Be Awesome: Celebrate Small Victories

Be Awesome: Celebrate Small Victories

Be Awesome: Celebrate Small Victories

So it turns out that manifesting your dreams is really hard work and super discouraging sometimes. Occasionally, I hear about people who seemed to just wake up with 10,000 Instagram followers or they just made more than my annual salary in a month without really trying, and though I know I shouldn’t let it get me down, it so does. When that envy dragon rises up inside of me, it rages pretty ferociously. Envy is my wickedest demon. Maybe you can relate.

Right, give me two seconds to vent, then we’ll get on to solutions. For context, ya know. I’ve been putting the vast majority of my spare time and pretty much all of my emotional energy into growing this blog and trying to learn how to make some semblence of a business out of it for over four months now. While I’ve seen a tiny bit of growth over last year, my traffic is still much lower than it was in 2016 when I was hardly trying. I’m growing at a glacial pace, and it’s so demoralizing.

But nobody wants to hang out at this pity party all day. So let’s flip the script. When life is kicking your ass, what do you do? For me, there’s usually chocolate involved. But I also need to shift my perspective. Other people’s success don’t negate the possibility of my own. Just because someone else is releasing a new book doesn’t mean I could never write one. What comes easily to someone else might be a huge struggle for me, but there may be people who look at my life and wish they were doing something I take for granted.

Failures are so easy to spot. They take up so much space in our hearts. But hiding amongst all the work, there’s always success that we don’t see when we’re so busy focusing on what we haven’t accomplished. I made my traffic goal for January, modest as it was. I’m creeping up on 400 followers on Instagram, which isn’t much, but it’s more than what I had. I still haven’t made any money, but I’m trying to learn more to change that. And I haven’t slacked off and missed a post once since my relaunch. That’s something I haven’t been able to say for years.

Next time you’re stuck in an envy spiral, stop and look through a different lense. Find something to celebrate, no matter how small. And if you can, say it out loud. Better yet, say it out loud to someone who will tell you how extraordinary you already are. Chances are, you’ve been working too hard to remember. You are smart and creative and that thing you’re trying to do? You can totally do that. Just keep working. We’ll get there together.

Brownie Butterscotch Parfait | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Brownie Butterscotch Parfait

This Brownie Butterscotch Parfait will take you straight back to your childhood. Brownie chunks are layered with buterscotch pudding and sweetened whipped cream. It’s pure delight. Don’t forget the sprinkles.

Brownie Butterscotch Parfait | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m a big fan of nostalgia. I love going back to my favorite things from the past. From picking up a beloved children’s book to watching Clueless one too many times, there’s something so comforting about taking that trip back in time. I much prefer the original to a remake. Please, Disney, make something new. And no thank you to that Friends reunion people seem to be clamoring for. Just go back to the original.

I guess there are a few things I’m not so nostalgic for. Homophobia. Scrunchies. Do I really need to buy scrunchies again? Not everything from the past is good, but getting in touch with your inner child can be healthy. Let’s all stop taking ourselves so seriously all the time, and watch The Muppets while eating mac and cheese from a blue box.

Brownie Butterscotch Parfait | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

A pudding parfait always makes me feel like a kid in the best way. This Brownie Butterscotch Parfait is chocolaty and sweet. I love the creamy texture combined with the chewy and sometimes crunchy brownies. I never want it to end.

This dish is not only great for kids, but it can also be made with kids. I used store-bought brownies and instant pudding. You could also use store-bought whipped topping if you’re not a cook. I made my own whipped cream because it’s ridiculously easy, but I would have been just as happy with Cool Whip. I am (mostly) not a food snob. Do what makes you happy.

Brownie Butterscotch Parfait | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

What childhood favorites do you still love? Let me know in the comments. If one of them is Little Bucket Parfaits from KCF, take yourself back in time with a Brownie Butterscotch Parfait. It’s gonna be so awesome, kids.

Love layered desserts? Try this Salted Caramel Pudding.

Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs

We’re making Meatless Monday awesome with Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs. A bed of fresh spinach is topped with a layer of cheese and two eggs. Then it’s all baked to perfection. Add an extra layer of flavor with garlic herb breadcrumbs. Finally, a pile of toasted ciabatta brings it all together. Get into it.

Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Can you believe it? I ate a vegetable and actually enjoyed it. My life-long struggle with veggies has been well-documented on this blog. It’s a struggle and a source of shame. I definitely feel like there’s something wrong with me. I’m a freak, but I don’t know how to change it. It probably holds me back professionally as well. As an aspiring food blogger, this a big hole in my experience.

People often ask me if I can post more healthy recipes or ways to make indulgent food more healthy. The short answer is no. Mostly because that’s not the kind of food I like. I only put recipes on my blog that I believe are truly awesome. I use this site for my own dinner planning, and if I’m not excited to eat something again, I don’t think it’s worth sharing.

Moreover, I don’t believe in taking great food and making it gross because someone told us we should feel guilty about eating it. If you want cheese or sugar, eat it. If you want to be more healthy, just eat less of that stuff. Don’t try to make your brownies healthy. They’ll never be as good. Just cut them smaller and share them with more people. I know some people have serious medical issues, and they can’t eat certain things. Trust me, there are plenty of other bloggers out there serving what you need. I share the food I love, and I hope you like it. If you don’t, that’s fine. To each their own. I still love you.

Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

This recipe, though, is something I didn’t expect to like. These Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs with Garlic Herb Breadcrumbs were actually delicious. As I weighed out the spinach, I was like, “Yeah, that’s a lot of green stuff. This can’t be good.” I was so wrong. Served with fingers of toasted ciabatta, the mix of flavors and textures was awesome.

I adapted this recipe from the first book by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats. Seriously Delish is filled with recipes that bring a great balance of healthy and indulgent. I show up for the latter, but she’s starting to win me over with the former. Her original recipe uses fontina cheese, which is difficult to source and expensive in Glasgow, so I opted for mild cheddar. I also added a little extra cream because it felt right. Finally, I switched out fresh herbs for dried ones in the breadcrumb mixture because I’m lazy. It’s super simple and super tasty.

Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re always growing and changing. That’s the way it was meant to be. Spinach & Cheese Baked Eggs today. Next, world domination. It’s gonna be awesome.

Are you looking for more Meatless Monday recipes? This this Egg & Mango Chutney Flatbread.

Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake

This Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake is simple and sophisticated. It’s lightly flavored, moist, and light. You’ll fall in love with this dreamy cake. I know I did.

Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s Valentine’s Day, and I hope it’s filled with hearts and flowers. If nobody’s buying you chocolates, then go get them for yourself. Chocolates that you don’t have to share are the best kind of chocolates. I’ve actually been known to ration chocolates at my house. My husband thinks it’s okay to eat them all in two days instead of making them last. He’s insane. He’s also the love of my life.

I’ve been looking forward to my cheeseburger and milkshake all week, so I can’t wait to share an incredible date night with that crazy man. I am so immensely lucky to have someone in my life who totally gets me. If I had met him in my 20’s, I probably wouldn’t have spent so much time hating myself. He makes me a better person. He deserves all the cake.

Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Since I shared all the chocolate with you in my last post, I’m going for something a little more subtle here. I have absolutely no objection to an over the top chocolate dessert, but sometimes quiet sophistication is the way to go. I mean, if you have to keep telling people you’re a very stable genius, you’re probably not. This cake is not screaming your greatness. It’s just sitting there being beautiful. You know you want some.

Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake has a subtle flavor of citrus and herb. The thyme is not weird at all. The glaze has more of a lemon punch, but we’re not swimming in it. It’s light and moist with a slightly crunchy crust. Everybody who has tried this cake has really loved it. Plus, just look at how pretty it is.

As always, this cake is really simple to make. We use a typical creaming method, adding in the lemon zest with the butter and the thyme with the sugar to get the most flavor impact. Make sure you spray your bundt pan really well with non-stick spray. Also, be sure to use a skewer to check it’s baked all the way through. You want the cake to release easily. And if you can get someone to help you strip your thyme leaves while you get to work on measuring and mixing your other ingredients, it will save you a lot of time.

Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. Take a moment to tell someone you love them. And maybe remind yourself as well. And share some Lemon & Thyme Pound Cake with them, while you’re at it. It’s gonna be awesome.

Recipe adapted from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson.

70 Totally Awesome Chocolate Treats | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

70 Totally Awesome Chocolate Treats

70 Totally Awesome Chocolate Treats | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

February is National Chocolate Lover’s Month, so I’m bringing you 70 totally awesome chocolate treats. You know you can’t get enough. Drive away dementors, create some love, and indulge in this food of the gods every day. Let’s get to it.

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

Breads, Scones, Pastries, & Pancakes

Satsuma & Dark Chocolate Brioche

Chocolate Orange Scones

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants

Nutella Fairy Toast

Pumpkin Butter Dark Chocolate Stuffed French Toast

Double Chocolate Muffins | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Muffins

Orange Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Orange Cheesecake Brownies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Brownies, Blondies & Bars

Orange Cheesecake Brownies

Millionaire Shortbread

Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies

White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies

S’mores Brownies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Mexican Brownies

White Chocolate Chip Brownies

Classic Fudge

Kahlua Brownies

Mint Brownies

Monster Cookie Bars

Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cakes

Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Buche de Noel

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Mascarpone Meringue Cake

Chocolate Pound Cake

Chocolate Orange Cake

Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake with Margarita Cream (Gluten-Free)

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (Gluten-Free Dairy-Free)

Winter-Spiced Flourless Chocolate Cake (Gluten-Free)

Practically Perfect Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting

Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

Triple Chocolate Cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms

Nutella No-Bake Cookies

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Chocofied Peanut Butter Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Pie, Cheesecake, & Pudding

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Giant Peanut Butter Cups

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

Chocolate Lime Pie

Grasshopper Pie

Nutella Cheesecake Parfaits

Chocolate Amaretto Tart

Chocolate Orange Mousse

Homemade Chocolate Pudding for Two

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

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

Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Better Than Sex Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Chocolate Kahlua Bread Pudding | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Bread Pudding

Chocolate Kahlua Bread Pudding

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Vanilla Hot Chocolate for One | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Drinks

White Hot Chocolate

Chocolate Candy Cane Cocktail

Vanilla Hot Chocolate for One

Be sure to follow Awesome on 20 on Pinterest for more awesome chocolate recipe ideas.

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