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

Food Introduction Melanie Knight

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

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

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


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

Luau 101- Father’s Day Feast

Luau 101

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 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 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
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
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

– 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 (

2 Beef Teriyaki
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)

– 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 (

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

– 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 (

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

– 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

5 Huli Huli Chicken
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)

– 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 (

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

– 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.

Are you a member of the “Country Club”?

Country Club

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


  • 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.


Weight loss in the Upside Down with Boho Beautiful

Boho BeautifulBoho Beautiful

Yes, stranger things have happened, but I can only credit my 14 pound weight loss (in the 1st 13 weeks of 2018) to Juliana & Mark and losing my appetite in the upside down.  Why?  I’ll tell you.

  1. I work in the food industry and have been clean eating for 7 years now, never seen results like this.  I felt better and my cholesterol was down, but no weight loss.
  2. I also QUIT walking 30 minutes a day.  I’ve done it also for 7 years and while I enjoyed it, I was tired of it.  I got to enjoy nature and some great conversations with Barb, but no weight loss from this.
  3. I’ve done aerobics and belly dancing and while these were both strenuous activities and I felt great after each class- stronger even, no sustained weight loss.

Which brings me to yoga.  Everything I’ve know to be steady and stable has gone completely bonkers since last year’s solar eclipse (yes I am being dramatic, but it is still kinda true).  This massive  change in my family, work, social, etc. gave me unprecedented mounts of stress and threw my blood pressure through the roof, so I needed a way to find balance.  I turned to Boho Beautiful

I’ve followed the Boho Beautiful Pilates YouTube videos off and on for a couple of years, mainly as I geared up for a beach trip.  This time, I started to do the yoga videos.  I took Tony Robbin’s advice and created a morning and night ritual.  I do a 10 minute yoga video in the morning, and a 15 minute video at night.  This was the silver bullet to my weight loss.

Once, my doctor told me the best way to lose weight was to eat less.  Yes- this made me laugh hysterically for years too.  Really?  I am a hungry person and if I don’t eat I get a headache.  After adding these yoga videos to my routine, I have to remind myself to eat.  Let me repeat that- I HAVE TO REMIND MYSELF TO EAT.  I’ve even found my self spitting out food after I’ve chewed it up.  Gone is my second breakfast and my mid morning snack.  Gone also is my afternoon snack, pre dinner snack and my after dinner dessert.    Don’t judge, I made up my mind years ago that if I am going to eat food, it would only be delicious- so believe me all of these “snacks” were delicious and nutritious.  What made the difference?  I credit it to the upside down.

Yes- all of the other exercise activities I used to do always had me right side up, yoga had me upside down.  I used to hate how my head felt when I did downward dog, now I look forward to it.  I think it has to do with draining my lymph nodes, but I really have no idea.  All I know is my body is toned, my life is balance and I am 14 pounds lighter and I AM NOT HUNGRY.  It’s also inspired me to travel more since their videos are shot on location around the world.  I even did my own sunrise beach yoga at Myrtle Beach and got to live the dream!  Thank you Juliana & Mark from Boho Beautiful!  You guys rock!Sunrise Yoga


Recipe: Palmetto Cheese Smoked Salmon Appetizers

Palmetto Cheese & Smoked Salmon Appetizer- oh yes it is divine

Palmetto Cheese Appetizer

This little snack has completely consumed me since last summer.  Aunt Tina introduced me to Palmetto Cheese (never heard of it?, you are seriously getting cheated out of life) once upon a time at Lake Murray.  We paired it last summer with Pretzel Crisps (original) and smoked salmon last summer at Lake Wateree and I have been in love ever since.

So much so, that I now buy the club size bag of Pretzel Crisps a month and a tub of Palmetto Cheese a week.  Gluttonous?  Yes  Fattening?  Strangely, no.  I’ve eat this (almost) every day since Jan and I’ve actually LOST 14 pounds.  I’ve also been doing yoga, so maybe its the chemical combination of the two combined.  Either way, I am in love with this appetizer, which I just had for breakfast, and had for dinner last night- see?  I am obsessed.

What’s your favorite appetizer?

Recipe: Gourmet Iced Mochachino Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Add this to your summer kickoff family traditions!

Iced Mochachino-Melanie Knight

Iced Mochachino-Ice Cream Sandwiches by Melanie Knight

Once upon a time, on a hot summer day in Lancaster, my now father-in-law had an “ice cream sandwich” making party at his house- believe me, he can turn any occasion into a party.  We laughed and worked at the speed of light – you have to when working with ice cream in the sultry south.  His easy and fun lesson was a great summer kickoff and a family tradition he passed down to me.  We don’t do it every summer, but we’re doing it today!  He taught me how to make homemade ice cream sandwiches and how simple ingredients can bring a family together and create lifelong memories, and now I’ll share this awesome knowledge with you!

1 bag Archway® Cookies Dutch Cocoa
1.5 quart Espresso Chip Ice Cream
Aluminum foil for wrapping

Spoon about ½ inch of ice cream onto 1 cookie, work quickly to make it a smooth, even layer. Top with the other cookie, then run a butter knife around the edge to smooth it out. Wrap with aluminum foil and store in the freezer. The delicious treats can be made ahead of time so you can surprise your guests with a cool gourmet dessert!

If you are working with kids, line them up along the counter or table and work in an assembly line.

Ice cream sandwiches, like everything else, taste better the next day.  Good luck though, we go through these like paper plates!

Let me know if you make these!  I’d love to see your flavor combos!

Lucky Me

The Ring www.theluckywife.lifeYes, I’m lucky.  Don’t believe me?  It’s true.  Once we went fishing and as I was standing on the riverbank, I looked down and found a diamond ring.  Talk about a Bilbo Baggins hobbit childhood dream come true.  It wasn’t a big diamond, but it was still a gold ring with a diamond.  I turned it into the park ranger, because I am not only lucky, but I am honest, and since no one claimed it after 2 weeks, it was mine-  my precious.  I keep it on my charm bracelet and I love my lucky charms!

But that isn’t the only reason I’m lucky.  I win things, like raffles and drawings that don’t require any effort.  I won the center piece at the Arts Council Ladies Night Out Tea Party the other weekend.

Ladies Nigth Out Tea

I also find money all the time.  Pennies & dimes mainly, but who’s counting?  Well, me actually.  I’ll let you know when I win the lottery.

It wasn’t always this way, me being lucky.  I take that back, I have always had luck, just not always good luck-  there is a difference.  Things changed as I changed.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.  Slowly but surely over time, as I quit blaming everyone else for the mess I was in and little by little made better decisions, I found that the harder I worked, the luckier I got.  And now it just comes naturally.

  • I’m lucky to be the mother of 2 healthy intelligent young men who light up every life they touch
  • I’m lucky to live not only in the United States of America, but the sultry dirty south
  • I’m lucky to not only have a college education, but a master’s degree
  • I’m lucky to have an insatiable appetite for learning and trying new things

And the list goes on and on.  But if you ask my husband, who nicknamed me Lucky years ago, I am lucky to be married to a man like him.






Raw Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Who knew vegan could be so tasty!

Raw Cinnamon BunsVegan Raw Cinnamon Rolls

I saw Boho Beautiful’s Juliana Semenova eating raw vegan cinnamon rolls on one of her youtube videos and absolutely had to have one.

This recipe looked delicious and it was!  My only watch out is this:  I did the math and each cinnamon rolls was ~300 calories!  OUCH!  So now, I skip the coconut oil and the tasty topping and it’s almost as good.  Enjoy!

Raw Cinnamon Buns

Source: revised by Melanie Knight

Cinnamon Bun Base Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Dates
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (I skip this to save calories)
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 Cup Pecans
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Water (I use the water from soaking the filling dates)
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Cup Pre-soaked Dates
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (I skip this to save calories)
Icing Ingredients: (I love this, but skip it to save calories)
  • 1/4 Cup Cashew Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar


  1. Place all Cinnamon Bun base ingredients into your food processor and blend until dough-like adding more water if needed (1 Tbsp at a time). (I now do this in batches, my first all in batch burnt up my Ninja!)
  2. Place all Filling Ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Place all Icing Ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Pull out 2ft of saran wrap and shape the dough into a large rectangle.
  5. Cover dough with filling leaving 1 inch along the edges uncovered.
  6. Roll dough tightly into a cylinder.
  7. Using a sharp knife cut cylinder into cinnamon buns at desired thickness.
  8. Place on a plate and top with Icing and pecan chunks as desired.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!  (I eat a 1/2 bun as a mini after lunch dessert)
  10. Tip – Store these in a sealed-tight container in the refrigerator.