The Shady Porch: 03.12

3.30.2012

Blog Tips - What I've learned in 280 days of blogging!

I've seen many posts about blogging tips and they have been very helpful. I am still a newbie in my mind, but I am happy to say I have learned a great many things in the 10 months I've been blogging. I am going to share some things I've learned, and it could turn out I'm not doing it the best or easiest way. If this is so, I am all ears and eager to learn! Anything that could save me time is GREATLY appreciated! I am hopeful that the things I am about to share will help, encourage, or inspire someone else.  [This is the 1st in what I think will be a periodic series.]
Pretty plate of food but poor lighting (see glare from above)
PHOTO TIPS FOR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
The best tip I ever got was to use white dishes. Of course, if the food is white or light in color, use a colored dish. This doesn't mean the bowl or plate can't have a colorful design on the rim, but the center of the dish - where the food resides - should be white.

I'm still learning this part, but professional photographers use props. Props like dishes, utensils, flowers, and table linens are in the picture to give the illusion of actual dining. Less is more...use one or maybe two props because the star of the show is still the food. I've tried to incorporate a fork or spoon in my shots, and I've even tried to get a glass of milk or cup of coffee in the shot but, like I said, I'm still learning.

Here I have a fork for my prop. Notice the white plate
does not compete with the colors in my food. 
Unfortunately, again I have poor lighting (glare).
.
As with any photography, let the sun light the scene. "Never use a flash" is what I've read numerous times, and I can understand why when I look at my natural light photos versus my flash photos. Unfortunately, I'm not always ready when the sun is shining, so I am trying to learn to schedule photo shoots with my food. haha! I'll let you know how that goes. ; )
 I will tell you ... I've learned the best place for me to shoot anything is on my kitchen counter (next to a window) in the daylight hours. If the sun is too bright at that time I have blinds on that window that allows me to manipulate the amount of light coming in. I recommend you EXPERIMENT to find the best spot in your house to get the most natural light.

RENAME YOUR PHOTO
Name your pictures to specifically identify what is in the photo. In other words, don't let your camera name your photo 04016.jpg. Rename it to address the actual subject of the photo in terms that someone might use when doing a web search. For instance, if you have a photo on your blog with the file name 04016.jpg, it will not come up in a web search (unless someone used that number, perhaps?), but if your photo is of a pot roast and your photo file name is pot roast.jpg, the likelihood you will show up on someone's web search for pot roast is greater. This will increase your blog traffic.

WATERMARK/TEXT LABEL YOUR PHOTOS
Now that we are in the midst of the Pinterest craze, it is advisable that you add your blog name or logo to your photos. If your photos are pinned without the actual blog post link, including the blog name on the photo will enable a viewer to find your blog and the original post. Most photo editing software (many come on a CD with your camera) has the watermark or text capability. There are also online photo editing resources you can use!

 Happy Blogging My Friends! 


3.27.2012

Rock 'N Share #22

In case you missed a recent post...Click on the photo to view! (opens in a new window)
REMEMBER to see last week's featured projects go to the Porch Parade post on Sundays! (see below) 
Feature buttons are on the button page
Velveeta Mostaccioli
Velveeta Cheese.

Shady Porch Menu
Porch Parade: Favs, Menu, Tips & Pins.

Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin
Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin.

No Bake Cookie
Easy No-Bake Cookies.

Welcome to the Party!
Glad you decided to join the fun again today! You are appreciated!

Let's Rock & Share!
Follow The Shady Porch! 
 I would love to have you follow The Shady Porch! 
Join in via FacebookLinky FollowersGoogle+ or Twitter too!
 I always FOLLOW BACK; just leave me a note so I'll know!

Here are the rules for the party:

The only requirement is a link back! (No link back = No features)--- a text link at the bottom of your post, a Rock 'N Share button (see new button page) or you may Copy & Paste the text link below onto your blog post.     The Shady Porch
I also ask ...
*Everything be family friendly!
*Link up your own projects...something that you've created.    Please only post projects    new to the Rock 'N Share    Please no repeats from previous parties!
* Link to a specific post  - NOT your Home page! No Etsy shops or other businesses, please.
* Mingle! Introduce yourself (comment) on other party projects! Be kind! Make new friends!

I reserve the right to remove links that are in violation of these requests!

   ***PARTY BENEFITS***
  1.  I will be sharing my favorite posts on my Facebook page throughout the week!
  2. The party posts with the "most views" will be added to the Rock 'N Share Pinterest Gallery!
  3. Be sure to check the Porch Parade: Favs, Pins, Menus' & Tips  each Sunday to see if you've been featured.
Notice  of Change
 Posts are no longer numbered. They are now in Random order so everyone has the chance to be at the top! 


Easy No-Bake Cookie

Easy No Bake Cookies by The Shady Porch
Spoon onto wax or parchment paper and allow to cool
The first time I tasted this cookie was at lunch in my high school cafeteria. Later, we made them in Home Economics class, and I've been making them ever since. This recipe I still use today is written in a cookbook I've had since high school.
As the name suggests, these cookies are incredibly easy to make and can be finished in minutes. There is a good deal of sugar and butter involved, but, to help balance the good and evil scale, there are significant amounts of oats and peanut butter, too!
It is satisfying if you want a cookie, but also if you're craving candy. (It really could go either way! ;D)
Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and oats
No-Bake Cookie Ingredients

 2 cups sugar (Splenda Blend works well too!)
1/4 cup cocoa or 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick butter (1/4 c.)
2 cups oats (preferably quick 1 minute oats)
1/2 cup peanut butter (preferably the smooth)
Directions: Mix sugar, milk, butter and cocoa (or chocolate chips) in large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring often.

Allow a full rolling boil for 90 seconds without stirring. Watch closely to prevent boil over.
[If you boil too long, the cookies are crumbly; if they don't boil long enough, you might have to eat them with a spoon].

Remove pan from heat and add peanut butter and oats. Stir until the peanut butter and oats are well incorporated.

Drop cookie mix by heaping tablespoon onto wax or parchment paper, and allow to cool.
Easy No Bake Cookies by The Shady Porch
Serve with a cold glass of milk!
Other sweet recipes you might like.....
 

3.25.2012

Porch Parade: Tips, Menu, Pins & Faves #7

Operation Organization
Gave the magazine holders a Mod Podge decoupage makeover and
sorted into 3 major categories - Home, School & Projects (Blog)

 I don't know that I'm going to really be giving you any BIG tip here today. (Maybe it's just an exercise in accountability for me to stay on task. Perhaps this project is something that will inspire you to stay on task with your goals for 2012!) I think the first lesson I've learned so far in my quest is to break each big goal down to little pieces and tackle each one specifically! Each smaller task takes very little time, but the rewards are really great! I feel a great sense of accomplishment for doing what I said I would do and I gain the benefit of a more organized and appealing space!
A little school, a little household, and  a little  blog stuff all mixed together makes a mess!

This shelf is in my now familiar workspace and it houses a diverse collection of items. As I've mentioned before, my hubby is a teacher and coach and I have a number of papers, workbooks, and folders I use to help him with his duties. I am his teacher's aid and track statistician.  In addition to school-related items, I have our household budget and Shady Porch blogging stuff in this space, too!
So I decided to make this my de-clutter task of the week! 

Matching Clipboard for daily duty list.
To clean up this area, I sorted it into the three major categories - School; Home; Projects. To help manage these three areas, I gave cardboard magazine holders a Mod Podge makeover. I clearly labeled the file shelves so I could easily glance to see where future papers should go (this should be a BIG help)! Once I'd revamped the tired magazine holders, I decided to give my clipboard a matching makeover too! I love spontaneous add-ons that end up looking so cool! The paper colors I used in my decoupage-decoration should tie in nicely when I do my BIG workspace makeover, too! 
Dinner Menu for Week of 3-26

Mmmmm...Great! Macaroni & Cheese
 
Fish and Cheesy Macaroni & Cheese

Chicken Alfredo with Cucumber Salad
Loaded Baked Potatoes & Steamed veggies
Chicken Sausage Sandwiches with Baked Beans
Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Salad
Breakfast for Dinner  -M56

Favorite Pinterest Pins This Week
Today I just want to honor the fact that is it the Lord's Day and a day of rest! So instead of more pins about tips and ideas and normal Monday through Friday stuff, I want to share some pins that make me think of the old song 'How Great Thou Art!' He is an awesome God and His creation testifies to that fact. 

[Photo Left]     Source: National Geographic by nicole karalekas  via Pinterest
[Photo Center] Source: Attack of the Cute by TheShadyPorch via Pinterest
[Photo Right]   Source: Fear of Shock by Rose Eberson  via Pinterest
 
 "GREAT ARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD; THEY ARE PONDERED BY ALL WHO DELIGHT IN THEM." Psalm 111:2


Rock 'N Share Feature Gallery
Well, thanks to you Rock 'N Share partiers, it's been another great week of inspiration, ideas, and talent! I'm thankful that you party here each week, contributing your projects to the gathering! You are appreciated!
Congratulations! 
 Check out all of the Rock 'N Share Gallery Inductees here (Don't forget your feature button! (see button page).

[Photo Left]         Source: My Easter Mantel by Laughter & Grace
[Photo Center]    Source: Spring on the Porch by In The Old Road
[Photo Right]      Source: Dish Rug from Leftovers by Quilting by the River











I shared this post at these great parties! Join me! Stuff & NonsenseAlderberry Hill, Flour Me With Love,I Should Be Mopping Lines Across My Face, Get Outta My Head, PleaseSo Very Creative,

3.24.2012

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

Today, Ann Kelly and Amber from Recipes We Love are here on The Shady Porch for my first guest post!  I met these moms as a result of the Crazy Cooking Challenge last year when I was inspired by their wonderful recipe for Bacon & Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, which I made and won the Challenge! Thanks again, Ann Kelly and Amber, for your great recipe. I asked them to stop by and share another of their recipes today! 


Hi! We're Ann Kelly and Amber from Recipes We Love. We are thrilled to be doing a guest post on The Shady Porch
Ann Kelly and I are both Christian, stay-at-home moms and wives who love caring for and cooking for our families. About 15 months ago, I created a recipe group on Facebook for a few friends and, within two months, we had hundreds of members and recipes. At that time, we decided to turn the group in to a blog so that it would be easier to search for recipes. 
We both have younger children with food allergies, so you will find a wide variety of recipes from gluten free, to dairy, egg and nut free recipes and, of course, regular recipes. We both have a passion for feeding our family healthy food, though Ann Kelly does a far better job of that than I do. 

We wanted to share the recipe from our blog that has gotten the most page views of any recipe; it is a Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin that Ann Kelly threw together in her kitchen one day and is oh so delicious!
Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin from Recipes We Love #pork #tenderloin #slowcooker #crockpot
Delicious Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin



3.23.2012

Velveeta Mostaccioli...a longtime family favorite

Velveeta Mostaccioli  #Mostaccioli #pasta #recipe
One of my family's Top Five Favorites!
Today's recipe is a cheesy pasta dish called Velveeta Mostaccioli. I've been making this dish for a very long time and I'm excited to share it with you. It is oh, so good!  

When I was growing up my dad worked for Kraft Foods, which was good since we were a cheese lovin' family!  This recipe came from the Velveeta box back in the day. Before I share this, I do know there are some that don't like velveeta and there are homemade velveeta recipes, which I will probably try at some point, but for now I'm giving you the recipe I grew up eating and loving!

3.20.2012

Rock 'N Share #21

In case you missed a recent post...Click on the photo to view! (opens in a new window)
REMEMBER to see last week's featured projects go to the Porch Parade post on Sundays! (see below) 
Feature buttons are on the button page.
Slow Cooked Pot Roast<br>Sandwich w/Roasted Garlic Mayo
Slow Cooked Pot Roast Sandwich
w/Roasted Garlic Mayo!

Shady Porch Features
Porch Parade:
Features, Menu, Tips & Pins #6.

Happy Spring Shady Porch Pals!

You are appreciated, and admired! I appreciate you coming by to share your latest projects and I admire your gifts and talents! I'm always excited to see what you've been up to lately!! Thanks for being here!

Let's Rock & Share!
Follow The Shady Porch! 
 I would love to have you follow The Shady Porch! 
Join in via FacebookLinky FollowersGoogle+ or Twitter too!
 I always FOLLOW BACK; just leave me a note so I'll know!

Here are the rules for the party:
The only requirement is a link back! (No link back = No features)--- a text link at the bottom of your post, a Rock 'N Share button (see new button page) or you may Copy & Paste the text link below onto your blog post.    
The Shady Porch

I also ask ...
*Everything be family friendly!
*Link up your own projects...something that you've created.
   Please only post projects    new to the Rock 'N Share
   Please no repeats from previous parties!
* Link to a specific post  - NOT your Home page! No Etsy shops or other businesses, please.
* Mingle! Introduce yourself (comment) on other party projects!
Be kind! Make new friends!
I reserve the right to remove links that are in violation of these requests!
  
***PARTY BENEFITS***
  1.  I will be sharing my favorite posts on my Facebook page throughout the week!
  2. The party posts with the "most views" will be added to the Rock 'N Share Pinterest Gallery!
  3. Be sure to check the Porch Parade: Favs, Pins, Menus' & Tips  each Sunday to see if you've been featured
Please read this excellent post from Savvy Southern Style regarding Party Etiquette
It will help us all be better party guests.

Notice  of Change
 Posts are no longer numbered. They are now in Random order so everyone has the chance to be at the top! 
  • Please don't be a NoReply blogger...I'd like to thank you for being here!
  • Not getting many comments on your blog? It's probably because you have 'Word Verification' (spam filter) turned on! Believe me, you really don't need it!
    (Just Google 'Disable Word Verification' to find instructions on how to remove it)



Pot Roast Sandwich w/ Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

We've really been enjoying panini sandwiches (a grilled sandwich usually on Italian bread) at our house lately!
We like sandwiches since you're only limited by your imagination when dreaming up what you want to put on it!

Pot Roast Sandwich by The Shady Porch
Pot Roast Panini with Roasted Garlic Mayo & Tater tots
Our latest panini is a Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwich...its buttery sour dough bread and flavorful pop of garlic mayonnaise (aka aioli) compliment tender slices of pot roast, sauteed onions and provolone cheese...it is an easy, delicious and filling sandwich worthy of a dinner menu.

Here's how we prepared ours...place a 2+ lb pot roast and 3 T. water in crock pot (salt and pepper, as desired) and cook on high for 5 hours. We still temperature probe ours to insure it reaches the 170 degree-well done mark too. You can cook the onions with the roast, if you choose, but we sauteed ours in a skillet.     

To roast the garlic - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off a garlic head and take the loose skins off. Place garlic on aluminum foil and drizzle about 2T. oil over the garlic. Seal the foil and place in oven for about 30-40 minutes.

Once the garlic has finished roasting, allow it to cool so you can handle it with your hands. In the meantime, place about a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a bowl, set aside.  Take your roasted garlic and squeeze the garlic out of the clove skins onto a saucer. Remove any skins that are expelled and mash the garlic to make it into a paste, then add to the mayonnaise and mix well.  

Pot Roast Panini by The Shady Porch
Delicious Pot Roast Sandwich with garlic-roasted mayo
Once the roast has been allowed to rest at room temp for 10-15 minutes, slice thinly.  Next, slice the sour dough loaf into sandwich-sized slices. 

Now it's time to assemble your sandwiches. 
  • Spread the garlic mayo on each slice of sour dough bread.
  • Place a slice of provolone cheese (American is good too) on each sandwich and then add the pot roast slices.
  • Butter the sour dough on each side of the sandwich and place in a hot skillet.
  • At this point, we like to  press the sandwich by placing a foil-wrapped cast iron skillet on top...this will flatten the sandwich allowing the cheese to melt. 
  • Once it's lightly toasted, flip and repeat on the other side. 
I like to cut my sandwiches in half, and serve with a dill pickle spear and steak fries or tater tots.       

other recipes you might like...

3.18.2012

Porch Parade: Tips, Menu, Pins & Faves #6

Operation Organization
Key-Mail Station
The steady influx of mail, magazines and catalogs can pile up in little time, creating an unsightly mess. Not only is it a jumble, it is a bookkeeping nightmare waiting to happen. We have never had a designated home for incoming mail. Most of the time, it ended up on my desktop, but it has also turned up in the bedroom, in the kitchen, and in the garage. A recently-found Pinterest pin showed us a wall mounted shelf with magazine holders attached, creating a landing zone for daily incoming and outgoing mail. We decided that our shelf would be a perfect place for keys to land, too! We placed the Key-Mail Station right next to my work area, and along the traffic path between the garage and the rest of the house. Now, my desktop just became less cluttered, car and work keys just became easier to find, and our home is one step more organized! Winner! 

The mail was too-often just stuffed between my
keyboard and monitor...not the best of plans.

Source - Realliving by Krista via Pinterest
[if you'd like to REPIN - CLICK here







 



 
Dinner Menu for Week of 3-19

A Crock Pot Turkey Feast

  • Southwest Chicken Salad
  • Crock Pot Turkey Breast w/Garlic-Bacon Green Beans
  • Velveeta Mostaccioli with Salad
  • General Tso Chicken Stir-fry
  • Roast Beef Sandwich with Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
  • Fish Sandwiches with Slaw and Steak Fries
  • Crock Pot Ribs and Baked Potatoes

Favorite Pinterest Pins This Week

One of my favorite pins this week is a collection of projects you can do using tin cans! There are 50 projects in the collection and most of them look fantastic and are very doable! I LOVE little or no $$ projects and this is a great find of 'wow' projects for next to nothing! [Photo-Right]
Source: Label Cords at Both Ends
- Apartment Therapy by
Hani @ Craftionary via Pinterest
[if you'd like to REPIN
CLICK here

[Photo -Left]
 My next pin of the week appealed to me because it again is a no $ investment and solves an infrequent but pesky problem of cord identification! Since I'm preparing to makeover my office area, I plan to incorporate this idea in the new scheme. It will be most helpful since my cords are at tabletop and then drop through a hole in the desktop to a power strip below, therefore, the cord identifier at each end would really benefit me! I like the idea of identifying the cord at each end...and why not the bread ties are free!

Rock 'N Share Feature Gallery
Last week we had the biggest party so far! How fun! I enjoyed seeing and reading about all you've been up to! Each week, I end up with a list of recipes, and projects that I want to try or that have inspired me...so, Thanks!  Below you will find the following Rock 'N Share party projects that had the most page views and are now featured in the Rock 'N Share Pinterest Gallery! If you haven't already, check 'em out...they'll make you feel welcome!


I'm sharing at these great parties...join me!Serenity YouI Gotta Create, DIY Dreamer, Be Different, Act Normal, Mum of all Trades, Gingerbread, Alderberry HillDIY Home Sweet HomeMy Favorite Finds,   The Creative GirlLines Across My Face,    Skip To My LouSinging Three Little BirdsTip Junkie,New NostalgiaHome Savvy A to Z, Raising 4 PrincessesJillify It,  Creatively LivingThe DIY DreamerOur Delightful Home, White Lights on WednesdaySavvy Southern Style,

3.17.2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours! ~Anonymous




3.16.2012

Lemonade Bundt Cake


Here's the Lemonade Bundt Cake recipe I promised. I am thinking of using it as one of my summer cookout desserts with strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream tucked in the center to enhance the yummy factor and give a summery red, white and blue theme to the table.
I lightly glazed this cake with a powdered sugar, lemonade and milk blend (sugar restrictions in our home) but I do give you a recipe for a delicious Buttery Lemon Glaze below!  I love this  cake...it's moist with a subtle lemon flavor.


Lemonade Bundt Cake w/Lemon Butter Glaze dessert lemon glaze
Lemonade Bundt Cake...sunshine on a plate


3.13.2012

Rock 'N Share #20

In case you missed a recent post...Click on the photo to view! (opens in a new window)
Chicken Gyros
Chicken Gyros...a flavorful sandwich!.
Shady Porch Features
Porch Parade: Features, Menu, Tips & Pins #5.

Guest Bedroom: Makeover Update #1
Hey Everybody! Are you ready to party?! I am!!

Big thanks to all that partied here last week...it was another great array of talent and ideas!  I'm so excited to see what you have cooked up, glued, sewn, painted, sawed and discovered since we last met! 

The Rock 'N Share Pinterest Gallery inductees were announced on the Sunday Porch Parade: Favs, Pins, Menus' & Tips #5!  Congrats to the new inductees and don't forget your R 'N S Gallery button on my new button page!

Let's Rock & Share!

Follow The Shady Porch! 
 I would love to have you follow The Shady Porch! 
Join in via FacebookLinky FollowersGoogle+ or Twitter too!
 I always FOLLOW BACK; just leave me a note so I'll know!

Here are the rules for the party:

The only requirement is a link back! (No link back = No features)--- a text link at the bottom of your post, a Rock 'N Share button (see new button page) or you may Copy & Paste the text link below onto your blog post.    
The Shady Porch

I also ask ...
*Everything be family friendly!
*Link up your own projects...something that you've created.
   Please only post projects    new to the Rock 'N Share
   Please no repeats from previous parties!
* Link to a specific post  - NOT your Home page! No Etsy shops or other businesses, please.
* Mingle! Introduce yourself (comment) on other party projects!
Be kind! Make new friends!
I reserve the right to remove links that are in violation of these requests!
  
***PARTY BENEFITS***
  1.  I will be sharing my favorite posts on my Facebook page throughout the week!
  2. The party posts with the "most views" will be added to the Rock 'N Share Pinterest Gallery!
  3. Be sure to check the Porch Parade: Favs, Pins, Menus' & Tips  each Sunday to see if you've been featured
Please read this excellent post from Savvy Southern Style regarding Party Etiquette! It will help us all be better party guests (yes, I linky party too!).