Friday, August 29, 2014

This Shit is Banana Bread

My sister came to stay with us this year, and brought this amazing banana bread recipe with her.  I haven't been much for cooking in Vegas because everything dries out so quickly.  This banana bread however...yum!  For days afterwards, as long as we kept it in a Tupperware container, it stayed just as delicious.  I'm not really a foodie or cooking blog, but I had to share this recipe.  I have to say now, I have no idea where she got it, and I lay no claim to it whatsoever.  Here you go, Vegas-proof banana bread:

What you are going to need:

3-4 Bananas
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg

What you are going to do:
 Mash up those bananas by hand or use a stand mixer if you are so lucky.  Mix in the sugar until it is combined with the bananas.  Then mix in the butter, vanilla, and egg.
In separate bowl, mix all the remaining dry ingredients together (baking soda, salt, flour, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
SLOWLY and a little at a time, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Pour into a greased 8x8 (or close to 8x8) pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Check after 30 minutes with a toothpick.  If the toothpick comes out of the pan clean, you are good to take it out!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What They Don't Tell You About Vegas: What Bugs?

I had been living in Las Vegas for around 6 or 7 years when I realized that not every parking lot had a broken sprinkler problem.  I guess I had been living my whole life thinking that cicadas didn't exist because I never saw them.

If you have no clue what I'm talking about, watch this video.  I seriously thought this noise was air escaping out of a broken sprinkler head.  Nope, when it gets hot cicadas get chatty here in Vegas.  Although, to this day I still don't think I've ever seen one in person.

Occasionally a fly will get into a restaurant and ruin your meal.  Sometimes you don't spray well enough and you find the cat playing with an almost dead cockroach on your floor.  I had never seen a cockroach before moving here, and although they are a little too quick for my taste, they aren't as bad as a mouse.  They are small enough to squish and go about your day, and not creepy crawly like spiders are.

All this bug talk aside, Vegas is too dry to really support a real bug and vermin population.  There are no mosquitoes, mice, or rats.  You hardly ever run into a bee or fly.  It's something that is so awesome, that you almost forget until you go back home to visit.

A friend of a friend went to a weekend trip to Montana for a wedding.  When asked how it went, he pulled up his shirt to reveal that he was totally covered in bug bites, swollen from the waist up.

Say what you will about how crappy Vegas is, but our lack of bugs is pretty freaking awesome.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Container Park: an Adult Playground @DTContainerPark

Now that Container Park is all filled up, I thought I'd be one of the last people to blog about it.  "They" are trying to make downtown a nicer place, and I have to say that this place is a very well executed one.  Once you are inside, you sort of forget about the area you are in, and it is just as comfy and cozy as Town Square on the other side of town.  It also really has something for everyone in the family, which is a big switch of the regular "drink until you drop" attitude of downtown and the strip.

Ripped from Northern Nevada's Burning Man Festival is a praying mantis that shoots fire out of the antennas out front.  It is larger than life and sets up the unconventional shipping container structure inside.

The shipping containers surround a very decent play area for kids, and The Tree house includes an "adult" sized slide that goes down 33 feet.  I embraced my inner child and rode it.  Some people said it was too rough, but clearly they just forgot how to hug the turns, as I didn't have a problem.  Much like the teeter totter at Park, it was just the right kind of whimsical fun that I hope will someday define DTLV.

I both love and hate the fact that their retail options are local businesses.  Love because I enjoy supporting anything local, hate because everything is severely over priced.  When I go there, I save up for one drink at the bar, and hope that there is some great free music to enjoy.  Lucky for me, there usually is.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What They Don't Tell You About Vegas: Traffic and Cars

Las Vegas is a very transient town. People come and go, bringing their experiences and driving habits with them.  When you take driving habits from all over the country and put it together with non-stop construction, you get some of the worst traffic issues in the country.

It's not that you have to be in traffic for hours like LA, but you might get stuck for an hour on the freeway between two exits at 9:30 at night.  That delay could be due to construction, a tiny accident, or literally nothing at all.

I took this photo as a passenger a few weeks ago.  This is one lane of traffic.  People go wherever they want.  The one on the right did not turn right at the next street.  They all just kept on going, trying to outrun each other until they reached the part where the street narrows and they couldn't do this anymore.  There are these type of streets all over Vegas, and I've seen people run other people off the road to be the first.

It's also a very dry climate, so when you are on the freeway you will get a lot of cracks on your windshield from larger vehicles.  They'll range from ones you hear but can't see to ones that might take out your entire windshield.

Good news though!  Most car insurance will cover the repairs, which only take minutes and sometimes are available at car washes.  Take care of them at least once a month, because it will add up quickly and then you are stuck paying for a brand new one.  It's also a good idea, while you are here, to have full coverage on your insurance. 

Technically you aren't a local until you've gotten into a car accident.

Drive like you are in NASCAR and take care of those windshield dings, and you'll be just fine.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What They Don't Tell You About Vegas: Hard Water

As I come upon my 10 year anniversary of living in Las Vegas, I feel there are many good and bad things to share.  One of the things they don't tell you that is bad is the hard water situation.

The Las Vegas Water District doesn't find anything wrong with the hard water situation.  However, it does have a huge impact on how you live day to day.

First of all, it tastes so horrible it will send you running straight to the bottled water in the nearest store.  You will get a Brita pitcher and think all your problems are solved.  You don't stop to think about how much you use the water out of the tap and how the hard water stains are starting to ruin your life.  Your Kerig machine stops working, and your glass shower door looks terrible.  Your hair looks pretty bad too, and you spend more time in the shower on vacation just to get good hair days again.

Some people do the insane thing and get a water softener for their house, which is bananas expensive.  I'm not even sure if they work, if someone knows I'd be happy to hear from them.  I can't imagine it being worth the cost.

If I was starting all over to decide to move here, I wish someone would have told me about the hard water situation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Linq, The High Roller, The New Vegas?

I've been down to the Linq three times now, and I'm still not sure where to park.  This is not really a tourist problem of course, so I'm sure it's one they aren't planning on solving anytime soon.  As it stands now, I park at the Caesars  parking garage and walk across the street.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Like a Good Neighbor...Wait, Where Are You Going?

The Neon Beast and I were out a recently getting some random items from that evil mega-store.  We had to go to the other evil big box store next door, so we parked in the middle and went to check out at the tire section because we are the assholes that do that sort of thing.

There was a lady in front of us that was clearly nearing the end of her pregnancy.  She was trying to convince them to jump her car, which was across the street at the strip mall where she worked.

Normally I'm not one for helping other people out.  I actually used to be, all the time, but Vegas hardened me.  Even people I do know and do things for, I now do just to shut them up.  I don't expect gratitude or thanks.  Just silence.  However, there is something about a poor pregnant lady walking the equivalent of like, 4 city blocks without any help.

I gave the Neon Beast a look, then approached the lady.  We introduced ourselves, and offered to drive her back across the street and jump her car so she could drive it back to Big Box and get them to replace it or at least look at it.

On the way over we learned her husband was at work and about to leave before we came to help her.  She called him and let him know that she was taken care of, and we learned her co-workers knew that she had a dead battery, but just left anyway.  Did I mention she works at a car insurance office?


With co-workers like those, who needs enemies?

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