That beautiful, cheesy, mouth-watering mess you see right there? That’s what we stuffed ourselves with for dinner last night, accompanied by an absolutely delish white wine. To be honest, the whole thing started with my giant basil plant in the garden that I really haven’t used that much this summer (and was sort of feeling a little guilty about that). I dare say I’ve only made myself one caprese salad this summer, shame on me. So, guilt-trip-driven, (plus the heirlooms were looking so yummy) I decided to turn my caprese-craving into a grilled Margherita pizza masterpiece. There’s nothing better than grilled pizza in the summertime. Keep reading for the recipe!
I had to throw in just one of Savannah, isn’t she pretty? She was in mid-“rooo” at this point, begging for a little slice!
1 ball pizza dough (homemade or store bought – we used Whole Foods)
1 tbsp olive oil (for coating pizza crust)
1 jar pizza sauce
1 ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 Heirloom tomato, thinly sliced
1/3 cup basil leaves, torn
1. Prepare your ingredients first – slice up the mozzarella and tomatoes as thin as you can and tear your basil leaves, or if you prefer, leave them whole. Place all of your toppings, including the sauce near the grills so that you can quickly add them when the time comes.
2. Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface until you have your desired crust thickness. We like to attempt to ‘toss’ the dough to get a thinner crust usually but this time we went for a thicker, heartier crust to hold our thick slabs of mozzarella and Heirloom tomatoes.
3. At this point, turn your grill on high, you want to get it nice and hot to cook the first side of your pizza dough. Place your dough on a pizza peel if you have one (they make it so much easier to take off the grill, our is from Crate & Barrel). Brush one side of your dough with the olive oil.
4. Next, place your pizza dough carefully on the grill, oiled side down, for about 1 minute until it starts to puff up and bubble. Turn the grill down to low about 30 seconds in. Using tongs, flip your crust.
5. As quick as you can, start assembling your toppings on the crust. Sauce first of course, leaving about 1 inch for the outer crust. Then layer on tomatoes and mozzarella and close the grill. Turn heat back up to medium and cook until your cheese is nice and melted.
6. Remove pizza from grilled with your pizza peel and place it on a nice big cutting board. Top with fresh basil, cut and serve!
Since meeting Claudia of Fig. 2 Design Studio a few years back, during her first launch at the National Stationery Show, I’ve been a big fan of her bright, cheery and colorful designs. From her gorgeous wedding collections to her sweet greeting cards and gift wrap, she’s a correspondence connoisseur who knows how put together the prettiest of packages. So, I couldn’t be more excited to have her on the blog today, sharing some fabulous gift wrapping tips! Head on over to see the whole collection of pretties, I’m totally in love with the anchor, confetti and bow tie designs. What’s your fave?
Tip #1 – When wrapping a gift think of the recipient. Most guys don’t notice gift wrap but if you pick out a paper that reminds you of them and really take as much time wrapping the gift as you did picking it out, I guarantee they will have a new appreciation for it.
Tip #2 – Ribbon isn’t the only way to decorate a package. Pretty packages are often decorated with interesting finds around the house and in nature. When we got our Christmas tree last year, we had a small bit of the trunk cut off. I used the small round to wrap the package for my studio manager, Megan.
Tip #3 – If you have multiple packages that you are giving someone, why note make a fun tower of gifts all wrapped in different patterns of the same color? It makes for a fun surprise and for a fun session of picking out wrap.
Tip #4 – As much as I love paper, there are other great alternatives. Last year, I was visiting one of my retailers and they had the cutest set of dish towels. I bought two and wrapped two house warming gifts using the dish towels. The gift wrap doubled as another gift for the new homeowners.
Tip #5 – Another fun way to decorate a package is by using different papers on one gift. For example, I sent some of my friends Christmas ornaments last year. Each was wrapped in one of our neon orange and gold holiday sheets and I accented each box with a belly band using one of the gold graphic pattern sheets we carry. Tied it up with matching neon orange string and it made another wise simple gift more special.
Happy August friends! We’re entering the last bit of summer and now especially is the time to soak up the sun and plan outdoor dinner parties and get togethers with friends and family. One thing I’ve learned from hosting a party is to go easy on yourself. You might reeeally want to try that fancy recipe or pretty cocktail you found on Pinterest—don’t do it. My guideline is, for parties larger than 6, keep it as simple as possible. Here are some easy cocktail solutions that will allow you to enjoy your party while still looking like the hostess with the mostess.
Invest in a drink bucket. The stylish sister to the cooler—your ice won’t last as long but if you want to fancy up your party, a drink bucket is a fun alternative for easy beer or soda grabs. The one shown from West Elm is no longer available, but here’s another option from Target.
Pre-made cocktail batches. Don’t worry yourself over mixing cocktails while guests are arriving. Pre-make a big batch a half-hour in advance and don’t forget to slice or prep any garnishes to accompany the cocktails. Some recipes that work best for big batches are sangria (which you can even prep the night before!), margaritas, mojitos and rum punches. Pour and place them on a serving tray when you’re guests show up and you’re free to mingle!
Let guests do the mixing. Set-up a simple bar area with staples and general garnishes and allow guests to concoct their own drink. Put up a cute sign that says “Mix and Mingle” so that they’ll know to help themselves.
Champagne in a can. As much fun as it is to pop open a bottle of bubbly and as many parties I’ve had where it hasn’t lasted long, there have also been several times when there’s been leftover flat champagne. These little cans are perfect for satisfying your bubbly-loving friends, while not wasting any. They’re also ideal for cocktails that require a top-off of sparkly stuff where you might not use an entire bottle.
Avoid frozen drinks. As much as summer calls for a cool frozen treat, you’ll want to skip these for a gathering more than 4 people. Your kitchen will be a sticky mess and you won’t be able to keep up with the demand, trust me, I’ve been there before! For an easier option, try alcoholic frozen popsicles. You can make them the night before and they’ll double as dessert!
• Have unmarked recycle bins placed in a discrete spot nearby so that your party won’t become cluttered with cans, bottles, caps, etc.
• Make sure you have LOTS of ice on hand, for the coolers and drink buckets and separate bags for drink ice. You don’t want to be dipping into the drink bucket at the end of the night for cocktail ice, yuck!
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