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I'll Be Home for Christmas

Home is such a lovely four letter word.  I am not sure there is another word that brings most folks such peace of heart.  I know many of you either have family and friends coming to your homes or you are going back home to yours or theirs, but no matter the circumstance, the yearning for home is universal and timeless.

 I am not sure there is anything more poignant than Bing singing; I’ll Be Home For Christmas.  As one imagines every G.I. dreaming of their own home, whether it is some life-changing war from yesteryear or today…

One of my favorite Christmas movies is, The Walton’s Homecoming, which is all about the father of seven making it home for Christmas during the Great Depression.  This 1970’s made for television movie, reflects the timeless notion that families should be, need to be, and have to be together at Christmas, no matter what the circumstances.

I believe everyone should be home for Christmas, whether it is realistic or not, I wish it to be so. Home is the goal, the destination, for there certainly is no place like it. Most importantly, during this season, home is where Santa comes every year and still does for us believers. So whether you are traveling to a home or staying at your own, make your home for Christmas, warm and magical with plenty of love, laughter, forgiveness, acceptance, patience, joy and  of course...pie! 

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I'll Be Home for Christmas

An Old Fashioned West Virgina Christmas

My mom grew up in the mountains of West Virginia during the Depression. During that time, because money was scarce for the entire country, Christmas gifts were few for most folks, so delicious holiday food took the center stage of celebrations.
My mother remembers every Christmas Eve day her family would string popcorn and cranberry garland by the warmth of the kitchen's wood stove. They would spend the entire day decorating their small, but fragrant, Christmas tree, and helping my grandmother bake her delicious breads, pies, and cheesecake! She remembers anxiously awaiting for the special Christmas Eve dinner, and was always comforted by hot buttery oyster soup, wedges of Swiss cheese, warm biscuits with orange marmalade, a fresh pineapple, and my grandmother's homemade pecan pie! After dinner, they would play dominoes while my Grandpa would recite poetry and read the Christmas story, from the Bible.
The holiday menu was always the same, and marvelously delicious, which was very soothing to a little girl growing up in bleak economic times. Strong family roots and delicious, time-honored, traditional foods truly made my mother feel secure and loved, as did a little visit from Santa each and every holiday season! 

Eat pie, savor timeless, delicious memories!  xoxolinda

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An Old Fashioned West Virgina Christmas

The Christmas Spirit









The Christmas spirit is love. 

Love changes everything. And love is what changes the world. 

God's love that shines through us...all because of a tiny baby boy.  

Love is the Christmas Spirit.  

Jesus' love inspired me to open my little pie shop and love all the people I can through a loving piece of pie.  

Let us all remember the Christmas Spirit that lives in every human heart that walks this

Thus, do everything we can to bring it out in each other. 

For the Christmas spirit is truly and simply, LOVE.










Let the Christmas spirit fill your lives with love, and purpose to follow your very own star, to be the very best you.

Merry Christmas!

Eat pie, and God Bless Us Everyone! -- xoxolinda

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The Christmas Spirit

My Easybake Ovens

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me, that my Easybake oven was my favorite Christmas gift. I speak of it often as it inspired my love for baking and creating at an early age. I received my most favorite gift when I was six years old in 1969. I truly remember my twin sister and I tearing off the Christmas wrap, exposing the box to this picture of a darling little girl playing with her oven. I loved her hair, which I later imitated, her dress, and her happy self playing with her own little oven! I remember being elated and so thankful to Santa for thinking of me! 

After that, my memories are mostly scattered. I remember my sister and I baking for my brothers, and how much they seemed to like me when the Easybake was out. I remember all five of us kids hovered around the oven while taking impatient turns staring into the tiny window, watching our brownies bake beautifully under the 100 watt light bulb! I remember my mommy cutting the brownie into five pieces so we children could all get a taste. Indeed, a taste was all it was, but we were so happy despite its size, because we made it!

Unfortunately, my beloved Easybake was destroyed in a house fire at my parents’ home over 20 years ago. My dear husband was well aware of my love for my beloved little oven and decided to find me a replica of my own on Ebay. His quest was intended to be a private one, so a glorious surprise was to occur on Christmas morning for me. However, his sleuth-like skills were not polished as an email from Ebay confirming his Easybake purchase was left on our email for me to unintentionally see!

I felt so badly that I had accidently ruined his great surprise and pondered what I was to do Christmas morning. I didn’t want to fake it and wasn’t sure that I even could, but I didn’t want to disappoint the moment for him. When he gave me my large box, his eyes were dancing with anticipation, so I decided to tell him what I knew with fear my acting skills would be dubious and trite. He was clearly disappointed, but understanding. To my amazement however, as I peeled the Christmas paper off my gift, I saw the little girl on the box that I hadn’t seen in forty years and my eyes immediately began to fill with tears. 

All my feelings of joy and love that I have felt from cooking and baking through my entire life came rushing out of my eyes and onto the box. I realized that my entire mission in life, my dream of changing the world one pie at a time, loving people through my food all started from my little oven. I realized that through my darkest depression, my cooking and baking soothed me and gave me purpose – all because of my Easybake oven.

As joy filled my grateful heart and happy tears rushed my cheeks, I knew that my gifts, my blessings, my mission and my love will always fill my life.

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My Easybake Ovens

Summer Wedding at the Hundt Homestead

Weddings, picnics, parades and barbecues are all a part of summer’s sweet season; and an outdoor wedding in the middle of June is as classic as hot days at the lake. Our beautiful daughter, Ellie, was married at our homestead in June, and it was truly magical, just as she had always dreamed it to be since she was a little girl. She was married in the meadow where she and her favorite little sister, Betsie, chased grasshoppers and fireflies. The reception was in our 125 year old barn, filled with straw and laughter, just as it was when the girls spent summer days swinging from the rafters. The homestead was, and will always be a place for family, traditions, joyful love, and so many memories. The day was filled with all of that, yet so much more! We gained more lovely family, and a sweet and wonderful son! We are blessed, so very blessed!

My daughter’s wedding dress was worn beautifully and happily from the minute I helped her put it on in my bedroom, until the second I found it dirty and crumpled on our bathroom floor the next day. Her dress was a HUGE part of “her best day ever!” She ran barefoot through sunlit country roads in it. She danced all night on a straw barn floor in it. She dropped some of her homemade strawberry wedding cake and Sweetie-licious key lime pie on two layers of its ivory tulle in it. It had grass stains from playing corn hole and riding her tandem bike with her new hubby all over the warm meadow of our farm. It had beer and wine spills on its gazillion buttoned bustle from guests giving her loving hugs; and lipstick stains from well intended, but short and sweet near-sighted grandmothers. Mostly, this special wedding dress was filled with dried stains of tears. Tears of love, joy and excitement of finding her great and true love.

Let us all be refreshed by wedding love, whether we have been married for ten or fifty years. Love sweet, and as deep as your heart can hold!

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Summer Wedding at the Hundt Homestead

Spring 2016

I am writing this spring collection of thoughts, despite the chill and gusty winds of March, because I love to hope and dream! 

  • Spring - I love this time of year as… The frost melts and the sunshine warms my bed earlier for afternoon naps! The happy songbirds start singing and showing their sweet faces! A lovely fresh breeze lifts the winter blankness in the air! The gardens start budding teeny tiny stems through the cold and tired soil. A new batch of spring chicks that will be lovingly chosen to live at the Hundt Homestead Henhouse
  • Savory Foods – Anything lemony and lovely screams “spring”, Roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary, Asparagus made with cream, butter and lemon
  • Sweet Foods - Lemon cream pie with raspberries, Cherry lemon bomb cookies!
  • Favorite Spring Thing - I love the tradition of spring cleaning and do what I can every year to spruce up the house after the long, cold Michigan winter. I enjoy scrubbing our wood floors and walls and opening up all the windows on our first warmish day. I love washing and airing the down comforters, heavy blankets and throws and putting all of my light and fluffy chenille bedspreads on all the beds! I also love cleaning the henhouse for my chickies, so they too, have a happy, clean home and our barn cat, Margie gets new clean basket linens as well! 
  • Favorite Spring Flower - Happy Pansies! 
  • Quote - "All nature seems at work, Slugs leave their lair. The bees are stirring-Birds are on the wing; And Winter slumbering in the open air wears on his face a dream of Spring." S.T. Coleridge


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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 than you and I.  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

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Selfless Dreamers

My Hometown

Since I was a little girl, I have always been so proud of my home state, Michigan. I love the way Michiganders experience the seasons, each one vibrant and defined by its color, temperature, pastimes - and the food it brings to the table! Whether you are picking fruits or vegetables from a tree, bush or garden, Michigan's seasonal bounty is plentiful. Our recreation even pairs with the seasons: Water and snow sports are beloved Michigan activities.

Our state is beautiful, filled with glorious deciduous and pine trees, acres of open farm fields, and miles and miles of sandy beaches. Michigan's little towns are slow-paced and peaceful, while our big cities are cultural and vivacious. And Michiganders are typical Midwestern folks - hardworking, humble, of great character, with sweet and easy dispositions.

My hometown, DeWitt, is as cute as you can imagine. It is, indeed, a place where people know you by name and where little parades, farm markets, and festivals line our streets. Everyone turns out for Friday night football games, and the tiny barbershop is standing room only on Saturday mornings.

My sweet hometown folks have always been supportive of my little pie shop, and me! They came and bought pies, cookies and lunch. They told their friends, who bought more pies. The friends brought their relatives, and they bought muffins and even more pies. And so on and so on. I can never thank DeWitt enough for helping make Sweetie-licious the success that it is and - more important - for believing in me.

I wish everyone the privilege of living in a place of camaraderie like DeWitt, Michigan. It's a town I am proud to be from, and oneI hope I make proud!

Eat pie, love life!

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My Hometown

My Daddy

My Daddy was a man of simple passions and pleasures. He loved dogs, farms, babies, newspapers, visiting with people, hardware stores, pigs, education, fixing cars, collecting old radios, WWII memorabilia, feeding birds and squirrels, doctor appointments, collecting boxes, garage sales, laughter, story-telling, butter pecan ice cream, marigolds, flannel shirts, Tiger baseball, history, peanuts, his family and PIE! 

One of my fondest memories while growing up was listening to Detroit Tiger baseball games on the radio together on warm summer nights. I often helped him hold a flashlight to the car engine as he tinkered on one of our warn-out, old cars. We loved listening to Ernie Harwell’s tranquil voice announce the play by play into the night. He and I would talk about the line-up, the players’ averages, and why Al Kaline was in a slump.

My Daddy’s love for his family was paramount and where he got his greatest joy. He loved telling stories of his one-room schoolhouse days and of their farm growing up to all of us kids. He spoke of hard work with honor and respect and love for his neighbors and relatives with pride.

My Daddy loved people, loved talking to all people that cross his path. His bank teller, waitress, or hardware store assistant would soon become fast friends as he loved to meet and enjoy people.

He also had a huge sweet tooth, as I do. Sometimes he would stop for candy bars or ice cream cones on road trips, which thrilled me beyond compare. But he loved pie most of all, and always, always appreciated my mommy’s delicious homemade pies, and later in life, my own homemade pies! 

My Daddy’s smile and laugh have always been my favorite. He absolutely loved to laugh, as his eyes squint up with an ear-to-ear grin covering his face, when he found something pleasing, which he did often.

My Daddy ws a wonderful father. Thank you, Daddy for leaving me with your spirit of unconditional love and respect of people, laughter, appreciating and honoring our past, the importance of story-telling, love for family and passion for pie!

With gratitude and deep love– eat pie, love life - xoxxolinda

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My Daddy

Farm Market Love

I absolutely love the magnetic atmosphere of farm markets and the steadfast commerce they have demonstrated for centuries. The hustle bustle of the satisfied vendors and customers, the aroma and beauty of the perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables and the outdoor sunshine and breezes swirling in the pavilion or tents has a uniquely loving, comforting energy like nothing else. 

Farm markets have always been oh, so near and dear to my heart. I have such lovely memories of my daddy taking my twin sister and me downtown to the city farm market early Saturday mornings.   Because my father grew up on a farm, he had much appreciation for farmers and their bounty and loved visiting with his vendor friends at the market. No matter who we talked to, the subject always seemed to turn to the unpredictable Michigan weather, and I remember fondly my daddy's reassuring and empathetic responses to their farming plights. Listening to these conversations, I realized at a young age the importance of not only buying local and how it affects our local economy and people, but more importantly, the emotional connection with people and food. 

With a daughter on each hand, he would take us down the crowded aisles, to buy his beloved vegetables and such; large pink radishes, fresh sweet corn, garden red -ripe tomatoes, and local artisan Colby cheese were his staples.   I enjoyed them all, but my favorite was the bakery booth, as the booth was stacked with various homemade breads and doughnuts, which was delight for a sweet-tooth little girl to see. My father happily would buy a fresh loaf of raisin bread for the family, but best of all, he would let my sister and I pick out a big, fat jelly doughnut! What a treat! 

It seemed only natural for me to start selling my own pies at our DeWitt Farm Market when I first started my home based business some ten years ago. I will never forget the love in the air as my customers came to my vintage table clothed booth - they smiled, they ate, they loved my pies...and... me! I was high on the love, energy and emotional connection with my customers just like my daddy had taught me so many years before! 

I sold out of my pies every Saturday from that day forward and never looked back. It is amazing how buying with a smile, a simple tomato, a bushel of peaches or a homemade pie from a farm market can make a life experience so much deeper than we realize.  

Farm markets have always been oh, so near and dear to my heart.

Eat Pie, and Love Life… Linda 

P.S. Please visit us on Saturdays at the Meridian Farm Market in Okemos and on Thursdays at the Northville Farm Market.

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Farm Market Love

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

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My Favorite Pie...

Easter Time

I love those two words put together – Easter time equates to me, green grass, pretty dresses, yummy ham, cream pies, sunshine, and eggs – dyed, chocolate, deviled, pickled and plastic filled! I remember being very excited about my Easter dresses, hats, and white gloves! Loved the gloves, I still love wearing them to events when I can pull it off! Still love a darling dress too - I have a collection of retro ones - and am always charmed by a sweet sundress! 

Our Easter basket tradition was a little different than most, as opposed to each of us five kids having our own basket, we all shared a very large one. It was mostly filled with jellybeans, yet some years we got a chocolate bunny, silly putty and/or a comic book. I always envied the kids who got to “find” their own basket on Easter morning filled with lot of chocolate eggs, kites, bubble bath, and such. To me; however, our yummy dinner and the pie easily made up for our lackluster Easter basket.  

Church was always special…I remember it as beautiful; filled with Easter lilies and everyone dressed in their Easter best! At that age, I remember church being especially long, when all I could think about was the dinner and the Easter egg hunt that awaited me at home! Now, I appreciate Easter and how my faith has always inspired and renewed each season, and how stirred I am to do His work with love. 

But, food for me was, and is always, my favorite part of any holiday, and Easter is no exception. My family had a traditional ham marinated in Vernors ginger ale and adorned with pineapple rings and cloves, creamy scalloped potatoes, orange-pineapple Jello mold, peas and carrots, seven-layer salad, pickled and deviled eggs and of course, pie! My mother usually made cream pies for Easter - lemon and coconut cream were family favorites!  

In the picture shown, circa 1966 or so, my family is posing at my dear Aunt Margie’s farm on a lovely Easter Sunday! I smile every time I see this picture, as it was obviously taken before today’s slick cameras. The “hatchet head” was a common problem for many picture takers back then, especially my Aunt Margie. She was always cutting someone’s head off, such as my poor daddy’s! I also love this picture because it shows how everyone got dressed up back then! I am not sure why dressing up for events has fallen out of favor, but I sure wish people would respect all the special events in our lives and dress up for them.  

Let’s remember Easter, as we did in the past and make it lovely with a grateful heart, an inspired spirit, a yummy dinner, a delicious pie, and/or a new dress or tie! :) 

Eat pie, love life, Linda xoxoxxo

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Easter Time


“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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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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My Mommy's Potato Soup

Memories of Holiday Baking

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

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Memories of Holiday Baking


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

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Veterans' Day Thoughts...

Veterans' Day is such a special day, one of America's most special of days really. Today we honor our veterans that made one inspiring decision that changed their lives and all Americans' lives forever. They committed their lives to serve our country. This is an extraordinary measure of commitment, for as we know, many, many, many of those committed heroes lost God's greatest gift for our country. 

Our military friends from today or yesteryear make and made our great country be. They make us be proud, be American, and most importantly, be here!

It is plain and simple, without these heroes, our American dream would not be. Let us remember our Revolutionary War heroes that truly made our country the independent, democratic country that it remains today. Or one could consider the great Civil War heroes that fought for domestic peace and equality for ALL men and women. Then one could consider the war of all wars, World War II, where our military heroes fought to retain our world's humanity and peace against great evil forces. And the more contemporary war heroes, less spoken of perhaps, but just as impressive - The Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, and Middle East veterans of today. 

All of them, whether they are with us in body or spirit alone, deserve all the bucket loads of respect and recognition we, as Americans, can muster. But most importantly, they deserve our gratitude. Because without these heroes of America, we would not exist in the world that we know and more than likely, take for granted every day.

So let us love, hug, give thanks and pray for all living and passed veterans that carried on their heroic duties to make our lives peaceful, independent, equal and safe, for the good of America and all humanity. Or better yet, seek out a veteran and bake them or buy them a delicious All-American pie to show your love and appreciation, as wives, sisters, and mothers have done for decades showing theirs!

Eat Pie, be thankful for our Veterans!

P.S. The handsome Korean War veteran  is my daddy, Ben McComb, taken in 1951.

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Veterans' Day Thoughts...

Harvest Home

Every year, my family celebrates the fall with Harvest Home, a lovely tradition we started since we moved to our beloved, century old farmhouse over fifteen years ago. Harvest Home is an old English tradition celebrating the annual harvest. After all the fields were gathered the community would come together for a community feast to rejoice in their bounty of blessings. We do this by having family and friends join us for homemade apple cider, lots of apple and pumpkin pies and our delicious stone soup.

Stone soup starts by adding a small stone to a large cooking pot filled with broth and vegetables over an open fire. Each hungry guest and/or family contributes a vegetable of their choosing to the bubbling brew until a rich and hearty soup created for all to share. Some guests are creative and bring bottles of wine, fresh herbs and homemade noodles or pasta. This is always fun, because each year the soup is different, but always, always yummy. Guests take turns stirring the massive copper pot, which is especially fun for the young and the old. 

The pot is very similar to the one my Grandma Ferrell used for canning enormous batches of apple butter in the fall. My mother remembers the family stirring the great pot of her homemade applesauce and seasonings all day until it became thick with a lovely deep ruby hue. I threw an apple butter party one year too, which is loads of work and fun too! 

When the soup is ready, our family and friends gather around the copper pot and fire. My sweet mother, adorned with her West Virginia hillbilly hat, tells the story of Stone Soup aloud to the crowd, and then my daddy says the blessing. Then joyful ladles of soup are dispersed to the hungry, patient crowd. It is so sweet to hear the sounds of happy folks eating bowls of hot and hearty goodness on a crisp fall day. And for favors, we intentionally make more soup than we can eat, so each family leaves with a container for their next day’s Sunday dinner!

Later, we watch old Disney movies on our vast barn doors, as folks are wrapped in quilts and comforters to stay warm. Some stay by the cozy bonfire to sing songs, tell stories and enjoy the bountiful day filled with good family, friends, food and fun! 

I wholeheartedly suggest you put a party like this on, if space and time and hard work are plentiful in your circle of family and friends. As it really is another delicious memory for you to share with those that you love and a special event to remember all of God's sweet blessings!

Eat pie, and celebrate God's bounty -- xoxoxo Linda

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Harvest Home

October is here

October is here.  I absolutely love the fall.  In fact, so much so, that I get a bit offended if people aren’t in complete agreement with me of its magnificence. I love the coolness in the air and the aged, earthy smell of the blustery breezes.  I love the grey, bullying clouds playing hide and seek with the warm, happy sun in the October sky.  In our own front yard, our beloved Mother Maple tree creates the most vivid yellow leaves imaginable this season.  And when the sunshine dances on her fading, falling leaves, well, it is breathtaking. 

I truly love all things fall – bonfires, football games, homecoming parades, chili, soups, pot pies, hot cider, tea and chocolate, sweaters, fall coats, down comforters, gingerbread, custard, warm ovens, crock pots, caramel apples, hot bubble baths and lots of lots of pie…

Eat Pie, Love Life and Fall…Linda xo

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October is here

My Favorite Teacher

I was completely humbled and elated when my former high school A.P. English teacher, Mr. Spagnuolo, walked into my cute, little pie shop.  He truly looked the same to me with the exception of his unfortunate Parkinson’s disease affecting his gait and balance.  His smile was sweet and tender and his voice was calming and sure, just as it was almost thirty years ago.  But, his big gift, his words and his wisdom were as profound, sound and as addictive to me as they were so many years ago. 

 Mr.  Spag, as he was fondly referred to,  introduced me to the written word, our vernacular, non-fiction, fiction and classic characters, writers, poets,  and other worlds;  a whole beautiful utopia of how words can change people and ultimately, the way we choose to live.  He taught me to examine, imagine, create, articulate, work hard, be passionate, believe and dream. 
He inspired me.
He believed in me.

Truly, many people affect how we create our own life, and make no mistake we do create our own life.  However, sometimes certain people carve their initials into our souls and enable us to see our potential, our gifts and our own utopia.  Mr. Spag did this for me.  He told me I was smart and that if I worked hard that I could accomplish much.  He told me I had gifts.  He told me to dream.  He believed in me. I was astounded that a man of his merit thought all of this of me, little Linda McComb (Hundt.)  

His years of teaching me and his few sentences literally changed my way of thinking, instead of reading  and dreaming of all the other worlds, I knew that I had what it takes to create my own.  And, I did, in retrospect, exactly what  he taught me to.  I dreamed, I created, I used my passion and gifts and I worked hard, very hard,  to create the life I want and the world I want to live in, to share with my family and friends and now my customers.

I have a guest book at my shop that customers write in, expressing their feelings for the shop, email addresses etc.  People are so gracious, and have written such lovely things about their experience at my bakery-café, Sweetie-licious, and I appreciate each and every comment.   However, never was I more pleased when Mr. Spag wrote a few sentences down in my little red book despite his ailing hands.  When I read what he wrote, it brought tears to my eyes.

Some people dream.  Some make theirs come true.  Hugh Spagnuolo I promise you, if I had not been blessed to have you as my English teacher all those years ago, I would not be everything I am today nor, everything I will be tomorrow. 

Eat pie, inspire others… xo Linda

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My Favorite Teacher

Grandma Ferrell, high school head cook...

My grandmother was the head cook for Buckhannon Upshur High School in Buckhannon, West Virginia for close to twenty years. Grandma might as well have been the head chef at the Waldorf Astoria for all the pride and joy she felt for her job. She was respected by her peers and students alike, was a talented cook and menu planner, and absolutely loved making the student body and staff joyfully comforted with her delicious dishes!

Hundreds lined up for her legendary homemade goulash, crispy, fried chicken, and her sweet cinnamon apple crisp (my favorite.) She especially looked forward to the fall, making vats of juicy steaks and barbeque meat loaf for the football boys, well into the evening! Grandma loved making people feel loved through her old fashioned, good cookin'…

Ellouise Hill Ferrell clearly changed the world one pie at a time! xoxolinda

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Grandma Ferrell, high school head cook...

Summer Picnics ...

I am completely convinced that our Michigan summers are the best summers anywhere. They are generally not too humid, not too cold with a just the right amount of sunshine to make picnics, days at the beach and backyard barbeques perfect past times. 

My childhood family picnics are some of my most treasured summer memories. It seemed like back then more people went on picnics. There were church picnics, company picnics, end of school picnics, reunion picnics and family picnics. I remember my mother packed a lovely spread on Saturday night, and we would go on a Sunday drive to an area park, mostly Potter Park to enjoy our family dinner in a new, exciting venue! She usually had fried chicken, potato salad, carrot & celery sticks, deviled eggs, cut melon, cold pork and beans out of a can (not a favorite) and a yummy dessert. Sometimes my mommy would pack a pie, but usually a brownie or a bar of some sort.

I remember when it rained on family vacations; we would have our picnics inside the old woody station wagon. This was always a little chaotic with eight people; my parents, six kids (we always took our best friend, Sheila,) a dog, and lots of luggage crammed in the hot, non-air conditioned family vehicle. My mother had little baskets, which I loved, with our name written on a napkin tucked in each lunch basket. She made each one identically the same, so there were no arguments, from her front seat, make-shift kitchen. I remember each of us wanting our lunch basket first, for it took some time to get through eight lunches, and certainly the last one fed could easily get short changed an apple slice or potato chip! For the most part, the lunches were a little plain in fare, but clearly the highlight of the long, hot ten-hour car ride. The menu usually consisted of a cut-up apple quarter, celery stalks with peanut butter, a lettuce wedge for thirst and a few random potato chips. Sometimes, when we were well behaved, my daddy would splurge and buy us all Planter’s peanut candy bars when we stopped to fill the gas tank up. What a treat!  

“You don't have to go on a journey, You really need not travel far, You can have a delightful vacation at home or wherever you are!” -- Mrs. Roy Peifer  

I am not sure why picnics have fallen out of favor, but I implore we bring them back.Why not take your loved ones to a nearby park or beach with a basket full of yummy food that they don’t ordinarily eat. When my family goes on Sunday beach picnics, I often take various artisan cheeses, breads, crackers, special fruits, olives, cut veggies with dips and dessert of course! I also love to pack special novelty ice cold drinks. It makes the picnic so special. They love the unconventional delicious lunch! It’s always about the food, you know. :) And there is nothing, nothing like Lake Michigan for the perfect picnic venue! To make your picnic extra special, remember to bring along a pie, if not your own, then of course, an award winning, Sweetie-licious pie! 

I am enclosing a wonderful blonde brownie recipe that Mom Hundt still makes on Sundays and very similar to the one Mom McComb used to pack on those wonderful Sunday picnics. 

Eat pie, picnic, and love life! -- xoxxo Linda

Mom Hundt’s and Mom McComb’s Blondie Brownies 

  • 1¼ C. flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ C. chopped fine pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 C. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C. butterscotch chips

Combine in bowl 

  • 1/2 C. melted butter
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla 

Cream together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Spread into one nine inch buttered pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes to 30 minutes. Cut in pie wedges.


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Summer Picnics ...

Summer Meals...

As a kid, I loved summer meals, and still do. I love their flavorful charm and appreciate their effortless preparation. I believe that the simple, comfortable meals of the summer and every season will always be our favorites.

Both of my parents grew up on farms, so for sentimental reasons, we always had a small garden patch to enjoy in the summer. We only grew a few vegetables, as space was limited, but green onions, green beans and various tomato plants were in abundance. As small as the garden was, it certainly was prolific, flourishing in its southern exposure and bordered by my Daddy’s sunny marigolds. Come August, the tomatoes seemed magical, as there were always several Big Boy reds ready to be picked each and every hot, summer day.

Given our own garden and Daddy’s bi-weekly visits to the farm market, there was never, ever a dinner set in the summer without a large plate of fresh summer vegetables. Usually, my Mommy always set a platter of tomatoes, radishes, and green onions, a yellow Pyrex bowl filled with cucumbers/onions and vinegar, a steaming pot of boiled fresh, sweet corn, a bowl of sweet, sliced peaches, big glasses of iced sun tea and a basket filled with homemade cornbread and honey.

Yet, as much as I loved these dinners, summer lunches were, and still are my favorite! To this day, there is nothing like a freshly picked tomato sandwich. Unlike the repetitious nature of making the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the fresh, summer tomato sandwich’s creation had some adventure.   Hurrying to the garden and picking a beautiful ripe red wonder, warm from the garden sun, was clearly fun and different. White Wonder bread was a must, spread with a thin layer of Miracle Whip salad dressing, topped with a layer of delicious, fresh tomatoes sprinkled with plenty of salt and pepper. That is it… simple perfection.

“It is difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a home-grown tomato.” -- Lewis Grizzard

Every time I take a bite of fresh corn on the cob, or a fresh tomato sandwich, it takes me back to a 1970s summer day, eating this delightful summer food, waiting for it to get dark to catch fireflies.

Eat summer veggies, love life! xoxxolinda

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Summer Meals...

The Old Elephant Sprinkler

Summertime in Michigan is delightful, always has been to me. While growing up, I remember summer days as long, hot, and enchanting. Not too many folks had pools in our neighborhood, so on scorching summer days the garden hose and sprinkler were your best friends. I remember the numbing cold water hitting our wiry kid bodies and the grass sticking to our dirty little summer feet. We ran around giggling, screaming, playing made up games to fight the back and forth repetition of the sprinkler. This was classic summer.

My twin sister and I had a little friend around the corner that had the ultimate sprinkler. It was an old cement elephant sprinkler that stood about three feet off the ground. Its paint was mostly all chipped off except for a red decorative collar around its neck. He had a sweet grin and his trunk stuck up in the air where the water squirted out in a circular fashion. Unfortunately he didn’t work very well, but the idea of getting kind of wet with a special sprinkler always seemed more pleasing than getting really wet with an ordinary one!

I feel that way about food still, as I believe most “foodies” do. I would rather eat small amounts of delicious, one of a kind food rather than large amounts of ordinary, mundane food any day of the week!  Perhaps the little old sprinkler elephant around the corner had the secret to a happy food life filled in his chipped trunk; less, is indeed more!

eat pie, love life… xoxo linda

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The Old Elephant Sprinkler

Daddy's Home...

I kept thinking of these words all day today - "Daddy's Home." For many of us, and I wish It were for all of us, those words will always mean - all is right with the world!

As I remember it, the minute my sweet dad walked through the front door, a serenity seemed to fill the entire house. Suddenly and magically, no problem seemed so big, no homework seemed so impossible, and no argument with my brothers was that catastrophic. For my daddy's smile would fill the rooms with sunshine, his mind with sage guidance, and his heart with loving security. All was good, all was right, when daddy got home!

Though he will no longer walk through our front door again, I know he will always be with our family. My dad will always be at home in my heart, and I will never tire of hearing the lovely words strung together as; "Daddy's Home!" I hope you had such a dad, or you will become one!


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Daddy's Home...


“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” -- Abraham Lincoln

I remember several years ago, while tucking my sweet girls in one evening, them telling me that one of their favorite words was “Mommy”. I remember smiling bigger than I have ever smiled while squeezing their little faces tight. I have never felt more accomplished. I remember as a child sitting on my mother’s lap, pushing her face towards mine so I could stare at her loving smile as she read to me. It still warms my heart, like no other.

Mothers fill our hearts with an unconditional love and sanctuary that can never be duplicated. I often think of the centuries of soldiers dying on battlefields; calling out to their dear mothers for some last measure of peace in their dying last breaths. For at the end of the day, as beaten and melancholy one may be, our hearts are lightened knowing that at the very least, our mother still loves us. 

Mothers are human beings after all, and flawed like all people. I do believe it is a good thing; however, to put mothers on a well-deserved pedestal for their steadfast, deep devotion for their children. For a mother’s love is our first concrete base of unconditional love, as God gifted a mother’s love like his eternal love for us. It is indeed, like no other.

Whether your mother is alive here on earth or alive in your heart, let us celebrate and cherish our mothers, all mothers, always.


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Girl Scouts...

I absolutely loved being a Girl Scout and was actually a Cadet before I retired my sash.  In retrospect, I can clearly see how the Girl Scout's fundamental tenets and experiences truly helped shape my life as it is today. As a child, I didn't realize that the monthly meetings, camping trips,cookie sales, and earning educational and philanthropy badges were anything more than “fun!”  

I was too young to know that these “fun” Girl Scout experiences, infused in my young life, set the stage for my purpose and passion in my later life. For through these Girl Scout experiences, I learned compassion, friendship, teamwork, courage, honesty, work ethic, responsibility, respect for others, the desire to make the world a better place!, and that folks like to buy baked goods :) 

Today, I speak, write, and bake to thousands of people across the country. And I always do my very best, like every Girl Scout does, to make the world a better place! I do it in my own way – by changing the world one pie at a time!

Eat pie and love life! xoxoLinda

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Girl Scouts...

Grandpa's Biscuits

I remember waking up early (I always was an early riser) to the wonderful combined smell of bacon, biscuits, and coffee at my grandparent's farm in West Virginia For me, the only other delightful aromas that rival this lovely trio, would be an apple pie, and a roasting turkey. Yum!

As a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to watch my grandpa make his legendary biscuits. The old coal miner baked a batch of golden biscuits almost every day of his adult life. That is a heap load of biscuits! He probably could have made them blindfolded. I remember Grandpa's tired and freckled hands tenderly working the precious biscuit dough, doing everything exactly the same as he had done for decades. Obviously, his practice paid off, for they were always flaky, tender, and family pleasing!

Looking back, I believe one of his secrets was bacon grease. He would grease a hot cast iron skillet with it, and put a tiny bit of bacon grease on top of each biscuit before putting them in the hot oven. The grease gave the biscuits a smoky and salty crusty top and bottom. Mmmm. Smothered with butter and honey, those biscuits were a sweet and salty masterpiece! I never tired of eating them, and still don't. :)

As a vegetarian, I usually don't have bacon grease hanging around like my grandpa did. However; sometimes, when I feel nostalgic, before I put the biscuits in the oven, I brush them with melted butter and sprinkle them with a little sea salt. And as soon as they are cool enough to handle, I spoon some honey with honeycomb on them, smile big, and think of my sweet and simple grandpa with every tender bite! -- xoxolinda

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Grandpa's Biscuits

To Be a Leprechaun...

How charming is a leprechaun!  I have always found them to be darling; from the happy little one on the Lucky Charms cereal box to the funny little sprite in the Disney movie, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" 

Truly, what is not to like in a leprechaun?  Yes, they are rather short and stubborn and their wardrobe is limited in color and style, and some most likely have serious drinking issues.  Yes, leprechauns indeed have some strong personality traits, but many of their traits are true tenets to live by.  I find the following “leprechaunesque” qualities quite worthy to emulate.

Magical – Let’s be magical and make each day as enchanting as possible.

Mischievous – Let’s be silly and ready for mischief and fun.

Happy – Let’s be giddy about even the littlest things.

Life of the Party – Let’s be the one everyone gravitates to to make life delightful.

Loyal – Let’s be the one everyone can count on.

Eat pie and let’s love the leprechaun in us all!   Linda xoxoxx

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To Be a Leprechaun...


I just woke up from my afternoon nap, and I am happy and ready to finish my day full of joy and energy.

I am sure everyone knows that bakers work early hours.  I always think of us as little pixies in the dark, getting up in the middle of the night while the rest of the world slumbers, as we travel to our little bakeries and make magic in the kitchen.  It really does feel like that to me. 

As obvious as it is, I truly love the whole cooking and baking for a living thing so much.  I love my customers and all the people I work with loads and loads.  I never feel that it is work really, it is so much fun and so natural for me to do, it is like smiling. :) However, there is the one issue.  As much as I never tire of my job; baking pies, loving my customers etc…I do physically get tired.

I have always loved naps, I remember in kindergarten when most children hated naptime, I thoroughly enjoyed it.   I guess I have always used my naptime as my dreamtime as well as my sleepytime. 

Some of my best recipes have come to me during naptime. 
Some of best dreams have as well. 
Some of my best prayers and closeness to God have happened during naptime.
Some of my best deepest sleeps have come during my afternoon naps. 
For me, naps rejuvenate and allow my brain to rest and meditate. 
Naps complete me. :)

I feel lovely after my naps and am truly ready to change the world one pie at a time…

Eat Pie, Love Life – Linda Hundt xoxo

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Under-the-Weather Yummies

Nobody wants to be sick as a child, and I was no exception. Being sick meant no play whatsoever; which was horrid because “playing” is all we knew. We played indoor board games, outdoor team games, make believe, Easybake, Barbies, and babies – we rode our bikes everywhere, we ran through the sprinkler, we went sledding and skating up the road… we played hard! There were no video games, DVDs, DVRs, cable television, or cell phones. The only electronic item we played with was our record player and the T.V. antenna. When you were sick as a kid back then, there was only one thing good about it, actually great about it - the good eats!  

I remember my mommy revamping our bedroom for the sick stay; fluffing pillows with rose scented pillowcases and Grandma’s flower garden quilt for our bed, setting up the classic Vicks vaporizer in the corner and a T.V. tray next to our bed. But what she put on the tray was my favorite part of the convalescence period…

I always loved that my dear mommy made us special food when we were under-the-weather so we felt special too. I remember her bringing me a vintage tray with sassafras tea made with cream and sugar and a small glass of Vernors ginger ale. She also made soft-boiled eggs with crumbled buttered toast or raisin toast triangles with honey cinnamon butter. But what I remember most fondly were her puddings; creamy rice, brown sugar butterscotch, vanilla with her homemade raspberry jam, and my cherished chocolate pudding made with Hershey’s cocoa, milk, and butter. They were warm and creamy and perfect.

I also remember when I was older and under-the-weather that my sweet daddy would bring me home a cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake from a local drugstore soda fountain. I am not sure how great it was for an upset tummy, but it was my daddy’s way to make me feel comforted and I still love him for it. :)

Our elderly bed-ridden neighbors across the road used to get teary eyed when I would bring them homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pies, and such. Although they were sick, the special, homemade food made their faces light up with delight. I love thinking about how much my food made them feel loved during their last years.

It always amazes me how yummy, comforting food makes us feel content and happy. To this day, I love spoiling my family and friends with special under-the-weather treats, so they too, feel special, comforted, and loved.

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Under-the-Weather Yummies

Things I Love About Valentine’s Day

1. It is a time of love renewal! You have an excuse to tell people that you love them all day long!

2. It is a time for sweet treat indulgence!

3. It reminds us the beauty of a handwritten love note –  a valentine on real paper with real heart-felt thoughts penned and signed with love.

4. That the day’s sole purpose is to celebrate love.

5. That everyone deserves to be loved on this special day.

My Top Five Favorite Romantic Movies

1. Pillow Talk

2. Gone With the Wind

3. Something’s Got To Give

4. When Harry Met Sally

5. Overboard

My Top Five Favorite Love Songs

1. Nature Boy – Nat King Cole

2. When You Say Nothing At All – Allison Krauss

3. You Don’t Know Me – Ray Charles

4. I Will Always Love You – Dolly Parton

5. Nobody Loves Me Like You Do – Keith Urban

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Things I Love About Valentine’s Day

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

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Good… Better… Best Pie!


Since I was a little girl, I have always adored cookbooks. While growing up, my twin sister would be entranced by Nancy Drew mysteries, while I was completely enchanted by Better Crocker Junior cookbooks.  

My dear mother has a huge assortment of cookbooks, which is where I got the fever as I grew up, perusing and studying her treasured culinary collection. As a young woman, I started collecting them as well, picking them up at antique stores, garage sales and such. Like old rolling pins, I have a hard time passing them up, for to me, old cookbooks need a good home where they can be appreciated and revered.  

I believe all books to be timeless and romantic, but especially cookbooks, for they leave behind delicious memories of favorite pies, cookies, casseroles and the lives they affected. I love to imagine a war bride baking her first pie from her brand new bridal shower cookbook, for her brave husband finally home from WWII. I love to imagine her bringing him a piece of her masterpiece pie, as they both share a moment of pride and gratitude. I love to think of a fifties housewife, dressed in a darling dress with pearls and heels, drinking coffee with her neighbors, exchanging recipes from the newest Betty Crocker cookbook!  

To me, my favorite vintage cookbooks are much more than words, measurements and photographs. They are torn-paged testaments to a home-centered lifestyle, rich in history; reflecting love and comfort through each and every recipe.  

My wish for "Sweetie-licious Pies" is to be a favorite of yours, a staple in your kitchen; to someday be worn and food stained from decades of lovingly prepared delicious memories. I have great faith that with this simple notion, we all will be “setting the table” to change the world one pie at a time! 

Eat pie, love life! xoxoxo Linda


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Rolling Pins

I love a good rolling pin, especially old ones that have seen many a pie crust in their day. I have had a dear collection of rolling pins throughout my baking career, most of which are scattered around my pie shop. Throughout the years,  I would pick them up at second hand stores for a few dollars, mainly because I couldn’t bear to see them forgotten by the masses.  

I love thinking of their former owners.  I believe them all to be expert pie bakers, generally because of the patina of the wood and the worn colors on the handles. Clearly, given the condition, they either tried for years making a good pie or simply made good pie for years. I am sure it is the later. I am also convinced that these pins were the magic wands of our “foremother” pie bakers, the ones that knew the truth in a flaky pie crust and the honesty in a velvet pie filling.  Much like a musician needs to be “as one” with their instrument, a pie baker needs to be “as one” with their pin.  

My favorite pin is a sentimental favorite, as it was my lovely mother’s. She received it for a wedding gift some 56 years ago. She used it for years and years pumping out hundreds of delicious and unforgettable pies. Her rolling pin certainly left more than a glance of an impression on me. While growing up, when I saw the pin on the kitchen counter, it was truly time to rejoice, for I knew a pie was to be enjoyed in my near future. When I married 25 years ago, my mother handed down her beloved rolling pin to me. I happily honed my pie baking skills with my dear rolling pin, as a new wife, as my children grew and then at my dreamy pie shop. 

 I loved rolling pie dough with my heirloom rolling pin. Unfortunately, after 56 years and thousands and thousands of pie crusts, its bearings have finally worn out. :(   My dear pin has clearly earned its time to rest and its special place of honor at home. It sits humbly on my kitchen shelf, admired and respected for its wondrous body of work and its tireless contribution of… changing the world one pie at a time! :)

Eat pie, love life,  xoxolinda

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Rolling Pins

To Can…

Oh, to can or not to can? Without fail, each year the thought of canning seems a bit overwhelming to me. Make no mistake; canning is clearly tedious work and probably a tiny bit old-fashioned for some. However, there is no comparison to the fresh flavor and self gratification of canning your very own.

I remember my mother “putting up” quarts of peaches, pickles, tomatoes and jams every year, as did my Aunt Margie and Grandma Ferrell. While visiting my grandmother I remember going down to the cellar to bring up jam for breakfast with both excitement and anxiousness. For a little girl, the cellar was indeed a damp, dark and scary place. However, once the light was turned on, my heart was happy, as I remember shelves of colorful jars of fruits, vegetables and jams aligned perfectly, showcasing their bountiful, ordered beauty. For my elder homemakers, the full pantry was not only a sense of pride and order, but also a true sense of security. For during their time, canning was a necessity to get though the poor, long Depression winters.

After buying our farmette some 15 years ago, I found myself in a “canningpolooza” quite suddenly. For the tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, raspberries, peach and apple trees are not patient fruits and vegetables. For when they are ripe and ready, so must you be. It was an adjustment to find time for it all at first, but something I had looked forward doing since watching my mother can so long ago. As years passed, it became as part of my summer traditions as planting flowers and going up north. In fact, I often canned on our week family vacation on Lake Louise! My family loved my homemade jars of joy to eat and to give away as special gifts.

My pantry isn’t as bursting as it once was, as my time at the shop keeps me from “putting up” as much as I used to.  However, I am thrilled to say, that for the first time since my farm market days, I am selling my delicious herb-infused jams on-line and eventually at the store.  

As for the question, to can, or not to can, my sentimental message is clear, I urge all “to can”. For the contentment of carrying on an American tradition, along with the pride and joy that canning evokes is truly priceless.  

Xoxo Linda   – -Eat pie, can and keep traditions.

*The charming pantry picture enclosed is of my webmaster Gail’s ” jars of joyfulness”!

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To Can…

Carry On, O’Comfort Food


I just got back from a very filling and comforting meal at Bob Evans with my husband, daughters and elderly parents. We all sat around eating and smiling while stuffing dinner roll after dinner roll smothered in butter and honey in our mouths. Although the dinner wasn’t outstanding, it was good and it was comforting, exactly what Mr. Evans was aiming for, I suspect.

Actually, the same exact scene takes place at my own dining room table three or four times a week as my family gathers to eat delicious, warm and comforting food. Comfort food and family have gone to together like peas and carrots for generations.  I know my mommy and daddy love to eat foods they grew up with amongst their children and grandchildren. The food and the company is always simple and sweet and oh, so memorable.

The trueness of comfort food is indisputable. Although, I often think that we underestimate the sincerity of a platter of pork chops and homemade applesauce or the coziness of a pot of chicken and dumplings simmering on the back burner. And well, nothing beats the security of a warm, cinnamon apple pie, nothing.  In other words, comfort food soothes our souls, makes us feel loved, revered and significant. I truly believe comfort food takes most of us back to the simple and secure feelings of childhoods long ago where magic and Santa still live in our hearts, as does hot cocoa, chicken soup and bowls of tapioca pudding!

So, let us carry on, O’ comfort food, as mothers for generations before us have done so lovingly, so profoundly. I propose us all to make our dinners as loving and comforting as possible with whatever comfort foods hold true to our own individual families. Together, my sweeties, we will change the world one pie and tuna noodle casserole at a time.  :)  Eat pie, love life, Xoxxolinda

For comfort food ideas, check out the RECIPE section with all the Sweetie-licious’ staff favorites or go to NEWSLETTERS on the HOME page and check out all the archived newsletters – lots of good comfort recipes there as well!


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Carry On, O’Comfort Food

My Daddy...

My Daddy is a man of simple passions and pleasures. He loves dogs, farms, newspapers, visiting with people, hardware stores, pigs, education, fixing cars, collecting old radios, WWII memorabilia, feeding birds and squirrels, doctor appointments, collecting boxes, garage sales, laughter, story-telling, butter pecan ice cream, marigolds, flannel shirts, Tiger baseball, history, peanuts, his family and PIE! 

One of my fondest memories while growing up was listening to Detroit Tiger baseball games on the radio together on warm summer nights. I often helped him hold a flashlight to the car engine as he tinkered on one of our warn-out, old cars. We loved listening to Ernie Harwell’s tranquil voice announce the play by play into the night. He and I would talk about the line-up, the players’ averages, and why Al Kaline was in a slump. 

My daddy’s love for his family was paramount and where he got his greatest joy. He loved telling stories of his one-room schoolhouse days and of their farm growing up to all of us kids. He spoke of hard work with honor and respect and love for his neighbors and relatives with pride. 

My daddy loves people, loves talking to all people that cross his path. His bank teller, waitresses, or hardware store assistant would soon become fast friends as he loved to meet and enjoy people.

He also had a huge sweet tooth, as I do. Sometimes he would stop for candy bars or ice cream cones on road trips, which thrilled me beyond compare. But he loved pie most of all, and always, always appreciated my mommy’s delicious homemade pies, and later in life, my own homemade pies!

My daddy’s smile and laugh have always been my favorite. He absolutely loves to laugh, as his eyes squint up with an ear to ear grin covering his face, when he finds something pleasing, which he does often. 

My daddy was a wonderful father. He is sadly crippled now, nearly bed ridden and his mind does numbers on him at times. It is evident we are losing my great father to age, but not his purpose, for we all are destined to create a legacy with the amount of time God gives us here on earth. My daddy certainly has done that for me, and I am sure I can speak for my three brothers and sister as well. Thank you, daddy for leaving me with your spirit of unconditional love and respect of people, laughter, appreciating and honoring our past, the importance of story-telling, great passions and most importantly, the love for family! 

With gratitude and deep love, my sweet, sweet daddy! 

Addendum - Daddy passed on to heaven on January 6, 2012

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My Daddy...

Abe Lincoln...

In a few days we will celebrate Presidents’ Day in recognition of great Presidents like Abraham Lincoln. As much as I feel compelled to write about Lincoln, I also feel almost “wordless.”  

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

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 their 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.

Abraham Lincoln started off no different then you and me.  He was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things because he was selfless. He made a difference in our world because he realized his cause was bigger than himself and dreamed that he could make it better.

Let us all decide today to be more like Abraham Lincoln and make our world a more lovely place for everyone

Eat Pie and Make a Difference  – Linda xoxo

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Abe Lincoln...

Christmas in Connecticut

I am not sure how many people out there have watched one of my favorite Christmas love-comedies, Christmas in Connecticut, but I suggest all of you to rent it this lovely season. I watched for the first time several years ago and fell in love. 

I love the plot and the characters and especially the settings.  This is the only movie that I can take Barbara Stanwyck in because she is actually charming and likable as a “Martha Stewart” kind of character.  In fact, her job in the movie is something I had always wanted to do, writing articles and recipes for a magazine from her country home.  In fact, while watching the movie this year (I watch Christmas movies all year around) I realized that I do indeed have that dream job through my blogging, Sweetie-licious newsletters, cookbook, and occasional magazine articles.  And I write it all from my country home’s living room, just like Barbara’s character, Elizabeth Lane was supposed to be doing.  

My home is hardly the Connecticut farmhouse depicted in the movie as there is no huge fireplace or vast living room and I have no cow in my barn nor do I have a hired cook in my kitchen.  I do however, have a lovely gas fireplace in my small living room that I can see while I write and I do frequently see my chickens roaming about our barn, and I am certainly the only cook in our kitchen.  Nevertheless, my country home is perfect to write my thoughts and recipes and I am so grateful that there are some of you out there that care to read them. 

If you are a Christmas lover, a Foodie or love a screwball comedy, this movie is for you.  The characters are quirky and charming and the plot is completely fun.  Of course, there is some dated material, but it is still adorable. The movie’s message of food and its inspirational power, friendship and kismet love all under the guise of Christmas and laughter is perfect for this time of year. 

I am not sure how this blog ended up being a movie review, but somehow it kind of did.  J

Merry Christmas, I love those two words put together, and Happy Holidays!

Eat pie, love old movies, Linda xoxo

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Christmas in Connecticut

Hostess Memories...

I am melancholy today with the news that Hostess Bakeries might be closing forever!  I am so sad for all of the employees who are out of work, and for all of the devoted customers saddened by the thought of no more Twinkies and Fruit Pies!  I, for one, have been a huge fan since junior high school, when I discovered their tastiness at Walter French Junior High's lunch table.  My good friend, Ruthie, came up to the table, while sporting a cowl neck sweater and eating a Hostess apple pie. My face must have been obvious, as she quickly offered me a bite. I took a bite of the cinnamon, apple filled, sugar-crusted piece of heaven and was immediately smitten!  From then on, through high school, anytime I had some extra money from babysitting, mowing lawns etc, I would buy a Hostess Apple Pie. There were many flavors to choose from; cherry, chocolate, lemon, but apple was always my favorite! 

As it was, I started to make my own pies, and the Hostess goodies fell out of favor for me.  I hadn't had one in years, but somehow, on a whim, picked one up at the grocery store the other day (I know, you would think I have enough pie!)  Magically, the love was still there, as I am always amazed the way food takes you back into a kind of “time machine”.  With the first bite, I was transported back to junior high with low self-esteem, braces, and a bad pixie haircut. Nevertheless, I was still in love with all its pie goodness, and smiled the entire time I was eating it.  For it made me so happy that I had a better haircut and knew how to make an even better apple pie!

Eat pie, and be confident in your passions! xoxoLinda

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Hostess Memories...

Happy Birthday Julia

Happy Birthday to one of our most beloved of culinary personalities, Julia Child!

I have very fond memories of watching Julia on our black and white television set with my mother in the late 1960's. While mommy ironed our clothes downstairs in our family rec-room, I would sometimes pretend I was Julia and cook with my play dishes and Easybake oven. Mostly though, I was fascinated with the food she made, so I watched very closely while she created her magic with roast chicken and cheese soufflés. However, she never made enough desserts for sweet-toothed me, and I would always be a tad disappointed by the end of the show... BUT because her food always looked so lovely, I never let my brothers turn the channel to Gilligan's Island!

As I look back, it clearly was her passion for food and humble, kind persona that charmed us all. As one of America's first celebrity chefs, she wasn't arrogant and full of her own pedigree, money, or social status. She was just smiling Julia, doing what she loved, sharing her gifts with others, and understanding the importance of delicious food in our lives. I think we all should be more like Julia.

Eat Pie and Love Life    xoxolinda

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Happy Birthday Julia

Soulful Comfort Fare

It has been almost two months since my beloved daddy passed on. As difficult as it has been, I knew from past experiences that time will indeed heal all things. As expected, my heart is gradually filling with contentment and gratitude rather than its former mourning emptiness. 

Thankfully, my gratitude for my daddy is something I have always had, as I always knew how special he was to me and so many others. I have also felt very grateful for my friends and extended family; however, I did not know how humbled and comforted I would be by their thoughtfulness during this time. 

Clearly, no words, no flowers, or no casseroles can take the pain away from losing a loved one, but I believe that caring deeds do truly help mend broken hearts. My family was overwhelmed with the generosity of the cards, the charitable contributions, and the flowers, but the food, the food was truly comforting. I believe it fed my family's soul when it was starving for comfort. 

While my family gathered around our old dining room table to write his loving obituary, knocks at the door brought carafes of hot coffee, warm cinnamon rolls, various bagels, cream cheese, and bowls of fresh fruit! All through the weekend of funeral preparations, pans of cheesy lasagna, homemade casseroles, sloppy joes, steaming soups, and homemade pies came parading through my kitchen like we were in a restaurant's galley.

In a weekend, my kitchen transformed into a vast buffet table from the finest of home-cooked kitchens. No fancy restaurant could compare to the love and sentiment cooked or baked in each and every dish. 

As family members gathered, and pictures were sorted; tears and laughter flowed harmoniously while eating delicious plates of stuffed pasta shells and bowls of spicy chicken chili. Fruit, relish, and cheese trays were munched while old home videos were lovingly edited into the night. And pans of brownies, buckets of ice cream and an immense dessert sideboard fulfilled my family's once saddened sweet-tooths, as we reminisced about my daddy's own sweet-tooth that we all so proudly inherited. 

Let it be said, that each and every casserole, tureen of soup, and cinnamon apple pie you send over to a house of mourning is appreciated more than you know. When you think that they have enough food or that they don't want to be bothered, know that they need you. Know that your sweet face of sympathy, your thoughtful sentiments, your cards and flowers, your prayers and your pan of lasagna comfort them deeply and profoundly. 

As I think back at the raw wounds my family was suffering, and the powerful medicine of hope that the food magically provided, I am astounded at its healing power. For somehow, the creamy goodness of a plate of macaroni and cheese and/or a slice of cherry pie, encouraged our sad hearts with happy pangs of love and hope - and that is the ultimate comfort food for the soul. 

Eat Pie, and be Comforted. xoxox Linda

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Soulful Comfort Fare

Memories of Martha...

While growing up, I absolutely loved watching Martha Dixon's Copper Kettle Show with my sister and mother in Lansing, Michigan. She was our area's local, Julia Child, and her show was a must-see each week for every homemaker and future homemaker in the area. 

My mommy owned Martha’s cookbook, and I remember as a child, staring at it wanting to eat all the beautiful food pictured on the cover, especially the desserts. My mommy was honored to be on Martha’s show as she demonstrated cookie baking, and still talks about the experience with proud fondness. Martha Dixon's sweet disposition, easy expertise in the kitchen, and her lovely smile made her a dear mentor to me and many others. In retrospect, I think given her cooking and media talents, I am sure she would have been a contender for a national show today; a well deserved feat for such an admirable woman.  

I have been eager to honor Martha at the shop for some time, and am elated to do so this Tuesday, February 7, 2012. The response we have received has been so sweetly positive, as people have shared their memories and how much her recipe traditions have meant to them and their families. Their testimonies; again, confirm how indeed, the heritage of good food makes our lives richer and so much sweeter!

I would have loved to have Martha join us on her day, but she is no longer with us on this earth. However, her love for flair and food remains in our minds, and remains in her cherished cookbook for everyone to enjoy. I am delighted and honored to celebrate the passionate and flavorful life of Martha Dixon and I invite everyone to come share memories of her and her legacy with us on this most special day!  

Eat pie, live a flavorful life!

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Memories of Martha...

New, Shiny, Pink Floor

After writing that title, I realized that that those five little words probably aren’t put together in that fashion very often.  But, gosh, do I love writing them in exactly that order.  Our cute, little pie shop, Sweetie-licious, has always needed a new floor, yet not just any floor would do.  I decided long ago that a shiny pink one would be practically perfect for our happy shop. 

However, many factors prevented us from getting one.  First of all, we didn’t own the building.  Secondly, we had no money.  Thirdly, I couldn’t find the perfect pink floor. 

It is a lovely wonder what patience, hard work, love and simple blessings can do to make dreams come true.   You see, another dream came true in late April when I won the Crisco National Pie Championships and the Grand prize of $5000.00! And as it turned out, we were able to buy our building last summer enabling us to truly own our cute, little pie shop!  Then, I happened upon a local floor shop that had just gotten in some new bright, bright pink flooring.

So, in just a few short months, I owned our darling shop, I had money to buy a new floor and I had the perfect pink floor to buy!   There was obviously only one thing to do.  Hence, my beautiful dream floor was installed and waxed to perfection last Sunday. 

I know I talk much about dreams, but I love dreaming.  I love big dreams and little dreams. I love to see my little dream of having a pink floor at my cute, little pie shop (another dream) come true. 

So, for those who can, come in and be marveled at our new, shiny, pink floor.   Then eat a yummy piece of our $5000.00, Tom’s Cherry Cherry Berry pie.  My only request is that you don’t get any pie on the floor!

Keep dreaming.

Eat Pie, Love Life,

Xoxo Linda

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New, Shiny, Pink Floor

Food Network Pie Queen Thoughts

I have to thank everyone for being so, so wonderful to me with regards to my national debut on the Food Network Amazing Pie Challenge.  Clearly, winning Best of Show was a real dream come true for me and especially sweet because I won with my beloved Tom Hundt’s Cheery Cherry Cherry Berry Pie who passed away right before the competition. He certainly believed in me.  What an incredible life experience it was and continues to be.  Thanks to all the fellow pie bakers and Food Network crew, Crisco, Sears and especially the American Pie Council for helping me realize my big dream.  Every time I see it, I get teary eyed, emotional, but mostly very, very grateful.  I now whole-heartedly believe that I truly do have the best pie in America!

I am immensely grateful for my wonderful family and friends, for all the sweet, hard-working folks at the shop and for all of my lovely customer/friends who believed in my dream of having the cutest, little bakery café in the whole, wide world.  And for all who believed that we had the best food and pie in the whole wide world.  

Most importantly, I am forever grateful for every single person in my life of 46 years who believed in me.

Thank you. 

I implore all of us to start believing in each other, for I am a true example of what a difference it can make in someone’s life. 

I implore all of us to start believing in ourselves.  Again, I am a real example of what a difference it can make in someone’s life –your own.

Believe and Eat Pie, Love Life –Linda xo

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Food Network Pie Queen Thoughts
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