Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fun and Games and Soup!

That is the Las Vegas Strip as seen through the dust and wind!
It is spring here in the desert, the wind is blowing and my allergies and horrific. I may have to go get a shot to help me out. You can only blow your nose so many times before it falls off!

I am still trying to have fun though. My friend of 33 years, Debbie, came to town, we played bingo, I took a cooking class. We sat home and I cooked some fabulous meals. We played dominoes, yahtzee and scrabble, and drank bloody marys and margaritas, played more bingo and shopped at walmart, she loves the big walmart out here (she lives in a small town in California) so we go and she finds all kinds of cool stuff.
They gave out free chocolate bunnies that had prizes attached at bingo,
my little bunny gave me 10.00!!
I made us a ham dinner for Easter Sunday, I love ham and I really miss it, Hubby does not enjoy it so I don't cook it, but he actually liked the one I got, it was a spiral from walmart. Deb left the next morning so I dropped her at the airport and came home and made a nice pot of soup with the leftover ham, it was yummy! The wind was really blowing outside and it was so nice to have homemade soup to warm us up, and the hubby loved it too!
My pot of soup! It was so good!
The recipe comes from
I changed the recipe slightly, I added 1 cup of chopped celery and omitted the corn. if you like you can add both or none...

Ham, Potato, Cheddar Soup

2 cups water
4 cups chopped potato, I used the yukon gold, they are so soft and buttery and you can leave the soft skin on. (yay, no peeling!)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon garlic salt/powder
2 cups chopped ham
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot, bring water, potatoes, carrots, and garlic to a boil. Stir in salt, garlic salt, and pepper.
  2. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the ham. Reduce heat to lowest setting.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then whisk in the cornstarch.
  4. Add the milk to the butter/cornstarch mixture and whisk together.
  5. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  6. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
  7. Pour creamy contents of medium saucepan into the large pot of ham and vegetables. add some salt and pepper and some crushed red pepper if you like a little kick, bring back to a boil, then put on a simmer until ready to eat, I let it simmer for about an hour until dinner time. I then served with hot loaf of french bread from the oven and a salad.

I hope you try it and enjoy it, and I hope your spring is sunny and warm!
See you soon with more fun in the Las Vegas Sun!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Pizza Pizza!

Who knew making your own pizza at home was so easy and delicious! You need to start 2 hours ahead to let the dough rise but if you know it is pizza night just set a timer for 2 hours before time to eat!

I have been practicing and made 3 pizzas so far.
It is so much cheaper then delivery!
I made 3 - 14 inch pizzas with the 20 dollars we spend on one. We have a good italian place on the corner that we were getting our pizzas from, but the quality and taste has been declining lately, left me dreading getting a pizza from there, so I went on a search to make my own.

Here are the 4 things you need for good pizza at home:
15 inch pizza stone-I found one at albertsons for 12.99!
Dough-croutoncrackerjacks on you tube
Toppings-what ever you like on your pizza!

The dough recipe I found is so easy and makes a perfect 14 inch pizza:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tblsp olive oil
3/4 cup 100* water
2 tblsp sugar

Put the sugar and warm water in your mixer bowl, stir, add yeast and leave it for 5 minutes. then add flour, salt, and oil, mix on low with dough hook for about 8 minutes, fold dough over on its self to make a nice round ball, place in a bowl with some olive oil smeared in it, roll the ball around to coat, cover with plastic wrap and place in oven (off) for 2 hours.

For the sauce:
1 can 28 oz good quality tomato sauce
1 can 6 oz tomato paste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp italian seasoning blend
Mix until smooth, no cooking required, set aside to get the flavors to meld while your dough rises for 2 hours.

When ready to make your pizza, get your dough out of oven, place a pizza stone in your oven and turn to 450*
Shake some corn meal or semolina on your counter, start stretching the dough out to make a pizza crust, I watched many you tube videos on how to do this. has a great video on this technique.

Get the hot stone out of oven and place your dough on top carefully, and start topping your pizza!

Make sure to buy good quality ingredients, get your cheese slices (more flavor then shredded) at the deli counter, same with the pepperoni, and 1/2 pound of thinly sliced mozzarella and provolone cost me 3.50 each and lasted for 3 pizzas! You can also top with bell pepper, mushroom, jalapenos, once you have your toppings on sprinkle parmesan all over the top and place in oven for about 10-15 minutes, keep an eye on it! Take out when you are happy with the color and let sit for 5-10 minutes, slice and enjoy the best pizza ever!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

#51 and Blackened Fish Tacos

4f3c928988e7cc7ecddbef01e5985d01.jpg (487×640)
(found on pinterest)
A little birthday advice:
I have learned that fish does not have to be fishy, and if you open your mind and try new things, you will find a whole new world out there to be discovered.

It took me a long time to get to this point, I did not start to cook like a real cook/chef until my forties, and now in my fifties, I am getting pretty good!

I also did not start to really travel until my 40's and now I have been to many countries and found I really enjoy travelling!

Never limit yourself. Keep learning and trying new things. Age is a number not a place. I keep taking classes to learn new things and I will continue until my 100's!

So on my 51st birthday I just wanted to give a little advice....Get out there and enjoy life! Do something you never done, try a new food, you may discover you really like it, like these:

Blackened fish tacos:

Tilapia about 5 fillets
1 teaspoon of each smoked paprika, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, cumin, salt, brown sugar, cayenne pepper.
Place fish in a plastic bag and dump in the spices, mix and shake all around to coat the fish, put in fridge for an hour or 2.

12 corn tortillas (I now make my own and it is so fast and easy now)

Some veggie oil to fry up the fish, just enough to coat the grill pan or skillet, which ever you have.

For the taco lettuce:
1/2 head of lettuce or cabbage, we like lettuce in this family. slice into thins strips add 1/2 diced onion, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, juice of 1 lime, mix all in a bowl and let marinate in fridge for an hour.

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream or mexican crema
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno chopped and seeded
Put all in a blender or food processor and blend to make a sauce.

When ready to eat, fry up your fish on a nery hot pan, I use a grill pan, let them get nice and blackened, about 4 minutes per side, they cook fast!
Then chop into bite size portions, heat tortillas on a grill or flat top.

To serve the tacos, place some fish in a tortilla add the lettuce mix, and some sauce on top, and some queso fresco shredded cheese (or jack cheese) amazing flavors and so delicious, my hubby devoured these! Sour cream, onion, cilantro, fish, and all!! We all know how picky he is and he loved these!!!

Great summer dish and great new addition to taco tuesday!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mini Vacation!

My hubby said he wanted to go somewhere with me before racing season starts March 18, plus it is my birthday March 13. He said maybe to Arizona for spring training, We love baseball. I started thinking about it and I came up with this plan:

Hubby has never seen the Grand Canyon, we only live 3 hours from it, plus he loves trains, he watches any show with trains.
I jumped on the internet and put the plan in motion.
We would drive to Williams, AZ (3 hours from Las Vegas) have dinner and stay the night. Get up in the morning and hop on the Grand Canyon Railway Train for a 2 hour ride that takes you to The Grand Canyon. From there we hop on a bus that drives the South Rim with stops for photos. We get back to the Depot, have lunch, back on the train 2 hours to Williams, hop in our car and be home that night! Whew!

I told him the plan and he was all in! So here is our Mini Vacation:

I chose the Best Western Inn, it is on route 66 at the start of Williams. Nice Hotel 90.00 for the night, had a restaurant, lounge and live music. We checked in then I jumped on Yelp to find a good restaurant:
We chose South Rim wine and beer garage, it had great reviews. We drove down the road and walked in. The first thing you notice is a 1967 Pontiac GTO in the middle of the place, it was beautiful!

The fun thing about this place, choosing your own beer and wine flights. You circle the 4 choices you want and for 11.66 you get to try them. Hubby tried a Big Blue Van beer, which he loved, I liked all 4 of my choices, a riesling, a pinot gregio, white blend, and a sweet red.

The food was very good quality, limited menu so they make sure things are well crafted. I had the Pretzel burger, it comes on a soft pretzel bun which was outstanding. Hubby had a pizza and caeser salad.
We left very happy, got back to the hotel and went to the lounge to sit and listen to a man play the guitar and sing, I forgot to get his card so I don't know his name, but he sang cool songs, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Van Morrison. We called it a night and went to bed, we had a big day ahead for us!

In the morning we got up early to be at the train depot by 8:00 am to get our tickets for the train ride. The hotel has complimentary breakfast so we filled up and drove 1 mile to the station.
Once you pick up your tickets they direct you to a little western show they put on, then we boarded the train:

The cowboys put on a little gunfight which was a funny little show, they had a good time, but we were so happy to get on our train!
 I chose the Luxury car tickets, I wanted hubby to be comfy and enjoy his ride, it was worth it! We got plush seating, free coffee, soda, water, juice, pastries, fruit platter. On the trip back we got the same but they switched to a cheese and cracker platter. Beer and wine were 6.00, near the end they poured us champagne and thanked us for riding the rails with them.

 Our comfy car with our own bar! We only shared the car with 2 or 3 other people!
You could get up and sit anywhere and you could walk out onto the back of the train since we were in the last car!
Off the back platform

We liked going up here in the observatory deck and watching the world go by.

This is his favorite thing to do, go between the cars, open the half door and stick his head out!

Grand Canyon:

It was breathtaking! You have to see it in real life to really know just how massive it is! Hubby was impressed!
Our bus ride lasted and hour and a half, our tour guide was full of amazing facts and information about the canyon. We had 30 people on our bus and at one stop, one of the men took his girlfriend out on the rim and asked her to marry him!!! When they got back on the bus we all cheered and congratulated them! How exciting!!

Once we got back to the depot, they had lots of lodges, shops and restaurants to choose from. We picked the Arizona room in the Bright Angel Lodge. Chicken and rice soup with a blue corn muffin was fabulous!
I have to tell you this funny story:
At the depot, the shops and food places are all set along the rim of the canyon, and you can sit out there and eat hot dogs and ice cream and your lunches if you packed any. BUT they tell you do not feed any squirrels or chipmunks that beg. The most injuries that occur at the canyon are squirrel bites! We were standing by the wall where everyone sits to eat and there was this one squirrel running from person to person trying to get a snack, no one was giving in to him, so he ran along the wall until one man set his hot dog down to open his mustard packet and BAM, the squirrel ran up and took a chunk out of his hot dog!! Everyone was laughing at the speed that squirrel had once he got a shot at food! Someone offered to buy the man a new hot dog and everyone learned not to set their food down, not even for a second!
Super fast squirrel enjoying his hot dog!

At 3:30 we had to be back on the train for our ride back to Williams. We enjoyed our comfy seats back to town. I enjoyed the wine and champagne, They even staged a little train robbery and everyone laughed and had a great time!
Our robbers ambushing the train!

We had a wonderful time, hubby got to see a natural wonder, and he got to ride on a train. He really loved that train ride, he was so relaxed and comfortable.

I would highly recommend Grand Canyon Railway Tours, they even turn the train into the Polar Express during November and December for the kids to enjoy!

You can make your Grand Canyon trip by going here:

Get out and enjoy the world!

Friday, March 4, 2016


The toppings, love the queso fresco cheese!

The Guarjillo pork taco, Yum!
I made the tacos at home! They were a success. I followed the recipe, marinated the pork, made my own corn tortillas, they were delicious! Hubby was very impressed and loved them, he even put the poblano, corn, and onion mix on his! You also use queso fresco cheese, cilantro, lime. Those are the items that bring the tacos their distinct flavor.
The thing I like the most about these tacos, they are very different from our normal once a week tacos of carnitas, or hamburger. You use different toppings and the meat has a Guarjillo chile flavor, so different and so tasty! Not a taco to make once a week, but just every other month to shake your taco night up! Enjoy!