Happy National Pie Day. Itís today. I know, it crept up on you. I hear you, it happened to me, too. But itís not too late for us to celebrate. Here are three ways to embrace this beloved holiday:

1. Pie worth a try. Donít let the day go by without indulging. Pick your pie. Maybe you want to make a family favorite or go buy a pie from a local bakery. If youíre inclined to try something new and simple, consider making a minty grasshopper pie infused with Andes candies. See recipe below.

2. Protect your pie. Forget burnt crusts and crimped foil. This year, invest in a metal pie saver that protects the outer edges of your pieís crust. Look at home goods stores for this inexpensive item, or shop online. We found one for $5 at www.southernflavoring.com.

3. Peruse the pies. Since 1995, amateur, commercial and professional bakers have competed in the National Pie Championships to determine the best pies in the country. Now nearly 200 of those award winners are compiled in a new cookbook, ĒAmericaís Best Pies: Nearly 200 Recipes Youíll Love.Ē Youíll find the best recipes for the pies you adore, whether itís apple, rhubarb, Boston cream or Key lime. Youíll also find ultra-creative confections the likes of White-Bottomed Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie, Deep-Dish Deluxe Banana Split Pie, and Island Breeze Pineapple-Blueberry Cream Pie.

Find the book at select bookstores, on Kindle, at Amazon.com, or at www.piecouncil.org. ($24.95).


11/2 cups cold milk

1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix

23/4 cups whipped topping, divided

1 package (4.67 ounces) Andes mint candies, chopped, divided

1 9-inch prepared chocolate crumb crust

1/4 teaspoon mint extract

2 drops green food coloring, optional

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 3/4 cup whipped topping. Fold in 3/4 cup candies. Spoon into crust. In another bowl, combine extract and remaining whipped topping; add food coloring if desired. Spread over pudding layer; sprinkle with remaining candies. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Yield: 8 servings.

Taste of Home