Explore: Brussels, Belgium

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

We’ve had nearly constant snow fall for the past 22 hours, so this seems like the perfect time for me to finally share some photos from our visit to Brussels over the summer. 

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is chock full of historical architecture, and the Grand Place is pretty spectacular. We had fun going around and checking out all the old guild halls trying to decipher their names and figure out which guild they represented. There’s also no shortage of chocolate shops to pop into if only to dream about tasting the expensive Belgian chocolate.

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

Majestic churches were absolutely everywhere, and they’re usually free to go inside and gawk at.

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

My future U.S. Congresswoman definitely had to visit the EU Parlaiment site. This is also free to go inside and have a look around when not in session. They even give you a free audio guide. Just make sure to bring your passport with you. We also got to walk through a pretty park to get there. Bonus!

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is big, so if you plan on getting around on foot, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and bring water with you. There’s not a shop on every corner like there might be in other places. Food is also pretty expensive in restaurants, so I recommend carrying some snacks with you for hangry emergencies. 

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

We did hop on the subway to venture a little further out of town to visit a park that was once the site of a world expo. They have a giant model of an atom and a few other random structures still standing. It was also nice to spend half a day in a wide open green space after being in cities for so long.

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

The architecture of Brussels is pretty unique. Belgium is a French/Flemish/Dutch mash up, and that’s very evident in Brussels. Some streets were reminiscent of Paris while others reminded us strongly of Amsterdam. These all exist side by side in this big, beautiful, crazy city.

Explore: Brussels, Belgium

Brussels was interesting, and I’d definitely visit again. I can never get enough of waffles and chocolate. 

Vanilla Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Vanilla Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

My husband is the best gift giver. I should maybe stop telling people this because apparently he’s started to feel some performance anxiety around my birthday and Christmas, which unfortunately for him, are only a week a part. But I have to say, he’s done wonderfully again this year. He’s given me a gift which in a way is a gift for everyone I know.

For my birthday this year, I got a an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I was so so so excited. I’ve been wanting one of these for years. Even though you can make perfectly delightful ice cream without a machine, it’s not quite the same. But now, with a little pre-planning, I can make any kind of ice cream or sorbet that I want in my very own kitchen. The possibilities are dizzying. Please send your recommendations for your favorite ice cream recipe books, then come over for a cone.

Vanilla Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We started off with a classic, Vanilla Ice Cream. If you think vanilla is plain and boring, just get out now. If you’re using good vanilla extract, of if you’re feeling fancy, real vanilla beans, your ice cream is going to be awesome. Vanilla is actually one of my favorite scents and flavors.

Making your own ice cream is easy as long as you have the proper equipment. In addition to an ice cream maker, you’ll need a candy thermometer and a fine mesh sieve. Everything else you should definitely have in your kitchen already. And use the thickest, most luxurious cream you can find, along with whole milk. Higher fat content keeps your ice cream super smooth instead of icy. 

Technically, this recipe might be frozen custard since it’s made with eggs, but I’m not particular about those sorts of definitions. Call it what you want, it’s awesome.

Vanilla Ice Cream | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Everyone in the family agreed that this was some of the best ice cream we’d ever had. Make your own Vanilla Ice Cream at home, and you won’t be disappointed.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Serves 4
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream might just be the best you've ever had.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups double cream or heavy cream
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 3/4 cup sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Add your cream and milk to a medium sauce pan over low heat and heat this up until you just start to see hints of bubbles around the edge, stirring occasionally.
  2. While your dairy is heating up, whisk your eggs in a mixing bowl for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the sugar until it's thick and creamy.
  3. Once your cream is hot, remove it from the heat. Temper your egg mixture by slowly drizzling in some of your hot milk into the eggs while whisking the whole time. Drizzle in about a quarter cup at a time until you've mixed in at least half of your dairy. This will raise the heat on your eggs slowly so they don't start to scramble.
  4. Now you can safely add your egg mixture back into the pan, then place the whole thing over medium low heat. Attach your candy thermometer to the side of your pan, and heat this mixture, stirring frequently, until it reaches 170F (75C). Remove from heat.
  5. To make sure we don't have any coagulated egg or weird chunks of fat from the cream ruining our perfectly smooth ice cream, pour your ice cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a mixing bowl. Allow this to cool on the counter for about 30 minutes, then stir in your vanilla extract.
  6. Cover this mixture with plastic wrap. Press it right down onto the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Put this in the fridge for at least an hour to chill. Over night is fine.
  7. Add this mixture to your ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer's instructions. Store your ice cream in an air tight container while it freezes for at least four hours.
Adapted from Bakingdom
Adapted from Bakingdom
http://awesomeon20.com/
Enchilada Queso | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Explore: Brussels, Belgium
Enchilada Queso | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Enchilada Queso

Enchilada Queso | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m trying this thing where I come home from work and just do whatever I want. Today, that involved finishing off the bottle of Bailey’s, microwaving a tortilla with some cheese and stuffing it in my face, then plopping on the couch to watch old episodes of Big Bang Theory and completely space out. I let my husband order takeaway, and I’m thinking that I might not move.

I guess I’m not 100% successful since I didn’t really want to d any work and yet here I am typing away. I guess I just can’t keep away from my to do list. But I’ve just decided that after I finish writing, I’m going to go put on my pajamas, which will elevate this evening to near perfection.

Enchilada Queso | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The other day when I was feeling more productive, I made you Enchilada Queso. This is a simple twist on a classic cheese dip involving nothing more complex than adding some store bought stuff t a simple cheese sauce, then scooping it out with tortilla chips until your body can’t take anymore. The enchilada sauce adds a sweet smokiness to the queso that I just love.

We’re sticking to our theme of laziness by combining pre-shredded cheese to a can of evaporated milk along with some corn starch to thicken it. A close of garlic and a green onion add flavor. I buy a jar of enchilada sauce from my grocery store that comes with a packet of seasoning attached to the top, but if you can’t get a sauce/seasoning mash up, you can use a packet of your favorite taco seasoning instead. So so easy.

Enchilada Queso | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

My chips cheese and gravy should be here any minute. Enjoy your Enchilada Queso and laziness, my friends. I plan to enjoy mine.

Enchilada Queso
Serves 6
Enchilada Queso is your favorite cheese dip with a smoky twist.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 225 grams shredded cheese such as cheddar, Monterrey Jack or colby
  2. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  3. 1/2 tablespoon butter
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 green onion, chopped
  6. 1 can evaporated milk
  7. 1 package enchilada or taco seasoning
  8. 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  9. Chips for dipping
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, toss together your cheese and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan over low heat, melt your butter then add the minced garlic and chopped green onion. Stir and cook for about a minute until fragrant.
  3. Add your evaporated milk to the pan, then stir in the cheese mixture. Add your seasoning, and stir the mixture occasionally until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.
  4. Stir in the enchilada sauce, adding a little more or less until it reaches the consistency of your dreams.
  5. Serve warm. This dip is best eaten the first time around, but if you want to reheat it, stir it frequently and add in some extra enchilada sauce or milk if you need to thin it out.
Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats
Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats
http://awesomeon20.com/
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