Virginia Bloggers

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Thursday

15

May 2014

1

COMMENTS

SEO Tips for Bloggers

Written by , Posted in Blogging

We had a great turn out on Tuesday night for the Virginia Bloggers SEO Seminar with Key Web Concepts! Ashley was the perfect liaison between Key Web and Virginia Bloggers and the event turned out to be so much fun!

Key web concepts SEO SeminarSaison Market (a new market attached to Saison restaurant) graciously offered to host us. They provided us with some really delicious food. There was no room for boring food! The pimento cheese with kimchi was my personal favorite.

Gavin, one of the awesomely-smart guys from Key Web Concepts, did an amazing job breaking down the (somewhat confusing) topic of SEO for bloggers and I thought I’d share some of the takeaways! I am far from an SEO expert, so I’m not pretending to have all the answers, but I’m eager to learn more!

SEO Tips for Bloggers

  • Link to other relevant sources! If you know the basics of SEO, you probably know that when people link to your site, it helps your ranking. But did you know that linking to other relevant sites can also help? It’s almost like paying it forward ;)
  • Headers aren’t just for looks. Not going to lie, I thought the difference in header text was just for aesthetics, but it’s actually like a hierarchy of your content! It gives the little search engine “crawlers” a way to determine what’s important in your post.
  • It’s not all about keywords. That’s an “old” way of thinking. Metadata (as in, your URL, title, & description) are much more important. It’s good to know where to focus my efforts!
  • Don’t let text go to waste. Tag your photos, both in the description and alt text, with information related to your post. Your header, your link, and obviously your content all play a part in creating searchable content.
  • Consider the bounce rate. How long someone stays on your page can have an impact on your search ranking. Think about how to break up your content so it’s bite sized and people will stick around to read it. Think about when you’ve googled something and landed on a page that was just solid pages of text. It seems too difficult to find your answer, so you click back and try something else. Headers, bullets, and numbered lists can make it easier for people to stay and digest your content.

P.S. A couple of people e-mailed me saying they missed the announcement. Please make sure that you’re subscribed to the blog via e-mail, which you can do by adding your e-mail address to the box on the right hand side bar over there —>

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Also be sure you’re following us on Facebook Twitter so you’re always in the know!

Thanks to Key Web Concepts, Ashley, and Saison Market for making this event happen!

-Liz

Got any SEO tips to share?

Friday

11

October 2013

0

COMMENTS

An Apple Craft and An Apple Snack

Written by , Posted in Blogging, DIY, Foodie

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It’s Foodie Friday! Today’s post is from our very own contributor, Tinsley over @ CookingShorts.com. Her blog is “designed to bring short recipes and good food to your table.” What a great mission!

There’s still time to get out to your local orchards and enjoy Apple Picking Season. Let’s plan to do something fun with all those apples and make a craft and a snack.  These Sticky Caramel Apples and Apple Stamps are easy to make and they’re a big hit with the kids!

How have you enjoyed this Apple Season?

Sticky Caramel Apples:

Caramel Apples

Ingredients:

  • 9 assorted apples, room temperature
  • 9 popsicle sticks
  • 8 oz. package individually wrapped soft chewy caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 ounces white chocolate

Click here for directions ….

Apple Stamps:

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  • canvas bag
  • newspaper – to go inside bag
  • 2-3 apples, halved (or any fruit)
  • fabric paint
  • 2-3 triangular sponge brushes
  • 1 paint brush
  • envelope cardstock

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Click here for directions ….

Enjoy – <3 Always Tinsley

 

 

 

Monday

30

September 2013

3

COMMENTS

Apples, Apples, Apples via CookingShorts.com

Written by , Posted in Blogging, Foodie

Apple Empanadas

Today’s post is from our foodie contributor, Tinsley over @ CookingShorts.com. Her blog is “designed to bring short recipes and good food to your table.” What a great mission!

Fall is here and the leaves are starting to fall. Do you know what that means? It’s time to go APPLE PICKING! U-pick farms are awesome family activity to remind us where our food comes from. If you’ve never been before, be sure to check them out early fall. It’s a wonderful way to spend with family and /or friends.

Now what are you waiting for? Get outside, breathe the fresh air and enjoy apples!

Always – Tinsley

Pick-Your-Own Farms – Find an apple orchard near you

Apple Variety Directory – Learn about the many varieties of apples

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Awesome Apple Pie

Apple pie. Is there anything better in life?

 timthumbappleandgoat

Apple and Goat Cheese Crostinis

Get a little fancy and impress your guests with this fantastic recipe.

Apple Empanadas

Apple Empanadas

This recipe takes the flavors of autumn and bakes it into a decadent empanada. Oh, and maybe make a double, or even triple batch. These yummy treats will go fast!

Stuff and Bake Granny Smith Apples

Stuff and Bake Granny Smith Apples

We took all the flavors of a classic Thanksgiving dessert and stuffed them inside of a delicious tart, Granny Smith apple

Apple Chicken Sausage Salad

Apple Chicken Sausage

Here’s how we take fresh autumn apples and chicken sausage from into a rock star meal.

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Apple Cinnamon Chicken

“Winner Winner, Apple Chicken Dinner”

Friday

20

September 2013

2

COMMENTS

Virginia Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting via @ LAHtheBlog

Written by , Posted in Blogging, Foodie

Virginia Apple Cake

It’s Foodie Friday! Today’s post comes from Kate over @ Like American Honey! Kate is a Florida girl turned Virginian.  She’s a lover of all things monogrammed (who isn’t), and believer that good manners never go out of style.

I love fall in Virginia.  The leaves change, the air gets a bit crisper, and the skies seem to get bluer.  Virginia fall also means one huge  thing: fresh apples!  We have made it a tradition to go apple picking  every fall at Virginia orchards.  It is such a great feeling to pack up  the car, grab our dogs, and know that our apples couldn’t be any more  fresh.

I always return from the orchard with way too many apples for two people and have come up with many creative ways to use my apples.  Last year, I discovered this amazingly easy apple cake in a Southern Living apple  feature, and this year I am pairing it with a to-die-for browned butter  frosting.  If you haven’t made browned butter frosting before, it has a  nice nutty flavor that pairs very well with cakes that feature cinnamon  or fruit.  The recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, but I find any  apple that is a bit tart and firm will work.  I luckily snagged some  local Gala apples that I happily used.

Virginia Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Virginia Apple Cake

The Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼ inch thick wedges (about 4 large, or 5 medium apples)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is ready, place 1 cup of your pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven. Bake the pecans for 5-7 minutes, until they are fragrant. Set aside to let the pecans cool a bit.

In a large bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Last, stir in your apples and toasted pecans. The batter will be thick.

Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. Spread the batter evenly into the pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

The Browned Butter Frosting:

Brown Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 16 ounce package of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cook your butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 8-10 minutes until the butter turns golden brown. Be sure not to cook too far and burn. The butter will have a bit of a nutty aroma.

Quickly remove your cooked butter from the pan and let cool in a bowl. Cover the butter and chill it in your refrigerator for about 1 hour, until it starts to firm up.

Beat the butter in a standing mixer or with an electric mixer on a medium speed until fluffy. Combine the vanilla with the milk. Split your sugar into 3 equal parts and the milk mixture into 2 parts. Alternate adding the thirds of sugar with the two halves of milk, finishing with your sugar. Make sure to beat until well blended and scrape down the sides of your bowl (if using a standing mixer) between additions.

Once the cake is cooled and the frosting is finished, top your cake generously with your frosting and sprinkle with the remaining half-cup of toasted pecans.

Happy fall everyone!

Kate

Come connect with me!

Twitter: @LAHtheBlog

Pinterest: LAHtheBlog

Wednesday

11

September 2013

1

COMMENTS

Kitchen on Cary Restaurant Review- Via Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

Written by , Posted in Blogging, Foodie, VAis4Bloggers

IMG_0376-1024x568

Hey all! It’s Liz, the blog-obsessed girl behind Virginia Bloggers! I thought it would be fun to do a guest post of my own, on a new restaurant that opened in Richmond!

A few months ago, I was offered a chance to attend the soft opening of Kitchen on Cary. Full disclosure: I was offered this dinner free of charge, but was not obligated to post about it, and all opinions are my own. Since I love trying new places, I excitedly accepting the invite!

Walking in, the atmosphere was clean and inviting. After being seated, we were greeted by one of the chefs, who explained the concept behind the restaurant. Kitchen on Cary will be a sort of training ground for students at the culinary school, giving them the chance to test out their skills in the real word, and allowing patrons to enjoy their handiwork. Sounds like a win-win, right? The menu was slightly limited, since this was just a soft opening, but there were plenty of vegetarian options for me to choose from. I’ll apologize in advance for the pictures, since restaurant lighting isn’t very forgiving.

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We chose our courses, and settled in.

Course #1- Tempura Vegetables/Chipotle Marinated Grilled Shrimp

Course 1

Fresh vegetables, coated and fried. I don’t normally like my veggies fried, but these were pretty good. I especially liked the dipping sauce, which was spicy. Alex chose the shrimp dish, which looked good, but I didn’t try it. He liked his as well.

Course #2- Greens & Fresh Mozzarella/Beets & Feta

Course 2

Alex was brave and chose the beet salad, but I stuck with greens & fresh mozzarella which was served with a light dressing that hit the spot. It was salty (I love salty) but didn’t weigh me down like some salad dressings do.

Course #3- Mushroom Risotto/Grilled Rockfish

Course 3

Now I’m normally not the biggest mushroom fan, but this risotto was delicious. It was creamy and savory, and the mushrooms added a nice texture. I saved some of the mushrooms for Alex, but I did enjoy the strips of portabello on top. The flavor was excellent and it was nice to eat something that would be easy to prepare at home. Alex had the rockfish, served on a mango salsa, which he didn’t expect to go so well with the fish, but he said tasted great. I didn’t quite finish my risotto which was good, because we had cake on the way!

Dessert

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Alex and I split a slice of carrot cake (vegetables… right?) which was so crumbly it was a bit difficult to eat, but the taste was great and I loved the frosting. I don’t normally love frosting, so that surprised me! We couldn’t quite finish it, but it was excellent. Kitchen on Cary is officially open, and I’d highly recommend you check this place out if you’re in Richmond.   For more Richmond Restaurant Reviews, check out my RVA Restaurants Page here.

-Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

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