Foodie Finds {Las Vegas}

I know that you guys are all asking yourselves…how did I get the BOY out hiking in Las Vegas???

 

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Nope…it’s not his undying love and devotion to me…

 

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We promised him In and Out Burger : )

 

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I certainly joke about the BOY’s love of food on the blog, but I have to say that having a ‘Foodie’ boyfriend has it’s benefits!  We eat very well when we are on vacation and Las Vegas was no exception.

 

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And I’m not just talking about this ginormous turkey sandwich from the deli?!

 

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Here are a few of our favorite Las Vegas meals…

 

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Sushi Samba (Venetian)

 

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Julian Serrano’s (Aria)

 

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Carnegie Deli (Mirage)

I recommend going for breakfast and dessert (not at the same time…or maybe at the same time?!)

 

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American Fish (Aria)

 

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*Best brussel sprouts I’ve ever tasted!

 

 

Secret Pizza (Cosmopolitan)

Hint: It’s on the third floor and tough to find!

 

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5 Fifty (Aria)

 

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*I recommend the truffle pizza!

 

Serendipity (Outside Caesars)

 

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And for Dancing and Booze…

 

1Oak (Mirage)

 

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Chandelier Bar (Cosmopolitan)

 

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Happy Eating (and drinking) in Las Vegas!

 

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Do you like to try new restaurants when you travel?

What are your foodie finds?

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

With 5 days in Vegas, it was hard to even know where to begin.  I think I’ll start with the non typical Vegas fun…HIKING!

 

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The four of us (the BOY and I plus two friends from Memphis) spent last Saturday exploring Red Rock Canyon.  I was so jealous as we drove out and saw all of the runners and bikers in the dessert.  It has been a LONG time since I’ve been outside running and or biking!

 

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Red Rock Canyon is a ~12 mile paved road in the middle of the dessert.  All along the road are paths for hiking and beautiful mountains for climbing.  I came to Red Rocks during my first Vegas trip about 8 years ago with my family.

 

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And I was really looking forward to coming back!   

 

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We studied the map and picked a path that was ‘easy to moderate’ with ruins of an old home and possible waterfalls.

 

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The sky started out overcast, but the weather was beautiful and perfect to be out in the mountains.

 

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We walked along the path admiring the gorgeous day and interesting plants.

 

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Then climbed up some large rocks.

 

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We chatted and posed for pictures along the way.

 

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When the path ended (marked by a Wilderness sign, which all thought was rather obvious), we proceeded on climbing over large rocks in a riverbank.

 

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While the BOY was goofing around posing for another picture, we met our first wildlife of the day.

 

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Ok, not really wildlife, but we were shocked as 3 dogs came running down into the river bed.  Our new friends (the dog owners) showed us the way to another ‘path’ past the Wilderness sign.  We climbed along admiring the rock climbers edging their way up the side of the mountain.  We found a few caves to sneak into…

 

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And even higher to climb!

 

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When we finally decided to make our way back, we got a little bit lost pushing through brush and over a few more huge rocks. 

 

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The bright side was that we accidently found a small stream and ‘waterfall’, which was what I was really looking forward to.

 

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We did make our way out of the wilderness and by the time we found the car, the sun was shining!

 

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It was one of my favorite days of the year!  In the middle of this frigid winter, it felt incredible to spend the day exploring the desert in the sunshine with my friends!  With MORE HIKING on my 2014 bucket list, this year looks like it’s off to a great start!

 

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I Almost Forget it Was Winter

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After a week without my winter coat, gloves, boots, and snow…I’m sure you can see why!

 

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The weather in Las Vegas started in the 50’s, but all of the sunshine felt incredible!  I went for a run outside, walked everywhere, and even spent a day hiking in Red Rock Canyon.

 

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Yesterday morning was the warmest day of them all in the 60’s.  We had to check out of our hotel but hung on to the room key so we still had access to the pool, where we hung out for 2 hours soaking up some much needed Vitamin D.

 

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It was such a busy week that I it wasn’t until we landed back at O’hare late last night that I remembered it was still actually winter.  We lost about 50 degrees of warmth in transit back to the midwest.  At the airport, I grabbed everything I could find in the BOY’s car to pile on myself to try to keep warm while he scrapped off the ice.

 

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Although it’s always nice to come home, I am really missing the sunshine and warmth.  Especially today with the brutal cold!  We have a nice quiet Monday to transition back to the real world (and the 2 hour time difference) before diving back into the work week tomorrow.  I will make some time to share our Vegas adventures soon because we really had a fun time and some FANTASTIC meals!

Oh Man!

So instead of detoxing before my trip, I spent last night preparing for sleepless nights in Las Vegas!

 

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It started innocently enough when my brother came out to the suburbs for the weekend.  He and his fiancé arrived around 10pm and booze, games, and shenanigans followed shortly.  It all ended with an intense boy vs girl Wii bowling tournament (we lost) at 3am!!!

 

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I am well aware that I am WAY too old to be staying up until 3am (and even more so as I struggled through my Sunday).  Interestingly, yesterday’s tennis lesson is really showing in my Wii tennis.  I was able to beat my brother in our tournament!  Luckily, we had a really quiet day planned.  We hosted my parents for brunch.  Then the BOY took a 2 hour nap while I got a pedicure.  I spent the rest of the afternoon packing for my trip and preparing for the conference.

 

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Let me tell you who is struggling the MOST with his sleep depravation today…

 

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Baby Cooper!  Who refused to move off of our bed and instead took a nap under the sheets!

Since I’m not doing any cooking or baking tomorrow and won’t have much to share, I am signing off for the week to head out west.  I probably should have set up some guests post for ya’ll, but I’m just not that organized : )  I will have my computer with me so maybe I can share some of the sun and fun from Las Vegas.

 

Enjoy the rest of the Superbowl!

Pre Vegas Detox

I’ve been focusing on taking care of my body this year.  I’m strength training a few days a week, loving my yoga, and cooking clean recipes.  And I’m feeling great!  But next week I am heading off to Las Vegas where I’m sure there will be enough delicious calories to last the rest of the month. 

 

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In prep for my trip, I decided to keep my diet clean this week, focusing on real foods.  Thinking that many of you may be trying to do the same, I thought I’d share a few of my recent eats and clean favorites.

 

 

Breakfast

 

Green Smoothie

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Chia Bowls

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Breakfast Stirfry

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Lunch

 

Turkey Chili with Veggies

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Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

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Quinoa and Sweet Potato Salad

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Dinner

 

Baked Coconut Shrimp

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Chicken Curry

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Crockpot Cashew Chicken

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Snacks

 

Coconut Balls

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Date, Cherry, Walnut Bars

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Fudge Bites

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And…of course I’ve been leaving room for a few squares of dark chocolate!

I leave Tuesday for Las Vegas.  It will be wonderful to get out of the snow and cold, so I am definitely looking forward to almost a week away.  I will be at a conference for the first few days, and then the BOY is flying out to meet me for a weekend of fun.  Bring on the sunshine!  And fun!

 

 

What is your favorite ‘detox’ recipe?

Any restaurant recommendations for Las Vegas?

Do Over

Somehow, I woke up and discovered that it was April.  And not even the first day.  After 4 days at work and 5 days at class, I am slightly disoriented.  I’ve had to ask the BOY a few times throughout today what day it is.  The same thing seems to happen to me after a 9 day vacation on a Caribbean Cruise.  Apparently the answer for today is Tuesday April 3rd…which means it is time for a March monthly recap.  I haven’t really been looking forward to checking in on March’s goals.  March has been the kind of month where I’d like to ask for a RE DO or a DO OVER.  It has not been my healthiest or most balanced month physically or emotionally.  I found myself in a HUGE FUNK and had a major case of Spring Fever!  I have spent large amounts of time at work/class and even took a full week off from exercise (which probably added to my funk).

 

It’s crazy to think that this month started with a snow storm

 

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And ended with a crazy heat wave!

 

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Luckily, the BOY and I fit in a trip to Las Vegas, which was a fun and exciting get away!

 

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Complete with the most incredible buffet that I have ever seen!  Seriously, you have to read this post and see all of these mouth-watering pictures!

 

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I found time for TONS of blog posts this month.  I made some delicious and healthy meals, including this Chicken Curry.

 

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And these new favorites (especially the puppy chow and brownies)…

 

Get Luck Green Smoothie

 

Cake Batter Puppy Chow

 

Slutty Brownies (these are a MUST TRY)

 

Hot Banana Quinoa Cake with Cranberries

 

Mighty Minestrone

 

Cranberry Walnut Bread

 

 

I wanted to write some of my March highlights before getting to the goals because overall, it was not my most successful month.  And,  I thought it would be a good way to take a positive look at the month before I checked in with last month’s goals (since there were some major fails in this department).

 

March Goals

Swim, get in the pool, do some swimming, and then swim some more!

     -FAIL…I didn’t even swim in Las Vegas.

 

Put together a training plan for a half marathon and triathlon

     -Calendar accomplished and being followed!

 

CHEW

     -Not only did I not meet this goal, but I didn’t even find time to write the post.  The point of this goal was to work on spending more time during a meal chewing my food.  The first step is recognizing that I eat quickly and don’t chew, but the bad news is that many of my meals are still eaten on the go.

 

Go totally dairy free (not just fake dairy free…there is dairy in chocolate chips)

     –Have you seen the Las Vegas pictures???  Lots of pizza and delicious dessert.  There were too many sweets in my kitchen this month and my will power was not at its strongest (which basically means that I did good but not great).  It may be time to revaluate this goal.  I know that I will definitely be adding some meat this month with Passover around the corner.

 

Add more exercise posts to blog

     -Here is one good leg workout!

 

 

Goals for April

-Find my healthy eating motivation (this has been lacking these last few weeks and is needed before I can address any other goals and get back to feeling like my healthy and capable self)

-Prioritize half marathon training (and fuel my body to do so)

-Swim!

-CHEW

-Breath and stay balanced (aka Yoga!)

 

 

Off to a good start…

Class got out early today and I was home by 4:30.  What a wonderful feeling!  I was super excited to hang out with the BOY.  We took a trip out to Whole Foods to pick up some seafood for dinner on the grill.

 

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He picked up some tuna and I went with this fresh (and on sale) sockeye salmon.  We also made veggies (asparagus, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms) to round out our dinner. 

 

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After dinner,we spent some QT outside catching up on my 5 day class and his first law school speech (which he crushed today).  We laughed talking about old computer games like the Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?  With two unbalanced months behind me, I am ready for a fresh spring start!  I’m calling a Do Over!!!

Wordless Wednesday at the Wynn

Last Saturday, we had the most amazing champagne brunch at the Wynn in Las Vegas.  There were so many pictures that they didn’t fit into one post.  As promised, here are the rest of the pictures.

 

Warning: May cause your mouth to water and your stomach to grumble!

 

 

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Las Vegas with the Lights Out

On our last night in Vegas began with a delicious Italian dinner on the streets of ‘New York’.

 

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We then made our way to the Bellagio to watch the fountains.  It was a beautiful night and despite the crowds, we were able to find a prime spot with a great view.

 

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Bellagio March 2012

 

 

Afterwards, we boarded the bus and headed off to Fremont Street or Downtown Vegas.  I had no idea what to expect, except for older casinos and cheaper tables.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the packed and colorful street alive with music and people.

 

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The street was filled with energy as we strolled up and down the street.  We discovered this Foot Network/Man vs. Food favorite restaurant, where the waiters and waitresses were all dressed in scrubs and every patient diner is dressed in a hospital gown.  By the way, there is an ambulance out front in case of emergencies!

 

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We walked up and down the street, enjoying the March Madness themed light show, the bands along the strip, and of course the people watching. 

 

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Although we didn’t find any $3 tables, we happily seated ourselves at a $5 blackjack table with a generous dealer.  Around 1AM, we set out to find the bus to take us home.  I was surprised by how much fun I had in ‘Old Vegas’ and recommend it to anyone headed out that way.  The bus is $7 per day and takes you up and down the strip and to Fremont Street. 

Total bummer, the pizza place was closed by the time we made it ‘home’!

 

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Big In Vegas

Day time in Las Vegas is just as fun as the night life!  They even have ‘Day Clubs’ where you can hang out and party.  Some other fun things to do…

 

Exploring the pools

These pictures were taken at the MGM Grand.

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Wandering through the hotels and casinos

We should play…guess that hotel?!?

 

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Eating!!!

Lunch at a fantastic Irish Pub in ‘New York’ with outdoor seating.

 

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And an authentic Irish menu.

 

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Or a Top Chef’s Sandwich shop in the MGM Grand.

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Their breakfast sandwiches are INCREDIBLE!

 

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And for dessert, I treated myself to a little chocolate from the famous Sugar Factory.

 

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They had these dark chocolate covered cookie pieces that were addicting and totally hit the spot while I was waiting at the airport for our flight home.  I need to figure out how to make them!

 

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There were so many things to do that our weekend flew by.

 

What is your favorite day time Vegas activity???

Waking Up in Vegas

I’m sure by now you have figured out that my vacation post titles are all shout-outs to Las Vegas songs.  Feel free to leave any favorites in the comments section.

Thanks Katy Perry!

 

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On Saturday morning, I woke up in Las Vegas MUCH earlier than I expected…darn you 2 hour time difference!  When I couldn’t fall back asleep, I figured I would go for a run down the strip.

 

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Although not your typical Vegas activity, I was excited for a sunny warm weather run.  And although the BOY thought I was nuts, I laced up my running shoes and hit the road.  I wasn’t sure what to expect for the early morning Vegas crowd, but was pleased to find a fellow runner passing my hotel as I walked out the door.  The sidewalks were more crowded than I expected with a mix of runners (there were definitely more than I thought there would be), sightseers, and drunk people finding their way home.  I ran done to the Encore and then back to my hotel.  The BOY had found himself a poker tournament and we dragged him away to brunch while he still had some chips in his hand.

 

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We walked the almost 2 miles down to the Wynn and although the BOY complained, it was fun to check out all of the hotels.  We finally found ourselves walking through his magical hotel eagerly searching for the Buffet.

 

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We got slightly lost in the forest, but thankfully, there were signs to lead the way…

 

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We ran quickly walked our way to The Buffet.

 

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Only to find a surprisingly long line.  We figured that meant it was a GREAT buffet and decided it would be worth the wait.  Taking pictures is always a good way to burn some time…

 

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Although the guy were hungry and got sick of the photos quickly.  The line moved fast enough and when it came time to pay, we all decided the ‘All You Can Drink’ Champagn brunch was definitely the way to go!

 

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Confession time…I probably took 100 pictures of this buffet.  They had EVERYTHING you could ever want and it was AMAZING.  We had the best time and we spent hours eating omelets, trying vegetarian options, and piling our plates with an eclectic mix of food. The guys found the biggest slice of bacon that I have ever seen which brought huge smiles to their faces.  I am thinking that the Wynn buffet would make the PERFECT wordless Wednesday (so there are more pictures to come!).  I have such fabulous friends that support my blogging. They didn’t mind waiting to take their first bite while I got my camera ready for a photo of their full plates.

 

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We made friends with our waiter (he probably knew us as the table who always wanted more champagne).

 

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And we were pretty buzzed before it was time for dessert!

 

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The two sided dessert buffet was impressive and although we were stuffed, we made room for some chocolate and sweets.  My favorites…the bread pudding and the chocolate covered marshmallows.  Yes…there are more mouth watering dessert pictures to come!

 

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Eventually, we were soo full that we couldn’t stomach any more food or champagne and we slowly waddled our way out of the buffet.

 

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We made our way back through the forest towards the sunny afternoon, stopping for photo ops along the way.

 

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We walked our way back through the hotels checking out the stunning Palazzo and stopping for a short rest along the way.

 

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We crossed the street to Treasure Island for some gambling before eventually making our way home for a nap.

 

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The day’s take home message…when you wake up in Vegas, make your way to the Wynn buffet and treat yourself to some Champagne!!!