Lemon Champagne Punch | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Lemon Champagne Punch

Lemon Champagne Punch | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This is the part where I usually say something silly about life and pretend it’s interesting. I admit, I’m not feeling particularly interesting today. I’m emerging from the dark side but still finding my footing. I’m making a concerted effort to relax and be happy, but it’s still feeling a bit foreign, a bit undeserved. These are the weird, illogical things that go through the mind of a depressed person, or at least this depressed person. Being happy takes work. 

But enough of that nonsense. Let’s talk about what I’ve got for you. It’s good.

Lemon Champagne Punch | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I come bearing gifts for your sunny days. We have one more day of sun promised before the rain comes back, but you hopefully have lots of sun, maybe even unbearable heat in your future. You need some fizzy, sweet, and boozy. I like to give the people what they want.

 This Lemon Champagne Punch is sweet and tart, so get drinking. Just dump a bunch of lovely things into a lovely punch bowl or pitcher, give them a gentle stir, then sip until you couldn’t be happier.

Lemon Champagne Punch | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You deserve to be happy. 100%. A little Lemon Champagne Punch could only help.

Lemon Champagne Punch
Serves 8
Lemon Champagne Punch is sweet and tart and bubbling with happiness.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  2. 1/2 cup caster sugar
  3. 1 cup vodka
  4. 1/2 cup limoncello
  5. 1 tablespoon vermouth
  6. 1 bottle (750 ml) dry sparkling wine, chilled
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients with ice in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Enjoy with friends.
Adapted from Emeril Lagase
Adapted from Emeril Lagase
http://awesomeon20.com/
Loaded Baked Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Loaded Baked Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Loaded Baked Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The long weekend is so close I can almost smell it. It smells like a backyard barbecue.

This long weekend is much needed. Between battling work stress and a bout of obnoxious depression, I’m completely exhausted. My weather app is promising that there will be at least one day of warmth and sunshine. It’s gonna be Scotland hot, and I fully intend to get a mild sunburn. I’m going to eat whatever I want, wear flowery, fluttery clothes, and chill the f out. Don’t you dare try to stop me.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I hope you have lots of basking in sunshine and setting fire to things and then cooking many meats and ears of sweet corn. If this is in the cards for you, please, in the name of all that is delicious, do not serve your friends and family store bought potato salad with its sad potato bits, horrible celery, and way too much mayo. Not when totally awesome potato salad can so easily be made in your own kitchen.

This Loaded Baked Potato Salad is loaded up with all the good stuff, like cheese and bacon. You know I don’t play around. You will need to plan ahead a bit because this needs to chill in the fridge for at least four hours, but other than that, it’s super simple. Fry some bacon, boil some potatoes, stir a few things together, and then eat totally awesome potato salad that will keep you well away from the deli counter for the rest of your life.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I hope your future includes burger, loaded baked potato salad, Pimm’s, and a really cute hat. You deserve to be awesome. Let’s do it.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Serves 6
Loaded Baked Potato Salad with cheddar and bacon will make you forget all about store bought.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 kilo (about 2 pounds) baby potatoes, quartered
  2. 5 ounces bacon
  3. 1 cup sour cream
  4. 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. 2 green onions, chopped
  9. 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Chop your potatoes into bite size chunks. This may be in half, quarters, or even smaller depending on how baby your baby potatoes actually are. Just make them into a size that would easily fit on the end of your fork then in your mouth. Add them to a big pot, and cover them with cold water. Add a fat pinch of salt, slap a lid on, and cook your potatoes over medium high heat for about 25 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork. You want them tender but not mushy. Drain the potatoes.
  2. While your potatoes are doing their thing, chop or scissor your bacon into a large skillet and cook up the pieces until their crisp. Drain your bacon on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. As your bacon is working in the pan, you can also get your dressing ready. In a large mixing bowl that you can fit your potatoes in later, whisk together the sour cream, mayo, salt, pepper, garlic powder and chopped green onions. If you wanted to sneak in a dash of cayenne here, I wouldn't complain.
  4. Once your potatoes are drained, add them to the sour cream mixture along with your bacon pieces. Give everything a gentle fold to coat all everything in the dressing. The dressing will get thinned out from the heat from the potatoes, but don't worry, it will all come back together in the fridge. Put some plastic wrap or a lid on your bowl, and stash it in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.
  5. Before serving, stir in the shredded cheddar. Serve cold next to your favorite burgers and hot dogs.
Adapted from No Ordinary Moments
http://awesomeon20.com/
Explore: London

Explore: London & The Harry Potter Studio Tour

 

It occurred to me the other day that I never shared with you anything about our quick trip in March down to London. It rained the entire time, so my camera stayed in my bag for a lot of the trip. I wish I had more photos to share, but at least you’ll get a flavor of our adventure.

Explore: London

We arrived on a Monday afternoon and set off immediately for the Marx Memorial Library. My socialist child’s heart was all aflutter standing in Lenin’s office and eating an early dinner in the pub where Marx and Lenin hatched the ideas that are still inspiring young people to question the way the world operates to this day. 

We still had some daylight left, so we wandered around Clerkenwell and popped into the St. John’s museum, strolled past Smithfield Market, and came upon the gorgeous church above, St. Bartholomew’s. My favorite thing about London is the way you can just stumble upon history without even trying. Even if you don’t get to go inside, you should always slip down those side alleys when you think you see something cool. Chances are, you were right, and you’ll be rewarded.

Explore: London

The main reason we went down to London was to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour. If you love Harry Potter, and you’re in or near London, it will be worth every penny to take the detour to Watford Junction for this experience. These stories are so close to my heart, so to witness the loving detail with which these films were created was unforgettable. And naturally, they do a great job of making the experience emotional and cinematic without it feeling cheap or overcommercialised. 

I got chills looking at these stone knights (well, they’re probably styrofoam or something) and remembering McGonogall bringing them to life and sending them forth to defend the castle. It’s almost embarrassing how many times I got tears in my eyes on this day.

Explore: London

Speaking of McGonogall, look at how gorgeous her costume is. There are hundreds of costumes on display, and knowledgeable staff to share fun stories about wigs, shoes, makeup, prosthetics and other great behind the scenes anecdotes that make the experience more real for visitors. 

As a baker, I had to get a photo of the chocolate sculptures that were on the table at the welcome feast in Goblet of Fire. Can I get one of those chocolate phoenixes, please?

Explore: London

The Gryffindor common room looked so cozy. I wanted to plop myself on the sofa in front of the fire with my copy of Hogwarts a History. They also have that book on display, along with copies of the Quibbler, the Daily Prophet, and just about every book ever mentioned in the series.

Explore: London

There’s some fun interactive stuff as well. At the Burrow, you can practice your household spells and help Mrs. Weasley with the washing up and more. Also, I think I want that dish drainer for my own kitchen. Think I could get her to make me a chicken and ham pie?

Explore: London

You can also learn some dueling choreography, and of course, ride a broom. You’re not allowed to take photos in the broom area, but we definitely bought some photos of Emily flying to Hogwarts. She’s also wanted by Voldemort’s puppet ministry for being a political dissident. Dumbledore’s Army forever!

Explore: London

One of my favorite things was a hallway displaying some of the concept art created for the films. Obviously, this scene never made it into the film. If I had been by myself, I probably would have spent a few minutes mourning at Dumbledore’s funeral. This painting is just so heartbreakingly beautiful.

Explore: London

The grand finale, before the massive gift shop, of course, is the miniature scale model of Hogwarts. You can walk all the way around it and take in every angle of the castle. I loved standing here and remembering Hermione punching Draco Malfoy in the face. I’m practically a pacifist, but that kid had it coming.

There is so much more than what I’ve showed you in these photos. If you’ve been, I’d love to know your favorite bits. Also, pro-tip, the cafe is not outrageously priced, so you don’t have to panic about eating lunch there. You’ll need it. The food is placed perfectly at the a halfway point in the exhibit when you’re starting to get hungry and tired. Unless you love really really really sweet drinks, I recommend getting one butterbeer to share just to say you’ve had the experience.

The British Library was between the train station and our hotel, so I got to continue my perfect bookish day in London by gaping at the King’s library and ogling some ancient manuscripts that are on display there. It doesn’t take too long to visit the free exhibits there, so if you’re in the neighborhood, definitely pop in.

Explore: London

Our third and final day was Geoff’s turn to pick, so we hoofed it through London over to the Natural History Museum. This museum is huge and packed with exhibits, so if you really want to see everything, I’d give yourself at least half a day. Luckily, it’s free, so if you don’t get to see all you want, you can always go back. Our favorites were the animals. Of course, the dinosaur exhibit was awesome. The building itself is also spectacular.

There’s so much to do in London that I doubt I’ll ever get to see everything on my list, but that won’t stop me trying. What should we do in London next time?

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