Mulberry Muffins

Mulberry Muffins
2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown or raw sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons cream or whole milk
3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
3/4 cup mulberries


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a muffin pan.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. In a medium bowl, mix together sour cream, milk, butter, egg and almond extract. Stir in flour mixture until batter is smooth. Fold in mulberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Makes about a dozen muffins

Posted in bread, breakfast | Leave a comment

Mulberry Rhubarb Shortcake

Mulberry Rhubarb Shortcake

2 1/2 cups mulberries
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

8 Shortcakes (basically slightly sweet biscuits, split in half)

Combine ingredients. Microwave until rhubarb is soft.
Chill, pour over shortcakes. Top with whipped cream if desired.
Other ways to use mulberries:

Mulberry Syrup

Mulberry Jelly

Mulberry Jam

Mulberry Almond Coffee Cake

Mulberry Fool

Mulberry MeadThis website has more information about the mulberry tree and several recipes.

Use one of these shortcake recipes with sweetened mulberries

Use Mulberries with some other berries to stretch the more expensive fruit (mulberries are free).

Posted in dessert, fruit | Leave a comment

BLT Chicken and Pasta Salad

BLT Chicken and Pasta Salad

[The DHM doesn’t like pasta salads, the rest of us do. This recipe has helped us reach a compromise — the salad is packed with all sorts of delightful summer flavors]

4 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped
10 Ounces Pasta
10 Pieces Bacon — cooked and crumbled
2 Medium Tomatoes — coarsely chopped
4 Cups Lettuce — torn
2/3 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons BBQ Sauce
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (you decide how tangy you like it)
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Crisply fry bacon and crumble; coarsely chop tomatoes; tear lettuce into bite-size pieces.

Mix mayonnaise, BBQ sauce and pepper to form dressing.

When pasta has been drained and is still warm, add directly to the dressing; stir until well coated.

Add chicken, tomatoes and bacon to pasta mixture; stir until well mixed; refrigerate until served.

Just before serving, add lettuce pieces and toss lightly to coat.

We like to do lots of tomatoes and chicken. The pasta is best if cooked in chicken stock; so you can boil the chicken to cook it, and use the broth from that for cooking pasta. Saves time and tastes better. :)

Posted in main dish, pasta, poultry, salad | Leave a comment

California Walnut, Turkey and Rice Salad

Another old post from the early days of The Common Room:


3 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cooked turkey, white meat, diced
1/2 cup celery, diagonally sliced
1/4 cup pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup lowfat lemon yogurt (skip the low-fat bit)0 OR do plain yogurt or sour cream and some lemon juice
1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise (skip the low-fat, ew)
1 tsp. lemon rind, grated
1/2 tsp. curry powder
6 cups lettuce, try romaine, spinach, Boston or mache

Directions: Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together next 4 ingredients. Add the dressing to the salad mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate. To serve, spoon 1 cup of salad over 1 cup of the lettuce leaves. Because this recipe serves 6 we doubled it.

Our Notes: The Equuschick made the salad; she does not think water chestnuts are fit to eat so they were not included in the dish. This made the HeadGirl very happy and the DHM somewhat sad. Of course, the HeadGirl also wishes that the celery had been omitted, but one can’t have everything in life…
Instead of lemon yogurt we used plain yogurt flavored with lemon juice. We did not have it with the lettuce but this was a pure oversight and will not happen again. We were interrupted by a serious thunderstorm that necessitated the rearrangement of the livestock. By the time we got in to eat supper the lettuce had been forgotten.

Jennyanydots suggested the addition of more mandarin oranges. This is purely subjective, however. We happen to really like mandarin oranges. :)

-We should have noted that this amount served nine with generous leftovers- several of us had it for lunch the next day. So I would say the above amount is enough for about 12-15 if you serve this as a main dish, which we would. We had it again quite recently, and the Equuschick kindly added the water chestnuts to my portion. They were a scrumptious addition.- the DHM

Posted in main dish, poultry, salad | Leave a comment

Artichoke Garbanzo Pasta Salad

This recipe has the distinction of being the first (so far as I can find) that I posted to The Common Room, back in May of 2005. It’s hard to believe we were blogging nearly four months before I posted a recipe, isn’t it?

I collected it from the website Meals For You, one of my favorites for ease of use, and for the shopping list it creates for me. I made it to share with some precious out of town company. Our adaptations in italics:

Artichoke Garbanzo Pasta Salad
This recipe serves 20 (meals for you will recalculate your recipes for you to make as many or as few servings as you desire)

Prep: 15 min, plus chilling time. (we didn’t bother with the chilling time)

* 2-1/2 lbs. canned artichoke hearts, chopped
* 3-1/4 lbs. canned garbanzo beans, drained
Next time we’ll use more artichoke hearts and fewer garbanzo beans (when I was a young bride I did not know that garbanzo beans and chickpeas were the same thing, and I wasted many hours at the grocery store searching for ‘chickpeas,’ when my store only carried garbanzo beans)
* 10 cups cooked pasta shells or spirals
* 6-2/3 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
* 3-1/4 large tomatoes, chopped
* 3-1/4 red bell peppers, chopped (we used a bag of frozen peppers, mixed)
* 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil
* 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice
* 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. water
* 1 Tbs. minced garlic
* 2-1/2 tsp. dried basil or oregano
* 3/4 tsp. black pepper
* 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
* 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. feta cheese, grated (we omitted this)

Mix first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Blend next 7 ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Pour over salad and toss. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Top with feta cheese before serving.

We think this would be delicious with chopped ham, turky ham, chicken or tuna salad.
I topped mine with parmesan cheese. Swiss would have been tasty, too.

Posted in legumes, main dish, pasta, salad, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Low-Carb Midnight Snack

Toasted cheese ‘crackers’, green olives stuffed with garlic, ,Racconto Oven Roasted Tomato Pesto,* and my usual water glass with 8-10 drops of apricot stevia* and two tablespoons of lemon juice.

To make the cheese thing-gummies- I take a block of sharp cheddar cheese and a vegetable peeler and peel a rectangle of thin cheese. Heat a skillet to medium or medium-high. Carefully set the cheese slices down on the hot skillet, spaced so they don’t touch. When the corners are golden brown, you can either flip them (carefully, this takes practice, and you will find some will roll up on you), or lift them out of the pan with the pancake turner (both options require some real careful work with the pancake turner, carefully scraping at corners), set them on a plate to cool.
If you flip them, they will be very hard and crunchy. Sometimes I am in the mood for really crunchy, sometimes not so much.

The pesto, well, I really scored with this. There is a large super discount store about an hour from here. I go perhaps four times a year, usually with a friend or my mother. You can never count on what you will find there- they have things like salvage from wrecked trucks, or the stock from a store going out of business, or overstocks- who knows? Their prices are amazing, with a few exceptions you have to watch for. The pesto was .50 for a jar. The ingredients are: tomatoes, dried tomatoes, olive oil, water, black olives, basil, onion, chili pepper, marjoram, thyme, and garlic. 1 Tablespoon has less than one gram of carbs.

The Apricot Stevia I buy through our co-op whenever it is on sale, when I pay anywhere from 6-9 dollars a bottle. But you wouldn’t believe how long this stuff lasts! I have been having it in two to three glasses a day for about three weeks now, Jenny loves it, and Pip has it from time to time, and the level in the bottle is still only about 2/3 full (and it had already been used quite a few times before I started drinking it regularly).

The garlic stuffed olives are a luxury item. I buy them through the co-op or on sale, but that means I pay, at best, 4.00 for a jar, more often 5.00.

But, man, they are so yummy.

Linked at the Hearth and Soul blog hop

Linked at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday by Simply Sugar, Gluten Free

Posted in appetizers and snacks, low-carb | 2 Responses

Home-made Mayonaisse

Monday night I made home-made mayonnaise for the first time in a long time, and oh, my!
I had forgotten how absolutely delicious it is. I had not made it in so long because the Equushick had taken over that job for us, and she continued to make it for us many times after her marriage in exchange for some mayo of her own. I got out of practice and lazy.
It’s easy to see how the convenience of the store-bought jar nudges out the luxurious, healthier goodness of the delicious home-made sort, because four eggs, 2 cups of olive oil, and about fifteen minutes later, all I have is somewhere between 2 and 3 cups of creamy mayo scrumptiousness, and for our family, that won’t last long (we eat a lot of pasta and grain based salads with mayo in them).
I might decide not to share.=)

My recipe is based on the recipe for basic home-made mayonnaise in the Wings of Life cookbook by Julie Jordan. She calls for egg yolks only and for mixing the mayo by hand, preferably with two people, one to whisk and one to pour the oil.

It’s better if the ingredients are at room temperature.

4 eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (I used balsamic, because I didn’t have red wine vinegar)
pinch of dry mustard (I had none, so I used a generous dollop of brown mustard)
2 cups of unrefined oil (I used olive oil, Julie says it’s good with sesame oil, too. I have also made it with sunflower oil)
3 Tablespoons vinegar or the juice of a lemon (I used apple cider vinegar

If you want really special mayo, put some whey in it as well- I usually just pour the liquid off the top of a container of sour cream or plain yogurt, but I didn’t do that this time.

My directions:
Break the eggs into your blender and give it a quick whirl until they are lemony in color.
Add the salt, red wine vinegar, and the mustard to the eggs, and whirl another minute.
Now comes the part where you need to apply some care, although it’s not nearly as vital with blender mayo as it is with hand-whisked (which is how Julie recommends making it).
While the blender is running, start pouring the oil in through the hole in the top of most blender lids- very slowly, a trickle at most:

I find it best to let it slowly run down the side of the measuring cup into the blender, and I measure out half a cup at a time instead of the whole two cups at once.
That’s it for a while, you stand there and blend and trickle. After the first cup of oil has been incorporated, and you see the stuff is thickening prettily, add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar (or not raw, if that’s what you have). Add the other tablespoon of vinegar after the last drop of the last cup of oil is added.
Then you have something like this:

This is delicious, in my opinion, just delicious (and sugar-free, which few store-bought mayos are anymore).

The oil flavor will be stronger right after you make it. As it sits in your fridge, the flavor melds further and the flavor of oil is less strong.

Variations: Add garlic cloves to the blender if you want some garlic flavored may.
Add parmesan cheese, or a handful of green herbs.

Troubleshooting: if your mayo didn’t work, do not throw it away. It makes a perfectly good salad dressing base as it is- add some buttermilk, garlic, and dill for a Ranch style dressing, blend in a cucumber for green goddess.
You can also probably still save your mayonnaise by pouring it out into a pitcher or measuring cup, and then whisking an egg yolk or two in the blender. Then you add your ‘failed’ mayo to the blender while it’s churning away, drop by drop, a slow trickle. This should set it up nicely.

The blender is your friend.
Personally, while I see the satisfaction in making bread by hand instead of in a breadmaker, I find no such satisfaction in making mayo with a whisk instead of a blender, so I don’t make the mayo Julie’s way. She calls for yolk only because the whites make it harder to get the mayo to set- unless you use a blender. Then it doesn’t matter.

Linked at:
Make Your Own! Monday
 Tasty Traditions

Posted in condiments and substitutions | 2 Responses

chocolate almond coconut bars

one package devil’s food chocolate cake mix
1 cup melted butter
1 large egg

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix the ingredients for the crust. Put in an ungreased 9×13 pan, spreading to make sure it reaches all sides.

Beat the eggs for topping, fold in coconut, spread over top of the batter in the pan.
Top with chocolate chips.
Bake the cake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool at least an hour before slicing into squares. makes about 24 small, very rich squares.

I am not sure where this recipe came from, but I think it might have been a blog. If you recognize it, please let me know so I can credit the source.

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Sweet Potato Citrus Yum

How a mistake created the most delicious, and at the same time the oddest, sweet potato recipe ever.

The Hollyhocks and Radishes cookbook, where I got the recipe, calls this totally non-bread recipe “Sweet Potato Spoon Bread.” They do say in the small print- ‘not really a bread, more like a heavy souffle with a delightful crunchiness…”

Well, because the recipe says that, I didn’t double check as carefully as I should have when my 14 year old made this recipe and it just wasn’t anything like we were expecting. Happily, we loved the results and this ‘mistake’ is going to be a side-dish on our Thanksgiving table. The flavor is zingy, fresh, delightful, light. It’s a palate cleanser, a joy in your tastebuds tickler. It’s nothing like a a spoon bread or a dense souffle… when you omit one full cup of honey called for in the recipe!

Here’s what we did:

Peeled and grated four largish sweet potatoes
Grated the rinds and squeezed the juice of one lemon and one orange (I got my zester at the thrift shop. Before I had it, I would save all citrus peels in my freezer and pull out enough for a recipe and grate them with a vegetable peeler– they work very well on frozen citrus peels)
Combined all and added
1/2 teaspoon each: ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt

Beat four eggs separately, whisked in 1/2 cup of milk, stirred into the sweet potato mixture.

Added 1/2 cup of melted butter or coconut oil (she was in a bit of a dither about what to use, and I think she chose butter)

Mixed well. Spooned into greased muffin cups.

We did this because we wanted it to be done fast.
Bake at 325 for about fifteen or twenty minutes.

It was a huge hit, and we love it. I can’t begin to describe the fresh, sunny, deliciously zingy flavor. Mmm.

Here’s what we were supposed to do, and we will try this soon, just to see what it’s really supposed to be. but the ‘mistake’ stays on as part of our newest old Thanksgiving Tradition:

Scrub for or five sweet potatoes (about 2.5 pounds), but do not peel. Grate of finely shred them.
Grate the rinds and squeeze the juices of one orange and one lemon. Add to potatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Stir with a fork to blend.

In a separate bowl, beat four eggs, then whisk in:
1/2 cup milk
1 cup honey
1/2 cup melted fat (butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil- okay, the recipe ackshully calls for light vegetable oil, but this is anathema, so we didn’t and wouldn’t).

Stir the liquid mixture into sweet potato mixture.

Pour into an oiled, shallow 1 1/2 quart to 2 quart baking dish. Bake uncovered, 1 hour (see why we chose muffin tins?). Serve hot, warm, or cold, says the author.

Linked at Tasty Traditions

The Common Room, our regular blog has been nominated in the Homeschool Blog Awards in the following categories:
Best Homeschool Variety
Best Current Events and Opinions
Best Family or Group Blog

Voting ends midnight, November 18th.

Linked at Days of Thanksgiving Blog Party

Linked at Food Renegades Fight Back Friday

Linked at Grocery Cart Challenge

LInked at Domestically Speaking’s Countdown to Thanksgiving Party

LInked at Tuesday Twister

Linked at Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans

Posted in Celebrations and Traditions, side dish, vegetable | 1 Response

Maple Custard

Maple Custard, from Frugal Gourmet Cooks American

This recipe was amazing, especially since it first seemed it hadn’t turned out (it didn’t set quite as firm as I expected). It’s so easy, too!

Combine two cups of milk, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup of real maple syrup (I used grade B), along with a pinch of salt. Mix well.

Pour this mixture into small ramekins. Put these in a large baking dish (9 X 13), and add hot water to the baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. You can eat it while it’s still warm. No, you really do not need to oil the ramekins.

It makes 5 or 6 ramekins, depending on size. It’s not as firm as pudding, and it’s incredibly sweet and rich.

Next time I make it I think I will add an extra egg and see how that sets up.

LInked at Show Off Your Stuff

Posted in dairy, dessert | Leave a comment