Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You can’t say I’m not looking out for you, friends. Monday I gave you a solid, dependable, and ridiculously awesome mashed potato recipe. Today, I’m here with another essential tool for getting through the holidays looking like a total genius. Get out your pretty pitcher, and stock up on cheap champagne. You’re going to need to be ready to serve a cocktail at the drop of a hat, and this one is sure to please.

The Poinsettia comes from my favorite goddess, Nigella Lawson. It’s a simple combination of sparkling wine, orange liqueur, and cranberry juice. It’s tastes lovely, but here’s why it’s awesome. You can use cheap champagne because you’re not really going to taste it. I bought a five dollar bottle, and it was fine. Same goes for the orange liqueur. Triple Sec works totally fine here.

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

My favorite part, though, is how you’re going to keep this drink chilled. Throw a bag of whole cranberries in your freezer. They’re sure to be easy to find and on sale this time of year. Instead of ice, toss the frozen berries in your pitcher. It will keep your drink cold and look completely beautiful.

I also love that you can make a whole pitcher of drinks ahead of time. When your guests get to the bottom of their glasses, it’s much easier to refill from something already mixed than having to make a new drink each time. Plus, the red color just screams holidays. It’s seasonal, beautiful, and cheap. All sorts of win.

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Invite some friends over. Make them a poinsettia. Eat, drink, and be awesome.

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail
Serves 8
The Poinsettia is seasonal, festive, tasty, and cheap. Make up a pitcher for your next holiday party.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 bottle sparkling white wine
  2. 1/2 cup triple sec
  3. 2 cups cranberry juice
  4. Frozen cranberries, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and add frozen berries or ice to keep chilled.
  2. Pour into your favorite glasses and enjoy.
Adapted from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Pumpkin Spice White Russian | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Pumpkin Spice White Russian

Pumpkin Spice White Russian | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I made you a cocktail. I had to drink it because you were far away, but I made it for you because it’s September and that means we have to pumpkin spice everything. My favorite cocktail, the White Russian, seemed like a perfect candidate.

I make you midweek cocktails for two reasons. One, because they’re the only thing easy enough to make and photograph after I get home from work but before the sun goes down. Two, when you’ve had a week so busy that you didn’t even get to spend your weekend taking pictures of your food, you really really need a midweek cocktail. And a strong one at that.

Pumpkin Spice White Russian | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

And because it’s the middle of the week and you’re stressed out, I kept things simple. You don’t have to make any ingredients from scratch. Unless you’re one of those people who has all kinds of time on their hands on a Wednesday night. If so, who are you, and can I come over?

Simply replace some of the milk in your White Russian with pumpkin spice coffee creamer, which is certainly available in most grocery stores this time of year. The warm spices compliment the Kahlua perfectly. I guess this is why people like pumpkin spice lattes so much. I also find whole milk provides the perfect consistency to a White Russian. Not too thick, not too thin. It’s like a boozy baby bear.

Pumpkin Spice White Russian | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Make yourself a Pumpkin Spice White Russian and keep your fall mellow and awesome.

Pumpkin Spice White Russian
Serves 1
A sweet, warmly spiced, pumpkin enhanced White Russian cocktail is the ideal fall drink for those weeks when you really need to chill out.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Ice
  2. 2 ounces vodka
  3. 1 ounce Kahlua liqueur
  4. 2 ounces pumpkin spice coffee creamer
  5. Whole milk
Instructions
  1. Add ice to a short glass and pour the vodka, Kahlua, and pumpkin spice coffee creamer over the ice. Top up the glass with milk. Stir and consume until sufficiently chilled out.
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
  White Russian Milkshake from Awesome on 20

If you dig this cocktail, you might want to check out my White Russian Milkshake!

Awesome in August

Awesome in August

August has worn me out, you guys. It’s been non-stop working with plenty of weekending thrown in. I’m desperately in need of this long weekend. Let’s make it happen.

Islands

Let’s start off with my favorite thing, eating. We were supposed to take it easy on the eating out this month, and I guess we did cut down a little bit, but we still managed to enjoy some turkey burgers at Islands, a wicked strong cocktail at Hula Grill, some overpriced hummus at the Moana Surfrider’s Beach Bar, and a super cheesy pizza at Harbor Pub & Pizza

Hula Grill

We’re about to dig in to Season 2 of Falling Skies. Season 1 started off insteresting but slow, but by the end of the season, there were enough plot twists to make you dizzy. In that “I’m completely hooked” kind of way. I’m hoping life will slow down just a touch so we can jump into the next episodes. 

I read Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s a collection of short stories about various Indian families who have put down roots in America. Lahiri’s writing is elegant and evocative. The first story was about a woman who had recently lost her mother, and I found it a bit difficult to get through, which should be considered praise. It definitely stirred up a lot of emotions. Then I was humming along enjoying the ride, and she managed to hit me in the face with a baseball bat in the last five pages. That’s an ending that will stay with me for a long time. 

The internet’s got me dreaming of blowing up one of my photos and making my own Giant Tiled Photo Art to hang in my kitchen a la A Beautiful Mess, though I doubt I could ever make it look that cute. Foodie with Family is killing me with Cheesy Barbecue Chicken and Bacon Eggrolls. Since I can’t escape Asian food in Hawaii, I might as well join in with an American version. And I sort of want to turn my house into a mall cookie stand and make these Homemade Dinky Doozies from Annie’s Eats. So good.

Greek Fest

We also attended the Greek Fest this year, and I ate loukoumades, and then promptly had to talk myself out of eating more loukoumades because they’re basically heaven. 

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake from Awesome on 20

Now for the stuff you thought was awesome. You’re dreaming of fall and pumpkins and getting into Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cake. You’re probably also trying to avoid the lingering heat by checking out Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel No Bake Cookies. And you really love Labor Day, and why wouldn’t you . Be sure to eat all the food ever and get A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Recipes.

harbor

I hope it’s about to cool off in your part of the world. September is the calm before the holiday storm. Live it!

Brown Elephant Cocktail from Awesome on 20

Brown Elephant Cocktail

Brown Elephant Cocktail from Awesome on 20

When our fridge died, you better believe I saved the liquor. That stuff is expensive, and you never know when you’re going to need it. Like when your only baby, the one about to start high school, goes back to the mainland until spring break. Though nothing can truly soothe my broken heart, a cocktail never hurt anyone. When you’ve got a bottle of Amarula and a bottle of Kahlua that you’ve rescued from certain death, the internet tells me the best thing to do is make a Brown Elephant.

Brown Elephant Cocktail from Awesome on 20

A Brown Elephant Cocktail is made with Amarula, Kahlua, and milk. Add some ice and you’re home free. I added a drizzle of chocolate to my glass because it’s pretty, and it’s chocolate. It’s that simple. Though a bottle of imported booze may be a bit pricey up front, it’s always going to be cheaper to make your own drinks at home than to get a cocktail in a bar. For the price of two drinks, you can have a whole bottle that you can keep in your fridge and drink from for weeks. 

If you’ve never had Amarula before, you should really try to get your hands on a bottle. It’s made in South Africa, and it’s creamy like Bailey’s, but a bit sweeter. You can drink it all by itself, as well. It’s lovely over ice. 

Brown Elephant Cocktail from Awesome on 20

Whether you’re feeling wildly happy, or a touch sad, a Brown Elephant will definitely bring a smile to your face. 

Brown Elephant Cocktail
Serves 1
A sweet, creamy cocktail of Amarula and Kahlua to make you happy.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 ounces Amarula
  2. 1 ounce Kahlua
  3. 2/3 cup milk
  4. Ice
  5. Chocolate syrup for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour Amarula, Kahlua, and milk over ice and stir or shake to combine.
  2. If you'd like to add a chocolate drizzle, carefully pour a thin stream of chocolate syrup around the inside top of your glass. Mix your drink in a separate container, and then pour into drizzled glass.
Adapted from Drinks Mixer
Adapted from Drinks Mixer
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Happy Hour: The Counter

Happy Hour: The Counter

Happy Hour: The Counter

I know we’ve been to The Counter before to talk about their burgers, but did you know they also have happy hour Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00? The cocktails, boozy shakes, and draft beers are all $2 off, and the appetizers are half off. You could theoretically make a meal out of a bunch of shared appetizers if you really wanted to make the most of it. We love the burgers too much to skip.

Geoff ordered his usual Blue Moon, and I chose a cocktail, the Kahala Club Tea. I’ve always wanted to try a cocktail at The Counter, but thought they were too expensive. Happy hour was the perfect opportunity to give one a try. My drink contained fresh mint, and wasn’t overly sweet. It was perhaps dangerously refreshing. Luckily, the price keeps me from having more than one.

Happy Hour: The Counter

Since we were basically starving we ordered onion rings and sweet potato fries as an appetizer. They come with three dipping sauces; ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, and horseradish aioli. I always forget that they serve that horseradish sauce with the sweet potato fries. I think it’s awful and always end up wishing it would magically turn into sriracha mayo. It never does. But the sweet potato fries themselves are awesome.

Happy Hour: The Counter

Emily had the vegan burger with pepper jack, ranch dressing, lettuce and pineapple on a brioche bun. She enjoyed it, but found it a bit tricky to eat and ended up knife and forking it.

Happy Hour: The Counter

Geoff went with a turkey burger with habanero salsa, jalapenos, spicy pepperoncini, green chiles, pepper jack cheese, and a fried egg. When I saw his burger come out with that gorgeous egg on top,I was a bit jealous. He said the with all the flavor from the peppers, he didn’t even care that he was eating a turkey burger. He ate the whole thing, so I think he really liked it.

Happy Hour: The Counter

I went pretty normal with my burger today, opting for Tillamook cheddar, barbecue sauce, and crispy applewood smoked bacon. It was amazeballs.

My favorite thing about The Counter is the never ending possibilities. You’ll never run out of burger options, and now that I know I can save a bit of money during happy hour, I think I’ll be there much too often. It’s a great family-friendly happy hour option.

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