My Top Twenty Loves

Today’s prompt is a great post to follow yesterday’s, I Hate Pandas, post. What do I love? This could be an entire month’s challenge because I have so many. I’ll give you the list first and then hone in on one of them.

  • God above all else. I spend the first hour of the morning with Him and reading His Word through the You Version Bible app on my phone. It is free and full of great devotionals too.
  • My husband of 42 years. Besides God, He is my why in all I do.
  • My three grown children and their spouses. I call them my “in-loves” because I love them, it’s not just a legal connection.
  • My nine grand-children. They are each unique and I couldn’t enjoy being involved in their lives more.
  • My hometown. Orlando has changed dramatically since I was born here in 1959. But it’s still home to me.
  • My extended family and the history we all share, including our grandparent’s 32 acres of groves west of Orlando.
  • Writing: Books, articles, blogs, newsletters (both neighborhood and Nana’s newsletter for my kiddos)
  • The beach
  • The mountains
  • Traveling and/or Road Trips
  • Birding
  • Photography
  • Planning events like parties, neighborhood events (the pandemic provided me with lots of opportunities to help with all of us being homebound.
  • Baking is my first love in the kitchen. My Mom wouldn’t let me cook since she used the pressure cooker to make meals fast after a full day at work. So I learned to bake. Favorite thing to bake? Pies
  • Cooking and having themed dinner parties. Favorite meal to make? Anything my husband loves. One of his favorites is Chicken Cacciatore.
  • Golf.
  • Reading, but this one often takes a backseat to all my other loves. I can get completely lost in a book, so it always feels selfish to block everything out to read.
  • Researchiing about things I don’t know–geneology, history, song lyrics I may remember wrong πŸ™‚
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

When Tom and I were first married he worked in retail. He was the area manager for 3 jewelry stores and I hadn’t yet found a job. I spent much of my time in our yellow-carpeted condo alone. Being such an extrovert this was hard. And I had moved away from another one of my loves–Orlando–to Bradenton, 2.5 hours away on the west coast of Florida. I was lonely and homesick.

The couple who managed the property where we lived was always home. She was such a kind lady and one day she asked if I’d like to come over and bake bread together? I jumped at the chance to have something to do and baking was always a favorite.

She started with helping me learn how bread dough should feel after kneading it. She was a hands-on teacher and this is how I learn best. I caught on quickly and was soon making homemade bread, hamburger buns and more. You just can’t beat the aroma of bread baking in the oven on a chilly day.

Next she moved on to a more challenging lesson – the art of making a flaky pie crust. She even shared her family recipe with me. I had no idea how this one day and this first pie would define my baking life. i.g. our family always celebrated birthdays with pie instead of cakes. It became our dessert of choice and for good reason. Mrs. L’s pie crust recipe is amazing.

So of all the pies I’ve baked, which is our family’s favorite? Apple Pie. It even won the blue ribbon at our county fair.

Debi Walter’s Blue Ribbon Apple Pie


  • 6-8 honey crisp apples
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 T. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • Nutmeg, freshly ground, about 1/8 t.
  • Butter
  • Milk and Sugar for the top crust


Preheat over to 400.

Roll out pie crust and line the bottom of a 9″ deep dish pie plate. Core, peel and slice thin the apples in a large bowl. Pour sugar over apple and stir to coat. Pour in flour next and stir to coat. Add spices and stir well. You can add more spices to your liking. We like a lot of spices in ours.

Fill the lined pie plate by layer the apples one by one in a circular pattern starting from the outside to the center. Repeat this layering until you have filled the pie using all the apples. Dot with butter.

Roll out remaining pie dough and cover the apples, sealing and crimping the edges.

With a pastry brush lightly brush top crust with milk making sure it doesn’t pool. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes until bubbly. I keep a watch on the pie and usually lay a large sheet of foil over it to prevent over-browning.

Let pie cool completely before slicing to have a nice and neat slice of pie. But if you can’t wait, it’s great warm out of the oven with vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appetit

This is my 17th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.