American Flag Cupcakes

Show your true colors with this sweet treat!

American Flag Cupcakes www.theluckywife.life

This patriotic dessert is easy to make and the kids can help decorate!  Yes- the blueberries qualify this dessert as “good for you”- it’s the healthy halo effect.  Just run around with sparklers a few times and we’ll call it even.

 

American Flag Cupcakes
Decoration inspired by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, http://www.about.com

  • 1 package butter recipe cake mix
  •  3 eggs
  •  2/3 cup water
  •  1 stick butter- room temperature
  • Frosting Option 1-delicious:  homemade buttercream frosting (see below)
  • Frosting Option 2 -easy:  1-2 cans coconut supreme pre-made frosting (any white icing will work)
  • 1 cup small fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • 1 roll red-colored fruit snack or fruit leather (Fruit Roll-Ups) cut into 1/8 inch strips by 2 inches .

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Combine softened butter, eggs, water and cake mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase to medium speed and beat another 2 minutes.  Divide batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cool to room temperature on wire racks before proceeding or cool quickly 10-15 minutes in the freezer (my favorite).

Option 1 buttercream frosting Food Network recipe by Gale Gand

  •  3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 -2 tbl whipping cream (can substitute milk)

Directions:  In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Spread frosting on tops of cooled cupcakes. Use blueberries to stud cupcakes in rows (for stars) over the upper left quarter of the cupcake. Place red fruit strips across the remainder of the cupcake surface in rows (for stripes) over frosting. Trim fruit strips where they hang over edges. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Grilled lobster- A feast for a king

When you want to impress his royal highness

Grilled lobster grill www.theluckywife.lifeLobster skewered www.theluckywife.lifeCutting lobster shells www.theluckywife.lifeGrilled lobster grill2 www.theluckywife.lifeGrilled lobster www.theluckywife.life

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, lucky for me since I adore older men 😉  We had a low key celebration at home since we’ll really celebrate in Key West.  Grilling for us is a year round sport, and we play it very well.  Last night’s feast was grilled filets (marinated in soy sauce & garlic) and grilled lobster tails with garlic butter sauce.  To top it off, we had a Biltmore Vanilla Bean Cheesecake- 2nd only to a real New York cheesecake – which I do not have access to since I live in LA (and by LA I mean Lancaster, SC- yes its a local thing).

Seafood for me is an acquired taste, I didn’t start eating shrimp, lobster, crab legs or scallops until I was an adult.  Now I crave them every time I think of the beach- which is a lot since I was born on the equator between 2 oceans.  I seriously think I am a mermaid.  Little trip down memory lane, when my kids were little, they used to think when we said “lobster”, we were either saying “monster” or  “mobster”, both of which were hilarious as we’d enter restaurants with lobster tanks on display- “Mama- look at the monsters!”

This is the easiest grilled lobster recipe I’ve found and they turn out perfect every time.  Hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.  I drool every time I scroll through my phone and see grilled lobster pics from celebrations gone by.

  • Grilled Lobster- Snap Guide Grilled Lobster Tails by Tommy Pavlika
  • 4 lobster tails (6-8oz)
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 tsp lemon
  • pinch Himalayan sea salt
  • pinch cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat your grill to medium heat.
  2. Use kitchen scissors to cut through each lobster shell.  Slightly open each cut.
  3. Skewer each tail and set aside.  This prevents the tails from curling up
  4. Melt butter, garlic, salt & pepper, lemon on stove or in the microwave- set aside.
  5. Grill on medium heat upside down for 7-8 minutes . DO NOT put tails over direct heat. Cook with lid closed.
  6. After flipping, baste the tails with lemon butter sauce. Be sure to get a lot of butter and garlic inside the open portion!
  7. Cook for 3-5 minutes with lid closed and be cautious of flame flare-ups. When the meat is opaque it is done.
  8. Remove tails from grill, baste one more time and cover with foil for 5-10 minutes before eating. ENJOY!

My food intervention- AKA Why I taught myself how to cook :)

Food Introduction Melanie Knight www.theluckywife.life

Link to youtube video!

Hi guys!  On the advice of everyone, here is my re-introduction to YouTube videos!  Yes I tried this once upon a time when the internet was young and impressionable.  It was fun, but it was a ton of work!  Now everything is so much easier 🙂

So, drum roll please….. here’s a quick story of why I taught myself how to cook.  It all began with a food intervention…

 

Monogrammed Chicken Pot Pie

Welcome to the south

Monogrammed Chicken Pot Pie www.theluckywife.life

Welcome to the south-  we monogram everything down here!  This is a tried and true family recipe my Grandma Glaze taught me once upon a time in Alabama.  I added the monogram a few years ago when I was playing around with the left over dough and the family tradition began!

This mouth watering home cooked meal has only 4 ingredients and is a go-to recipe for our hectic family.  It is perfect for any night of the week and the leftovers- if there are any- are delicious the next day too.  If you ever need to cook a meal for a new neighbor, a sick friend, a grieving family or help out new parents- this meal will knock it out of the park.

Chicken Pot Pie ingredients www.theluckywife.life

Ingredients:  Don’t skimp!  Get the name brand, you can tell a difference in this recipe!(TIP- I usually grill 10-12 chicken breasts every Sunday for quick meals like this)

  • cooked chicken diced (2 chicken breast will do, but my boys like lots of chicken)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 pie crusts
  • 3 cups frozen veggies
  • optional- pats of butter

Directions:

Bottom pie crust- line the bottom of your pie pan with 1 pie crust.  I use a Pampered Chef stoneware pie pan.  Cut slits in the crust and bake according to package directions.  While this bakes, mix together the rest of the ingredients (chicken, soup, veggies) in a large bowl.  Once the bottom pie crust is cooked, add the chicken veggie mixture and smooth it flat.  Optional:  You can add the pats of butter before you add the top crust.  Top with the remaining pie crust.  Trim off the excess pie crust and cut slits in the crust for the steam/ heat to escape.  Use the excess pie crust to make your initial or make other decorations like leaves, hearts or stars.  My pies usually bake another 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Let sit for 10 minutes.  Slice and get ready to enjoy some down home cookin’.

 

 

Chicken Pot Pie uncooked www.theluckywife.life

Luau 101- Father’s Day Feast

Luau 101 www.theluckywife.life

By Melanie Knight – posted courtesy of The Lancaster News
It’s blistering hot and the natives are getting restless. Instead of dreaming about a tropical getaway, why not enjoy your own mini “stay-cation” at home and treat dad to the ultimate luau?
Grab a Tiki torch, Hawaiian shirt, pina colada and get ready to limbo. With these simple ideas and recipes, you can host your own backyard luau and hula dance into the sunset.
According to the Polynesian Cultural Center, a traditional luau is the Hawaiian way of celebrating a major event, such as a life milestone, graduation or wedding, by enjoying several days of food, music and dance with family and friends. It was originally a way to unite the guests and with each dish having a symbolic meaning, like strength and virtue.
Your luau doesn’t have to be on an island to harbor the same feelings of goodwill.
Just keep the words of Benny Kai, the PCC “Ambassador of Aloha” in mind.
“Whenever you’re at a Hawaiian luau, you are ohana (family),” he said.
Getting ready
To get guests ready for a “latitude adjustment,” transform your backyard into a tropical paradise with these decorating ideas from ww.eHow.com that use supplies from a party supply store.
– To decorate, use anything with flowers, palm trees, fake parrots, fruit and sea shells. Arrange flowers down the center length of the table and accent with pineapples, coconuts and seashells. Perch a plastic parrot in your chandelier or on top of the refrigerator.
– Make simple leis out of colorful crepe streamers twisted together and taped into individual 30-inch loops.
– Drawstring trash bags become adjustable grass skirts by cutting 1-inch wide strips vertically from the bottom to 10 inches below the drawstring (heavy-duty bags work best). Use several of these to top your patio umbrella, or use them as a grass skirt along the edge of the table.
– Dig out those Christmas lights and string them up around your patio.
– Tiki torches work double duty – adding atmosphere to your party and keeping the mosquitoes away if you use citronella oil.
– Serve frozen cocktails and mocktails (non-alcoholic). Pina coladas and pineapple iced tea will instantly chill out your guests.
– Download some traditional Hawaiian music. Mix it up with some Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” and Don Ho’s “Gold.”
– Greet each guest as they arrive with a hearty “aloha” (hello/goodbye and love), a “honi” (kiss) on the cheek, and a “lei” (garland of flowers). You can pick up some more Hawaiian words and phrases at http://www.aloha-friendsluau.com. They even have the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian.
– Dancing is an integral part of a luau, so get a lively round of limbo going. A bamboo stalk works best for this game, but a broom will do. Two people hold the stick and each person has to bend backward and dance under the stick without touching it. Once everyone goes under, the stick is lowered 2 to 4 inches and the next round starts.
– Give the natives a chance to grab a frozen drink, then round them up again for and see who can hula like a “kama`aina” (true Hawaiian native). Being the host, you should practice before hand by checking out some hula dancing on http://www.youtube.com.
Now that you’ve got the tropical fever, here’s a sample menu to keep get you started. Aloha!

Luau recipes:
1 Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake a la Mode
Ingredients
1 20-ounce can sliced pineapple
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 slices pound cake
Strawberries or raspberries, for topping
Nuts, for topping
Whipped cream, for topping

Directions
– Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice and six pineapple rings (save remaining juice and pineapple for another use).
– Combine juice, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
– Brush half of the mixture on both sides of pineapple and cake slices.
– On an uncovered grill over medium heat, cook pineapple and cake for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown, brushing occasionally with remaining pineapple juice mixture. Top each slice of cake with a pineapple ring. Top with berries, nuts and whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

– By Paula Deen (www.foodnetwork.com)

2 Beef Teriyaki
Ingredients
1 pound steak, cut into 1-inch cubes (round, sirloin or rib-eye will work)
1 15-ounce can pineapple chunks with juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil (can substitute olive oil)

Directions
– Combine all ingredients, including liquid from pineapple. Marinate, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
– Thread beef and pineapple alternately on skewers. Discard leftover marinade. Place on hot grill, turn every 5 minutes so meat cooks evenly. Cook to your preference – rare, medium, well done. Makes 4 servings

– By Rhonda Parkinson (www.about.com)

3 Pineapple Iced Tea
Ingredients
6 tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups boiling water
Fresh mint
Juice of 3 lemons
5 tablespoons pineapple juice

Directions
– Place tea bags and sugar in a 2-quart pitcher. Add 4 cups of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags.
– Steep fresh mint leaves in tea for at least three minutes. Remove mint leaves. Add lemon and pineapple juices.
– Add cold water to the pitcher. Serve over ice. Garnish with pineapple and fresh mint leaves.

– By John Fischer (www.about.com)

4 Aloha Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients
1 15-ounce canned yams/sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Directions
– Slice sweet potatoes about 1/2-inch thick.
– In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and water and cook on medium heat about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add sweet potatoes to skillet. Cook gently; tossing lightly until sweet potatoes are glazed. Sprinkle with coconut before serving. Makes 4 servings.

– From http://www.hisurf.com

5 Huli Huli Chicken
Ingredients
4-6 chicken breasts
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sherry or white wine
1 piece ginger root, crushed
1 clove garlic, crushed
Grilled pineapple slices and maraschino cherries (optional)

Directions
– Combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, ginger root, and garlic. Stir well.
– Place chicken on a hot outdoor grill. Baste the chicken frequently and continue grilling for about 10-15 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Double check by slicing into the thickest part of chicken breast. The inside should be white, not pink. Garnish with grilled pineapple slices and cherries (optional). Makes 4-6 servings.

– By John Fischer (www.about.com)

6 Pina Colada
Ingredients
2.5 ounces light rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces cream of coconut
3/4 cup crushed ice
Pineapple chunks (for garnish)

Directions
– Place ingredients in blender, reserving pineapple chunks for garnish, and process until smooth, about 10-15 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with reserved pineapple chunks, if desired. Leave out rum for a non-alcoholic “mocktail.” Makes 1 serving.

http://www.Recipezaar.com

Are you a member of the “Country Club”?

Country Club www.theluckywife.life

This image says it all.  This house is country, end of story.  It’s a badge of honor for my children, they love living the small town life outside of a big city.  3 sides of my house face the woods, so I didn’t even have curtains or blinds until 5 years ago.  Our home is at the end of a gravel road off a two lane country road.  We have rabbits that frolic through the yard and aggravate the dogs, deer creep around and nibble my garden and possums that come into my garage if there is too much dog food left out.

One year, we had a flying squirrel that would come down the chimney and crawl up the rock fireplace, hop to the TV and glide down across the living room.  He’d hop all over the house, even upstairs.  He liked the nuts we’d leave out, but did not like peanuts.  He also did not like us leaving a loaf of bread on the microwave- he’d knock it on the floor.  That ended when we found a giant black snake in the house.  He had also come down the chimney, so we put a critter guard on the chimney after that.

Last year, we raised chickens.  We started with 4, but my son got “baby chick fever” and we ended up with 3 dozen baby chicks (you have to buy them by the dozen).  That was a lot of chickens!  These free range chickens laid multicolored eggs that were absolutely delicious.  We’ve since gave some away, and something ate the ones we had left.  I did say I lived on the edge of the woods right?  We can hear coyotes howl at night, so my guess is either coyotes or a fox got them.

We have a creek that runs behind our house that the dogs love.  It keeps them cool in the summer.  We find crawfish and turtles in it.  Once I found a horseshoe (remember I’m lucky!)  When it rains, it fills with rushing water and we splash around and try to build make shift damns with granite rocks.  Water always finds a way around no matter how many times we rebuild the damn.

This time of year is magical.  The air is filled with the sweet scent of honeysuckle and the lightning bugs (or fireflies depending on where you are from) sparkle across the yard at twilight.  It is truly a time to reflect on the infinite creative nature of God.  At night, the entire sky is filled with stars and they glitter like diamonds across the night sky as we sit around the fire.

So tell me, are you a member of the “Country Club” ?  🙂

Recipe: Crabby Crab Cakes

Crabby Crab Cakes www.theluckywife.lifeNow that summer is here, I start to crave seafood.  This recipe hits the spot.  I’ve enjoyed crab cakes from Boston, Cape Cod, Charleston & New Orleans- these here are hands down my favorite.  My father-in-law gave us The NFL Gameday Cookbook one year for Christmas and it is full of tasty recipes like this.  Enjoy!

Crabby Crab Cakes by Ray Lampe aka Dr. BBQ

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I love Franks)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 12 oz jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 cup crushed oyster crackers
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

In a bowl-Whisk together the eggs until frothy.  Stir in the celery green onion, garlic, hot sauce and lemon zest.  Gently fold in the crab meat, oyster crackers and bread crumbs until evenly mixed.

On a plate- mix flour, salt & paprika.  Divide the crab mixture into 6 mounds, form into balls, then roll in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet – medium high heat.  Place the crab balls in the hot oil and flatten slightly with a fork.  Fry until golden, about 5 mins per  side.

These crab cakes are HUGE.  It is usually the only thing we have for dinner when I make them.  I used to have slaw on the side, but there was never any room for it once you ate a crab cake.