Sweet {Pecan} Turkey Burger with Spicy Yogurt Aioli

I LOVE that show, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network.

Well, really anything on the Food Network.

But, who doesn’t enjoy see those amazing dishes, and learning about what food gurus think is the BEST of the Best?

It seems like we’ve all had those few dishes that really stick with us: The ones that we dream of as we eat random green leftovers for lunch, or choke down that rubber chicken they serve at conferences and college events…. again. The ones that we crave all the more because they are so unattainable – Nestled in a cozy booth in a restaurant far away, or at your grandmother’s table in another state.

Well, I’m no guru, but this is one of those meals.

I’ve eaten this burger exactly once, about 5 months ago, and I’ve thought of it about 127,000 times since then. So, I decided to do something about it!

Inspired by Barley’s Brewing Company’s Turkey Nut Burger, this sandwich is spicy, sweet, juicy and fresh. The pecans are surprising. The aioli is secretly healthy. Best enjoyed with crispy baked sweet potato fries.

Oh, yes.

{Perfect for a summer dinner, or a “wishing for summer” dinner… like tonight}

The secret is really in the maple syrup, pecans and aioli, so feel free to use your tried and true burger recipe (I based mine off of this one), or even use ground beef, chicken or pork. Those caramelized, sweet pecans are to die for!. The millet, onion and veggies in this version do a great job of keeping things juicy… just be very careful when flipping. The lower fat content can cause the burgers to crumble easily…. but it’s so worth it : )

Sweet Turkey Pecan Burger with Spicy Yogurt Aioli

Serves 6

For the Burger:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (lowest fat content may not hold together as well when formed into patties – try 93%-lean)
  • 1/4 cup cooked millet (you can substitute couscous, quinoa or another grain if you have it on hand)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 T chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 T chopped fresh basil
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

For Grilling:

  • 3 T olive Oil
  • 2 T pure maple syrup

For Spicy Aioli:

Measurements are “to taste” – add a little more spicy or sweet if you’d like!

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • About 1 T Sriracha Asian Chili Sauce (available at most grocery stores!)
  • About 1 T honey
For Caramelized Onion:
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1T olive oil
  • 2T fig or balsamic vinegar
  • Sprinkle of brown sugar (optional)
For Garnish – Optional:
  • Sliced tomato
  • Spinach
  • Cheese of your choice

Directions:

  • Prepare millet according to directions, or (like I did) use leftovers!
  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • Prepare aioli: Mix yogurt, chili sauce and honey to taste, cover and place in refrigerator.
  • Prepare caramelized onions: Place ingredients in pan on medium heat, stir often until crust forms, golden brown, fragrant. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add celery; cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add thyme, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds more. Remove from heat.
  • Add millet to the pan, toss, and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add onion and grain mixture to the ground turkey and stir until combined; do not overmix. Form the mixture into 6 patties.
  • Mix olive oil and maple syrup. Press crushed pecans onto the top of each patty, and brush with the maple-olive oil mixture.
  • To grill: Oil the grill rack, and grill the burgers for 5 to 6 minutes per side, flipping gently to avoid breaking them. Garnish, and serve immediately!
  • To cook on the stovetop: Coat a large nonstick skillet, preferably cast-iron, with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the patties, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Cover and continue to cook until lightly browned but still juicy (the juices should run clear, not pink), about 4 minutes more. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should read 165° F.)

Don’t forget those fries…

Enjoy!

What is one of your “Best Thing I Ever Ate” dishes?


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Get your {Greek} on

BIG news!

No, mom… not THAT big news.

We booked the cruise portion of our summer European adventure!

{<– The Husband at the Greek Garden for his 25th. I embarassed him, but I think the Birthday sash is rather dashing.}

The trip is starting to feel real for the first time, and I am beyond excited. The second leg of our two week excursion, the cruise will take us to Sicily, Italy; Ephesus, Turkey; Athens, Greece; and Crete, Greece…

{source}

I’m ready to leave NOW!

Ok, not really.

…it will take me three months just to decide how to fit eight pairs of shoes, two purses, twelve bottles of nail polish and three jars of almond butter in my suitcase.

And maybe sunscreen.

I like to be prepared…There are a million-and-one things left to plan, but in honor of getting this far, I’m making a Mediterranean dinner for The Husband… it’s one of his favorites (and one of the first “signature” dishes I crafted after we were married : ) It was inspired the “rice bowl” at one of our local date spots, The Greek Garden!

We love this dish because besides being healthy-to-the-max (can you say protein, veggies and healthy fats galore?!) it is super versatile. Eat it hot, eat it cold, make ahead, eat it with chicken as an entree or nix the chix for a veggie dinner or side dish! This is also great to make for a crowd, and is always a hit a potlucks…

“Get Your Greek On” Mediterranean Quinoa

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Quinoa, cooked per directions on package (white or red, you can also substitute other grains – farro is fun – just gotta love quinoa’s protein-punch!)
  • About 1/2 cup diced cucumber (I like to use English cucs, because you don’t have to worry about peeling!)
  • About 1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper (I just like a mix of colors – green, red, yellow, will do.)
  • About 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • About 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • About 1/4 cup seeded, diced tomato
  • 3 T EVOO
  • 1t parsley
  • 1t oregano
  • 1t dill
  • 1t thyme
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives (optional)
  • Sauteed, sliced chicken breast (for a non-veggie option. Use same spice mixture to season!)

Directions:

  • Drizzle cooked quinoa with EVOO, toss (don’t overcook! You want it to have a little texture…)
  • Chop vegetables, crumble cheese, add to quinoa – gotta love that color!
  • Chop fresh herbs, add to quinoa mixture along with spices
  • Ganish with chopped olives or chicken, if desired

I love to serve this with toasted pita and hummus, and (you’ve probably guessed it) a little Greek yogurt.

So Fresh. Like a little bit of summer in your mouth.

Try it, and Enjoy!

See, Dine, Explore {Vegas}

Want to know what we saw, where we ate, and what we explored? I’ve written it allll down for you. Here you go!

Dining:

Serendipity 3 – Caesar’s Palace

The Food: Even without the added benefit of dining with Dick Clark, this place was fabulous. Though they are known for decadent ice cream creations – the frozen hot chocolate is a must, even at $10 – but there were plenty of healthy options as well. I had “A Summer Bries”: An open-faced turkey, brie and apple sandwich with cranberry mayo, on raisin pumpernickel bread, and the Husband enjoyed a yummy BBQ chicken and cheddar flatbread pizza. Offering a full bar and dinner options as well, I would say this would be one of my first choices for brunch or lunch on the patio.

The Atmosphere: The atmosphere was totally whimsical. Lots of pink, ornamental bushes in the shape of ice cream creations fun signage… like something out of Alice and Wonderland! Just enjoy the quirkiness, and try not to ruin that white shirt with chocolate dribbles.

Sensi – Bellagio

The Food: I picked this spot for its local, seasonal ingredients and variety of options – We weren’t disappointed. Their cool menu was separated into sections: Seafood, Sensi Rolls, Asian and Italian. I had the Tandoori Butter Chicken Curry with basmati rice, and the Husband had Pad Thai with Kaui Sugarcane prawns. The meal was served with warm homemade naan and crispy flatbread and dipping sauces and seasalt: a sweet and spicy oil dip, yogurt tzatziki-like dip and sundried tomato-like spread. Everything was bright, fresh and delicious.

The Atmosphere: The kitchen was in the center of the restaurant, and was encased in glass. It was very cool to see the preparation, and everything was pristine. The walls of the restaurant were a mix of dark panels, stone fountains made of and thin veils of water. The Bellagio itself, which has an Asian theme, and the high-end shops in it’s mall are beautiful. Take a stroll and catch the famous outdoor fountain show set to music as well (Cooler than it sounds, the water shoots up to 240 feet in the air and is very fun to watch!).

Canyon River Cafe – Palazzo

The Food: We went here for lunch on a recommendation by Gina – It was perfect! Everything on the menu looked both delicious and healthy, and we would have never found the place without seeking it out. We ordered fresh juice (you can pick your combo – I had carrot, ginger, grapefruit!) and homemade ginger ale. We started our meal with kale chips and their homemade ranch dressing. These were perfectly crisped. I ordered a rare Ahi tuna sandwich with avocado, swiss, tomato and onion, and the Husband had fire roasted chicken sandwich on a potato roll with cilantro-lime aioli and and roasted tomato. So. Delicious.

The Atmosphere: Nothing fancy, and nothing particularly “organic”, “earthy” or “health-foodie” about it, which surprised me (because their menu is blatantly so). It was small, on the third floor of the hotel, and pretty unassuming, but totally worth a stop (especially once you’re ready for some green stuff in your life!). Expect to see people in everything from workout attire to business suits!

Julian Serrano – Aria

The Food: A friend recommended this spot, a tapas bar, and the menu reeled me in at once. We ate here before we saw LOVE, and really enjoyed the huge selection of tapas dishes. Raging from contemporary to traditional and including plenty of vegetarian options, we ordered five and a dessert (and a lovely red sangria for me!). We had:

  • crispy pancetta iberica | pork belly | molecular mozzarella | creamy potatoes (The best of all of them!)
  • black rice | fresh calamari | lobster meat | sofrito | squid ink (A close second)
  • stuffed piquillo peppers | goat cheese | mushrooms (Delightful)
  • callos a la madrileña | honeycomb tripe | morcilla | pork chorizo | beef shank | garbanzos (Good, but not as wonderful as the others)
  • spanish iberico sliders | prime beef | iberico pork | caramelized onions (A favorite of the husband)
  • molten chocolate cake | orange jelly | blood orange ice cream (Mmmmm..)

The Atmosphere: The Aria hotel and casino is one of the newest on The Strip, and you could tell. It was pristine, modern, and my favorite of all that we walked through on our trip. Even the Casino floor, which is usually packed full of lights, smoke, people and machines was almost serene with extra leg space, tall ceilings and fewer lights and noises. The restaurant was open to the hotel lobby and other shops and dining spots, but had a unique flair (and very cool bathrooms… a voice recording taught you Spanish!). Sleek and fresh, but not breathtaking.

Mon Ami Gabi – Paris

The Food: Perfectly Parisian. I ordered the French Onion soup with Gruyere (my first time ordering this classic) and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I’ve seen this soup before… watery, crunchy cheese. yuck. This was gooey, decadent and rich. Served with a warm personal baguette and fresh butter, I could have eaten just that and been totally satisfied. However, I also ordered the sandwich de Jour – an open-faced wild mushroom and egg on sourdough with more cheese and pommes frites. Sparkling water topped it all off…Sigh. I wish the Husband had been there too so I could have eaten tasted his lunch too.

The Atmosphere: Even though I ate here alone while the Husband was at one of his training sessions, it was totally lovely and comfortable. I waited an extra 30 minutes and was seated on the patio facing the Bellagio fountains in the bright sunshine. With book in hand, under the Eiffel Tower, I could almost imagine I was sitting in Paris! The inside of the restaurant was beautiful as well – lush, sunny and with a ton of character. My only disappointment is that I didn’t get there for breakfast or brunch (Which looked even better than their lunch and dinner menus!) But alas, I had a massage scheduled after my workout that morning… ; )

Spago – Forum Shops at Caesar’s

The Food: One of Wolfgang Puck’s famous restaurants, I chose this spot because I went to his Beverly Hills location when I was 14 with my parents… it was a fabulous experience for young kid, and I’ve wanted to return ever since (And, it offers seasonal cuisine!). I got my chance! I had a “Bee’s Wings” cocktail (gin, ginger honey, lemon juice, shaken – mmmm), and we split a grilled octopus salad with white bean raguout before ordering an Alfredo with prawns (him) and pan seared duck breast with savoy cabbage puree, honey-glazed turnips, huckleberries and sauce a l’orange  (her) entrees. There was a less expensive “cafe” menu with delightful options as well – the pizzas looked divine!

The Atmosphere: Beautiful! The restaurant is right next to a large replica fountain, and the patio is under a painted “sky” – The husband kept saying it really felt like we were outdoors! The interior was modern and fun.

The Public House – Venetian

The Food: I chose this location because during our stay, a Groupon popped up for it ($25 for $50 worth of fare). I checked out the menu, and bought it right on my phone! It was only a quick walk from our hotel, and served a variety of fun dishes – both “small” plates and “large” entrees. Their specialty was beer (the Husband enjoyed a “rare cask beer”), but they had a great wine list as well. We split their take on Welsh Rarebit, and the Husband ordered the fancy pub burger (so, so good!) with bacon marmalade, Gruyere, roasted tomato and Guinness aioli . I ordered an heirloom beet and goat cheese salad, and two small plates: Crispy oysters with foie gras, golden raisins and cider gastrique; and potted farm egg, with forest mushrooms, ricotta and sourdough crouton. Everything tasted bright, and had its own twist. We had the chocolate stout layer cake, malted ice cream and caramelized rice crispy bacon for dessert (wow!).

The Atmosphere: An upscale “pub” flavor, there was lots of dark woodwork and a sprinkle of what I would call “modern Americana” decor. Very manly (I had to get the Husband a burger after enduring kale chips and other “light” picks during the trip). It’s a great spot to pause at while walking the shops, or moving between the Venetian and Palazzo hotels.

Hotel:

We stayed at Harrah’s, Las Vegas. I was unsure about how we would like the accommodations – We had to stay here because this is where the Husband’s conference was being held (and they gave us a rockin’ rate: $25 for weeknights, $88 for the weekend), but I knew from reading reviews that it was a bit older, and not super fancy. Once we arrived, though, we realized it was perfect! While it wasn’t very fancy or super-duper large like the Ballagio, Venetian or others, it was one of the ONLY places that you could walk right out of the hotel and onto The Strip! Most hotels sat back quite a way from the sidewalk, and had lovely, but looong winding paths to their doors. Because we weren’t that interested in sticking around our own hotel anyway – I wanted to see as many as possible! – it was perfect for making a quick exit, and was located smack dab in the middle of the Strip. So, if you want to go pretty cheap, but be in the middle of the action, Harrah’s is a good bet (AND they have Starbucks!).

Things to See and Do

Grand Canyon Tour

There are so many similar companies out there, and all of them seemed to have mixed reviews and horror stories, so I entered this experience with low expectations. But, we ended up having a blast!

We used GrandCanyonTours.com, and paid $199.00 for two tickets (Final cost charged was $209.00, and we tipped the suggested $20 per couple at the end of the day). This included: A Pick up by a shuttle at our hotel at 6:45a.m., a small breakfast snack at the Planet Hollywood hotel before boarding the large tour bus and taking off around 7:00a.m., entrance to the Hualupi Indian reservation where the west rim canyon access is located, 4 hours of free time at the canyon (The Grand Canyon SkyWalk is located here, and tickets were available for $40. We didn’t feel the need to go – the views from the Canyon ledge were fabulous!, but it was an option some really enjoyed. There was also an option to take a helicopter ride.), A BBQ rib lunch (could have chosen chicken or a few other options – the food was cafeteria style but very good!), a quick stop at a Route 66 diner for a snack on the way back to Vegas (sweet potato fries!), and a quick drive-by/stop at Hoover Dam for pictures! Whew! It was almost a 12 hour day, but so worth it.

The tour guide was chatty and a bit goofy, but overall very knowledgeable and funny. They showed a documentary about the SkyWalk on the way down, and some comedy show clips on the way back after a quiet “nap time”. The scenery was beautiful on the trip, and it didn’t seem long at all though it was three hours each way.

Free Shows – Bellagio Fountains, Mirage Volcano, Treasure Island Sirens

Besides the numerous (often pretty weird) sidewalk entertainment, you can catch hotel shows while just taking a stroll! Most run just during the evening hours – signs are posted – but they are worth a quick stop. The fountains were my favorite – beautiful!

Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil

…. totally spectacular. The artistic direction was stunning, and the stunts, dancing and acrobatics were absolute perfection! Roller-bladers, aerialists, twirlers, modern dance, lights, projection, stage transformations… this show had it all (and it was set to my favorite music!). We purchased our tickets ahead of time, but for many shows it is just as easy to pick them up while you’re in town. They are pricy – expect to pay over $100 – but there isn’t a bad seat in the house (a circular theater) and it is very, very worth every penny.

Shopping

Like I said before, we didn’t spend a lot on things to take home (our suitcase wouldn’t have allowed it anyway! It was already overweight… ahem. My fault). But, it was amazing to just browse everything from Jimmy Choo and Chanel to Cartier and Louboutin. Several hotels have large indoor shopping areas attached – Venetian, Cesar’s, Planet Hollywood, Aria…. you can’t miss them.

PURE nightclub, Caesar’s

This was our late-night spot. There are a lot of places to choose from, and each is a bit of a fiasco to get into (long lines, lots of bribes, many have pricy covers – $30-$100+). There are a lot of VIP tickets that you can purchase, and people handing out “free” or discounted entrance passes, but it is pretty difficult to decipher which of these services are legit, and which are scams. We were handed tickets early in the evening, and because this spot was close to the hotel, we decided to try it out. After a long wait with lots of crushing crowds, we got in! It was expensive and crowded, but had cool decor and a rooftop portion that had great views. This was one of those times I was glad I had my husband with me, if you know what I mean, but together we had a blast :) We were wiped out after about two hours (for some, the night was just beginning!) but it was a pretty fun experience overall.

Random:

  • You will walk a LOT. As in, miles. Bring flats you can carry in your clutch to and from places that you want to wear your sky-high heels… trust me!
  • Grab all the free coupon and guide books you can – There are some good ones in there!
  • Make reservations – Even the morning of! It gives you a little peace of mind, and you can always bump them back or cancel if you really need to. Some weekends get busy, and you don’t want to miss out on a restaurant you picked!

Wishlist

There’s always next time!

  • Eiffel Tower – We meant to make a trip up to the top, but ran out of time!
  • Breakfast – My favorite meal of the day, but between work, flights and tours, I had to “settle” for Starbucks coffee and oatmeal every day :) There are lots of good places I looked at though: Babystacks, Hash House a Go Go, Mon Ami Gabi and Serendipity 3 all had devilish looking pancakes…
  • Tao – Seemed like a very cool club, but very hard to get into.
  • Titanic – An amazing exhibit at the Luxor, ran out of time!
  • Other shows – So many neat shows and concerts, Phantom of the Opera, different Cirque shows and more!
  • Shopping – Sigh.
  • Pools – Were closed for the season. We didn’t really miss them too much, but I would have loved to lay out and read!
  • Win a million dollars.
  • :)

Vegas: A wonderful place to Explore!

Let me know if you have any questions – I’d be happy to answer them!

To {Vegas} and back…

We’re Baaaaaack!

What a trip! I can honestly say that Vegas wowed me – haters gonna hate, but (like Kale chips) don’t knock it until you try it.

Initially, I approached this trip with a little hesitation. We went because the Husband had a training for work for most of the week, and it worked out for me to tag along and stay the weekend (early Valentine’s Day fun!). But, If you’ve looked at us lately, you might realize that we don’t exactly scream “late-night wild fun” or “risk takers”. Oh no. We’re more the “where are their parents?” and “isn’t it your bedtime”? type…

Seriously.

But, Vegas was everything and nothing that I expected. More beauty, less trash, more fabulous restaurants, less loose women, more untouchably extravagant shopping, less horrible gaudiness, more celebrity sightings, less flimsy facades…

Don’t get me wrong. There was trash and trashy people, there were things that made me want to wash out my eyes with soap and carry a can of Lysol with me at all times. BUT, how we chose to do things, and what we chose to do made the trip a total blast. We loved every minute of it, and I could totally imagine going back!

{Lunch in “Paris“}

We ate at fabulous restaurants – dinners were my souvenirs (minus four magnets and a sweet last-minute Grand Canyon hoodie purchase…. it was freezing and we were unprepared. More on that later.) Two of my favorites were Serendipity 3 and Julian Serrano!

{Yep – That’s Dick Clark checking out the menu! And, the Frozen Hot Chocolate is as divine as it looks…}

{We’ve realized that we’re much happier with a variety of tapas or small plates than just sticking to one entree… that made this restaurant perfect for our pre-show date.}

We went to the Beatles LOVE Cirque Du Soleil show…. totally spectacular. This was my Valentine’s Day gift, and though it’s been around for a while now (celebrating it’s 5th Anniversary), it’s easy to understand why it’s the most popular in Vegas. If you’re a Fab Four Fan, or just like to see crazy cool stunts, it’s a must.

We went out on the town under the lights and the glitz and had a BALL together. SO much to see, hear, watch, do. You could stay in Vegas for a month and still not see every exciting (and pretty clean!) show and visit every swanky shop, hotel and restaurant.

We went to the west rim of the Grand Canyon, and saw Hoover Dam. It was a bit of a hike, and we were nervous about taking a bus tour, but it was a perfect day. Although we got off to a rocky start (Waking up 20 minutes before you’re supposed to be ON the tour bus at a yet unknown location is NOT my style… dang alarm clock. Hence the forgotten aforementioned outerwear.) The vastness of the Canyon was astounding (as was the fact that there were NO railings!) and we enjoyed every bit of the day. So many beautiful pictures!

Overall, we learned that Vegas is what you make it… and here are a few things that we think made our trip great (just in case it’s on your itinerary in the near future, and you’re less of a crazy night owl and more… hungry a foodie/sights person!):

Go with your husband – I wouldn’t recommend going to Vegas single, or going with just one gender. Group of girls = Trouble (aka, fresh meat). Group of Guys = Trouble (aka, easy cash/predators). Not that it’s impossible or anything, but both are asking to rack up a laundry list of poor life choices: Loose all your cash, end up in jail, wake up somewhere random (or with someone random…ew), miss your flight, have a LOT of explaining to do. But hey, with your spouse, MOST of the “problems with Vegas” can be alleviated! Go ahead and dance the night away and fall asleep in a hotel room together. Totally allowed. Totally fun. (But, my feet are killing me).

Be on the same page: We knew we didn’t want to blow a ton of cash, and we wanted to see the sights! We had plenty of boundaries, and found that there was an ENDLESS number of activities that fit within them! Who needs the crap when there’s a dessert, once-in-a-lifetime performances, celebrity-like shopping, astounding food and gorgeous weather and enough people-watching to last a lifetime!

Don’t bring kids: Explaining the “Thunder Down Under” posters or why there are people in orange t-shirts trying to push “trading cards” into your hand as you walk by to a five year old is not on my list of things I’d like to do… like ever. These type of raunchy displays were actually easier to ignore/avoid than I thought they would be – pleasantly surprised – but they’re there. Too many kiddies in strollers at midnight for my taste. Choose another family vacation spot!

Be willing to do a little research: Some of the most fun to be had isn’t on the surface. Dig a little. Read Trip Adviser reviews. Check out Vegas Groupons. You’ll be surprised…

My next post has a complete list of reviews for the places we dined, danced and visited, so if that’s you’re kind of thing (or if you’re headed to The Strip any time soon) read up and get some tips!

Sigh.

Back to reality ; )

Vegas {Baby}

We’ve been busy.

Busy having a swinging’ WinterBlues Party…

{Carnitas tacos, Lettuce Wraps, Red Wine Sangria, La Paloma}

And busy getting to…

Vegas.

Here’s the low-down!

Our Blues Party is an annual event at the FreshlyMinted household, and is really a pre-party for a sweet festival held in our city each year. Friends gather for food, drinks and fun, before heading downtown for a blues benefit concert.

{Pears with Goat Cheese, Pistachios & Cranberries, Cheese, Pear & Gorgonzola Flat Bread, Hummus, Salsa, Whole Wheat Beer Bread with Spinach Dip}

This year, we had some fabulous eats, and the festival was held at Alexandria’s! (you KNOW that’s one of our favorite spots…)

A visit from Cole & Steph also made the weekend perfect. Along with a relaxing super bowl party at a new friend’s house on Sunday (and those Nutella Cheesecakes above).

{Brownie & PB Mousse & Mini-Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies}

After that weekend, we had to hurry and pack…. because we’re in VEGAS. The Husband had a training for work, and so I tagged along (with my laptop and a few days of work for the road) to spend some time in this fascinating, crazy, bright city. We’re here much more for the food, the sights and exhibits than the “usual” local activities – having the chance to travel to a new place is exciting!

My goals were: To spot a Kardashian and a famous athlete.

The Husband said that was crazy.

But today, we lunched at Serendipity 3 (after a morning that started at 5am to keep up with work – darn time zones! – and a workout) and we saw THE Dick Clark!

I felt like an idiot snapping pictures, but the guy looked great (better than on TV), and I couldn’t help but think of all of the New Year’s Celebrations he’s hosted in my living room. And yes, we even googled a photo of him and his wife together, and… it was really them!

Even better than a Kardashian.

Almost as good as the Frozen Hot Chocolate.

{As good as it looks….}

So, as we have our adventures this week (including our crazy flight), Ill be keeping track of the cool places we see, restaurants we visit and characters we meet (there have been a few already…)

{WARNING: Mini rant! NEVER fly with Spirit Airlines. This was the filthiest, most wretched flight I’ve ever been on… and it was four. hours. long. “First Class” was apparently too hard to understand, so they re-named it the “Big Font Seats”; The lady behind us was using the sink to drain her canned Vienna sausages; $3 for water; snacks included a Cup ‘o Noodles for $5, our seats didn’t recline; 27,000 children were onboard; people were yelling; stewardesses were swearing; and a large, scary, foreign woman took our window seat… and proceeded to give us candy filled with some sort of strong liquor… The Husband was convinced that she was trying to poison him, but he was too afraid not to eat it.}

So, bear with me while I try to keep up (and try to stay on track for our Europe plans as well… a cruise booking is in our very near future!)

:)

Have YOU ever been to Vegas? Any suggestions?

More coming soon!

{Old Fashioned} Popovers

Heart-shaped Swedish Waffles, timbales, and popovers, all delights with special shapes, give a dinner party special charm. Try them and see.

Pulled right from the pages of one of my great-grandmother’s vintage magazines, these little breakfast treats are more fun than filling, but have the flavor of a lighter-than-air pancake and are a joy to eat…

Give these a try (and watch them grooooow before you eyes!). Just be sure to have your butter and jam close at hand – and a cup of coffee and good read.

Playing make-believe has always been a favorite pastime of mine, and these piping hot, topsy-turvy little treats transport me to a whole other world:

One where Jackie O. is on the cover of magazines, Sucaryl Sweetener was the latest craze, and my Maindenform girdle is my best friend…

*sigh*

Sometimes, I wish…

Old Fashioned Popovers

From McCall’s “First Magazine for Women”, March 1963

Makes 8 Popovers

Ingredients:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 3 T Salad oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 Cup Sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • A splash of Vanilla and Cinnamon (My own additions…)

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 400F. Lightly grease 8 (5-oz) glass custard cups.*
  2. In a small bowl, beat eggs, milk, and salad oil with rotary beater until well combined.
  3. Sift flour with salt over egg mixture. Beat until smooth. Pour into custard cups. Bake 50 minutes. (Note: My custard cups were 7-oz, and the cooking time was closer to 45 minutes.)
  4. Serve hot, with butter and your favorite jam.

*Or preheat cast-iron popover pans (eleven 3-oz cups) until sizzling hot; grease cups lightly just before filling. Bake 40 minutes. Makes 11 popovers.

Take a step back in time, and enjoy!

{Did you happen to notice my lovely, new “toy”? We found this antique hutch for a steal over the holidays at a little shop called the “Swanky Abode”. So fun, such a beautiful backdrop – Perfect place for all my odds and ends!}

Have you had any wonderful finds lately? What are your favorite old fashioned treasures?