may appear slightly curdled.)
  5. Add vanilla extract and zest. Mix to combine.
  6. Sieve over flour and baking powder and mix till smooth. (To avoid getting flour all over my work surface, I mixed the flour into the batter using a spatula, just a few strokes will do, then I used the electric mixer to mix the batter till smooth.)
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  8. Arrange fruits on top, don’t press the fruits down into the batter. Decorate the fruits as desired.
  9. Bake in pre-heat oven at 180degC for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake. Cover the top with foil in the last 15 mins of baking to prevent the top from getting over browned.
  10. Leave the cake to cool in the pan for about 5~10 mins. Unmold and transfer to wire rack to let cool completely. Dust the cake with some icing sugar if desired.

Mixed Berry Boy Bait and a Semi-Annual Reflection

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Truth: I actually made this just so I could tell my friends “I have boy bait” and they would go “Oh do you? Ha ha” and I would go “No, I’m serious” and let the anticipation build and then break the silence by saying, “Mixed berry boy bait!”.

I didn’t make that name up–the cake’s name is “boy bait”. So I know you’re wondering just how many boys this cake brought to my yard (I am chuckling to myself because I just semi-quoted that song.) Here comes truth #2:

Uh…does my dog count? I seriously baked a cake called “boy bait” but sat at home and ate it with my dog while having an O.C. marathon and wearing gym clothes. So no boys came to the yard. Sorry to disappoint you.

And me, well, I was very content eating that cake with my pug. I think one of the seniors at the assisted living community where I volunteer once jokingly told me that the best part of being single was being able to eat the “Tiramisu for Two” at a restaurant all by yourself. I have to admit I see the truth in that statement.

Anyways, it’s July 7. July fricking seventh. We are halfway (plus one week) through 2011. Wait…what? Halfway? How the @#$% did that happen? I was just sitting here writing about boy bait when I came to this shocking revelation.

So here you have…my little semi-annual reflection of everything that has happened that is memorable in this half-year. Some of the most striking memories were the late nights I spent at the undergraduate library with my friends and study buddies. I know library time probably seems like the most unexciting thing to remember in a half-year, but remembering what happened there just makes me smile.

Like that night when my friend S– and I had only one energy drink, but became so energetic while studying human reproduction for biology that we made great fools of ourselves. And how my friend J– was so obsessed with playing Tetris, he had to take Tetris breaks during our study sessions. And how much laughter can be shared with a group of sleep-deprived, caffeine-dependent students during finals week.

What else? Let’s resort to bullet points (since those are my thing):

  • I developed a severe tank tan from the numerous hours I spent in the Quad ever since the sentence “Today will be a sunny spring day” was first uttered on a Seattle weather forecast this year.
  • I finished the organic chemistry series.
  • I fell in love with froyo.
  • I also fell in love with late night runs. So yeah I’m the person running like crazy down the street at 11 pm.
  • I performed at a Grieg Piano Concert.
  • I got bangs. And no pics unless you ask.
  • I dissected chick embryos and cat testes (probably not the best thing to put on a food blog so don’t read it if you don’t want to lose your appetite)
  • It became a habit of mine to take over classrooms during the weekends and plug my iPod into the speakers so I could have a room swirling with music while I studied.
  • I went to a theme park with some of my friends and went on all the upside-down rides that I was too scared to go on when I was in middle school and consequently befriended some of the gutsy 5th graders who went on the rides with us.
  • I got elected to be Secretary at the UW Cuisine Club for the 2011-2012 school year.
  • I rode the bus to more random places in the Seattle area than I have ever done before.
  • I started listening to alternative rock and consequently fell in love with The Airborne Toxic Event (they are my favorite band at the moment).
  • I found a new favorite coffee shop to get my morning lattes from.
  • I started shadowing physicians this year and learned more about the field of medicine than I have ever learned.
  • I set off a sparkler for the first time on the 4th of July. My friend S– also set off a sparkler and almost dropped the sparks on a woman’s hair. As hilarious as it might have been embarrassing.

Come to think about it…I guess it makes sense that more than half of 2011 is over already. What have you done this past half year?

Mixed Berry Boy Bait (Adapted from Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine)

Cake ingredients
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
16 tablespoons (that’s 2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup of fresh berries (strawberries, cleaned and sliced, and blueberries, lightly washed)

Topping ingredients
1/4 cup granulated sugar
zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup of fresh berries

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 13 by 9-inch pan with foil. Grease and flour the entire pan, gently tapping out any excess flour.In a large bowl, whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.

With electric mixer, or in a stand mixer (using the paddle attachment), beat the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl.
Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Set aside.

In another bowl, toss the berries with remaining 2 teaspoons of flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in the berries. Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Set aside

Prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, and using your fingertips, rub the sugar and lime zest together until it becomes moist and fragrant.

Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of berries evenly over the top of the cake batter, followed by the lime-sugar mixture. [Note: I found it easier to sprinkle the sugar over the cake by using my fingers.]

Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean (try to avoid running it through a berry). Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Great with ice cream!

To Be Fearless

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I wish I were fearless. Scooby Doo can fearlessly solve mysteries with the help of Scooby Snacks and “the gang”. Will Ferrell can fearlessly walk around without having to suck in his stomach to feel confident. For goodness sake, even Rebecca Black has a certain degree of fearlessness. I was watching Rebecca Black’s interview on Good Morning America the other day and even though the whole world has been swept up in this hate-wave against her song “Friday”, her pretty funny music video and how we’ve all had our laughs for the past weeks or so, Rebecca Black didn’t show up to her interview with a paper bag on her head and a vow to never sing again.

Fearlessness is great and would make life so much easier. No more fear of failing 400-level philosophy classes when you’ve never taken a philosophy class before, fear of spiders crawling around your room at night, fear of slimy fish scales brushing against your face when you go snorkeling, or fear of making a fool of yourself in front of adorable guys. Just a conquer-all attitude that would simplify everything.

But just like Scooby Doo needs Scooby Snacks, fearless people need fearless treats. And even though you might be leaning towards protein shakes, homemade granola bars, and whole wheat biscuits, I present to you: brown butter blueberry cookies.

These are amazing and will make you feel fearless, at least until you finish the whole batch on your own and are left craving more. The brown butter adds just the right amount of flavor to complement tangy blueberries and you have a delicious concoction of everything the world needs to survive: the nutty aroma of browning butter and the beauty of glistening blueberries in the sunlight.

Oh sunshine. Thou dost make me feel completely at peace and are the finishing component to a batch of fearless cookies. With just the right amount of sunshine floating in the kitchen as you bake, you will feel absolutely fantastic. And that fantastic peace and uplifting of the mind could take you to great places…like successfully plowing through pages and pages of ochem practice problems, memorizing all vocabulary used in Psych 101, or planning out your schedule for the coming quarter (in which I will be a college junior. I started this blog when I was a freshman. Whoa…)

Or you could use that feeling for something even better: running as fast and far as you can while listening to your most endorphin-generating songs on your iPod. And when you are finally absolutely out of breath and your legs are aching , you take a nice long stroll back to where you came from. It’s a time-consuming endeavor, but so worth it, especially if you come home and remember that you saved a brown butter blueberry cookie in the microwave and with 10 seconds of heating, it will be warm and sweet heaven in your mouth.

Brown Butter Blueberry Cookies (From Batter Licker)

1 3/4 c. flour (I decreased this from 2 c., as my cookie dough was a tad drier and crumblier than I would have liked)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 c. fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter cubes. Continue cooking, stirring periodically, until butter is browned. Pour browned butter into a glass bowl, measuring cup, or mug, and allow to cool for a couple minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the browned butter and both sugars until blended. Add vanilla, egg, and egg yolk, and beat until creamy. Add flour mixture, and mix together just until blended.

Pour blueberries into the bowl with the cookie dough. Depending on how firm your berries are, you can carefully stir them into the dough by hand, or just start scooping some cookie dough into your hand/spoon/scoop and manually mix (i.e., gently push, but don’t squish) a few berries into each cookie. Drop cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, keeping a couple inches between each cookie.

Bake cookies in oven until the edges are barely toasted. Baking time will vary, depending on how large or small you make your cookies; for reference, my cookies were 2-3 Tbsp. (i.e., a large, rounded, overflowing Tbsp.) in size, plus a few berries, and they took 12 minutes to bake on a regular (NOT nonstick) baking sheet. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for a couple minutes before transferring them to your mouth a serving plate for two accompanied by a glass of milk for sharing a wire cookie rack to cool completely.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

It’s official. My back-to-school mode has switched on. My blog subscriptions, college paper, and my calendar are getting me hyped up for my sophomore year. Plus, the UW just won its first home football game of the season on Saturday and I happened to be selling parking tickets at the time, so college football fever also got the better of me.

But, after standing for seven hours selling tickets, I got home only to realize that it was dark by 8 pm. There was nothing I could do but pass time by taking a really, really hot shower. The type of shower that leaves you looking like someone brushed a thin layer of Tabasco sauce on you. Yeah…

Dove probably wouldn’t want me to do a body-wash commercial for them.

Anyways, how was your weekend? Terrific? Hanging there? Mediocre? My weekend was an assortment of the all three. But it was mostly…(how should I put it) disconcerting.

First, hot showers are rejuvenating, refreshing, and wonderful. But they either make me forget to shave my legs or simply too lazy to do so. We all know what that leads to in the long run.  Then again, with school right around the corner, nobody ever has to know what’s under those jeans and leggings, right?

Second, I’m missing a bikini bottom. I ransacked my room searching for it but it was fruitless. So…probably shouldn’t go to the pool until I find it/buy a new one.

Third, I’m a little scared to weigh myself. Buying a carton of spumoni ice cream just so I could eat it in one heaping serving and baking a delicious coffee cake might have added to that concern.

Blueberry Coffee Cake (Adapted from Sweet and Savory Life)

2 cups of AP Flour
2 tsp. of baking powder
1 cup of sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 egg
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
2 cups of fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8×8 square pan with non stick spray. In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes until light in color and creamy. Add egg, yogurt, and vanilla and cream for an additional 2 minutes. Add salt, baking powder, and all-purpose flour and mix on medium speed.  Mix batter until everything is fully incorporated, approx. 3-5 minutes. Batter will be nice and thick. Gently fold in fresh blueberries and pour batter into pan. Top with streusel topping (recipe below) and bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Streusel Topping Recipe

4 tbs. of cold butter, cubed in 1/2” squares
2/3 cup of AP flour
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3 tsp. of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. of salt


In a food processor or by hand, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cold butter until the mixture is crumbly. If mixing by hand, just use your fingertips or the back of a fork. If you are using a food processor just pulsate everything until you get a crumb mixture. For bigger clumps, form little balls with your hand.  Add streusel topping mixture to the top of your cake and bake as directed.

You’re probably wondering what is up with me and blueberries. I simply can’t get enough of them. I even created a category for blueberries because they are just that addicting. You’re probably also wondering what it up with me and baking with yogurt. Like that lemon yogurt cake, those yogurt souffles, the scones with yogurt, and the muffins with yogurt. The fact is…I had a huge container of plain yogurt in my fridge so I edited all the recipes I came upon to include yogurt.

But, today, I finally finished all my yogurt by baking it into my coffee cake. So unless I go crazy over a grocery store sale again and mindlessly buy a huge amount of plain yogurt, I won’t be a yogurt-head anymore. (Haha, yogurt-head. New insult perhaps?)

As for blueberries, they’re probably going to be hanging around for a little bit longer unless I become absolutely sick of them. Or until I can’t find them anymore (which is probably going to happen sooner since the chances of me ever getting tired of blueberries is close to nothing). Did all you blueberries hear that? I pledged eternal love.

My coffee cake with a small scoop of spumoni ice cream lurking menacingly in the background.

Long Weekend Blueberry Scones

I hope labor day weekend has treated all of you just swell. My weekend was overall very cozy (besides the Bumbershoot part, which was slightly -um- “wilder”).

“Cozy” as in waking up on a Saturday morning tucked in my favorite purple bathrobe and half snoozing, half baking blueberry scones. Then staying in my baggy PJs till I changed into exercise shorts to go to my local gym and not realizing that I was wearing them inside-out until I was halfway through my cardio routine because I was still in the “cozy” mode (whoo, that was a long sentence). And later falling off the pull-up machine in front of a bunch of hunks in Under Armour for the same reason. And not flossing at night because I was already sandwiched between my humongous floral blanket and striped bedsheets and much too lazy to budge. Pretty cozy, don’t you think?

Hello there, Natalie's mid-day snack.

Blueberry Scones (From King Arthur Flour)

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup (about 5 ounces, about half a pint) fresh blueberries
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup (2 ounces) vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients till the mixture is unevenly crumbly; use your fingers, a pastry blender, or an electric mixer. Gently mix the blueberries with the dry ingredients.

Stir together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, lemon zest or oil, and almond extract. Add to the dry ingredients and stir very gently, just until combined. The dough will be quite moist, like cookie dough.

Use a muffin scoop, jumbo cookie scoop, or 1/4-cup measure to scoop the dough onto the prepared sheet in scant 1/4-cupfuls, leaving about 2″ between each. Brush each ball of dough with a bit of milk or cream, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake the scones for 20 to 24 minutes, or until lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into a scone comes out dry. Remove from the oven, and serve warm. To reheat, wrap loosely in aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Yield: 12 scones.

These warm, steamy scones crumble in your mouth with every bite. The best part is the tinge of gooey blueberries. They were absolutely perfect for my long weekend because long weekends, for me, mean three weekend breakfasts, 72 hours of potential pajama wearing, and 3 weekend movie nights, all of which could be paired with these perfect blueberry scones. I had these for breakfast, snuggled up with a plate of them on Saturday night (after reheating them in my dear oven), and completely pigged out on them while I watched Meg Ryan movies. (Yep, that’s what I do the night before Bumbershoot.)

But my cozy long weekend has come to an end and I sit in my study room, looking out at the pouring rain and waiting for my second batch of scones to bake, wondering when the next long weekend will be. November, I think. This will be quite a wait.

Oh just great. Now my iTunes library is playing a heart-wrenching love song because I put it on shuffle. Why won’t it play Billy Joel or Frank Sinatra to up my spirits that have already been stomped upon by the rain and the thought of a long weekend gone like that? No, iTunes, I will not let you rain on my parade.

There. I made a “Happy” playlist. Don’t judge me! Nomenclature is not always my thing (or perhaps never my thing). Goodbye Air Supply, hello Jimmy Buffett. And I smell a second batch of scones getting ready to be devoured. Perhaps this weekend will come to a very splendid end, regardless of the rain.

Hello, half-eaten scone. You look mighty fine.