Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

Cinnamon’s has been our favorite place to get breakfast before kayaking in Kailua for a couple of years, so when we heard they were going to be opening up a second location in Waikiki, we were thrilled. Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai is still partially under construction, but their outdoor seating is open, and they’re serving a limited menu until their official opening next month. We’re not very patient, though. We’ve already been to their new location twice.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

On our first visit, I tried the guava chiffon pancakes. The red velvet pancakes aren’t available yet, but these were just as awesome. Their light, fluffy, buttermilk pancakes get topped with a thick layer of sweet guava chiffon. It’s heavenly.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

Of course, a place called Cinnamon’s has to have cinnamon rolls. I highly recommend starting out your breakfast with one of these. Apparently, you have to specify that you don’t want the one with mac nuts, not the other way around, even though they’re listed separately on the menu. The cinnamon rolls are buttery and tender, but the mac nut filling sort of ruined the experience for me.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

For our second visit, I ordered the Eggs Benedict with breakfast tots. My egg was perfectly cooked, and they didn’t skimp on the hollondaise sauce. It was delicious. The tots were also very crispy. They were a nice change to the usual hash browns or fried potatoes.

Sunday Brunch: Cinnamon's at the Ilikai

Geoff ordered the breakfast nachos both times. Tortilla chips get topped with scrambled eggs, cheese, salsa, olives, green onions and bacon crumbles. It also comes with a side of sour cream. In all his loquaciousness he said, “It was good.” Hashtag: Face palm. He ordered it twice. That should tell you something. 

There’s a beautiful view of the Waikiki Yacht Harbor which is most enjoyable on a stormy Saturday. The service is friendly, but some of the staff is still in training. I’m sure it will become more consistent after their official opening. Still, the food came out promptly, and the experience on a whole was relaxing. We were pleasantly surprised by the size of our bill as well. The prices are very reasonable, even for Waikiki.

Definitely check out Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai. It’s awesome.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day  

When it comes to trends, I’m usually a late adopter. I tend to go my own way and do my own thing. I figure if everybody’s doing it, there’s a good chance it’s not actually that great. I don’t know. I’m a dedicated weirdo. Sometimes it helps me avoid silliness like The Spice Girls, Real Housewives, and kale. Other times, it keeps me from experiencing something awesome. Can you believe I didn’t read Harry Potter until 2001. All those years I could have spent at Hogwarts, but I was too busy being too cool. What an idiot.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This pumpkin spice trend, though? I jumped right on board. And I intend to stay on board even after the ship sails because it’s awesome. I love the warm wintry spices and the sweetness of the pumpkin. The moment they start selling pumpkin spice at Starbucks, I’m ordering a pumpkin spice chai every chance I get.

These Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes are perfect for sharing and ideal for transport. The crust is a whole gingersnap cookie that softens up when you bake the cheesecakes. Add a dollop of whipped cream, and you’ve got a delightful dessert that you could be proud to serve at any holiday party from Halloween to Christmas. They’re elegant, adorable, and delicious. 

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sometimes things actually become trendy for a good reason. Get on the Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake ship. We’re sailing all the way to awesome town.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Yields 18
A small dessert packed with flavor, mini-pumpkin cheesecakes, are perfectly portioned and easy to transport. Also, totally awesome.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 18 gingersnap cookies
  2. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  3. 2/3 cup sugar
  4. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  5. A pinch of salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/3 cup sour cream
  8. 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  9. 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  13. Caramel whipped cream for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line 18 cups of your muffin tins with your favorite papers. Place a whole gingersnap in the bottom of each paper.
  2. Beat together the cream cheese, both sugars, and salt with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Finally blend in the sour cream, pumpkin, and spices. Beat until smooth.
  4. Divide your cheesecake batter evenly between 18 cups. Go ahead and fill them almost to the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until there's no wobble left. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is fine.
  5. Top your tiny cheesecakes with caramel whipped cream if you can find it. Plain is fine, too. Either way, have fun.
Notes
  1. You can replace the spices with with a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice if you have it, or swap out other similar spices based on what you have in your collection.
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m a believer in simplicity. My style is generally low key and classic. It keeps life from getting too complicated and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to the giant lady in the room. I’m also mostly pro simplicity in the kitchen. I’m busy, and I don’t like things to get too crazy. But every now and then, even I need a little sparkle in my life. It feels good to slip on a cocktail dress or a sharp suit, and it can be awesomely delicious to trash up your favorite classic foods with some indulgent ingredients.

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I took traditional sausage rolls and added ham, cheddar, and a bit of mustard. It’s salty, a little spicy, cheesy, greasy (in an awesome way) and completely delicious. Regular sausage rolls are great but these have that extra little bit of sparkle that makes them special. It can’t hurt to get crazy every once in a while. These Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls are perfect for a party because they can be served warm or cold, and they’re awesome either way. They also travel well, so there’s really no excuse not to make them for every conceivable situation.

My English gentleman gives them an enthusiastic thumbs up. In fact,he literally ran to the kitchen when I reminded him they were there. If  he gets excited, you know they have to be good. And if you want to make them extra fancy by spending a bit more money, you could sub the ham for proscuitto and use an aged English cheddar. I like it fancy, but I’m still cheap, so deli ham and cheap cheese work just as well.

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Put something fancy in your life every now and then. The added effort is minimal, and the effect is awesome. 

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar
Yields 12
Traditional sausage rolls are made fancy with a slice of ham, a pinch of sharp cheddar, and a shot of mustard.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  2. 12 thin slices ham
  3. 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  4. Yellow mustard
  5. 1 pound sausage meat (I used Jimmy Dean Sage)
  6. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Get all of your filling ingredients ready so you can assemble your rolls quickly before the dough gets warm. I remove all the sausage from the roll and put it on a small plate. Then use a steak knife to cut the sausage down the middle lengthwise, then into six sections across to divide it into twelve pieces.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, unfold one sheet of your puff pastry. Use a pizza cutter to cut your puff pastry into six rectangles. Add a slice of ham, an pinch of cheese, and a thin line of mustard to each section. Add a 12th of the sausage to each section and spread it lengthwise. You can go all the way to the end of the roll, but be sure to leave empty space along the sides to seal.
  3. Here's how I roll them. Pull the right side of the dough up and into the middle of the sausage. Dab a bit of water down the side of the dough you just folded over. Pick up the whole section and hold it in your non-dominant hand. Stretch and pull the other side of the dough to overlap slightly and seal the roll. Use a fork to close up the seam, then place the roll, seam side down, on your baking sheet.
  4. Brush your beaten egg on the top of each roll, then use a sharp knife to cut two vents into each roll.
  5. Put the first set of rolls in the oven for 25 minutes, and repeat the process with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  6. Allow the rolls to cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack. These can be served warm, room temp, or cold.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
10 Awesome Weeknight Dishes

10 Awesome Weeknight Dishes

Weeknight Dishes

My brain has been so fried all week, I’m pretty sure if I had tried to whip up a fancy meal I would have chopped all my fingers off and set my house on fire. Weeknights are made for simple dishes. The kind of food my mom used to make. The kind of food you can make without losing any digits, even if you’re completely worn out. Lucky for me, I had plenty of leftover Chicken Corn Chowder this week, but if I didn’t, I would have made one of these awesome dishes.

Parmesan Fried Gnocchi starts with store-bought gnocchi, so most of the work is done for you. You can have this side dish on the table in under 10 minutes. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a rotisserie chicken. It’s also outrageously delicious.

Breakfast for dinner is absolutely rad, and homemade Buttermilk Pancakes are damn delicious. Throw some bacon in the oven, be sure to have plenty of maple syrup, and be awesome.

A pound of ground beef, a seasoning packet, a few cans, and a package of gnocchi come together to make a huge pot of spicy Chili with Gnocchi. There will likely be leftovers to make your life easy for days.

English dudes have all sorts of strange solutions for feeding themselves after a long day of work, and none of them involve any serious effort. Check out things British people put between two slices of bread

You could just order a pizza, but if you prefer to make your own food, try this Super Fast Faux Pizza. It comes together in a flash.

Chips and dip definitely count as a meal on a weeknight. It’s super easy to make your own Easy Peanut Butter Hummus with a few simple ingredients and a food processor. 

Assemble a pan full of awesome with a dozen Hawaiian rolls, ham, cheese, and a simple spread. Make Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches then try not to eat them all.

When I’ve had a hard day, I big bowl of flavorful pasta that I could basically make in my sleep makes me happier than you could possibly imagine. Make yourself some Lemon Linguine and carb up your life.

Going through the drive through is an easy weeknight solution, but sometimes it’s not that easy to get your hands on the junk food you really love. Make your own Frito Chili Cheese Wraps faster than you can say “May I take your order?”

There are few foods on the planet better than cheese, and if you need a super fast snack to impress friends, make Holiday Brie. It’s awesome 365 days a year and comes together in 5 minutes.

Remove undue stress from your life. That’s what all the awesome kids do. Eat well. Live well. Be awesome.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m staring at this screen, trying to make words, but they elude me. My brain is so exhausted, all I can think about is how much ice cream I want to eat and how I wish it was acceptable to go to bed at 5:30. Learning a new job without any training is tough. But really, just being alive can be tough. It really doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, chances are, you feel completely worn out every now and then. Obviously, you need a cupcake.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Baking is one of my very favorite things, and when I don’t have time for it, it’s a bit depressing. Luckily, I made excuses to stay in last weekend and bake Cookies and Cream Cupcakes filled with marshmallow filling and topped with a cloud of cookie studded frosting that will make you want to dance with joy. There are several steps to these cupcakes, but none of them are complicated.

Take refuge in your kitchen. Don’t let anybody make any demands of you. Don’t answer any emails, don’t take any calls until you’ve created something so lovely, so delicious, that everybody will wonder why they asked you to do anything else.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

When was the last time you made your own cupcakes, shared them with your friends, and ate one without any feelings of guilt? Make it now. 

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Yields 24
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes are filled with marshmallow cream and topped of with cookie crumb frosting. You won't be able to stop yourself.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 24 Oreos or other chocolate sandwich cookies
  2. 1 box white cake mix
  3. 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted
  4. 1 cup water
  5. 3 eggs
For the filling
  1. 4 ounces marshmallow cream
  2. 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  3. Splash of vanilla extract
  4. 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  5. 3/8 cup powdered sugar
For the frosting
  1. 2 sticks (8 ounces) butter, softened
  2. 1/8 cup heavy cream
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  4. 4 cups powdered sugar
  5. 8 Oreos or other chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and place your favorite cupcake papers in your cupcake pans. Add a whole cookie to the bottom of each cup.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together cake mix, butter, water, and eggs with an electric mixer on low for about a minute. Turn up the speed to medium high for another minute to make sure everything is smooth.
  3. Scoop your batter evenly into your cups, filling them about two thirds full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about five minutes then remove them to a rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
For the filling
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together marshmallow cream, butter, vanilla and heavy cream until smooth. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, then beat on medium high for about a minute until everything is smooth. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with a small round tip.
  2. Use a chopstick or something similar to "drill" a hole in the center of each cupcake. Poke the piping tip down into the hole of each cupcake and squeeze in some of your filling.
For the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, heavy cream, and vanilla until smooth. Turn mixer down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Crank up the speed for a minute or two to make everything smooth and fluffy.
  2. Fold in your cookie crumbs, and frost your cupcakes in your favorite way.
Notes
  1. Be patient if you're piping your frosting. Even using a wide tip, it can sometimes get clogged with larger cookie crumbs.
Adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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