A Valentine's Brunch with Friends feat. our Hydrangea Rose Centerpiece

In addition to styling our web images, our in-house photographer Quelcy shares whole grain recipes, menus for gatherings, and wanderings on her blog With The Grains. A big focus of her blog is bringing people together around food and a beautiful table, so we asked for her thoughts on celebrating Valentine's Day in a memorable way. Here is what Quelcy had to say...

A lot of people criticize Valentine's Day for diminishing sentiments to one day, but I see Valentine's Day and similar holidays as an extra way to celebrate. It's a way to mix the items you love from local shops with your own homemade touches. Even if you're single, Valentine's Day can be a great way to celebrate your friends and those you hold dear. Thinks of it as an incentive to do something above and beyond your normal tokens of love and friendship. 

I'm a big advocate of sharing food, especially brunch, with those I care about, and making the table look and feel special is a big part of my brunch experience. In keeping with Valentine's themes this year, I hosted friends (four-legged pals too!) in my dining room. In the spirit of great pairs, the menu featured Fried Chicken & Waffles. To take some pressure off me, and because this friend group is naturally very collaborative, my friend Chris took charge of the fried chicken, I made the waffle batter, my boyfriend manned the waffle iron, and our other friends kept the syrup flowing. Just because you're the host/hostess does not mean you have to do everything on your own. 

One of our friends eats a gluten-free diet, and all of us are very intentional about our food choices, so this was Fried Chicken & Waffles done the right way- a gluten-free quinoa crust, a stack of gluten-free & a stack of spelt flour & local butternut squash waffles, pure maple syrup, local grits with roasted root vegetables from our CSA, and fair trade coffee to keep the conversation lively. To find some of these recipes and more, read the full story here and subscribe to my blog.

We're all big dog lovers, and two of our friends happened to have a new puppy, so we happily watched the puppy antics with full bellies and smiling faces. Dogs need a little extra Valentine's Day love too. 

Whether it's Valentine's Day or just a normal day, I encourage you to decorate your table, turn on your oven, make a pot of coffee and enjoy a meal with those you hold dear. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Quelcy's Valentine's themed brunch featured our Hydrangea & Rose Centerpiece ($84.95). Check out this item and more in our Seasonal section or visit us at the shop soon.