Mulberry Blueberry Pie

We have a mulberry tree in our backyard. It has been growing now for a few years and bears a decent amount of fruit. The kids love to run out back and pick the berries at random times. The other day Franny was outside long after the others had tired of picking berries, and came in suggesting that I come out and pick berries to make a pie.

There was no bone in my body that felt like whipping up a pie on a warm summer day. But he was so enthusiastic and sweet, it felt completely wrong to give into my own lazy desire to play sloth. I examined the tree, as he washed out a container for our pickings. He was the holder, I was the picker. Slightly taller than Lootie, who had the farthest reach of the three boys that were picking earlier, I was able to get to spots that still had some nice, ripe berries on them.

Not enough for a whole pie, but I had a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer to supplement, and was pleased to have the opportunity to put them to use in a pie. Frozen blueberries are a common staple at our house, but I’ve yet to have actually made a pie with them. I used this recipe from Crisco for a Bluebbery Pie as a base for the pie we were making. I say “base” because of my inability to stick directly to the recipe when baking. I did my best to stick close to this one, though.

I had about 2 cups mulberries and the rest blueberry.

Franny was in charge of stirring, but he got sidetracked by the guinea pigs. I picked up the scent of bubbly, boiling fruit on the verge of burning, and ran to the rescue. It had started to scorch on the bottom, but thankfully not enough to taint the flavor of the filling.

I used the double crust recipe, but it didn’t seem make enough for the bottom and the top. So I enlisted in my standard oatmeal topping (oats, sugar, molasses, butter, cinnamon, salt and a dash of vanilla).

Initially I started to roll the dough for the crust, but that didn’t last long and soon I was using my preferred method — my fingers to press the dough into the dish.

Franny helps with the filling.

Top me off!!!

Ready for the oven…

Franny holds up our creation.

It was fantastic, and I’m not a big fan of fruit-filled pies. Thank you Franny for suggesting we make pie. I’m so glad we did.

Breakfast With Daughter

Sophia (who will be 18 next month) called me the other day and asked if I’d like to come over and have breakfast with her. She’s staying with my parents right now (with the hopes of acquiring a JOB and moving into her own apartment), gaining her “independence” and sparing her brothers some of her teenage angst. The first week was… questionable. She spent most of her time there avoiding all responsibility and hanging out with friends. This second week, though, has gone better. She’s applied for some jobs, went to youth group, and is working on being more responsible. Baby steps.Very tiny, wobbly, and sometimes messy baby steps.

It was a nice shift to have her be making me breakfast. I thought for sure there was some catch. Come for breakfast… andtakemeshopping or Come for breakfast… and borrow me some money or Come for breakfast… and — wait, money, shopping… what else is there?

No catch though, and I checked myself for assuming there would be. Skeptical mom. She simply wanted to make me breakfast.

I’m generally a picky breakfast eater. I don’t like too many carbs (at least not “bad” white ones), and if I do allow myself a treat (generally waffles), I bang up on the protien and fiber.

White bread, Honeybun, eggs with bacon and cheese, yogurt with blueberries and strawberries and coffee.

I was hesitant to even touch the “white death” bread or honeybun because of my carb/breakfast issue. Do it for the kids, I told myself. Do it for Johnny!!

And I did. And… it was good. Not the honeybun, gosh those things are like eating sugar-speckled chemically processed carpet fibers in the shape of a doughnut. But the eggs? Yummy. Toast — everyone can benefit from some nutritionally-void buttered white bread now and then. Coffee, good (surely made by my mother or father before they left), but whatever.

Conversation was nice, the food was good. Finally. Finally a respite between the head-butting that has become so common over the past few years. Just as it was years ago, watching her take baby steps, make friends at the park or accomplish other rights-of-passage as a baby/toddler/pre-teen, it is also satisfying and gratifying to see her making those same steps into adulthood.

Now if I could just get a picture of her that doesn’t look like it fell off of Myspace.

Making Old-Fashioned Doughnuts

I found this recipe for doughnuts and we’re making some.

Quick Doughnuts
4 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk

Sift together flour, salt, soda, cream of tartar and spices. Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add milk and then sifted dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly until smooth. With as little handling as possible, roll dough out on floured board 1/4 inch thick. Let stand for 20 minutes. Cut with 2 1/2 inch cutter or glass bottom, and use a small cutter for the middle. Fry as above. Makes about 3 dozen doughnuts.

Below are some pictures of our doughnut adventure; don’t expect perfection.

cutting the circles for doughnuts

frying doughnuts

sugared and finished doughnuts

They turned out pretty good, although I was a little nervous because some were a bit doughy in the center and the recipe involves eggs. They are darker, too, because I used a majority of whole wheat flour (a staple in this house), and a bit of cocoa powder. And I don’t have a picture of use eating because it was a regular old feeding frenzy.

I’d like to make these again at some point, but boy, my stomach feels like lead and I’m sure to have a heart attack within the hour.

(reposted from 2005)