Category: Featured

Please Leave Holiday Guests Alone About What They (Don’t) Eat

by Rhonda Franz

This holiday season I will eat a small portion of potatoes, a select few pieces of bread, and no green bean casserole whatsoever. I will turn down the second piece of pie and limit my consumption of sugar cookies. And I will say “no, thank you” every time someone offers me hot chocolate made from a mix of fake sweetener and 14 other ingredients.

And comments directed at me about “moderation” and “depravation,” and how “You’re so good” aren’t needed. And aren’t accurate.

I’m willing to bet I’m not alone.


Dear December

by Jessica Bauer

Maybe it’s just me and my anxiety, but the homestretch of anything is a bit intimidating. 

Did I do everything I was supposed to do? Did I grow enough? Change enough? Learn enough? Did I leave a big enough mark to let it lie and move forward? Basically, is this project ready to turn in? 

This year is just a handful of weeks from being due to the teacher and at this point {as always} I’m wondering what happened to the rest of it. While it’s not over yet, I already find myself going back to check my work. Although the shocking realization of unpreparedness is part of all my Decembers, I am glad the year ends with such hope. Advent is a beautiful time {you know, after the Christmas decorating’s done} and I love that we spend time remembering we’re waiting for more than a simple calendar flip. It’s a huge reminder/reality check for my stress levels. 

While today is the beginning of the end, I’d rather not fret over making most of what’s left. So I shall turn this post into a wish list. ‘Tis the season, after all. Following are a few things I have written to the month of December to help make this a both holly and jolly season: 


It’s Time for Christmas! {Foodie Friday}

We have some super holiday ideas for your this week.

Lacie Ring: Cheesecake Christmas Trees

Check out this cuteness Lacie did for our #client @TysonFoods #ad.

It is the most wonderful time of the year and I love it! I’m having so much fun creating new holiday recipes. One of my favorites are these super easy 3 Ingredient Cheesecake Christmas Trees that will make you cheer! There is nothing better to get you in the holiday mood than an easy recipe. Especially one that is so much fun and colorful to make. Cheesecake Christmas Trees are the perfect 3 ingredient Christmas treat to get the kiddos involved too. READ MORE


Gina Knuppenburg: Peppermint Biscotti

Nothing screams December like…Peppermint & Chocolate. And nothing speaks louder to me than chocolate, friends!   It’s that time of year once again-it’s time for searching for irresistible peppermint recipes, it’s time for jolly old St. Nick…and most importantly {okay, maybe not as important as the birth of Christ!}….it’s BIRTHDAY MONTH!!  Yes…a whole month of celebrating my upcoming 19th birthday ?  {don’t ask how many 19th birthdays I’ve actually celebrated} READ MORE

Gina Knuppenburg: Hot Cocoa Bar

Want a surefire way to bring surprise and a genuine, toothy smile to someone {or a group of someones}?  Find a fabulous hot cocoa recipe {you’re in luck…I have the perfect one for you!}, set out a fun array of add-ins, toppings, and tasty stirrers, and sit back and enjoy the surprise and delight of your giftees.  Who doesn’t get all warm and fuzzy thinking about hot cocoa?  I think this would be a fun surprise to set up for kids after school, family get-togethers, or even as a gift {package it all up in a pretty package and add the hot cocoa mix with directions. I did this set-up in the lounge at work today .  I was truly amazed at my co-workers delight and giddiness-kids in a candy store, I tell ya. READ MORE


BRENDA EMBRY: Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

First of all, I’m not a huge fan of marshmallows. When I use them for cooking, I don’t feel they are all that flavorful or actually add anything other than some sweetness and texture to a recipe. Speaking of texture, I can hardly stand reaching into a bag and touching those chalky little pellets. I always hope and pray they haven’t congealed together so I can just pour them into a measuring cup without incident. And, even though I know they are an integrative part of the classic s’mores equation, I would rather forego the whole marshmallow thing and just eat the candy bar. READ MORE


DEBBIE ARNOLD: Sara Lee® Cheesecake with Caramel Apple Cider Glaze

#ad Are you feeling all stressed out about the holiday season? If we are honest, most of us have been or are there! We try to be all things to everyone:  shopper of bargains that look like a $1,000,000, gift wrapper extraordinaire, party planner/caterer, gourmet cook and baker—you get the picture, right? Let Sara Lee® Cheesecake from our #client @TysonFoods help you out! #TysonMadeWithLove. READ MORE

Hope in the Waiting

by Nancy Kay Grace

As a child, I remember my eagerness of waiting for Christmas. My parents put up the live tree late in the month. Glass ornaments and thin strands of crinkly tinsel hung on the branches; the pine scent filled the air. Mom covered the front door with shiny gold wrapping paper and attached a bow, making it look like a huge present. Nothing fancy, but Christmas was coming. The few presents under the tree tempted me to shake and rattle them when no one was looking.

I waited for Christmas, marking off each day on the calendar. It seemed like forever.

Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting with hope.

Why is waiting hard? READ MORE…

How To Cut Down on Holiday Hosting Overwhelm

by Rhonda of Captain Mom

Overwhelm and stress are often uninvited guests in my home. But there are people coming soon to my house, and on more than one occasion this year. I’d like to make sure these two don’t get an invitation.

How to Cut Down on Overwhelm When Hosting

did this at Thanksgiving to help with hosting duties. I also incorporated some of these principles.

This year, I’m hosting Christmas. Not alone, mind you. The Pilot will be here, mostly. And our guests, family and otherwise, always lend a hand. But as someone who struggles with anxiety and lives in a far-less-than-perfect home, I’ve learned to take deliberate steps. Above all, I gotta pray and find peace and contentment before the Lord about all that gives me worry and stress. After that, and because of that, I do the other things. READ MORE…

RICCI ALEXIS: Fruit Dip, Party Punch and Pinwheels {Foodie Friday}

Tis the season of endless holiday parties, family get togethers and celebrations! I don’t know about you but it seems like every time I get invited to a party I get asked to bring a dish (snack food, finger food, drink, etc). Not a big deal. but when you don’t have a lot of spare time anything you can make beforehand that will still look and taste good is a win in my book! That’s where one of the most popular posts on my blog comes in handy…Fruit Dip, Party Punch and Pinwheels!
Have to confess that these aren’t original recipes, I got the fruit dip recipe from my stepmom, Charlotte, and the punch recipe from my Grandma. That is actually her Christmas Punch recipe but I think it’s good on any occasion. I have taken both to numerous baby showers, work potlucks and holiday parties and I kept getting asked for the recipes so I finally decided to bog about them and like I said, this is one of my most popular blog posts to date! They really are that good y’all!
I also have the recipe to my ham and ranch pinwheels on there. These are just super basic pinwheels made with cream cheese, ranch dressing powder and ham but they taste amazing and are always a HUGE hit at parties. 
For the full recipes head over to my blog and check them out…HERE.
Ricci Ellis is an Arkansas native who has some serious love for the natural state. She loves big hair, monograms, blogging, caramel frappes from McDonalds and being the “cool” Aunt among other things. She has one spoiled rotten puppy girl, Sophie
. You can catch up with her on her Arkansas lifestyle and beauty blog, Ricci Alexis, or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest!

3 Reasons It’s Good You Don’t Like Yourself and What To Do

by Katharine Trauger

You don’t like yourself? Good.

Got your resolutions ready? Got your “one word”? Made a list of all the things you don’t like about yourself? Got new resolve about all the bad habits you need to stop doing?

And you finally feel serious about reality; you’re going to quit being so embarrassed?

Because you’ve grown sick and tired of being this way and it’s hard smiling when you don’t like yourself.

And that’s good, because…? READ MORE…

Tasty Tuesday


Rhonda Franz: Cheesy Tomato Enchiladas

I’ve been making these enchiladas for years, but I wrote the recipe for Taste Arkansas last year just ahead of the summer months. When I found new oregano in the garden this morning, I knew I’d be making these again.

Are you tired of pumpkin foods? Me either.

But the meat and mashed potatoes are starting to wear on me and mine. Maybe you’re totally eating turkey 101 ways until it’s all gone.

There will be more of those kinds of foods come Christmas, I bet. In the meantime, here’s a change of pace from turkey and stuffing and potato leftovers. A gap recipe, so to speak, for the space in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and all those side-dish, party items you might be making during that time. READ MORE


Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co's Soy Hummus via


Debbie Arnold: Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co’s Soy Hummus

Y’all, I’ve so looked forward to sharing this recipe for Soy Hummus since I first tasted it at the kickoff dinner for Arkansas Soybean Month which was held at Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co. in Little Rock. Actually, what I’ve mostly looked forward to is getting to learn from Chef Lisa Zhang just how she makes this dish, an instant favorite among attendees that evening.

Did I mention I may have tried to lick the bowl? READ MORE



Heather Wilson: Christmas Tree Baked Pears

Christmas time is almost here and families are gathering ’round to trim the tree, decorate the house and do one of my favorite things about the holidays – cook all those wonderful holiday treats!

If you’ve perused my Facebook or Instagram, you know I love baked pear recipes. Luckily, there are several varieties of pears available throughout fall and winter. They’re delicious and give you something a bit different than most traditional Christmas sweets. Of course, they’re super easy to make so have the kiddos help on this one! Today K and I sharing our favorite baked pear recipe with you. We hope you’ll love it as much as we do. READ MORE





LAURIE MARSHALL: Vegan Dressing {Foodie Friday}

We didn’t go to over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving this year, but we went to my brother, Brian’s, in Philadelphia. Aside from the huge stone fireplace he doesn’t have, and the walks in the dry creek beds we couldn’t take, it was just as soul-filling, since it’s time spent with my siblings that always made my holidays enjoyable. Oh, and the food. So. Much. Food. 


Since we drove, I was able to pack some things from my pantry and help cook – one of my favorite things about the holidays. I took along a pie plate for the chocolate and pecan pie, and some of the ingredients for the cornbread dressing. Brian is usually in charge of the dressing at his family’s holiday fetes, but there were going to be a lot of vegans at this gathering, so we decided to take on two different recipes. He made one with chorizo for the carnivores, and I whipped up a vegan version of my cornbread dressing, but left out the sausage. READ MORE


Laurie is a fifty-something writer, maker, and Militant Optimist. On her blogs – and – she shares her experiences as a “late bloomer”, creative projects, the craziness of peri-menopause, and creating a “repurposed life”. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram, and look for a podcast in early 2018.

Early Birds

by Jessica Bauer

Today I’m going to give a crash course in the apologetics of premature Christmas decorating. 

After all, the Early Bird puts up the tree, right? Since Halloween wrapped and many went straight for the red and green, I have read some strong Facebook opinions. There are those who decked the halls on November 1, not thinking twice about what other people thought. Good on you, Christmas lovers. I’ve also seen many striving to maintain the sanctity of Thanksgiving. Stockings and garlands are for the day after the bird, and not a minute sooner. I can see this point, too. 

I am typically a Grinch when it comes to most things, but last year I joined the early bandwagon. If you happen to stop by and peek in our windows, you’ll see I’m still on it. The bunch spent Monday afternoon decking the halls and jamming to Christmas pop from the ’80s, ’90s, and today. Does that make you angry?