EASY Chicken Chop Suey- your family will LOVE it!!

This recipe works with chicken, beef or pork and is a staple in our house.

It is a quick and easy meal for any weeknight!


  • 2 lbs cubed chicken
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 sweet onion- cut into thin rings
  • 4 stalks celery- cut at an angle
  • 1/2 cup Kikoman soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • OPTIONAL 2 cups cooked jasmine rice

Heat olive oil in skillet over med high heat.  Sautee the chicken until done. Set aside. Sautee onions until they begin to brown. Add in celery and broccoli.  Cook until done.

In a bowl – mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger & corn starch.  Add chicken back to veggies. Pour sauce over veggies & chicken and stir to coat.  Let cook 5 minutes over med to low heat until sauce thickens up.

Serve over rice and enjoy!  If you make this- send me a pic!


WK2- Shine Your Light

Welcome to WK2 of the Shine Bright Darling Challenge!

WK2-Shine Your Light

Last week you got your sparkle back and brought in the new year with some BLING!

Now you get to shine that bright light of yours on a worthy cause!

Find something in your local community that matters to you. You are more than welcome to support my favorites too!

How? Well that’s entirely up to you!

-follow them on social media
-like & share their posts

There are endless ways you can support them! Just find one that feels right to you. I LOVE my local arts gala where I get to dress up and dance the night away lol! They also have a lovely tea- perfect for Crown lovers like myself!

Sometimes it’s hard to brag on yourself- but I’ve never hesitated to brag on a worthy cause!!!

Use #shinebrightdarling and we can celebrate together!

Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Latte (Starbucks PSL copycat)

#PSL Season is here!

While everyone else is either gearing up for tailgating or rushing straight to Halloween, the rest of us are welcoming PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) Season!  Now is when the weather cools off (a little!) and we shift gears into fall and this delicious blend of spices, sugar and coffee really sets the mood. 

DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

This easy recipe can be served hot or over ice.  You can also make this a skinny latte by substituting almond milk. What I love the most about this recipe is that I can have one whenever I want!!!

PS:  I know the bracelet doesn’t match my outfit!  It’s part of @Hollyfurtick bracelet challenge where you switch the bracelet to your other wrist every time you are about to complain #mrsbetterhalf

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Ingredients (makes 1 ½ cups Pumpkin Spice Syrup- enough for 6 lattes)  Will keep in fridge for 1 week

  • 1 cup Torani Vanilla Syrup
  • 4 tbl pumpkin (canned)
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbl cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

In a microwave safe bowl- mix all ingredients and microwave for 1 minute.

Latte Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup strong coffee- hot
  • 4 tbl Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Optional:  1 pinch nutmeg or cinnamon

In a microwave safe bowl – microwave milk for 1 minute.  To froth the milk- you can use an electric frother, mix it in a blender, or shake it in a mason jar with tight fitting lide until it doubles in volume.

In a large coffee cup, mix the coffee and syrup.  Pour in the frothed milk, top with whip cream.  Lightly dust the top with nutmeg or cinnamon.  Serve & enjoy!

#PSL #happyfall #pumpkinspicelatte #coffee #easyrecipe #torani #coffelover #beginnercook #beverage #caffeinated

Come on Barbie, Lets Go Party

I grew up with Barbies and never questioned why they were all blond haired and blue eyed- I just knew they were pretty.  But I still remember my first Spanish Barbie- she had black hair, tanned skin and brown eyes- just like me.  I was too little at the time to know anything about race (besides all the colors of the children Jesus loved), but I knew I felt seen. 

While everyone else was probably playing house with their dolls, mine were dressed to the nines and wielding the murder weapons from Clue.  I grew up in the era of Charlies Angels, Wonder Woman, Scooby Doo and the Bionic Woman.  My dolls played out scenarios where they fought crime and solved mysteries.  They were smart and could fight- sometimes they’d get in fights with my brother’s GI Joe.  I had a Ken doll too; but he was never part of the production until I watched the soaps one summer with my Grandma.  After that, Ken got busted with a hussy (one of the Barbie knock off dolls) and the other real Barbies would gang up on him and run him out of town or drag him behind the pink Jeep (I can thank Bonanza for that).   

Fast forward 40+ years and I’m still looking for women who look like me (my hair and skin color) because if they look good in their outfit- chances are that color and style will probably look good on me too!  I also make a point to genuinely complement women- especially when I know they put a lot of time & effort into their hair, makeup & outfit.  A complement from a woman, especially one you admire, is a precious gift.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I were in a little Irish pub in downtown Savanah where the college kids hung out.  We were sitting at the bar and had a tall pretty bartender with magenta pink hair and a funky punk/ plaid/ straps and buckles outfit.  She knew she looked good and every now and again would shimmy to the music-she knew how to work a crowd.  After one too many shimmies right in front of us- I yelled “Hey!” and motioned for her to lean toward me. 

She took a breath and steeled her face with a smirk and lifted eyebrows as she braced herself for whatever I was going to say.  I did my best to whisper- but since it was a crowded bar- I kinda had to yell for her to hear me.  She snapped her head back like she’d been slapped, tilted her head…then her face lit up like a Christmas tree!

I had whisper/yelled that I loved her pink hair and that it looked amazing on her.  Tommie & I stayed for another hour before we called it a night.  But for that hour, that young lady beamed when she came to check on us…and graciously kept her shimmies on the other end of the bar.  Funny how women can connect so quickly- especially when we feel seen.  That’s the true beauty of Girl Power.

Barbie #Girldinner by Melanie Knight

#girldinner has taken over social media with ladies posting pics of the random assortment of food items they eat instead of a traditional meal.  While this has shocked many people, its par for the course for the rest of us.  Sometimes you just want a little bit of everything- even if chocolate chips, guacamole, grapes and Goldfish don’t really go together- they do make a tasty lil’ dinner 😊.  In honor of the new Barnie movie, the vibrant pink color really makes this motley crew of #girldinner snacks POP!  I was surprised how pretty bowtie pasta is when its PINK.  PRO TIP:  make enough pink pasta to have it later with some alfredo for another Barbie Inspired dinner.


  • 2 tsp pink gel food color (use each tsp separate)
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt-plain (or sour cream)
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
  • 1 cup cauliflower- cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli- cut into bite sized pieces
  • 8 cocktail sticks
  • 8 cooked bowtie pasta (dyed pink)
  • 16 mozzarella pearls
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 6 mozzarella and salami roll ups
  • 8 slices of French baguette bread
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 4 slices of honey ham- cut into 8 hearts

8 Cocktails Sticks:

For the pink pasta- bring water to boil and add 1 tsp pink gel, then cook pasta as directed on package.

Assemble each stick with a mozzarella pearl- bowtie pasta-basil leaf-mozzarella pearl

8 Heart Bread Slices:

Top each bread slice with a layer of cream cheese and a ham heart

For the pink dip- mix the yogurt, 1 tsp of gel and the ranch seasoning.

Place the pink dip in a bowl in the center of you round board.  Alternate the broccoli & cauliflower on one side of the board.  Place the heart bread and mozzarella roll ups on the other side.  Add a couple of pink flowers for color.  Enjoy!

#barbie #girldinner #pink #snackingboard #charcuterie #barbietheme #barbiefood

Patriotic Snacking Board

We enjoy an incredible amount of freedom in the United States.  Freedom of religion, freedom of the press and my favorite…free speech (to name a few!).  While we celebrate these American liberties, many of us are not FINANCIALLY FREE and are getting the life squeezed out of us by consumer debt.  We bought into the glitzy ideals of “buy now, pay later” and “easy credit”.  But no one ever makes a sizzle reel about how many YEARS you’ll have to work to pay that debt off.  For me- it was about 17 years.

In 2009, I had student loan debt ~$60k, credit card debt ~$20k and a home equity line of credit ~$60k.  I had read a couple of “do this and get rich quick” books, but my plan to house FLIP, turned into a FLOP.  To make things worse, the economy crashed, we were down to 1 income (mine) and my son was in a car wreck that racked up medical bills (I have blocked out how much money that was).  I had no choice but to look for a way out of this hole and I had no one to blame since I dug it myself.

I don’t remember which friend suggested Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, but I am eternally grateful for it.  I didn’t have money to pay for a class, so I learned what I could online, and I got a Dave Ramsey book from the library.  I had never stopped to take an inventory of what and who I owed.  I had also never tracked how I spent my money.  No wonder I was so upside down!  I had no money management skills AT ALL.  Dave Ramsey has a simple and boring system, but it WORKS.

When I actually looked at HOW I spent my money- I was shocked at how careless I was.   I found out that I spent almost $200/month going out to lunch.  LUNCH…And it wasn’t even that good- so that was my first lifestyle change- I started taking a PB&J every day to work.  I quit buying anything that was not a necessity.  I pinched pennies until they screamed.  For example:  We had a TV go on the fritz-it took @20 mins to get a clear screen when you turned it on, but a new TV was @$800 back then.  My solution:  Don’t turn it off- just mute it at night.  While it was chintzy- we made that work for over a year.  Some other quick fixes:  we stopped eating out (I had to learn to cook first!), we enjoyed “staycations” at home and I enjoyed a lot of “window shopping” (where you go look at everything, but you don’t buy anything!).  Getting back to basics also made me realize that the best things in life really are free:  family & friends.    

I finally got out of debt in 2018 when I paid off my student loans.  It took forever, but it was worth it.  Now, I know where every dollar goes and I have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses.  I am able to save for retirement, give to worthy causes and tithe.   While I am not immune to “retail therapy” of “treating myself” from time to time, I now know I can afford it.

*If you are on board with saving money this summer, but would STILL like to have a Fourth of July party- make it a pot luck -I’m sure Dave Ramsey would approve!  It’s a little bit of work to divide the menu out amongst your guests, but you’ll be surprised how much everyone enjoys contributing to a great time.  For those guests who don’t cook- let them bring drinks & ice.  I hope everyone enjoys a safe & festive Fourth Of July!

Free Bird Grazing Board by Melanie Knight

This American Eagle snacking board will make the perfect centerpiece for your Fourth of July celebration.  Feel “free” to change up the snacks to fit your family’s taste- just make sure you have touches of red, white & blue.

This Patriotic American Eagle snacking board will make the perfect centerpiece for your Fourth of July celebration.  Feel “free” to change up the snacks to fit your family’s taste- just make sure you have touches of red, white & blue.


  • Eagle Cheese Ball (directions below)
  • 10-12 Snyder’s of Hanover pretzel rods (wings)
  • Snyder’s of Hanover Snaps
  • Triscuit crackers
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Red- 12 Lindt milk chocolate bon bons
  • Silver- ½ bag Hershey Kisses
  • Blue-10 Ghirardelli dark chocolate sea salt caramel
  • 6 slices provolone- cut into star shapes

Eagle Cheese Ball (Bacon Ranch flavor)

  • 2 8oz pkg cream cheese- room temperature
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Mix
  • ½ cup bacon crumbles
  • 8 oz pecan halves (feathers)
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella (feathers)
  • 1 curved slice yellow bell pepper (beak)
  • 1 black olive (eye)

Cheese Ball directions:  Mix the cream cheese and ranch mix.  Add in the bacon crumbles.  Scoop onto plastic wrap.  Coat you hand will a small amount of oil and shape the cheese into an “eagle head”- kinds like a triangle- with a oval on the left side of the top point.  Wrap up in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.  If you are in a rush- freeze it for 20 mins.

Board Assembly:  Once the cheese base if cold, unwrap it and place it in the middle of your board.  Starting with the pecan halves, make a row of “feathers” on the bottom of the eagle bust.  Repeat until you are to the neck.  Next- press the mozzarella into the rest of the cheese for “feathers”.  Add the black olive “eye” and yellow beak. 

Add 5-6 pretzel rods on each side of the eagle for “wings”.  Fill in the bottom half of the board and around the eagle bust with pretzel snaps.  Add the strawberries into the 2 bottom corners and the tomatoes into the 2 top corners.  Add red bon bons around the eagle.  Add the blue chocolates under the rod “wings” in a row.  Add the silver kisses to each side of the eagle.  Last- arrange the 6 cheese stars in an arc around the eagle. 

#fourthofjuly #charcuteriecoard #snacklife #america #patriotic #partyideas #summerparty #USA #redwhiteandblue #momlife #easyrecipe #learntocook

Savor the Summer with Watermelon Salsa!

Memorial Day kicks off the summer season.  It begins the roller coaster ride of searing hot days and late nights.  As an adult, it makes me wonder why I don’t have a backyard pool or a pontoon boat.  But as an adult, I am old enough to know those things cost a lot of money, but they are also an incredible amount of work!

As a kid, our summers were simple:  running through the sprinklers, eating juicy watermelon and catching fireflies by the bonfire.  Now, summer get complicated fast:  long car rides, expensive hotels, dinner shows, mini golf, laser tag…the list goes on.  Do we actually have more fun- or are we just spending more money?

While I know no one wants to give up their summer trip (me included).  I say we make summer last longer by enjoying every last drop of it.  I do this by slowing down.  I measure a great weekend by whether or not I got to lay in my hammock and read my book (and so far- I’ve had a LOT of great weekends!)  I also try to slow down and pay attention to little things- like the Frog Show.

Never heard of the Frog Show?  Well, maybe it’s just at my house on the back steps.  Every evening right before sunset, frogs appear on the left side of the stairs and hop to the right side.  It’s really fascinating.  I have no idea where they come from or where they go, but they do this every night, all summer long.

If it doesn’t sound that exciting, it’s because you’ve got to be there to get the whole experience.  First- you wonder if it’s even going to happen because there are no frogs, so you sit on the second to the last step and wait.  Then one comes out and I have to call for Tommie to come on before he misses the show.  Before you know it, there are 10 to 15 frogs jumping from left to right across the stairs on their nightly escapade.  Big frogs, little fogs, baby frogs.  This goes on for about 15 minutes.  Some frogs go rogue and start jumping up the stairs and land on you (I think they do this to me on purpose).  The other night- I listened to a podcast during the Frog Show and a frog sat next to me and listened too.  Then just like that- it’s over. 

It’s such a big deal at our house that it’s like a summer sunset- you hate when you get busy and miss it.  And It’s become part of our daily summer dialogue “Will you be here for the Frog Show.  Yeah- I can make back by then.” Or “No- I’ll miss the Frog Show tonight.”  So, slow down this summer and enjoy the little things.  You never know, there may be a Frog Show happening every evening at your house, you’ve just got to slow down and find out for yourself.

Watermelon Salsa by Melanie Knight

My friend Roy Cross introduced me to watermelon salsa in the early 2000’s.  While I have since lost his recipe- this is as close as I can get to it.  This sweet twist on a classic summer salsa is a refreshing addition to any backyard barbeque.  It would also be great on fish tacos!  (Apologies in advance if you have to take out a personal loan to buy a watermelon this year- inflation!!!)


  • 3 cups diced watermelon- seeds removed
  • 1/2 tomato- diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1 tsp cilantro paste (or several springs of fresh cilantro- chopped)
  • 1 tlb lime juice (juice from 1 lime)
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • Add pepper to taste
  • Optional:  add ½ jalapeno- seeds removed & diced for some heat

Combine ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve with tortilla chips

Laughter is the best medicine (& Easy Buffalo Chicken Recipe!)

It was just another typical day at work as I ended a call with an irate lady.  My coworker swung around the corner of my cube “Geez!  Your buyer is awful!”.   “Huh” I huffed “she’s one of ours; that’s my account manager”.  His jaw dropped.  True to form, my account manager had dramatically thrown me under the bus on a call with our buyer AFTER I did exactly what she told me to.  I stood up and grabbed my phone and pocketbook “I’m going to see the nurse, that witch gave me a headache” (I think I used a lil’ more French than that lol).  No, I’m not such a wimp that I ran to the corporate onsite nurse for a headache, but I was 8 months pregnant and considered high risk.  I waddled across the street to the other office. 

I was stunned when the nurse took my blood pressure and said “You’re not going back to work.  Your blood pressure is really high.  You need to go straight to your doctor’s office.  NOW.”  Great.  Just great.  Not only was I going to a doctor appointment every time I turned around for last 8 months, but now I had to stop in the middle of the day and drive from Ft. Mill to Rock Hill for a headache.  I did not have time for this.  I also did not look forward to the 25 drive on this sultry February day either.  You see, my car was in the shop getting a new transmission, so I was driving an old red corvette. 

Let me paint the picture for you.  It was 2006 and I had a 1987 cherry red corvette (look up the car in the movie Teen Wolf 2).  From the door window up, I appeared to be young lady in a vintage sports car.  You could not see me flop into the seat with my huge pregnant belly, or the couch pillow I had to prop behind my back so I could see over the steering wheel.  You also could not see that the AC did not work…and today was unusually hot for a February.

I like driving, it helps me clear my head.  But on this drive, I just went through all the bad things.  Once I got past all the work I was behind on, my mind easily went to the “what ifs” with this baby.  What if something is wrong?  What if they put me on bed rest?  What if they put me on medicine?  I was really getting myself worked up.  By now, I was at the last stop light before my doctor’s office and deep in my own thoughts when I heard-

“Hey!  You there- Hey!”  I looked around and saw an old blue truck with 2 scruffy old men next to me at the stop light waving at me.  “Hi” I said dryly and went back to looking in the direction of my doctor’s office.

“Hey lady!”  I looked at them. “That’s a nice car!”  I was used to this- men loved this car.  “Thank you” I said and went back to my worried thoughts.

“Hey!”  Ugh- why can’t they just leave me alone.  “Yes?”

“You should wash it some time.”  OH- the nerve.  “It JUST rained yesterday” was my curt response.

“Yeah- but it don’t rain dirty water!”  and at the same time, the light changed, they roared with laughter and sped off leaving me speechless.  It was too much.  The absurdity of being roasted by strangers at a stop light while I drive my pregnant self to my doctor’s office.  But I had to admit- they were funny- so I laughed.

Well long story short, I did not go back to work.  Instead, I had a baby that night and the rest is history.

They say you know you’ve met an angel because they made you laugh…well here I am 17 years later…and the memory of these two scruffy guys still makes me laugh.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Easy Hot Buffalo Chicken

I started eating hot buffalo chicken 17 years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest child.  I used to get a buffalo chicken salad every day for lunch with a side of hot sauce from a burger place near my old job in Fort Mill, SC.  Even now, if I get a fried chicken salad, I ask them to toss it in hot sauce.  It’s soo good.


  • 1 lb chicken breasts or tenderloins
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • Oil for frying (I use olive oil)
  • ½ cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 3 tlb unsalted butter
  • Optional:  celery & ranch

Directions:  You’ll need to 2 shallow dishes.  In 1-beat the eggs & water with a fork until mixed.  Place the flour in the other dish.  Dredge the chicken in the flouer, then the egg mix, then back in the flour.  Shake off the excess and set aside.  Repeat for the rest of the chicken.

Heat oil over medium high heat.  Once oil is hot, place chicken in the frying pan and be careful not to splash oil.  Fry 4 mins on each side.  Remove from oil and drain on a plate with paper towels.

Melt the butter I a small sauce pan.  Mix with the hot sauce until blended.  Dip and coat the chicken in the hot sauce.  Serve with ranch and celery.  Its also delicious on a salad or in a wrap.

Captain Crunch French Toast!

Captain Crunch French Toast by Melanie Knight- inspired by Guy Fieri’s Diners. Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network.  This episode featured the Blue Moon Café in Baltimore, MD and their decadent take on French Toast!.  I took notes on the episode and estimated the quantities- while this one is delicious- I’d love a chance to try the real deal at the Blue Moon Café!!!


  • 4 cups Cap’n Crunch Cereal (no Crunch Berries)
  • 4 Slices thick sliced white bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbl unsalted butter
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • 1 pint strawberries-sliced (or other berries)

Place the cereal in a gallon zip lock back and roll with a rolling pin until it is crushed into crumbs.

In a shallow container- whisk eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

I use an electric skillet so I can make four at a at a time.  Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. 

Dip each slice of toast into the egg mix, then coat each side with the cereal crumbs.  Cook 2-3 minutes on each side.  Right before serving- top with berries & whip cream.

#momlife #howtocook #howtocookfrenchtoast #howtocookbrunch #howtocookeggs #howtocookbreakfast #mothersdayideas #bridalshowerideas #babyshowerideas #partyideas #beginnercook #learntocook #kissthecook

Some like it HOT- How to host a tea party

Some like it hot- How to host a Tea Party by Melanie Knight

Somewhere in the last few years, I have embraced hot tea. I’m not entirely sure if it was due to Downton Abbey, or the Netflix series Bridgerton! Either way, I am in love with hot tea and the elegant soiree known as a “tea party”.

A tea party is an enchanting experience where you wear your frilliest frock, complete with a dashing hat. The tables are set with real tablecloths and real china. Everyone is on their best behavior and the room is filled with lively chatter as ladies take dainty bites of fancy treats and sip their hot drinks.

For many, it is the first time they’re trying hot tea; especially if they grew up like I did in the South
drinking sweet ICED tea lol!

If you are as excited as I am for the upcoming coronation of King Charles on May 6, hosting a tea party
might be perfect choice for a viewing party.

If this is your first tea party, you can keep it simple or go all out. It’s a great opportunity to use your
grandmother’s china, or have your friends bring pieces from their homes for an eclectic collection of
pretty tea cups and saucers.

For tea, serve a selection of teas like Earl Grey, black tea or my favorite Vanilla Chai. Be sure to have
cream and sugar on hand as well. While you can serve traditional English foods, I prefer to serve mini
versions of my favorite sandwiches and desserts.

To get you started, here are some simple tasty recipes for you.

Very Berry Mini Cupcakes by Melanie Knight (makes 24 plus 1 -8 inch round cake)
You’ll love these strawberry mini cupcakes with raspberry frosting. But since 24 is more than enough,
use the remaining batter and make an 8 inch single layer cake for later!
 1 pkg Duncan Hines Strawberry Supreme cake mix
 1 cup water
 3 large eggs
 ½ olive oil
 Mini cupcake liners
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, mix the water, eggs and oil on med high speed until well blended. Next, mix in the dry cake mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Fill mini cups 2/3 full. For the remaining batter- butter and flour an 8inch cake pan. Pour remaining batter into the pan.
Bake the mini cupcakes for 12-14 minutes. Bake the 8inch cake for 24-28 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Raspberry Frosting
 2 sticks sweet cream butter- room temperature

 3 cups powdered sugar
 1 tsp raspberry flavor
 3 tablespoons heavy cream
 2 drops red food coloring
With an electric mixer, mix on medium speed butter, heavy cream, raspberry flavor and food coloring.
Mix in powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until well blended.
Using a decorative tip- frost each cupcake.

Garden Ranch Pinwheels by Melanie Knight (makes 12 pinwheels)
These simple pinwheels can be made with various ingredients. Try different wrap flavors to create your own unique pinwheels.
 2 Mission Garden Spinach Herb wraps
 1 cup Cabot plain Greek yogurt
 ½ pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dry seasoning mix
 8 fresh spinach leaves
 1 tomato- thinly sliced (4 slices per wrap)
 8 slices Hillshire Farm Black Forrest Ham
 12 toothpicks
Mix together the yogurt and ranch seasoning. Spread it on both tortillas- all the way to the edges in a thin layer. Top with spinach leaves, tomato slices and ham. Beginning on one edge, roll the wrap up, tucking as you go. Using the tooth picks, skewer the wrap (6 per wrap) for each pinwheel slice. Use a bread knife and starting on 1 end, slice each pinwheel between the toothpicks.

Mini Pimento Cheese Croissants by Melanie Knight (makes 6)
 6 mini croissants (fresh bread section of the grocery store)
 1- 11oz tub of Palmetto Cheese
 12 fresh spinach leaves
 6 olive slices for garnish
Using a bread knife, slice open each croissant (like a clamshell so the 2 halves are still attached). Add two spinach leaves, then spoon the pimento cheese on top (about 1-2 tablespoons). Garnish with a toothpick and olive slice.

Cucumber Crostini by Melanie Knight (makes 12)

These are cute, simple & tasty!

 ½ French baguette- thinly sliced into 12
 ¼ pkg cream cheese
 1 tablespoon Great Value Everything Bagel seasoning
 1 cucumber- thinly sliced (you need 12 thin slices)
 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in round slices
Spread the cream cheese on each bread slice. Sprinkle with bagel seasoning. Using a knife, cut each cucumber slice from the end to the center (but not all the way in half). Twist the cucumber slice into a curl and press into the cream cheese. Top with a slice of tomato.

Carolina Cup 101

Around here, The Cup kicks off the Spring Season.  If you’ve never been, it’s basically a preppy tailgate party and if you’re lucky- you just might see a horse!

I’ve been as a college student, but it’s a different game as an adult.

Here are my tips to help you plan your infield tailgate party:

Attire:  Go Bold or Go Home- the clothes here are all bright and preppy! 

Think Rainbow Row in Charleston & you’ll get the idea. 

For inspiration, check out their Instagram Account @carolinacup

For ladies, you can’t go wrong with a springy dress (think Lilly Pulitzer) and you’ll need a wide brim hat!  Shoes, pick something cute, but comfortable because you will be walking. IF you choose heels, go with a wedge or block heel since you’ll be on grass. In the event of bad weather, bring a change of clothes & shoes- but PLEASE get your pictures BEFORE everyone changes!

For gentlemen– this is the best time to breakout your bowties & seer sucker suits! 

Set up:  Simple Elegance

You’ll need the basics:

  • fold out tent
  • fold out table for food
  • fold out table for your bar
  • several fold out chairs (ask your guests to bring their own foldout chair too)
  • cooler(s) for drinks & ice
  • plates/napkins/plasticware/wipes/trash bags

For Food– you’ll want finger foods that don’t require heat or refrigeration.  The best option is to order a sandwich tray from a local deli and serve it with simple side platters like a vegetable tray, fruit tray & a dessert tray.  You can divide these up amongst your guests- or 1 person organize it all and everyone chip in

For Drinks– have an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to choose from.  We’ve had a Bloody Mary Station, Mimosa Station and Martini Station along with selection of beer, soda, tea and water.

For Décor- again, simple is best.  We use floral tablecloths, a couple of faux floral arrangements and some pretty serving platters.

Other miscellaneous items:  sunblock, hand fans, wireless speaker


What is “The Cup”?

The Carolina Cup is an annual horse race held in Camden, SC and draws over 30k fans.

When is it?

This year’s cup race is Saturday 4-1-23

Where do I get tickets?

You can purchase tickets to attend or “a spot” in the infield to park your car online at http://www.carolinacup.org


Had to try it! So ready to trade in my yoga pants for a spring dress! #carolinacup #challenge #fashion #yogapants #hats #mirror #newbie

♬ Soy Yo – Bomba Estéreo

WK 9 Just Add Sprinkles!

I drink the same Maxwell House coffee EVERY DAY.  I can’t help it, I am a creature of habit.

BUT- this little coffee gets completely transformed when I add a lil’ whip cream & spinkles!

Now, I don’t jus gulp it down as I try to wake up.

No, now I savor it.  I hold the warm cup in my hands.  I breath in the dark rich aroma.  I turn my cup and watch the sunlight dance on the sugar crystals. 

And for a moment.  Its just me & that gloriously pretty cup of coffee. Then I take tiny sips until its gone.

For this challenge- find something in your everyday life…and elevate it..romanticize it…savor it.

Food suggestions

  • Add slivered almonds to your yogurt
  • Add Everything Bagel seasoning to well…EVERYTHING
  • Buy a couple of small gourmet cheeses in the deli section and enjoy!
  • Have dinner by candlelight- even if its carryout pizza

#momlife #treatyourself #challenge #workingmom #busymom #elevatetheeveryday #romanticize


WK 8 Treat Yourself!

Pick one thing and TREAT YOURSELF!

Steve Harvey (who is a phenomenal motivational speaker) advises that you should get a 1st class plane ticket to see what luxury is really like.  I’d rather spend my money on an actual experience rather than a really nice plane seat- but maybe that’s just me.

So for me- I found my luxury item when I came across an article on Meghan Markle (& I love her effortless style) that listed her favorite beauty products. 

I immediately looked them up & decided to get one for myself.

I picked her favorite NARS blush in Orgasm which is $32 at Sephore.com- OH NO!

While this was too rich for my blood (I enjoy a plethora of affordable beauty products from Walmart thank you!)…

I also noticed they also sold a MINI travel size for $17 (immediately add to cart)!!!

So now, every morning, I get ready and use my LUXURY “American princess approved” blush.

And YES-  It makes me feel special.

So for this challenge- find something that is special to you & TREAT YOURSELF

It can be anything- as long as YOU think its special!

  • Signature coffee
  • Massage
  • Manicure
  • Sushi
  • An afternoon in the hammock

Seriously, it’s luxury on your terms.  Let me know what you pick in the comments!

#momlife #NARS #luxury #treatyourself #challenge #royalfamily #meghanmarkle #blush