Lemon Lavender Cookies

LL cookies

Lemon Lavender Cookies

a match made in Heaven

This super simple cookie recipe will be the hit of your party!

Take them to a bake sale or give them to your favorite teacher and I promise you EVERYONE will want your recipe!

I just made a batch this week for Teacher Appreciation Week and rumor has it that they were “fought” over!

I came up with this recipe when Jack was in kindergarten when we were assigned the “L” letter snack,

I thought let’s go WILD with the “L” and put Lemon & Lavender in the cookies and we even made them in the shape of a “L”.

To see  my original post and recipe go HERE

Lemon Lavender Cookies

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon fresh lavender, rub in the palms of your hands to break up and release the aroma*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 cup flour
1 cup powdered sugar, reserved for rolling cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Slowly add dry ingredients until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Put powdered sugar onto a large plate. Use a small melon baller to make cookie balls and roll them in the powered sugar. Place on silpat baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

This recipe makes between 4-5 dozen if you use a small melon baller.

* Lavender is amazing, I love the delicate look, the aroma. I melt! I am lucky enough to get it from a dear friend who transplanted from her herb garden in Napa! I think that might just be secret of why these cookies are soooo good!
ENJOY!  This is truly a special recipe! xoxo, Mama Bird

Perfect Caesar Salad

caesar salad

One of my favorite things to do on Sunday is to


and the perfect addition to any brunch,

a perfect CAESAR SALAD.

It’s the simple things that are so delish and this is a perfect salad.

Any perfect salad starts with a perfect dressing, full of life, full of flavor and this Caesar dressing packs a punch!

caesar dressing

Caesar Dressing

2 cloves of garlic

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 anchovy fillet (feel freeto add more, I prefer less fishy)

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce

1/2 cup parmesean cheese

1 cup good Mayo (Hellman’s in my opinion is the best)

salt & pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to food processor, blitz and taste, adjust seasonings and blitz again. Place is a jar and chill in fridge prior to serving.

Homemade Croutons

1/2 bagette, cut in half

brush with olive oil

cut into cubes

season with garlic, salt & parm cheese

spread on baking sheet and toast at 350 for 12-15 mins


Romaine Lettuce, washed & cut

top with a few tablespoons of dressing, toss, add more dressing if needed, top with croutons and shredded parm


Bolognese Sauce


Bolognese Sauce is the “fancy” or the way Italians refer to has a hearty meat sauce and mine is DELISH!

I always make a HUGE pot so that I can freeze enough to use for another meal.

I use a combo of ground turkey, as it is leaner and I personally am not a huge ground beef fan,

but you may use either it will be yummy either way!

My favorite thing to do is to start this early in the day and allow it to cook down to really give the flavors time to richen.

You can make it on the fly too! Whatever works for you on the day you are making it!

I start with good olive oil, in my Dutch oven, I add onion, carrots, celery (if I have it) and let them soften and onions to become clear, then add some fresh garlic. Allow to soften, you’ll know when it is ready for the net ingredient because your whole house will smell like your friends Italian grandmothers! It is divine. Add a large can of whole plum tomatoes, squeezing all the excess liquid (this keeps your sauce from becoming watery) I literally crush the tomatoes with my hands into the vegetable goodness in the Dutch oven. Add spices and allow those to cook for a few minutes and then add a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste and about a cup of chicken broth, a swirl around the pot of red wine and/or balsamic vinegar.While all of this is coming together I brown 1lb of ground turkey and 1lb of sweet Italian sausage. Add it to the Dutch oven and let this cook for a few minutes, then add 32 oz or more  (depending on how meaty vs saucy you like your sauce, boys like meaty, I like saucy so it’s a toss up!)of your favorite marinara sauce and set to low and let it “steep” until you are ready to dig in!

Bird’s Bolognese Sauce

olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1 glug of red wine, optional

1 glug of balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

dash of red pepper flakes

1 lb sweet Italian Sausage, casing removed and browned

1 lb grund turkey, browned

32 oz Favorite Marinara sauce


This sauce makes amazing lasagna as well!!

Sunny’s Russian Tea

russian tea 3

Hot drinks on cold days

Mama’s Russian Tea & Hot Chocolate sure hit the spot.

I saw this great post where Garden & Gun,

my FAVORITE mag paid homage to the Southern favorite hot tea

& I had to make a fresh batch. Now before you rush to the store to buy the cast of 1970’s retro characters be warned,

some are hard to find! Tang and Instant Tea apparently are not top sellers so don’t get discouraged,

it took 2 stores for me to find them and Lowes Foods was the jackpot as they had both!

I would also tell you to use caution when shopping.

As in the past I made the mistake of buying a generic/storebrand of Tang and it was a HUGE mistake!

Please just buy the REAL or you will think this drink is terrible, which it will be as the fake was nowhere as good as the real thing.

You will tank me for this.

So back to the Russian Tea, I am not sure why it is called Russian Tea

I think Southern Hot Citrus Tea would be a lovely name.

But, I didn’t create the recipe I just make the version my Mama and Aunts and Grandma’s

have been making for as long as I can remember so here goes it.

russian tea 2

Sunny’s Russian Tea

1 1/2 cup Tang

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup Instant Tea

1 pkg Lemon-aid

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t cloves (I only had whole so I just added for flavor)

Mix everything together and this amount fits perfectly in a gallon size Mason jar.

russian tea 1

For my awesome homemade Hot Chocolate go here! You’ll NEVER use instant again!

I do hope you enjoy!

Mama Bird

Robertson’s Crunch Salad

crunch salad

It’s really kind of funny, whenever Jen Hatmaker shares a recipe,

I am all over it!

And this salad, y’all it’s Aunt Cindy (as in the) Robertson’s Crunch Salad recipe!

Yep, those Robertson’s as in the Duck Dynasty ones!

That alone got all the boys excited to try a new salad.

Jen (yes, I speak of her as if we are friends, which if you consider that I stalk her fb, instagram, etc…

friends, then we are tight, even if only in my mind!)

Anyhoo, back to the story, Jen shares how she and her family went to visit The Robertson Clan down in Louisanna

and after church they go to a pot luck with the whole family

food as far as the eye can see, and this salad, this


blows her away and she is compelled to seek out Aunt Cindy for her recipe!

Lucky for you, I screen shot the recipe when Jen Hatmaker raved about it

and today, I am sharing it with you!!

So, for years I had made a similar Asian salad with cabbage and lettuce,

but this is a little different with the addition of Tabasco, and oh, it is so good.

You could always replace the tobasco for soy sauce if you want more of an Asian flair.

This will be a hit at your next pot luck or family meal!!

Aunt Cindy’s Crunch Salad

1 package romaine hearts, cut

1 head of broccoli, cut in bite size pieces (I blanch my broccoli in boiling water for 2 mins, trust me you will LOVE it so DO IT)

4 green onions, thinly sliced

Crunch Mix:

3 oz slivered almonds

4 oz sunflower seeds

3 oz ramen noodles, crushed

Mix all together and toast in butter, reserve for topping salad (right before serving)


4T brown sugar

1 t salt

6T rice wine vinegar

2-3 drops Tabasco

1/2 c canola oil

Mix all ingredients together and top salad with dressing, then crunch mix, serve immediately.

*It is a VERY fine line with this salad, personally the dressing is better if you make it ahead and keep in fridge, then put all the compotents together wait about 15 mins and then serve. It is great!

*my opinion

xoxo, mama bird

Mediterranean Roasted Chicken


Mediterranean Roasted Chicken is one of my go to weeknight meals.

This is one of MY FAMILY FAVS

Delish and easy peasy!

It is full of veggies and real food and is also wonderful left over!

Serve with cous-cous for a quick side that pairs perfectly!

Mediterranean Roasted Chicken

Chicken Thighs (actually my fav, perfect for roasting, use what you like)

1 sweet onion, chopped

salt & pepper to taste

1 t Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (my fav spice blend)

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 jar marinated artichokes or artichokes salad(the salad has olives & red peppers and adds so much color & flavor!)

1/2 cup kalamata olives (if you didn’t use the salad)

1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

1 can Cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

Feta cheese

The night before or morning of marinate your chicken with the marinade from the arichokes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, add chopped onion, chicken  & spices to a LARGE baking dish,

you want everything really spread out so it will roast opposed to steam.

Cook for 30 mins.

Add artichokes, olives, tomatoes & beans to chicken dish.

Return to oven and cook an additional 30 to 45 mins until chicken is cook and juice runs clear.

Allow to cook for a few mins, serve with crumbled feta or goat cheese and cous-cous.


Guisado Verde

guisadpo 1

My friend shared on her facebook page that she was making a recipe

that she and her college friends had been making for years

and I instantly knew I must try this Guisado Verde recipe that she was speaking of!

1. It stood the test of time, we have been out of college now for almost 20yrs!

2. It cooks all day in a crockpot, score

3. It’s a Mexican dish, my boys will eat ANYTHING mexi, double score

4. Pork Loin was on special at the grocery

All signs are pointing that this is a dish I need to try!!

So here we go!

The orginal recipe that she shared called for a pork shoulder, I personally prefer a loin and so that is what I used.

It also says to top with water, I almost always replace chicken broth for water as I think it adds so much flavor,

again use what you like, that’s part of the joy in cooking for me, I make dishes my own.

Add my own personal preferences to recipes, you should do the same!!


Guisado Verde

2 lb (apx) Pork Loin

2 T vegetable or canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 28 oz can tomatillos, drained & chopped

7 oz can green chilies

jalapeno, seeded & chopped (I don’t do too spicey)

1 t oregano

salt & pepper, to taste

chicken broth or water, to cover pork while cooking


these are NOT optional I kid you not, without the cheese & the sour cream it’s just not as good!

Now the cilantro, I do not use as it taste like dish soap to me!

Don’t argue please, if you like it as my Hubs does, by all means load it up,

if you don’t you most likely agree it tastes like soap too as it is all part of our chemical makeup!

fresh cilantro

Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

sour cream

fresh lime wedges

Now to begin,  heat your oil and sear pork on all sides, place in crockpot. Add onions to hot oil saute’ for a few mins, add to pork.  Add remaining ingredients to crock pot and set on HIGH and cook for apx 6 hrs. When ready to serve, shred pork, place in bowl, top with the tomatillo liquid that you cooked it in, top with shredded cheese, a dallop of sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup

Chicken & Rice Soup

Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup

Ahhhh-mazing for so many reasons:

1. It makes you feel good like Chicken & Noodles

2. It is fast & easy (like 30 mins)

3. It’s good for you!


Ok so here is where the fun begins….

Chop an onion, toss is a heavy bottom pot (my Dutch oven is my fav!) with a glug of olive oil (about a tablespoon)

Then get a cup of  rice (brown, white, basmati, whatever you have)

Next open a container of Pico de Gallo (from the produce section in the grocery store) toss that in with the onions along with a couple of cloves of garlic

Add  2 teaspoons of cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt & chili powder

Let that cook for about 5-7  mins

Add 32 oz chicken broth

While that is cooking shred some chicken (leftover works great or from the deli section of the grocery you’ll need about 1 cup, more if you like lots of meat!

Toss that in the soup along with the cooked rice

Cook for about 10-15 mins to let all the flavors meld together

Dip out soup slice  avacado on top and squeeze  fresh lime juice.


For Soup:

1 onion, chopped

1 cup rice, cooked and reserve to add to soup

1 16 0z Pico (fresh from produce sect, if you can’t find fresh you can use jarred

2 t cumin

1 t chili powder

1 t salt

32 oz chicken broth

1 avacado, sliced for topping

1 lime, to squeeze on top

Details above.

Thanksgiving Meal Planning


I have looked back and EVERY year at 10 days (now mearly a few days!!)  out is when I think, ohhhhhhhhh better get to planning!

I am a tad earlier this year, right? NO

Where do I begin?

Well, let me say that I am obsessed with Thanksgiving and have been planning and recipe testing the “perfect” turkey, sides and desserts for over 15 years.

If you enjoy yummy Southern cuisine and just yummy food in general this is the menu for you.

I will share how to manage it all AHEAD of time so that you can ENJOY the day with your family & friends!!

smoked turkey


I was a huge fan of  frying UNTIL we SMOKED!

OMG a whole new level.

SO first if you haven’t bought a turkey yet (3 days out) you MUST get a FRESH NOT FROZEN!

Now, make the brine below on Monday night and allow turkey to set for 2 days in the brine.

Then pull it out and dry it, place all the leftover peels, veggies and herbs inside the cavity, then put on smoker and smoke for 6-7 hrs.

We start EARLY in the morning so Tom can “rest” after the smoking process.

***YOU MUST LET YOUR TURKEY REST*** min of 20 mins


HERE is the  Brine,

full of citrus & herbs!

So good that we are doing it again this year!!

Thanks to Rhee Drummond for the inspiration!


My tried and true Birdie’s Best Ever Dressing that has been tweeked and tinkered with for over a decade!

I put it ALL TOGETHER and then place on rimmed cookie sheet on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Pull out and pour a stick of melted butter over top prior to cooking.


My  families all time fav Sweet Potato Goodness, it’s so good cause it’s full of sugar, butter & eggs. How can you go wrong?!

This year I am trying the addition of Sorghum Syrup, I will keep you posted for future recipes!

I also make this Tuesday or Wednesday.

Mama B’s Harvest Salad I just have to have a BIG fresh salad with a meal! Don’t you?

SO Easy throw together on Thursday morning, I do however make the dressing at the beginning of the week and roast the potatoes Thurs am.


GRAVY, never have I had great success but let me tell you this ONE from Ina Garten is FAB and I will use her recipe every year! Thanks Ina!

Ina swears you can make this days ahead, I am going to try it!

My favorite Cranberry Salad and yes it has jello in it, but even the jello “haters” (My Hubs) has NO idea and loves this!!

Yep, you can make this ahead too!


From my dear family friend who is watching over us, I share with you her family blessing. I share with you and ask that you share with your loved ones.

“Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for the food before us, the roof above us, and for this family.

Help us remember that a family is for growing up in, for going away from and for coming back to.

It is for loving concern, for helping each other through happy times and sad.

With Your blessing, this family will always be together in our hearts and in our memories,

giving each of us the strength to live our own lives and to be our own persons. Amen.” 

Sandra Bender

Click & Chat Link Up Party #31

The Click and Chat Link up Party #31

The Click and Chat Link up party! come and share your favorite posts with us and find some new great blogs!!


Welcome to the Click and Chat Link up party!

We are so glad you came by to link up with us!

Last week we showed you the host’s pick!

This week we thought we would let you all pick the top three most clicked on posts from the link up!

Here they are!!

Financial Planning as a Couple


Pumpkin Pie Tortilla Rolls


Simple Homemade Caramel


Thank you for all the other great posts!

We can’t wait to see what you link up this week!

Before we get to the link up we want to introduce you to our hosts and co-hosts this week!

meet your hosts


Amber- Adventures In Mindful Living / Kim- This Ole Mom /

Rebecca – Futures / Katie-/ Sarah-Baking with Mom

Kat-MamaBirds Nest /Sarah-Life in a Breakdown /

Tiffany- A Journey with Tiffany / Lara- Methodical Living

Kimberly- Life is a Lullaby

Michele- Bella HomeGoods / Elaine- Ramblings of a Bad Goddess

Are you ready to linkup? Great!

Some general guidelines (and just plain good blogging manners)!

Make sure to follow or like the hosts and co-hosts in the social media section below. They are all there in the very beginning just to make it easy for you!

Please do not just drop your link on here and go! Link up and then hop around throughout the day and week and say hello to at least 3 other blogs or links (and make sure to say you found them on the Click and Chat link up party!)

When you go and like or follow a page on social media do it with your personal account so it will actually count for the pages numbers. Likes from business pages do not count. Pages in your niche you may want to also go back and like with your blogs page as well just so you can comment on them as your page.

Please share this link up on any of your social media channels. It helps us grow and gets more eyes on not just your link but others as well. If we all did this more then everyone would benefit much more!

*we are always looking for new co-hosts so if you are interested please send Amber or Kim a message on their FB pages!

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