Summer is winding down, kids are heading back to school (or already have, like my brother-in-law, Kuyler, in Bright IN), and I still haven’t had a proper vacation yet!! I’m just itching to get a week or more out of the cubicle, shed myself of the normal day-to-day, have a small adventure (I don’t relax on vacations) and forget about reality for a moment. We’ve left Chicago on small weekend excursions here and there this year, but nothing substantial enough to call a true VACATION.
I was spoiled from the time I was born. My Dad insisted on at least 1 true vacation a year, frequently more than 1. Even when money was tight, we still managed to pile into the car (equipped with lots of fruit and the electric pot for rice porridge for breakfast) and drive up and down the East coast, even wondering into the Midwest. My parents worked extremely hard, they deserved more than a few weeks in the year to get away.
As I sit here evil-eyeing everyone’s “On Vacation” signs on their office doors and computer monitors, I reminisce last year’s vacation to Florida. We spent the majority of our week at the Happiest Place on Earth, but we did manage to peel away from Mickey for a day at Universal Studios. The Wizardly World of Harry Potter had just opened and we had to check it out. IT WAS AWESOME. I’m not even a huge Harry Potter fan and I thought it was super cool. We even waited for what seemed to be 3 weeks (probably 2.5 hrs or so) to what a drunk guy called a “magical experience, best FUCKING ride EVER”, the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”. Zach got himself a wand, and the best part, we drank BUTTERBEER!! It’s amazing how this fictional drink can come to life so perfectly. They serve it frozen (slushy-form) or just cold like soda and it comes out of this huge red beer barrel. So, I Googled it to see if we can recreate the refreshing beverage at home and transport back to vacation for an evening.
There are quiet a few recipes out there, but the one that people think is most like the secret recipe at Universal Studios is this one, published by Fox News, AP, MSNBC, etc. when the theme park opened last Spring. You’ll have to add ice and blend it for the slushy version, but I think it’s spot on! I didn’t even add the whipped cream (as the soda created enough foam to make it authentic). We paired it with this awesome recipe for Butterbeer cupcakes. It’s a little bit on the sweet side (which Zach doesn’t mind), but you can cut down on the sweetness by not injecting the cupcake with the butterscotch ganache, but just drizzling it a little on the top. I also made mini cupcakes too so that I didn’t feel as guilty eating them (even though I shoved 2 in my mouth immediately after I made them).
Well, it was great reminiscing for a few days. Maybe next week I’ll look through old photos of our Paris trip? How about you? You can have a staycation around the world! Now if I can only keep my mind still until October when we go on our amazing trip to Taiwan and China (I know, you don’t feel bad for me now)!