Rail Explorers of Las Vegas

If you are like me, you can only take so much of the Las Vegas strip before you crave a change of scenery. Most likely, this is exactly why people go to Vegas for shorter periods of time. I am not one of the people who goes for a long weekend. I book ten-day trips to see family and explore all of the possibilities outside of the strip.

If you like the open air and traveling at wind-roaring speeds, give the Rail Explorers of Las Vegas a go. You will get a chance to fly down the tracks on one of the black and red pedal cars, viewing beautiful scenery as you kick-back and relax. There are several different ride options to choose from. We decided to do the night lantern package and it was a total blast, though the ride does go by quickly.

If you are worried about pedaling, it is not all that bad. There is only one short stint toward the end of the ride where you have to pedal uphill. Your other party members will be pedaling along with you, so it really is not difficult. Once the ride has ended, you will board the train and return to the station.

Along with the railcar experience, you will be able to view the small train museum located on the premises. It was fun to wander around and check out the different artifacts and read about the history. As per the norm, I took tons of photos.

This is an experience that most anyone can enjoy and appreciate. If you would like further information, checkout the below website. Be sure to choose the Las Vegas location, since they are located in other states as well.

Experience the magic of the railroad like never before – Rail Explorers USA

Winter Fun for adults

It’s winter in Wisconsin, which means no one wants to go outside because of the cold. This year, however, has been quite unusual with it’s daytime highs in the balmy thirties. Possibly, winter just showed up this week with the more usual single to below zero digits, but that does not appear to be lasting for long. With the warmer winter temps, it should be easier for everyone to get outside.

My Dr. wants me to go outside and walk. Walking in the cold is highly unappealing to me. What I might do, however, is drag my wonderful husband outside to build a snowman. You heard me right. There are tons of benefits to this particular activity.

First, it allows you to do something playful and fun with your significant other. What better way to get in touch with one another than to play in the snow? Snowball fights will most likely happen, but that is completely okay as long as you do not pepper each other in the face with ice. The rolling of snowballs for your snowman will force you to use your muscles to push and lift. You will be laughing at how much strength you no longer realized it took to lift a giant snowball, which in turn will release endorphins. To top of the benefits, you will also be soaking in some much needed vitamin D, which will lift your spirits further. The whole process is a win.

If snowman building isn’t your thing, then maybe you want to try something more creative such as building a snow castle? This activity can provide several days of work and exercise and is best done with a partner. The benefits listed above apply to this situation as well, but I would recommend researching how to build a proper ice castle, prior to beginning. Ice castles can be dangerous if they are not stabilized properly.

For more information on the benefits of winter, as well as going outside to play in the snow, please see the below links:

5 Benefits to Building a Snowman – Dickinson & Branon Dental Care (dbdentalcarevt.com)

How to Build a Snow Castle with Your Kids (yahoo.com)

10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Snow Very Few People Know About – Women.com

5 Incredible Benefits of Playing Outside in the Snow (creativehealthyfamily.com)

8 Ways Snow Makes You A Happier Person | HuffPost Life

Savory Breakfast PopOvers

Today I am bringing you a food option that is a little different. AIP/Paleo Popovers. I have made this recipe twice, but in all honesty, the little buggers have never popped. Despite the lack of popping, if you are looking for something great to eat for breakfast or brunch, these might be your ticket to a hearty and satisfying nosh.

The recipe is from a YouTube video, and it is fairly simple. I have made them two different ways. The first time I made them I added left over chopped ham, onion, and garlic. Today I used bacon, Portobello mushrooms, and onion. It really doesn’t matter, whatever sounds good to you. This recipe should be simple and savory.

In the video they use lard to grease the tins. I used bacon grease, because that is what I had available. Honestly, I cannot imagine using anything else. The bacon grease mixes in and creates this wonderful smoky flavor that I simply cannot get enough of. The end result is crispy on the outside and a little gooey on the inside. They are so good, you might be tempted to eat them all in a single serving. To stop myself, I add some fruit on the side, because they will make for a great breakfast the following day.

If you would like to try this recipe out, watch the below YouTube video and enjoy!

(55) AIP/Paleo Popovers – YouTube

Calico Basin – Kraft Mountain Loop Trail

Whenever my husband and I go to Las Vegas, we like to take some time out to hike. Sometimes we travel to the Valley of Fire or Mount Charleston, and other times we might plan day trips to Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, or Mount Zion. If we are not in a traveling mood, we go to Red Rock and usually tool around on the rocks in the Calico Basin.

Now, until this last trip, I had no idea that the Kraft Mountain Loop trail was so incredibly beautiful and worth the hike. You do not have to pay to hike this trail. You can park in the nearby lot and walk to the trailhead, but you will have to climb upward a good distance to get to the good stuff.

Once you hike Hell Hill – yes, that is what they call it, you will have a choice of a few different routes to take. You can either hike upward and rock scramble, or you can head out and downward making sure to follow the trail as it heads to the right, which is Kraft Mountain Loop. This will start you off on some amazing scenery. You will go through shelf caverns and there will be plenty of opportunities for photo shoots and to climb up and down the rocks as you go.

This hike is a 3.1-mile loop and it is absolutely worth it. The hardest part is climbing up Hell Hill. As you go along, if you come to an opening on the trail and meet a ten-foot drop down between large boulders, there once was a rope there to help hikers safely climb down, but if the rope is gone, back-track briefly and loop around to your left; you will find an easier passageway to maneuver.

As you go you might see some wildlife, and you will most definitely see people climbing all over the place. We did this hike in mid-November and the weather was perfect. We also went in mid-afternoon and were able to view the sun as it began to descend below the mountains, which created some great photos. I will definitely do this hike again.

For more information on Kraft Mountain Loop, please check out the below website:

Kraft Mountain Loop Hiking Trail, Summerlin South, Nevada (hikingproject.com)

Foodie Friday: Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

So, not going to lie, this recipe became a must for me, the second I saw it. First off, I love the movie Julie and Julia. It’s amazing what Julia Childs was able to do for women in the world of cooking. She knocked down the walls preventing women from learning to become extraordinary chefs. If you love to cook and have not seen Julie and Julia, I recommend you make this recipe, uncork a nice bottle of wine, and settle in for a dinner showing. I am guessing Julia Childs might not approve of her Beef Bourguignon being made in a slow cooker, but I am pretty freakin’ stoked about it, due to the time-saving aspect.

Moving on, this recipe was taken from the unboundwellness.com site. As I stated in last Friday’s article, I have a few recipes I plan to make and evaluate, which come from this same site. The Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon is a savory stew filled with lots of veggies, and of course, stew meat.

It took me an hour to put the dish together. The ingredients are as follows: beef stew meat, bacon, carrots, Portobello mushrooms, white sweet potatoes (I used orange), pearl onions, beef broth, arrowroot powder, red wine, salt, pepper (I omitted this), garlic, Bay leaf, and Thyme. This dish can be prepared to fit the needs of anyone on the AIP, Paleo, Whole30, or Gluten free diet.

The most difficult part of this dish is cooking the bacon and browning the beef. The rest is really about chopping vegetables and putting the ingredients into the crockpot at the correct time. It must cook for 8 hours on low, so definitely plan ahead.

I ran into a couple of snags during my cooking adventure. I was unable to find white sweet potatoes, so I used orange, which the recipe says is okay. I put one in the pot, and will cook two to mash up underneath the stew, once it is ready to serve. The second issue I ran into, was that I forgot to buy fresh Thyme and Parsley, so I had to go back to the store again to get these items. I was not going to let my dish go without Thyme. I took the “Thyme” to make it, so it should be done correctly, right?

It smells and looks heavenly in the slow cooker. Waiting is my biggest frustration. The flavor, however, was totally worth it in the end. It’s hearty and I am incredibly glad this makes enough for six servings, because I want more later.

I give this recipe 5 stars because it seems like a complicated recipe, but with the slow cooker, it becomes quite simple and still provides an elegant dish to share with your family and friends. The recipe was easy to follow and worth the time and wait. The author gives you substitution guidelines as well as different serving options, which is always a nice bonus.

To make your Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon, check out the link below:

https://www.unboundwellness.com/slow-cooker-beef-bourguignon/

An Author’s Life for me

For those of you who do not know, I am the author of the award-winning novel, Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair. My first book was published by Black Rose Writing in March of 2018. The sequel came out the following year in June of 2019 and the third installment will be arriving this year. I am also working on a fourth book which is outside of the Runway Dreams series.

Life as an author is not as easy as some people think. Most often a published book does not mean instant success. You must work hard to hone your skills and improve. Sometimes the road an author must travel is wrought with trial and error. I consider myself quite lucky, because my books are selling, and while I know the first installment is not perfect, I also know the second and third are better stories and hugely improved. As long as I keep improving and people continue to read my stories, I consider myself to be successful.

If you have a story to tell, don’t give up. Keep working at it. Keep believing in yourself. You will get to your goal eventually, providing you never stop believing in yourself. When I wrote Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair, I told myself it would be published. I was picked up by one of the very first publishers I sent the book to. I know that is not the norm, but perhaps it plays to the power of positivity?

Authors need supportive people in their lives. They run on creativity and coffee, as well as cat companionship, but if you are a human friend, be supportive and let them know you are in their corner. It’s not easy to finish a full-length novel, and it sure as heck is not easy to find a publisher. Once they do, they will remember your confidence in them and possibly give you a nod in their published novel.

For the authors you love to read, remember to review their books on Goodreads and Amazon. This is important for sales. Try not to be a jerk. We know our books are not meant for everyone, but your dislike is no excuse for poor behavior. I honestly do not review a book if I have to rate it below a three. A three means it is okay but could use improvement. If it’s below a three, I probably do not have much good to say. I don’t want to drag them down further when others might love the story. We want the right audience to find us, as well as our author friends.

If you are into humorous stories about love and deceit and you like to read about rich and famous characters who come to the realization that there is more to life than the bubble they were previously living in, you should checkout: Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair. If you have read my first book, then the second is an absolute must.

Please find the links to my books below, and remember, never give up on your dreams and be nice to your dreamer friends.

https://www.amazon.com/Runway-Dreams-Black-White-Affair-ebook-dp-B07B9QXYL5

Foodie Friday: Chicken Stroganoff

Welcome to the very first Foodie Friday blog entry where I will review and tell you about my experiences with trying new recipes that I have found. These recipes could range from appetizers to entrees to desserts and most often will be made for those who have diet restrictions. This first recipe I was hesitant about, but I am obscenely happy that I decided to move forward with preparation.

Growing up, my mom liked to make Beef Stroganoff, which was okay (it had nothing to do with how she made it. I would not have been a big fan no matter who made it). I never felt drawn in enough to want to make it myself, until now. The biggest change is that this recipe was made with chicken instead of beef, and I put it on top of mashed sweet potatoes. I am currently kicking off a new diet due to health issues. I have to cut out corn, dairy, grain, soy, and eggs, which can be challenging.

This first recipe came from unboundwellness.com and is Paleo, Whole30, gluten free, and AIP appropriate. I will include a link to the recipe at the bottom of this article. What drew me in was hugely the image posted of the dish. I love mushrooms and they looked wonderfully decadent (I did not include a photo because I failed to take a photo when it was still in the pan and the plated version is not as pretty as what is posted on the authors website).

Now, I should tell you that I did not use the Portobello mushrooms that were listed in the recipe. I ended up swapping for white buttons because the store happened to be out of Portobello and I was not willing to make another stop. I also made the recipe a little larger than what was called for because it turns out, I sliced up more than a pound of chicken.

The recipe calls for chicken breast, chicken broth, coconut cream, arrowroot starch, mushrooms, onion, garlic, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, salt, and black pepper (I omitted the black pepper). This dish can be made in a single pan and it cooks up nicely. The smell is divine and it tastes even better. They do say that it will take 20 minutes to prepare, but honestly, it took me an hour to chop everything and cook it, but again, I made extra chicken and added extra ingredients because of my oversight.

I put the stroganoff atop mashed sweet potatoes and it was AMAZING! I think I could eat this recipe every other day and be quite happy. The dish was aromatic and tasted like something you would get at an upscale restaurant, but I made it at home and it was fairly easy. If you like Stroganoff, certainly you should check this recipe out. It’s not like some of those healthy recipes where you take the first bite and instantly wonder what’s wrong with the chef’s tastebuds. This one will wow anyone you invite to dinner (providing they are into this sort of cuisine).

What I love about this site and recipe is that they do make it fairly easy to follow. They also tell you some tips and tricks for changing the recipe to suit your needs. I have several other recipes I intend to try out from this site in the future. They have provided me with enough healthy variation, that I could cook from them for weeks and not get bored.

On a scale from one to five, one being the worst and five being the best, I give Chicken Stroganoff five stars for ease of execution and how sinfully elegant it tastes.

To check out the recipe I used, visit the site listed below:

https://unboundwellness.com/chicken-stroganoff/

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a city meant for fun and exploration. Most often, when we think of Vegas, we think of drunken debauchery and hiding the evidence of what we did while there. Clearly, with the development of Facebook, there is no longer any true way to hide your crazy escapades, so why not opt for something a little less sinful? What, you ask, would I recommend? How about the Neon Museum?

To visit the Neon Museum, you must book your time-slot in advance. They run on a tight schedule and you will get the best bang for your buck if you plan to go at night and you also plan to watch the, Brilliant, light show. You absolutely have to add Brilliant to your ticket. It is worth the viewing.

You will see many different signs from throughout Las Vegas history. Several of which have been restored. The guide will humorously tell stories about where the signs are from and other stories regarding the owners of the casinos. You will be allowed to take photographs of everything, and of course, that was one of my favorite parts.

The museum is located in downtown Las Vegas and can be walked to from many locations. You can buy a single visit pass, or an annual. We opted for the annual, since it came with other perks as well. It allows you to visit other museums throughout the country, which sounds great to me.

To find more information on the Neon Museum, or purchase tickets, visit the below website:

The Neon Museum Las Vegas | The history of Las Vegas through neon

New Year’s Affirmations

Another New Year is upon us. Rather than throw anger and negativity at the passing year, I choose to look at the good things that have happened and to send out positive affirmations for the year I am planning to have. If you are one of the people who were hit hard this year and you are struggling to pull yourself out of the pain and sorrow, time can sometimes ease the pain, but for loss of a close loved one, I understand there will always be a certain ache inside.

If you want to bring more positivity to your life, I recommend starting with your New Year’s affirmations. You can write them down, and/or say them out loud, but whatever you choose to do, I recommend writing “or better” at the end. This particular statement leaves the door open for other greater possibilities. This is a trick that Mike Dooley tells his readers about in his novels, which brings me to my next recommendation.

If you would like to bring more positivity into your life, I recommend reading the following books, depending on your current life situation: A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe, by Mike Dooley. The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You, by Mike Dooley. Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. The last book I listed, changed my life and my way of thinking, for the better. Louise Hay is also a huge author in the world of positive manifestation.

Create your intentions and put them out there. Stay away from the negativity of this past year. That chapter is closing and life is short. There is no time to dwell on the past, but only time for moving forward and “living your best life now,” which is another point Mike Dooley likes to stress. If you are one of the people who keeps saying, “I will do it tomorrow,” consider that the energy you are putting into the Universe, will continue to place your desires just out of reach. Believe that you already have your deepest desires and the law of attraction will pull in more of the same.

Happy New Year! Love and positivity to you all. With positive beliefs, we can breed life-long changes.

Adventure is wherever the desire takes you.