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Linda's Thoughts & Life
Linda's Thoughts & Life

My Favorite Pie...

My Favorite Pie...

I am often asked if I have a favorite pie, and I truthfully cannot pick just one. It is indeed like asking if you have a favorite son or daughter; you simply cannot choose! Still, I enjoy seasonal pies the very best. I have always loved the change in seasons, and enjoy decorating my farmette and shops to celebrate the different times of year and holidays. And I love seasonal cooking and baking to complement them as well, especially pie! 

In the spring I absolutely adore rhubarb pies. The sweet-tart fruit filling paired with a buttery crust is truly unbeatable. This is our family's all-time favorite pie for May birthdays and Memorial Day picnics. 

Come early summer I cannot wait to have a strawberry and cream pie with fresh-picked sweet strawberries set atop creamy vanilla custard filling. Later in the summer I adore fresh blueberry and peach pies, and love combining the two for pure summer love. Eating slice of these pies on my front porch is a summer must! 

Once my favorite season of fall arrives, I cannot wait for caramel apple and pumpkin pies. I love how they taste exactly like crisp autumn, and both are a staple at our Harvest Home barn party. 

As for winter, I adore pecan pie for holiday entertaining and love butterscotch praline for winter Sunday dinners. Both are rich and deep with flavor - perfect to warm you soul in the coldest season!  

Eat pie, love life   xoxolinda

Good… Better… Best Pie!

Good… Better… Best Pie!

Terry, a former colleague, friend, and fellow ardent pie lover and I could talk hours about pie. We talked everything pie; cream pies vs. fruit – canned cherries vs. fresh, crumb topping vs. lattice, meringue or not, and on and on… He was not very picky about his pies, which is where we disagreed immensely. My thoughts were, and have been to this day, if a pie isn’t amazing, than I am not interested in having any. His thoughts were, a pie is pie, is a pie. He believed there to be only two kinds of pie; good pie and better pie! This always made me smile and it probably does have some validity to many. However, I will maintain for the rest of my years that the only pie worth eating is the BEST pie!

 I remember quite distinctly when I decided on this superior pie creed school of thought. I was at my Grandpa’s farm for a family Sunday dinner when I was about 10 or 12 years old. I barely ate anything savory back then, as my sweet tooth was in full swing and hadn’t developed my savory taste buds yet. My mother was a wonderful pie baker and always made deliciously perfect pies with flaky crusts and delicious fillings. My aunts and other Grandma were all superb pie bakers as well, so all I had ever known is the BEST pies. As the Sunday dinner progressed, I soon realized that my Step-Grandma was not blessed with any pie baking talents at all; not a one. Bless her sweet heart.

 My Grandma had made two custard pies for dessert and I thought about nothing but them throughout dinner. My mother made custard pies and I enjoyed them wholeheartedly, as I loved their “nutmeggie” creaminess! I passed through dinner with no one really noticing I ate only rolls with honey and applesauce, in anticipation of that coveted pie. Dinner finally ended and I got up quickly to aid my Grandma with serving the pies, as I was so excited to see them, and eat them. However, my face of pie-lust quickly turned to on of pie-horror when she tried slicing her pies. When the knife hit the thin golden skin of the top of the pie, a warm, cream-color clotted liquid ran all over the counter, while the crust fell in like a fallen tent. This was clearly not the pie I had been accustomed to my entire young life.

 Those family members (with my friend Terry’s view on pie) ladled the pie into bowls and ate it like ice cream. I, however; left the farm hungry, completely disappointed, but much, much wiser.

 That Sunday dinner changed my view forever that all pies are not created equal. Actually, as I reflect back, I am quite certain that that runny custard pie probably led me to my destiny, to make the BEST pie I know how to make. It is why I have a pie shop, ship pies, give baking classes, and perform pie demos across the country. I want to share what I have learned to ensure no one settles for a good pie, or even a better pie. As I want everyone to have only the BEST pie. I have always said, if I can make a pie close to as good as your favorite pie baker, then I have done my job.

 Eat the BEST pie and love life! xoxolinda

Selfless Dreamers

Selfless Dreamers

This week's blog will celebrate great men like Martin Luther King and great Presidents like Abraham Lincoln.  As much as I feel compelled to write about these men, I also feel almost “wordless.”  

However, I do know two intrinsic truths that stand out in my mind when I think of great men and women, especially these men.  I believe that people who do great things have two virtues above all others; the capacity to dream and the aptitude of living a selfless life – selfless dreamers.

People who live their lives selflessly understand their purpose.  They understand that standing up for all that is good and just, loving all living beings equally, and living your life doing good for others is the secret to life. They believe that loving all people above themselves is the answer.

People who live their lives dreaming understand that there is hope in all of life.  They understand that through their selfless contributions to make a difference in our world and believing in their hearts that the dream can and will come true, it will.  They never stop believing in the dream. No matter what, they believe.  No matter what the costs, no matter how it affects them personally, they never think of themselves and religiously believe in the dream.

Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln started off no different then you and me.  They were merely ordinary folks that did extraordinary things because they were selfless dreamers. They made a difference in our world because they realized their cause was bigger than themselves and dreamed that they could make it better.

Oh my, let us all decide today to be selfless dreamers and make our world lovely.

Eat Pie, Love Life – Linda Hundt xoxo

My Mommy's Potato Soup

My Mommy's Potato Soup

Winter's dark dinner hour always reminds me of my mother's potato soup; as it filled our brick home with the comforting aroma of onions, potatoes, and cream. It was clearly the respite of the day for all seven of us, especially, when she made a big pan of hot corn bread to go along with it. 

While growing up, I remember on weekends she would make a huge pot of her creamy soup. It would simmer on the back burner of our old fifties stove all day long, with occasional stirs from my mother as she passed by. When my brothers, twin sister, and I would come into the house after a day of sledding or ice skating, the soup was patiently waiting for us to warm our bones and comfort out tummies. 

It was a staple in her menu planning, especially in the long, frosty winters of Michigan. As an adult, I understand why she made it so much, for it was cost effective for a big family, she always had the ingredients on hand, and she didn't have to think about it. For her, making that soup was like pin curling her hair, she could do it in her sleep, while grading papers, feeding the dog, and chopping onions. Mothers are the masters of multi-tasking. Basically, it was cheap, easy and delicious, and what more could you ask for in a meal for a working mother of five? 

I must admit, I did tire of the soup's frequency on the back burner of our kitchen stove. As a child, I didn't appreciate its hearty, creamy goodness as I do today…and not because it wasn't delicious, but because it was redundant. As I got older, I always stirred a little Velveeta cheese into mine to make it perfect. To this day, I do like my potato soup with a little more flavor, so when I make her recipe, I always add some fresh herbs, wine and cheese to enhance its rock-solid base. 

My mother was known for her potato soup, as she made it for family, friends, and strangers throughout her years. It went to church potlucks, sick families, mourning friends, and was always the favorite for large family gatherings and Sunday dinners in the fall and winter. Everyone always loved it, appreciated it and felt loved and comforted by my Mommy's Potato Soup – how perfect is that? 

Eat and make soup and feel love. --Linda 
 

Creamy Potato Gouda & Rosemary Soup

4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 C. white wine or water
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary chopped very fine
4 large leeks cleaned and roughly chopped – white part only
1 small onion, chopped fine
½ tsp. garlic
3 medium Yukon Gold peeled potatoes chopped in 1” cubes 
5 C. chicken stock - and more if needed - to thin soup
1 C. heavy cream or half and half
1 C. of grated Gouda or white cheddar cheese, plus some for garnish
¼ tsp. pepper
salt to taste
fresh green onion or chives
crumbled maple bacon

In soup pot, cook butter, oil, leeks, onions, wine, and garlic until tender on medium heat. Add potatoes and chicken stock, simmering on medium heat until potatoes are soft and cooked through. Lower heat to low and add cream, cheese, pepper and salt to taste. Garnish with green onions or fresh chives, crumbled maple bacon and grated cheese.

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Linda's Favorites

Holidays 2014

  • Quote – No, Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
  • Savory food – Homemade cheeseballs of all sorts. Appetizers
  • Sweets – Fudge, Christmas cookies of all sorts, peppermint ice cream
  • Drinks – Egg noggie, Homemade hot chocolate, cranberry champagne punch
  • Entertainment – My ornament exchanges, parties of all sorts, Christmas caroling,
  • Movies – It’s A Wonderful Life and The Walton’s Homecoming
  • Carols– Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Mary Did You Know, We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  • Stories – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
  • Gifts – My Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll
  • Times – Every bit of the season with family, friends, strangers enjoying the season together.
  • Recipe – Mom’s Brown Sugar Peanut Butter Fudge

 

 

About Linda

Linda Hundt is the…

True believer that delicious memories make the world a more meaningful, joyous and loving place.

Proprietor of the cutest pie shop in the whole world, Sweetie-licious Bakery Café, DeWitt, MI.  

Winner of the 2009 Crisco National Pie Championship Best of Show/Food Network Pie Challenge…dreams really do come true!

Mother two charming and beautiful college student daughters.

Winner of 15 first place awards at the Crisco National Pie Championship, including the Crisco 100th. Anniversary Innovation Award.

Wife of an equally charming and beautiful husband of over 25 years.

Daughter of adorable and happy parents, – My mommy is my cooking and baking mentor and certainly one of the original Pie Queens.

Sister to three, sweet , older brothers,  fraternal twin to a lovely, lovely sister.

Friend to many amazing and true friends.

Part-time home-keeper of our little family’s lovely, century old “farmette.”

Pie baker that believes that loving people and making great pie is her mission in life.

Luckiest girl in the world.

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