Awesome in April

Awesome in April

Awesome in April

I think I’ve finally recovered from accompanying 11 young people on an overnight camping expedition that included an 8 mile hike each way. Don’t worry, I had four other amazing adults with me to keep me sane. But add in snow and the world’s most uncomfortable hiking boots, and hopefully you can see why I was a bit traumatized. At least I didn’t bring home any ticks this time.

This month we ventured out to see the Falkirk Wheel, tried a few new restaurants, including Smoak, which was pretty spectacular, and ate more bundt cake than is appropriate for a normal human.

Speaking of bundt cake, can I get a piece of this chocolate peanut butter bundt cake, please? 

Let’s follow it up with with these raspberry lemon meringue tartlets in the hope that spring will bloom forth in all it’s sunshiney glory.

And we can have one more dessert because this one is low fat. Dish me up some secretly healthier chocolate mousse

Buttery Nipple Milkshake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Your favorite recipes this month were Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, Passion Fruit Green Tea, and Buttery Nipple Millkshakes. I think we might be in a party mood.

May is upon us, complete with two long weekends. I plan to relax to the best of my ability and smile whenever possible. Love it, kids. Every minute.

Buttermilk Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You never realize how different the US and the UK are until you live for a while in the one you didn’t grow up in. You think to yourself, “We speak the same language. We share a lot of common history. How hard could it be?” It’s definitely easier than moving to a country where they speak Chinese, but there’s still plenty of culture shock to go around.

Of course, more of my cultural meltdowns revolve around food. I’m embarrassed to say that I really miss Sonic and Taco Bell. They have McDonald’s here, of course, but the recipe for the sausage is different, so a Sausage McMuffin is downright disappointing. And if you want to go out for a pancake breakfast, you’re screwed. Pancakes are either usually tiny and always tough. And for some reason they insist on covering them with ice cream and candy. That’s fun, but it’s not what I want for breakfast. Whipped butter and enough syrup to drown a horse, please. 

Buttermilk Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Let me tell you how American pancakes are supposed to work. Buttermilk is required. If you’re shopping for this recipe in the UK, I suggest you check the Polish section. They should be at least six inches in diameter. They can be dinner plate size, but only if they hold onto their most important quality. Tenderness. 

Tenderness is, in my opinion, what makes pancakes fabulous. If you serve me tough pancakes with huge bubbles, I’ll be crying on the inside. It’s easy to accomplish perfect tenderness. You have to do less. When you’re mixing your wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, absolutely do not overmix. You might be tempted to keep stirring until all the lumps are gone. Resist the temptation. Fold it together gently, and try to get everything mixed in 10 seconds. Lumps are fine. Walk away and let your batter rest for five or ten minutes. Finally, make sure your pan is at the right temperature before you begin cooking your pancakes.

Buttermilk Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Do these simple things, and you’ll be transported to your favorite American diner. Buttermilk Pancakes will cure your culture shock in no time.

Buttermilk Panckaes
Serves 4
Buttermilk Pancakes are an all-American joy.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 270 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 42 grams (3 tablespoons) sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 cups buttermilk
  8. 4 tablespoons (half a stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix the dry ingredients well with a whisk.
  2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Whisk to combine. Now step away from the whisk.
  3. Pour your wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and quickly and gently mix them together with a rubber spatula. You should use a fold/stir hybrid method. Don't worry about getting out every little lump. Try not to stir for more than 10 seconds. This is the key to tender pancakes.
  4. Now walk away for five minutes to let the batter rest.
  5. Preheat your griddle to 350 (if you're lucky enough to have one, I don't.) or place of a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. You definitely want to have your pan preheated before you pour out that first notorious pancake.
  6. Add a small pat of butter to your pan or griddle. Use a paper towel to spread it evenly across your cooking surface. I use a third cup measure to drop my pancake batter into the pan, creating a medium-sized pancake.
  7. Cook about two minutes a side, turning when you see the bubbles start to subside and the edges start to change color.
  8. Keep pancakes warm by covering your stack with a clean dish towel.
  9. Serve yourself a big fat stack, three is about perfect, with plenty of butter and more syrup than is probably reasonable.
http://awesomeon20.com/
Italian Cream Soda | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Italian Cream Soda | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Italian Cream Sodas

Italian Cream Soda | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The 90’s are making a comeback, and I’m not loving it. I graduated from high school in ’97, so all these chokers and bodysuits and tiny flower prints are giving me a bit of PTSD. Do we have to bring back all the emotional trauma along with the chunky shoes? Please make it stop. 

To make the 90’s even more horrible, I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. The nicest restaurant was Red Robin. We thought we were so fancy when we went out of town for dance trips and got to have dinner at The Olive Garden. I couldn’t wait to order an Italian Soda. I thought I was so classy.

Italian Cream Soda | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Italian Cream Sodas are super easy to make at home. All you need is some fruit-flavored syrup, some soda water, and a bit of half and half or cream. You can leave the cream out if you want. It might sound scary to put dairy in your soda, but I challenge you to give it a try. I promise, it’s awesome.

You can look for fruit syrups in the coffee aisle, but if you can’t find your favorite flavor, it’s pretty easy to make your own. Just combine a half cup of sugar and a half cup of water in a sauce pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Dump in some of your favorite fruit (I used frozen raspberries), turn the heat off, and leave the fruit to steep for a few hours. Strain it into a jar, and store it in the fridge for all your Italian Soda needs.

Italian Cream Soda | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Maybe not everything in the 90’s was horrible. I’m bringing back Italian Cream Sodas and loving it.

Italian Cream Sodas
Serves 1
Italian Cream Sodas bring back all the best 90's memories.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 to 4 tablespoons fruit-flavored coffee syrup
  2. 4 to 6 ounces soda water or club soda
  3. 1 tablespoon half and half or single cream
  4. Ice
  5. Whipped cream, optional
Instructions
  1. There's no need to be too prescriptive about your measurements here. Just eyeball it.
  2. Add a bunch ice to a tall glass, like a Collins glass. Pour in about an of inch of your favorite fruit-flavored syrup. How much syrup you use depends on how sweet you want your soda to be.
  3. Fill up your glass most of the way with soda water, then pour over a splash of cream.
  4. Top it with some whipped cream if you like.
  5. Make sure to serve it with a straw, because you don't want to stir it until you get ready to drink. The layers are what make this drink 90's magical.
http://awesomeon20.com/
Barbecue Chicken Dip | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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