11.26.2014

Shop Local, Eat Local, Read Local, Pamper Local

I should be packing a suitcase right now.  My mother-in-law (we'll see if she is reading this) is expecting us in Emerald Isle for our Thanksgiving holiday, and she made fun of us at Liza's Frozen Party last week because we take our Southern, sweet time when we leave for a trip.

Once again, I'm running late. I could not leave town without wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Without you, I could not follow my passion of writing. I am thankful and appreciate you taking time out of your busy life to read my posts.

Holidays in Raleigh (Scout and Molly's Holiday Window)


I wanted to blog today to have you remember one thing after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Please remember to shop local this holiday. Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29. Since I've been writing for Visit Raleigh, I've had the wonderful opportunity to visit many small businesses.

Cary's Paisley Boutique

From Apex to Garner to Cary to boutiques in Cameron Village and North Hills, remember to support your local merchants this holiday.

The same concept is true to eating local. Support our local restaurants, bakeries, coffeeshops, breweries,distilleries, and farmers. Remember, I do have a discount on the blog for Papa Spud's, a farm-to-fork delivery service using local farms. The discount expires on Nov. 30.

Tupelo Honey Cafe opens in Cameron Village. I've got that story on Examiner.com.

You all know I'm a big advocate of North Carolina. I've joined the N.C. Blog Network, and it's connected me with some great reads from other bloggers in North Carolina. You'll see my sharing more of the content I find on Pinterest, Twitter, and all those other social media sites the coming year.

If you love to eat farm-to-table, I want to introduce you to my friend, Stacey from CookEatLife. She and I had coffee for two hours the other day after an event. She takes local ingredients and creates simple, delicious meals. She's taken local, N.C. ingredients and has created a wonderful recipe for fall entertaining.



And finally, pamper yourself locally. Go to the Washington Duke Inn for afternoon tea or Sip into the holiday season with bubblesEnjoy a drink and see the gingerbread display at the Carolina Inn. Indulge in a winter spa treatment at the Umstead Hotel and Spa. Pomegrante white tea, and fig will soothe your skin. Special winter treatments start Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, 2015. Take a wine class with Hai Tran there. Experience all that our area has to offer. You don't have to go on vacation to have a great time at a hotel.



Live life to the fullest....LOCALLY. 

Have a great holiday everyone!

Tweet or share this post using the hashtag #ShopSmall. Support small businesses this holiday.





11.21.2014

Eating Healthier and Local with Papa Spud's Farm to Fork Delivery Service

I think I may do something life-changing with my eating habits.

Eathing Healthier with Farm to Fork Delivery Service: Papa Spud's


Many people have already made this change and are loving it.  I have always been intrigued with the concept of farm-fresh produce being delivered to my home on a weekly basis, but then I saw a person on Facebook post, "Need help. I just got a bunch of collards in my box, and I don't know how to cook them."

Don't get me wrong. I love collards, and I love them even more with some vinegar on top. However, that social media post made nervous. I was afraid I would get something in a box that I didn't want or not know how to cook. Then what? Is that money wasted? Yes, the thought of farm to fork delivery service appealed to me, but I'm not really a true foodie. I love to eat farm-to-table cuisine when Chef Colin Bedford cooks it.  But, do I have the skill to take a pumpkin and turn it the best pumpkin cake ever?

Pumpkin cake made from Papa Spud's pumpkins in farm to fork delivery service

But, Papa Spud's showed me that when you eat farm-fresh, the taste can't be beat. Let's just say that the pumpkin cake was the best pumpkin anything I have ever tasted.

Last week, I went to an information session hosted by Papa-Spud's, the  Cary-based Farm to Fork delivery service. Founder, Rob Myer, spoke about why he started this business.

local and fresh food delivery; Papa Spud's serving Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill


It's simple Food tastes better from the farm, and buying from local farms helps our farmers stay in business.

He talked about how produce travels for days before reaching the grocery stores. A fruit's taste will change by the time it reaches the consumer. And interestingly enough, I had purchased some raspberries from a grocery store the day before this event. While he was speaking,  I thought about those raspberries riding down I-40. I kid you not. The next day, those raspberries were like mush. I basically had to throw them out. As I was throwing dollars down the trash in the form of mushy raspberries, I thought of Rob's presentation, and wondered just how long those grocery store raspberries had been traveling around.

Produce box from Papa Spud's


With Papa Spud's, you can tailor your own produce box. If you don't want collards then you don't order collards. The Papa Spud's blog includes recipes, which I certainly need, but with the Internet now, any recipe is at your fingertips. And best of all, you can transfer your credits over to the next month, if you don't use all of your credits in one delivery.

Buying from our farmers help their income throughout the year. Food is fresher. Let's face it. Having food, meats, and cheeses delivered on your doorstep is also kind of luxurious.

I think Papa Spud's may be for me. I've not yet signed up because I didn't know if I should do it before the holidays, but that may be the perfect time. I'll be home most of December, and it will be a good time to get started.

It's more than just veggies at Papa Spud's


I asked if I could extend my coupon code to my readers as well, and they agreed.  If you are interesting in joining Papa Spud's, use this discounted link and you will get $5.00 off plus the $10.00 enrollment fee will be waived.

There is no risk involved. If you are not happy, you can cancel at anytime without penalty. I also looked at a price list. Some items cost less than what you buy at a grocery store while other items may be a few cents more. I found the pricing to be affordable. For example, I buy a lot of red peppers. Liza eats them as snacks. At Harris Teeter last week, they were $2.99 each. At Papa Spud's, the going rate was $1.50 that week.  It is sweet potato season right now. Harris Teeter priced potatoes at $1.13 a pound whereas Papa Spud's sweet potatoes came in at $1.00 per pound.  Broccoli at Harris Teeter was $2.69 whereas broccoli that week at Papa Spud's,  broccoli was $3.00. In most cases, Papa Spud's was either cheaper or very comparable.

Papa Spud's price list; comparable to grocery stores. Some cases cheaper.


Rob knows affordability is very important to families, as well as convenience. Papa Spud's delivers throughout Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Wake County.

This HinesSight Blog discounted link will expire on November 30, 2014 so don't delay. 

If you join this service, let me know and be sure to tell me what you will be asking for in your box. There are over 200 items available , including baked goods, cheese, and honey. I think using this service will help me learn to eat what is in season like farmers intended for all of us to do.

I'm kind of excited about this opportunity.

Disclosure:  I had a few free fabulous fall cocktails mixed by Ilina Ewen of the blog, Dirt and Noise and longtime, Papa Spud's customer. It was a great party, and all the food came from one little box. I ate well. So well, that it convinced me I should try it, too. Because I value your readership, I asked to extend the offer to all of you as well. Remember, this discount offer ends on November 30, 2014.  You can sign up after Nov. 30, but not sure what discounts will be available after that time. There was no compensation provided for this post. Opinions about Papa Spud's are my own, 











11.17.2014

Southern Style: Frozen-Themed Party

With the recent American Girl trip to Charlotte, and a Frozen-themed birthday party this past weekend, life has been all about Liza lately in the Hines house. I put all of my writing assignments on hold because I was up to my eyeballs in Frozen party preps.

Frozen-themed birthday, Southern style


My parties usually consist of making the kids go play while I have a cocktail with the adults. But, when you are entertaining preschool friends for a child's birthday party, crafts and activities for the little guests are put ahead of adult cocktails and socializing.

Beth, a friend of mine, who loves to do crafts was my secret weapon for this party. We made a great team. I gave her some ideas, told her to make a list of what she needed, and I would write her a check for the amount of money she spent.. It was the best party planning ever. Beth thinks that she will make me crafty one day, but it's just not in me unless it involves food, and can be edible or drinkable.

Hines-Sight Blog: Frozen crafts


The girls did two crafts during the two-hour party. They built snowmen in a bottle. The end-result was a floating snowman snow globe. I think the girls had a good time with it.

Frozen Crafts: Building a Snowman


The second craft was making a snowflake magnet picture frame. I bought the kits from Oriental Trading. It was easy, but did require a lot pre-assembling, which Liza was very happy to do. She spent hours the day before the party punching out  the snowflakes for each girl's photo frame. Apparently, she likes crafts and didn't seem to mind this daunting task at all.



As for me, I spent all of my time on the food.

Frozen-themed birthday



I made snowflake sandwiches using a cookie-cutter. I made three kinds; cheese, laughing cow cheese and cucumber, and ham and cheese.


Frozen-themed birthday


I made a snack-mix using pretzels,white cheddar Cheez-its, honey Chex cereal, and blue M&M candies.

Frozen Snack Mix



 I just bought a large packet of M&M candies, and manually separated the blue ones to use for the mix. Liza complained because I did not use orange Cheez-its so I don't think she ate it. I guess I'll be eating a lot snack mix this month.

Frozen Snack Mix


World Market had white cheese puff winter icicles in stock for the upcoming holiday, I served those along with carrot sticks, and a Greek yogurt dressing made with olive oil, dill week, garlic, salt-pepper mixed up in a food processor. I called the cheese puffs Elsa's icicles and the carrot appetizer, Olaf's Noses.

Frozen Cheese Ball



I put together a snowman cheese ball using whole cloves for his eyes, mouth, and buttons. It was just plain cream cheese tossed in parmesan and mozzarella shredded cheese. I cut a piece of carrot for his nose. Everyone loved him, but no one ate him. In my own HinesSight,  he was too big. If I were to do it again for the holidays, I would just do the head of a snowman.  I would use black olives for the eyes, and raisins for the mouth instead.


Liza picked the cake. It was a Harris Teeter celebration cake.  It cost just $20 and was very tasty.

Frozen-themed Birthday


Rainbow-layers on the inside. Every little girl loves a rainbow.


Rainbow layer birthday cake


Elsa, the snow-queen stopped by for a 30-minute appearance. She was booked through Fairy Tale Dreamer, a children's entertainment company. She was fantastic with the children, and a true highlight. This is a Raleigh-based company, but they travel throughout the state.

Frozen themed Birthday with Elsa


I think this photo captures the awe that Liza experienced. A little girl's dream of Elsa attending her birthday party came true.

Hines Sight Blog



I can't believe she is five. She was one when I started this blog in 2011.


Frozen Party Favors: Snowflake Ornaments


For the gift bags, Beth made snowflake ornaments, and I purchased Frozen bracelets from Learning Express, a local Toy company here in Raleigh. I added Frozen fruit snacks that can be found at any national grocery chain to complete the bag.

Frozen party favors


Disclosure: I have nothing to disclose here except that I am now in party debt, and was a complete mess before this party happened. I had stuff everywhere and stress levels where high.  I said that this would be my last party ever at my home, and from this point forward, all birthdays will be trips. That's why I am a travel writer, right?  On the day of the party, I was as cool as a cucumber and loved every minute. I even shocked my Mom, who adored my hot cocoa. 

She asked, "What packet of hot chocolate is this?"

I replied, "What? I made this from scratch."

I made the hot chocolate in the crockpot from scratch using this recipe from my Pinterest Entertaining board,. I added a little heavy whipping cream to make it my own.




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