Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m supposed to be writing about life and chocolate cupcakes. I’ve been staring this computer for a good fifteen minutes trying to conjure up some words. My husband is out drinking with work friends, and my animals are both asleep on separate sofas. Old episodes of Friends are playing in the background, and I’m just sitting here so happy it’s Friday. It’ll already be Saturday when you read this. You will be well and truly sunk into the weekend by now, and I hope you’re absolutely reveling in it. 

I think the older I get, the more precious weekends become. Especially when I think about how I probably won’t be able to retire until like a week before I die. I suppose that’s all the more reason to take the time to make and eat cupcakes. Let every weekend be a celebration. You survived another week, and you deserve chocolate.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable. They also have a lovely light texture because of the addition of ground almonds. If you have a hard time finding them, you can always throw some skinned almonds in into the food processor. 

The mint frosting is sweet and refreshing. I promise it doesn’t taste like toothpaste. Though if you could eat it from a tube, I’d be cool with that. These are definitely from scratch cupcakes. There are no clever shortcuts. But there’s absolutely nothing fiddly about making them. You’ll be nice and relaxed, and the smell is absolutely heavenly.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You work hard. You deserve a cupcake.

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Serves 24
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable. 
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the cake
  1. 100 grams chocolate chips
  2. 175 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 275 grams brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 150 ml buttermilk
  7. 200 grams all-purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp baking powder
  9. 1 tsp baking soda
  10. 100 grams ground almonds
For the frosting
  1. 200 grams unsalted butter, room temp
  2. 250 grams powdered sugar, sifted
  3. 1 tsp peppermint extract
  4. green food coloring, or not, whatever you like
For the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and prep 24 cupcake papers. If you only have one pan, stash the batter in the fridge between batches. It’s not the end of the world.
  2. Boil some water, then measure out your chocolate into a bowl. Pour 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the boiling water over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smoothish. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  3. With your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla to your beaten eggs.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the egg mixture.
  6. Add the chocolate. Make sure to get it all.
  7. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. If you’ve been using a stand mixer, you can abandon it at this point.
  8. Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda over your wet ingredients, then add the almonds.
  9. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together.
  10. Divide your batter between the 24 cups. I use my cookie scoop. Each one gets two generous scoops. Fill them about two thirds full.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they spring back when touched.
  12. Let them cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, then cool them completely on a wire rack if you have it. Or the counter is totally fine, too.
For the frosting
  1. Beat the butter and powdered sugar together with your mixer on medium high for about five minutes. It should be light and fluffy.
  2. Turn the mixer down to low and add in the peppermint extract and food coloring for your desired effect.
  3. Marry your cake and frosting in whatever way you see fit. I used a Wilton 1m tip straight above the cupcake. Just squeeze it for about three seconds. Easy!
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
http://awesomeon20.com/
Basic Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Eating Out: Max's Bar & Grill
Basic Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Basic Burgers

Basic Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Summer is all up on us, and there are a few things we’re definitely going to need. First thing’s first, we’re going to need like eight gallons of sunscreen because while a tan may seem fashionable, you’ll probably regret it when you’re forty and wrinkly. Throw a cute hat in for good measure because while the sunshine will eventually fade, your face will be with you forever. We’re probably also going to need a healthy supply of rose and/or Pimm’s because what’s the point of summer without them. 

Let’s also pick up a cute picnic blanket in the hopes that the sunshine continues. In Scotland, there’s a big risk that this could be it for sunshine. But I believe we’ll still have the chance for a picnic in which we eat eat cheese and drink sneaky wine under the shade of a huge old tree. Maybe we eat sandwiches and Victoria Sponge. Or maybe we go all out and grill something.

Basic Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re definitely going to need a great basic burger that we can transform into a million different delicious permutations. But wait, you ask, can’t we just go and get some frozen burger patties from the grocery store and plop those on the grill? Squeeze some ketchup on there, and Bob’s your uncle. Yeah, no. I don’t want your summer to be sad and bland. With only an ounce more effort, you can be eating something truly tasty.

I’m not writing a recipe here, because I want you to rely on your instincts. If you think there’s pressure to make a burger in a certain way, you might just revert back to grocery store boringness. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. If you want juicy burgers, they need to have some fat, so make sure to buy ground beef with at least 15% fat. 
  2. You’ll need to have an egg and some breadcrumbs on hand to make everything come together.
  3. Your hands are your best tools, so don’t be afraid to get in there and get messy.
  4. Make sure your grill or other cooking device is properly preheated before you start cooking your burgers.

Basic Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

As far as mixing up the actual burger patties goes, just have a look around your kitchen, and add in whatever you think tastes good. For a regular burger, I like to add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning or dried oregano, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and tobasco sauce. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these things. Salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce will still make a delicious burger. And to be honest, I never do it the same way twice. Just don’t be shy with the seasonings. Unless you have a notoriously heavy hand with seasoning, you’ll probably need a smidge more than you think. 

Once you’ve got all your seasonings in, add in a lightly beaten egg (one egg per pound of ground beef) and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Leave the lid off the breadcrumbs in case you need to add more. Use one hand to gently mix everything together. If it’s still really wet, sprinkle in a few more breadcrumbs. Form your mixture into four burger patties, again if you’re using a pound of ground beef. Be sure not to overmix or press your patties too tightly. You want your burgers to be tender at the end, not spongey.

Basic Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cook your burgers over medium heat in a well oiled pan or grill, and only turn them once. How long you cook them depends on how pink you like your burgers. Do what makes you happy. Top your burger however you like. Just promise you’ll never make sad frozen burgers again.

Happy summer, friends.

Awesome in May
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Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
Awesome in May

Awesome in May

Awesome in May

Okay, I know it’s already the 8th, but I’m getting old, and it takes me a long time to get over jet lag. Last night I was fast asleep by 9 pm. There’s a pile of clean laundry on my love seat waiting to be folded that’s been building since Sunday. At this point I’m thinking I should just leave it there to meet up with this week’s laundry. That’s totally normal behavior for an adult human with a full time job and a 17 year old offspring, right?

At this point it’s probably needless to say that May was jam-packed with excitement. We made our first visit to Big Feed Glasgow, an indoor food truck gathering. We visited some cool National Trust for Scotland sites with our new year-long membership, and ate some delicious halloumi fries because how can you not at a place called Halloumi. I baked some cakes and hosted a coffee morning at work. We reveled in the rare Scottish sunshine, and I took of group of teenagers on an overnight camping expedition. And that was all before we got on a plane.

Awesome in May

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we made a trip to the US at the end of the month for my daughter’s high school graduation. While in Nashville we ate some awesome pancakes, some tasty hot chicken, and some not quite as good as homemade but still better than anything you can get in Glasgow biscuits and gravy. We visited Rock City and waited in line for a hundred years at Ruby Falls.

Awesome in May

And then we ticked off an item from my personal bucket list by visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was so completely magical. I was not disappointed in any way. The lines weren’t too long, and we managed to see and do everything in the two parks that we wanted in just one day. I wanted to quit my job and make pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes for the rest of my life. It was absolutely thrilling. We all loved it, and I think it will be a day we’ll never forget.

Awesome in May

We finished off our trip with a quick stay in Atlanta and a visit to the King Center and the Georgia Aquarium. They have four rescued whale sharks at this aquarium, and they’re so cool. They had a bunch of great exhibits, and I think it was worth the somewhat steep price to see such a big variety of wildlife. 

This ended up being a rather lengthy recap, but it was a big month. The best moment was seeing my baby graduate from high school. She worked so hard to achieve, and I couldn’t possibly be more proud of her. I can’t believe I’m about to be the mom of a college student. I absolutely cannot wait to visit her in New York.

We’ve got a few more days of nice weather on the horizon, but we’ll be doing absolutely nothing in June, as our recent trip was definitely not $20 a day. Apparently there’s some football to watch or something. Come hang out while I’m being boring. I’ll still make you cake.

Creamy Sausage Dip | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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