Friday, May 31, 2013

Salted caramel macaroons dipped in chocolate...

This cold of Marley's has come back full force, I feel like since we got back from Vegas, my life has been defined by these germs... Adding gym to feeling like there is a cold on the horizon, it's been hard going... The weather both creates and perpetuates it... In any case, one of my beautiful and pregnant girlfriends came over for morning tea, and I made her some of these salted caramel macaroons dipped in chocolate... They could have done with more caramel but they were still divine!!! I didn't add the toffee because I didn't have any!

Salted Caramel Toffee Coconut Macaroons Dipped in Chocolate

Yield: 18 macaroons

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 17-20 minutes

Chocolate dipped coconut macaroons with salted caramel and toffee. These macaroons are heavenly!


1/3 cup salted caramel sauce
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
1/2 cup toffee bits
2 cups chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the salted caramel sauce, sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined. Add in the coconut and toffee bits and mix well.

3. With a spoon, scoop up about 2 tablespoons of the coconut mixture and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Form the cookies into mounds that have a peak at the top. Use your hands to gently squeeze the dough together to create a slight point at the top. Your hands will get sticky, but that's ok:)

4. Bake the macaroons for 17 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes or until they are firm and set. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

5. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Make sure you keep stirring the chocolate every 20 seconds or so until chocolate is melted and smooth. Lay out a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Dip the bottom of the macaroons into the chocolate-just so the bottoms are covered. Set dipped cookies on the paper to dry. Dip all of the cookies and let them sit on the paper until completely dried.

Note-you can make these 2-3 days in advance. Store in an air tight container on the counter.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Baking, on a Tuesday!

This is not a part of our routine, but mum is away, and I wanted to keep the babies busy! We started at the park, came back and prepped, froze the goods, waited until Mace woke and baked... It's been an awesome day... 

A friend suggested that was amazing, she was right! Just about every post Marley was wow and oohing about! I decided this would be good for both babies, I could prep and they could do the balls and sprinkles!
There are helpful notes on the website!
1 cup butter softened 
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon  
Multicolor nonpareils (at least a 3.75 oz. jar)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl and beat in vanilla and lemon extracts.  Beat in the flour, salt and lemon zest.  The dough should not be sticky and should hold together when a small amount is squeezed in the palm of your hand.
  3. Shape mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (a little over 1 tablespoon of dough). Roll dough balls in nonpareils. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms of cookies are light brown. Frozen cookie dough will take slightly longer to bake. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
  5. Keep in an air-tight container or in a zip-top bag with the air removed

Friday, May 24, 2013

Studio 21 tattoo Las Vegas

This was my husbands experience, but people always seem to ask about tattoos on the strip... Mark chose this spot because he wanted something done by the mad artist Tyson... We booked in advance, they took a $50 deposit over the phone, and we were in... It was between $15/$20 cab ride from the strip, the studio was clean, staff both professional and friendly and the art phenomenal!

My husband is a tattoo artist so knows what to look for in a good studio and he was very happy... Should, or when we go back to Vegas, we will definitely hot this spot again!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

People look down on the Flamingo because its in an old casino, but the GO rooms are awesome, king bed, big TV, fridge, coffee maker, everything you need for a comfortable stay...  The pool areas are exceptional, party pool, and family/chilled pool, great food and drinks at the pool, I love it! The staff everywhere, from bar, food, cleaning, concierge, check out, were all amazing, everyone had a smile to give... 

It is also incredible inexpensive, we got 7 nights for $700, this had more then doubled the month before we left! And it's easy to check in, their are some kiosks to the right of the check in area that are always empty! The only downside is the wifi, the cost is quite a lot because its per device! Surely it should be per room if it's in room wifi that you want! Still, we paid it because we wanted it!

All in all another stay in a central location with all of the amenities required! A great hotel!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vegas is done and dusted...

My poor unattended blog! Things have been crazy with our week in Las Vegas KID FREE! And then making up for that since coming home... Our trip was amazing, was so lovely to be selfish on our ways, activities, hand holding, etc... There was one Mace related emotional meltdown, but that wasn't bad when away for almost 10 days... That was the morning I required a drink for breakfast...

Coming home was wonderful, cuddles with two of my favourite humans was everything I knew it would be! They were ecstatic, we were ecstatic... So much affection and presents! It was ambitious to look after them after a very long travelling day, but we got through it... The jet lag is still messing with me, it's 4am, every day, no matter where I go in the world... We still managed to make the most of what is most likely the last lovely day before winter! Heading to Edithvale beach, playing in the sand and snacking at the cafe, a really lovely morning to spend some proper quality time with my beautiful family...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fremont Street Las Vegas

We didn't get here the first time, and to be honest, the only reason I wanted to check it it out was because of The Killers lyrical references... And their recommendation to get a deep fried Twinkie from Mermaids, as it turned out they were out so I tried a deep fried Oreo ($1 for 3!) instead, surprisingly like a donut with an Oreo centre! We stumbled across an awesome toy shop, featured on some pawn show, which was awesome, full of vintage toys... It was a bit more seedy feeling then the strip, wasn't a massive fan, don't need to go back!

Cheesecake Factory Las Vegas

On soooo many recommendations, coupled with some great vegetarian and vegan options, this spot was a definite! A 20 minute wait - worth it! Mark had a vegan burger, I had the most delicious grilled salmon and veg, a delicious healthy meal, followed by cheesecake... Amazing cheesecake! Over the course of the trip I had (in order of greatness) red velvet cheesecake, Hershey's cheesecake and Godiva cheesecake... Glad we got them all take away and shared them over a couple of sessions... So good... Looking forward to my next red velvet, might have to find a recipe... Go, go, go!!!

PF Changs Las Vegas

This spot looked good online, catering for Marks vegan/fructose free diet as well as so many deliciously meaty options for me! We knew that there would be a wait, there always is for awesome food... Our waiter was AMAZING, right down to getting GF soy sauce for Mark, even though he isn't quite that picky... We ordered far too much food for two people, it was all so delicious! I highly recommend going here, the crispy beef was mindblowingly good...

Fashion Show Mall Las Vegas

Oh Fashion Show Mall, how I love thee! With so many great shops, especially Macy's (if you are from our of town make sure you get the 10% off tourist discount card - lasts 30 days!), with so much for the whole family... Shoe palace, Champs, Finish Line and Footlocker for all of your sneaker needs and Zumiez for your more street clothes... As well as most other chains, eateries and free wifi every other big store! Definitely worth a visit!

North retail outlet mall Las Vegas

A big part of what we like to do on holidays is shop... Together... This is one of the reasons that we are made for each other! Haha... We decided to check out the north retail outlet as it had all the things we wanted to check, and it's outside... Fremont Street is also north, so we did it in a triangle together...

As far as outlets go, it's pretty average... I didn't really feel that the sales we worth going for, but they had a Disney store, so we got loads for the kids... Many of the items, ck underwear, Nike accessories, wallets etc are all cheaper at Macy's, with or without the tourist 10%... 

Unfortunately while we were there, there was a power outage, which went for 2 hours! Just as we joined the line for a taxi (soaking up the sun in wait prior) the power went back on!

Penn & Teller Las Vegas

I'm assuming the name speaks for itself? Mark loves magic, me less so... I only knew who Penn was from Celebrity Apprentice! The night we booked (google a code to get cheap tickets) I was sooooo tired, so was totally cool with the concept of catching some zzz's if I didn't like it... As it turned out, it was captivating! I can see how they have been in residence for so many years in Las Vegas, because they are seriously amazing... And not being a magic buff, I believe it all, haha, I'm not looking for how they do their tricks, just let them take me on a journey... I don't want to spoil anything - but if you have the slightest interest in magic, check them out! And stick around afterwards for a pic with them...

Absinthe Las Vegas

If you know me, or read the blog often, you know I love burlesque... We bought tickets to Absinthe after reading great reviews, I wasn't sure that Mark would like it, as I wasn't sure that I would like Penn and Teller... Marriage is compromise, and it worked out perfectly for both of us!  Absinthe was one of the dirtier and more politically incorrect shows I have seen, but in Vegas I guess it has to be that way! The highlight was Penny, the female host, she was HILARIOUS! There were some really awesome parts (high wire dudes, balancing dudes, bubble girl, rollerskating couple) and some less awesome parts, but being in the spielgeltent in Las Vegas was just greatness! Worth it for Penny alone!!!

Society Cafe Encore Las Vegas

The thing about the Wynn properties is that Steve Wynn is vegan, so his properties seriously cater for vegan and vegetarians... I had heard about the menu at Society cafe and was sure that Mark would like it! So I ordered the clam chowder and Mark ordered a vegan burger with the vegan chocolate shake, unfortunately the shake contained coconut milk and corn syrup which Mark is allergic to... The burger was awesome though, as was my chowder, and my blood orange mimosa... The service was amazing! Our server taking notes on all of Mark's allergies to see what they could do extra for him - which it turned out was nothing (corn syrup is in EVERYTHING over there) but not for lack of trying... They even brought out vegan pretzels with vegan butter for complimentary starters... If you have food preferences and allergies, and you eat with someone who doesn't, this spot is perfect! Also, we spied Jermaine Dupri leaving the pool with his body guard post pool party...

Serendipity 3 Las Vegas

Serendipity 3 in NYC has the best frozen hot chocolate ever! I was over the moon when I heard that they opened up shop in Las Vegas... There is always a wait and the service is mediocre, but the food was awesome (for vegetarians and meat eaters), and the frozen hot chocolate was so good that I went back the day Mark was getting tattooed to get another one! If you are ever in NYC or Las Vegas, go check out the drink in the very least!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Empire - Crown Casino

I do love burlesque events, I do love the spielgeltent and I do love my family, so straight up, it was a good night out! Just before we left for Vegas, my aunt bought the girls in our family a night out at Empire... It was a funny show, I have to say, not close to La Soirée, but definitely a good night out... In fact, if you hadn't seen any other burlesque, you would love it! Highlights were the incredibly scary roller skater, the acrobat in the bubble and the gorilla girls - sexy little ladies balancing on each other in their tiny underwear... Lowlights were the house singer, the mini acts between acts and seeing the hosts tiny penis...

Shooting a gun...

We had planned to go to The Gun Store the last time we were in Las Vegas, but didn't get there... This time we did!

I have conflicting emotions about guns... I don't support the gun laws in the US, I believe that if those laws changed that there would be less senseless gun related death, and that the NRA should really suck a fat one... But spending a large part of my life interested in hip hop culture, there is obviously gun culture by association... My Dad was deep into guns too, but I had forgot about that until my uncle reminded me upon seeing my awesome zombie target...

The queue was about an hour at the gun store, we were chillin by the pool for hours before going... We were both anxious about it as the queue shortened, but we were in, and next thing you know I have a Glock in my hand and am being shown how to use it! Those first ten rounds I wasn't even aiming... My head was reeling 'I am holding a gun' ' I am shooting a gun' 'I hate guns' 'guns kill people' 'this is dangerous, powerful, shouldn't be doing it etc' and then I got used to the weight, the kick back, and it was time for the ruger... I was definitely more comfortable, finally looking through the site, and aiming, mediocre, but I was starting to like it.. And finally she put the beretta in my hand, this gun becomes a part of you, your hands, shoulder, cheek, all against it, a part of it... It felt right, and I got why some people are passionate about their weapons... Then I shot it, and I was hooked! I did well on my target and then it was over... I was rushing, pupils dilated, addicted...

Hours later I had come down, and for the past two days haven't really stopped thinking about it... I really loved the experience, as classless as it may be, I was good at it! There aren't many above board physical things that I excel at, and the thing I am, isn't a thing at home... If you are ever in Vegas you should check it out, was an amazing experience!