Dessert Pizza

A few weeks ago I gave you my recipe for easy overnight pizza dough. While everyone knows that savory pizzas can be made from all sorts of sauces, vegetables, and meats, did you know that pizza dough can also be used to make dessert?

Just like a regular pizza, you’ll need a “sauce” to act as the base of your dessert pizza. Here are a few ideas:

  • Nutella
  • Peanut butter
  • Ricotta with honey
  • Cookie dough spread
  • Almond butter
  • Raspberry jam

There are endless toppings to choose from to coordinate with your base. Consider things like:

  • M&Ms
  • Crushed Oreo cookies or graham crackers
  • Chopped strawberries other other fresh fruit
  • Caramels
  • Coconut
  • Chopped nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Miniature marshmallows

First roll out your dough, and dot it with butter. Bake for about 8 minutes in a 500 degree oven. Keep an eye on it as you don’t want to overcook it. As soon as you see it puff up and become light golden in color, take it out.

While it’s still hot, spread on your favorite base. For this pizza I used Nutella. It will begin to melt as soon as it is applied to the hot crust. Just spread it out evenly over the crust. Then add your favorite toppings. I added chocolate chips, slivered almonds and chopped white chocolate in this example, but let your imagination be your guide. You could even drizzle the finished product with butterscotch or caramel sauce for extra decadence!

Pop it back in the oven for about 3 minutes until everything is melted and gooey.

This is a unique dessert that is fun to serve for company. Guests can even customize their own pizzas. You can set out a spread of small bowls filled with various toppings and different types of spreads. Kids can have fun rolling out their own mini-pizzas and creating their own masterpieces.

What combinations would make your perfect dessert pizza?

Living Room Refresh

A change of seasons makes me crave a change of scenery. Not only do I enjoy adding seasonal decor to my home, but sometimes I like to rearrange my furniture for a fresh look. Now that we’ve lived in our home for over a year, it felt like a good time to change things up in the living room. The room is ample in size and lends itself to an evolving layout.

This is the living room before rearranging the furniture. While this layout functioned well, a change of scenery can help you see your space with new eyes and provide a greater appreciation of the features of the room.

Here’s the room’s previous layout. The sofa was placed directly across from the fireplace and two matching arm chairs flanked it. The coffee table was centered in the middle of the seating arrangement. The mahogany server was placed in front of the large window facing the street. My antique dough bowl held a place of honor on top of the server (see above picture).

After measuring my walls and furniture to make sure everything would fit with the new plan I had in mind, the sofa was moved in front of the large window that faces the street and the mahogany server was positioned on the wall where the sofa had been. The arm chairs now hold down the side of the room opposite the sofa. I reoriented the sea grass rug and the coffee table. A round end table from another room was added so that a lamp could be placed next to the sofa.

With this new arrangement, an accent table was needed to go between the two armchairs. Since there is an abundance of square and rectangular shapes in the room, I wanted a round table to soften the hard edges. I found this table on Amazon and thought it would work well. The black metal frame repeats the black metal on the coffee table and connects the other black accents in the room. The transparency of the glass keeps it from feeling too heavy and adds a reflective texture to the room.

I placed the dough bowl on the floor in front of the fireplace on an old hearth to elevate it a bit. It will likely move around the room once we begin using the fireplace, but for now it works fine here. It also helps draw the eye to one of the best features of the room. 

Throw pillows in golden hues were added to the sofa. Two of the six prints that had hung over the server were moved to the wall space under the sconces which flank the front window. The added artwork provides symmetry and visual weight to the area behind the sofa. The four prints remaining over the server are now centered, and I believe the smaller gallery arrangement still carries sufficient weight to anchor the wall.

I could only keep the cat out of the photo shoot for so long! (See him sleeping in the chair?)

The room feels larger and more spacious now. There is ample space to bring in additional seating when needed, and there are more surfaces upon which to place food and drink. It should work even better for entertaining than the previous floor plan did.

It’s amazing how simply moving furniture around can reinvigorate a room. When is the last time you rearranged your furniture? Is it time for a refresh?

The Gift Stash

Ever find yourself needing a last minute gift with no time to run out to buy something? Ever gone to the store for a gift and not been able to find a thing that fits the person or occasion? I think this happens to us all at least occasionally and it can be a source of unnecessary stress. I solved this problem by creating what I call my “gift stash.”

I have a drawer in my home dedicated to little gifty goodies that I purchase as I’m out and about. I pick up soaps, lotions, candles, kitchen and bath items, hand towels, gourmet foods, and other things that I can assemble into a nice gift whenever the need arises. I take advantage of sales and I try to keep items on hand that I think would appeal to most people I know. I stash these items away so that I am always prepared whenever an occasion comes up that necessitates a gift.

The items I gravitate towards tend to be things I’d personally enjoy receiving. They also tend to be somewhat practical in nature. I think just about everyone enjoys a new dish towel, pretty picture frame, scented candle, or a luxurious bar of soap. I also keep a few gourmet items and extra bottles of wine stocked in my kitchen for gift giving. For example, a jar of gourmet olives, a hunk of tasty cheese, and a box of fancy crackers presented in a pretty serving bowl would be much appreciated by a foodie friend.

I also maintain a supply of gift wrap and bags, baskets, cellophane paper, ribbons, tissue paper and other wrapping supplies to make the presentation effortless. I look for good deals on these items at the end of each season when they can easily be found on sale.

Keeping a stash of gift items and supplies is easy to do and doesn’t require a lot of space. You can dedicate one drawer in a dresser, a shelf inside a closet or cabinet, or simply keep a box under the bed. Additionally, keeping a gift stash makes each shopping excursion fun as I perpetually keep an eye out for interesting items to stock it with.

Do you keep a stash of gifts at the ready? What kinds of items do you find make great gifts in a pinch?

Easy Overnight Pizza Dough

Pizza is a bit of an obsession at our house. Calling for delivery stopped being an option several years ago when I discovered a super easy, ultra-forgiving way to make pizza dough at home that tastes far better than any delivery service pizza I’ve had.

Before I discovered this method, I thought yeast-raised dough was temperamental and time-consuming, requiring lots of watching and kneading. Nothing could be further from the truth! With this recipe, I simply mix up my ingredients the night before and refrigerate the dough overnight. By the next day, the dough has risen and is ready to be used. It just requires a few hours on the counter to reach room temperature and it’s ready to be rolled out.

First, mix yeast with warm water and a little honey to proof the yeast. See those small bubbles? That tells you the yeast is alive.

 

I love the flexibility of this recipe. Something comes up and can’t use your dough the next day? No problem, it will wait for you. Can’t use it for a few days? Just add in a tablespoon of flour (so the yeast has something to eat and can continue growing) and it will keep a few more days. You can actually prolong your dough for quite a long time this way. You can even freeze this dough. When you’re ready to use it, leave it out for at least 12 hours so that it has had time to thaw and reach room temperature.

Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the dough before covering and placing in the refrigerator.

 

Here’s my recipe. I am giving approximate measurements as I have learned that being exact is not required for this dough. In fact, I don’t measure any more and just kind of “eyeball” the proportions. If you don’t use salt, leave it out. If you are cutting out sugar, leave out the honey or use another type of sweetener instead. I like to use an Italian XX flour as I find it gives a crispy bite and a nice chew, but it is certainly not necessary. 

Overnight Pizza Dough (makes one 16″ pizza)

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup warm water

1 teaspoon yeast

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add honey to warm water and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit for a few minutes and then gradually add flour and salt. Stir until ingredients are incorporated. Once all the flour is incorporated you should be able to form a sticky ball. If it’s too wet, add more flour; too dry, add a bit more water. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of dough to keep the surface moist and place in a covered glass container. Refrigerate overnight. Remove at least 2 hours before you plan to roll it out. Roll out on a floured surface, then transfer to baking sheet. Top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Preheat your oven to its hottest setting (up to 500 degrees) and bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!!

If you find your dough snaps back and doesn’t allow you to roll it out easily, let it rest another 10 minutes. See those air bubbles? Those air pockets will create a crispy light pizza crust.
Topped with tomato sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, peppers, pepperoni, mozzarella and fresh basil, this is our favorite Friday night dinner.

 

Falling for Majolica

I’m not sure exactly when I fell in love with majolica but I have been collecting it for some time. This colorful, whimsical pottery always brings a smile to my face. While majolica can be found in all the colors of the rainbow, I prefer the rich greens and golden hues, particularly for displaying during the cooler months. I think it enlivens a space and creates a warm festive feeling.

Majolica typically features themes of fauna and flora, with an abundance of leafy patterns, which are my favorites. Antique majolica is tin glazed earthenware which has a distinctive metallic sound when “pinged.” The glaze in early pieces often contained lead so it’s more decorative than suitable for food use.

Majolica, also known as maiolica, takes its name from the Spanish island of Majorca. It was originally made by 14th Century potters and was popularized in the mid-15th Century. It was exported from Majorca to Italy during the Italian Renaissance and debuted in the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876.

By the 1870s, majolica was being mass-produced for an expanding middle class in countries like England, France, Sweden, Portugal and the United States. Griffen, Smith & Hill was a prominent Pennsylvania manufacturer, who sometimes marked its pieces with “G.S.H.” or labeled them as “Etruscan Pottery.”

Over the years, it has fallen in and out of fashion, but was particularly attractive to 19th-century collectors. For the Victorians, with their heavy drapes and dark wood-paneled interiors, it brought much desired light and life to homes. This tactile pottery with its naturalistic shapes, vibrant colors, and often humorous themes appealed to a growing consumer society.

This plate is Japanese and was probably made in the 1940s for export. Japanese majolica is still fairly easy to find and is quite affordable.
This begonia leaf dish is Etruscan and dates from the 19th century. This much-loved design was reproduced in many different colorways.

 

Due to over-production, majolica fell from fashion by the early 1900s. But it began to be re-discovered in the 1960s, and because of its popularity, reproductions abound today. Modern majolica is food safe as lead-based glazes are no longer in use.

Majolica is soft and porous and chips easily, so older pieces that have survived can be quite valuable. I have purchased most of my pieces at antique shops, estate sales and online, but occasionally I see a piece at a flea market or thrift store. Even with a chip or hairline fracture, I feel quite lucky if I find a piece for under $40 and when I do, I snatch it up! However true collectors covet early pieces in excellent condition which can be much more costly, in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

For my fall display, I added in a couple of small ceramic pumpkins, some beaded fruits in warm colors and a burlap covered wire basket. This display should transition nicely into the holiday season. After Thanksgiving, I will likely change out the pumpkins and beaded fruits for a few Christmas ornaments and perhaps add some twinkle lights. Stay turned for its next incarnation.