Carson Kitchen

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For Rob’s birthday in March, I told him I would buy tickets for a concert at Brooklyn Bowl because I think he would really enjoy this new venue at The LINQ complete with food, drinks and bowling. The concert space reminds me of the Showbox in Seattle, which we saw some fun shows at, so I thought it was a great gift! However, we haven’t been able to see any of the bands we like because of his weird shift work schedule, so we did a little birthday redo. He wanted to see the Book of Mormon, so I bought him tickets to that and surprised him with dinner before the show. Carson Kitchen is a new restaurant in Downtown Las Vegas and had only been open for a day or two when we dined. Everything was on point and is now one of our favorite Vegas restaurants.

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We started with the baked brie and bacon jam, which is served alongside a toasted baguette. The flavor was amazing and definitely unique! We also shared the veal meatballs in a sherry foie gras cream sauce. These sharable plates were delicious and something you can’t find anywhere else.

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I ordered the cocoa-espresso NY strip steak with red wine demi  since I can’t say no to chocolate or espresso. Rob and I always play the “who ordered best” game and I definitely won this round. His swordfish was good, too, but it’s hard to beat this indulgent steak.

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Throughout the meal I couldn’t stop thinking about the bourbon brownie I had seen on the dessert menu. It is served with brown butter bacon ice cream, which was similar to a salted caramel flavor. The candied bacon added a little crunch and created that sweet and salty flavor that I love! We will definitely try making this with our own ice cream machine soon!

Since this first visit, I have been back for a girls’ night where we enjoyed the tempura green beans with pepper jelly cream cheese and baked truffle mac & cheese. Of course I also had to try the glazed donut bread pudding, which is made with doughnuts from the neighboring O Face Doughnuts. It was also amazing. The restaurant itself has a casual, neighborhood vibe that is enhanced with a rooftop deck adorned with festive strings of lights making it a great Downtown destination.

 

Bread and Breakfast

In honor of #TBT, I’m finally sharing this post I wrote in February, but never completely finished. I came across it in my drafts and decided to add the finishing touches because this is still one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. We have been back multiple times since our initial visit and enjoy taking out of town guests there because all of the menu items are fresh, unique and delicious!

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It was love at first bite. I had been wanting to try Lulu’s Bread and Breakfast for a while now and decided to check it out with my parents while they were in town (Las Vegas). The country chic restaurant, open for breakfast and lunch, was beautifully decorated for Valentine’s Day, so love was already in the air before checking out the mouthwatering menu.

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We started with the cinnamon roll “appetizer.” It tastes as good as it looks. No skimping on the cream cheese frosting here! The roll itself is more of a croissant than the usual doughy cinnamon roll, which made for a nice texture.

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My Dad got the Benicio Del Porko, a unique take on Eggs Benedict made with corn bread, pulled pork, poached egg and barbecue and hollandaise sauces. The corn bread was an amazing addition! I’m glad I waited to write this post because this dish was named the “Best Benedict” in Las Vegas Weekly‘s Best of Vegas 2014 issue this week.

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I had the “New Year’s Resolution,” aptly named since it is a healthier menu item made with egg whites and a spinach tortilla. Since this first visit we have tried the S.O.B (egg sandwich with chicken chorizo, green chiles, avocado and cotija cheese), grilled cheese made with brie and apricot preserve, sweet potato hash and Captain America (egg sandwich with sausage, ham and white cheddar), which were all delicious.

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In addition to the great food, I also love the decorations and casual atmosphere. Instead of a boring table number, they give you a unique card (we got “nest”) to put in the Coca-Cola holder. It added a fun, quirky touch. We enjoy sitting outside on the patio, which you can do most of the year being in Vegas. Definitely a restaurant worth trying next time you are in town!

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Farm Fresh Caprese Salad

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One thing I miss about living in Washington is the variety of farms and fresh produce. There’s nothing better than a juicy Honeycrisp apple straight from the orchard in the fall. I was excited (and surprised) to hear about a farm here in Las Vegas where you can pick fruits and vegetables right from the source.

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Gilcrease Orchard offers a nice break from the brown, dry desert. It was fun to walk through the fields and orchard, looking for the freshest produce. We went home with some beautiful tomatoes. I will definitely be back in the fall when there are pumpkins and apple cider doughnuts!

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We decided to put the fresh tomatoes to good use and make a refreshing caprese salad. Since we had one tomato left from the grocery store, I used that, too. The difference between the tomatoes from the store and the farm was amazing! Physically, those from the farm were darker in color, juicier, softer and had more seeds. The store-bought tomato was easier to slice because it was firmer, but when it came to taste, it was kind of plain and watery. Lesson learned – farm fresh is much more flavorful! Even Rob, who is happy with non-organic produce from Walmart, was genuinely shocked at the difference. Because this salad is so simple, top-quality tomatoes and mozzarella are important and very noticeable.

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Farm Fresh Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

On a large platter, evenly space out tomato slices. Top with mozzarella sliced and then basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and/or pepper.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

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The forecast calls for a lot of Sprinkles in Las Vegas – at least for cupcake lovers like myself! I couldn’t wait to try these sweet treats from Sprinkles Cupcakes when it opened at The LINQ this spring.

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In addition to the vast selection of cupcakes, Sprinkles also makes ice cream! Since I couldn’t decide between the two, I went for the cupcake sundae made with salted caramel ice cream and a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting. The cupcake is cut in half with the bottom at the base of the sundae, which is topped with the ice cream and then finished with the top half of the cupcake. It’s like a cupcake ice cream sandwich – amazing!

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Another fun feature is the Cupcake ATM. Located outside of the shop, it allows you to choose between the flavors of the day and then you watch a crane pick up the cupcake, put it in the box and when the little door opens, you’re cupcake is ready to eat!

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Chocolate cupcakes are my go-to and my standard of measurement for cupcakes shops. This dark chocolate flavor did not disappoint. And how can you beat this view?

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A Day at the Park

I love Downtown Las Vegas because it’s a great escape from the Strip and the cool, laid-back vibe reminds me a little bit of Seattle. I wanted to share some pictures of the quirky, whimsical decor at Park on Fremont since it’s so unique, but I could also see the eclectic style trending on Pinterest. The vintage-yet-modern look is so popular right now and makes me want to go spray paint my boring, brown furniture! Plus they serve delicious drinks, like the Pillow Talk and Trophy Wife, in Mason jars… LOVE!

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Life Is Beautiful

20131026-224151.jpgAfter acting like birthdays are no big deal, my boyfriend surprised me with tickets to Life Is Beautiful. I had wanted to attend this two-day music festival since July when I learned Imagine Dragons was co-headlining. This inaugural art, food and music festival in downtown Las Vegas was a big deal around town. From the concerts to the culinary village, it was a fun-filled weekend. 20131026-224157.jpgSeveral blocks were closed and transformed into the festival grounds complete with multiple stages, two ferris wheels, food trucks, a beer garden, charity lane and culinary village.20131026-224203.jpgThe murals and art exhibits played a large part in establishing the atmosphere. At this booth, festival-goers were able to paint a brick, which was compiled into one large wall.20131026-224246.jpgThe “Suzie Selfie” was my favorite mural. 20131026-224210.jpgThe food was another festival highlight. Out of all the chefs making gourmet meals, one of my favorite dishes was the Lobster Mac & Cheese from Lobster Me, a lobster-themed food truck. It was amazing! I might have to try making it myself soon!20131026-224215.jpgThe pumpkin spiced gnocchi with truffled butter and sage sauce from Lavo was another favorite. Anything with truffle is amazing.  As a foodie, the culinary village was one of my favorite parts of the festival. Celebrity chefs with high-end Vegas restaurants had booths serving signature dishes and also performed cooking demonstrations.20131026-224239.jpg20131029-200503.jpgPark on Fremont served fried mac & cheese balls, which were delicious! 20131026-224224.jpgI loved checking out the festival fashion. Fringe was a must! Whether it’s on booties or T-shirts, it gives a fun, laid-back vibe especially when paired with colored denim and booties. I found this shirt for $9 at Nordstrom Rack. How could I pass up that great deal!?20131029-200438.jpgDay 2! I was dying in my jeans the first day since it was 85 degrees, so I learned to sport shorts the second day. It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that it can be almost 90 degrees in October. Guess we really aren’t in Washington anymore! Plus, comfortable tennis shoes were a must! We were on our feet and walking around all day.20131102-194445.jpgThe music was amazing. Even the bands I had never heard of were so good! Imagine Dragons (from Las Vegas!) was my favorite. The lineup also included The Killers, Kings of Leon, Beck, Passion Pit, Youngblood Hawke, Capital Cities, Vampire Weekend, Pretty Lights, Empire of the Sun, Janelle Monae, Allen Stone, The Joy Formidable and many more.20131102-194451.jpg

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20131102-194502.jpgWe had an amazing time and I’m so glad we were able to experience the inaugural Life Is Beautiful festival.

Fall Fashion Show with Lili Boutique

20131020-150830.jpgOne of my favorite work events to attend is Fabrik Fridays, a weekly fashion show at SHe by Morton’s. The runway winding through the dining room of this stylish steakhouse plays host to fashionable collections from local boutiques and designers.  Lili Boutique recently opened in Las Vegas and put on a great show! With gorgeous dresses, trendy accessories and fresh designs, Vegas fashionistas are in for a treat. 20131020-150835.jpgLeather is my favorite trend this fall. The mesh cutouts on these leggings make them extra edgy. Complete the look with a high-low graphic tank or t-shirt and some studded accessories. 20131020-150841.jpgSHe’s bringing sexy back. With black lace and an open back, this stunning dress is perfect for a date night or bachelorette party on the Strip!20131020-150849.jpgStatement necklaces can take a dress from simple to super-stylish in no time. Toss on a sparkly, Peter Pan-style necklace for instant fashion flare. Heeled booties will also take the look to new heights. 20131020-150854.jpgDon’t put your shorts away just yet! The blush and nude tones of this outfit make this summer style  autumn appropriate.20131020-150900.jpgChunky, tribal print sweaters are everywhere this season! With so many colors and patterns, it’s hard to decide on just one! They pair perfectly with dresses or leggings. 20131020-150907.jpgBlack and white is always chic. The sheer sleeves and plunging neckline is subtly sexy. A black and white mini skirt is very versatile and can be worn with black tights when temperatures start dropping.20131020-150924.jpgI think we can all agree that wearing white after Labor Day is a fashion faux pas of the past. This lovely lace dress looks stylish in any season.

Foodie Fest: A Taste of Heaven

20131020-145426.jpgAs a foodie, I was very excited to work at the Las Vegas Foodie Fest last weekend! The festival included over 30 food trucks with White Castle’s Crave Mobile being the star of the show. The line was crazy for these savory sliders. There were also additional food vendors, classic carnival rides and even a boutique on wheels! Some of the most unique treats included sushi burritos, red velvet pancake bites, gourmet grilled cheese and pumpkin spice shave ice.20131020-145508.jpg

Since I love dessert (especially cupcakes!), I was most excited about The Cookie Bar and Sin City Cupcakes. The Twisted Krispie from The Cookie Bar, pictured above, looked like a tasty, unique treat! I tried the classic chocolate chip cookie, which definitely satisfied my sweet tooth.

20131020-145456.jpgIt was a gorgeous fall night in Vegas. The rides looked so pretty as the sun was setting. 20131020-145413.jpg

20131020-145404.jpgNeedless to say, it was definitely paradise for a foodie like myself. Just another reason why I love my job.

 

My Week Through Instagram #SundayFunday

Because I have been so busy lately, I haven’t been able to post to my blog every day like I hope to. Plus, I don’t have the time to cook and bake everyday :( so to make up for this lack of sharing, I’ve decided to post a few of the highlights from this past week (or two). You can also follow Treats and Trends on Instagram at @TreatsandTrends!

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Last Friday, Ryan Lochte was in Las Vegas celebrating his 29th birthday. He had dinner at SHe by Morton’s, which is a stylish steakhouse that I do PR for. It was my first celebrity experience in Vegas/PR. It’s crazy how much time, effort and money goes in to one celebrity eating at a restaurant.

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The best part about a new job? Target “school supply shopping,” of course! I get really excited over organizing new folders and picking out crisp, fresh notebooks.

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Monday was National Cupcake Day, so I used this as an excuse to bake some sweet treats! These banana chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate frosting turned out really well!

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A large portion of my job involves food. Whether it’s writing about it or eating it, I’ve enjoyed exploring the amazing restaurants in Las Vegas. I’ve learned to try new things and not be afraid of the unknown, such as this Angus Beef Carpaccio from TENDER Steak & Seafood. I’d never had it before, but it was very tasty!

Happy Sunday Funday, readers! :) 

Work Hard Play Hard

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A few weeks ago I started my new job as a Public Relations Coordinator at Wicked Creative. In the past three weeks, I have had more “Vegas” experiences than in the three months I’ve lived here. Just this weekend alone I went to the Vegas Seven Best of the City party at the Foundation Room, did the social media for a fashion show and celebrated a co-worker’s birthday poolside.

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We were invited to the VIP party to celebrate this special issue of Vegas Seven. It was held at the Foundation Room on the top floor of Mandalay Bay, which has an amazing view of the Strip!

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{Side note: One Direction was performing at Mandalay Bay that night, too. Found out they were staying on the tenth floor, but that’s as far as my boy band stalking went.}

20130804-104726.jpgThere was a buffet, complementary Grey Goose drinks, delicious appetizers and this dessert selection. Needless to say, I hung out in this room for the majority of the night. I loved the berry cheesecake bites.

20130803-212546.jpgAfter the party, we headed up the strip to SHe by Morton’s, which is one of my clients. This stylish steakhouse is a partnership between Morton’s the Steakhouse and Eva Longoria. The runway winding through the dining room hosts weekly fashion shows that feature trendy designers. This week XTC Couture spiced up the catwalk for Fabrik Fridays. The clothes were so cute! I love the black and white striped dress in the photo above. The leather leggings and fringe top are fun, too!

20130804-110207.jpgI also had my first day club / pool experience at M Resort for a coworker’s birthday, which was so much fun! Definitely enjoying the Vegas lifestyle :)

Vegas Fashion

What non-locals think I wear vs. what I actually wear…

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Living in Las Vegas has drastically changed my style. Mostly because it isn’t appropriate to wear sweaters when it’s 115 degrees… So long Seattle wardrobe. Before I moved here, when I heard “Vegas,” the style that came to mind was tight dresses, short skirts, high heels and lots of sequins. However, I quickly realized that Vegas is much larger than just the strip. Obviously I knew people didn’t wear clubbing attire 24/7, but I didn’t realize how much the heat affects your clothing choices. I’ve always preferred boots and flats to flip flops, but pools and hot weather has changed my opinion. They are a necessity.
When it comes to clothing the looser, lighter and less (to some degree) the better! By less I mean that maxi skirts and jean jackets don’t work in this heat, but we’ll leave the skimpy clothing to the dancers on the Strip. Simple shorts, breezy tanks and flip flops are perfect for running errands and being out and about in the sunshine. Guess I need to do some shopping since my Washington wardrobe isn’t going to work. Darn… ;)

Celebrating 100 Posts With Almost 100 Cupcakes!

Get ready for a cupcake overload! Last weekend I went to the Las Vegas Cupcake Bake-Off. Basically it was my idea of Heaven: as many cupcakes as you can eat, cocktails and country music. There were about 50 vendors competing in the bake-off. Each of them had a themed display that highlighted their unique flavors. Although we didn’t get to sample all of their flavors, Gigi’s cupcakes provided as many mini cupcakes as you can eat! I tried most of them, obviously. The salted caramel was my favorite!

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Below are some of my favorite displays.

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The Great Gatsby meets cupcakes.
I loved this 1920’s-themed display. The teenaged baker even donned 20s apparel and a cute feathered headband. If I were a cupcake I like to think this would be me. Sweet, classy, pretty and sophisticated.

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Bonjour, delicious cupcake!
This Parisian-inspired display with strawberry macaron cupcakes was another favorite of mine. It makes me feel like I’m sitting at a dainty table on the sidewalks of Paris while enjoying this fashionable treat. Maybe there is a little dog, too. Yep, I think that completes the idealistic picture in my mind.

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Sweet and salty.
Love churros? Then you will love this cupcake! With cinnamon cake, cinnamon buttercream, a mini churro and decorative salted caramel, this tasty treat has to be amazing!

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Cupcake Lane.
Take a trip through Candy Land with these delicate desserts! The vanilla funfetti cake is topped with cotton candy buttercream, a cotton candy puff and homemade candy. Doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

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The perfect picnic… for dessert!
Thought that was a juicy burger and buttery corn on the cob? Think again. The corn on the cob is a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream, topped with jelly beans and a yellow starburst for the butter. This is my kind of BBQ!

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I mustache you a question...
How could you not like the looks of this cupcake?! This chocolate-y delight is topped with a decorative mustache, which is right on trend with the mustache merchandise that is appearing everywhere.

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Drop it like it’s hot.
A few bakers displayed their cupcakes in cocktail glasses, which is such a cute idea! I could drink this raspberry lemon drop cupcake right up!

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You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

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Love the retro kitchen theme! 

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Mugs of hot cocoa are so yesterday.
I’m loving this Kahlua hot chocolate cupcake with marshmallow buttercream! Can I just curl up by a fireplace and watch the snow fall outside the window with one of these in my hand?

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Let’s take shots!
Of chocolate liqueur, that is. Can’t forget pretzels, the traditional bar snack. This is one thought-out cupcake!

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A little sweet, a little salty, a lot of flavor!
With a caramel cake, peanut butter and caramel filling topped with chocolate icing and a chocolate-dipped pretzel, this cupcake is definitely a palette-pleaser.

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Most interesting flavor goes to… Shrimp?
The cornbread cupcake is topped with shrimp. Not sure how I feel about that combination.

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Fiesta con cupcakes!
No need for a margarita when you have this chocolate chipotle bacon cupcake to spice up a party.

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Luck of the Irish.
Whether it’s St. Patty’s Day or you just enjoy this dark bar, a Guinness cupcake is best served in a glass!

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Holy, Cannoli! 

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Paradise found.
I’ll take a beach and/or a cupcake any day.

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Viva Las Cupcakes!
It wouldn’t be the Las Vegas Bake-Off without a slot machine. I’ll take chocolate chips over poker chips any day!

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Stylin’ shoe-cakes.
Dress up your cupcake with a cookie heel!

{Hope you enjoyed this calorie-free tour!}

Backyard BBQ

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If you can’t tell by now, I love good food, so it’s probably no surprise that I love watching the Food Network. I love drooling over the amazing meals and want to sample everything! My boyfriend and I have tried to visit as many restaurants that have been featured on the Food Network as we can. We went to quite a few when we lived in Seattle, so it’s about time we start exploring Las Vegas through our stomachs as well! First stop: Road Kill Grill, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Don’t let the unappetizing name scare you away; it is delicious!  Located on a residential street away from the strip, this place is truly a hidden gem. From the second you walk in, the smell of barbecue sauce surrounds you and makes you hunger for everything on the menu!

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We ordered the brisket and ribs. The brisket was pretty good, but the ribs were my favorite! There is a lot of meat that easily comes off of the bone. Honestly, anything with their barbecue sauce will be delicious! You get the choice of regular or spicy and both were very tasty. The sides were also outstanding. The baked beans and mac ‘n cheese were my favorites. It’s no wonder why Guy Fieri wanted to come visit!

20130701-202019.jpgYou can either eat outside at the “grub shak” or take your food to go. Since it was 112 degrees outside who chose to eat in the comfort of our air conditioned house, but the grub shak looks like a fun place to enjoy some amazing BBQ!

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Another Food Network restaurant checked off the list!

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Mmmm… M&M’s!

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Last weekend my boyfriend and I went to check out M&M World on the Vegas strip. My favorite part was the samples, of course. Although they could have given out larger helpings… 3 mint M&M’s is not enough to satisfy my chocolate cravings, but they are delicious. We also watched a surprisingly entertaining 3D movie, called “I Lost my ‘M’ in Vegas.’ It was a ten-minute film about the red M&M gambling away his ‘M’ and having to get it back.

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The store also sold a lot of M&M themed merchandise, such as cups, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc. It was all really cute! Kind of overpriced, but I guess that’s expected. Another cool feature is that you can personalize your own M&M’s. From colors to images, you can make unique chocolate candies! Overall, it was a very fun and festive experience! And got me craving chocolate… hence this brownie recipe below :)

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Seeing all of the M&M’s inspired me to do some baking! I decided to add the peanut butter M&M’s to one of my favorite brownie recipes. You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate!

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Peanut Butter M&M Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups peanut butter M&Ms

How to:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 baking pan with cooking oil.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add sugar and stir constantly for one minute, until combined.
  • Pour butter mixture into bowl of standing mixer. Add cocoa powder, eggs, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract. Mix well until combined. Then mix in flour.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold the M&M’s into the batter (save some to sprinkle on top of batter).
  • Pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle on remaining M&M’s and bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out mostly clean. I’m a fan of gooey brownies, so I make sure to never bake it too long.
  • Let cool or eat while it’s warm and the M&M’s are nice and melted :)

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Sweet Treats in Sin City

I was sad to say goodbye to my favorite bakeries in Seattle. Seeing Facebook posts about new flavors at Trophy makes me miss my hometown. Thankfully, I found a cute and delicious bakery here in Vegas to satisfy my cupcake cravings!

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Below is the “Happy Birthday” flavor. It’s confetti cake with vanilla buttercream. It was very sweet and flavorful! I also love how colorful it is!

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The more chocolate the better, so I had to try the “Chocolate Fountain,” which is chocolate cake topped with a chocolate buttercream ad dipped in chocolate ganache. It definitely satisfied my chocolate craving.

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Click here to check out more of Retro Bakery’s flavors. Next on my list to try is coffee & donuts, red carpet and cherry cheesecake!

Back to Blogging

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After a busy month, I am finally settled down and able to start blogging again!

May started out with a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (pictures to follow!). It was great to get some relaxation in before the craziness of moving began. Although it was no fun living out of a suitcase while getting adjusted to a new place and the heat that goes along with it, we are finally settled in to our new home in Las Vegas! By settled in I mean that we have our furniture and are 70% organized, but we have a long way to go before our place looks as Pinterest-perfect as I want it to be! I will have  a lot of home decor and DIY posts in the future :)

I also realized that I need to do a lot of editing on my “About Me” page, since so much has changed in my life. Here are some updates:

  • I live in Las Vegas, Nevada with my boyfriend, Rob. He is a pilot in the Air Force, which is why we left Seattle.
  • I’m on the job hunt! I want to continue working with fashion, but I also love writing, marketing and social media. Hopefully my dream job won’t be impossible to find. *Fingers crossed*
  • I have learned that life is an unexpected journey, full of adventure. Six months ago, if someone had told me I would be leaving Seattle and living in Vegas, I would have thought they were crazy! Me leaving my gorgeous home state and moving to a place known for partying and having super hot weather?! But here I am and I couldn’t be happier :)