Life IS cuckoo, so thanks for reading!

From Shufflesteps, a favorite mom blog of mine (even before this post):

I am going to admit that I was not a chick-lit fan, ok? I usually don’t pick up books about relationships and instead gravitate toward Michael Connelly and sub-sections of Michael Connelly.

However, Kelly Harms has changed my mind.

It’s just too fun reading these books to hold onto my cynicism. What she does exceptionally well is write about how women relate to themselves and are there for each other through unanticipated circumstances.

Sunny Books to Read When You're Sad from BookBub

Thanks, Book Bub, for including Amy Byler on this cheery list!

The season of spring showers is upon us and with it bleary, dreary days. If you find the gray clouds putting a damper on your mood, these books to read when you're sad will help bring the sunshine back into your life! From heartwarming family sagas to tender romance to feel-good fiction, this list of books to read when you're sad will have you feeling better in no time.

A pie recipe to show my gratitude

It's a cold day in Wisconsin today, but I'm headed to Miami to warm up! I thought I'd post this pie recipe while I'm gone from a few years ago when I baked things from scratch (i.e. before my child could walk).  Reposted from


Thanksgiving itself can be sort of a stressful cooking day, even without perfect pies, and most of us are not Dana’s mom. Sadly. We don’t need another recipe for Thanksgiving at this point because we’re either not cooking tomorrow or are already having our first nervous breakdown regarding the appropriate time to start brining an 18 lb turkey in a home depot pail in the garage (it’s too late if you haven’t started yet).

And then a lot of people go shopping on Friday and stampede each other for Furbees and 3D Digital LCD Widescreen Lite Brites. There’s a lot I could say about this bizarre national ritual, but I will hold my tongue because you never know, someday one of my books might be made into a movie, and the DVD of that movie might be marked down to $4.99 at Wal*Mart between 1:30 and 1:45 am on the day after Thanksgiving, and I might want people to actually leave their warm beds and their sleeping families and their midnight leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches to go to the store and snap that deal up. You never know.

Until that day I will persist in believing that the only appropriate way to spend the day after Thanksgiving is to eat pie for three meals a day. And in order to make this happen when my pie-snarfing brother was a teenager, my mom somehow metabolized an extra pie sometime between when we went  to bed on Thursday and when we awakened to break our fast the next morning. Because yes, pumpkin pie is a breakfast food. And yes, you can put some extra cool whip in your coffee when no one is looking.

If you’re in charge of Friday Breakfast Pie, I have an excellent recipe for you. It originates from my friend Carolyn but I’ve since doctored it to be soy-free and dairy-free. Lots of people are gluten-free too nowadays and you can get there by buying one of many decent-tasting gluten-free crust mixes. If you are lucky enough to be free-free and can have regular crust, just put flour and icey-cold butter in the food pro with a splash of vodka and smoodge it into a pan and you’re set. It won’t look like Dana’s mom made it but it will do.

You’ll note that this recipe requires an actual sugar pumpkin. You might have bought a couple as harvesty decorations, or, like me, you might grow them in freakish quantities quite by accident. Now is the time to throw those babies in the oven. If you don’t have one, make the pie recipe from the side of the can. It’s good too, especially if you double the spices and add a peeled and mashed microwaved sweet potato to the mix. (Really.)


Carolyn’s Delicious Pie for Dessert, Breakfast, Elevensies, and Then Dessert Again:

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup real maple syrup– put down the Hungry Jack and use the real stuff here. Just this once.
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (or 1/8 tsp cornstarch plus rice flour)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1  unbaked pie crust (You get this to be dairy-free by using that glorious superfood Crisco. Calm yourself. It’s a holiday.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Or don’t. I play pretty fast and loose with preheating.

Take the ‘lid’ off the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds with a melon baller or grapefruit spoon (if you have neither of these items you should consider eating more fruit) and bake it for an hour.

Reduce heat in the oven to 350. Meanwhile scrape the pumpkin guts into a blender or food processor and whir it around until it starts to resemble the stuff in the can. You’ll need a cup and a half of pumpkin puree. Use the rest to make Rachel Ray’s yummy macaroni and cheesethe next day.

Mix the 1 1/2 cups of puree with all the other ingredients (except the pie crust, obviously). Don’t put the eggs in until last and make sure the pumpkin’s not hot enough to scramble them when you do add them. Otherwise, ick. I have done this. Twice.

Pour the mix into the pie shell and bake the whole mess for another hour. What? You’d rather be standing in line outside a Toys R Us? Just have a glass of wine and wait for the pie to bake. Maybe watch a Harry Potter movie or beat your kids at Scrabble. That’s what the holidays are for.

When the center is set let the pie cool down. Go to bed. Don’t forget to turn off the oven. If necessary, apologize to your kids for the trash talking you did while you were playing Scrabble, but don’t worry too much. They’ll forgive you in the morning, over their fresh breakfast pie.