Shawn Nesaw

Each year on March 14 (3.14), people all over the world celebrate Pi Day. The most popular of all trending holidays celebrates the mathematical constant π, 3.14159, which, if you don’t recall from sixth-grade math class, is used to calculate the circumference of a circle, among other things., Public Domain,
Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BC) – By Domenico Fetti

You’re probably thinking, “This made up holiday can’t really be legit.” Well, think again, friend.

The date March 14 (that is, 3.14) was designated Pi Day by House Resolution 224 of the first session of the 111th Congress of the United States in 2009.

What gave us pause about this rather abstract holiday was what makes Pi Day so popular around the world? What started out as a holiday for high school math teachers, branched out into a world-wide, social media trending, pie eating fun day, with no age limit or industry focus. Anyone can celebrate Pi Day because, even if you don’t like math or have any interest in circumference exploration, most people like pie!
And that’s where the secret lies – with pie, a close favorite to Pi. Apple, peach, pumpkin, chicken pot, meat or even pizza, all these pies make Pi Day a little more fun. See, for the Pi Day newbies, pie is a key ingredient for making Pi Day awesome for two reasons. First, it gives folks an excuse to eat pie at work. And second, π is used to find the circumference of a circle and pies just also happen to be circular! Mind blown, I know.

For Pi Day this year, we figured we’d have some fun and have a little pie bake-off. The recipes are listed below, if you want to try any of these for yourself.

Bonus: Test your math skills – The earth has a diameter of 7926.41 miles. What is the circumference of the earth? Use C=2πr. Place your answer in the comments below. Also, let us know which type of pie is your favorite. Happy Pi Day!

Pi Day Recipes

Peach Pies with Vanilla Wafers
Submitted by Lisa Morris
Servings: 4 individual pies.
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, divided into 4 equal pieces
1¾ cups chopped frozen peaches (keep frozen until ready to use)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 vanilla wafer cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press the pie crust pieces into 4 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan. Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of each muffin cup.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine peaches, sugar and cornstarch. Toss to combine. Spoon the peach mixture into the muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the crust is golden. Top each pie with a vanilla wafer cookie and serve warm or at room temperature.

(She will be doubling ingredients to make a large pie rather than 4 individual)

Coconut Dream Pie (Kraft)
Submitted by Teri O’Neal
Prep: 15 mins – Ready in: 4 hr 15 mins
2 envelopes DREAM WHIP Whipped Topping Mix
2-3/4 cups cold milk, divided
2 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding and Pie Filling
1 cup coconut, toasted
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 (9-inch) baked pastry shell, cooled


  1. Beat whipped topping mix and 1 cup of the milk in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed 6 minutes or until topping thickens and forms peaks.
  2. Add remaining 1-3/4 cups milk and pudding mixes; blend on low speed.
  3. Beat on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  4. Stir in coconut and pecans. Spoon into pastry shell.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or until set. Garnish with additional toasted coconut, if desired.

Baked Spaghetti Pie Recipe
Submitted by Katie MacNichol
YIELD: 1 large pie, 8-12 pieces
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 40 minutes
16 ounces dried spaghetti
16 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
Pre-made pizza dough


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-10 inch springform pan, or a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan. If using a springform pan, wrap the outside in foil to avoid leakage.
  2. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil. In a separate saucepot, add the ground beef, sausage, onions, and garlic. Brown the meat over medium heat for about 5 minutes, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Once the meat is cooked and the onions have softened, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and 1teaspoon salt. Stir and simmer on low.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, usually 6-9 minutes. Drain the cooked pasta.
  4. Separate out 2 cups of meat sauce and set aside. Add the cooked pasta to the remaining pot of meat sauce. Stir well to coat the pasta. Beat the eggs, then stir them into the spaghetti. Stir in the parmesan cheese
  5. Roll out ¾ of the pizza dough and lay on the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 5-9 minutes (until it starts to brown). Remove from oven.
  6. Pour the spaghetti into the prepared pan on top of the crust. Press down to pack the pasta in the pan.
  7. Pour the remaining meat sauce over the top of the pie. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Cut the remaining pizza dough into 1” strips and make a lattice pattern on top of the cheese. Brush lightly with melted butter (optional).
  8. Bake for 15-25 minutes until the edges are crispy. Cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Chicken Pot Pie
Submitted by Shawn Nesaw
1 box of two refrigerated pie crusts
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup whole grain flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 diced chicken breast (cooked)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (thawed)


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Make pie crusts as directed on box for two-crust pie using a 9-inch glass pie pan.
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in flour until well blended.  Add broth and milk gradually while continuously stirring. Cook until bubbly and thickened.
  3. Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat. Spoon chicken mixture into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut 4 slits in top crust.
  4. Bake 30 – 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tips: Let pie crusts warm up to room temperature before using.  This recipe makes a thick gravy.  For a thinner gravy add an additional 1/2 cup of chicken broth.  Cook chicken in the same pan prior to making the gravy for additional flavor and less dishes to wash.  Leftover chicken broth can be frozen for later use.


Shawn Nesaw

Our staff returned to the office after the holidays with our bellies full and our taste buds’ hearty winter cravings fulfilled. We decided we needed to switch gears and hop onto the crowded “It’s-a-new-year-and-therefore-I-need-to-start-eating-well” train along with the rest of the universe.

Where better to start than with the first and most important meal of the day?

Consumer Reports published an article offering an explanation behind this old bromide, stating “because the time between dinner and the next morning’s meal is the longest your body goes without food, breakfast has an effect on you that’s different from any other meal.”
It continues, “Eating within two hours of waking can make a difference in the way you metabolize glucose, or blood sugar, all day.”
For our Bright Lights, stable glucose levels mean the possibility of enhancing our memory, attention, the speed of processing information, reasoning, creativity, learning and verbal abilities — all critical capabilities in our daily execution of services.

So we held a healthy breakfast potluck competition as a part of our internal health and wellness program, Active ABI.

We had several worthy concoctions that competed for best tasting and healthiest, but our administrative assistant, Donna Nelson, took the cake – or in this case, an assortment of fruits and veggies packaged neatly in a shiny silver colander.

Below, you’ll find all of the excellent recipes we enjoyed that helped kick-start our early January day. Try them out and transform your breakfast into a winner.

EggWhite EggBake – Winner!

  • 1 dozen egg whites only
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped chives, sliced
  • Brown and crumbled Turkey Sausage
  • 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • Splash milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 9 x 13 baking dish

Spray the baking dish with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scramble egg whites with milk and salt and pepper. Add vegetables and meat to pan. Pour eggs over the meat and vegetables. Jiggle pan to evenly spread eggs. Bake until eggs are cooked through. Takes 45 minutes to an hour.

Variations: Add any vegetables or meats you want. You can also add shredded or diced potatoes to the bottom (first layer). Multi-grain bread is also a good first layer.

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins


  • 2/3 cup (5 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, egg whites and egg; beat well.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk to cream cheese mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Gently fold in raspberries and walnuts.
Place 24 foil cup liners in muffin cups. Spoon batter evenly into liners. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Healthy Veggies Egg Muffins

  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a muffin tin with spray and set aside (I used a mini muffin tin).
In a large skillet on medium heat, drizzle olive oil and sauce onion, green pepper and mushrooms for about 4 minutes until tender. Fill each muffin tin about ⅔ full with veggie mixture.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, spinach, cheese, tomato and salt and pepper, and fill each muffin tin evenly, being careful not to over-fill.
Bake muffins for about 20 minutes (around 12 min. if using a mini muffin tin), until they’ve risen and are slightly browned. Enjoy!
Mini BLT Quinoa Cups (gluten free) – Runner-up!

  • ¾ cup dry quinoa
  • 1-½ cups chicken broth (could use water)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed then squeezed completely dry
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon (about 8 slices center-cut)
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water. Meanwhile bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then add rinsed quinoa, place a lid on top, and cook until broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove lid and let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Add cooked quinoa then stir to combine. Spray mini muffin tins very well with nonstick spray, then fill to the top with quinoa mixture, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool 5 minutes then run a sharp knife around the outside of the cups and pop out with a spoon. Cool completely on a cooling rack. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze then reheat by microwaving for 30 seconds.
Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Quinoa

  • ½ cup milk – I used almond milk but any milk will work
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped pecans

Bring milk and water to a boil in a small to medium sized saucepan. Add quinoa, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork, then stir in the pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Taste and adjust any amounts to your liking (i.e. add more sweetness or spices). Divide into two bowls (add milk if desired) and top with desired amount of pecans.

Shawn Nesaw

The change in weather can be hard, but the sweet smells (and tastes) of fall are what make it one of the best times of year. Of course at A. Bright Idea we have our Top 10 Fall Foods and their delicious recipes. Here’s hoping your fall is full of your favorite traditions, shared with friends and family!
1. Pumpkin Spice Latte
Don’t be fooled, this isn’t an easy one to make at home. With all of the coffee lovers here, we recommend Starbucks for this warm treat.
2. Apple Pie
Don’t forget to serve it warm and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
3. Butternut Squash Soup
A dinner party starter to please all
4. Cinnamon Pancakes
Easy breakfast to start the day or enjoy on the weekends
5. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Perfect for a rainy, fall day
6. Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Comfort food at its best
7. Vegetable Soup
A warming favorite with a twist of French cuisine
8. Chocolate Pear Cakes
The perfect pear for a fall treat
9. Beer Can Chicken
Meat and beer – it doesn’t get much better
10. Sliders (Mini Burgers)
Tailgate approved!