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

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.

Home...

Home...


“If ever I go looking for my heart's desires again, I won't look any further than my own backyard.” --
L. Frank Baum 

I am not sure there is a more revered word than “home”. For me, no matter how tiring, frustrating, or melancholy my day might be, when I drive into my old farmhouse's driveway, my heart is filled with a soft and joyful peace.  

Home is where our hearts stand still with tranquility, regardless of brick or mortar. Just the mere thought of home takes us back to a world of love and serenity – where all is right with the world. 

Home is magic - where Santa leaves presents, where the tooth fairy leaves change, where birthday parties are celebrated with balloons and cake, and where you magically grow from a baby in the nursery into a teenager in a bunk-bed! 

Home is the backyard - where hamburgers are grilled, snow forts are built, Easter eggs are hidden, sprinklers are run through, where lightning bugs are caught, and beloved dogs sleep under big shade trees. 

Home is food – where meatloaf and goulash are what's for dinner, pie and ice cream are homemade treats, where after-school cookies are a must, and where families linger over delicious Sunday chicken dinners for hours! 

Home is family and friends – where eating meals together is a family tradition, where Dad reads the paper in his chair, where Mom is fixing dinner in the kitchen, where naps are taken in front of fireplaces, where family picnics and barbeques are held on the weekends, and where childhood friends are over constantly to play the day away!

Home is our destiny…our dream…our quest. - It is a place to go where comfort and love live forever. It is a rock solid place of reassurance and acceptance. It is where our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, children, and friends are waiting for us with open arms and smiling faces. Home is where all of us belong. 

And nothing, nothing takes you home, like a piece of homemade pie! 
Eat pie, love home!!!!   xoxolinda

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Linda's Favorites

Autumn 2014

 

  • Favorite Autumn Dinner – a hearty country vegetable soup with lots of potatoes, crusty bread to dip it in, wedges of Michigan apple slices and white cheddar cheese
  • Favorite Autumn Dessert – love warm apple pie or apple crisp with homemade caramel and really good vanilla bean ice cream, anything pumpkin!
  • Favorite Autumn Past time – color tour walks down our country road, bonfires, apple cider making, Thanksgiving dinner, trip to Frankenmuth w family, eating mini cinnamon donuts
  • Favorite Autumn Memory – I remember as a kid sitting on our front porch at 1505 Harding, staring at the beautiful hard maples across the street turn their amazing colors. I remember dreaming about how I wanted my life to be while watching the leaves dance in the breeze and feeling comforted by their final, peaceful fall to the ground. Even at that age, I believe I somehow understood a leaf’s metaphor – we start out small and insignificant, grow large and purposeful and end with a colorful , meaningful swansong.
  • Favorite Autumn Song - Autumn Leaves by Nat king Cole
  • Favorite AutumnQuote – "One day, something is gone from earth and sky,,,autumn has come...seasons of scales and balances, when the earth, brought to judgment for its fruits, says: I have done what I could...now let me rest! " (This is exactly how I feel by the end of our fall season at our farmette here at home, and at my busy, busy busy pie shop!!)
  • Favorite Autumn Movies - Walt Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - for its beautiful music, fun animation by Walt's talented artists, Washington Irving's intriquing story  and all narrated by the legendary, Bing Crosby! and On Golden Pond - A breathtaking movie with amazing actors, settings, and lessons on life...forgiveness, love anf family!

     

 

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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