Of all the food and recipes I have photographed, this shoot has to have been the most fun and pleasantly pleasing to the eye. The lighting was just incredible that day or maybe it was the lighting at that time of the day.  The colors of  the vegetables and tomato sauce came out so vibrant.  The photos, I believe, tell a story of how you take something simple, made with care and love and it becomes SO MUCH MORE THAN FOOD.  It’s can be a meal enjoyed with my special guy over a beer and club soda, a Happy Hour with friends before heading over to the golf tournament for one of the two concerts, Friday, Northville Folk followed by Don Felder, and then Saturday, Miranda Lambert.

    Speaking of golf tournaments in Grand Blanc, Michigan, we know a thing or two about that.  For decades, our club, Warwick Hills, hosted the famed, Buick Open.  It brought stars from world of golf, like Payne Stewart, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, John Daly, Arnold Palmer, Hale Irwin all the big guys of the PGA came and many of them actually enjoyed the club because the course had unique qualities and the members went out of their way to roll out the red carpet for them.  Many of the players I mentioned liked Warwick early on in their careers because members often hosted the guys when they were trying to make it on the tour.  Back then, if you didn't have sponsor, and you hadn't won a big event, funds were low and with members offering you "room and board,"  it really cut down on your travel expenses.  Many of these relationships lasted through the years and even when the player hit it big, they often still stayed with their friends who had helped them out early on.  I remember when Payne Stewart and his crew died when the plane they was flying lost cabin preassure.  He had been a Buick Open Warwick Hills favorite from his early days on the tour noteable with his unique knickers he wore to golf.  The club was in shock and saddened because he made such a mark on the members and fan.  

    When Tiger Woods rolled in to town, again, the red carpet was rolled out for him too.  He did a family event that was a huge success.  He choose to stay in a member's home on the course not to save costs but for security reasons, since his popularity has given him such star quality. Little boys with red golf shirts and hats followed him around the course as he played and watched him on the driving range.  His caddy at the time was UBER protective.  I worked the driving range with two of our kids who played on the high school golf team-the team was responsible for manning the driving range and giving the players balls and tees.  It gave the kids a chance to see and meet the Pros up close.  Our kids always remember that experience.

    Thinking about volunteers, that's one of the things that made/makes the whole thing work, the hundreds of people who help with all the little jobs necessary to bring tens of thousands to a small town, like parking cars, preparing food, clean up, selling merchandise, security, babysitting for players/staff, manning and running the shuttle services, hospitality, safety, score keepers, marshalls, etc.  The high school sports teams and clubs that helped, received monitary rewards and many charities benefited from the proceeds as well.  In terms of what the hosting course gained, some, but not really much in terms of what the club goes through to prepare for such an event, but what a  feather in its cap to be  able to claim that they have hosted major PGA events with the Buick Open and now the Ally Challenge.  

    There were years that we complained about the traffic, how you couldn't get down South Saginaw Street from Wednesday-Sunday the week of the Buick or we would complain that we couldn't use the club for the entire week, how the course was just torn up and that they covered the tennis courts so many weeks prior to the tournament to erect the press tent.  And then after the last Buick Open was played and there was no Ally Challenge on the horizon, well, it did make for a much quieter summer in Grand Blanc and we missed and longed for those days of the Buick Open, the hoopla, the parties and all of the excitement.  

    For our family, we'll always remember playing on Sunday night, before they closed the course and Warwick turned it all over to the PGA.  The score boards were up, the bountaries were up, the consessions stands and the grand stands were all set to go.  We'd say to the kids as they putted out and put the flag back in the hole, "this week, Tiger Woods will be playing here on the same course you get to play on" and that would start all kids of discussions like what it would be like to play on the Tour and travel around country and world wide.  Club members will remember the years when teenagers, and club members, Billy McKay and Jimmy Chestnut, made appearances.  Fans will recall watching Kid Rock and John Daly playing in the Pro Am and other celebrities making a stop at the Buick.  Anyone else who grew up going to the Buick has their own memories.  In fact, I ran into Kelly today at the local health club and she told me that she played the course yesterday and she too has fond memories of past tournaments.  Many years, we hosted a Summer Party one night during the Buick Open week.  Some of the local Grand Blanc High School Reunions would take place during the week of the event because so many people were around or came back for it.  This year the Bobcat Bash is on Friday night for Grand Blanc High School Alumni.  One of my friends who I went to the Buick Open with will be attending this year and her husband is in the first band playing Friday night.  I'll be with her.  So many people in town have their own memorable recollections.  

    Just as food is not always about the food, but about the relationships nurtured around the table enjoying that food, golf, (or any other sport) is not just a sport but it is an opportunity to come together away from the daily grind or the problem du jour, whether it's conflicts, politics, or any other topic occupying real estate on cable news.  A sporting event is a chance to have a beer with your buddies and talk drives, golf shots and puts.  It's a chance for a son or daughter to spend an afternoon with their parent or parents and talk about perfecting their golf game or their own sport or just spending time together out on the course. It's about a community coming together to put its best foot forward and show the golf world that Grand Blanc, Michigan is a pretty cool place to be on an August day to enjoy the last of summer.  It's a chance for fans to not only watch good golf but at the end of the day be entertained by talented musicians both local with the Northville Folk, a band I describe to others as, "If Bob Seger and Glenn Frey had decided on a career in the auto industry rather than taking their chances in "Cali" this is probably what they would have been doing at this point in their 50s-60s",  Eagles Lead Guitarist, Don Felder and country music star, Miranda Lambert.  Who gets all of that in the same week?  Grand Blanc, Michigan, you are one lucky town.  Ok, so now to the pizza recipe...It's a Great Day Friends!  See you on the course or at the concert, I'll dancing!

Yes, making pizza was this much fun for me!!

    Pizza is a treat.  Whether it is at your local pizzeria or you decide to make your own, for a simple dinner at home, it’s just means casual and fun.  Pizza can also be an appetizer or  Happy Hour  Food.  Consider a Sunday night Happy Hour with a few friends on the patio, a pizza pie cut into smaller squares and favorite drinks.  Catching up with a few friends you haven’t had a chance to get together with.  Nothing fancy as the food is secondary to those present...Here you go!  Here is the recipe.  I like to make my own pizza dough.  It’s easy and you probably have everything on hand.  If that’s not your thing, pizza dough is available in the grocery store.    Add the topping you like best & omit the others.  A friend prepared a bar cart with a variety of herbs, cheese & toppings when we were invited to help them try out their new pizza oven, a Breville appliance from Williams Sonoma.  I made mine last night on a pizza pan in the oven, however, either is a good option.  The pizza oven will cook the pizza in a little less than 10 minutes, where as  the the oven at a high temp will take about 15 minutes, taking the pizza out of the standard oven a couple minutes early to add the cheeses and then baking for the additional 2 minutes or so.  Times of course are  approximates, depending on your oven settings.  Make pizza a couple of times and you’ll have it all figured out, just remember to take notes on your phone or in your kitchen notebook, so you remember for next time.  The pizza for dinner with the Hubby and then with Friends after dinner for drinks both were a hit.  So, start thinking when you’ll be whipping up a pizza and make plans....


Dough (I use a bread maker.  Place ingredients in the bread maker in the order listed.  It makes a difference, especially in the newer bread machines). This will make three balls of dough that will make a pizza I cooked on a 15 inch pie pan.

If you are not going to use the dough right away, store it in a plastic bag.

Dough Ingredients
2 cups warm water-I warm in the microwave for 1 minute.

1 Tablespoon honey

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 3/4 teaspoons yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

5 1/4 cups unbleached flour

While Dough is in machine, assemble all toppings. Turn on oven to 475 degrees about 30 minutes before dough is completed.  You want to place the pizza into in a very hot oven.

Pizza cut in small pieces to serve as appetizers along with watermelon, guacamole and chips on the island or counter.


1 -15 ounce can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

Olive oil

Assorted thinly sliced bell peppers in desired colors

Mini tomatoes

Thinly sliced onions, I like red onions because of the color


Grated either Parmesan/Romano/Pecorino Cheese

Package of shredded Mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil and oregano leaves

Salt/pepper/red pepper flakes

Toppings ready to go.

1.  After all ingredients are in bread pan in above order, turn on dough mode.  When done, remove from bread machine, turn out onto a lightly floured pastry cloth or surface-don’t add too much flour, it will make your dough dry and tough.  Divide into three balls.  If not using all three, place individually into a larger plastic bag, it will continue to rise even after in fridge.  Store for a few days in the fridge or give to a friend.  You may be able to freeze, however, I have not, because I just use it all.

2.  Shape onto a pizza pan or cookie sheet that is lightly brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with corn meal.  It will take some stretching and shaping.  Make a little thicker rim for a crust on the perimeter.

3.  Poke holes in the crust randomly with a fork.

4.  Spoon out tomato sauce or crushed  tomatoes desired amount.

5.  Sprinkle a little salt, a few red pepper flakes and some freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Go easy.

6.  Add additional toppings except for cheeses.

7.  Bake for 13 minutes.

8.  Remove from oven and add grated Parmesan/Romano/Pecorino then add the shredded Mozzarella  cheese, desired amount.

9.    Bake approximately an additional 2 minutes.

10.  Remove from oven.  Let stand for a couple of minutes and use a Pizza cutter to slice.  Make larger pie shaped slices for dinner and smaller squares for appetizers...Buon Appetito!

It's MORE THAN FOOD...In fact, it's secondary to those around the table.

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