Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Sometimes I don’t always think ahead for my shoots. They just HAPPEN. These crostini were a last minute snack that I threw together at 5:00 p.m. The clock was ticking and so was the fact that darkness was looming along with a major windstorm happening outside. This is where you hope and pray that your camera settings can do what they are supposed to do.

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Thank goodness it’s staying lighter out lately with with longer daylight hours. It makes my job as a food photographer MUCH easier!

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Anyhoo, I quickly ran through my freezer and fridge provisions and came up with this simple but totally yummy appetizer. Sometimes I just get lucky and foraging pays off. When I toasted these brioche buns with a light schmear of olive oil and sea salt, my husband Steve was actually salivating from the aroma. There really is nothing quite like the smell of freshly toasted bread.

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I whipped up a mixture of blackberries and blueberries with a hint of honey then spiced up some Labneh with cinnamon to spread over the toasted brioche. Let me tell you something. These were absolutely the best dressed things I laid eyes on in a long time.

OH. I think you might be wondering what Labneh is? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyways just in case you’re curious.

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Labneh is a soft, cream cheese made from strained yogurt and is very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. The good news? It’s half the fat and calories of standard cream cheese, which makes it a healthier alternative. You can use it in any way you would normally use cream cheese, such as a spread on bagels, as a baking ingredient or as a dip for your favorite fruit and vegetables. I’m going to try Labneh in a few recipes that would normally call for cream cheese and see how that goes. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m sharing these beauties with you today. Leave a comment below and let me know if you make them!

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  • 4 - 6 mini brioche buns, sliced

  • olive oil

  • sea salt

  • ½ cup of labneh

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup of fresh berries, I used blackberries and blueberries

  • 4 tablespoons water, divided

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • fresh chives and basil for garnish


  1. In a small bowl mix the labneh with the cinnamon and set aside.

  2. In a medium sized saucepan combine the berries,vanilla, honey or maple syrup and three tablespoons of water. Heat to medium and keep stirring. Once simmering and the fruit begins to bursts, gently mash with a fork or the back of a spoon. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining tablespoon of water until there are no lumps (this is called a slurry). Gently whisk the cornstarch into the berries and continue stirring until the sauce becomes thick (2 -3 minutes). Remove from heat and let sit until slightly cooled off. The mixture will be the consistency of jam. Place sliced brioche buns onto a cookie sheet and brush with oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Heat oven to broil, place buns into the oven to toast. Watch carefully as these burn very quickly. Once toasted remove brioche buns and spread with the cinnamon infused labneh. Top each one with the berry mixture and garnish as desired.