Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie

Did you know that you can still actually enter pies to be judged at the state fair? There are many things I do not wish to be judged on (my fashion sense, the way I drive when my kids are late to school, the fine lines creeping across my face, to name a few), but if you must judge me, by all means, judge me by my pies.

This pie, specifically. I’m seriously considering entering this Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie in the upcoming Arizona State Fair Culinary Arts Exhibition in October. It may just be me and a bunch of old ladies from far-flung regions of this great state–places with goofy names like Tuba City and Why–people who still think of the state fair as an opportunity to display their skills instead of an opportunity to see Snoop Dogg in concert and eat fried Twinkies. But I’d kind of like the chance to showcase this gem of a pie, because it is deeeeelish.

Admittedly, “Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie” is a bit of a mouthful–literally and figuratively–and initially, sounds like a rather odd combination of flavors and concepts:

Streusel? On top of blueberry pie? Which is a custard?

But don’t let that deter you.

This is one special pie. Its mix of creamy blueberry custard with sweet, crunchy streusel is truly unique and has been a crowd-pleaser for its originality every time I’ve served it. If you’ve ever seen the movie Amélie, you may remember the title character’s delight at cracking the crust of a crime brûlée with a spoon to access the smooth custard underneath.

This pie offers a similar tactile pleasure, as its crunchy layer of streusel topping gives way to velvety custard beneath. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the way the cinnamony top complements the blueberry filling.

So what do you think? State fair-worthy? What pie would you enter in your state fair?

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 276
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 4.5g 22%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 204mg 9%
Potassium 91mg 2%
Total Carb 39.9g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g 7%
Sugars 24.8g
Protein 3.5g
Vitamin A 5% · Vitamin C 11%
Calcium 2% · Iron 8%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Recipe analyzed by 
Print Recipe
Streusel-Topped Blueberry Custard Pie
A crunchy layer of streusel gives way to velvety blueberry custard underneath in this truly unique pie.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
For the crust and filling:
For the streusel topping:
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
For the crust and filling:
For the streusel topping:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pie crust to a diameter of 10 inches and place in the bottom of a 10-inch pie plate.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, egg, sugar, vanilla, 2 Tbsp. flour, and salt. Fold in blueberries. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake 25 minutes. (You may want to cover the edges with foil or a crust shield to prevent excessive browning.)
  3. In the meantime, prepare streusel: in a small bowl, combine brown sugar and flour, then work the butter in with a fork or your fingers. Stir in pecans.
  4. After 25 minutes of baking, sprinkle streusel over the top of the blueberry filling. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until the filling is no longer jiggly and the topping is nicely browned. Cool 30 minutes before serving, or serve chilled.
Recipe Notes
Share this Recipe

Broccoli Three Cheese Lasagna

Today, in addition to bestowing upon the internet the gift of an amazing Broccoli Three-Cheese Lasagna that might just become your family’s new favorite vegetarian pasta dish, I’m trying a little something new on the blog. For kicks, and because as a nutritionist I care about providing (reasonably) healthy recipes, I’ve decided that moving forward, I’d really like to include nutrition information with my recipes. Also because I’m curious. So today, for this lovely lasagna, I’ve included a nutrition facts label for your perusal.

Adding up actual counts of calories, fat, sodium, etc. can feel like a bit of a peeking-through-your-fingers potential train wreck, like “oh nooooooo, I’m eating WHAT? Why did you have to tell me that?”

But I do (usually) want to know what I’m putting into my body–and I want YOU to know, too.

I’m starting with this particular Broccoli Lasagna recipe because, in its original form via Real Simple, this homemade comfort food classic contained a whopping 833 calories, 56 grams of fat, and 1,500mg of sodium–even with vegetables in place of meat. I shudder to think about the nutrition facts for restaurant lasagna. Actually….let’s go there. Olive Garden’s Lasagna Classico will set you back 930 calories, 53 grams of fat, and 2,070 mg of sodium! (For reference, your daily intake of sodium should be below 2,400 mg. Good luck only eating 300 mg of sodium in the entire rest of your day!)

As delicious as the original version of this recipe might have been, it really didn’t need to be so heavy, and with a few changes to slim it down, it’s still plenty rich. With a bit less cheese and a more portion-controlled 5 servings instead of 4, this lighter incarnation contains 586 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 1,245 mg sodium. High in sodium, yes, but with fat and calorie counts I can feel good about with a one-dish-meal dinner. Especially one that combines the Italian nirvana of tender pasta and ooey-gooey stretchy cheese with the nutritional powerhouse of broccoli.


Print Recipe
Broccoli Three Cheese Lasagna
Stretchy mozzarella, tender lasagna noodles, savory sauce, and plenty of broccoli make this a one-dish delight.
Course Main Dish, pasta
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
Course Main Dish, pasta
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using fresh broccoli, steam in a microwave-safe dish by adding a few tablespoons water, covering with a lid, and microwaving 2-4 minutes until bright green and crisp-tender. If using frozen, thaw and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place steamed or thawed broccoli in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but not pureed).
  2. In a large bowl, mix chopped broccoli, ricotta, 1 c. mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir half and half into marinara sauce.
  4. Assemble lasagna: in an 8-inch square baking dish, spoon a thin layer of sauce. Top with two noodles, a quarter of remaining sauce, and a third of the broccoli mixture. Repeat twice. Top with the remaining two noodles and sauce. Sprinkle the top with remaining 1/4 c. mozzarella and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan.
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 35-40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Inspired by (but heavily adapted from) Real Simple.

Share this Recipe

Mandarin Orange Yogurt Pops

I always forget about popsicles. They’re such a simple, versatile snack that’s just about fail-safe, and I have what is officially known as a “crap-ton” of popsicle molds sitting in one of my kitchen cabinets. But somehow, the idea of making popsicles rarely springs to mind.

Until, that is, I go swimming. When you’re by the pool on a hot day, doing the summer dance of in-for-a-dip, out-for-some-sun, don’t popsicles just sound like the perfect treat? They sure do to me! So the other day, when the kids and I were enjoying an afternoon by the pool, a craving for popsicles came on full force.

These creamy Mandarin Orange Yogurt Pops were just the thing, both for me the crew of my own kids and neighbor kids tromping through my house until school starts next week. Of course, if you’ve ever made popsicles, you probably realize that any mix of fruit, juice, and/or yogurt will pretty much work, so think of these as more “popsicle inspiration” and less “popsicle recipe.” The mandarin oranges here could easily be replaced by any frozen fruit, and the yogurt with honey could be flavored yogurt. (There’s a reason why even kids can make these frozen treats.)

What’s your favorite version?

Print Recipe
Mandarin Orange Yogurt Pops
Creamy frozen pops with bursts of juicy mandarin orange!
Course snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours (freezing)
Servings
popsicles (depending on mold size)
Ingredients
Course snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours (freezing)
Servings
popsicles (depending on mold size)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together yogurt, honey, and orange extract (if using). Drain about half the liquid from the mandarin oranges, then stir oranges and remaining liquid into yogurt mixture.
  2. Carefully spoon into popsicle molds. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.
Recipe Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe.

Share this Recipe

The Best Black Bean Burritos

After this post, I swear I’ll stop talking about our summer in Germany so much…but since we returned just two days ago, I do have one more thing to say, and that is:

Mexican food is the greatest.

Wait, how is this about Germany? Well, when you’re from Arizona, enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, guacamole, and salsa are like mother’s milk. They’re a part of the fabric of “normal” food in our part of the world. In kindergarten, my class learned the Mexican hat dance in P.E. and sang “Feliz Navidad” at our Christmas recital, if that tells you anything about how Mexican culture (and therefore food) are a major part of the Arizona lifestyle.

When you live in Germany, on the other hand, Mexican food might as well be Martian food. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. There was one Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood in Cologne, but it definitely did not serve the Sonoran cuisine I’m used to. And although German grocery stores often technically sell some Mexican foods, it’s something akin to if someone told you they had an Italian marinara and sold you tomato sauce. There’s a difference.

So essentially, I’ve gone without my regular dose of life-giving Mexican food for almost three months. And ¡ay, caramba!, I have missed it.

Therefore, when we returned home a couple of days ago, eating Mexican was FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS. Like, unpack, shower off the grody-ness of spending a total of almost 20 hours on airplanes, and get me some Mexican food. These amazing black bean burritos are one of my go-to Mexican faves, and since they’re also vegetarian, they sounded especially wonderful after what may become known in our family as our Summer of Sausage. (Don’t get me wrong, I love brats, but I was reaching my personal point of Meat Overload by the end of three months.)

The Best Black Bean Burritos did not disappoint! With grilled corn and a side of chips and guac, these are my Mexican happy place. Our family had such a valuable, meaningful time in Europe, but it sure is good to be home for many reasons, but especially because…


Print Recipe
The Best Black Bean Burritos
Eating is believing! These delicious black bean burritos are packed with veggies, have amazing flavor, and are a snap to make!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
burritos
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
burritos
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and place them in the oven to warm for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, red onion, red pepper, and jalapeño and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in black beans and cook another 3 minutes.
  3. Add cubed cream cheese and salt and cook until the mixture becomes creamy and heated through. Stir in cilantro.
  4. Serve mixture in tortillas, with any additional toppings desired.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Allrecipes.com.

Share this Recipe

Diet and Exercise as Healing Practices

For anyone who doesn’t know me personally, you might have noticed the many references on this blog recently to Germany (we are now at the tail end of a summer spent in Cologne, a city in Northwestern Germany), but there’s something you might now know…something that happened during our trip that has had a profound effect on the life of our family, and is the reason I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks. In the early hours of July 4th, my 6-year-old daughter Christine fell 9 feet from the loft bed where she was sleeping and was severely injured. It’s a very long story, but the ultimate result was that she sustained a skull fracture, a concussion, a temporary facial palsy as a result of the swelling pressing on her nerves, and a broken collarbone.

Not exactly the adventure we were looking for when we set off on our European summer. Also definitely not the July 4th I was planning…or the July 5th, or 6th, or 7th, or…you get the idea.

After five traumatic days in a German hospital, our little girl came “home” to our rented apartment and has been recovering remarkably well for someone with such serious injuries. Her emotions, too, have regulated fairly well after this extreme ordeal–she really is an incredibly resilient person, and always has been.

She doesn’t get it from me.

I’ve still been struggling with negativity, fear, and doubt regarding my daughter’s injuries. I wish I had my husband’s optimism for our daughter’s future to be nothing but bright. I’m getting there, but as someone who is naturally a bit of an Eeyore, it’s an uphill battle.

Thankfully, I have some resources. First of all, as a Christian, I have comfort and peace from my relationship with Jesus Christ, and a belief that throughout this ordeal, God is in control. I have had a strong sense that my daughter has plenty left to do on this Earth–even when things did not look good for her immediately after her injury. Second, I have some very dear friends and loved ones who have offered support, checked in every day from afar, and have even sent money for meals and for me to get a massage. (I will say that you never know who will come out of the woodwork to help when you ask for it on Facebook. I was floored to receive super encouraging messages from two high school acquaintances in the midst of this sad time…and equally surprised to hear nothing from a few friends I consider close.)

I see how it is…

But since my faith and my friends aren’t really what this blog is about, I wanted to share a little bit about a couple of other resources that have to do with the healthy lifestyle message I try to proffer on A Love Letter to Food (can I use the word “proffer” without sounding absurd? Also, can you please ignore my Desserts section when I’m talking about my healthy lifestyle message? Mmkay, thanks.)

Of the constellation of practices that are helping me heal emotionally in the wake of my daughter’s injury, diet and exercise have definitely played a role. As for diet, it might sound surprising, but I don’t mean that my diet has been all sunshine and rainbows and that’s helped me feel great. Besides…please allow me this Derek Zoolander moment… I don’t think sunshine and rainbows are edible.

Anyway, what I mean is that, as a part of my healing process, I have been giving myself some extra grace when it comes to my diet–letting go a little of my usual vigilance over my eating habits. As a temporary measure, I’m finding this a relief. One less thing to worry about. In fact, due to some unfortunate timing, my son and I were scheduled to take a 2-day trip to Rome departing only a few days after my daughter was released from the hospital. After a lot of agonizing, I decided we should still go (and I absolutely don’t regret it–it was a life-changing 48 hours). While there, I decided to let myself have the extra serving of gelato, even though I wasn’t that hungry–and I normally never eat if I’m not hungry. Other indulgences included chocolate croissants for breakfast and a crazy-good lasagna dinner. “When in Rome,” right?

I’m sure eating appropriately for emotional healing is different for every person in or recovering from crisis, and may shift as the situation shifts–and I’m certainly not advocating drowning your troubles in gelato all the time. In general, research has revealed that healthy eating has been shown to improve mood, (and, for the record, the Mediterranean diet seems to be the best option to stave off anxiety and depression). But “comfort foods” get their name for a reason: sometimes, in the short term, they really can help us feel better, especially if we associate them with happy memories. And I certainly am going to associate gelato with this happy memory of eating it with my son on the streets of Rome.

Exercise, too, is something that for the first week after my daughter’s injury fell by the wayside. Self-care just didn’t mean going for a brisk jog in those first few days when I was getting three hours of sleep a night and spending all day at my little girl’s bedside. But now that Christine is on the mend, I’ve begun to return to my usual routine of yoga and running. Today, after the kind of run that makes all the song lyrics feel like they’re all singing your story (“and I don’t really care if nobody else beliEEEEEves, cause I’ve still got a lotta fight left in MEEEE!”) I read this awesome article–please, please read it–that confirmed the rejuvenating feelings running always brings. Aerobic activity literally clears your mind by generating new neurons in the area of your brain linked to emotion regulation.

Hey, here’s a pic of me on my run with no makeup! You’re welcome.

My takeaway: in times of crisis when emotional healing is needed, listen to your body when it comes to diet and exercise. And then, if after awhile, your body is still telling you to eat fried chicken and Twinkies and get under 500 steps in a day, be gentle with yourself as you ease into healthy habits. And of course, for anyone in crisis, please seek professional help for emotional and physical issues.

What are the diet and exercise habits that have brought emotional healing in your life?