When my kids were babies, my diaper bag was ready for anything. I'm a planner and I like to be prepared for the "what if" scenarios. My pantry is always stocked with extra cans of beans, coconut milk and dried grains, I keep a roll of paper towels and a travel potty in the trunk of my car. Just in case! My mother laughs at this (lovingly), but I am who I am. Unfortunately though, because I live in NYC, I can't fully apply the "what if" laws to my freezer, which is a sliver of the size I want it to be.
So while I dream of making and freezing gallons of soup or lasagnes, and having these fabulous lunches or breakfasts for my kids all ready-to-go, my real-life space constraints make that impossible. What's a gal to do? Prioritize. I've boiled down the "freezer what ifs" to our family's most important:
- What if I feel like making smoothies? I always have frozen fruit (this is great for lunches and pies too!).
- What if someone is sick and we need soup? I usually have a small container of carrot soup or bean soup on hand in the freezer.
- What if I want to make spinach pie, add extra vegetables to something or my kids want peas in their lunch? I always have frozen veggies.
- What if I need some chocolate? I have several dark chocolate bars in the door, and quite honestly, have to replenish the stash with regularity.
- What if I forget about groceries entirely and there's absolutely nothing for dinner, not even eggs or pasta? I have a small drawer of frozen meat. Note: this has never happened and I don't actually know how to defrost meat quickly. I'm not sure why I ever have meat in my freezer.
Beyond the "what if" areas in my freezer, there's also the "occasional" shelf that houses non-staple, sometime-foods that aren't regulars in our house like waffles, breakfast sausages, chicken nuggets, dairy free ice cream, frozen pizza dough or pie crust and if we're lucky, half a batch of these delicious muffins.
The Occasional Shelf hit the spot this weekend when I was home with my sick 3 year old while the rest of my family was out of town for a family wedding. After the 100th reading of Jez Alborough's It's the Bear!, my little one suggested making a blueberry pie. I took it as a good sign when the kid who had a 103.5 fever two days earlier was interested in an activity. I've probably made a fruit pie twice in my life, and I'm not a pie lover myself, but my mom is the queen of pies so I knew exactly where to go for the recipe.
As it turned out, we had most of the ingredients that this recipe called for on hand (thanks for the pie crust, Occasional Shelf!) and we made substitutions where we needed them. Blueberry Pie thus became Blueberry Pomegranate Pie! Thanks to the cooking class I took last weekend in Tennessee, I added freshly ground black pepper to enhance the flavor of the streusel topping. See below for the full recipe.
This pie was made with all frozen fruit: 2 packages of frozen blueberries and 1 package of frozen pomegranate seeds. Two thumbs up for the freezer!
Next, add the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.
Squeeze lemon juice on the mixture and thoroughly combine. Preheat the oven to 375 and pour the berries into the pie crust. Next, prepare the streusel topping.
In a separate bowl, add the flour, oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, ground pepper and melted butter.
Pour the streusel topping on the berries and this pie is ready to go!
Tada! Bake for one hour, let it cool and enjoy! Yum yum.
Blueberry Pomegranate Pie with Oat Streusel
1 recipe Oat-Coconut Streusel (see below)
4.5 cups frozen blueberries and frozen pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the Oat-Coconut Streusel and set aside. Mix the blueberries and pomegranate, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Pour the blueberry filling into the pie crust. Cover with the streusel. Bake about one hour or until top is golden brown.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
6 tablespoons melted butter
Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the melted butter. Mix until the dry the ingredients are covered with the melted butter.
What's in your freezer?