Honest Reviews: Home Chef

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

According to Dr. Seuss, "Unslumping yourself is not easily done!"  There is no place where this is truer than the kitchen.  Whether you are constantly chauffeuring your children all over town or you are just tired of the same old same old, mealtime can become downright tedious.

Recently, I learned about a new online meal delivery service that is making the rounds. (through my Facebook feed, anyway)  I decided to give it a whirl and ordered a few meals for my family.  There are several of the services out there.  I tried Home Chef.  Each week, on their website, they have a menu. You select how many servings you would like and which meals catch your fancy, and they do the rest. They ship you everything you need in a neat little box right to your doorstep.

So, this is what the contents of your box will look like:

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Home Chef Meal Delivery Service Review

Each meal is packaged separately, as well as any meat.  They also send a binder and recipe cards for each meal.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Home Chef Meal Delivery Service Review

They only send just what you need to make the meals, so there is no waste.  You won't have herbs dying a slow death in your fridge while you think of new ways to insert them into some other meal, and you will be able to use some oddball ingredients that you may not be able to find at your local grocer. 

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Home Chef Meal Delivery Service Review

This meal service may not be your go to for every meal because it can be expensive.  However, if your family is small, it's a good option to have.  It would be a great present to your college kid, and it's also awesome for vacation.  I happened to remember it for our recent annual Girls' Weekend Trip to St. Simons Island, GA.

We usually rent a house with a kitchen.  By thinking ahead, and using HomeChef, I was able to just order what we wanted (including Vegetarian options) and bring the box with me, so we didn't have to hunt down a grocery store while we were there.

We just poured some wine and broke out the meals. 

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Home Chef Meal Delivery Service Review

It was practically painless!

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Home Chef Meal Delivery Service Review

....and did I mention healthy?

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Home Chef Meal Delivery Service Review

Just look at the finished products:
Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Home Chef Meal Delivery Service Review
Be sure to check Home Chef out.  Let the unslumping begin!


This post contains affiliate links.

St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

It's that time again! As temperatures rise, you can always count on The Harris Sisters to take off to parts unknown for their annual Girls' Weekend trip. This year, we set out for St. Simons Island, GA, and there were plenty of sites to see and things for us to do.

We arrived at our little condo around 5:00 in the evening, so that night we decided to take a stroll to St. Simons Island Pier Village. Along the way, we discovered many beautiful gardens. (You might recognize these Girls Only Road Trip t-shirts from our last Girl's Weekend in Beaufort, NC.)

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

And we even found a hidden, hand-painted rock, which is part of the rock painting craze that Harris Sister Misty blogged about earlier this spring.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Pier Village is centered around an actual pier and is a destination for restaurants, shops, and even the St. Simons Island Lighthouse. We made sure to get a picture on the pier before heading back for the night.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Once we settled in for the night, we got down to the business of relaxing with Hpnotiq Breeze cocktails. They were delicious, and Harris Sister Deanna has provided the recipe for you to try too! Sarcasm, wine, and everything fine - THAT'S what The Harris Sisters are made of. :-)

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

The next day, we headed out to the beach to dip our feet in the ocean. (And when we returned home, we hosted our VERY FIRST Facebook giveaway for the cup holder and insulated bottle you see in this picture. The giveaway is now closed, but make sure to like The Harris Sisters Facebook Page to keep up to date on future giveaways.)

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Misty lent her artistic talents to make a St. Simons Island sign to commemorate our trip.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Many people have asked us where we got our vintage-style swimsuits, so we're providing some suggestions for you to browse.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017



After spending the morning at the beach, we ate our prepared picnic lunch, which consisted of sandwiches, rainbow fruit skewers, peaches (we were in Georgia after all), and potato chips. We washed that all down with Cokes marked with Harris (one of the 200 last names they added to their #ShareACoke campaign this year).


Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

This year marks the third Girls' Weekend that we've celebrated with special Cokes from the Share a Coke campaign. First, we celebrated in Louisville, KY with Sis Coke cans, and then last year, we celebrated with Summer, Summer, Summertime Coke cans in Beaufort, NC.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Later that afternoon, we headed out to Get Your Muse On paint studio for a painting class. We all learned how to paint flamingos and in addition to our creative exploits, the studio offered some much appreciated air conditioning!

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Thanks to the recommendation of one of our Facebook followers, the next morning we headed off to Driftwood Beach, which is in Jekyll Island, GA. This beach is a gorgeous work of nature that features a driftwood tree graveyard. Perfect for photo opportunities!

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017


Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017


Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

Later that afternoon, we checked out a park full of mossy oak trees and shared them with our Facebook followers via our VERY FIRST Facebook live video.

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: St. Simons Island, GA - Girls' Weekend 2017

The rest of the time we spent hanging out, watching girlie movies, visiting a local downtown antique festival, cooking our own breakfast and dinners (which helped us to stay out of the heat), petting local pups, and planning exciting things for the blog (which you guys will hear all about in the coming months).

So if you have a chance to visit St. Simons Island, GA, go for it! It's relaxing, but it has plenty of fun stuff to do.

Make sure to check out our other Girls' Weekend posts for our rundowns on the other places we've visited.

This post contains affiliate links.

One Man's Trash: Archie and the Gang Juice Glasses

Monday, July 17, 2017

This is one of our sweeter vintage scores of late.  It's a set of three Archie and the Gang juice glasses from the early 1970s.  They were actually once Welch's jelly jars.  My husband found these a little while back at a dinky little flea market.  He got the set of three for a whopping $5.  


We have two of the "Reggie Make the Scene" and one " Betty and Veronica's Fashion Show".  They are all in great vintage condition with vivid colors, no chips or cracks, and each one has an etched Archie character on the bottom of the glass.  What a sweet little surprise!!


I did some checking, and these glasses are out there on both eBay and Etsy, but the prices are all over the place.  Some sellers are asking big money while others just get you on the shipping. However, in no case did I find a deal as good as what we got.  Yay us!!
  

It would appear that these glasses aren't particularly rare, but they are super fun, and now that I know we got a super deal on them, I like them even more.  I remember back when jelly jars were decorated with cute images that you could use as drinking glasses later.  We even had some in our cupboard growing up- but not the Archie glasses.  I honestly didn't know these existed until my hubbie brought them home. 


In any case, they have a good home now!  And in case you haven't seen it, we have a "One Man's Trash" section on our blog for other treasures just like this.  Lots of sweet vintage finds there.  Come check it out!  So, what treasures have you been digging up lately?

Hpnotiq Breeze

Saturday, July 15, 2017


The Harris Sisters tested and wholeheartedly approved this simple drink over our Girls' Weekend this year.  It comes together quickly and goes down easily.  This is the kind of drink you should mix up for your lazy poolside days.  Or at least when you are dreaming of being poolside.  It's the perfect summertime drink!



Hpnotiq Breeze Drink


1 1/2 oz Hpnotiq
1 oz Coconut Rum
2 oz Pineapple Juice

  1. Fill a shaker halfway with ice and pour in all ingredients. 
  2. Drop some ice into a whiskey sour glass and strain mixture into it.
  3. Enjoy!!

Notes:
There is no real substitute for Hpnotiq.  It is a premium blend of exotic fruit juices, french vodka, and a touch of cognac.  It is easily spotted in your liquor store as the bright Caribbean blue liquor in a frosted champagne bottle.  

It will cost you about $20 for a bottle but it goes a long way and mixes up the perfect summertime concoction.  

Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Thursday, June 29, 2017

This recipe was one that we tried for our recent Girls' Weekend. While we ate it for breakfast, it was so yummy that you could easily top it with ice cream and have it for dessert!

This breakfast bar recipe was easy to make and is certainly a keeper. Give it a try for yourself!

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars


Base and Crumble Topping

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats or instant oats)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, additional for topping

Strawberry Filling

2 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oatmeal, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 
  3. Gently stir in the melted butter and egg yolk. 
  4. Remove 1 cup of the mixture. Set aside.
  5. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. 
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the strawberry filling. Spoon over top of the base oatmeal mixture in the pan. 
  7. To the reserved 1 cup of oatmeal mixture, stir in the 1 additional tablespoon of brown sugar. Crumble the mixture evenly over top of the strawberry layer. 
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until you see the top turning golden brown. Note: If you used frozen berries, adjust the bake time to 50-55 minutes. 
  9. Allow to cool fully to room temperature (at least 3 hours) before cutting into the bars. 

Notes:
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

You may substitute blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries for strawberries depending on your preference and what fruit is in season.

This one came out a beautiful red color!

Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars


Summer Diamonds Toddler Dress

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I'm a little late posting this, but this crocheted toddler dress is still cuter than ever. I made it for niece Lexi as her birthday present.

I love the a-line silhouette for this dress pattern because if you choose the right colors it can be worn by itself in Spring and Summer, and with a long sleeved top underneath in Fall and Winter. And as the child gets taller, as long as it still fits in the arm area, it can still be worn as a top over jeans, leggings, and pants.

Green Summer Diamonds Crocheted Toddler Dress

For this particular dress, I completed the Summer Diamonds Toddler Dress Free Crochet Pattern using a size H crochet hook and Lily Sugar 'n Cream in Mod Green.

As written, this dress took 6 balls of yarn.

While the pattern is not difficult at all, I will give you the tip to pay close attention as you crochet each row. Each row is different from the previous row (which creates the diamond pattern), but because of this, the pattern isn't one that you can mindlessly crochet while watching TV!

Thumbs up for the pattern and also for the yarn color - the dress will look beautiful on Lexi!

And here's a post update with a photo of little Lexi wearing the dress - the color looks beautiful on her:

Green Summer Diamonds Crocheted Toddler Dress


You can add this pattern to your Ravelry queue here: Summer Diamonds Toddler Dress

If you're interested in other free crochet children's dress patterns, check out these popular posts:
This post contains affiliate links.


Spinach Stuffed Shells

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I know what you're thinking - why am I posting a baked pasta recipe when we're a few days away from the start of summer?

The answer is easy! You've never had pasta until you've had it with fresh marinara sauce and fresh basil from your garden.

Add to that the quick cooking nature of this recipe, and you've got a winner!


Harris Sisters GirlTalk: Spinach Stuffed Shells

Spinach Stuffed Shells


32 jumbo pasta shells
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
8 oz. fresh spinach leaves, roughly-chopped
32 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese,
1 large egg
1 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups marinara sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and place cooked shells in a single layer on cookie sheets to cool. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown, about a minute or two. 
  3. Add the chopped spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves begin to wilt but are still bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. The spinach should be reduced by half. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. In a mixing bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined. Pour 1/2 of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. 
  5. Stuff cooled pasta shells with a generous amount of the spinach and ricotta mixture and place them in the baking dish.
  6. Cover with the remaining sauce and bake covered with aluminum foil for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top begins to brown and the sauce begins the bubble, another 10-15 minutes. 
  7. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and cover again with aluminum foil. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. (Mozzarella will melt during this 10 minutes.) Serve warm.

Tips:

  • Cook a couple of extra shells in case a few break while they cook.
  • If you would like to use jarred marinara sauce, a 26 oz. jar will work.
  • If you're growing basil in your garden and need to know how to preserve it for fall and winter cooking, make sure to read about how to dry fresh herbs.

Our Memorial Day Week(end) in Pictures

Saturday, June 3, 2017

I almost didn't post this to the blog this year because, let's face it, Memorial Day has come and gone now for almost a week AND this year's Memorial Day weekend was extra rainy for us, which snookered a lot of our plans (and thus the corresponding pictures too).  But since I have posted the pics from our Memorial Day weekend for the past several years, I finally convinced myself that I didn't want a gap in my posts even if there aren't as many fun pics this year.  Now that I have majorly talked this up (HA!), I share with you our Memorial Day Weekend in pictures from 2017.

Our long weekend started as many of them do for us- with a little drive to one of our favorite Nashville neighborhoods- 12 South, for dinner, some window shopping, and a little walk around. Here we all are on that Friday night.  Lexi saw this bench and made a bee-line for it, then asked me to take a picture of us!  As I was trying to get a family selfie, a nice man walked by and asked if we wanted him to get our picture, so he did.  (and it turned out a lot better than my selfie!)


We dined outside on the patio at our favorite little barbecue place.  It filled up pretty quickly after we sat down so we did get lucky there.  There were tons of lively folks and their pups out for a nice night.  Here's Lexi "holding on to her hat" as she said.  Every time the wind kicked up, she would grab her hair and say "hold on to your hats!".  Yep, that wind was about to blow in some weather, as we say here in the South.


After dinner, I visited one of my favorite 12 South shops, Draper James.  It is Reese Witherspoon's shop- named after her two Southern grandmas- Grandma Draper and Grandma James.  Everything in there is as sweet and southern as can be- just like this tote.  What would Dolly do?  She would buy this tote, that's what she would do!!!  But I did not.  I was only window shopping, but what a cute bag!  Oh, and I asked the clerk there that night if they ever saw Reese at the shop.  She said, "Oh yes, she was just here a few weeks ago!"  You never know who you will run into in Nashville!


Then it was on to more shopping- this time at the pop up flower shop down the street.  It was gorgeous and Lexi sniffed every flower in that place, I think!


My window shopping turned into actual shopping here.  I had been looking everywhere for a bougenvilla and couldn't find one anywhere this year.  I found one last year and it was so pretty all summer long.  They are popular in the New Orleans area, but harder to find around these parts.  Long story short, this shop had one!!  And it came home with us! 


I did find one other hanging basket that I couldn't leave behind, and then we headed off for ice cream as we finished up our night. 


Saturday brought the rain and much cooler temps, and our hopes of making our first trip to the swimming pool were dashed.  So Plan B was a morning spent at the indoor bouncy house place that Lexi loves so much.  On the up side, there was hardly anyone there (which is unheard of) so Lexi had her run of the place.  As I look at this picture, I am reminded that I bought the sweet little handmade dress that Lexi is wearing in this picture last year on Girls' Weekend.  It's much shorter on her this year, but it does still fit.  Thank goodness it has matching bloomers!  And thank goodness for Girls' Weekend.  It's coming up soon again this year!


An iffy kind of day turned into a stormy night, so John and I made our way to the movies for a date night while Lexi spent time with her grandparents.  This isn't a great picture, but then the movie we saw wasn't that great either- Baywatch.  It was the summer Memorial Day release movie this year. Don't get me wrong- it wasn't horrible.  It actually wasn't that bad, but I don't think it's going to win any awards or anything.  And yes, David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson both made cameos in it. 


Sunday's weather was up and down all day too.  The ground was pretty wet and it wasn't as warm as most Memorial Day weekends, but we were ready to get outside, so we did between the showers. Lexi caught up on her swinging.  Although, if you were to ask her, she's never really caught up!


I caught up on my planting.  This was the other hanging basket I bought at the flower market.  It's called Fuchsia.  This plant was super well established and full of big bright blooms.  


Just looks at all those buds!  It is literally dripping with them!


I did a little maintenance on the roses too.  I always cut my roses back to little more than 12 inches tall every Spring.  That helps them to grow out nice and full instead of just straight up.  


We planted these urns with succulents this year.  And they have taken off.  Succulents winter over nicely in our part of the world, so these beautiful pots should last us a long while.  That's my chenille plant hanging behind it, and gerber daisies in the pot on the deck.


This picture made me so happy.  It kind of looks like Lexi is exploring another flower garden, but no- that's our back yard!  So all that rain is good for something.  


The rain finally let up in time to watch a movie at sunset in our back yard.  We installed an outdoor movie screen last year.  We leave it up all summer and take it down when the weather starts to cool each year.  Lexi quickly snagged my chair and settled in for her movie.  It was Zootopia for the family friendly flick, and then Office Space for me and John after Lexi was off to bed.  It felt so good to set up camp in the back yard after a couple days of rain.  


Then Memorial Day Monday came, and the skies cleared.  The sun shone bright and hot, and we knew it was time to make a trip to the nearby splash pad.  We weren't the only ones with that plan, but it wasn't terribly crowded- just lively and fun.  Lexi played and ran and splashed herself silly. 


I imagine that water was a little cold, but she definitely didn't seem to mind.  The nice thing about this place is that it's enclosed so kids can't run away.  We her let in with the other kids and grabbed a nice shady picnic table to watch her play. 


We brought a picnic lunch with us- fried chicken and all the fixins.  But John's parents joined us for lunch and brought these pretty plates.   So pretty, so fresh, and I love the plate too.


Then it was off to splashing again.  We were all so glad to finally see a nice day and enjoy it outside together.  After Lexi tuckered herself out, she settled down for a super good nap, while John's mom and I did a little shopping, and the guys stuck close to home to watch after the babe.  It was a cookout for dinner and the long weekend drew to a close.


I hope your long weekend was just as nice, if not a little less rainy, than ours.  In any case, the summer is upon us.  Let's all make it a great one this year!