Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Vanilla Ginger Mojito

Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Are you getting legit fall weather where you live yet? In Scotland, summer is a distant memory, and it’s been chilly and damp for weeks now, but I know other parts of the world are just now seeing those delightfully crisp autumn days. October is up there as my favorite time of year. The autumn leaves are in full show, and you still get some sunny, albeit cold, days where you can get outside and feel alive. They don’t have apple picking or pumpkin patches or hay rides here in Scotland, but at least there’s still boots and sweaters and all things toffee. 

Today I’ve made you a cocktail that is the perfect transition from summer to fall. Mojitos bring to mind steamy beach vacations, short skirts, and salsa music. But this version has some beautiful fall flavors that are perfect to sip in front of the fire after a day of crunching through leaves. Okay, maybe you can’t pick the mint from your garden, but you can definitely make this happen.

Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Vanilla Ginger Mojito is one of the best cocktails I’ve made in a long time. I splurged on a whole vanilla bean to make the syrup, and it was totally worth it. This cocktail is so beautifully fragrant, I wish it was a perfume. I also made that vanilla bean do double duty. The recipe calls for vanilla rum, but that wasn’t available at my grocery store, so I just popped the vanilla bean into my bottle of white rum and presto, vanilla rum. 

This recipe is two stage and involves several fresh ingredients, but it’s in no way complicated to make. And I assure you it is an absolute pleasure to drink. It’s all for the best that this recipe only makes two cocktails because you could easily drink a bucket of these.

Vanilla Ginger Mojito | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheers to autumn, friends. Make yourself a Vanilla Ginger Mojito and enjoy these awesome days.

Vanilla Ginger Mojito
Serves 2
This Vanilla Ginger Mojito is the perfect drink to take you from summer to fall with a smile on your face.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
For the syrup
  1. 1/2 cup water
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half with seeds scraped out
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled
For the cocktail
  1. 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  2. 4 ounces vanilla rum
  3. 2 ounces soda water
  4. 2 ounces ginger ale
  5. 2 ounces lime juice
  6. Lime wedges for garnish, optional
For the syrup
  1. Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan. Stir together the water and sugar, then add the scraped out beans from your vanilla bean, along with the whole bean, the vanilla extract, and the piece of ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and reduce the heat to simmer for about two minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for about fifteen minutes to steep. Remove the vanilla bean and ginger.
For the cocktail
  1. Add about a third of a cup of fresh mint leaves to two glasses. Add two ounces of vanilla rum to each glass and muddle the mint in the bottom of the glass by giving it a good smash with something blunt. I use the handle end of a butter knife.
  2. Fill each glass with plenty of ice, then divide the remaining ingredients between your two glasses.
  3. Garnish with a wedge of lime and some additional mint. Give it a good stir before drinking.
Adapted from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant
Adapted from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant
http://awesomeon20.com/
Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

By the time this post goes live, it will be 4:00 in the afternoon in the Pacific Northwest where my family lives. I was just there last week, and I’m still feeling the jet lag. We were awake for a solid 32 hours this weekend with only the occasional nod off on the plane. I managed to curl up on the floor of Heathrow airport in a nest of coats and almost sleep for about 20 minutes. When I got up, I had forgotten for a moment what city I was in.

Anybody who tries to tell you jet lag isn’t real is a damn liar. I feel like I should have been given at least two sick days as I attempted to recover. Instead, I worked for 12 hours yesterday and have another 11 hour day to look forward to tomorrow. If my boss ever tries to tell me I’m not dedicated, I might scream. It’s a good thing I don’t drive or operate heavy machinery because I definitely would have accidentally killed someone this week. 

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The afternoon before Thanksgiving might be the exact perfect time to have a sweet and festive cocktail dropped into your life. This Cranberry Mule will be the perfect start to your Thanksgiving weekend. It’s so fun and goes down easy. There’s a bit of a bite from the ginger beer, and a tart hint from the cranberry juice. Mix up a pitcher of these, and your family will never notice you gave them cranberry sauce from a jar.

Incidentally, it’s so easy to make your own cranberry sauce, you could probably do it while drinking a Cranberry Mule.

This drink can easily be scaled up or down. Mix it in parts and make as much or as little as you like. And if you really want to go all out, freeze some cranberries to use in place of some of the ice in your glass. If you happen to have some of those fancy copper mugs, what better time to break them out? I wish I was as cool as that.

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheers to family and turkey and cranberries and booze. Hope you have a lovely holiday.

Cranberry Mule
Cranberry Mule is the perfect sweet, festive cocktail to get you through the holidays.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Ice
  2. 2 parts vodka
  3. 1 part cranberry juice
  4. 5 parts ginger beer
  5. Lime juice
Instructions
  1. Add vodka, cranberry juice, and ginger beer to your desired vessel. If you're making this one glass at a time, start out with the ice in the glass. Otherwise, mix up a pitcher and pour the drink over the ice as you serve. Add a squeeze of lime juice to each glass, from an actual lime wedge if you planned ahead, or from the plastic squeezy lime if you're being more spontaneous.
Notes
  1. If you start with all your ingredients well chilled, your drink get as watered down by the ice.
Adapted from Christmas by Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Christmas by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I just finished watching the semi-final of this year’s Great British Bake Off. In case you’re wondering, I’m team Sophie. I absolutely love watching this show, especially since they have the refrigerator of my dreams on set. Every week I’m astonished by how the producers can manage to make baking seem so extremely tense and suspenseful. It just makes me realize there’s no way I ever would or could put myself through that.

I love to bake, but I also love to keep it simple and need to keep it cheap. Most importantly, I need to keep it delicious. I think that’s one thing about Bake Off that makes it superior to other cooking competition shows like Cake Wars and such. They really focus on flavor, so even if your bake doesn’t look completely perfect, you still get credit for how it tastes, and sometimes, great flavors even win out over beautiful spectacle.

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

All I’ve got for you are some humble Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting, and while they might not win any beauty contests, I assure you, the flavor is on point. Tons of spice comes through, heavy on the ginger and almost hot. And the cake itself is so tender. Then the maple frosting on top is sweet and deep and dreamy.

You could pipe your frosting to make them extra fancy, but I went with a scoop and swirl action, then added a hint of gold sprinkles for a bit of whimsy. It’s not a show stopper, but it’s absolutely awesome.

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting are going to make all your Fall flavor dreams come true. 

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting
Yields 15
Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting are full of gorgeous flavor and perfectly sweet.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the cupcakes
  1. 2 cups cake flour
  2. 3/4 cup white sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  8. 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  9. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  11. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  12. 2 eggs
For the frosting
  1. 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  2. 250 grams (2-1/2 cups) powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and add 15 papers to your cupcake pan. You may yield a couple more or less. Be flexible.
  2. Add all dry ingredients, everything from flour to salt, into your mixing bowl and mix on low speed to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Add butter and buttermilk and mix on medium until thick and incorporated.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.
  5. Scoop batter into cupcake pans, filling half full. This batter will rise quite a bit so don't overfill.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar together until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Dollop onto the nearest cupcake and dance with joy.
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
http://awesomeon20.com/
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