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6 Awesome Summer Wines Under $10

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6 Awesome Summer Wines

You know I love a good happy hour as much as anybody, but most of the time, I prefer to enjoy a drink in the comfort of my home, or sip a glass of wine discreetly while grilling at the beach. Even if you find a really cheap happy hour, it’s never going to be as affordable as a bottle of wine. 

There are plenty of great white wines to be had for under $10, and if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that sells wine in the grocery store, they’re extremely convenient to pick up for a weekend dinner party or a Wednesday night that needs a dose of calm. Here are some of our favorites in no particular order. I’m not a wine expert. I just like what I like.

Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio is crisp and refreshing. I find it works well with food and isn’t too sweet.

Menage a Trois Moscato is one of Geoff’s favorites. It’s definitely sweet and best for sipping after dinner. I’ll admit that I prefer moscato with ice. I find it calms the syrupy quality that moscato can sometimes have.

Barefoot Refresh Crisp White is the perfect pool or beach side sipper. It’s a little bit bubbly, a little bit sweet, quite crisp and completely refreshing. It seems to have a low alcohol content, so you won’t be stumbling about after a few glasses.

Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice when you need a large bottle of wine. It’s still just under $10 and pleases most any palate. 

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc is on the green side, which I really like, especially in warm weather. 

Chateau St. Michelle Riesling is possibly my favorite wine. It’s made not far from where I grew up, so it has a sentimental attachment for me. Plus, rieslings are just the right level of sweet for my taste. Not too syrupy, not too dry. It works well with food or on its own.

I almost never buy a wine that costs more than $10. They’re not always great, but they’re rarely that bad. These are all wines I would gladly drink again and again. Feel free to bring a bottle.

What are your favorite summer wines? What will you be drinking at your Labor Day celebration? 

Awesome in August
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Awesome in August

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Awesome in August

August has worn me out, you guys. It’s been non-stop working with plenty of weekending thrown in. I’m desperately in need of this long weekend. Let’s make it happen.

Islands

Let’s start off with my favorite thing, eating. We were supposed to take it easy on the eating out this month, and I guess we did cut down a little bit, but we still managed to enjoy some turkey burgers at Islands, a wicked strong cocktail at Hula Grill, some overpriced hummus at the Moana Surfrider’s Beach Bar, and a super cheesy pizza at Harbor Pub & Pizza

Hula Grill

We’re about to dig in to Season 2 of Falling Skies. Season 1 started off insteresting but slow, but by the end of the season, there were enough plot twists to make you dizzy. In that “I’m completely hooked” kind of way. I’m hoping life will slow down just a touch so we can jump into the next episodes. 

I read Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s a collection of short stories about various Indian families who have put down roots in America. Lahiri’s writing is elegant and evocative. The first story was about a woman who had recently lost her mother, and I found it a bit difficult to get through, which should be considered praise. It definitely stirred up a lot of emotions. Then I was humming along enjoying the ride, and she managed to hit me in the face with a baseball bat in the last five pages. That’s an ending that will stay with me for a long time. 

The internet’s got me dreaming of blowing up one of my photos and making my own Giant Tiled Photo Art to hang in my kitchen a la A Beautiful Mess, though I doubt I could ever make it look that cute. Foodie with Family is killing me with Cheesy Barbecue Chicken and Bacon Eggrolls. Since I can’t escape Asian food in Hawaii, I might as well join in with an American version. And I sort of want to turn my house into a mall cookie stand and make these Homemade Dinky Doozies from Annie’s Eats. So good.

Greek Fest

We also attended the Greek Fest this year, and I ate loukoumades, and then promptly had to talk myself out of eating more loukoumades because they’re basically heaven. 

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake from Awesome on 20

Now for the stuff you thought was awesome. You’re dreaming of fall and pumpkins and getting into Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake. You’re probably also trying to avoid the lingering heat by checking out Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel No Bake Cookies. And you really love Labor Day, and why wouldn’t you . Be sure to eat all the food ever and get A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Recipes.

harbor

I hope it’s about to cool off in your part of the world. September is the calm before the holiday storm. Live it!

No-Fail Sugar Cookies

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No-Fail Sugar Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The weather in Hawaii is beautiful. It never gets above 90 degrees. And while 85 may be beautiful at the beach, 85 in the kitchen is not so awesome. I’ve always had trouble with any recipe that involves rolling out dough, cutting and transporting it to a pan. Disaster almost always ensues. Butter melts quickly at 85 degrees. Everything falls apart. But today I’m feeling triumphant. I finally found a sugar cookie recipe that works.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This recipe comes from Canadian cake goddess, Sweetapolita. It’s pretty much the perfect sugar cookie. They’re soft but sturdy and full of flavor. They taste great all by themselves, no frosting or glaze needed, but because they hold their shape so well when baked, they’re prime for decorating. 

The key is to keep everything well chilled. This dough goes in and out of the refrigerator or freezer three times. Make the dough. Chill it. Roll the dough. Chill it. Cut the dough. Chill it in the freezer. Having your cookie dough nice and cold when it goes into the oven prevents spreading so that fancy lion you cut still looks like a lion instead of some pathetic blob when you take it out of the oven. It takes a bit of time, but the results are so worth it. They work even in a warm kitchen. I’m so relieved to finally have a reliable sugar cookie recipe that works in Hawaii.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Maybe I should finally learn how to decorate sugar cookies now that I have a no-fail recipe. It’s about to get awesome.

No-Fail Sugar Cookies
Yields 24
Soft, sturdy, flavorful sugar cookies that work every time, even in a warm kitchen.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
Instructions
  1. Sift flour and salt together into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium high for about five minutes. Your butter mixture will become very pale and fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg and beat until combined.
  4. Turn your mixer as low as it will go and slowly add the flour, mixing until thoroughly combined. Mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts and crank your mixer up to medium for about 10 seconds to make sure everything is well blended.
  5. Carefully dump your dough out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and press it together into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk, cover completely and put the dough into the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
  6. Clear a space in your kitchen to roll out your dough. I have a baking mat that I then cover with parchment. Unwrap your chilled dough and place it on the parchment, then put another sheet of parchment on top. Scour your house for two objects that are the same thickness, preferably between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. I used two cutting boards. Places them on either side of the dough about as far apart as the span of your rolling pin. These will be your guides to make sure your dough is rolled to an even thickness. With the parchment paper over the top, roll your cookie dough until it's even with your guides. Slide something stiff under your rolled out dough, and transport it back to the refrigerator to chill for another 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven to 325.
  8. Remove your rolled dough from the fridge, cut the shapes you want, place the cut dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  9. Bake your cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. They'll still be quite pale, but you want them to set enough that they won't crumble when you try to frost them.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the pan for another 10 minutes, then remove them to wire racks to cool completely before decorating. Or not. They're totally awesome eaten plain.
Notes
  1. This may seem like a crazy amount of steps. Do not skip them, especially if your kitchen is warm. Cold dough is key.
Adapted from Sweetapolita
Adapted from Sweetapolita
How to be awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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