Be Awesome: Keep Working | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Be Awesome: Keep Working

There’s only one thing you can do to reach your goals, and that’s to keep working toward them. And don’t forget to be awesome.

Be Awesome: Keep Working | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If there’s one thing I’m really good at, it’s quitting. I’ve lost track of the of how many times I almost quit writing this silly little food blog. I’d put in a bunch of time and energy for a few weeks, then life would get stressful, and it was an easy thing to eliminate. “Nobody reads it anyway, so what’s the point,” I’d tell myself. I’d throw a little pity party in my mind and justify not putting in the effort.

I completely erased the possibility of making blogging a job. I sucked, so what was the point? No, I wouldn’t even let myself think about it. I should just learn to be satisfied with what I have. It’s not a terrible life. So what if I wasn’t completely in love with my job? Most people aren’t. I’m just being selfish wanting something that I will clearly never be able to achieve. Just quit.

But for some reason, I always came back. Sometimes I’d disappear for weeks, but I’d always find my way back somehow. Why? Why couldn’t I just make a clean break and walk away?

I think it’s because I still really wanted it. I still had a spark of belief that I could do what other people had done and support myself with a food blog. Look, I don’t need six figures. I just want to have some control over my life. I want to have my success measured by my own work, and not by the whims of a teenager. Mostly, I just really want to bake cookies in my yoga pants instead of going to the office.

But when I feel overwhelmed and discouraged, quitting is so easy. So tempting. Nobody else is depending on me. I can just walk away, and it won’t matter. It won’t matter to anyone but me. I’ll know that I failed at yet another thing. I gave up because I’m a loser.

One of the things I’ve been doing the past few months is really putting a lot of intentional effort into changing the way I talk to myself. I was extremely hard on myself, and maybe you are, too. How many times a day do we allow the voice in our head to criticize and belittle us? Probably too many to count. You would never, for a minute, considering talking that way to a friend, but when it’s just you alone in your head, you suddenly turn into a complete monster.

Despite all these good intentions, there are have been times in the past few weeks where, yet again, that voice in my head has told me to quit. I’m wasting my time. It will never work. I’m awful, and I should just give up now. Take a nap or watch a movie instead. I suck. Get used to it.

But this time, I’m not listening.

I’m trying to change a lot about myself and the way I approach my blog right now. I’m never going to turn it into a business if I just keep quitting. The only way to get ahead is to keep moving forward. Maybe it’s true that I’m just not good enough. That’s one version of the story I could tell myself. Or maybe I just need to work harder, get better, become so good they can’t ignore me.

I choose to keep working. To keep learning, to keep growing, to keep trying, right here in front of your eyes. And I sincerely hope that if there’s something you’ve been turning away from because it was easier not to try, that you give it one more go. Put your whole soul into it this time, and just see what happens. And then when it seems like it’s not going to work, just try a little harder this time.

Trust me. There are enough people in this world who want to tell us that we suck. We don’t need to do it to ourselves. So let me tell you right now that you are brilliant. You deserve to have your dreams come true. Whatever you do, don’t quit. Don’t let that negative voice boss you around. Get up in the morning, take a shower, put on your favorite shirt, remind yourself that you are awesome, and go out there and kick some ass, friends. It’s gonna be the best year yet. We’ll get there together.

Parmesan Fried Gnocchi | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Parmesan Fried Gnocchi

This Parmesan Fried Gnocchi is a totally delicious side dish that’s ready in minutes. Serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish with a salad or veggies for an unbelievable dinner.

Parmesan Fried Gnocchi | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Given that I spend large portions of my day thinking about food, I’m always surprised by how many people I know who don’t cook. Maybe they never learned how because there’s always been someone in their house to cook for them. A parent and then a partner usually. It’s not that they aren’t interested in food, but they just have no intention of making anything for themselves. I do not understand these people.

There’s another group of people who tell me they don’t cook very much because they just don’t have time. This I can relate to. There are so many evenings when time just gets away from me. If I cooked dinner, it would be about 10 pm before we actually ate. Thank goodness for Just Eat. If I want to be able to make dinner every day, I find that I really need to set myself up for success.

Trying to make every single thing from scratch on a Monday night is a sure way to end up hating yourself. In my opinion, there’s absolutely no shame in taking a little help from the grocery store. Use your favorite bottled salad dressing as a marinade for chicken, for example. Or dress up some microwavable steamed veg with some dried herbs from your pantry.

Parmesan Fried Gnocchi | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If your meal needs a quick carby side dish, this Parmesan Fried Gnocchi will be your new go to. It’s the perfect substitute for roasted potatoes which would take ages to chop and cook. Use your favorite store bought gnocchi, and add flavor with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and dried herbs. People will forget about everything else on their plate.

All you have to do is heat a skillet and drizzle in some oil. I used garlic oil for a little extra hit of flavor, but use whatever you have on hand. Then add the gnocchi straight from the package and keep tossing it in the hot oil until it starts to get crispy. Grate over some parm and sprinkle in some dried thyme and oregano, or just use Italian seasoning if you have it. That’s all there is to it.

Parmesan Fried Gnocchi | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Life gets crazy, but you are totally worth the effort. Take it easy on yourself. Make something simple like Parmesan Fried Gnocchi. Put your feet up and be awesome.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson.

Looking for more kitchen shortcuts? Set your week up for success with Transformer Chicken that you can prep ahead of time at the weekend.

Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche

This Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche is tender and buttery. With a hint of citrus and plenty of bittersweet chocolate, you won’t want to stop eating it. Bake some up soon. You’ll love it.

Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I try to keep it light here at Awesome on 20. People come for cheese and chocolate and other assorted carbs. And yet there’s so much more to life than just what we eat. Granted, we can’t actually have one without the other, but somehow I just can’t find it in me to be totally lighthearted at the moment.

It seems every day the world grows a bit heavier. There’s some new terror to contend with. And while I am immensely privileged that none of this affects me directly, I still feel the weight of it. I’m thousands of miles away from wildfires and bombs, and I feel powerless in the face of such devastation and cruelty. I notice it in the kids at my school as well. They’re scared, and I don’t know how to realistically reassure them.

Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I know we can give. I know we can vote. I know we can be more conscientious about how we spend our money. But beyond that, the one thing I’ve always clung to is compassion. We’ve got to hold onto each other more fiercely than ever. And not just the people who are close to us, but to every single other. We are all precious and worthy of love.

So even though the world seems to be falling apart at the moment, maybe it is still okay to get in the kitchen and bake. I can’t think of anything more cozy and comforting than this loaf of Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche. It fills your home with the scent of citrus and fresh baked bread. Could there be a more heavenly combination? This bread is buttery and light. Eat it warm so the chocolate is slightly melted. It’s pure heaven.

Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

This is another recipe from the incomparable Paul Hollywood. The first time I tried it, I had no idea if it was going to turn out. This was my first brioche loaf. It was more than fine. I couldn’t stop eating it.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can mix up the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge overnight. I actually think it’s much easier to do it this way. There’s also no complicated shaping. Just divide the dough up into eight balls and place them strategically in your loaf pan.

Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I also happen to know that if you bake this and then have to go out of town for a few days and leave it in your fridge, it will go a bit stale. Don’t worry. Make it into French toast. It’s unbelievable.

The world is very uncertain. Find what you know to be true. Make something beautiful and share it with others. Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche is a good place to start.

If you want to try your hand at more yeasted bread, try this pillow soft Potato Bread.

Yoga Mat Spray | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Yoga Mat Spray

Yoga Mat Spray | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Have you thought about buying a bottle of yoga mat spray? Did you know you can make your own custom yoga mat spray at home and save yourself tons of money? I’ll show you how.

I’m constantly resetting my intention to get more exercise. Every other week I’m trying to reframe it in my mind so that it doesn’t seem like torture. I have a fitness tracker watch that tracks my heart rate and makes me feel guilty when I don’t get my intensity minutes. I used to be able to get them from going on a nice brisk walk. That doesn’t cut it anymore. I’ve had to start jogging again, and it sucks.

While yoga doesn’t get me those precious intensity minutes, it’s the one form of moving my body outside of dance that actually makes me feel good. I really prefer a low-key yoga class that makes me sweat, helps me focus, and keeps me grounded all without taking itself too seriously. I fully believe that laughing and yoga should go together.

Yoga Mat Spray | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

When I started going to a public class last year, I had to finally buy myself a yoga mat. Previously, I’d just been splaying out on my carpet talking to myself and yelling at my TV when a pose was too hard. That means I also had to come up with a way to keep my yoga mat clean.

Rather than going online and paying $10 for a bottle of yoga mat spray online, I turned to my essential oil collection. I knew I could use what I already had to make an all-natural yoga mat spray.

I turned to my long time internet yoga teacher, Adrienne, and of course, she had a solution. A little witch hazel, a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and some distilled water is all you need. I chose lavender and eucalyptus. Beyond just smelling great, which is probably the best part, lavender has calming properties, ideal for that post-yoga vibe. Eucalyptus is also a natural antiseptic, so it will help get rid of any gross stuff on your yoga mat.

All of these ingredients are also good for your skin, so I often also spray it on my face at the end of practice. It’s really refreshing after a sweaty practice. When I brought this to my group class, everyone wanted to try it. I even ended up making up a bottle for one of my classmates.

But wait, aren’t essential oils expensive? Well, yeah, buying these ingredients would initially cost more than just buying a little bottle at the yoga studio. But we’re only going to use tiny amounts of each thing, so you could make 10 bottles of yoga mat spray and still have more leftover for other uses around your home. If you’re at all interested in making your own skincare, home fragrance, natural remedies, or cleaning products, it’s totally worth the investment.

Yoga Mat Spray | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you practice yoga or Pilates or any type of mat workout, make yourself some homemade yoga mat spray. It’s easy, inexpensive, and totally awesome.

Fiery Halloumi Salad | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Fiery Halloumi Salad

Fiery Halloumi Salad | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Fiery Halloumi Salad is an easy, healthyish dinner with homemade sweet chili sauce. Pan-fried halloumi makes a bed of greens so much more awesome. Go on, eat a salad, and actually enjoy it.

As you read this, I will be heading back to work after a little over two weeks off. It’s never easy to get back into the swing of things. I know I’m lucky because my husband’s been back in work since last week, but still, it’s hard not to feel a bit mopey.

Fiery Halloumi Salad | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s been two glorious weeks of not being stuck behind a desk. Of staying in my pajamas as long as I want. Having plenty of time for all the things I really want to do, like take pictures of my food and share it with you. Two glorious weeks without whining teenagers or late trains or having to wear high heels.

I’m grateful to have a job because it allows me to help people. It also allows me to buy all the food I want and travel from time to time. I’m very lucky in many ways, and I don’t want to forget that. But just a few more days of peace and quiet would be nice.

Fiery Halloumi Salad | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Being back at work means we all need more quick and simple dinner ideas, and this time I’m even giving you leafy greens. Of course, it wouldn’t be awesome on 20 if I didn’t somehow also ruin the health factor by adding something delicious. This Fiery Halloumi Salad is awesome because it’s easily just as much cheese as it is salad. You know you can’t stay mad at me for long.

We’re making up a simple homemade sweet chili sauce with sliced red chilies, honey, and lime juice. We slice up a block of halloumi and fry it in a hot, dry pan. We drizzle our favorite salad leaves with a bit of nice olive oil, lay on the hot cheese, and drizzle over some heat with our sweet chili sauce. Then we eat, feel smug about having a salad, but actually enjoy it because cheese.

Fiery Halloumi Salad | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I hope your transition back to work has been smooth and as stress-free as possible. I hope you’re having something awesome for dinner tonight, like maybe this Fiery Halloumi Salad. It’s gonna be awesome.

This recipe is adapted from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson.

And just in case you can’t get enough salad, maybe try this Bacon & Egg Salad.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...