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I was pleased to represent Arkansas Women Bloggers as a guest of Crystal Bridges  at the Friends of the Beard Foundation Best of Bentonville Benefit held at 21C Museum Hotel on November 8 featuring the culinary work of Chef Rob Nelson of Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie, Chef Matt McClure, a Beard semifinalist for best chef Sotuh,   of The Hive and Chef Bill Lyle of Eleven at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Chef Case Dighero served as emcee of the event while engaging the audience during interviews with the chefs and tales of their experiences at chef’s boot camp at the Beard Foundation in New York City.  It was especially interesting to hear their thoughts on sourcing locally produced foods for their restaurants.  Eating locally from our Arkansas producers and farmers is near and dear to my foodie philosophy. All of the dishes presented during the evening were prepared with ingredients from farms and orchards in Northwest Arkansas.


I will be sharing the recipe for this spectacular dessert of Sticky Toffee Pudding and Arkansas Black Apple Ice Cream created by Chef McClure.  You’ll be able to view that on my blog soon

beard foundation group with alice

A strong supporter of the culinary opportunity and development as well as the arts in Northwest Arkansas, Alice Walton, chose to entertain her weekend guests by treating them to the Best of Bentonville dinner.  Phyllis duPont Wyeth, wife of Jamie Wyeth , and her sister Mimi duPont Abel Smith, were highly complimentary of Crystal Bridges and the NWA area.  The Jamie Wyeth exhibition opens  at Crystal Bridges in the summer 2015.

Come join me on my blog as I share dishes from our dinner menu.

Hors d’Oeuvre
Ozark Pumpkin Arancini 
Duck Prosciutto–Pepper Jelly Canapés 
Chicken Liver Pâté 
Black Walnut Moonshine Cocktails 

Assorted Breads > Garlic–Montasio Cheese Gougères; Skillet Cornbread; and Fried Pork Rinds 
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Brussel Sprouts 
Braised Arkansas Rabbit with War Eagle Mill Barley Risotto, Minted Black Apples, and Carrot Caramel 
Marinated and Grilled Venison Flank Steak with Stewed White Beans, Ham Hocks, Tomato Confit, Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms, Grilled Scallions, and Mountain Bird Coffee Red Eye Demi-Glace 
Sticky Toffee Pudding 
A selection of fine wines will be served with this dinner.


debbie and beth beard foundation

 Many thanks to Beth Bobbitt, Media Relations Manager at Crystal Bridges, for extending the invitation.




 We’re sharing some of our Family Holiday Favorites for Foodie Friday.  We’ll be featuring some of those throughout the holiday season. The linky will remain open through December 6 so feel free to share several of those special dishes that are always present on your holiday menus.




By Lisa Mullis

The morning air is crisp and cool, the leaves are showing their true colors, and the search for gloves lost in the land of mismatched winter gear has begun. Morning coffee tastes a little sweeter and I, for one, am tempted to stay in bed just a little while longer instead of putting on the extra layer of clothes necessary to exercise outdoors. Instead I look forward to the warmth of the afternoon sun when light dances in the lingering leaves and the ones that have already fallen to the ground crunch beneath my feet. Autumn is the perfect time for hiking.

empty trail

There is no shortage of beautiful trails to hike in Arkansas. Short and long, easy and difficult, scenic and secluded, the Natural State has it all. Hiking is a great way to stay fit or to continue working on your fitness level during the cooler months. It is accessible to most fitness levels from easy strolls while taking in the surroundings to speed hiking as quickly as possible and even hiking while wearing a weighted vest or full backpack to increase the intensity. Trails can be found within urban neighborhoods or city parks. Find a trail in an Arkansas State Park. A state park is a great place to start hiking since many parks offer guided hikes that will entertain and educate. Fall is the perfect time for multi-day backpacking trips too. The weather is typically warm during the day with cold nights that make a night time fire not just enjoyable, but necessary.


We are lucky to have several trails that are long enough to spend days hiking out and back. There is always the option of leaving one car at the far end of the section of trail you want to hike and driving another back to your starting point, or hiring a shuttle to drop you at the start with your vehicle waiting at the end. Check the websites for the Ouachita National Forest, the Buffalo National River, or the Ozark Highlands.One of our family favorites is the Eagle Rock Loop near Glenwood in the Ouachita National Forest. Many hikers enjoy a few hours in the scenic Winding Stairs section of the loop without hiking the entire twenty seven miles of trail.

stream crossing

Hiking is great for the whole family. It is an avenue for teaching children about nature, to instill an appreciation for the conservation of natural areas, and to practice good outdoor ethics like Leave No Trace. For families with young children, there are many types of carriers made for hiking. Carrying little one is a great way to get a good workout in for yourself and get the little ones outside. If you find that the young ones aren’t as enamored by the changing leaves as you are, give them a job. Geocaching is hiking with a goal, find the cache, perhaps be able to leave and take a little treasure trinket, or complete a series of cache finds like the Arkansas State Park Geocache Challenge. Kids love to use technology and geocaching will get them using technology outside the house.


One of the reasons I love hiking in the autumn and winter months is the views. The lushness of our Arkansas summers can sometimes hinder the view. We have a family tradition for hiking during the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day become as much about which trail were are going to hike as what the menu for dinner is. We love to sit and watch the sunsets together.


Take advantage of the cooler weather to get outside and make a few trail memories of your own.


Lisa Mullis I’m a wife and mom. I’m a microbiologist. I’m a mountain biker, hiker, backpacker, sometime runner, and workout enthusiast all while being addicted to good food. I write about it at I also write for Arkansas Outside, a site dedicated to people who love to play outside in Arkansas. I’m fueled by pizza, red meat and goat cheese risotto. And sometimes I sleep.

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By Kaylin Gilkey of Enticing Healthy Eating Kaylin is a health coach and nutrition consultant and author of the healthy living and food blog Enticing Healthy Eating.  Born and raised in Northwest Arkansas, she can often be found singing praises of her hometown, whipping up new recipes in the kitchen, still trying to find her [...]

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