Hold That Thought

Thoughts and feelings are swirling right now, friends, and I’ve made some decisions. The past few years, I’ve been really inconsistent and non-committal with this blog. I didn’t give it the energy that it really needed to be properly nourished.

In the past I’ve taken long, unplanned breaks because I just didn’t feel like I had anything to say. This is different.

I wanted to let you know that I’m taking a planned, totally intentional, and completely focused break this time. There won’t be any new posts here for a couple of weeks at least. In the meantime, we’ll be doing a bit of tidying up in this space. Cleansing. Renewal.

I’m still sorting through exactly what that will look like, both literally and figuratively. Some archived recipes might disappear from the feed to give us a fresh start. Or not because you can’t erase your past. Renewal is a process, and I’m still working through it.

What I do know is that I’m committed. I want to have my own business someday, and I feel like this blog could be the key that unlocks that door, or maybe even the door itself. We’re making things happen, friends. Come along for the ride.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback. What kind of content do you most enjoy? What else would you be open to reading about? Where do you like to hang out on social media? Leave a comment and let me know.

I hope those of you who read this blog will stick with me. If you visit and things look a bit wonky, extend a little patience and know that it will all pay off. I’m here for it all. It’s gonna be awesome.

Wheaten Biscuits | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Wheaten Biscuits | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Wheaten Biscuits

Wheaten Biscuits | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s well-established that I am extremely lazy. I’m also the absolute worst at arts and crafts. I can’t even draw stick people. The idea of making my own home decor is absolutely abhorrent. Who has the time and energy to make macrame pot holders? Most of the time, I’d much rather buy something than make it myself.

Food is the one exception. And still I’m far from making everything from scratch. I have no shame around serving store bought stuff. One of the best ways to entertain friends is with a gorgeous cheese board, and that can be nothing but good shopping and careful arranging. It’s delicious, and everybody is happy.

Wheaten Biscuits | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

But if you did want to make something from scratch to make your cheese eating experience a bit more special, I highly recommend these Wheaten Biscuits. They come together really quickly in the food processor, and they have great texture and flavor. I actually just ate most of these plain.

These are a great accompaniment for any kind of cheese, but I feel like a great, locally-made sharp cheddar would be ideal. And a cold cider. And lots of friends and laughter. Maybe in front of a fireplace. How could life get any better?

Wheaten Biscuits | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Do what you can with what you have, and be grateful for every moment. And when you have a few minutes to spare, make Wheaten Biscuits to eat with some great cheese and some great people.

Recipe from The Great British Book of Baking by Linda Collister.

Earl Grey with Lemon Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Earl Grey with Lemon Ice Cream

Earl Grey with Lemon Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I do almost everything from a list. I find decision-making to be paralyzingly stressful, so I just make lists of everything I want to try or need to do, and then I check stuff off the list. Sometimes I have weird, complicated rules about how I organize my various lists. Sometimes I use a random number generator to decide what to do next. I’m crazy.

When I get really bored or really stressed, I find something to make a list of. The longer the better. Is the list useful? Doesn’t really matter. Just the act of creating a list is soothing to me. I can get into a total flow state and go for ages copying down recipes or movies or essential oils or any number of other silly things. What’s wrong with me? Is there anyone else on the entire planet who does this?

Earl Grey with Lemon Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

So my allegiance to the list is why I’m bringing you ice cream in October. It was next. Just put on a sweater, kids, because this Earl Grey with Lemon Ice Cream is awesome. I can never say Earl Grey without thinking of Captain Jean Luc Picard, so I’m pretty sure they would serve this ice cream in the officer’s dining room on the Enterprise. You should serve it at your house, too.

You do need an ice cream machine for this. I have an ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, and I find it works great. We’re going to steep some loose leaf Earl Grey in some warm cream before creating our creme anglaise base. We’re only adding in the lemon juice just before spinning the ice cream in the machine. It’s possibly a two day project, but most of it is just waiting for things to cool/freeze. It’s all gonna be worth it because nothing is good as homemade ice cream.

Oh, and you’ll have some leftover egg whites from this recipe. Use them to make meringue nests, then serve your ice cream on them. You’re a genius.

Earl Grey with Lemon Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Raise a pinky, friends, and make some Earl Grey with Lemon Ice Cream. It’s the right thing to do in any season.

Recipe from O&O Eats.

Awesome in September | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Wheaten Biscuits | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
Awesome in September | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Awesome in September

Awesome in September | How to be Awesome n $20 a Day

It’s been about a million years since I got on here and shared a catch up post like this. Mostly because we’ve been really busy without actually doing much lately. We’ve stayed close to home after a whirlwind August where I guess I was too busy to post about real life. I’ve just been wandering around with my head in the clouds. It’s been pretty awesome, actually.

My yoga class sadly ended, so I’ve been spending my Tuesdays going to a contemporary class with Dance Glasgow, and it’s been amazing so far. The class is simple and gentle, exactly what I need after a more than 10 year break from modern dance.

I also started reading Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett. I’m probably the last person on the planet to read it, but I wanted to finish the book before we tried the TV show. I’m absolutely loving it. It’s been a while since I read any Neil Gaimen, and it’s like catching up with an old, quirky, totally hilarious friend.

We’re getting into my favorite time of year for internet food, and I’m particularly excited as I’ve been paying much closer to the cycle of the seasons lately. Here’s what I’m loving.

Molly made Sesame Pretzels with Za’atar and Mozzarella Sauce, and I’m totally hooked on za’atar after these crazy good flat breads, so this can only be awesome.

I’m diving into a giant bowl of this Creamy Butternut Squash Alla Vodka Pasta. Looks gorgeous.

Finally, I’d like to eat my weight in Apple Cider Doughnuts for now and forever.

Whipped Ricotta | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Your favorite recipes this month were Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies, Whipped Ricotta, and Peanut Butter Fudge. I feel like we’re going back to school, but it’s fancy.

Will things get back to normal in October? Do we even know what normal is anymore? I don’t know, but it’s gonna be awesome.

Scones | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I Can’t Bake-Off: Scones

Scones | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

A new season of Bake-Off has started, and yet again, Paul shows he has no idea what’s happening on the internet. Every year he asks stupid questions about huge food trends that he apparently has never heard of. This year it was ruby chocolate. Dude, you can get a ruby chocolate Kit-Kat at Tesco. Is he being purposely obtuse to force exposition? It makes him seem like an idiot. Also, I’ll never forgive him for mispronouncing chipotle.

The season 1 episode 2 technical challenge for biscuit week was scones. Season 1 technicals were so easy. If they gave them the measurements for the ingredients, contestants should have been able to pull these off with no problem.

Scones | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I used the recipe from the season 1 book, The Great British Book of Baking. Though I did read the instructions, there’s no shocking techniques required here. It’s a pretty standard, albeit totally reliable, scone recipe. These came out great with very little effort. They rose beautifully and were tender in the middle. The perfect vehicle for jam and cream.

That being said, I still wouldn’t have gotten first place because I didn’t have the patience to make sure every single scone looked exactly the same, particularly after I had to reform the dough once I’d cut out as many scones as I could from the first go-round.

Scones | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The great thing about baking in your own kitchen and not on a competition show is that things don’t have to be perfect. These scones were awesome, and you should make them today. Happy baking, friends.

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Awesome in September | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Oozy Risotto Balls

Oozy Risotto Balls| How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Things are getting a little personal today, so if you’re just here for those delicious Oozy Risotto Balls, keep scrolling. I won’t be offended. This recipe is awesome.

I started out writing this post with the usual trite nonsense, then I deleted that because I was already bored with myself. Is the world bored with this whole blogging thing in general? Everyone seems to be getting their need met by 17 year-olds on YouTube or 25 year-olds on InstaGram. Is there even a point to having my 40 year-old voice here on this static page on your screen? This question sounds like self-pity, but that’s really not what I’m getting at. I promise

I’ve been embarking on something that’s had me thinking a lot about what I really want. Most of the time the answer to that question is just a cheeseburger, but I’ve been trying to take the question a little more seriously. In many ways, I’m content. I’m in a relationship that is beautifully imperfect, but I never doubt it. While we’re far from rich, I’m more financially stable than I’ve ever been, though sometimes my gut forgets and still tells me to panic.

My job is fine. I’m good at it. It’s pretty easy. It’s insanely stressful sometimes, but I’ve even gotten good at managing that. I guess there are a few benefits to being 40. But when I close my eyes and imagine my perfect life, I’m not daydreaming about sitting behind a desk. The kids I work with are amazing, and I’m glad I get to help them, but when I picture myself as truly happy, I’m baking cookies and cake and, well, whatever I want. People are drinking tea and coffee and reading books, some of which they’ve bought from the books I sell. Maybe we host events with local artists, and it’s a true community space. Everyone is smiling because you can’t be unhappy while you’re eating brownies. There’s a cat, and it’s cozy, and it’s filled with love. Maybe I want to bring my food into the real world. But that’s a dream. Can it be real?

Oozy Risotto Balls| How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

While we’re thinking out loud about our heart’s desire, we should probably share some Oozy Risotto Balls. Remember that White Risotto that we made last week, and how I told you we’d transform it into something awesome? This is that. We turned leftover risotto into crispy croquettes stuffed with oozy fresh mozzarella. These are the perfect mixture of crunchy, chewy, and creamy. You can dip them in marinara if you want, but I think they’re great as they are, fresh from the fryer and just cooled down enough to avoid burning your fingers off.

These are actually relatively easy to make as well. It’s a bit of a sticky mess forming the actual balls, then we get messy again using a standard three-step breading technique with flour, egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs, but it’s all totally worth it. These fry up perfectly is seven minutes. Let them cool a big, then dig in while the cheese in the center is still gooey.

Oozy Risotto Balls | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Things are stirring in our souls, friends, and we’re open to it. We’re asking questions and listening for answers. And of course, eating well along the way. It’s gonna be awesome.

Recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver.

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Green Apple Martini

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I meant to write this post yesterday. I left my laptop sitting out while I went into the kitchen to test a new waffle recipe. The waffles were just okay (this recipe is better), but that didn’t stop me eating three of them. When I came back into the living room to sit down and write, I discovered the cat had decided to take a nap on my laptop keyboard.

My cat is clearly some kind of devious genius because she managed to step on just the right buttons to turn off my mouse. If Geoff would have been home, the problem could have been solved in about five minutes because he knows that laptops don’t just work by magic, but alas, he was out for the night. Obviously, I had no choice but to close my laptop and go to bed at 7:30. It actually ended up being a pretty great night.

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

But as you’re reading this, it’s Friday, and we all deserve to have exactly the drink that we really want. I really want a sweet and tangy Green Apple Martini. I’m not apologizing. You know it’s tasty. And the good thing about making this drink at home is that there’s no one around to judge you.

I ordered the green apple syrup on Amazon, but it was worth it. Green apple liqueur is pretty easy to come by here. And of course, vodka is vodka. Shake it all up with ice so that it’s crazy cold, and serve it in a fancy glass because you deserve it.

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You just never know how things are going to go sometimes. This is why you always need to be ready to make a cocktail. This Green Apple Martini will get you through anything with a smile on your face.

Recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Risotto

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We have been pretty much non-stop on the go in the beginning of August, including two late nights out in a row this past week. For an introvert who absolutely requires sleep and quiet time to feel normal, it’s been a blessing but also a struggle to socialise so much. Saturday was meant to be the first day I’d have to myself in a long time, and I was really looking forward to it.

Did you guess what happened yet? I woke up with a horrible cold that no amount of apple cider vinegar could abate. Sometimes I think my body manages to fight off illness as long as I keep moving, then when it senses I’m about to relax thinks, “Okay, you’ve got time for all these viruses now. Enjoy!” I assure you I have not. Or maybe this was the universe’s weird way of granting me my wish to stay in bed reading all day.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I did manage to make you some White Risotto over the weekend. Don’t worry, I washed my hands a lot and didn’t sneeze on it. This is a pretty basic risotto recipe, no frills or fancy flavors. I kept it simple because we’re turning the other half of this risotto into something even better next week. But sometimes simple, starchy, and savoury is exactly what you need when you’re feeling under the weather.

Because this is a pretty basic recipe, you’ll want to use the best ingredients you can find, but you know me. If that means Parmesan from a green bottle, I’m still gonna love it. But if you do happen to have some quality Parmesan cheese at your disposal, and you’ve been saving it for something, I’d whip it out here.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I hope you’re all happy and healthy, friends, and I hope you take some time to get into the kitchen and make this White Risotto for yourself because it’s completely awesome.

Recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver.

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Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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