Archive for the ‘little birds’ Category

one year ago: cinnimini rolls

my little birds were skeptical about said blueberries….AND the giant bag of chocolate chips a certain (wonderful) kitchen host had left on the counter definitely didn’t help my “blueberries are delish” argument….but when all was said and done, these muffins were a hit. (and only one of my little birds picked around the blueberries)

if you’re looking for a kid friendly treat, muffins are a great choice. you don’t need a boxed-mix in your cabinet because you probably have all the ingredients you need. as far as equipment, you only need a couple bowls, a spoon and a muffin pan…no mixer required (that would actually hinder this recipe) not only are they super simple….but they are also a super quick treat – we’re talking under and hour quick.

streusel topping:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter (chilled)

3/4 cup milk (room temperature)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg (room temperature)
2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries (fresh, frozen or drained canned)

preheat your oven to 400°.

prepare your muffin pans. either line with paper baking cups, or spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. set aside.

begin with your streusel. (if your cool enough, roll your R’s every time you say streusel….it will make you feel much fancier. i mean, don’t feel bad if you can’t do it….i can’t either….but the girls certainly enjoyed using the extra flair) in a medium bowl, stir your flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together. cut in your chilled butter till your mixture is crumbly, with the largest pieces about pea-size.

tips and tricks:
cut in” is a term used for mixing butter or shortening into your ingredients. you cut the butter with a fork or knife as you stir/mix it with the ingredients. the result is a crumbly mixture instead of a smooth mixture. use chilled butter, so that it keeps its form as you mix. if your butter is softened, it will just mix in smoothly with your ingredients.

in a large bowl, combine flour (sifted), sugar, baking powder and salt. mix all these ingredients together and in the center, make a well.

tips and tricks:
a “well” is exactly what it sounds like, a sunken in area. stir your ingredients together and run your spoon around the edges making high walls. then, in the center of your dry ingredients, scoop out a well.

these are your “dry ingredients” + “well”

in another medium-sized bowl beat together milk, vegetable oil and milk till well blended.

these are your “wet ingredients”

pour your wet ingredients into the well you have created in your dry ingredients. stir your ingredients together just until your dry ingredients have absorbed your wet ingredients. your batter will be lumpy, and that’s the way you want it. about 10-15 times around the bowl should be enough. don’t be tempted to keep going…over-mixing will create a tough or compact muffin.

tips and tricks:
please believe me when i say, don’t over-stir your ingredients. i know it’s hard to look at lumpy ingredients….but i’m telling you, if you stir till it’s smooth…you’re going to get dense muffins. over-stirring causes the gluten in the flour to over-develop and results in a tough muffin, peaked tops or tunnels.

next comes the blueberries. (or strawberries, apples, bananas, chocolate-chips…whatever you prefer)

tips and tricks:
wash your fruit and toss them in flour. this just helps your fruit not to fall to the bottom of your muffin.

gently fold your berries into your batter.

tips and tricks:
the term “fold” is used when you need to stir in an ingredient gently. we have already mixed this batter up as much as we need to, so in this step we fold for two reasons: 1. to avoid over-mixing and 2. to be careful not to squish the berries. fold by scooping your spoon or rubber spatula under all your ingredients and lift up and fold over to the other side of the bowl. continue doing this till your berries are thoroughly mixed in.

spoon your batter into your baking cups, dividing evenly. only fill your cups about 3/4th full. sprinkle your streusel on top, about a tablespoon for each muffin.

bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. you’ll want to transfer your muffins from the pan to a cooling rack after about 3-5 minutes of cooling. removing them from the pan prevents moisture from collecting between the pan and the bottom of your muffin.

serve warm….with butter, if you’re smart like me.




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when it’s the first night of little birds baking club…what else would you make?! chocolate chip cookies are a classic. everyone needs a solid chocolate chip cookie recipe up their sleeve. we asked the girls how many of them had made chocolate chip cookies and a number of hands went up in the air. when we asked how many had made cookies from scratch, and not out of a plastic tube…all the hands went down. needless to say, the girls were pretty pumped to make AND eat these little guys. they all herded around me and took turns adding ingredients. oh, and hands down – being the one who gets to crack the egg….is the most coveted responsibility.

with little bird recipes, i’ll point out some tips that will be helpful for a new baker…and obvious to an experienced baker. bare with me on some of these….or enjoy them, depending on where you stand.

adapted from Baking Basics, by Betty Crocker

(wet ingredients)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) *unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 large eggs
(dry ingredients)
4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 12oz bag** semisweet chocolate chips

stand mixer w/paddle attachment
OR large bowl w/wooden spoon
cookie sheets
cooling racks

* instead of using all butter, i used half butter half shortening. my butter vs shortening experience is: butter makes a better tasting cookie, but also makes a flat cookie while shortening helps the cookie keep a good shape…..so using both = best of both worlds (taste and shape).

** can you believe this recipe actually called for a 24oz bag of chocolate chips?!?! i mean, my dad’s famous cookies only call for 6oz…so i had a hard time even using a whole 12oz bag. i cut it off at about 10oz….i mean, come on? you want some cookie with your chocolate chips?!

preheat your oven to 375º

prep – since your butter and eggs need to be room temperature, start by prepping all your ingredients. remove butter and eggs from the fridge and let sit on your counter while you measure out the rest of your ingredients. the time it takes to measure out all your ingredients into separate bowls….should be just enough time for your butter to soften up enough to beat easily.

tips & tricks:
“packed” brown sugar
: means to pack it into the measuring cup – pressing it in firmly. if the brown sugar has been packed firmly, it will keep the measuring cup’s shape when removed – if it crumbles apart, you have not packed it well.

flour: when you measure your flour, don’t scoop you’re measuring cup into the flour and shake or tap on the counter to get in as much flour as you can. you want your baked goods to be light and fluffy, not dense, so the way you measure your flour makes a big difference. instead of using your cup to scoop up flour, spoon your flour into the measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife. also, take the time to sift your flour. this just helps to get air into your flour. if you don’t have a sifter, just use a fork to stir up your flour.

eggs: if you want to avoid egg shells in your dough, crack your eggs into a separate bowl and make sure any accidental shells are removed before mixing them in. also, crack your egg on the side of the bowl….not the side of the counter – the less raw egg spills you have to worry about cleaning up, the better.

mix – using your stand mixer with the paddle attachment OR by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, beat your butter, both sugars, vanilla and eggs at a medium speed till light and fluffy.

we call these our “wet ingredients” (mix first)

at a low speed, slowly stir in your flour, baking soda and salt. add in your chocolate chips. (by all means, go crazy with the 24oz if you want to….but, i’m just sayin, my 10oz was plenty)

these are our “dry ingredients” (mix into your wet ingredients)

bake – using a ice cream scoop or two spoons, transfer your cookie dough to cookie sheets. bake at 375º for 12-15 minutes. mine only took 8 minutes…so be on the lookout. once the edges have turned golden brown, remove and place the pan on top of a cooling rack for about five minutes. then carefully (once the cookies aren’t ooey-gooey anymore) transfer just the cookies from the pan to the cooling rack. cool to room temperature, if you can wait that long.

tips & tricks:
baking time really varies from oven to oven. always check on your treat earlier than the recipe calls for. with cookies, what you’re really looking for, are the edges to begin to turn golden brown. the cookie will also start to form cracks on the top. once your edges are brown, remove your cookies and place the pan on top of a cooling rack for about five minutes, or until the cookies can be removed from the pan without falling apart in a gooey mess. as the cookies cool….the insides of them keep baking so what seems like underdone when you first remove them from the oven, becomes the perfect, soft, break-apart without hearing a crunch, cookie once it has cooled.

that’s it. once your cookies have cooled, bust out the milk and enjoy.

for the record dad, the recipe was named “the best” chocolate chip cookies. in no way do they trump your famous cookies, so don’t feel threatened. love you! :)


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we lazybirds have taken on a new project and we’re really excited about it. we partnered up with mercy street and started a baking club!
meet: “little birds”

i’ve been working with mercy street, in west dallas, for about two years now…so, when i started to think about how lazybird could bake with more purpose (other than simply fattening up our coworkers), it quickly dawned on me where i would love to be.

lets talk about west dallas….

west dallas is about a 15 minute drive from my apartment in north dallas. it is the 11th poorest community in the nation.

some other significant facts:
population of roughly 26,567.
family poverty rate: 37%.
infant mortality rate: 23%.
median household income: $26,776.
per capita income: $8,912 / year.
unemployment rate: 14.4%.

and for the kiddos…
school drop-out rate: 65%.
number of DISD students in 2009 scoring “college ready” on standardized test: 5%.
number of college graduates from west dallas DISD schools: 2%.

when you consider that highland park, one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods, is literally 6 miles up the street, it’s obvious that west dallas is a community that has been pushed out and left behind. to be honest, it’s the kind of neighborhood you might drive through and immediately feel uncomfortable – lock your doors, try not to make eye contact, and pray for no red lights to hold you up. it’s the kind of neighborhood that brings judgment bubbling to the surface as well as pride and superiority.

lets talk about mercy street

mercy street is a non profit organization that settled in west dallas in 2003 with a goal of revitalizing a community through gospel centered love. led by founder trey hill, the mercy street staff uprooted their lives to be planted in west dallas…serving the community by living in, loving on and encouraging the community. as west dallas has fallen into a cycle of generation poverty and hope has diminished, mercy street moved in with a goal of raising up a new generation of leaders…to restore hope and dreams where they were lost, all in the Lords name and glory. mercy street’s staff live amongst those they serve and have become apart of day-to-day life. they inspire, they teach and they deeply love this community.

“Mercy Street’s about community transformation and we believe that community transformation happens primarily through relationship and not through program. We ask people to engage in the life of a child, and walk that child from the 4th grade through the 12th grade, believing that it’s in the long-term nature of the relationship where the real impact is made, not just in the child’s life but in the mentor’s life as well” -Trey Hill

“The mission of Mercy Street is to raise up a new generation of indigenous leaders through Christ-honoring, mutually-transforming mentoring relationships that will bring about a positive, permanent change to West Dallas. Embedded within this mission is the idea that God will be glorified when different cultures collide. Statistically and historically speaking, the lot given to me through nature and nurture was to make money for myself, make a name for myself, and retire happy and wealthy. The lot given to my mentee, Lorenzo, through nature and nurture was to fail in school, impregnate a girl out of wedlock, commit a violent crime, and spend the rest of his life in and out of prison. Mercy Street creates a confluence of these paths in a mutually-transforming relationship that leads to God being glorified.” –Brett VanderMolen

the heart behind mercy street has been such a beautiful thing for me to witness and to be apart of. it has changed my life, my perspectives, my priorities and my prayers dramatically. oh, how my previous judgement was transformed into compassion when i took the time to look into the lives and the history of this community. pride and superiority were replaced with deep affection, mercy and love…the first time my sweet mentee wrapped her arms around me. the people of west dallas are not so different from you and me. they are broken – just like you and me, they turn to unfulfilling and destructive habits – just like you and me, they are hurting – just like you and me and they thrive when they are cared for, encouraged and loved – just like you and me. externally, things might look different…circumstances and environment might be worlds apart….but internally…at our core…we are all the same.

i believe our hearts are inclined to love our neighbors….it’s just that sometimes it’s not revealed to us until we actually take action and open the door to our neighbor. once we take the time to get to know our neighbor on a deeper level, it’s hard to turn our backs on them.

lazybird + mercy street = little birds…

while mentors are mercy street’s primary outreach, they have also reached the community through tutoring, sports, dance clubs, bike co-ops, gardening, bible studies, etc. etc. etc….so why not a baking club as well?

my vision for volunteering at mercy street began as a prayer for direction in service. i was seeking out a place to serve and wanted to be intentional in using the skills God has gifted me with. i wasn’t even considering my passion for baking as a “skill”…and then one day it just dawned on me – maybe God blessed me with this passion…so that i could share it with someone else. i have such fond memories of learning how to bake with my mom as a girl….that it occurred to me that a baking club could be such a blessing and joy to the young girls of west dallas. i quickly contacted mercy street about starting up a baking club and was overwhelmed by the way God had been moving their hearts towards the same vision.

“Goodness -YES! I think you’re right – and just LOVE how the Lord moves people’s hearts and prepares their desires and gifts in such amazing ways! We have talked about this quite a bit here as well – but haven’t had the ‘leader’ to jump start it all.”


“I was actually describing an idea for a “baking club” as a way to reach our kids using you as an example of someone who could potentially teach it when Annie forwarded me your e-mail this afternoon. Crazy. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing mine too. “

so there’s the long story…

the birth of ‘little birds’. we are currently meeting once a week and chaotically…but joyfully learning how to bake….to take turns, crack eggs and sift flour. (and how to wash our hands…if we absolutely HAVE to lick some dough off our fingers)

our hope is to inspire some bakers in west dallas. we hope to provide a creative outlet and foster skills and talent that could even lead to a career.

but more than all that, our hope is to build relationships and pour out love and support on these children, for Gods glory.

and for you, the reader…

‘little birds’ means posts on simple recipes…we’re talking quick, under an hour, a fourth grader can do it….you have no more excuses – simple recipes. i hope you enjoy this adventure!


there are many ways to serve west dallas, either specifically through mercy street or through a number of organizations that can be found here. serving at mercy street has been such a blessing and has had such a huge impact on my life. if you live in dallas, i would absolutely encourage you to pray about ways you could serve west dallas.

if you don’t live in dallas, i would encourage you to look around your own community. i believe that we are all placed exactly where we are with a God-given purpose.  there are people in our own backyards who need to be reached, and served, and loved. as i’ve learned with baking, if it’s something you love and have a passion for…it doesn’t feel like a burden or chore….it might even become your favorite part of the week.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.


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