Fiesta Chili~ Crock-Pot or Not~ You Decide!

Fiesta Chili was shared with me ages ago while coloring my favorite Nail Tech, Pam’s hair. She owns Pampered Nails in the Harris Arcade in downtown Hickory. If you need to have your nails pampered she is the go to girl! LOVE!! I have adapted this a bit so here goes! It is so quick and easy and everyone loves it!!

1 lb ground turkey browned
1 small onion, diced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel
1 can corn
1 small can green chilies
1 can seasoned blackbeans, undrained
1 can white beans, drained
1 pkt taco seasoning
½ pkt ranch seasoning

Brown turkey and dump everything in the crockpot, set to low  or do on stove top which ever is most convient!

New Year’s Day Dinner


Being Southern means you must adhere to the rules of New Year’s Day! We believe that if we eat certain foods it will bring good luck for the New Year! And I am the 1st to say that a little Good Luck coming our way would be NICE!! We traditionally eat pork, greens & black-eyed peas. foods that represent health, wealth, luck etc. After doing a little Googling, I found out that the Dutch eat DOUGHNUTS on New Year’s Day as they believe that the circle symbolizes
“coming full circle” and brings good luck! I know what we are having for breakfast!!

PORK= PROGRESS (Wealth & Prosperity)

Franny’s Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin

2 lb pork tenderloin

Mix together:
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sherry (cooking sherry is fine)
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons dry mustard

so for you I have an amazing Pork Tenderloin recipe that is sure to please. The key to the pork is to marinate for as long as you can! I try to do 48hrs. I am sure overnight could be sufficient but I promise 48 is worth it!
Grab a plastic bag, dump your meat in and pour the marinade on top. Place in fridge for 12-48 hrs and cook on 325 until meat thermometer says its done (160 degrees). Baste the pork about every 15 minutes while it is cooking. ENJOY


I know it is sad to say, however when one can buy Margret Holmes or GLORY canned greens there is really no point in my opinion to go to the trouble of 3 washings, soaking, cooking, stinking up your house! Just buy them! and ENJOY!!

Cornbread, is a funny thing people either love it or hate it. I always hated it until I came across this recipe in one of my all time favorite cookbooks, Gracious Goodness…Charleston! the Bishop England High School Cookbook , it is the best moistest cornbread ever!

Broccoli Cornbread 
(you have to have, not sure why?)

1 10 oz pkg frozen brocolli, thawed
1 lg onion finely chopped
6 oz cottage cheese
1/2 c butter, melted
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 box jiffy cornbread mix
Combine broccoli, onion, cottage cheese, butter, salt & eggs. Mix well and add cornbread mix. Pour into greased 9×13 inch casserole and bake at 400 for 25 mins.

Black-Eyed Peas = GOOD LUCK and $

again, I must be honest and say with the GLORY and Margret Holmes brands WHY, why I ask would you try the fresh? I know, I have tried fresh, however they take a VERY long time to cook and need a TON of seasoning so I just by-pass the extra effort and head to the grocery!

I hope my meal has inspired you to make your own
and that 2014 is the BEST YEAR YET!!


xoxo. Mama Bird

Food Gifts #1~ Mema’s Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly has long been a staple at holiday celebrations at my Mema’s house for as long as I can remember. What is so funny to me is I don’t even really care for peppers! But this luminescent green jelly poured over cream cheese and served with butter crackers is just yummy! This is a great stand-by if you have unexpected guest. There are a few things you may want to consider before making this:

1. It is EASY!!
2. Your family & possibly the neighbors may think you are whipping up Mustard Gas as the smell of boiling vinegar will knock you out!
3. It makes quit A LOT! I made mine in 4 oz mason jars and filled almost a dozen.
4. You can totally control the heat by the amount of jalapeno or hot pepper you use. If you and your people love heat, add more, if you are like me and don’t like to much use less! 

Mema’a Pepper Jelly

3/4 c green peppers, pureed in food processor 3-5 peppers
1/4 c hot pepper, pureed (jalapenos, from the garden) 
2 c cider vinegar
5 c sugar
6 oz liquid fruit pectin

Blitz peppers in food processor. Add all ingredients except pectin,bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat and let stand 5 mins, all the “gunk” will rise to top, skim off and discard. Add pectin, mix well and add to hot jars. Delish!!

Food on the Fly {MENU}


Freezer cooking is all the rage! Spend 2-3 hours with me and some friends and stock your freezer full of wonderful family friendly, foodie & kid approved meals. NO FILLERS


Just REAL food.


Email to set your date and plan your menu!!


Breakfast Burritos these are amazing!! Individually wrapped for a super easy grab & go breakfast packed with protein and your favorite ingredients!


Stuffed Shells:(f) ground turkey, spinach, herbed ricotta cheese topped with marinara

Baked Spaghetti:(f) this old school fav is a major crowd pleaser

Lasagna Rollups: (f, veg) herbed ricotta, fresh spianch, ovendried tomatoes topped with a pink vodka sauce

Lasagna: (f) choose from white chicken lasagna, traditional or all veggie

Lackey’s Ragu: (f, cp)  Kipper’s delish Italian sausage, white bean & spinach ragu ROCKS!


taquitos: (f) think about a chicken wing roll up! chicken, mild buffalo sauce, blue cheese crispy flour or corn shell (your choice)

burritos: (f, cp) choose from honey lime or sweet salsa both come with tortillas corn or flour and toppings

Ranchero Pork:(f, cp)  pulled pork Enchilada style with tortillas & toppings

King Ranch Chicken:(f) another old school fav

Taco Casserole:(f)  ground turkey, black beans, salsa make this layered taco bake yum-o


Italian Drip Beef (f, cp)

Pop’s Stew Beef (f, cp)

Dad’s best Meatloaf (f)

Maple Mustard Flank Steak (f)

Beer & bbq Flank Steak  (f)

Old School Country Fried Steak (f, cp)


Harvest Pork Loin (CP, F) diced apples, sweet potatoes,onion & pork

Franny’s Fav sherry & cinnamon loin (f)

Dad’s Pulled Pork (f, cp)

Mama’s Marinade (f)

Pepper Jelly Chops (f)

Cuban Pulled Pork with mango salsa (f, cp)


Mediterranean Chicken: (CP, F) chicken, butternut squash, garbanzo beans veg packed meal serve with cous cous and you have a perfect meal.

Greek Chicken: marniated & grilled chicken served with greek salad, pita & hummus

Mimi’s Chicken Pie (F)

Fuddy’s Cuban Chicken: one dish meal with cuban yellow rice, chicken, peas & green olives

Blushing Chicken: (f, cp) raspberry white wine sauce

Chicken Marbella the classic from Silver Palette

Tori Darlins’ Hot Chicken Salad (f) served with wild rice & peas

Soups/Stews & Chilis~ all perfect for the freezer & crock pot

White Chicken Chili

Fiesta Chili

Michelle’s Pumpkin Chili

Mema’s Potato/Tomato soup

Chicken tortilla

Italian Chicken Noodle

Potato Soup

Summer Bucket List {kids edition} 2013

UPDATE: 2013
This summer is going to be a fun one!

Can not believe my baby is going to be going to FIRST GRADE in 4 mos!!!
I am compiling a {wish} list of fun things to do in the unifour area as well as some great ideas for day trips. Some of these can be week day play dates and some will be reserved for our family! I really think they ALL lend well to either. Our theme this summer is   


{Local} Summer Fun
This place is great! We have a Membership $70/yr is so worth it! 
We go at least once a month! They have wonderful week long summer camps that have fun theme each week. 

Great pool and waterslide, can take your own picnic. Half price after 4pm AWESOME!

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 either, looks fun.
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 snack

Day Trips {all around NC/SC}

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!

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 Rock

Here is another place that with it only being 40 mins away a Season Pass is the way to go! You 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! 
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! Gets super crowded but a great learning space for Pre-K through 2nd grade

NC Aquariums, Pine Knoll Shores
this is somewhere we plan to visit on our yearly trip to Ocean Isle, last year we went to the Myrtle Beach Aquarium and it was fine but, once is enough!  SO CROWDED and pricey for what it is.

Carowinds, Charlotte
Amusement Park, need I say more?

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 11-14, 2013
Highland Games, Celtic music & dancing, turkey leg, lots of kids actvities what more could you ask for? 

How are you keeping your little people busy this summer?
Coming up!! My Family Fun Guide to Ocean Isle
xoxo, mama bird

Franny’s Favorite Pork Tenderloin

After having pork tenderloin for Christmas I realized I had to switch up my pork marinade for New Years Day and I remembered about Mary Frans oh so yummy cinnamon sented, mustard laced, sheery and soy yumminess!!!! ENJOY!!!!

From Franny herself:

Today’s entry is in honor of my crazy, new friend Martha. Martha is an absolute riot and the sayings that come out of her mouth are second to none. Martha and I sit and chat most Tuesday and Thursday afternoons while Maggie is in dance. Martha owns a children’s consignment store in Rock Hill, SC, so if you are ever this way let me know and I will hook you up with her. Not only the deals you will find on great clothes, but her fabulous southern wit will make the fact that you went to Rock Hill worth it!

So today, Martha and I were chatting about great dinner dishes. The subject of pork tenderloins came up, as that is what is on the menu at my house tonight. In the course of chatting, I remembered this amazing “Slap your Momma”, “Holy Batman”, “Fantabulous” recipe for pork tenderloin.

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin

2 lb pork tenderloin
Mix together:
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sherry (cooking sherry is fine)
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons dry mustard

Put pork tenderloin in roasting pan and pour the above mixture over it.Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until internal temperature is 160. Baste the pork about every 15 minutes while it is cooking.

Franny’s notes:
I always have this one of 2 ways. The first way is just sliced and served with garlic cheese grits. The second way is to slice it very thinly and serve on rolls for entertaining. Either way you cannot go wrong. Next crucial point….if you do not have an electronic meat thermometer go get one now! All these years that I have been making this, come to find out that I have also been cooking it way too long. This little gadget is a meal saver. Mine is Taylor brand, but I think that Pampered Chef also makes one. One of the best things about it is that when the meat reaches the temperature that you have set on the thermometer it sets off this buzzer that doesn’t quit until you go stop it.


This is not only the BEST tasting it is the EASIST way to make this yummy pasta dish!! It tastes as if you made the whole thing from scratch! Your family will LOVE it!

2 jars of your fav pasta sauce
1 c half & half
1 c chix broth
1 Tb red wine vinegar
2 Tb olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
2 tsp Italian seasonings
salt, pepper & garlic to taste

Add olive oil to pan & saute onions, celery, & carrots until tender, add to sauce/1/2 & 1/2/broth/vinegar mix. Brown meat, add to mix. Add spices. Simmer on low for 20mins or as long as you like.


{what is} saving my life? pills

I came across a blog the other day of Sarah Bessey, she posed the question What is saving your life right now?  Sadly my current answer would be Ambien.

Yes, I am a total stress box. I can not shut my brain off! I am praying for guidance, stress relief, sleep. I am praying that I don’t make the wrong decision. When I had my son it was the best day of my life but little did I know if I had just had him 2weeks later none of this…

do I send him?

do we wait?

is he ready?

is it better to be oldest?

someone has to be the youngest, right?

DOES it really matter?

Is it obvious that he is my first, my only? Am I nitpicking it all on the eve of gotta make a decision and pay someone? I am not ready to send him. ANYWHERE! We have been together all summer and all last year as I taught preschool and he was there everyday I got to see everything, missed nothing, I am FREAKING out and honestly for you that know me I am SHOCKED that I am feeling this way!!

So as Sarah Bessey asked what is saving my life? Right this moment it’s AMBIEN and it’s kicking in so I am off to hopefully a good nights rest. I will worry about it all again tomorrow.

xoxo, Mama Bird 

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella is an awesome dish. Created by the amazing women of The Silver Palate.  It is a very intersting (odd) combo if ingredients that when put together in one dish is just fantastic. The Silver Palate is an excellent cookbook with great tips & tricks that will help in any situation. I am thinking this will be what I do for this weekends Birthday Celebration.  It’s great to do for any party because you put it all together the night before and then just bake it, how easy is that? I am going to serve it room temperature with  some wonderful crusty bread and Boucheron (goat) cheese. A big salad and maybe some roasted potatoes.

Here is the actual recipe from The Silver Palate (I divided it in half and I used split breast & removed the skin)

4 chickens, 2.5 lbs ea (I used split breast & thighs would work great)

1 head of garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt & fresh ground pepper
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
1 c pitted prunes
1/2 c Spanish green olives
1/2 c capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 c brown sugar
1 c white wine
1/4 c chopped fresh Italian parsley

In large bowl combine chicken thru bay leaves in bowl. Cover & marinate overnight. THIS IS THE KEY TO THE WHOLE DISH!!! DO NOT SKIMP ON ALLOWING TO MARINATE!

Preheat oven to 350
Put in casserole and pour wine around chicken & top with brown sugar.
Bake for 50 mins to 1hr
Chicken is great hot, cold, room temp

Farm Day!! {Eat Local}

Catawba County’s Agri-Tourism

This Saturday, June 18th Catawba County is hosting a FREE Agri-Tourism Day! What an incredible way to share with children and adults alike not only where but how there food makes it to the table and how easy it is to eat locally!!!
Here are a few of my TOP PICKS on the Farm Tour!
RS Barn
Sipe Angus this is my favorite beef vendor by far! Check them out, fantab!!

Red Wolf Farm just looks like a wonderful place!! Can’t wait to see it.

Poovey Apiary as afraid as I am of bees I am in awe of them and have never seen a real beehive! I can’t wait!!

Windy Wool Wingdings 
For more info on the Catawba County Agricultural Family Farm Day visit Chickens on Camera. I hope to see you!!
xoxo, mama bird