Awesome in September


Awesome in September

Holy crap, you guys, September was hard. Like killer, brutal, down for the count, totally freaking out, on the verge of tears hard. Between extra responsibilities at work, a crazy schedule, online blogging workshops, and a heart-wrenching family emergency all wrapped up in this incessant heat and humidity that seems to have no end, I can decidedly say that the most awesome thing about September is that it’s over. And good riddance. Surely we managed to have some fun, though. Let’s take a look.


We did manage to get up to some weekend shenanigans enjoying an impromptu trip to the zoo, drinking Pimm’s by the pool at a fancy hotel we sorta snuck in to, and grabbing breakfast at Duke’s to cap off Geoff’s birthday weekend. I love escaping for a few hours with friends and indulging in some great food and drinks. It’s basically the best thing ever.

We’re deep into Falling Skies now, and that show is plot twist on top of plot twist on top of plot twist. There are only two more discs available, then I have to wait. I hate waiting.

Lulu's Cocktail

I’ve been reading Go by John Clellon Holmes. It’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. But it’s not great either. I keep setting it aside to read other things, which is just making it drag on and on. I’ve found I much prefer Beat poetry to prose. Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti were really the only Beat poets that did anything for me. But I’m neurotic and can’t quit a book, so I guess I’ll make it to the end one of these days. How do you feel about the Beat generation?

The internet has been exploding with Fall foods, and I’m dying to make them, but I’m so hot I want to cry. If you’re in a place with reasonable temperatures and air conditioning, you should definitely be making these Bacon Blue Cheese Burgers with Jalapeno Jam. They’re on The Sugar Hit, but the recipe comes from one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Jessica Merchant, and her new book Seriously Delish, which I’m dying to get my hands on.

Every morning since I read this post, I’ve wished I could wake up and eat these cornbread waffles topped with chili and a fried egg from I am a food blog. Ridiculous.

And if someone doesn’t put this sea salt buttercream chocolate cupcake of heavenly awesomeness from Lady and Pups into my face soon, I may just have to quit life. Come on!

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Oh, and I guess I made a few things this month myself. You especially liked Sweet Potato Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie for a new twist on Meatless Monday.

Completely Caramel Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Completely Caramel Cupcakes were popular with my husband, with my coworkers and with readers. What’s not to love? It’s once, twice, three times a caramel cupcake. 

Pumpkin Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

And because it’s officially fall, we’re all allowed to worship pumpkin desserts and no one can stop us. You loved this Pumpkin Cake the most, and so do I.

October already has a much better projection. I’m starting to feel like I can handle whatever my job and my life may throw at me, but I’m hoping it doesn’t get tested. Here’s to tough times survived, and challenges yet to come. Mahalo for being so awesome.

Maple Macadamia Nut Malasada Bread Pudding


Disclosure: I received free samples from LorAnn oils in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are awesomely my own.

Maple Macadamia Nut Malasada Bread Pudding | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I bought you malasadas last week, and this week, you’re going to love me even more because I saved them, let them go stale, and made them into something extra awesome. I made you Maple Macadamia Nut Malasada Bread Pudding.

See, malasadas are completely awesome when fresh, but they don’t hold up for very long. Eating a day old malasada is just a little sad. Then I thought, if Paula Dean can make bread pudding out of Krispy Kremes, why can’t I make bread pudding with malasadas? And then when LorAnn Oils sent me a free sample of their maple flavoring oil, everything came together in my mind and then in my oven to create one outrageous dessert.

Maple Macadamia Nut Malasada Bread Pudding | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Stale malasadas get soaked in a creamy, maple custard, topped with macadamia nuts, baked in the oven until puffy, and then topped with a maple cream glaze that tastes exactly like the frosting on a maple bar. I recommend eating it warm. It’s part soft and squishy, part crunchy and chewy, creamy, sweet, and completely awesome.

And here’s the super awesome thing about that maple oil. The flavoring is intense, so you only have to use a tiny bit to flavor the whole dessert. That means one bottle will last forever, which means you don’t have to spend a ton of money. I also have some more flavors to try out, which means I get to create more craziness for you, and that’s basically my favorite thing.

Maple Macadamia Nut Malasada Bread Pudding | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You know wasting food and wasting money are basically the same thing. If there’s a way to save it, and turn it into something just as good or better, you’ve got to go for it.  Maple Macadamia Nut Malasada Bread Bread Pudding is rad!

Maple Macadamia Nut Malasada Bread Pudding
Serves 8
Stale malasadas get transformed with a creamy, maple custard and a sweet maple glaze
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 5 leftover malasadas or plain doughnuts
  2. 1/4 cup honey roasted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  5. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  6. 2 cups whole milk
  7. 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring oil
For the glaze
  1. 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  3. 2 drops maple flavoring oil
  1. Chop your malasadas into bite size pieces and spread them out a 9-inch pie pan. Scatter your chopped macadamia nuts over the top.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, brown sugar, cream, milk, and maple oil. Whisk until combined.
  3. Pour your egg and milk mixture over your malasadas. Press the malasadas down into the custard to make sure everything gets good and soaked. Let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350. After the soaking time is up, bake for 40 minutes until puffy and ever so slightly wobbly. Let it cool off for about 10 minutes. Serve warm with the maple glaze below.
For the glaze
  1. In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar, cream, and maple oil. You want a relatively thick glaze. It should plop off your spoon, not pour.
Adapted from Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
 Be sure to check out all my blogger pals who tested out their LorAnn oils and made you something awesome!

Strawberry Fudge from The Stylish Nest

Pumpkin Spice Latte French Macarons from Rickabamboo

Amaretto Cookies from The Blonde in the Apron

No Soda Root Beer Cupcakes and Frosting from Juggling Act Mama

Coffee Donuts from the First Year Blog

Pumpkin Spice Brownie Cookies from Flippin’ Delicious

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake from The Frugal Foodie Mama

Sink Freshening Tabs in a Snap from Christina, Plain and Simple

Marshmallow Cookies with Princess Cake Frosting from Mom’s Busy Helper

White Chocolate Key Lime Shortbread from It Bakes Me Happy

Toasted Coconut Hot Chocolate from Delightful E Made

Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie from Nel’s Nook

Cinnamon Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting from Hezzi-D’s Book and Cooks

Almond Cake Cookies with Cinnamon Spice Glaze from Mom’s Test Kitchen

Soft Pumpkin Spice Cookies from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Princess Sand Tarts from Diary of a Recipe Collector

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze from Deliciously Sprinkled

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse from Confessions of a Cooking Diva

Purple People Eater Popcorn Balls from Seven Alive

Green Apple High Hat Cupcakes from Pint Sized Baker

Pumpkin Pie Pudding Parfait from Fearlessly Creative Mamas

Mango Butter Cake from Clark’s Condensed

‎Pistachio Lemon cake from Self Proclaimed Foodie

Apple Crumb Coffee Cake from Healthy Delicious

Chocolate Chip Horchata Zucchini Bread from Plate to Gate

Key Lime Cookies from Cooking with Curls

Key Lime Margarita Cookies from Lori’s Culinary Adventures

Chocolate Irish Cream Bundt Cake from Lynsey Lou’s

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies from Never Skip Dessert

‎Maple Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce from the Paisley Barn

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cream Puffs from That’s my Home

Citrus Body Scrub from Melissa’s Cuisine

Pumpkin Spiced Tres Leches Cake from Flavor Mosaic

Salted Caramel Meringue Cookies from The Bitter Side of Sweet

Pumpkin Toffee from Eazy Peazy Meals

Movie Theater Chocolate from KC Bakes

Lactose Free Bacarian Cream Pudding from Travel Parent

Red Velvet Muffins from I Love my Disorganized Life

Maple Bacon Fruit Dip from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures

Maple Macadamia Nut Bread Pudding from Awesome on $20 a Day

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn Snacks from Grumpy’s Honey Bunch

Cranberry Cheesecake Bites from Lady Behind the Curtain

Pumpkin French Macarons from Sweet and Savory by Shinee

Caramelized Apple Spice Cake from The Freshman Cook

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Awesome in September

All the Cool Chicks


coolchicks Aloha, it’s Geoff here again! Renee asked me to write a guest post this week.

Unfortunately this post is not about hipster-chickens as the title and feature photo hints. Instead this is about how to cool down your chickens when the weather outside makes you beg for AC! We’ve been suffering with stifling temperatures and humidity over the past few days. If you’ve followed my instructions and made a DIY air-conditioner, you’ll probably be ok…but what about your pets?!

 You probably know by now that we have our own mini-flock of chickens living in our backyard. Like most pets, chickens can’t talk (in any human language anyway). When you see your chickens laying on the ground with their wings outstretched and their beaks open, you know it’s too hot for them. I’ve tried hosing them down with cold water, but surprisingly, they don’t particularly like that method.

Why don’t we have ducks instead?

I was going to have to fool them into cooperating. And what better way to get them to cooperate, than by giving them some food? 

Our chickens definitely think with their stomach, which can get them into some trouble at times. Only a couple of weeks ago, the three of them decided that they wanted to eat an amaryllis plant that had sat in our garden for a couple of years. Turns out that amaryllis is poisonous to chickens! After pulling up the amaryllis, I nursed the three stoodges back to health with spoonfuls of yogurt. Silly chickens!

Anyway, back to the point of this post.

What you’ll need is a large fruit of some kind (it can be a watermelon, pumpkin, grapefruit etc), some tasty treats (ham for example) and an ice cube tray!

  Tasty Treats

Just throw the fruit in the fridge or freezer (maybe not throw it in there…fruit tends to explode when thrown), put the tasty treats in the ice cube tray, top it up with water and pop that into the freezer too. Simple! Wait until the ice cubes have frozen and you then have chicken popsicles! 

The Three Stoodges

I could tell Daenerys was back to her old self because she was trying to guard ALL of the food and stop Godzilla and Rodan from having any.


Cool Chickens

It takes them a little while to peck away the ice to get at the ham. It’s fun to see their faces when they realize that there’s actually something super tasty inside. They will run around the garden with an ice cube hanging out of their beaks.

Mmm Watermelon

Afterwards, they’ll all have sticky beaks and faces from the watermelon so you might have to rinse them down after all! 

This doesn’t just apply to chickens. Dogs will love trying to get the ham out of the ice…I would say cats too but they probably wouldn’t want to get their paws cold!

I hope this inspires you to go out and do something awesome for your pets today.

Geoff out.

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