A Weekend in LV, Part 1

A Weekend in LV, Part 1

My weekend trip to Vegas was planned on a whim, mostly due to the fact my bestie from Nor Cal moved there recently. BlogFest was also occurring the weekend I planned to visit, and there wasn’t any time-sensitive experiment holding me back in lab, so everything seemed to work out in my favor.

I worked some long days earlier in the week (including a 12hr stint the day before I left), but once Thursday arrived I was ready to for the desert country.

My MegaBus wasn’t leaving LA until 12:45, so I took it easy in the morning. I decided to take the weekend off from running since I knew the 90-110 temperatures in the Vegas heat would be unbearable to run in. After getting some coffee, I packed up the remainder of my stuff at home and then made my way to Union Station.

It was pretty hot in LA as well, so I was antsy until the bus came and we could finally sit down in an A/C regulated area. The bus ride was pretty uneventful, but I was able to fall in and out of sleep pretty easily. My body had been wanting to catch up I suppose!

Protein House, Las Vegas
Protein House, Las Vegas

I arrived in LA around 6, and my friend had just gotten off work so she was able to swing by and pick me up. I was expecting myself to experience a weather shock but the 105 degree temperature difference felt insane. She also looked pretty exhausted, so finding some place to eat for dinner was an immediate priority.

Menu
Menu

I had been wanting to check out The Protein House ever since it was featured on the Food Network in one of those undercover, we-fix-your-restaurant shows.

Pick-Up Counter and Protein Cookies
Pick-Up Counter and Protein Cookies

Many years later, I was standing in one of their locations with my friend, deciding which plant-based protein entree to get and a smoothie to complement it.

Counter and Shaker Bottle Rack
Counter and Shaker Bottle Rack

I ended up getting their Plant Power Bowl and the Chocolate PB Crush crush shake while my friend got a Spicy Thai Chicken Wrap and a Peanut Butter Dream smoothie. With her purchase, she was able to score a free shaker cup—something she said she probably will not use, haha.

My smoothie, her wrap
My smoothie, her wrap

Our food came out relatively quickly, and while our smoothies were flavorful and thick, both of our entrees were pretty dry. A little mix of some sauce and everything would have been dandy…

Plant Power Bowl ~ Organic Tofu, Grilled Portobello Mushroom, Quinoa, Chopped Garlic, Sweet Potato, Squash, Red onion, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Black beans, Chickpeas, Siriacha, Pinch Pepper & SeaSalt, Red Pepper Flakes
Plant Power Bowl ~
Organic Tofu, Grilled Portobello Mushroom, Quinoa, Chopped Garlic, Sweet Potato, Squash, Red onion, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Black beans, Chickpeas, Siriacha, Pinch Pepper & SeaSalt, Red Pepper Flakes

My friend was still pretty tired after we ate, so we just walked around the Town Square shopping mall a few miles off the strip since she works there. We spent an hour or so walking through Sephora and some of the other boutiques. Around 9pm, she dropped me off at my AirBnB which…was quite an experience.

The listing forgot to mention a few things…like the apartments were in a semi-sketch area (doubt that anyone would say that but…), the private room I was renting was opposite another private room housing two male guests and that there was a shared bathroom for both rooms, and that some rando would be sleeping on a pull-out couch in the living room my entire stay without a shirt on. Welcome to Las Vegas 👌🏽

But my room was clean and everything else seemed okay. It was a weird situation, but I could tolerate it for the weekend.

The next day was the second day of BlogFest and since my friend had to work all day, I spent most of the day at the convention center. I woke up at the crack of dawn, and was ready by 7:30. I decided to walk over, and despite the weirdness of the surrounding area, it was a safe walk over. Even though it was early in the morning, it was already hitting the 90s, and I couldn’t avoid sweating despite my attempts at walking slowly and under shade patches.

I was able to make it to the day’s earliest event which was the networking breakfast with a yogurt bar sponsored by Bell Institute.

Wecolme to Blogfest 2017!
Wecolme to Blogfest 2017!

I made sure to get a bowl of Good Culture cottage cheese topped with berries and a large mug of hot coffee with creamer.

Yogurt bar!
Yogurt bar!

I stayed for the keynote speech and the morning sessions, and around noon stopped by the expo to, ya know…pick up as many freebies as I can!

So many booths, gotta catch 'em all!
So many booths, gotta catch ’em all!

I grabbed enough protein bars, protein powders, kale chips, and other random items to fill one large reusable bag and my backpack. I was (mentally) tired to stay any longer, so I made the decision to walk back to my room in the 105 degree heat around 3:30pm. I wanted to rip off my skin and dunk my organs in an ice bath by the time I got back, but I survived. Opening the door and finding a half naked guy sleeping on a pull-out bed in the living room was awkward, but I retreated to my room and counted the hours until I could hang out with my bestie the next day…

Have you ever had an awkward hotel/lodging experience?

Protein House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch & Beach

Brunch & Beach

My sister needed me to check out a potential housing option in the OC, and so I thought it would be the perfect reason to head down to the area for a brunch & beach day. Lucky for me, one of my undergrad assistants was able to take care of some small things for me that Sunday, and so I did not have to step into lab. It feels great to delegate work sometimes, haha.

I picked up E from a nearby Expo line station after my morning run and shower. From there, we got on the freeway and it was pretty much an easy Sunday drive down to Aliso Viejo.

Bagels & Brew
Bagels & Brew

I suggested we eat out at Bagels & Brew, mostly because of their unicorn bagel, but they had other enticing options as well.

♥

We decided to eat inside at a booth, but ordered first at the counter. E got a sandwich of course, and a grande sized coffee. I went for the unicorn/rainbow bagel with jalapeño cheddar cream cheese, avocado, tomato, and lime juice…otherwise known as “Aliso Viejo” style.

♥

For my drink, the agave nectar latte sounded warm and sweet, so I had that to accompany my meal.

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Everything was piled on so high since it was served open face, so I needed the help of a fork to ensure no avocado slice or cream cheese drop was left behind.

♥

We sat for a good half hour at our booth after eating, and then got up and walked around the shopping plaza. This Bagels & Brew was actually near the Native Foods we went to for my birthday last year, so I was circling familiar territory.

♥

E and I had fun walking in and out of stores like Michael’s, Lowe’s, and B&N, joking about what we could get to decorate our lab office, picking up some Drain-O, and browsing through aisles of overpriced books. After killing some time at the shopping plaza, we headed out towards Aliso Beach. The temperature was starting to creep up without warning, so driving with the A/C on was much needed.

Walking to the beach
Walking to the beach

We parked on a slope in a residential area, about 10 minutes away by foot from the beach. The walk down was easy to navigate, and when we got to the sand, we took our socks and shoes off only to be burned by the sun-exposed sand.

At the beach
At the beach

The water had a truly beautiful blue hue though, and even though we didn’t bring a towel to sit down on, we managed and found a nice little spot to sit down at and enjoy the relaxing view.

After about an hour of sun-bathing and self-reflecting, we got up and made our ascent back to the car. Dusting the sand off our legs and feet was quite the task, but we did the best we could before getting in the car and driving off to Mission Viejo.

Several entrances on freeways and u-turns later, we stopped for a smoothie/acai bowl break. That helped cool off our beach-raised core body temperatures!

A PB acai bowl to help cool off...
A PB acai bowl to help cool off…

And finally, we made it to the house that could potentially house my sister. The current tenant seemed friendly, and E and I took a look around while I took some pictures for my sis. There were two cute fur babies (a black and a gray/white cat!!) who apparently took ownership of the domain. My sister had been wanting this place to work out, and when I sent her the pictures, she was definitely sold. I mean…I couldn’t argue about her decision. With a backyard looking the way this place’s does, how could anyone say no?

I thought she should say yes based on the view alone...
I thought she should say yes based on the view alone…

We immediately drove back to LA after, and after dropping E off, I surprisingly didn’t feel as exhausted as I did last weekend. In fact, I felt reenergized! Just comes to show how a full day off can work wonders! The pint of the weekend was So Delicious’ Soymilk Peanut Butter Zigzag, and to me it was yet another disappointment.

♥

I had my eye on this flavor for a while, but never thought about getting it because of my love for Snickerdoodle and Cookie Dough like I previously mentioned. It had a number of peanut butter chunks and chocolate pieces, but there just wasn’t enough PB to balance out the chocolate. In other words, a flavor worth missing out on in my opinion…

What do you think of the rainbow/unicorn foodie trend?

Bagels & Brew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Power to the Powdered PB!

Power to the Powdered PB!

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily paid to write this review. This review is based on the products and information I received from Tru-Nut Powdered Peanut Butter. All opinions are my own.

June has turned out to be a nutty kind of month. Why so? Well, this sort of took control of my kitchen…

Tru-Nut Powdered Peanut Butter

Yup, when powdered peanut butter makes its appearance in a kitchen, you know it’s time to make room for some protein and creativity! Here are some stats:

  • 1.5g of fat/2 tbsp.
  • Non-GMO and gluten-free
  • 5g of PROTEIN/serving
  • Made from high oleic, roasted US-grown peanuts

I reviewed a similar product a year ago, but what I found unique about Tru-Nut is that it also offers chocolate and cinnamon-flavored powdered peanut butter, which I assume wouldn’t taste great mixed with savory condiments, but I bet it would be awesome as an ingredients included in sauces and spreads to be poured over waffles, cakes, breads—anything you can imagine that’s sweet!

After opening the jar, the first thing I thought about was greek yogurt. Not exactly an out-of-the-box idea based on my past creations, but it was something I knew I could count on tasting good.

Cinnamon Raisins English Muffins with Peanutty Greek Yogurt Spread (1)
Cinnamon Raisins English Muffins with Peanutty Greek Yogurt Spread

With the “leftover” peanut Fage, I added Nutella because that was obviously the right thing to do 😉

Nutella with Peanut Fage
Nutella with “Peanut” Fage

Despite sticking with what I know (and loving it), I did venture out and try something new—a new waffle recipe to be more specific:

Peanutty Pepita Waffle with Chocolate Hazelnut Peanut Spread

Peanutty Pepita Waffle with Chocolate Hazelnut Peanut Spread
Serves 2
A granola-bar infused waffle with a creamy, nutty chocolate spread.
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
For Waffles
  1. - 85g of waffle/pancake mix
  2. - 2 tbsp. of powdered peanut butter
  3. - 3/4 to 1 bar (granola bar) with pepita seeds or the equivalent amount of pepita seeds --> I used an Evolution Bar
For spread
  1. - 1 1/2 tbsp of powdered peanut butter
  2. - about 2 tbsp of Nutella
  3. ~ water for consistency
Instructions
  1. Pour waffle mix, powdered peanut butter, and just enough water to make a thick, but pourable, batter.
  2. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Crumble ¾ of a trail-mix granola bar with lots of pepita seeds, or pour the equivalent amount of pepita seeds into the batter.
  4. Mix well again.
  5. Pour batter onto a waffle iron and let it cook until nice and crisp.
  6. For the spread, mix powdered peanut butter (I used Tru-Nut) and Nutella together.
  7. Add water to the mix above until you get the consistency you want (a thick spread or a thinner sauce).
  8. Pour the nutty chocolate coating over fresh waffles, and EAT!
Notes
  1. Makes about 6-7 waffle quarters depending on the iron used. Split between two people, serving size would be 3-4 quarters. Serving size for spread is for one 😉
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
Batter, Waffle Iron, Spreaddddddddd
Batter with bar mixed in // ready for the waffle iron // the spread mixed up // the bar I used

I also used it to make some savory dressings and sauces. Here, I mixed it with ketchup to make a tangy sauce similar in appearance to a thai peanut sauce. I didn’t thin it out as much as I would have liked to (with water), but I made enough to cover most of my steamed cauliflower and baked potato for dinner one night.

Cauliflower and Potato with Peanut Tomato Sauce

In this salad that I had for dinner after work one evening, I mixed some powdered PB with soy sauce and added enough water to make enough dressing to drench my salad of raw zucchini noodles, portabello mushroom caps, and steamed vegetable medley of carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. I then topped the mix with some pretzels. It certainly was a wholesome bowl of good eats.

Raw Zucchini Noodle Salad with Portabello Mushroom, Steamed Veg, Pretzels, and Peanut Soy Sauce

Other than what’s been showed above, I mixed some powdered PB with coconut milk to make a protein smoothie of sorts—which I then added to an almost empty Nutella jar. It was certainly a darling treat that I looked forward to devouring after work 😀 !

Do you like using peanut flour for sweet or savory dishes?

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