Awesome Work Clothes on $20 a Day

work outfit1

I got this great new job, and I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted to look like a professional who was ready to conquer the world. The problem is, I hadn’t bought work clothes in about four years. In fact, most of my more professionalish pieces are from my early days of teaching. That’s nine years ago. Shhhh!!! Let’s not talk about how long ago that is.

Let’s add to that the fact that I am not a rich lady and clothes are expensive. When you’re trying to get by on $20 a day, there’s usually not a lot left over for clothes. I mean, cheese and chocolate are important, but when you go to work, people expect you to be dressed. Time to go shopping.

Inspiration
Inspiration

I made a plan because I get easily distracted by cute sundresses. From the hundreds of outfits and accessories I have pinned on Pinterest, I created a new pin board and narrowed it down to 10 things that I wanted to look for on my shopping trip. Then I gave myself an allowance, $40. Two days worth of spending to try to get myself something new to wear to work.

Shopping is not my favorite thing. It’s a chore, but it has to be done. Let’s not talk about the trauma of broken ATMs. My first score was these red ankle pants that I found at Nordstrom’s Rack for $10. What? I had to have them. I also scored this cute navy blouse for $16 at TJ Maxx.

I tried on a bunch of stuff that didn’t work, and found a bunch of great shoes that were almost my entire budget. It was a tough day, but I’m happy with the few things I was able to find, and confident that I’ll be able to add some accessories, like a skinny leopard belt, soon enough. I still have $14 left to buy myself something new.

work outfit2

I’m going to have to continue to very slowly grow my collection. One must play one’s part. But I also just have to accept the fact that a lot of my clothes are old, and work is not a fashion show. I don’t think I’m more than the normal amount of vain. I just want to represent myself and my organization in the best way possible. Most humans have eyeballs. They look at you, and their brains make an assessment. That’s reality. 

Looking good also makes me feel more confident, and in the face of a brand new career, I’ll take all the confidence I can get. What are your awesomest shopping tips for work wear on the cheap? I need all the help I can get.

 

Goat Cheese Souffle from Awesome on 20

Goat Cheese Souffle

Goat Cheese Souffle from Awesome on 20

It’s the end of my second day of work, and I’m completely exhausted. My brain is totally fried. But I love you, and I just couldn’t leave you hanging. I apologize for my potential incoherence.

When I originally conceived of this post, I wanted to talk about how exciting it was to have a new job and a grown up paycheck. I wanted to tell you that even though I’m still going to try to live off $20 a day, it’s a good idea to treat yourself every once in a while. You’re not a monk, after all. Sometimes you deserve something fancy and French. You’re worth it.

Goat Cheese Souffle from Awesome on 20

But then serving an egg-based dish took on a whole new meaning. One of our chickens became seriously ill over the weekend, and she passed away Wednesday night. This is the first pet I’ve ever had to watch die. We took her to the vet and got her medicine. We also started tube feeding her. I openly wept while holding our chicken down as my husband forced a long thin tube down her throat so that she didn’t starve to death. We struggled with whether or not to continue treatment in the hopes that she would recover, or to have her put to sleep. Ultimately, she died of natural causes before we could take her to her follow up appointment. It was heartbreaking.

Now we have to make the difficult choice of whether or not to rehome our remaining chicken. Hens are social and need a flock. We love her and want to keep her, but we can’t get another chicken, and it could be very unhealthy for her to be alone. She’ll have to stay with us at least for a little while, just in case whatever our other girl had was contagious, but soon our backyard may be empty.

RIP Targaryen

I have absolutely loved having fresh eggs every day. They were the best tasting eggs I’ve ever had. It could be my imagination, but I just knew that my chickens laid the best eggs. Soon, both our girls may be gone, and I won’t have those gorgeous eggs anymore. Each of the eggs remaining in my fridge is precious to me now. I want to use them to make the most delicious dishes.

I hope you don’t mind my long sad story. Pets are part of our families, even when the species is slightly unconventional. This goat cheese souffle is an excellent showcase for beautiful fresh eggs. It’s subtle and delicate and sophisticated. Everybody will be so impressed and only you will know how easy it actually was. You can certainly buy the most expensive cheese in the store, but even if you look for the one with the lowest price, this will still be great. I already did that experiment for you.

Goat Cheese Souffle from Awesome on 20

Go hug your pets. Then make yourself some eggs. Or a goat cheese souffle. It will be heavenly.

Goat Cheese Souffle
Serves 3
Light and airy goat cheese souffle is impressive and indulgent and just plain awesome.
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 125 ml milk
  2. 1/2 small onion, chopped
  3. 1 dried bay leaf
  4. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  5. 25 grams butter
  6. 2-1/2 tablespoons flour
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  8. 1 egg yolk
  9. 100 grams soft goat cheese, crumbled
  10. 3 egg whites
  11. 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
for the sauce
  1. 150 ml heavy cream
  2. 25 grams soft goat cheese, crumbled
  3. 3 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Heat milk in a small sauce pan with the onion, bay leaf, and pepper just until it barely starts to bubble.
  3. While the milk is heating, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, then add the butter to make a roux. Use a whisk to combine them and cook for about two minutes. Strain the infused milk into the roux and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and let it cook for a few minutes until it thickens up and becomes almost pasty. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the chopped parsley, egg yolk, and crumbled goat cheese. Stir to combine and season to your liking. Set this aside for now.
  5. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Feel free to add a bit of salt. I use my stand mixer, and I always wipe down the bowl and whisk attachment with a bit of vinegar on a paper towel first, just in case. Gradually turn your mixer up to 8. Don't go too far. It only takes a few minutes.
  6. While your eggs are whipping (keep a close eye on them) you can prepare your ramekins (I've also made this in a casserole dish because I don't have a proper souffle pan). Lightly butter the inside then coat it with grated parmesan, just like you would do with flour for a cake pan. Put in a spoonful, then tap it around the sides and let the excess fall into the next buttered ramekin. Repeat this until all three are lightly coated in cheese.
  7. Stir in a dollop of your egg whites to your cheese mixture first, just to lighten it up a bit, then add the cheese mixture to the mixing bowl and gently fold everything together. Try to work quickly and gently to maintain volume.
  8. Gently spoon your souffle mixture evenly into the three ramekins. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until set. These are going to get another bake, so you can make them ahead to this point. You can turn them out, but I don't have another oven safe dish, so I just left mine in the ramekins and served them that way.
For the sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. When you're ready to serve, heat cream and remaining goat cheese in a small sauce pan until smooth.
  3. Spoon sauce over each souffle, and add grated Swiss cheese and a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Return souffles to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes. They will puff up again and the cheese will be lovely and brown.
  5. Serve immediately for optimum puffiness. Be careful, though, because they stay hot for a long time.
Notes
  1. Leftover goat cheese sauce is excellent on toast, topped with a soft boiled egg and a generous sprinkling of coarse salt.
Adapted from Good Food
Adapted from Good Food
http://awesomeon20.com/
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White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies from Awesome on 20

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies from Awesome on 20

The internet is full of interesting facts. For example, today is Macadamia Nut Day. Who knew? Well, the internet did, I guess.

Mac nuts are kind of a big thing out here. I remember as a kid when we’d travel to Hawaii, and they’d give you a free chocolate covered mac nut on Hawaiian Airlines. Mac nuts have their own section at the grocery store. You can buy them in flavored snack packs like they do with peanuts on the mainland. Obviously, honey roasted mac nuts are my favorite. We don’t even bother to actually say macadamia out here anymore.

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies from Awesome on 20

These cookies are loaded with crunchy, buttery mac nuts, plenty of white chocolate chips, and an extra burst of sweet and tangy flavor courtesy of baby bits of sweetened dried cranberries. Normally, if someone offered me one of these cookies, I’d pass. I’m not usually a fruit and nuts in my cookies sort of girl. But my husband asked me to make these for a party, so I gave them a try. They were awesome. Half of the cookies were eaten by his office mates before they ever made it to the party.

I took this batch with me to my first day at my new job. I’m really hoping they help me make a good impression. People will overlook a lot of deficiencies when they’re blinded by cookie love.

Mac nuts can be a bit pricey, even out here where they’re grown. I’m not sure what the prices are like on the mainland, but I try to grab some when they’re on sale. Nuts should be stored in the freezer to keep them from going bad. 

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies from Awesome on 20

Just when you thought Labor Day had passed you by and you’d run out of reasons to celebrate, Mac Nut Day has come to the rescue. Make these cookies. It’s the right thing to do.

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies
Yields 50
Yummy buttery cookies packed with crunchy mac nuts, sweet white chocolate, and tart dried cranberries
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
  5. 1 egg
  6. 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  10. 12 ounces white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the dried cranberries in a bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them soak while you get on with the rest of your work while the cranberries soften up.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugars and butter for a few minutes until everything is light and fluffy.
  4. Add in egg and beat until combined.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add dry ingredients to your butter mixture, keeping the mixer on it's lowest setting.
  7. Add in remaining ingredients and mix on low until just combined.
  8. Scoop cookie dough, a tablespoon at a time, onto cookie sheet. Leave about two inches in between each cookie.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until just brown around the edges.
  10. Remove to a rack to cool, if you can resist them for that long.
  11. Store in an airtight container. Impress your coworkers or just enjoy them yourself.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
http://awesomeon20.com/
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