Pizza Dough

Please keep in mind that my landlady in Sicily taught me how to make this pizza dough.  She measured NOTHING!!  She just threw everything into the bowl.  I am simply estimating on all the measurements also because I do it like she did.  I suppose you can make changes as you see fit.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 pkgs yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
warm water
Olive Oil

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place all dry ingredients into large mixing bowl and mix with a fork to spread it evenly.  I start with about 1/2 cup of warm water.  Pour the water slowly into the center of the mixture and begin mixing with your hands.  Drizzle about a tsp of olive oil as you are mixing.  You want to mix it until all the flour is moist.  When mixed accurately with a sufficient amount of water, it should be a little moist to the touch.

Cover with a dishcloth and place in a warm spot for about 30 minutes for it to rise.  If it gets cold, then it will not rise much.

After the dough has risen, pour about 1/2 tsp of olive oil onto your palms and take about half of the dough mixture.  Place it onto center of pizza baking dish and slowly start pushing the dough towards the edges.  Continue this until the dough is spread evenly throughout the dish.

Place sauce and your favorite toppings onto the dough.  Bake for 15 minutes and then it’s ready.  For higher altitudes, you may need to bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

Do the same with the rest of the dough.  This should make two medium-sized pizzas.

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Beer Bread

Ingredients:               

3 cups of flour,
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
12 oz beer
1/4 c melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix well.  Pour in beer and mix well.  Put batter into greased loaf pan and pour melted butter over the top.  Bake for one hour.  Remove from pan and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.  Enjoy!!

A Come-To-Jesus moment at 30,000 feet

I had been very fortunate that my flights during this trip had all gone very smoothly.  In fact, now that I think of it, I don’t think that I’ve ever been on a rocky flight in all the years that I have traveled by plane.  Well, up until now!

When we left Houston bound for El Paso, we were on a small plane.  Most of our carry-on had to be placed with the other luggage.  There was a narrow aisle with one seat on one side and two seats on the other.  As we were taking off, the captain had informed us that he would have to go off course a bit because of some bad weather between Houston and El Paso.  We were all like, ‘fine with us, you do what’cha gotta do’!

Because I was still very tired, I tried (and succeeded) to fall asleep shortly after takeoff.  About an hour into the flight, the attendants had just served beverages to all the passengers.  This is when the flight started to get a little bouncy.  Apparently, we were not quite as north as the pilot wanted us to be and we were being affected by the weather.  Just as the flight attendants were reminding us to remain with our seatbelts fastened, “WHOOP”!!!  We dropped!  I don’t know how far, but it was very forceful and everyone’s drinks went flying into the air.  Boy howdy!! I was awake NOW!!!

The attendants quickly began passing out paper towels and wet naps so that people could clean off their clothing, their arms, their laptops, and the console above their heads.  The immediately went to sit down also because the plane is still flying very unsteadily!!  At first the passengers were like, “Whoa!”  But when the plane started rocking from side to side, it became silent.  It was no longer a fun rollercoaster ride.

This is when you could hear a few mumbles–me included!!  First I prayed an Our Father, then I proceeded to pray to ask for forgiveness for any sins that I may have committed recently.  I’m not sure what I’d committed since my last prayer of confession (the night before), but just in case, I wanted to be ready!!  Then I started thinking of my family and friends and started praying for thanksgiving for all of these wonderful people in my life and for all the wonderful times I had had with each and everyone of them!  Then I started praying for everyone I knew who may be sad if I were to die.  I know this may be a bit presumptious, but at least I knew my family and close friends would mourn me.  I prayed that they would be comforted by God and be able to feel His presence and His love in their time of sorrow!  I prayed that you all would be happy that you knew me and feel joy that I had indeed gone “HOME”!!

Then I began praying to our Holy Mother that she would also pray for me and my family and friends!  I figured, if Jesus is gonna listen to someone’s prayers, then for sure he’d be listening to what His Mama says!!  Whether she was praying to spare this flight or to be with those who mourn me, then for sure one of those would happen!!  This turbulence continued for about another 30 minutes.  This was like an eternity!!  It was such a great feeling when that plane became steady again.  By this time, we were only about 40 minutes from El Paso.  I didn’t feel like we were still in danger, but continued with my praying–this time prayers of thanksgiving.

When we landed, I said a quick prayer of thanks and noticed that a few of us were making the Sign of the Cross at the same time!  I just smiled, knowing that I was not the only one who turned to prayer while in flight and that was a comfort!!

Lorenzo met me at the exit and I just hugged and kissed him for as long as he would let me.  He said that several people had passed him talking to the people who met them about how rocky/scary the flight had been.

Although, I know that it would have been wonderful (to say the least) to go “HOME”, I am thankful that I’m still here!  I pray that I will be able to fulfill my purpose because I know that there is still so much that I need to do with my life!

So, in case I haven’t told you lately or often enough, I am very thankful that you are part of my life and I love you!

The Wedding

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When I first found out my goddaughter got engaged, I knew that I wanted to be at the wedding.  I bought my ticket back in December, 2011.  I had my itinerary set to where I would not be rushed.  I was set to arrive the early afternoon of the rehearsal and then scheduled to leave the day after the wedding in the late morning to avoid having to get up too early!!

I was so excited for the bride, Victoria, who is my goddaughter!  She and her now husband, Derek are the sweetest couple!  It is such a blessing to be able to see that their relationship is truly Christ-centered!  They met in church a few years ago and really were just friends for the longest time.  When they did start dating, much of their dates were as part of a group.  The day that Derek proposed, after she said yes and he placed the ring on her finger, they shared their first kiss and held hands for the first time.  I love this!!  At their reception, whenever anyone clinked on their glass, that was time for the bride and groom to kiss.  Derek and Victoria loved this part!!  🙂

Anyhow, the wedding was absolutely beautiful!!  It was held on the first tee of Dearborn Hills Golf Course at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  The day before at the rehearsal (also at 4) it was so hot and humid.  Everyone was saying how uncomfortable it was going to be during the wedding.  Needless to say, folks were kind of regretting that this was an outdoor event.

The morning of the wedding, we woke to an overcast day.  Thankfully, it remained overcast all day, therefore brought much cooler temperatures than the day before.  Strangely enough though, it was not at all uncomfortably humid.  It was perfect for the photos because no one would be squinting for them.  Although the sun was not shining brightly, it really was the perfect day!

That morning all the bridesmaids were at The Henry Hotel in Dearborn.  This is also where my room was.  After I dressed, I was able to join them in their suite and take photos as they were also getting ready.  When Victoria put on her dress, a collective gasp was heard in the room.  She was breathtaking!!  Her beauty, inner and outer, simply radiated throughout the room.  By this time, it was difficult for me to focus my lens while taking photos because through my tears, I really couldn’t tell what was in focus and what was not.  I’m glad that I was not the professional photographer because I’m sure that her photos were much better than mine at this time!

The wedding went without a hitch.  The only thing that did not go as planned was the time.  I believe the ceremony was much shorter than they had planned.  This was good though, then they had plenty of time to take extra photos afterwards!  During the ceremony, the first thing they did as a married couple was share Communion.  I thought this was so beautiful.

After the photos, and after some light hor d’oeurves, we all went into the dining area to find our seats.  After the wedding party entered, the bride and groom, made their entrance.  One of the first things they asked for was to be prayed upon.  So, anyone who wished were able to lay hands on them, or simply outstretch theirs from their seat to pray for them as Derek’s stepfather, a minister led the prayer.  What a beautiful sight this must have been.  I hope the photographer got a few good shots of this precious moment!!  Simply a wonderful testament of how much these two young people were loved by everyone present!!

The father-of-the-bride, Scott made a wonderful toast.  He stated that he and Cynthia (Victoria’s mother, my cousin) were simply in a relay race with Victoria.  He spoke of how comforting it was for him to know that he was now passing the “baton” to a wonderful, man of God whom he felt confident would love Victoria and care for her as much as they had!  Throughout Victoria’s young life, he had been her provider, her leader, her guide and her protector and that now Derek, through God’s blessings was now fully capable of being all that for Victoria and more!

The Best Man, Jerid, also Victoria’s brother made his toast.  He spoke of how he knew that Derek was special because it would take a special man to be able to handle Victoria!!  Not necessarily that she was high-maintenance, but simply because she was a strong, Christian young woman.  She knew what she wanted in a man and in life and nothing less would satisfy her!  This is how we all knew that Derek was special–because she thought he was!!

The night ended at 11 pm as the bride and groom left for their honeymoon suite at The Henry.  Everyone commented on what an absolute fabulous time it had been.  Many marveled and enjoyed that NOT one drop of alcohol was consumed at this gathering!!

Getting to the wedding

Although, I had purchased my tickets to go to my goddaughter’s wedding back in December, it was still an adventure!  If you remember, I have an aunt who had a stroke in April who lives in Houston.  I thought, ‘since I’m already traveling in that direction, why not add in a trip to visit her’?

Luckily, I purchased insurance with my tickets and was able to make the changes.  I simply needed to submit some paperwork signed by her doctor, which I still need to complete.  Anyway, I did some research to see if I can find tickets that will get me where I want to go on the days I want to travel at the times in which I was interested.  I had a scratch sheet of paper, wrote down all the options and then circled the ones that I would ultimately purchase.

So, now my itinerary went like this:  On Friday, May 4, I would travel from El Paso to Houston, preferably in the morning so that I can have as much time in Houston as possible.  Then I would leave Houston for Detroit on Saturday, May 5, again preferably in the morning so that I can attend the rehearsal–and have a ride from the airport since everyone else would be at the rehearsal also!  I would attend the rehearsal, the dinner and then the next day is all the wedding festivities.  On Monday, May 7, I would leave Detroit bound for El Paso, preferably later in the morning so that I could get some sleep from the night before.

When I told my mom about planning my visit to Houston, she suggested that she would take a bus from Austin and meet me there.  Of course I was very excited!!  My father couldn’t go because he was already committed to something else that Friday.  The night before I was scheduled to leave, my mother calls to inform me that after a discussion, they decided to both travel to Houston together.  I was very excited but couldn’t help but think of the rental car that I had reserved since I thought my mother would be traveling by bus.

Friday, my travels went without incident.  My flight from El Paso left and arrived as scheduled with a very smooth ride through the sky.  I love those kind of flights!!  As soon as I arrive at the airport, I go to the rental car window and ask if there is a way to cancel my reservation and not be charged for that day.  Luckily, I had only reserved it and not paid for it, so I was able to cancel it altogether!

About an hour after I arrive, my parents arrive to pick me up from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.  We go to eat some lunch and then go to my aunt’s house to visit with her.  We had a wonderful visit and was also able to visit with one of my cousins and meet her sons who were all visiting also.

There are two airports located in Houston.  One in the south called Houston Hobby Airport and then the one up north, in which I landed that morning.  Since my flight the next morning was going to be leaving at 0730, I wanted to go ahead and get a hotel room near that airport so that I wouldn’t have to wake up so early or have to travel far at 6 in the morning.  We were able to find a vacancy at a LaQuinta Inn which was located about 1.5 miles from Houston Hobby Airport–perfect!!

Before dinner, I decided to check into my flight and print out my boarding passes in order to skip that step at the airport the next morning–anything to help things go smoother the next early morning.  For some reason, my check-in was not going through because I had misplaced my confirmation number from a couple of weeks before when I changed my itinerary.  My Daddy was kind enough to take me to the airport so that I could check in there in person.  So, I’m trying to check in on their machines and it’s just not working.

So, I proceed to a ticket agent and give her my ID so that she can check me in personally.  Nothing!  She does not find my name on any of their early-morning flights to Detroit or anywhere else!  After going through my email and the paper in my purse, I realize, I NEVER PURCHASED MY NEW TICKET!!!  That’s right!  I circled it and knew which flight I wanted to be on, but I never went back to purchase that ticket!  So, she’s checking for available flights the next morning and of course, the one I needed was no longer available at the original price only 3x as expensive.  She suggested that I get online and try to purchase a ticket at the less expensive, online prices.

I rushed back to the hotel and was not able to get a ticket on that flight.  In fact, I was now having trouble finding a flight that would get me in Detroit before the rehearsal at 4 p.m.  I get on Orbitz and continue my search.  I found two!  WHEW!!  So, I pull out my credit card and purchase my ticket.  I continue through all the links and instructions which led up to a confirmation being sent to my email.

I breathe a sigh of relief as I begin to read the email for confirmation.  Great!  Flight # blah, blah, blah leaving El Paso at 0730 and arriving in Detroit at 1310.  Perfect!  WAIT!!  WHAT?!!!  Did that say El Paso?  Then I realize…I just bought a ticket from El Paso to Detroit and I was in HOUSTON!!!  I screamed and panicked!!  Now remember, this is already about 1930 and I was functioning on 2 1/2 hours of sleep from the night before!  I knew that the exhaustion was getting the best of me!!

Quickly, I search the Orbitz site to find the Customer Support phone number.  Great!  I find it and get on the phone as soon as possible to try to get this fixed…i.e. to not get charged with this ticket that I obviously cannot use!  The representative, though very difficult to understand, was very helpful.  Since I had just purchased the ticket, he was able to cancel the transaction and the charge would not be placed on my account!  Whew!  That was so close.

So, back to the computer I went to still try to find a flight for the next day.  Finally, I was able to find one.  It left at 0700 and would get me to Detroit  by 1311, plenty of time to freshen up before going to the rehearsal.  The only drawback–it was leaving from the OTHER airport which was located about 30 miles north of us.  So, that meant that we would have to be on the road at about 0520 in order to get me to the airport on time.  Whew!  Just thinking of that, made me more tired!!

Thankfully, once we got on the road, the traffic ran very smoothly and I was at the airport by 0555.  I had received my boarding passes and through security by 0625.  This gave me plenty of time to get to my gate and be ready to board without any problems at all.  I was very glad also, that both flights were very smooth and I arrived in Detroit with plenty of time to spare before the rehearsal.

Just the beginning

So, I have been thinking of starting a blog for quite some time and just really never took the time to figure out how to do this.  I am finally taking the plunge to put my thoughts down in writing.

Sometimes these posts may be exciting and sometimes just downright boring and often, just somewhere in between.  Either way, it’ll be a great way for me to be able to look back and reminisce about my adventures.

Thank you for dropping by and I hope that you come back!