2020 - Like Honey

Slow Cooker Chicken Gnocchi Soup | Olive Garden Copycat!


When Your Favorite Restaurant Is Out Of Reach...

I don't know about you, but Olive Garden is definitely one of my top favorite restaurants. Now that we live about 30 minutes away from the nearest location, I've realized how much I miss not only that creamy, delicious alfredo but also that warm, comforting bowl of Chicken Gnocchi Soup that welcomes me while I wait for my entree.


...You Start Trying To Recreate Your Favorite Dishes At Home!

Now that your mouth is watering and you're locating your nearest OG, let me just tell you: this recipe is JUST like the real thing. Dare I say, better? I mean, things do just taste better at home sometimes and the fact that this recipe whips up with ease in the crockpot means I can enjoy it even on my busiest night of the week! Go ahead and click the image below to download this printable recipe card for yourself!





Every Season is Soup Season

I won't bore you with any other details, except to say that if you love Olive Garden's chicken gnocchi soup, you'll love this at-home recipe! And even if you've never had their soup, you're sure to enjoy a light, yet hearty, bowl of this year-round staple soup! Even my kids love it, spinach and all!

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Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff



Everyone Loves Comfort Food

Everyone has their go-to comfort foods when fall is here. Is it something from your childhood, that your mom or grandma used to make? Is it something your own kids love and beg you to make? I have a lot of comfort food favorites, but would you believe that beef stroganoff has never been one of them?

Making Comfort Food Budget Friendly

I feel like so many people had beef stroganoff all the time growing up or make it regularly now as adults, but my family never did! I decided to finally try it for myself and this slow cooker version is just perfect for cozy, cool weeknight evenings.

Nothing says comfort food to me more than something warm, creamy, and full of flavor! This recipe is rich with savory mushrooms, hearty bites of beef, and a velvety sauce. What I really love about it is its flexibility: if you're on a budget, opt for affordable ground beef instead of more expensive stew meat and you can still get that delicious flavor without stretching your monthly grocery bill. Using ground beef is also a great way to stretch a meal for a large group!


Click the image below to download the printable recipe card!



Recipe Notes + Customization

As I said above, you can use ground beef in place of stew meat, but I actually had a couple of frozen strip steaks that I needed to use up, so I diced and seared them and they worked perfectly! I also had some pre-cooked, sliced mushrooms I had frozen a few weeks ago so this truly was a dump and go recipe this time! I recommend waiting to add any mushrooms when you add the cream cheese, pre-cooked or raw, so that they don't get soggy sitting in the sauce the entire time. Of course, that's entirely up to you! Make this recipe yours by customizing it any way you choose and find what works for your family! You could add peas, omit mushrooms, swap cream cheese for sour cream...the options are endless!



I'm so glad I decided to finally try a recipe that looked so good to me but was unfamiliar! Now we have another comfort food staple in our routine. Comfort food doesn't always have to start in our comfort zone!



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2020 Fall Decor Finds

Hello, Fall!


 'Tis the season for all things pumpkin! I'm so excited to decorate my new house for fall finally, but with things still semi-under construction, it may be a year or two before I get to decorate fully to my heart's content. In the meantime, I'm rounding up some seasonal pieces I'm loving that won't break the back--perfect for my renovation-heavy budget.


Ready to Shop? Click Any Product in The Image Below:




https://www.instagram.com/p/CEjwd7sA0t8/

Did you catch that exact green table runner + rust colored stems on display on my Instagram feed? I just love the depth it gives my dining room without being too heavy or bold. The runner is reversible, so I can really use it all year, but I'm already dreaming up some pretty Christmas centerpieces to pair with that stunning shade of green! I try to pick seasonal pieces that can be used two-fold as often as I can to save on money and storage space!



I also shared a shot of my favorite fall wreath from a few years back on Instagram recently. I couldn't find the exact one, but did find a few very similar styles this year that look absolutely beautiful and fantastic quality! You can shop more wreaths and all my other fall decor finds for the year below.


Have you started decorating for fall yet, or have plans to? Do you go more traditional with oranges and yellows or do you keep it neutral? I used to stay strictly neutral but purposely designed my new home renovations to allow myself more freedom with seasonal color schemes and I'm really glad to be adding in more of those traditional fall colors this year! Happy Fall!

Can't Stop, Won't Stop: Even More Fall Decor Finds You'll Love!





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Are Smart Appliances Worth the Hype?



We Got "Smart" Appliances!

As many of you may know, we recently remodeled the first floor of our historic 1900's home, including  a brand new kitchen! One of the new additions I was most looking forward to was new, high-tech appliances! I've been using my two smart appliances for several weeks now and have a few thoughts on whether or not they're really worth the added cost.


Why Did We Choose "Smart" Appliances?

We remodeled our kitchen from the ground up, literally--we even replaced a good chunk of the floor boards! When it came to appliances, we wanted new and nice, but didn't specifically have "smart appliances" down as a must.

Lucky for us, my husband works for a company that sells building materials at Lowes and Home Depot and as their retail merchandiser, he is required to travel throughout our region to various Lowes and Home Depot locations. This enabled him to scour the clearance section at tons of stores and find us all the appliances we needed for incredible discounts!


How We Got All of Our Appliances at Steep Discounts!


I highly recommend taking the time to hunt your local hardware stores' clearance aisles yourself if you're in the market for a new appliance. We almost ALWAYS see multiple options that are discounted simply because of a small dent or scratch--often in a hidden area like on the back or side! It's totally worth it to keep your eye out, and don't forget to ask a manager to take a lower price. Even in these big box stores, they are often on a time crunch to get these products out of their inventory and will knock off a little more! It never hurts to ask!

Thanks to my husband's scavenging, we were able to score many appliances we would otherwise not have been able to afford. For example, my Samsung French Door Refrigerator normally retails for over $2000, but we paid less than $1000 simply because it had been returned--with not a scratch on it! We also landed big deals on our dishwasher and slide-in range, both of which happened to be from the LG SmartThinq line. I didn't have it in my plans to purchase a smart appliance specifically, but since I do already love my Amazon Echo Dot in my kitchen, and these were such good prices, I was beyond excited to get to connect all these appliances and simplify my workload.

Or not.

After several weeks now of playing around with the "smart" features of both appliances, I've got a few thoughts on whether or not smart appliances are really worth the extra cost.


Should I Shill Out for a "Smart" Oven?

In a word, no.

Of course all the commercials make them look so convenient and hands-free, but here is the reality: in order to use the Echo Dot to start up the oven, you have to be fairly prepared ahead of time. For me, that doesn't really make this feature convenient. If I'm well-prepared, I can set the oven myself with no added effort. The smart features would be more helpful to me in instances where I need them on a whim, unexpectedly, and I think that's probably the case for most of us. Here's how the oven feature works:

Set up the smart oven in the LG app, give it a name, and connect it to your home wi-fi, a process which took about 10 minutes.

Download the LG SmartThinq skill in your Alexa app, search for and connect your appliance to the app, a process which took another 5 minutes or so.

Now your oven is ready to roll! Well, sort of. Actually, in order for Alexa to do anything to it, it's not enough for it to just be connected to wi-fi. You also have to manually turn the oven knob to "remote start" and then you can send commands over Alexa. What's more? When you say "Alexa, preheat the oven to 350 degrees", it kicks right on, but with a 15 minute safety timer. I don't know about you, but most of my recipes require more than 15 minutes to heat to temperature, let alone cook through. The only way to override this is to specifically say, "Alexa, preheat the oven to 350 degrees for 45 minutes". Obviously, this is not the end of the world, but just an added frustration to me when I'm trying to use this feature as a handy-helper. And yes, you can control the oven from the LG app on your phone as well, but the same features still apply--your oven has to be prepped for the command, and opening your phone to an app to control the appliance is even less convenient than just turning it on by hand.



What About a Smart Dishwasher?

Our dishwasher is smart as well, but the app doesn't offer a lot of "features" to speak of. In fact, it really doesn't have any at all. The only thing the app has to offer when it comes to this "smart" appliance is sending your phone a notification when the load is clean and finished running. I know I could never expect it to load the dishes and run for me (a girl can dream!), but a few simple features like being able to change or cancel a current wash or even just select "start" on nights when I get all the way to bed and realize I forgot to hit the button on my way up...unfortunately, none of these options are available for this appliance, so while I really like the dishwasher's layout and performance otherwise, I absolutely would not have spent any additional money to have a "smart" dishwasher.


So, Are They Worth the Hype?


No, not really. The convenience factor just isn't there, at least not to the degree that would justify the price tag that generally comes with a smart appliance. They're simply not as effortless as their marketing makes them out to be.

If you're in the market for a new appliance, don't race out and splurge on a smart one just because it sounds high tech! Do some research to find what features really matter to you most. You can find amazing deals on clearance appliances that are still high end and perform really well without breaking the bank and put that extra savings towards other kitchen updates.


SHOP MY KITCHEN


PIN THIS POST FOR LATER




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Slow Cooker Chicken + Stuffing



It might be like 1000 degrees outside, but that doesn't stop me from craving comfort food now and then. Couple those cravings with several days of no air conditioning and you've got the perfect recipe for a slow cooker meal in the making.
My mom has made a variation of this dish since I was little and it has always been a favorite! I love to throw it in the Crockpot when I'm feeling nostalgic or just craving Thanksgiving in July! Of course you can make this year round (who doesn't love their slow cooker in the fall and winter?!), but I think we tend to forget about this handy little kitchen gadget during the warmer months when we don't feel like cranking on the oven.



The best part of this meal is that it's pretty much a dump and go dinner, meaning I don't have to think twice about it once it's put together. That's definitely a bonus in my busy mama book! Download or pin the recipe below for later, because you'll definitely want to have this one on hand!

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD




We always meal plan for two weeks at a time and this is one of those dinners that always ends up back on the rotation with no complaints! We tend to serve it with rice (once I used mushroom rice and it was a major crowd-pleaser!), but it can definitely be served on its own with a side of veggies if you're looking for a low carb option. We find this to be such an affordable option when we're trying to cut back on the grocery budget so I highly recommend it for big families, gatherings, or just cheap weeknight menus. Happy eating!


SHOP MY GO-TO KITCHEN GADGETS + ACCESSORIES HERE


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Everything You Need For An At-Home Mani-Pedi in 10 Minutes or Less



Whether your budget is thin or you're just short on time, sometimes a manicure calls for a DIY. Here, I'll tell you all the necessary tools (and some of my favorite polish picks) you'll need for a professional-at-home mani or pedi in 10 minutes or less!




SKINCARE

The first step to a perfect pedicure is soft skin. I struggle with cracked and dry skin at my heels and balls of my feet year round and one of the most effective ways I've found to battle it is to use a pumice stone in the shower then lather up with a good foot cream or extra moisturizing lotion. For best results, slather the cream on super thick, to the point you can't rub it all in, and put on socks overnight. In the morning, your heels will be SO soft!

NAIL CARE

Your health and diet have a huge role in the integrity of your skin and nails, but there are lots of things you can do to help boost your nail strength, from using the right tools to choosing polishes and removers that have added benefits like strengthening or hardening properties.

QUICK TIPS

Obviously, very few of us actually have time to sit and soak our toes in a luxurious tub, as much as we might like to. My number one tip for making an at-home pedicure happen in no time is to do it right after a bath or shower. Your skin and nails will be softened and ready for trimming and skincare. Another tip for speeding up the process is to opt for quick-drying polishes. They really do work!

If you're like me, being a mama usually takes up most of your day, so pampering time gets cut pretty short...or just loses out to sleep! By setting aside just 10 minutes after your shower, you can give yourself a professional-at-home pedicure (or manicure) that will last at least a week or two and make you feel just a little more polished and put together (pun intended) with minimal effort. Oh, and save you plenty of $$$ in the long run!

Have you attempted an at-home mani or pedi? How do you make that time for yourself and what is  your favorite way to self-care at home? I'd love to know!

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Mother's Day Gift Guide 2020

*This post contains affiliate links and sponsored product mentions. Thank you for supporting Like Honey!*

SHOP THE POST

This year, Mother's Day is probably looking a little different than usual. I know a lot of you are probably used to taking mom out to lunch or meeting up in person, but living 6 hours away from my own mother has prepared me a little for such distant circumstances. One thing I wasn't prepared for was the super long ship times happening right now! I think we've all become a little spoiled by those 2-Day Shipping programs, but don't worry! I've rounded up a bunch of Mother's Day gifts in all price ranges that are perfect for every mom (or nana) on your list but also have fairly quick ship times!


FOR THE HOMEBODY

A cozy pair of PJs and a cute mug are perfect for these days stuck at home! Give mom the gift of relaxation with a bath tub caddy and her favorite body wash (or a bottle of wine!), or support her hobbies with pretty gardening tools and accessories. Maybe you'll even get to reap some of the harvest later on!


FOR THE HOME CHEF

One of my favorite recent kitchen buys has been my KitchenAid food processor! I use it for so many different dishes and it's an affordable way to give any kitchen a professional touch. KitchenAid also makes lots of beautiful mixing bowls you can add to upgrade a basic stand mixer. If you're not sure what kind of gadgets are on her list, a new cookbook is always a welcome addition, too!

FOR THE GLAM-MA

What glamorous granny wouldn't love a little bling on her wrist with a new Kendra Scott bracelet or a gorgeous statement ring from AU-Rate? I have their Deco Fan Gold Ring and love how its both vintage and modern and makes a statement without being over-the-top. If she's more into boosting her beauty regimen, a satin pillowcase will have her looking her best every morning while also getting a good night's sleep (something all moms want)! Looking for something more personalized? Opt for a beautiful framed photo of all her kids or grandkids to adorn her walls.


As always, these gift ideas vary in price so they can fit all budgets (especially important right now while so many of us are struggling), but be sure to order asap to ensure it ships on time with all of the delays! Also, don't forget to thank your delivery drivers! They are working so hard to keep up with the demand right now. You can shop all of these gift ideas and more (I'm adding more to the list every day!) over on my LikeToKnow.It profile.

Do you know what you're giving the moms in your life this Mother's Day? If you're a mom, tell me what's on your own wishlist in the comments!


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Plaid Cigarette Pants





OUTFIT DETAILS
Plaid Cigarette Pants (similar linked, another option here) // Black Sweater // Black Heels // Black Beret // Black Crossbody Bag (similar linked only $16!) // Black Cat Eye Sunglasses (similar linked)

Hello, it's me with another beret outfit. I promise I'll switch to straw hats again in the spring! For now, it's still cold so I'm wearing as many sweaters as possible while I still can and breaking out these adorable plaid pants that I picked up on clearance at LOFT over last summer. I've been dying to wear them and this simple black sweater was the perfect, easy outfit for a crisp midwinter day.





I'll be honest, at first I didn't want to share this outfit with y'all. I've always had thicker thighs and plenty of curves, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to share the pictures. I'm far from "big" and wear a very average US size 6-8 but of course we are our own worst critics. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing this look with you, not to make a statement or become a body-positivity poster child, but to teach myself that it doesn't matter if my butt looks a little big in one picture or I have a little roll in another. I loved this outfit and felt so confident while wearing it, so I'm going to share it!




OUTFIT DETAILS
Plaid Cigarette Pants (similar linked, another option here) // Black Sweater // Black Heels // Black Beret // Black Crossbody Bag (similar linked only $16!) // Black Cat Eye Sunglasses (similar linked)

We've all had a photo turn out not exactly as we'd hoped even though we loved the memory or the outfit or the other people in the frame. Today, I'm challenging you to share the photo! Despite the double-chin, mid laughter, despite the tummy rolls sitting with your baby in your lap...share the photo! Share the memories and the things that make you happy because one day when you're gone someone will look back and remember that day, that moment, with you and they won't even notice the flaws that almost stopped you from posting it in the first place.

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