“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
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.
I love, love, love this time of year. The spirits of the holidays are thick in the air and you can feel it the people, the places, and especially the food. Nothing can compare to the holiday treats and all of the baking wonders that have come out of family kitchens for generations. I know in our family I grew up enveloped with Christmas baking traditions.
My dear grandmother from West Virginia would send a much-anticipated frozen chocolate pecan pie up to our family every year, and my sweet mother would make various pies, cheesecake, cookies, stained glass hard candy, fudge and caramels for family and friends to enjoy. I remember my mother would always let me and my brothers and twin sister help make the holiday treats, and for me, this was utopia. My memories of this time are lovely, but are probably a bit embellished by age.
Most definitely, Christmas cookie decorating was our family’s favorite baking tradition. Back in the late sixties and early seventies at Christmas time, I remember our family happily listening to Nat and Bing while snow gently drifted out our tiny, turquoise kitchen window. I remember my dear mommy somewhat patiently leading us through another treasured holiday tradition while my daddy read the newspaper in the living room oblivious to the commotion.
The kitchen was chaotic and crowded with all five of us kids crammed in, anxious to keep the Christmas cookie decorating tradition alive and well. Every year it was exactly the same, siblings fighting over cookies cutters, cookies decorated quaintly and imperfectly and kids sneaking cookie dough from our big brown, chipped mixing bowl with joyous giggles echoing throughout our brick home. Despite the cramped space, spats, and mess, the time together as a family was perfect. Not perfect in the real sense of the word, but perfect because we were together and it was our McComb family tradition.
I implore all of us to continue your own family traditions or start new ones, for it is paramount that our time-honored traditions continue for our children and our children’s children. For there is nothing better than having the magic in our hearts at Christmastime as we recall warm, sweet memories of delicious holiday treats, loving family traditions and Santa Claus!
Eat pie, and treasure holiday traditions... xoxoxo Linda
As my daughter, Ellie says, “Good people eat porridge, bad people eat gruel and Americans eat hot cereal.”
I love food. Obviously, this is no new news to most. I love trying new foods, but love my comfort classics. I love breakfast food. Love pancakies. Love all kinds of eggs. Love the smell of bacon. Love hot cereal…oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Ralston and grits. Yet, for me, there is nothing better than a hot bowl of Cocoa Wheats on a cold, frosty Michigan morning.
However, there was always something missing in my hot cereal love-fest, as I had never been able to love porridge as I did the others, only because I had never had it! All of my life I have always been intrigued to try porridge as it sounded so comforting and delicious in all the storybooks. Oddly enough, I never researched making a pot, for I certainly could have made quite a sound pot of porridge I suspect.
Fortunately, last week my porridge dream came true for I was able to try three different kinds of porridge in Jamaica; cornmeal, plantain and hominy. I was so excited to try each of them, I could hardly stand it. Actually, they ended up tasting very similar to me, but the cornmeal one was my favorite. I felt my own “goldie-locks” getting more gold with every yummy bite. It was very smooth and creamy and sweetened perfectly. I loved that it tasted so familiar, yet new. I love that quality in delicious and amazing food – familiar, yet new.
As it is, I am not sure that I love porridge any more than the other hot cereal classics, but I certainly don’t like it less either. I do know that I am smitten enough that surely my family will be enjoying a lovely pot of porridge one of these chilly, Sunday mornings very soon.
Eat pie and love porridge! xoxoLinda