Blogging


Is it just my imagination or have apple dishes taken a back seat to pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING over the past few years?! I have always loved pumpkin treats! I have shared that love here many times. I have made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pies, pumpkin crisp, and pumpkin fudge. I have decorated with pumpkins. I have dressed my children as pumpkins. I’ve even supported pumpkins for a cause!

So, yes, I guess it is safe to say the apple has taken a back seat to the pumpkin. Let’s not forget this fabulous apple cake recipe or these applesauce cookies with frosting that is to die for! We have also had apples in savory dishes and “craft” projects.

Last fall, I purchased this lovely cookbook. (Ha! It didn’t come with Pork Chop Tuesday on it.)

Fall Baking

The pictures were all so lovely, and the recipes all looked so yummy!

The first one I tried was Cream Cheese Oat Bars. They were delicious! I didn’t think the name was quite right though, so I renamed them Apple Butter Bars. It was nice to have a non-pumpkin fall treat.

Apple Butter Bars

I had every intention to blog about these bars last fall. The above photo is from a couple of weeks ago. I was not happy with the ones I took last year. I tried to be all fancy–like I was a food stylist or something.

acorn plate

hay bales and denim

The lighting wasn’t right. My “props” weren’t quite right. Blah, blah blah!

So, my pictures sat there in my to-do file for a year.

This year I had plans to make the photos better, complete with step-by-step photos.

pantry ingredients

chopped cashews

I got as far as the chopped cashews and forgot to take any more photos. I started to scrap the whole post.

The recipe is just too yummy to not share. I hope you will try it along with some of the others listed at the top of this post.

Apple Butter Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups chopped salted cashews

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 T lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups apple butter

•Preheat over to 350˚. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

•Stir together flour, oats, cashews, sugar and baking soda. You’ll want to use a pretty big bowl.

•Add melted butter and stir well.

•Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to used as the topping.

•Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan.

•Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely.

•Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl at medium speed until creamy.

•Add eggs one at a time . Beating well after each one.

•Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Beat to combine.

•Spread apple butter over the cooled crust. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the apple butter. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture on top.

•Bake until cream cheese layer is set–35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Life is busy.

This summer was VERY busy–went to so many great places, we ate so much yummy food and saw so many people we love.

vineyard

french bicycle

gingerbread houses

Eiffel Tower

Switzerland

cousin camp

There were also things that I didn’t do this summer–like write any blog posts! Gasp!

My poor little Pork Chop Tuesday has limped along thanks to a couple of popular pins on Pinterest.

Nutcracker plaid quilt

I have had the cloud of “gotta blog” hanging over me since May. black cloud

Another one of the things I didn’t do this summer was attend the Arkansas Women Bloggers blog conference. As I read through everyone’s conference recaps and chased them on Twitter and Periscope I wished that I could have gone. Money was a little different this summer. Big vacation+First child off to college+Purchase of an additional vehicle…I decided adding a conference was not the thing to do. I came across one of my fellow blogger’s post about the conference. She spoke about keeping the most important thing the most important thing. What an inspiration! Here I was all worried about the fact that I had not paid my blog any attention all summer and sad that I didn’t go to the blog conference. All along one of the biggest take-aways from the conference was what I was living! I spent wonderful, quality time with family this summer–keeping the most important thing the most important thing!

I’m trying to pick up blogging again. Boy it is rough. I’ve forgotten how to edit photos. I’m rusty at the keyboard. I am too embarrassed to tell you how long it has taken me to put this post together.

So, there you have it, summer in a nutshell. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’ll be relearning Photoshop and WordPress. I only have 1762 more pictures from our Europe trip to edit!

 

Well, here we are at the beginning of 2015. The time when many bloggers roll the highlight reel from 2014. (Much like the paper your teachers used to make you write every year on the first day back from summer vacation.)

Okay, I’ll play along. WordPress is so nice to send all the “best of” stats at the end of the year.

Most of the posts that were popular this year were not even from this year. I guess that is a good thing.

#1-Christmas Party Food is a post from 2011. It features a Snowman Cheese Ball, a Christmas broccoli appetizer, and a Turkey Cranberry Ring.

#2-I Say it Every Year-an adorable Nutcracker gift box craft from 2012.

#3-Banana Pudding from 2013. If you haven’t tried this yet, put it on your things-to-do list for 2015!

#4-Apple Slaw (2011) Ironically, this was a dish that my crew was not super wild about. I guess the pictures grabbed some attention. Hey, that is why I tried it!

#5-DIY Placemats (2013) I love this craft tutorial. I have used this method several times. I have some candy corn fabric I plan to try at some point.

So, those were the overall top five posts here at Pork Chop Tuesday.

Curious about 2014?

The busiest day around here was the day I posted my Project 180 photography project. It was so gratifying to work on something for so long and see it to a successful completion. Please go check it out. I really enjoyed it!

Ecclesiasties3

I did a series of posts about my trip to P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm. It was a lot of fun with lots of opportunities for photography practice. You can check out the series below. I think my favorite was the Rose Garden.

There was actually one more Moss Mountain post–a post-series post.

DIY Notecards

selection of notecards

Lasagna Cups was a fun, new recipe to try. We all liked these! I need to make them again–soon!

Lasagna Cups

We enjoyed trying out some new restaurants, well, new to us. Green Leaf Grill and The Root Cafe to name a couple.

Rounding out the year were Bananas Foster with friends and the Thanksgiving 101 series.

Most of the folks who visit Pork Chop Tuesday are from Pinterest or Facebook-along with folks who are subscribers.

To all of you, I say…

ThankYouNote

Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet.

Subscribing to Pork Chop Tuesday is easy. Click the home button at the top of the page or here. Go over to the right. You will see a box with “Email Subscription” on it. Just click on the “sign me up” button!

You can also follow along on social media. Sometimes I post things there that don’t get on the blog. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are the social media outlets I use.

Thanks for all the comments and support in 2014. I hope to hear from you in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

2014-ornament-exchange

I participated in the Arkansas Women Bloggers Ornament Exchange again this year. I participated two years ago. You can read about the postal adventure here.

I don’t remember why I didn’t play along last year. (See postal adventure post!)

I decided to be brave and try again this year. I am really glad that I did. Check out this adorable ornament I received from my Arkansas secret Santa…

Arkansas Ornament

Perfect!

This came from Tiffany over at Secret Life of a Betty Crocker Wannabe. Tiffany and I have never met but I think we would get along great! Tiffany is a baking contest junkie! I love that! The biggest baking contest I have ever participated in was the Lonoke County Fair. I think my big prize package was about $6.32.

Tiffany may be a Betty Crocker Wannabe but apparently she is quite a crafter as well. You can see her step-by-step tutorial for the ornament here.

This is the little note that was attached to the ornament.

ornament note

The note says there is something hidden inside. I could not bring myself to cut into it to out take the treats. It was just too cute!

Here is the back, uncut.

craft paper ornament

Thanks so much for my Arkan-Santa, Tiffany! I hope we can meet at an ARWB function some day.

I know you are all wondering about the ornament I sent.

I sent my ornament to Gina from Desperately Seeking Gina. I met Gina when I attended my first Arkansas Women Bloggers event.

Gina is a crafter–with a real craft room and everything! That was a little intimidating. I felt up for the challenge though.

Here is the ornament I sent Gina. Hopefully, I will be able to post a “how to” soon. You can see it on her tree here.

homemade ornament

I got a little extra crafty and made the card out of old Christmas cards.

There was no postal drama this time! My ornament made it to Gina’s just fine.

Merry Christmas, Tiffany and Gina. I’m so glad y’all played along this year.

NEWS: Pork Chop Tuesday gets great “product placement” on TV’s longest running program. ; )

Check it out!

Thanks, Ryan Kravitz, for sending this for the archives!

Be sure to take a look at the Why “Pork Chop Tuesday” section of the blog.

Finally time to tour the home!

The welcoming foyer’s buffet table hosted three silver bowls filled with apples.

I was immediately reminded of this verse-even though the apples are green, not golden.

Proverbs 25 v.11

Our lovely guide, Laura, Allen’s personal assistant, led us into the front living room.

our guide

We were here for about 30 minutes learning all kinds of things about the home. Allen’s green, sustainable living philosophy was carried out in every aspect of the home. Attention to architectural history made the house feel much more than a decade old. Laura gave us some background information on Allen’s family and education as well as his current endeavors.

Front Room

Allen’s love of painting can be seen throughout the home.

After our introduction to Moss Mountain, we were given time to explore indoors.

Duncan sent us on our way.

doggie

Mom and I decided to start at the top and work our way down.

rug-covered stairs

I loved the casual runner stapled to the stairs leading to the upper floor.

The view wasn’t bad either!

double.indd

Four beds plus a reading/working/playing area would surely be a treat for guests.

fun attic space

The master suite was on the level below. Elegant meets quirky in this “hat rack” in the bathroom.

hatrack

The mirrors in their dark frames looked very nice against the pale blue wall. Heaven help me though! I wanted to straighten them so badly!

wall of mirrors

The use of “real” furniture in the bathroom was a nice touch.

My pictures of the bedroom and reading nook didn’t really turn our that great. You will just have to plan a visit of your own to see them!

butterfly collection

Just off the library area was the sleeping porch. Ahhhh!

sleeping porch

Do you see the tub there behind my Mom?!

sleeping porch with tub

Okay, here is a better picture.

copper tub

Wouldn’t you just LOVE to hang out there a while, gazing out at the Arkansas River?

Ahhhh!

On to the guest room.

headboard with fabric and nailhead trim

peonies in the guest room

There is a great view of the 300+ year old tree from the guest bathroom.

300 year old tree

As we headed back to the main floor, I snapped a couple more shots of the entry table. The symmetry is so appealing.

symmetrical entry table

The ottomans under the table look great! They are nice to have for extra seating if necessary. The orange with the green apples and silver bowls makes quite a statement!

ottomans under entry table

The kitchen was outfitted with beautiful Allium from the garden.

fruit and flowers

Unique kitchen lights–

kitchen lighting

Porch dining–

porch dining

Some of our picture taking was cut short when we found our tour group was already headed to the garden!

curved settee

I couldn’t resist one last shot–Mom on the curved settee.

See you in the garden next.

After cramming our sneakers in our  purses and our boots on our feet, Mom and I were ready for our Moss Mountain tour!

Mom at Moss Mountain Farm

One other thing I wish I had added to my purse was a bottle of water. Consider taking one when you go–lots of walking.

Our instructions were to arrive at 10:30 for the 11:00 tour.

We were a little unsure what we were supposed to do once we got there. We followed the crowd to the gift shop area. Of course we had to take some goofy pictures.

gift shop 2

gift shop 1

 

The chickens were happy to pose for us.

chickens

chicken

 

After perusing the gift shop for about 15 minutes, we decided to ask one of the ladies wearing a name tag what the plan of action was. (You can only take so many chicken pictures.)

She motioned toward the vegetable garden and the sheep pasture as she told us we were free to roam until 11:00.

We kicked things into high gear in order to cover as much ground as possible. We were both grateful for our boots as we trekked across the wet field.

Moose, the donkey, was not nearly as cooperative for his photo shoot as the chickens had been for theirs!

Moose the Donkey

 

The little garden house was so cute! It was a wire frame covered with burlap. I wish I could have seen it when the daffodils were in bloom!

burlap house

I remember seeing  on Facebook back in the fall how Allen covered the little house with pumpkins.

burlap and wire house

 

Joyce’s House was featured in Southern Living not too long ago.

cotttage

 

It was getting close to time for the “official” tour so we had to head back. We did do more self-guided touring after lunch.

The Barn is where we had lunch-more on that later.

barn

 

In front of the garden home is this beautiful 300+ year old tree. Don’t you like the lights strung up for a party?

tree over 300 years old-Moss Mountain Farm

 

While the house is only about 10 years old, the crew did a nice job making it look as if it had been there 100 years or more!

side of the house-Moss Mountain Farm

 

The yellow “knock out” roses near the house were incredible!

knock out roses

 

You never know who you will run into at Moss Mountain Farm. I met Ceri, a fellow ARWB food blogger. at the blog conference I attended last year. She and her friend, Vanessa, drove down from Fayetteville, AR that morning.

RecipeDoodle

 

Next up…inside the house!

For my birthday this year, my Mom promised to take me to tour P. Allen Smith’s garden home at Moss Mountain Farm.

sign

I have had the opportunity to meet and miss Allen several times. Click here.

Having seen my blogger pals talk about going to Moss Mountain on many different occasions, I was very excited to finally get to go for myself!

I didn’t exactly know what to expect from the tour. I knew there would be lunch and a house and chickens. I had no idea what the “dress code” for such an event was.  I decided to consult my ARWB friends for advice.

I’m going to Moss Mountain Farm tomorrow. It’s my first time. How should I dress?

  • Debbie Horton Arnold-Is it for one of their luncheon/tours?
  • Stephanie Crampton Buckley-Cute and comfy. Comfy because there’s a lot of walking around and cute because you will take a lot, and will want to be in, photos.
  • Sarah E. White-Rain boots since it will be muddy?
  • Debbie Horton Arnold-Cute but not dressy. I’ve worn nice jeans, cropped pants, and slacks before. Always with shoes you can walk around in a yard and garden with. (no heels) I hope you have a beautiful, fun-filled day. It’s a beautiful place. Take an apple for the donkey:)
  • Peggy Cox Bayer-Thanks, y’all. For my birthday my Mom bought us tickets for the luncheon/tour. We are just now finding/making time to go. Pray the rain holds off!
  • Peggy Cox Bayer-Thanks for the “donkey tip” Debbie Horton Arnold
  • Paige Ray-You ladies have fun today!!
    After all of that I was even more perplexed!
    That morning I thought I had the a perfectly cute and comfortable outfit picked out for the day. The weather man was calling for rain, so I knew rain boots were a possibility.
    light blue gingham with floral skirt
    Cute enough–but I felt all fidgety in the skirt for some reason. Perhaps a different skirt was the answer.
    light blue gingham with denim
    No. This just was not right.
    Then I remembered a springy green dress.
    green dress
    I wore this to take the kids to school. It really needed to be ironed. My white sneakers were not so white. I WAS GOING TO A FARM! WHY DID I WANT TO WEAR A DRESS?!
    purple gingham
    Next up was my purple gingham shirt with jeans. Jeans would be much more comfy if I ended up wearing my boots. That was it! I would wear my Converse sneakers and take my boots.
    Wrong!
    Don’t you HATE those days when nothing seems to be the right outfit?! UGH!
    I was running out of time AND patience. I knew the next outfit had to be “it” whether it was or not.
    I needed something on my arms because I tend to get cold. Apparently I was in a gingham mood, since I had already tried two gingham shirts.
    A gingham jacket was the winner! (I picked it up for 50¢ at Goodwill last summer.)
    gingham, converse, rain boots
    Hooray! Decision made. I wore the sneakers and threw the boots in the backseat.
    gingham jacket with converse

    As soon as we parked the car, my cute little sneakers went into my purse and on went the boots.
    I didn’t know if I would need to change shoes to go inside or not.
    stuffing shoes in my purse
    So, here is how I dressed to go to Moss Mountain Farm.
    arriving at the farm
    Jeans and rain boots turned out to be the perfect pairing for the day. No, they didn’t make me leave my boots at the door. I hauled my sneakers around unnecessarily. I was glad to have a jacket though.
    Stay tuned for more about the actual trip.
    Oh, in case you are wondering, I took all those clothing pictures days later. I wish I had actually taken a picture that day.  My bed looked like my closet exploded. I was not really planning to include a fashion post with my Moss Mountain adventures. However, when I relayed my fashion dilemma to my husband later that day, he got a huge kick out of it. I just thought y’all might, too!

Yes, I realize we are more than half way through January! I guess it isn’t “cool” to say Happy New Year at this stage in the game.

This is the first time I have actually sat down at the computer to write a blog post all year. I’ve been thinking about doing it. For some reason it just has not happened.  I just have not been able to get in the groove.

I have enjoyed everyone else’s posts about how they are cutting back on their social media time, mostly Facebook and Twitter. I have seen all the obligatory “Best of 2013” posts. I have heard about your goals and resolutions for 2014. All the while, I have written nothing! I have made new recipes, taken pictures, even loaded the pictures! Still nothing.

You know blogging is a funny thing. When it was new, everyone was excited to just share. Now, like anything, folks have discovered there is money to be made in the blog world. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people making money off of their blogs. It is, however, a different approach to blogging.

In my “time off” I have been considering why I blog anyway. To start with, it wasn’t even my idea! My husband talked me into it to share recipes and such. While that is what I do here, I wanted, and still want, more. I want that COMMUNITY feeling. I don’t want the sharing to be a one-way street.

I really like Pinterest. Ironically, most of my traffic comes from Pinterest. I have read recently that it is not as “shiny and new” for some bloggers. I still like it! For one thing, I can see people whose tastes are similar to mine. However, if I am in “Pinterest Mode” I am bad about just pinning something to my board and not leaving a comment for the blogger. I do try to go back and leave a comment once I have tried their recipe, project or whatever.

I’m not very good at Facebook and Twitter, especially Twitter.

Mentally, I am still back in the fall. Did the holidays ZOOM by as fast for y’all? I suppose I have just been in a rut. Well, here at Pork Chop Tuesday we are all about rut-bustin’!

I think this is the most I have written in a blog post without adding a picture. Weird.

I realize I rambled a bit here today. That is just where I am. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, maybe I will be able to actually do some “normal” blogging.

Obligatory Most Popular Post of 2013 (click for link):

Amazing Banana Pudding

Well, I learned one important bit of information at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged Conference. Everyone is on Twitter! The bloggers at the conference were in “hashtag heaven”!

hashtag

Every time a new speaker came to the front of the room, that person’s Twitter handle was announced. All the bloggers were encouraged to use a certain # for tweets about the conference.

Wow! Was I feeling behind the times.  As I looked around the room, I seemed to be in the minority as a non-tweeter.

No, I don’t have a smart phone. I don’t have my ears pierced either. No tattoos. And I drive a sedan, not an SUV. I guess I march to the beat of my own drum.

The whole social media monster is much bigger than I realized. It’s not that I didn’t realize it. I just had never seen it in action like I did at the blog conference.

It took me a long time to get on Facebook. Since I got my Facebook page, I have enjoyed keeping up with people form the past.  I really like the first day of school when everyone posts pictures of their kids. I eventually even got a Facebook page for Pork Chop Tuesday.

I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I love it because it is like getting hundreds of magazines on my computer every day. I hate it because it is like getting hundreds of magazines on my computer every day. It is really more of an addiction than anything–visual addiction.

Twitter-Logo-Background-HD-Wallpaper

So, Twitter. I had no clue how to “do” Twitter. Saturday night I chatted with my new room mates about all things Twitter.

They were all such sweet ladies who had just gone through a spider crisis when we met. (Something about a nest of baby brown recluse spiders hatching and scattering all over the cabin! We got a new cabin.)

Here we are just after breakfast. I was trying to show off my cool new tee shirt! l-to-r me, Alicia, Jeanetta, Cyndi, and Katie.

Here we are just after breakfast. I was trying to show off my cool new tee shirt!
l-to-r me, Alicia, Jeanetta, Cyndi, and Katie.

They were all “tweeters”. I started asking questions and they tried to answer. Finally, I said, will one of y’all SHOW me what it looks like?! So Jeanetta and I sat down and surfed around her feed.

After encouraging words from my new friends, I decided to give it a try. They suggested I just “follow” for a while.

I came home and signed up for my Twitter account. My camp buddies immediately showed support by following me.

Twitter moves really fast! Today I saw a friend giving a “tweet-cast” while she was at a cooking demonstration!

I’m not sure how I like it just yet. You know, the common thread of the conference was to “be authentic” “be yourself”. Did I cave to peer pressure or am I exploring who “I might be”? The jury’s still out on that one. (Boy, I have used a lot of quotation marks in this post.)

If you would like to see my tweets, you can follow me @PorkChopTuesday. Don’t expect a lot of awe-inspiring tweets just yet.

I’d be happy to hear any suggestions you might have. Are you constantly plugged in or do you check your feed only a couple of times a day? Do I add #s to my blog posts? Do you follow just people you know or celebrities?

twitter-follow-me-icon copy

Next Page »