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Fig Jam and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese

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Fig Jam & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Our little hurricane out here in the middle of the Pacific turned out to be a tropical storm which has done no more than dump rain on us for well over 24 consecutive hours with no promise of ceasing until the middle of the night. With temperatures hovering just around 80, I’m finally getting a hint of Autumn weather, and I’m absolutely loving it. I’ve been working overtime this week, so I’m thrilled to have an excuse to do absolutely nothing but take a nap and hang out in my kitchen all day.

I’ve always been a cheese lover, but lately I’ve been upping my cheese game. I’ve graduated to slightly more grown up cheeses and branched out to more sophisticated flavor combinations. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still going to eat a box of Kraft mac and cheese, but when I can get my hands on flavors that are a bit more bold, I’m ready to jump right in.

 

Fig Jam & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Fig Jam and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese is a bit more luxurious than a lot of the food you’ll see here. The cheese and the jam together were about $12, which is a bit steep for just two ingredients in my opinion. Still, I felt it was okay to splurge this once, keeping in mind that I could have definitely spent $20 on just the cheese. 

The smokey, creamy gouda and the subtly sweet fig jam go together beautifully. It’s like putting Fall between two slices of buttery, crispy grilled bread. It’s elegant, indulgent, and completely awesome. I feel like you could cut these sandwiches into triangles and serve them with wine (I know nothing about wine pairings, but I’d probably try a sauvignon blanc) at a party. It’s like fancy kid food. It’s pretty much where I’m at.

 

Fig Jam & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Up your grilled cheese game, put Fall on a plate, and make Fig Jam and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese.

Fig Jam and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese
Serves 1
Fig Jam and Smoked Gouda Grilled cheese combines smoky and sweet in the perfect, sophisticated yet fun little sandwich that's perfect for Fall.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices sandwich bread
  2. 2 tablespoons (enough to lightly cover both slices of bread) fig jam
  3. 3 slices (enough to cover one slice of bread) smoked gouda
  4. 1 tablespoon (enough to thinly cover two slices of bread) softened butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat a small skillet over medium heat.
  2. Lay out your two slices of bread and spread a thin layer of fig jam on each slice. Add a layer of cheese and put the lid on your sandwich. Spread a thin layer of softened butter on the outside of the top slice of bread, and place the sandwich, butter side down in your hot pan. Add butter to the other piece of bread that's now on top, and cook on each side for three or four minutes or until your sandwich is a brown and crispy as you like.
  3. Slice your sandwich down the middle or in triangles to share.
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai

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Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

Cinnamon’s has been our favorite place to get breakfast before kayaking in Kailua for a couple of years, so when we heard they were going to be opening up a second location in Waikiki, we were thrilled. Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai is still partially under construction, but their outdoor seating is open, and they’re serving a limited menu until their official opening next month. We’re not very patient, though. We’ve already been to their new location twice.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

On our first visit, I tried the guava chiffon pancakes. The red velvet pancakes aren’t available yet, but these were just as awesome. Their light, fluffy, buttermilk pancakes get topped with a thick layer of sweet guava chiffon. It’s heavenly.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

Of course, a place called Cinnamon’s has to have cinnamon rolls. I highly recommend starting out your breakfast with one of these. Apparently, you have to specify that you don’t want the one with mac nuts, not the other way around, even though they’re listed separately on the menu. The cinnamon rolls are buttery and tender, but the mac nut filling sort of ruined the experience for me.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

For our second visit, I ordered the Eggs Benedict with breakfast tots. My egg was perfectly cooked, and they didn’t skimp on the hollondaise sauce. It was delicious. The tots were also very crispy. They were a nice change to the usual hash browns or fried potatoes.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

Geoff ordered the breakfast nachos both times. Tortilla chips get topped with scrambled eggs, cheese, salsa, olives, green onions and bacon crumbles. It also comes with a side of sour cream. In all his loquaciousness he said, “It was good.” Hashtag: Face palm. He ordered it twice. That should tell you something. 

There’s a beautiful view of the Waikiki Yacht Harbor which is most enjoyable on a stormy Saturday. The service is friendly, but some of the staff is still in training. I’m sure it will become more consistent after their official opening. Still, the food came out promptly, and the experience on a whole was relaxing. We were pleasantly surprised by the size of our bill as well. The prices are very reasonable, even for Waikiki.

Definitely check out Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai. It’s awesome.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day  

When it comes to trends, I’m usually a late adopter. I tend to go my own way and do my own thing. I figure if everybody’s doing it, there’s a good chance it’s not actually that great. I don’t know. I’m a dedicated weirdo. Sometimes it helps me avoid silliness like The Spice Girls, Real Housewives, and kale. Other times, it keeps me from experiencing something awesome. Can you believe I didn’t read Harry Potter until 2001. All those years I could have spent at Hogwarts, but I was too busy being too cool. What an idiot.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This pumpkin spice trend, though? I jumped right on board. And I intend to stay on board even after the ship sails because it’s awesome. I love the warm wintry spices and the sweetness of the pumpkin. The moment they start selling pumpkin spice at Starbucks, I’m ordering a pumpkin spice chai every chance I get.

These Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes are perfect for sharing and ideal for transport. The crust is a whole gingersnap cookie that softens up when you bake the cheesecakes. Add a dollop of whipped cream, and you’ve got a delightful dessert that you could be proud to serve at any holiday party from Halloween to Christmas. They’re elegant, adorable, and delicious. 

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sometimes things actually become trendy for a good reason. Get on the Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake ship. We’re sailing all the way to awesome town.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Yields 18
A small dessert packed with flavor, mini-pumpkin cheesecakes, are perfectly portioned and easy to transport. Also, totally awesome.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 18 gingersnap cookies
  2. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2/3 cup sugar
  4. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  5. A pinch of salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/3 cup sour cream
  8. 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  9. 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  13. Caramel whipped cream for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line 18 cups of your muffin tins with your favorite papers. Place a whole gingersnap in the bottom of each paper.
  2. Beat together the cream cheese, both sugars, and salt with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Finally blend in the sour cream, pumpkin, and spices. Beat until smooth.
  4. Divide your cheesecake batter evenly between 18 cups. Go ahead and fill them almost to the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until there's no wobble left. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is fine.
  5. Top your tiny cheesecakes with caramel whipped cream if you can find it. Plain is fine, too. Either way, have fun.
Notes
  1. You can replace the spices with with a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice if you have it, or swap out other similar spices based on what you have in your collection.
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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