Kir Royale | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Kir Royale

The Kir Royale is a simple mix of Chambord and sparkling wine. It’s the perfect way to dress up a low quality wine for a cheap date night in. Get romantic with this gorgeous drink.

Kir Royale | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you go the Leslie Knope route and celebrate with your favorite gal pals for a sweet Galentine’s? Or do you go all out with a fancy dinner and drinks at an expensive restaurant? Do you get chocolate and roses and lingerie? This can be such a devisive holiday. I’m so curious to know how you like to spend it.

For the past few years in Glasgow, my husband has made us dinner reservations. It’s usually a bit of a surprise. It’s nice to go out, as we both prefer to be at home. I actually put on a dress and do something about my hair. You know, make an effort. But it’s always so crowded, usually we can’t wait for dessert to be finished so we can get out of there and actually hear each other speak.

Kir Royale | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

In Hawaii, we used to forego the actual restaurant scene. We’d order something to take away from one of our favorite restaurants and spread out a blanket on the beach and enjoy a nice meal while watching the sunset. February is very different there than it is in Scotland.

This year, Geoff tried to make reservations at an Italian place we’d been wanting to try, but it was already booked. I texted him the other day to see if he had a back up plan. I had one in mind, but I didn’t want to say since he usually makes the plans for this particular holiday. This is how I know this man is my soulmate. He did indeed have a back up plan, and it was the same as mine. This year for Valentine’s Day, we’re going to Five Guys, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Kir Royale | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I think there’s nothing more romantic than a homemade dinner in, cooked with love for your sweetheart. And the best part is, you don’t have to go that far to the bedroom.

This Kir Royale would be an excellent way to start things off. A shot of Chambord goes into your champagne flute before topping it up with sparkling wine. And you don’t need to splash out on expensive champagne for this one because the raspberry liqueur will cover up most of the subtle flavors of the wine.

Kir Royale | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

The color of this drink is gorgeous. You can serve it plain or add a few frozen berries to the bottom of the glass to help keep it chilled. This drink really couldn’t be simpler. I just love it.

For the rest of my romantic dinner, I think I’d serve something earthy and delicious like Bacon Carbonara. And of course, Molten Chocolate Cake is the ultimate romantic dessert. I think anything home cooked lets someone know you really care.

Kir Royale | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Even if you think Valentine’s Day is complete garbage, make this Kir Royale for yourself. It’ll be awesome.

Let me know if you’re making my recipes by taggint them #awesomeon20 on Instagram. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Salted Caramel White Russian

Add a sweet twist to a classic cocktail with a Salted Caramel White Russian. Is it dessert? Is it a drink? Who cares. Just make one and be cool.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

What kind of comedy do you like? I can’t do cringey comedy. Watching people struggle through awkward and embarrassing situations is like torture for me. I found the first season of Fleabag intensely uncomfortable. And remember Meet the Parents? I’d rather go to the dentist than watch that movie.

I’m also not that interested in gross out humor. My husband loves Anchorman and other Will Ferrel-type movies where a lot of the comedy is physical. He’s very pro-fart joke. It bores me.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m sure you’ve figured out by the fact that I’m posting a White Russian today, that I’m much more into eccentric, witty, verbal comedy. Coen Brothers? I’m all in. Does anyone remember Homestar Runner? This is 100% my wheelhouse. Make it weird. Make it witty. I’ll watch it over and over again. In fact, I might have to watch The Big Lebowski right now. For the hundredth time.

We actually have a bar/restaurant here in Glasgow called Lebowski’s. They have two pages of White Russians on their menu themed around various characters and moments from the movie. Naturally, my husband ordered the Salted Caramel White Russian and instantly proclaimed it the best drink he’d ever had. When I got home and looked at recreating it, I suddenly understood why they charged so much for this cocktail.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Rather than using specialty spirits, I’ve simply added some caramel coffee syrup which you can probably find at a well-stocked grocery store. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s still super awesome. My store was out of squirty cream, but that would be a brilliant addition here. I did keep the crumble of tablet from the Lebowski’s version. If you’re Scottish, you know this is awesome. If you’ve never heard of tablet, just skip it.

Salted Caramel White Russian | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

We all need a little more laughter in our lives, no matter how we get there. I suggest you fix yourself a Salted Caramel White Russian and laugh ’til you cry.

If you’re looking for more White Russian variations, why not try a Pumpkin Spice White Russian, or a White Russian Milkshake.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail

This Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail is both sweet and sophisticated. It’s perfect for when you want something a little bit fancy but not straight up boozy. You’re gonna want to drink this the entire holiday season.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

As I write this, we are on the eve of a general election here in the UK, and it’s really messing with my holiday spirit. Just when your days start feeling merry and bright, somebody does or says something ridiculous on the news, and you wonder if we’ll even survive to next year. The world feels totally out of control, and I don’t know if we’ll actually be okay.

Christmas and Yule and so many other winter solstice traditions all have themes of hope and renewal. I feel like we really need to tap into that right now. We’ve been wading through a dark time. It’s a natural and necessary cycle of death, but late December signifies the return of the light. It comes slowly, but every day from December 21st will start to be just a little bit longer than the day before. And then all of a sudden we’ll start to see crocuses and remember what color is. Life always come back. Let’s hold onto that feeling.

Or maybe we just need to chill out and drink cocktails until we forget for a minute that the world is falling apart around us. I don’t know.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you are going to make yourself a cocktail, make this Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail. It’s absolutely delicious, guys. It’s sugar and spice and Christmas cheer and bubbles and fun. I’m into it.

A little vodka and a little non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider get mixed together with a homemade spiced simple syrup made with orange juice, sugar, and a mix of winter spices. We use ground spices because this is real life, and that’s what you probably have in your kitchen. I strained my syrup through a coffee filter to try to get rid of some of the bigger bits, but you’ll still have some ground spices in your syrup. Don’t sweat it. Just make sure you give everyone something to stir their drink with. A cinnamon stick is super cute. Go to an Asian market to get cheap whole spices. Save your money for gifts.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I don’t know what’s going to happen with Brexit or impeachment or any of that. I do know that, barring some type of comic book-level catastrophe, the Earth will continue to journey around the sun, and the light will slowly but surely return to the Northern Hemisphere. In the meantime, I’ll be over here drinking a cocktail. You should join me. It’ll be awesome.

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you make this cocktail. I can’t wait to see .

Apple Brandy Frozen Punch | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Apple Brandy Frozen Punch

Apple Brandy Frozen Punch is tasty make-ahead drink for your holiday table or party. It’s low in alcohol, so you can keep the party going all night. Plus, it tastes just as awesome as it slowly melts. You should definitely give it a try.

Apple Brandy Frozen Punch | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I love planning party menus. The second someone mentions they’re having a gathering, my brain instantly switches into menu planning mode, even if I’m not invited to the party. What would I make? How much cheese can I get away with serving? What’s for dessert? It’s gotta be something awesome?

A crucial element of the party menu is the drink. You want to be able to offer someone a beverage as soon as they come in and take their coat off. But maybe you also need to be in the kitchen finishing things up. It’s gotta be something simple. Something you can make ahead or something your guests can easily assemble themselves. And it can’t get watered down through the night. That would ruin everything.

Apple Brandy Frozen Punch | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

That’s where this Apple Brandy Frozen Punch comes in. It’s made ahead of time so you don’t have to be mixing fancy cocktails for each guest. It’s not crazy alcoholic, so you can have multiple cups without getting out of control. And it starts frozen so you can serve it almost as a slushy or top it up with sparkling wine for some added glamour. Then as it melts it stays awesome because you’re not adding any water to the drink.

You can serve this in a pitcher or a punch bowl. When it’s really frozen, it’s easier to scoop it out then pour it. Garnish it with apple slices and cinnamon sticks and anything else you think is autumnal and beautiful.

The easiest way to freeze this is in a plastic or silicone resealable bag. You can just go to the freezer every hour or so and kind of squish it a bit to make sure it doesn’t get too solid. I’m cutting back on single-use plastic, so I didn’t have any bags. I froze this in a food storage container, and just took a fork to it, scraping up the ice crystals as they formed. Even if you freeze it over night and it seems a bit solid, the sugar and alcohol will keep it from being a total block of ice. Just keep scraping, and you’ll end up with lovely ice crystals.

Apple Brandy Frozen Punch | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Every party needs a good drink,. This Apple Brandy Frozen Punch is where it’s at. Give it a try. It’ll be awesome.

If you make this recipe, be sure to share a photo in Instagram. Tag me use the hashtag #awesomeon20 so I can see your awesome creation.

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Green Apple Martini

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I meant to write this post yesterday. I left my laptop sitting out while I went into the kitchen to test a new waffle recipe. The waffles were just okay (this recipe is better), but that didn’t stop me eating three of them. When I came back into the living room to sit down and write, I discovered the cat had decided to take a nap on my laptop keyboard.

My cat is clearly some kind of devious genius because she managed to step on just the right buttons to turn off my mouse. If Geoff would have been home, the problem could have been solved in about five minutes because he knows that laptops don’t just work by magic, but alas, he was out for the night. Obviously, I had no choice but to close my laptop and go to bed at 7:30. It actually ended up being a pretty great night.

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

But as you’re reading this, it’s Friday, and we all deserve to have exactly the drink that we really want. I really want a sweet and tangy Green Apple Martini. I’m not apologizing. You know it’s tasty. And the good thing about making this drink at home is that there’s no one around to judge you.

I ordered the green apple syrup on Amazon, but it was worth it. Green apple liqueur is pretty easy to come by here. And of course, vodka is vodka. Shake it all up with ice so that it’s crazy cold, and serve it in a fancy glass because you deserve it.

Green Apple Martini | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You just never know how things are going to go sometimes. This is why you always need to be ready to make a cocktail. This Green Apple Martini will get you through anything with a smile on your face.

Recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson.

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