Food is something that has always been near and dear to me. I grew up in a household where we ate all sorts of food – from adventurous to basic and uber healthy to pure sugar. We never judged each other and were supportive of eating a variety of foods. Food was always adventurous and fun!
While Los Angeles has always been very diverse, recently there has been a craze for health foods and overall healthy lifestyles. People have been devoting themselves to working out and doing yoga all while eating acai bowls and going on juice cleanses to rid themselves of toxins.
While I’m super happy that people are seeing healthy eating as necessary for living a great life, I’m also seeing something that bums me out – people who have started side eyeing those who stray from a healthy lifestyle.
People will scoff at the fact that I sometimes eat cake for breakfast in bed while they are out with their morning smoothie and going on a hike in Runyon Canyon. I’ve even felt a little guilty that I want to eat 10 cookies in one sitting. Cookies that I spent a long time baking I might add.
Suddenly, not eating healthy seems sort of shameful. It takes me back to elementary school when my friends and I were eating lightly salted seaweed and tuna for lunch and everyone else was eating Lunchables.
It has taken me some time to realize that while I don’t eat the “healthiest” all the time, my body is resilient (as long as I exercise). And, I really enjoy eating a variety of foods, whether it’s considered healthy or not. I eat what I want to eat. And that makes me the happy.
One thing that I do think is important is the quality of your food. If I have a hamburger, I would like it to be as natural (with the least amount of processing) possible. If I’m going to be totally honest here, I mostly love high-quality foods for the flavor rather than the health benefits. So it’s really a win-win.
I have recently rekindled an old love, visiting local farmer’s markets, and so in the spirit of my quality + eat-what-I-want approach to food, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes. This recipe is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients but will still satisfy your sweet tooth (because desserts are my favorite).
This strawberry cream pie is a mix between regular cream pie and strawberry pie; it’s basically one pie sitting on top of another. They are both really traditional recipes but I always treat food as an adventure and this turned into something a little new and different. I used fresh products from local farms (pesticide free + organic yay!).
The “healthy” bonus? Fresh strawberries are much sweeter than store bought ones so you can actually use less sugar when making desserts – score!
STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE
by Sylvia Gunde
Pastry Shell (9 inches)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup crushed strawberries
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups fresh strawberries, halved
- Cover bottom of pie shell with crushed pistachios.
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, flour, and salt.
- Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 more minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir a small amount into egg; return all to the saucepan. Cook and stir until almost bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 1-2 minutes more (do not boil).
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extract. Cool to room temperature.
- Whip heavy whipping cream and fold into filling. Pour into pie shell. Chill for at least 2-3 hours.
- About 2 hours before serving, prepare the glaze. Combine crushed strawberries and water in a large saucepan; cook for 2 minutes. Combine sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir into the berries. Cook until thick and clear, stirring constantly. Strain. Cool for 20 minutes.
- When ready to eat, arrange berry halves over filling. Pour glaze evenly over berries.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. Garnish with freshly whipped cream or more pistachios.
Yield: 6-8 servings.
Prep: 35 minutes & chilling
Cook: 10 minutes & cooling
I hope you enjoy the recipe. And here’s to enjoying food – in whatever way you like!
Photos by Sylvia Gunde