Avoiding Post-Vacation Blues

Avoiding Post-Vacation Blues: Advice from a Purple Hippo

When returning from an amazing vacation  there is always the fear that post-vacation blues will hit the newly returned traveler. To avoid this gloomy mood, I will be posting several tips that are sure to brighten your mood and keep you excited about your vacation, even after it has concluded.

One of the best ways to extend your vacation experience is to bring back customs that you learned while on your travels. For a tiny hippo, such as myself, discovering new flavors are a big part of traveling. When I return from a vacation I try to bring home some new flavor ideas to recreate in my own humble kitchen. Once I have mastered the new food techniques at home I like to share them at a special occasion with friends and family. The perfect occasion for trying new foods is, of course, the picnic!

Here is my homemade ploughman’s sandwich with a lovely picnic spread

While traveling in the United Kingdom I fell in love with the ploughman’s platter, and more specifically with ploughman’s sandwiches. These scrumptious sandwiches are made with a hearty bread, an aged cheese, butter (all sandwiches in the UK seem to have butter on them), and spicy and tangy chutney. The chutney is key to this sandwich, without it you just have a plain cheese sandwich.

Recreating foods that you enjoyed during your vacation and then making a bit of an event out of them, such as a picnic, is a great way to bring your trip home with you. This post-travel tip allows you to bring your vacation home with you while avoiding corny souvenirs that have no personal connection to you.

Follow the link to my spicy apple chutney to spread onto your own ploughman’s sandwiches and stay tuned for homemade scones with fresh clotted cream.

Click here to see more of my Travel Tips.

Summer Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

With all the great produce that summer has to offer there is nothing better than a delicious salad full of crunchy veggies and sweet berries topped with an amazing blueberry vinaigrette.

Summer Salad:

1 English cucumber, sliced

1 red bell pepper, quartered and then sliced

1/2 pint blueberries

12 ounces strawberries, quartered

1 bunch of radishes, sliced thinly (use a mandolin or V slicer)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 package of baby spring greens

Once you have cut all the produce just through all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss.

The different colored radishes used here all taste like regular ones, but they are so much cuter

The best part of this salad is the amazing blueberry vinaigrette. We discovered this recipe after we came back from our local you-pick blueberry farm and realized we needed something to do with six pounds of blueberries. A Veggie Venture blog recipe came to our rescue. We have changed the recipe a tiny bit, for the original just click here: Blueberry Vinaigrette Recipe.

Blueberry Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup fresh blueberries (freshly picked is best)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons blueberry juice (POM blueberry juice is good)

In your blender, mix the blueberries, garlic, onion, red wine vinegar, and juice together. Once the mixture has been liquified drizzle in the olive oil, whip in blender until combined. That’s it, the best dressing you will ever make, seriously. A word of warning, the vinaigrette will turn into a jello like mass if you don’t use it right away, if this happens just add more juice and spin it up in the blender, or eat it with a spoon while your husband is distracted.

Blueberry vinaigrette drizzled over a crisp summer salad

Drizzle the vinaigrette onto the summer salad and enjoy! This salad pairs perfectly with our Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings.

The perfect summer meal

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

This is one of the best recipes for chicken wings that you will ever use. We like to grill the chicken instead of frying because it gives the wings a great crunch without having to deal with frying.

Ingredients:

Wings:

1 package of pre-cut chicken wings, which is 12 pieces with the tips already discarded, or you can get a package of six whole wings that you cut at the joints and discard the tips.

Season with salt and pepper.

Sauce:

½ stick butter or margarine

7 tablespoons of brown sugar

3 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon onion flakes

½ teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce

½ teaspoon cayenne powder

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

½ teaspoon chipotle seasoning

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon powdered ginger

 

Method:

Season the wings with salt and pepper while the grill is preheating on high.

Once the grill is hot, place your wings on the grate. Cook until the wings are a nicely charred and crispy.

Chicken just off the grill.

Take the wings off the grill and cover with tinfoil.

Now it is time to construct the sauce (it is best to wait until the wings are done to do this because this way you will not over heat the sauce, overheating turns the sauce into caramel).

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. As soon as the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted remove from heat and pour over the wings, toss to coat.

These wings are excellent with Summer Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette