Backyard Grilled Pizza Bar + Root Beer Floats with Whole Foods Market

The 4th of July always reminds me of summertime gathering and grilling. But instead of the typical BBQ, how fun would it be to have a Grilled Pizza Bar where everyone could make their own personal pizzas? Today, I've partnered with Whole Foods Market for another grilling shoot as part of our summer grilling series, bringing you a little 4th of July inspiration--a low-key Backyard Grilled Pizza Bar and Root Beer Floats. As with our Father's Day shoot, we had some friends over (thanks Eric, Susana, Nico and Mateo!) to help us build pizzas and make root beer floats for kids AND adults (hello, alcoholic root beer and bitters!).

I wanted everything to be easy and low-key. Whole Foods Market made it super easy to pull together everything I needed for the pizza bar, from my favorite refrigerated multi-grain pizza dough to the frozen grilled corn to the jarred pesto sauce. To be honest, everything but the tomato sauce and vegan cashew cream was premade! We followed these easy directions on How to Grill Pizza from the Whole Foods website.

I put ingredients in muffin tins so the kids could easily see all their options--surprisingly, Theo chose grilled corn to put on his pizza! Everyone was encouraged to get creative. It was fun and funny to see the dough take form--some were rectangular and others were the shape of Montana and Texas. Some of the pizzas we made included:

  • Heirloom Tomatoes and Pesto
  • Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese (my personal fave!)
  • Fresh Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil and Lemon Zest
  • Olives and Spicy Vegan Cashew Cream (recently discovered the magic of cashew cream!)
  • Zucchini, Corn and Lime Zest
  • Turkey Pepperoni and Wild Mushrooms

The root beer floats for kids and adults were a hit as were the sangrias in the cutest bottles. I consulted with Dan, a cocktail expert at Whole Foods Market Gilman, on the best way to make an alcoholic root beer. His recommendations were spot on not to mention the packaging! He also recommended these amazing sangrias! Here's a list:

Whole Foods bagged organic kale salad! Easy!

Every time I make any kind of pizza, I brush garlic olive oil on it when it comes out hot. A tip I learned from Cheeseboard.

Ummm, luckily Theo was making his own personal pizza!

Those lashes!

Lucas LOVES tomatoes!

Happy 4th of July weekend!

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Special thanks to Whole Foods Market for sponsoring this post. All content, ideas, and words are my own.

Father's Day Camp Grilling and Beer Tasting with Whole Foods Market

Father’s Day is just around the corner on June 19th. I've partnered with Whole Foods Market to bring you a little Father's Day camp grilling and beer tasting inspiration for all you dads out there--new dads, single dads, grandads, animal dads and every other rad dad out there.

We invited our good friends Brad and Nancy and their son Ben, along with Eric and Susana and their boys Nico and Mateo, over for some urban camp grilling (think foil-wrapped camp food cooked on a backyard grill).  We also roasted s'mores over a portable fire pit, set up an outdoor movie screen for the kids, and had a blind beer tasting for the dads. Oh, and we can't forget the Warriors playoff game that happened to be playing that night. Go Dubs!

Take a look at our drool-worthy dinner menu:

For the beer tasting, I wanted two IPAs and two Stouts, I wanted them to be from local or California breweries, and of course, the label had to be cute--Rachel from Whole Foods Gilman was amazing at helping me select a few craft brews for me to choose from. Here were my final selections:

Almanac IPA (San Francisco, CA)
With intense aromas of grapefruit and tangerine peel, melon, pineapple and pine trees. The finish has a clean bitterness and light saltine cracker note.

Iron Springs Casey Jones Imperial IPA (Fairfax, CA)
This double IPA has twice the hops and grains as its counterpart. Significant floral, citrus, and peppery notes on the nose, yet even with the enormous hop profile, the huge grain bill results in a very well balanced brew.

Modern Times Beer Mega Black House Imperial Stout - Special Release (San Diego, CA)
An imperialized version of Black House loaded with their house-roasted coffee.  Thick, chewy, and bursting with coffee aroma & flavor.

Bike Dog Brewing Company Milk Stout (West Sacramento, CA)
A sweet stout with chocolate notes and a hint of coffee and milk.

I hand painted a rough buffalo plaid pattern onto kraft butcher paper to line the tables. I designed some cute beer tasting cards for the dads to rate each beer.

Um, luckily I printed out four cards! And please note that Theo did not actually taste test any of those beers. ;)

Three rad beer-loving dads with their winning selections from the beer tasting--so fun that they each had a different favorite! They had a lot of fun discovering these new beers and were pleasantly surprised that Whole Foods had such a great selection of craft brews.

Delicious olives and cheeses including ones from Kite Hill (made with almond milk and so good!), Mitica Cana de Oveja Mitica and Fromi Brebirousse D'Argental.

These Candied Hazelnuts from the new Camp Sunset cookbook were so easy to make and highly addictive. You could also find the recipe here.

These Cool Kebabs from the Camp Sunset cookbook were super easy and quick to make. Even Theo helped out--he made the one with all grapes and one cheese cube ;)

And can we talk about these delicious little goodies? A Whole Foods Market exclusive, they're from Fork in the Road, a company that acts responsibly, humanely and compassionately and are made with sustainable, pasture-raised uncured beef without any antibiotics or added hormones.

I used this recipe for Grilled Salmon in Foil Packets for the main dish using fresh, wild Alaskan salmon from the fish section at Whole Foods, organic cherry tomatoes, lemons, olives, and fresh thyme, oregano and parsley.

For dessert I made these Peach Crisps in Foil Packets with Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream from the Camp Sunset cookbook.

It wouldn't be urban camping without s'mores by the firepit, right? Nick put together our Stahl Firepit in a jiffy. Should have started the fire earlier so it would be perfect for s'mores but the guys were too busy beer tasting!

Now THIS is urban camping! Go Warriors!

Setting out all the ingredients in a pan made it easy for everyone to assemble their s'mores. I used Elyon Natural Vanilla Marshmallows, and 365 Fair Trade Dark Chocolate, and Organic Honey Grahams from Whole Foods.

Let's not forget the amazing Father's Day gifts you could get at Whole Foods. These include a Kleen Kanteen, grilling tools, books, Allegro coffee and mugs, Kikkerland Bike Phone Holder, 3-in-1 Mini Screwdriver, TrueFlask Soft Touch Flask, Herban Cowboy products, and Thrive skin care products.

And my favorite photo of the night...

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Special thanks to Whole Foods Market for sponsoring this post. All content, ideas, and words are my own.

Lucas' 6th Birthday Party

A couple of weekends ago we celebrated Lucas' 6th birthday party. Time sure flies--I just can't believe he is now 6! Remember his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th birthday parties? As usual, I ask Lucas what kind of party he wants each year and then I put my own modern spin on theme. This year Lucas initially asked for a Pokemon party but later decided on a magic theme after having seen a magician called Magical Nathaniel at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach.

I designed the invitations with a clean but slightly vintage feel, complete with custom photo envelope liners and a custom rubber stamp that would be used on favor bags and food packaging. The double thick invitations were mailed in kraft envelopes and sealed with wraparound address labels.

The party took place at the Padre Picnic Area in Tilden Park in Berkeley and the we couldn't have lucked out with better weather--you never know in April! Guests set out blankets and flew kites, played soccer, baseball and tag. We hired Magical Nathaniel to perform a magic show for 45 minutes. He was amazing and kids and adults alike were in awe by his tricks. Funny how every 6-year old seems to think they know how he does his tricks.

The amazing food for the party was generously provided by Whole Foods Market. In case you didn't know, Whole Foods Market cater kids parties too and can customize a menu for you. To go along with our magic theme, the catering team made Popcorn Chicken, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Mini Chicken Corn Dogs (a kid favorite), "Magic Wand" Fruit Skewers, Classic Mac 'N' Cheese, their signature Cabbage Crunch Salad (my fave!), and Potato Salad (several people told me this was the best they have had). They also provided Organic Juice Boxes, Mochi Ice Cream by Bubbies, and Annie's Homegrown Fruit Snacks for the pinata. Thank you Whole Foods Market (specifically the Berkeley and Gilman locations)!

Per Lucas' request, I made him a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and edible gold stars and a gazillion cupcakes for his friends.

A Jackson birthday party tradition, we had donut holes with custom designed cones--always a huge hit with everyone!

Nick and I made this awesome playing card pinata and giant magic wand for busting it open. It was actually really easy and full DIY instructions can be found on Oh Happy Day blog.

I used the custom rubber stamp for the cotton favor bags that each held Pocky Sticks (they look like magic wands!), a coin trick, fortune teller fish, and mini word game books.

Lucas had the brilliant idea of having a Make-Your-Own-Wand station. Using a wooden dowel with eye hooks, kids could use Japanese washi tape and choose colorful ribbons to make a fun magic ribbon wand.

My baby is 6!! Whaaaaat?!?

Theo ate fruit skewers for lunch.

Classic Mac 'N' Cheese and awesome Popcorn Chicken with two kinds of housemade dipping sauces--BBQ and ranch.

Grilled Corn on the Cob was a crowd favorite.

Okay, how cute is my friend Jeanne's daughter Hayden sipping her organic lemonade? And my niece Tallia waving her wand and my friends Aaron and Corrine's daughter Josephine who LOVED the corn on the cob.

Mini Chicken Corn Dogs were a kid favorite.

Whole Foods Market Gilman provided delicious Mochi Ice Cream from Bubbies. I packaged and labeled them individually in glassine bags and stamped them with Lucas' birthday logo. I chose four flavors--Mango, Green Tea, Strawberry and Vanilla.

If you don't know about this Cabbage Crunch Salad at Whole Foods, you're missing out. Not sure if every location has it, but damn, it's good.

I usually prefer the vinegar-based kind of potato salad, but this was the Best Classic Potato Salad ever!

Magical Nathaniel was awesome! He's a Cal student and does magic on the side but plans to make it his full time gig. If you need a magician for your party, you need to hire him. Nearly every kid sat still for the 45-minute performance. He was entertaining and engaging with the kids, often asking for volunteers to help him with his tricks. The kids loved it!

OMG, Magical Nathaniel solved this Rubik's Cube in a minute and 30 seconds--blindfolded!

This is the look of a 3.5-year old who missed his nap and ate nothing but fruit and donut holes for lunch. Poor Theo.

This pinata was awesome because no one could bust it open which meant every kid got a chance to hit it. Ha!

Eventually, Nick had to discreetly stab a few holes into it.

*This post is in partnership with Whole Foods Market. All words and ideas are my own.

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Recipe: Black Bean Polenta

When nick and I met over 12 years ago, he was a vegetarian and I was a big time carnivore (growing up in a Chinese household meant some kind of meat protein with every meal). We came to a compromise on our dietary preferences very early on in our relationship (true love!) which consisted of eating mostly vegetarian but fish, chicken and turkey were okay. We weren't strict and my willpower was next to none--I mean, how could I resist the occasional slice of pepperoni pizza?

Fast forward to 2016, and many documentaries later, Nick has gone back to his vegetarian ways but includes fish (so, a pescatarian). I truly admire his tenacity but I must admit, as the cook/baker in the house, this was initially a bit of a challenge for me. Of course, Nick told me not to do anything differently and he'll just eat his own thing. But that would not be enjoyable for me-- the idea of the kids and I gorging on my Lemon Olive Chicken while he ate a bagel and cream cheese? So I've challenged myself to cook more vegetarian and fish meals--on the nights Nick isn't home for dinner, I'll cook my chicken dishes if I feel like it.

One of the biggest challenges as the cook in the house is making something that satisfies everyone. This Black Bean Polenta does the trick--we all love it, it's inexpensive, makes amazing leftovers, great for potlucks, plus it's vegetarian and gluten free. I love the version the Juice Bar Collective makes and found a version from Farmgirl Gourmet that I slightly modified.

+ Full Recipe for Black Bean Polenta
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Source: www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog/2016/3/1/re...

My Real Life 2015 Best Nine and Happy 2016

According to 2015bestnine.com, my best nine Instagrams were the ones shown above. My real life best nines are the ones shown here on our holiday card (photos by Sarah Hebenstreit) and below.

Thanks for all the love and support this year. I'm so grateful to my family/friends and to all the friends I've made both online and offline this year. Happy new year!

1. Lucas turned 5 and had an epic Wild Kratts party

2. Theo turned 3 and jammed with his buddies

3. Lisa turned 40 and holy shit she's 40 (I went to Tulum, Mexico with my girlfriends from college on our annual trip)

4. Lucas started kindergarten and LOVES it

5. Family trip to Maui and Theo's first plane ride

6. Lisa and Nick celebrated their 10-year anniversary (photo by Sarah Hebenstreit)

7. Lucas had his first surgery (1/2" piece of wood in his foot)--also, not really a "best" nine but he did so well throughout the whole ordeal.

8. Nick ran a full marathon (3.49) and hasn't run since (but plans to get back into it in 2016), photo by Sarah Hebenstreit

9. Lisa went to Tulum and got a tan--Nick hiked the Trinity Alps and got pneumonia / I also conquered a very big fear of mine!

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Recipe: Best Granola Ever No. 2

Recipe: Best Granola Ever No. 2  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Remember last year when I said this was the best granola ever? Well, not that I changed my mind, but I decided that I can have as many "best" recipes as I want. And this recipe is aptly named Best Granola Ever No. 2. With its crispy coconut chips, maple glazed pecans, Maldon sea salt (that salty sweet combo effect!), and crackly texture, this granola is seriously addictive. I may or may not have eaten an entire Ball jar of granola in one sitting.

Recipe: Best Granola Ever No. 2  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Recipe: Best Granola Ever No. 2  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Granola shards! I've decided I like crispy shards over chewy clumps.

Recipe: Best Granola Ever No. 2  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
DSC08919.jpg
Recipe: Best Granola Ever No. 2  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

The original recipe is so damn good but I modified this recipe slightly to eliminate refined sugar. My modifications include using half olive oil and half coconut oil, adding unsweetened coconut flakes for more coconut flavor, replacing brown sugar with coconut sugar, adding raisins and only stirring once during baking.

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Banchan Workshop No. 4

Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper

It was that time again--another opportunity to attend, pig out, oh and shoot photos for Banchan Workshop No. 4 hosted by Selina Lee of Skycreatives and Feastly. Remember Banchan Workshop No. 2 and No. 3? This time the workshop was held at the beautiful Feastly studio in San Francisco. With its flood of natural light and high ceilings, the space was a really nice backdrop for all the delicious food and fun guests.

Here are some of my favorite shots. Tons more details, photos and recipes on Skycreatives.

Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper

Love how Selina decorated with succulents for each guest sitting on top of Korean newspapers with white paint strokes.

Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper

Lots of goodies donated by the awesome Whole Foods Market Berkeley and Allegro Coffee from Whole Foods Market Gilman.

Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper

Look how cute my friends Nancy and Meg are!? ;)

Selina doing her thing.

Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper

Um, drooling! I need to make this for my kids!

Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper
Banchan Workshop No. 4  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com  /  @good_on_paper

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Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

I can't believe Halloween is just around the corner! A few weeks ago I designed/styled a fun Monster Movie Night party along with the talented catering crew from Whole Foods Market Berkeley for one of my favorite blogs 100 Layer Cakelet and all shot by the talented Michelle Drewes. It was super fun! I designed these fun invitations with finger monsters in kraft jewelry boxes.

Whole Foods Market Berkeley's catering team did an AMAZING job with the spooky spread (remember Lucas' 5th birthday party they catered?)--monster pizzas, witches fingers (hummus and veg dip), graveyard dip (7 layer bean dip), banana ghosts (frozen bananas dipped in white chocolate), and caramel apple and pears. They provided gorgeous fall flowers with ghosts made of cheesecloth, "healthy" candy and not-too-scary Halloween books. We played "Monsters, Inc." on a white sheet and the kids were hooked.

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

I created this monster backdrop for the food table complete with eyeball pumpkin.

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

That watermelon brain! Those carrot fingers!

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

"Healthy" M&M's from Whole Foods Market Berkeley were packaged in these super cute glassine treat bags from the Oh Happy Day Party Shop.

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

I had no idea that Whole Foods Market Berkeley made custom cakes like this one--using one of Lucas' monster drawings. So cute! They also make character cakes using licensed images like Star Wars. Who knew?

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

I set up a low table with some goodies for the kids including glow sticks and jars with neon bouncy balls and spiders from Target. Lucas set out place mats and drew monsters on each one. He was so excited to help!

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

One of my favorite crafts was the giant pair of balloon eyeballs that were so easy to make.

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Theo's favorite thing to say (or scream in your face) is, "I AM BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!" so naturally we had to get him a Buzz Lightyear costume for the shoot.

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Side note: Lucas' hair looks hilarious to me here! Also, he looks like me in this pic!

Halloween Monster Movie Night with Whole Foods Market Berkeley and 100 Layer Cakelet  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

+ Check out the feature and all the photos on 100 Layer Cakelet!

+ Photography by Michelle Drewes
+ Catering by Whole Foods Market Berkeley
+ Design, planning, decor, invites by me
+ Party decor by Oh Happy Day Party Shop and Target
+ Cute kiddos by Lisa and Lisa

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