Category: Arkansas Activities

Matt McClure’s Buttermilk Cornbread with Sorghum Butter

matt mcclure

We are extremely fortunate that Executive Chef Matt McClure of Bentonville’s 21C Museum Hotel The Hive Restaurant will be one of our featured speakers at the Foodie Friday pre conference of Megaphone Summit 2016 to be held at the absolutely beautiful Pratt Place Inn and Barn in Fayetteville.

Pratt Place Inn Veranda

Those of you who had the privilege to enjoy Matt’s presentation at the 2014 Foodie Friday session held at NWACC will remember what a joy he was. And I’m sure many of you have continued to enjoy his okratouille and chicken recipes he shared with us that day.

Matt was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his passion for food was ignited by hunting, fishing and his grandmother’s cooking. Following a stint at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, he settled in Boston working at a number of restaurants including Troquet, Harvest and No. 9 Park.

Eager to get back to his home state to reconnect with the ingredients and foodways of his childhood, Matt returned to Little Rock where he worked under Lee Richardson former Executive Chef at Ashley’s (now One Eleven) in the Capital Hotel, developing strong relationships with local farmers and producers and rediscovering the agricultural resources of his home state.

In 2012, Matt joined the opening team of The Hive, located at 21C Museum Hotel Bentonville. At The Hive, the restaurant’s menus showcase the unique culinary identity of Arkansas. McClure’s cooking pays homage to the High South, highlighting ingredients such as black walnuts, freshly milled corn meal, hickory smoked hams, peaches, melons and sweet onions and demonstrates Matt’s longstanding commitment to support local farmers and purveyors. (Courtesy The Hive).

In 2013, Garden & Gunfeatured The Hive in it’s Feb/Mar edition.showcases the refined, country cuisine of the High South, focusing on the local ingredients of Northwest Arkansas and the region’s traditional methods of cooking.  Matt was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for the “Best Chef: South” award in both 2014 and 2015, and was awarded Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” award for the Midwest in 2015. He is also an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. 

Matt McClure's Buttermilk Cornbread


  • 2 Tablespoons lard
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
    Sorghum Butter
  • 8 Tablespoons good quality unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons sorghum molasses
  • Fine sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Place cast iron skillet and lard in the skillet to preheat.
  3. Sift together cornmeal, flour, soda and salt into a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, beat eggs and buttermilk together; add to dry mix.
  5. Stir well until all dry ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Add melted lard to mix and stir well, leaving a small amount of the melted lard in the skillet.
  7. Pour cornbread mixture into the hot cast iron skillet (the same pan that the lard was melted in). Make sure there is a thin layer of residual lard in the pan. This will ensure a crisp crust.
  8. Bake at 425° for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Serve hot with sorghum butter.
  10. Pinch of fine sea salt
    Sorghum Butter
  1. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the softened butter until it is fluffy.
  2. Reduce the mixer speed and drizzle in the sorghum. Add the salt.
  3. Increase the speed and beat until the sorghum is fully incorporated, frequently scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Turn the butter into a small bowl or a large ramekin


I'm not sure what brand of corn meal Matt uses, but I really like Arkansas' own War Eagle Mills.

The sorghum butter is really nice on biscuits, pancakes or waffles.

ARWB Feminine Products Drive {Service Project}

One of the most needed and most over looked item in shelters and food banks across the country are feminine products.  As this Huffington Post article explains, getting their period is one of the most difficult challenges faced by homeless women.  But it’s not just the homeless that struggle.  Low income families have a hard time affording feminine products.  I teach in a low income school and I know of girls that miss school every month because they can’t afford feminine products and their only alternative is to stay home until their time of the month passes.

Tampons and pads are needed in shelters and food banks all over Arkansas.  This month we are hoping that all of our AWBU members will try to give back to their community in some way and we will be hosting a feminine products drive.  Here is how it will work:

  1. Collect Feminine Products
    Collect on your own or as a small group of bloggers.  Encourage your friends, neighbors, coworkers and blog readers to get involved.
  2. Photograph Your Donation
    Since we are spread out across the state the best way to show all we’ve collected is to snap a quick photo.
  3. Upload Your Photo to Instagram
    Share the photo of your donation on Instagram.  Be sure to use #ARWBGives and tag @ARWomenBloggers in your photo.
  4. Drop Off Your Donation 
    Drop of your donation at a local shelter or food bank.  We are providing a list of a few possible places below.
  5. Leave a Comment Below
    Leave a comment on this blog post to let us know that you participated along with a count of how many items you donated.

Our goal is for our members to collectively donate 200 packages of feminine supplies by May 31!

Here is a brief list of women’s shelters around the state.  This is not a comprehensive list and you can find more shelters here.  Additionally you may feel compelled to make  your donation to a local food bank, church shelter or other organization.  The goal is to make feminine products available to women in Arkansas so feel free to select where you make your donation at your own discretion.

Northwest Arkansas

Peace at Home Family Shelter
PO Box 10946
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Open Arms Food Pantry & Pregnancy Center
400 West st. (skating rink)
Huntsville, AR

Flint Street Food Bank
Eureka Springs, AR

Saving Grace Inc. 
1229 W. Poplar St.
Rogers, AR 72756 
Phone: (479) 636-1133
Fax: (479) 636-1865

Samaritan Center in Springdale
1300 N. Thompson
Springdale, 72764

Samaritan Center in Rogers
1211 W. Hudson Road
Rogers, 72756

Central Arkansas

The One, Inc. (Homeless women’s house) 
One warehouse
8016 Faulkner Lake Rd
North Little Rock, AR 72117

The Dorcas House
823 South Park
Little Rock, AR 72202
Phone: 501-374-4022

Northeast Arkansas

The Haven of Northeast Arkansa
P. O. Box 1062
Blytheville, AR 72316
Phone: 870-532-6669

Family Crisis Center, Inc.
P. O. Box 721
Jonesboro, AR 72403

Southeast Arkansas

Anna’s Place (Forrest City) 
406 Pecan Street
Helena, AR 72342
Phone: 870-338-8447 

Restoration of Hope
P. O. Box 812
Stuttgart, AR 72160

CASA Women’s Shelter
1113 State St
Pine Bluff, AR 71611

Southwest Arkansas

Abused Women and Children INC
PO Box 924
Arkadelphia, AR – 71923
(870) 246-3122

Bloggers in the Rice Field

Arkansas Women Bloggers are the social media megaphones of Arkansas. So naturally, when Riceland wanted to get the word out, they hired Arkansas Women Bloggers to bring in some great influencers to Stuttgart for the WingsOver the Prairie/World Championship Duck Calling Contest. The eight bloggers were able to interact with Georgia Pellegrini, TV Chef, Author, Outdoor Adventure Expert, Modern Pioneer, #GirlHunter on stage, learn more about Riceland, and even get a duck calling lesson.

Riceland provides marketing services for rice, soybeans and wheat grown by its 5,500 farmer-members in Arkansas and Missouri. Each year, its 1,500 employees receive, store, transport process and market more than 125 million bushels (2.5 million metric tons) of grain.

They are the WORLD’s largest miller and marketer of rice , yes, right here in Arkansas people.

Each Riceland product is backed by generations of rice farmers whose goal has always been to produce the finest quality rice in the world. 

Riceland makes me proud to be an Arkansan and we are happy that they have seen the value in Arkansas Women Bloggers and our influence.

Enjoy some of the photo collages from a few of the bloggers that spent the day listening to duck calls and cooking with Riceland. 

Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart {MamaBuzz -}
   Mel at Mamabuzz

Duck Heather

 Heather at Heather’s Dish


Duck Debbie

Debbie at DiningWithDebbie


Stephanie The Park Wife

A special thanks to our dear, sweet, encourager Debbie Arnold for making all the bloggers and Georgia camo and embroidered aprons. Yes, that is how she rolls. 


Farm to School and What it Means to McCool Farms {#Farm2Home14}

panelFarm2Home14 FarmerPanel From Left: Beth Eggers (Wye Mountain Flowers and Berries), Mark Morgan (Peach Pickin’ Paradise), Chuck McCool (McCool Farms) and Bob Barnhill (Barnhill Orchards)

 By Chuck McCool, owner of McCool Farms

Note: Chuck McCool was a recent panel participant in #Farm2Home14 sponsored by Arkansas Grown, The Arkansas Agriculture Department and P. Allen Smith.  He is an avid participant in the National Farm to School Network,  active in the Arkansas Division of Farm to School and  shares just a little of  his passion for the program with all who are willing to listen and learn.  He welcomes your inquiries and comments

Imagine if you will, students pressed together in lunch lines at a small country school, their eyes glancing up and down the steam table trying to get a glimpse of the menu being served. A smile fills their sweet little faces as they see their favorite item—watermelon. This day couldn’t come fast enough. This wasn’t any ordinary watermelon. This one was made possible through the Farm to School Program and was grown by someone they knew, a neighboring farmer.  This, they knew, was what it meant to “eat local.”

The National Farm to School Network links local farmers with schools in their communities. The program’s goal is to provide local homegrown produce to area children.  Produce harvested today is served on the students’ plates tomorrow.  Farm to School links children to nearby small and mid-size farms and ranches that produce fresh, healthy and minimally processed foods that are served at their schools.

McCool Farms, along with other participants in the Farm to School program,  believes that healthy eating habits are essential to an individual’s lifelong well-being. In particular, children should have access to fresh, healthy foods as part of a nutritionally-balanced school meals program. Studies show that students will eat more fruits and vegetables when they are fresh and picked at the peak of their flavor. Students are also more likely to try new foods when they are part of a Farm to School program.

Not only does Farm to School improve nutrition for school children, it strengthens local economies by expanding markets for small and mid-size agricultural producers and food entrepreneurs whose products have typically been unavailable at school.

It also enhances children’s “food literacy” by familiarizing students with foods grown nearby, teaches them how and where their food is grown, builds knowledge about how to prepare healthy foods, and educates them about the health, nutrition, social and environmental impacts of food choices. Farm to School can also be a great way to build positive relationships among students, parents, farmers, educators and other members of the community. (

This program  has opened up a whole new market for the produce grown at McCool Farms .  “The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and preschools.

mccool pumpkin patch

McCool Farms is a family-operated farm dedicated to raising thirty acres of heirloom vegetables.  A goal of the farm is to provide its customers with the freshest, best-tasting produce and to ensure that children know they are the future of the farm.

As summer winds down most farmers are winding up our production.   But at McCool Farms, and other Farm to School farms, another round of crops is being planted  for the school season.  Our fall sales will more than double our spring sales and prepare us to supply area schools with fresh, locally grown , nutritious vegetables.  It’s a win for the schools and a win for the farm.

mccool collage

McCool Farms realizes that there is more to the Farm to School program than just selling produce to school. As ambassadors to the schools, McCool Farms has been blessed with the opportunity to teach children the source of some of their food . Students get to visit the farm and experience what farming is all about..  We get to experience a whole new joy when a small child runs up and  thanks us for bringing them a watermelon or when mother tells you that  her child who use to hate vegetables,  now cleans his plate. Or it might be when a father,with the encouragement and help of his children, now plants and harvests from the family garden. 

no food

McCool Farms believes we  are educators as well as farmers. By allowing schools to bring students to the farm, letting  them dip their fingers into the soil,  planting a seed, harvesting a tomato or a pumpkin, or even sitting on a tractor seatwe feel we are making an investment not only in the farm but in the lives of children as well.  Our  firmly believes that the more kids know about the food they are eating — where and how it was grown — the healthier will be their choices. Who knows? Someday one of those kids may be the farmer who is selling home grown produce to local schools, continuing the tradition begun at our farm.

It isn’t necessary to have acres and acres of produce in order to sell to schools. All that is needed is a small garden and a desire to see children enjoy the fruit of the harvest. Interested in selling produce to your local school?  Contact Chuck McCool at (479) 264-9182. If you live in west central Arkansas and are interested in the Farm to School program, there is an informational meeting scheduled Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm in Danville, Arkansas.  RSVP Chuck via phone.  There will be experts there that can assist you learning about selling your produce.

 Sign up to receive The Arkansas Grow Healthy newsletter which contains information on farm to school programs from around the state, guidance on getting started, availability of  seasonal produce, policy information, and special event invitation.

What will you do today to support your local farm and farmers, Farm2Home and Farm2School?  


Chuck McCool is farming land that was homesteaded by his family in the 1800’s.  He is a farmer dedicated to providing only the best to his customers through safe, environmentally-friendly farming practices.  “If we don’t take care of our soil, water, resources and environment, we won’t have any customers.”  You can follow McCool Farms at:

Listen to Your Mother Submission Deadline is Saturday!

CALLING ALL BLOGGERS  – because we know you have some fabulous writing already – you have just a few days left to submit pieces for consideration for the Listen to Your Mother: Little Rock (LTYM) show.


What’s Listen To Your Mother, you ask?
LTYM is a live reading of local writers, with productions in 32 cities nationwide celebrating Mother’s Day. Each performance is produced locally, casting local writers, creators and community inventors who share their pieces on stage (after which they live on YouTube forever). 
This is the first year Little Rock is hosting LTYM. Your fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers Sarabeth Jones, Kerri Jackson Case, and Kyran Pittman are directing it after having a great experience in past LTYM shows in northwest Arkansas.
Listen To Your Mother: Little Rock
3:00 pm Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014
Arkansas Repertory Theatre (The Rep)
We are really excited about bringing Listen to Your Mother to central Arkansas. We want this to be a cast that represents our entire community: all ages, races, religions, ethnicities and genders are invited to submit.
Writers who want to submit a piece do not have to be mothers or even women. The only requirement is the piece has “motherhood” as its theme. It can be thoughtful, funny, irreverent or even sad.
The deadline for submission is February 22, 2014. Auditions will be March 15 at The Rep in Little Rock. The show will be Mother’s Day: Sunday, May 11, 2014 also at The Rep.
No time to waste! All the submission, audition, and performance details are here: Check out the info in the top post, then get your submission in!


Today, we celebrate the joy of giving back, the true essence of the season, well,  life for that matter, with #GivingTuesday.Giving

“While we don’t offer door-buster sales or rock-bottom prices like a Black Friday promotion, charities offer something deeper than even the deepest discount ever could,” said Stephanie Meincke, President and CEO of Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance. “Giving to a charity you care about is a powerful and emotionally fulfilling way to celebrate the holiday season.  We know that people in Arkansas are incredibly generous to causes they believe in. In fact, our state ranks 7th in charitable giving nationwide.  We hope to see that grow and #GivingTuesday is a great way to do that.”

Alright gals, we want to hear about your favorite organizations in the Natural State or beyond that are doing amazing things. Link up a post from your blog so we can know what is near and dear to your heart! 

ARWB to Celebrate #GivingTuesday on December 3

Do you have a favorite non-profit organization that is doing wonderful things in your community? We want to hear about it! 


We are coming upon the busiest shopping weekend of the year, so just as Black Friday promotes holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday encourages online sales, #GivingTuesday, on Tuesday, December 3,  will help spotlight charitable giving.  

We ask that ARWB members write a blog post on their blogs about their favorite organization/s and then we will have a Linky on the Arkansas Women Bloggers site  on #GivingTuesday where you can share the love with your Arkansas sistah’s. 

This is a nationwide event, but we are teaming up with the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance (ANA), which represents over 360 nonprofit organizations throughout the state, to get the word out. For more information about the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance or #GivingTuesday, visit

I can not wait to read your posts.
Let’s kick off the holiday season by giving back. 
The Park Wife

Enjoying Family Hiking in Arkansas

Enjoying Family Hiking in Arkansas

Written by Melissa Stover

A few years ago I purchased the book Arkansas Dayhikes For Kids & Families by Tim Ernst. I love hiking and was determined to drag my family along on hikes we could enjoy together.
Since our kids are spaced out in age: 16, 14, 9 and 4, I love that this book tells you how long the trail is and how difficult it will be. It includes hikes that are wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly. He covers hikes from all regions of Arkansas and whenever we are going on a vacation, I will try to squeeze in a hike along the way.


We have made it to many of the trails in the book, and even done some of them twice!

One of our favorite locations that recently managed to please everyone from the 16 year old to the 4 year old (a very big deal) is Petit Jean Mountain.


We have visited the park twice and both times have had a child younger than four so we haven’t yet done the Cedar Falls Trail which Ernst gives three hot dogs (his rating system) for difficulty. But we hope to try this one next time.


Here are the trails we have enjoyed:

Bear Cave Loop is a very short .3 mile walk, but it is so interesting. The kids love the huge boulders and there is plenty to explore.

Rock House Cave Trail is another short .3 mile trail but it is definitely full of fun things to see. You pass by some neat rocks called turtle rocks that my kids love to climb on. When you get to the rock house cave you will want to spend some time looking around. It’s such a neat place and if you look carefully you’ll find Indian drawings on the wall.
Cedar Creek Loop is one we didn’t hike (3 hot dogs) but we did drive to the pioneer cabin where you can look down in the Cedar Creek Canyon. We went in November and the view was just gorgeous.
I hope you’ll get a chance to visit Petit Jean Mountain with your family. It’s just one of Arkansas’ beautiful state parks.
melissastoverMelissa Stover is an Arkansas native, child and family photographer, homeschooling mother of four, Carmex addict, Coke drinker, Mad Men fan and nature lover. Read more on her blog

twitter: @melissastover

Arkansas Seasons {Grow Where You Are Planted}

Written by Kyran Pittman of Planting Dandelions, Arkansas Women Bloggers Miss August 2013

Outdoor temperatures have finally climbed into the triple digits, and our house has descended into the zombie zone – I’ve stopped counting the hours my kids have been staring at screens or nagging them about exercise and fresh air. We have become nocturnal creatures, hardly moving by day, venturing to the pool only at night.

I’m okay with it. What’s an Arkansas summer without moaning about the heat? Until this past week, it’s been extraordinarily temperate since the kids got out of school. I’m kind of exhausted from seizing each glorious day.

In my seventeen years of living in Arkansas, I’ve learned that summer in the South is something to be endured—much like the deep Canadian winters of my youth. You hunker indoors and wait it out. But even our typically extreme summer has its charms, perhaps precisely because it is an endurance test. That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. And sweatier. We come through it together.

Until I spent a summer in Arkansas, I never knew what a peach, or a watermelon, or a fig should be. I never heard the riot of cicadas at night. I didn’t appreciate the pleasure of being forced to slow down. I spent a month in eastern Canada last summer, and the ambient drive to do things and go places was a shock to my transplanted soul. I had forgotten that northern summers march to the beat of go, go, go.

But the very best thing about our summers is how much they make me appreciate the other three seasons of the year in Arkansas. In another couple of months, we will be well into fall. What used to be a melancholy—if beautiful—season in the north, is here a welcome return to outdoor living. Our fall foliage doesn’t have the vivid scarlet streak of New England’s autumn palette, but our burnished golds and fiery oranges are nearly as breathtaking. Without the shadow of hard winter close behind them, our colors seem content to glow warmly, rather than rage splendidly against a dying light.

When the last leaf has fallen, we have what passes for winter. Having grown up with northern winters, I can’t say I miss them much. I love the nip in the air that’s just frosty enough for a costume change. Out come the tights and sweaters, though it’s never safe to put all the warm weather clothes away. I argue all winter long with boys about going to school in shorts and no jacket, but they haven’t had frostbite yet. The rare time it does snow, I get to become a child again. Snow loses its charm when you have to shovel it and drive through it month after month as an adult, but here, everything stops. No one expects daily life to go on when snow is on the ground. We suspend everything and rush out to make our short-lived snowmen.

Then all of sudden, just before the low light of winter begins to feel old, the world is bursting with spring. Really, Arkansas spring could stand to tone it down a little. It’s way over the top, just short of talking animals and spontaneous musical numbers. Also, the pollen. I never thought I could be mad at vegetation, but come ON, oak trees. Get a room.

And tornado warnings, I could do without.

Sinuses and sirens aside, springtime in Arkansas is glorious. From the dogwoods of March to the magnolias of May, it’s a vision. Drinks on the porch, blossoms on the trees, mint in my glass, and something sizzling on the grill. Spring is one long garden party.

Until the heat turns up, and it becomes disco inferno again. Burn, baby, burn.

What’s your favorite season in Arkansas?

Camp Kaleidoscope {Summer Camp Memories}

Written by Tiffany S. of Life of a Lost Muse, ARWB Blogger of the Month April 2013.

Hello everyone!  I wanted to talk to you today about our local Junior Auxiliary and a little bit about one special project that we do. The entire community of Clark County, including Junior Auxiliary members and family, church members, community leaders, and civil servants came together in July for the 3rd Annual Camp Kaleidoscope.  The Junior Auxiliary (JA) of Arkadelphia is committed to encouraging one another and the children of Clark County.  Toward this goal, many JA members and their families participated in this fun week-long camp.

Camp Kaleidoscope is a joint partnership between JA of Arkadelphia, First Presbyterian Church of Arkadelphia, and the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.  The camp is designed to enrich the lives of children. After several weeks of planning and preparation, the camp turned out to be a huge success. Without the opportunity to come to camp, many of the children would have had nothing to do during the summer.  Around 70 children between the ages of 3 to 15 participated in the camp.  The children enjoyed swimming in the lake, fishing with bamboo poles, making crafts and spending time with friends, both new and old.  A delicious dinner was served every night.  The kids loved gathering around the tables and chatting while they ate.  One night we even roasted hot dogs and made s’mores!  That was a definite hit! The Clark County Sheriff’s Department gave the children the opportunity to ride in a Search and Rescue boat while taking the kids on a scenic tour of the lake.  They were able to use the siren and steer the boat; an experience few people have in their lifetime.  They were so excited they wanted to go again and again!

The children were able to take mementos with them that will remind them of the fantastic time they had at Camp Kaleidoscope.  JA members assisted with many fun crafts, including making beaded key chains, woven place mats, paper plate frisbees, pompom ant clips and “Camp Safety” coloring books.  The children were so proud of their work and were excited to take home a treasure to give to their parents.
Everyone involved had a fun and rewarding experience.  JA members and volunteers felt the experience was “fulfilling” and “worthwhile”.  The children enjoyed themselves everyday and often ask us “When do we get to go to Camp again?”  Several volunteers, participants, and parents have requested to be invited again next year.

Camp Kaleidoscope is an invaluable part of summer enrichment for the community of Clark County.  Children gain lifelong friends and make memories that will last a lifetime.  Volunteers experience the joy of serving their community and seeing their efforts pay off in the smiles of the children they serve.  The community can be proud of it’s members and the role they play in making the world a better place for our children.