Roasted Beet Salad

beet salad

Visiting the Farmer’s Market is my favorite Saturday morning ritual

and last Saturday these beets were calling my name!

What to do with them? I pondered.

And remembered a yummy salad I had ages ago and thought…

Roasted Beet Salad

sounded like a winner!

Fresh beets, like anything in my opinion, fresh and local just taste better than what you find in the grocery.

These, did not disappoint!

Getting started…

First, BEETS WILL STAIN THE HECK OUT OF EVERYTHING!

Your hands included. I was a lovely magenta color until about Monday!

Start by washing and I mean scrub the beets well, trim the ends, dry with paper towel and wrap individually in foil.

Line baking sheet or dish with foil as well, just in case they leak.

Place in a 400 degree oven and roast for 1 hour. *

(*if they are tiny adjust the time by about 15 mins)

while they roast make your vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon your fav mustard*

salt & pepper

pour all in jar and shake!

Arugula Salad

Prepare greens, nuts and cheese; set to the side

arugula & baby spinach (I love mixing the two!)

1/3 cup roasted nuts (pecans, walnuts whatever you enjoy)

crumbled goat cheese

when the beets are done roasting, allow to cool about 30 mins so you can handle them, unwrap (over foil) and cut on parchment or foil to avoid magenta hands (like myself!) place cut beets in bowl and add dressing to the warm beets, they will absorb the flavor and you can even do this a day ahead. The beets were amazing the next day! SO MUCH FLAVOR!

Add beets to salad and toss! Enjoy! This is an impressive and yummy salad, even the Hubs who HATES beets said it was great!

My secret ingredient!

mustard

This mustard from Braswell’s  is just amazing and adds so much flavor to everything!

I highly recommend! Found it on a grocery tour a few months back and have added it to all sorts of stuff!

LOVE

Honey Lime Slaw

honey lime slaw

The other night I was making some quesadillas and instead of the typical starch for a side I wanted something new.

I had a half a head of cabbage in the fridge and thought I would try a Mexican version of cole slaw!

And volia HONEY LIME SLAW was created, it started out all wrong!

But by the end, this recipe is a real keeper!

It’s light and fresh, contains NO MAYO or any dairy for that fact so it’s PERFECT for your next SUMMER PICNIC!

This is very mild, don’t let the chili powder throw you, it adds lots of flavor, not heat!

And an added hint, if you have a strong onion, slice it very thin and then squeeze the acid (lime juice in this case) on the onion and

allow to sit for 15 mins or so and it will mellow the flavor dramatically! You’ll be shocked if you have never tried it!

HONEY LIME SLAW

1 small cabbage, shredded or sliced, whatever texture you prefer

1 small red onion, sliced very thin

1 lime, juice & zest

1-2 tablespoons chili powder

2-4 tablespoons honey

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Shred or slice your cabbage super thin, (or grab a bag from the produce dept and save a step), zest lime,  slice onion very fine and squeeze half the lime juice on the onion, allow to sit for a few mins and mellow.  Add onion to cabbage and use the bowl you had onions in to add remaining lime juice, chili powder, salt, pepper & honey, mix well, pour over cabbage and onion mix and drizzle with olive oil, mix, taste and adjust for seasoning.

Please note, my small cabbage and your small cabbage could be and probably in all likely hood will be totally different in size, just as my lime my produce tons of liquid and then again may not, so with ALL recipes of mine, please feel free to adjust your seasoning! Sometimes when I make it I need 2 limes because they are crappy and have no juice! So start with a little and you can always add more honey for sweetness, more lime for zing, more salt for flavor. Don’t be afraid to play with it and tweak it to you and your families taste!

ENJOY!

Allow to chill for at least 15 mins it gets better the longer it sits!

Apple Lime Basil Juice

apple lime

Apple Lime Basil Juice, yep you read it right, I know I was leary myself,

but if the amazing Kris Carr shares then it’s got to be worth a shot!

The recipe she shared actually came from  Just Glowing with Health and her site is great! I can’t wait to try some of her other recipes!!

So, you know me and of course,I had to use what I had on hand.

So, I tweeked it just a tad and as always my recipe is for 1 serving.

Apple Lime Basil

2 large granny smith apples

1 whole lime, peeled

5-6 fresh basil leaves

1 leafy stalk of celery

Toss it all in the juicer and guzzle!

ENJOY!

xoxo, Mama Bird

Summer Fun Guide 2015

wave
Summer is here and I have got a Summer Fun Guide to keep ALL your kids entertained, all summer!
You’ll want to keep this list handy!
YOU’RE WELCOME!
{Local} Summer Fun
place is great! They change out the exhibits often and have a great little aquarium and Fridays are FREE
Great pool and waterslide, can take your own picnic. Half price after 3pm , and they have night swims, check website for dates
Haven’t been yet but Discovery Channel LOVES it. Great loco for a play date!
FUN!! We went last year and had a great time. They also have a carousel and play area
.
Haven’t been here yet, just an FYI it is a waterpark in the lake, not a pool!
Tough Enough Rodeo
a good old fashioned rodeo right in Caldwell County! Talk about family fun! This place is a hoot! My son LOVED it. Just a tidbit of info. It doesn’t get really rolling until almost 8 so be warned it might be a late evening but, it was worth it. EAT before you go, all they have is cotten candy and a few muchies.Carmike Movies
talk about a deal and an EASY & COOL way to spend a morning…
Carmike does 2nd run movies on Thursday mornings for $4 includes the movie, drink, and popcorn
discount 2nd run theater in downtown Hickory, we love the Carolina and there are great places to grab lunch!
3 FREE games of bowling a day all summer long! Now you still have to “rent” your shoes and buy snacks but, it’s a great day out ofthe sun or rain without sticking them in front of technology! Go to the site and register your kids now!
$5 (really $7) unless your people have their own skates, gets you skating Tues-Thurs from 10-3 a slice of pizza and a drink!
this place is the best people watching EVER and for added fun go to the Crash O Rama on July 25th
mts
Day Trips {all around NC/SC}

Tryon Equestrian Center

Horse Racing under the lights! In the mountains, yes please!

Catawba Queen
Summer Storytime & Pirate Landing Mini Golf
this is the coolest thing!
EVERY Tues & Thurs morning a 1 hr ride around the lake while hearing a story with milk & cookies!

Zootastic Park, Statesville/Troutman area
I had never even heard of this place until Groupon! Yipee got a 4pk for cheep! Fun day trip!! WE LOVED IT! Took a picnic,  a guide takes you around and tells you all about the anmials. Great place!

Lazy 5 Ranch, Mooresville

the coolest zoo, you can drive thru it or pay the extra and ride the wagon thru! You really are up close and personal with the animals!

Also found this place from Groupon they had  2 for 1 special!! It is a TRUE campground. A little rough around the edges but, the kids LOVED it. Take a picnic, they have a huge pool, huge waterslide, putt-putt, paddle boats, canoes, horse shoes, all kinds of goodies!Tweetsie, Blowing RockYou can take your own picnic, great fun rides that younger kids can enjoy!
Sliding Rock, Brevard, NC 
This is a place where I spent ALOT of time!! It is absolutely beautiful and I am soooooo excited to get a group of my best college friends together to take our families to enjoy the wonder of the Water Falls!! My best tip is go LATE in the summer the water is really, really COLD!! I think we will wait until July!
cause we are in the South, check out the history of Nascar!
oh! So much to do in the water!! Check website for all the options!
this is a beautiful spot! Check out Lake Lure and the Dirty Dancing Festival while you are there! Make a whole weekend out of it! You’ll fall in love!
they have a campground here too! Check it out so beautiful
New to me and appears to be fantab!! Hope to take a day trip with friends! Looks soooo fun!!
Tanglewood Park, Winston Salem
went here tons as a kid. Can’t wait to take Jack!
Heard fantab things about this place and look forward to meeting our friends here!!
NC Zoo, Asheboro
the zoo is great, Jack loves it and we will be going to visit j’s great gma this summer and will go again!
Had to include this as I have been told this is a great place.
Not sure when we will work it in as it is a tish far about 2.5 hrs but I just love a zoo!
going to a wedding in 2 weeks in Raleigh, thought we would check this place out!!
Discovery Place KIDS & Discovery Place Charlotte
This place is so cool! Kids: Gets super crowded but a great learning space for Pre-K through 2nd grade

Discovery Place is much bigger and located in uptown Charlotte and is geared to older kids. A new history of the GUITAR opens today and I think my boy would dig it! Also a SHARK movie!

Carowinds, Charlotte
Amusement Park, need I say more?

Sky Zone, Charlotte

trampoline park, check groupon for deals

High Gravity Adventures

brand new! Beside Tweetsie and looks crazy!

Beanstalk Journey, Morganton

zipline tours and all sorts of outdoor activities, check groupon they usually offer a discount

Grandfather Mountain, Linville
I am so excited to take Jack. I will highlight a few events they are doing for kids!

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
July 9-12, 2015
Highland Games, Celtic music & dancing, turkey leg, lots of kids actvities what more could you ask for?

15 NC Swimming Holes

there are a few I had never heard of! Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls are among some of my favs! Great list!

How are you keeping your  people busy this summer?
xoxo, mama bird

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

BRUNCH

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

Salad

Romaine Lettuce, washed & cut

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

ENJOY!!

Bolognese Sauce

bolognese

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

ENJOY!

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

CRUNCH SALAD

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)

Dressing: 

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

roasted

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.

ENJOY!