Pie for Breakfast: A Thanksgiving Tradition

For centuries, pie has been the encore performance of the Thanksgiving meal. Right around the time you’re starting to deeply regret your decision not to wear pants with an elastic waistband, enter the delicious triangles, whipped and ripe for the forking.

There’s just one problem. You’re so full. You’re. So. Full. Like any true American, you dig deep, grab a fork and find a way to shovel it in. (Because everyone knows if you don’t pie, the terrorists win.)

A couple years ago, my extended family decided to rock the gravy boat. As a pie-loving people, it came to their attention that we were not honoring pies by making them the afterthought of the meal. Pies are good. Pies are great. Pies deserved to be the star of their own show. And just like that: the PIE FOR BREAKFAST tradition was born.

Here is how PFB works: Wake up — > gather with family in pajama pants to partake in pie eating and drinking of champagne –> go home to put on real clothes/finish cooking your assigned dishes/pie-induced nap –> reconvene for Thanksgiving meal later in afternoon.

Pie now has a rightful place of honor as the starter to a full day of celebrating. Even the dogs get to partake.

 pie for dogs

This year, I invite you to join us in this unusual, if not a little irreverent, Thanksgiving tradition. If I’m being honest (and a little sentimental), it really is  a perfect way to kick off a day whose hours tend to get whisked away in a flurry of dinging timers, centerpieces and place settings. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s a scientifically-proven fact that it’s impossible to not feel great about the world when you’re eating pie and sipping champagne surrounded by your loved ones.

Ernestine Ulmer once said, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” From my spirited clan to yours, Thanksgiving is crazy. Eat pie for breakfast. 

In honor of Pie for Breakfast, I shall now pass on my personal pie recipe, Good Girl/Bad Girl Pie. One part sweet, one part tart, this is the perfect recipe for anyone who simply can’t choose between apple and cherry. Prepare for all your piecurious fantasies to come true.



One frozen crust. (If you are into crusting from scratch, a quick google should provide plenty of recipes. Good luck with that, you crusty masochist.)

1-2 cans tart cherries, drained (not cherry pie filling)
3 tart apples, peeled and sliced (I use granny smiths, but feel free to go wild)
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. flour
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves

3/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
6 T. butter, chilled and cubed
3 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine cherries, apples and dry filling ingredients in a bowl. Stir and spoon into crust.

In another bowl, mix together topping flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter cubes using your hands to blend the butter into the dry mixture. If the mixture is excessively greasy, add more flour. If mixture is too dry, cut in more butter. Lightly pack topping over the filling and place pie on a baking sheet covered with tin foil. Bake pie until topping is golden (approximately 35 minutes. Cover crust edges with foil to prevent over-browning. Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Continue baking until apples in center of pie are tender when pierced with a fork and filling is bubbly and thick at pie edges (approximately 25-35 minutes). Cool and serve.

If you want to get extra crazy, drizzle with some salted caramel bourbon sauce.

Craving something more? Enjoy one of my favorite holiday articles ever, 20 Guests, 19 Pies. 

Citizen Cray


I scored my first post-collegiate job working in government communications for an affluent suburb of Columbus. It was a great job. While most of my friends were busy fetching coffee and frantically filing for eight hours a day, I was photographing parades, pinch hitting city council meetings and occasionally riding along with police officers. (Hel-lo uniforms!) Not a bad gig for a twenty-something.

Our department consisted of a small (but mighty) team of two. My boss and I were a dynamic duo. We managed everything from press releases to employee appreciation gigs, media requests to website management to citywide special events. We also took all the weird calls.

Let me explain what I mean by that. In a city of 30,000+ residents, we were the two people responsible for handling all the calls, issues and problems other departments couldn’t — or wouldn’t. And no matter how bewildering, asinine or just-plain-insane, we had to do it with a smile.

If you’ve never worked in government, it’s easy to dismiss this as no big deal. Like you, I assumed the worst thing I would face might be complaints about potholes or the timeliness of snow removal. Wrong. So wrong.

NBC’s Parks & Rec came along at the tail end of my municipal government career, but I’ve been a loyal viewer since episode one. Their writers have captured the true depths of muni government insanity with such accuracy it regular blows my mind. My favorite scenes — by far — are the “citizen comments” moments in any given meeting episode.

I recently stumbled across a compilation of said comments, and pretty much want to fist bump whoever came up with these.

Everyone laughs, tickled by the craziness of the hyperbole. Those of us who have been through the muni government experience  laugh for a different reason: it’s funny ’cause it’s true. It’s funny because it’s not really exaggerated at all. It’s funny because it’s our daily reality.

My single regret of the time I spent government is that I didn’t write down every “WTF” call and conversation I had over the years. Rarely did a day go by that someone didn’t give me a reason to wonder is this real life? But a few of the classic hits have stuck with me.

Today I share them with you…


Caller: Yes. I’d like to make a complaint. I was just driving down X Street and noticed that [new BBQ restaurant] smells too much like BBQ. What are you going to do about it?


Caller: I was just running through [park with pond] and there are geese everywhere. There’s goose poop all over. It’s getting stuck in the tread of my shoes. I noticed the fire station is next door. I thought you might have them spray the geese with the fire hose. Not enough to harm them, mind you. Just enough to warn them it’s time to move on. 

(Note: According to the internet, water exits a firehose at roughly 30 to 80 mph. I’m not mathematician, but accordingly to my calculations if a train leaves Boston at 3:45 p.m. traveling at speeds of 30-80 mph, those geese are so dead.)


Caller: I’m appalled that the city is letting [upscale boutique] promote promiscuity by selling panties. There are mannequins in their front window wearing lacy undergarments. That’s just indecent! 

(Note: To this day I still wonder about her logic. If people are buying underwear doesn’t that mean they are wearing underwear? And really, isn’t wearing underwear the exact opposite of indecent?)


Caller: What’s the number to a paint store?


Caller: I’m finding feces on my lawn!! Someone is letting their dog defecate on my lawn!! I only have a small dog and this is large feces, so I know it’s not my dog. I’d like the health department to DNA test the feces and tell me what breed of dog is defecating on my lawn. 


Caller: Where is the ice cream man!?!??
Me: Pardon?
Caller: I can hear him, but I can’t see him. WHERE IS HE?
Me: Um, unfortunately we wouldn’t have that information.
Caller: I know you know his route now tell me where he is!! He’s not coming down our street and that’s discrimination.
Me: Ma’am, I’m sorry, we only issue vendor licenses. We wouldn’t have his route.
Caller: I’m calling [local news program] to report you for withholding public information.


Various callers: I need an officer sent to my house because:

  • There’s a bat in my house.
  • There’s a dragonfly in my house.
  • My toddler won’t listen to me.

Easy Housewarming Party Food Ideas

Confession: I love Pinterest. Pinning is my nightly ritual. When I’m ready to call it a day, I slip into bed, crack the laptop open and pin a handful or two of unrealistic expectations focused on all the food I’m going to make, things I’m going to craft and ways I’m going to use mason jars. And while I love the thought of coordinating an omelet brunch for 20 of my dearest friends using nothing but organically-grown vegetables I grew in a repurposed rain gutter garden and eggs from the urban chickens that live in a backyard coop I built using locally-sourced scrap wood and a homesteader’s plan I found online…that’s probably not going to happen.

(Okay. That’s definitely not going to happen. I have no chickens and can’t flip an omelet to save my life.)

I recently read an article that referenced a phenomenon called “Pinterest stress.” Long story short: some people are starting to show signs of inferiority complexes as a result of the ideals we’re culturally curating on Pinterest. We’ve set the bar high. Really high. In fact, one blogger recently lived according to Pinterest for a week just to experience what living up to the Pinterest ideal would look like in the real world. (Spoiler alert: It’s a full-time job.)
Luckily, I tend to be pretty realistic. Pinterest is great inspiration, but I’m fully aware that I simply can’t do it all. (And sometimes when I try it turns out like this.)

This mindset came in extra handy when I recently decided to throw a housewarming party. After years of renting, I decided to make it official and put down roots. The move came at a tumultuous time, landing squarely between a period of intense travel for work and fun. I came back from a business conference and had four days to close on the new house, move out of the old place, clean the old place and get settled in the new house before embarking on a pre-planned, five-day vacation. (Note: I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re one of those people who thrives on adrenaline and enjoys frantically scrubbing toilets at midnight the eve before you’re supposed to surrender the keys to your landlord.)

In light of my wonky schedule, I made a conscious decision not to go too crazy with the housewarming. Over the years, I have learned that while hostessing on an everything-made-from-scratch scale may earn me some bragging rights, it typically leaves me feeling drained before the party even begins. And that’s no fun. So when Hickory Farms offered to send baskets of goodies my way for the party, it was like being visited by my hostessing fairy godmother. (Who happens to look a lot like my UPS guy.)

A few days before the party, the boxes arrived loaded with everything I needed. Instead of spending the days leading up to the party frantically pacing the aisles of the grocery store and slaving away over the stove, the morning of the party I simply opened the packages, did some minimal chopping, laid everything out on trays and was ready to go. The end result? I got to treat my friends to an impressive spread and was able to enjoy a magical and memorable afternoon snacking and celebrating in the company of the people I love most. By the time the final guest left, my new place had transformed from feeling like my new house to my new home.

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This post is sponsored by Hickory Farms. I received a free sample of product for the purpose of this article. All opinions are my own.

20 (More) Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

20 best columbus instagram instagrammers

A few months ago, I shared a post featuring the 20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following. If you know anything about Columbus, it should come as no surprise that what followed was a stream of suggestions about who should have been included on the list. (We’ve got no shortage of creative talent + local love.) In other words, there’s too much goodness for just one list. So this is list #2.

Anyone can take a photo, but not everyone is a visual storyteller. Much like the first group of instagrammers, the 20 people you’ll meet below have a passion and a gift for consistently telling the story of Columbus (and Ohio) through the beautiful, thoughtful images they snap and share.

Lauren Blake // @wholelivinglauren
There was  time I regarded “whole living” as nibbling on nuts and leafy greens like some sort of giant rabbit. Lauren’s endless feed of “whole livinspiration” has proven me wrong. Very, very wrong. WLL

Columbus Coffee Experience // @cbuscoffee
Who needs to wake up and smell the coffee when you can wake up, tap into Instagram and scroll the coffee?cbuscoffee

Cheer Up Letterpress & Design // @cheeruppress
FACT: Real mail makes people happy. This feed is a constant street of paper porn (of the SFW variety) that lives up to the promise of its cheer-inducing name.cheer up press

Mission Coffee Co. // @missioncoffeeco
I have an inexplicable aversion to hot liquids, which prevents me from being a coffee drinker. But if I were, this is where I’d be sipping my days away, one beautiful, perfectly-lit, topped-with-a-foamy-work-of-art cup at a time.mission coffee

DeliciOhio // @deliciohio
You know that unspoken Thanksgiving rule in which an entire nation agrees to embrace the imminent binge and gorge…because FOOD? DelicOhio puts the “feed” in “instagram feed.”  Enjoy a Columbus-inspired visual gorge…with none of the calories and zero need to don your favorite fat pants.Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.32.38 PM

Chelsea Mohrman // @farmfreshtherapy
If I were inviting one Instagrammer to come decorate my home for me, it would be Chelsea of @farmfreshtherapy. One part simple beauty, one part unexpected delight, all parts crazy beautiful. Chelsea creates a world filled with marvels (both manmade and natural) that make you feel like you’ve just stepped into a magical storybook …or the coolest store ever. farm fresh therapy

Taylor Riggs // @simplytaylorblog
When the former @cravebytaylor fell off my Instagram feed, I was sad. When she reappeared as @simplytaylorblog, I was delighted. Taylor’s photos will leave you with a serious case of breakfast envy…and a major side of puppy snuggles. I can’t imagine a better combination than that. Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.40.37 PM

Live Columbus // @livecolumbus
Think of @LiveColumbus as a community within the community. Someone new has been taking over this account daily since October 31, 2014, which makes each new day kind of like turning the page in the story of Columbus and what life here means to the people who call this region home. Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.41.14 PM

Amy Taylor // @ohiogood
OhioGood is a celebration of all things Ohio — with an emphasis on life in and around Columbus. From farmers markets to rural farms, the Short North to shortcake, if it’s good and hails from Ohio…you’ll find it here. 
Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.47.50 PM

Amanda Heslinga // @rockswithsass
I have come to think of Amanda as Columbus’ true “rock star.” With beautiful work like this, it’s not hard to see why. rockswithsass

Ohio Explored // @ohioexplored 
Fly over state, eh? Your argument is invalid. And this is the Instagram account that’s gonna prove you wrong.

Sarah Crock // @columbusnutritionco
Forget what you think you know about boring ol’ health food. Sarah’s feed is photo proof that healthy eating can be wonderful tasty…and profoundly beautiful. columbus nutrition co

1820 House Candle Co. // @1820house
With a scent offering that includes tomato vine, roasted coffee bean and French baguette, these candles should be at the top of every localvores Columbus holiday giving list.  1820 house

Por’ketta // @porkettacbus
Sorry vegetarians, you’re missing out. Not only does this local food truck produce some drool-worthy culinary creations, they’re hugely active on Instagram and big supporters of other Columbus instagrammers.porketta

Derrick Linn // @marsder
Meet Columbus’ tiniest residents. They’re always up to something (and half teh time, it’s a fairly sassy something…) Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.05.25 PM

Tina // @tizara
Tina’s photos stop time for a single, precious, awe-inspiring frame, creating a feed that proves there’s a world of difference between seeing and savoring our moments.  tizara

400 Market // @400market
Arguably the hippest farmer’s market in the most up-and-coming hood in Columbus, 400 Market has shared a season of sneak peeks behinds the scenes at Franklinton’s local gem. 400 west rich market

Megan Hogan // @_mgnhgn
There are creative people…and then there are creative people. You know, the kind of people who seem to leave a trail of color and wonder and glitter and inspiration in their wake wherever they go. Megan is the latter. Bonus? Her spirit and endlessly positive message are just as beautiful as her art. Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.42.34 PM

Best of the Menu // @bestofthemenu
Not sure what you’re in the mood for? Tired of the same old places? Feeling a rising swell of hanger? Never fear. Your taste buds have just met their match. Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.57.02 PM

Amy Taylor, @amyabtaylor
Shameless self promotion! Hi. I’m Amy, the human behind WriteHuman.com. (I’m also the human behind @OhioGood.) You can follow me on Instagram @ohiogood + @amyabtaylor. Have someone you’d like to nominate as a Columbus Instagrammer to follow? Leave their IG handle in a comment below or email meScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 12.20.52 AM


Who would you add to the list?

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