Vegas With Dez & Jason – Our 3 Day Vacay

Dear Readers,

Jason and I spent my 23rd birthday at Vegas. This is Jason’s first U.S.A trip ever and my third time going to Las Vegas. As a couple, this trip is so special because it’s our first “couple trip” and we had such a remarkable time. I wanted to share our experiences with you guys and tell you everything that we did at Las Vegas! Let’s get this started!

August 30, 2018, Thursday – Our direct flight from Calgary to Vegas was scheduled to depart at 7:40 pm. To our dismay, Air Canada’s flight was delayed due to the plane being late on arrival. Our departure time was moved to 9:15 instead, and we arrived at Vegas at 11:15 pm (Vegas time).

Jason and I were super saddened by this, because we were already so excited to get to Vegas and at least explore a little bit after checking in at the hotel.  However, you can’t change the things that are out of your control… so we patiently waited at YYC airport. Here’s us killing time:

When we landed, we checked in at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Our room was great and had a nice view of the pool, and the strip!

VEGAS TRAVEL TIP: Download Lyft for any transportation needs from McCarran International Airport to any parts of Las Vegas! You can also use Lyft to pick you up from any hotel on the strip and go to any points of Vegas you want to go to. In fact, Jason and I ONLY used Lyft to get around the strip, and to get anywhere else we wanted to go.

 

DAY 1 

August 31, 2018, Friday – After sleeping in, Jason and I started our day walking around The Forum Shops, and made our way to The Cosmopolitan. The first thing on our travel itinerary at Vegas was to eat at a buffet. Thus, on the first day we planned to eat at Wicked Spoon Buffet. Out of all the hundreds of buffets at Vegas, we picked Wicked Spoon because of the buffet’s high reviews and from my own past experience eating there. The food literally filled us up with pure joy because it was so delicious, and we had sooooo much options. Wicked Spoon had various cuisines ranging from Asian, Italian, French, American, and Mediterranean. The best part of the buffet was the dessert area!!! They had desserts from cakes, chocolates, and even gelato!!!

After, we continued into our stroll around the strip and took more photos. Eventually, around 3:00 pm we headed back to Harrah’s to rest and get ready for the night. For dinner, Jason and I walked over to In-N-Out. We quickly fell in love with In-N-Out because their burgers were soooo juicy and the animal fries were just too good to be true. As an extreme onion lover (Jason always orders “extra onions” on all his food, especially his burgers), Jason was impressed by the portions In-N-Out delivered. They were definitely not stingy on the veggies!!!

After dinner, I wanted to take Jason to Downtown Las Vegas at Fremont Street. Since the casinos on the strip are a bit more expensive, if you’re planning on doing some heavy gambling, then Downtown Las Vegas is where you should do it!!!

You’ll surely find $5 black jack tables and $5 roulette tables (minimum bet) anywhere along Fremont Street. On top of the cheap casino tables, there are plenty of live street performances that will surely amuse and entertain you. Remember, all of these street performers share their talents for free – just don’t forget to tip your favorite ones!

 

DAY 2 

September 1, 2018, Saturday – Jason and I started our day taking a Lyft ride to Jollibee in Seafood City Supermarket. Jollibee is a classic Filipino fast food place and has captured the heart of each Filipino through their delicious menu items such as the Chicken Joy, Yum burger, and the classic Jollibee Spaghetti.

Currently, Calgary doesn’t have Jollibee and I really wanted Jason to try Jollibee so he can understand why I talk highly about this fast food franchise. In the Philippines, Jollibee was a big part of my childhood growing up and I really wanted Jason to take part of this food experience with me. I also wanted him to experience a taste of Jollibee because I knew he would enjoy the famous Jollibee fried chicken known as “Chicken Joy”. After his first time trying Jollibee, Jason can finally agree with me, when I say, “I looooove Jollibee!”

After Jollibee, Jason and I went back to the strip and explored it even more. Around 3:00 pm we decided to go back to the hotel to use the pool and relax. Harrah’s pool is not too tiny, but it’s not the biggest either. If you’re looking for a Vegas hotel with a big pool, then Harrah’s is not the one for you. However, the best part about Harrah’s is definitely their location at the strip. Harrah’s is really close to The Venetian, The Linq, Mirage, The Forum Shops, Caesar’s Palace, and Bellagio.

After spending the afternoon at our hotel, we spent our last night watching Fountains of Bellagio. Then, we sat down for dinner at Jasmine inside Bellagio. At Jasmine, they served delicious traditional Cantonese cuisine. The price range of this restaurant is definitely on the expensive end. However, if you’re a serious peking duck lover like Jason is, then you wouldn’t mind spending money at Jasmine – their peking duck was AMAZING!!! Perhaps, the best I had ever had!!!

I also think that Jasmine’s ambiance is so romantic and sweet. Their restaurant has a great view of the fountains and you get to watch the fountain show while you eat. While we were eating, we even witnessed a proposal inside the restaurant. It was soooo sweet!!! I can feel their love just from watching a few feet away!

TAKE NOTE: Jasmine observes a business casual dress code from their guests. At first, we were worried that they wouldn’t let Jason in, due to the fact that my man was wearing flip-flops and a Nike shirt. However, the sweet and nice hostess welcomed us and in return, we tipped them generously for their great customer service.

 

DAY 3

September 2, 2018, Sunday – Our last day. Sadly, our trip had to come to an end. Our direct flight back to Calgary was scheduled for 4:40 pm from McCarran International Airport to YYC. Again, Air Canada’s flight from Vegas to Calgary was another big disappointment. We departed Vegas late yet again, due to the aircraft’s air conditioning (A/C) system being down. The crew spent 45 minutes trying to fix the A/C while having their passengers burn inside the airplane as they fix the A/C unit. I mean, couldn’t they let us wait inside the airport instead of trapping us in an airplane under the hot Vegas sun. Some of the passengers were sweating so much, and had to fan themselves just to escape the heat. On top of all that, we landed about a hour and 10 minutes behind schedule and caused some serious issues with our transportation back home. At that point, I finally gave up all hopes with Air Canada… since I had too many unfortunate and unpleasant experiences flying with them, I will now avoid all Air Canada flights at all costs.

Guys, book WestJet or Delta instead!!! Trust me, they’re sooo much better, more reliable, and definitely more customer focused.

But before all that, we still had a few hours after checking out of Harrah’s to explore Vegas for a little bit more. On the last few hours before we left Vegas, we decided to go back to The Venetian to kill some time before our flight. Inside The Venetian, we walked to St. Mark’s Square and ate Cocolini’s. After devouring our gelatos, we went to It’Sugar to buy some candies for us to eat at the airport and to bring back home for our families. Jason bought boxes of candy as “pasalubong” or gifts for his little brother and Aurora.

Just like that, Jason and I just had another bucketlist item CHECKED. Our Vegas trip was so memorable and I know we will treasure those 3 days forever. Now, I sit here daydreaming about our future travels and where we will go to next. But for now, I want to end this blog post with this short “Las Vegas Vacay” video I created.

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To more travels and memories

Love,

Mary Dezleigh Teodosio

Chicken Breast with Gluten-Free Mushroom Sauce!

Dear Readers,

For the past week, I’ve been taking care of my step-dad who is a diagnosed celiac. My mom usually prepares his food, however my mom is on a lovely vacation in Asia with her friends – thus, I’m the one taking care of the cooking at home. As I had talked about before, my dad is a celiac which inspired this gluten-free recipe.

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Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients: 

-6 chicken breasts

-Olive oil

-2 tablespoon of butter

-Salt & pepper

-454 grams mushrooms

-5 cloves of minced garlic

-2 tablespoon glutinous rice flour

-1 cup chicken broth (no additional salt)

-Oregano (garnish)

NOTE: Campbell’s Chicken Broth contains barley yeast extract****

Normally my mom cooks using this and my step-dad manages to tolerate it. However, depending on the severity of your celiac you might take a note of that. As a replacement, use any chicken broth or stock with a legit gluten free label such as the brand “Kitchen Basics”.

Please read

Campbell’s Broth Ingredients

Thank you to Bronte Bowerman for catching this!

 

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BEGIN: 

1.) Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Do both sides.

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2.) In a non-stick pan, heat olive oil and start frying your chicken breasts. You want to create a nice sear and cook the chicken thoroughly. Cook the chicken breasts for 20-25 minutes until a beautiful sear has been achieved. Temperature of the chicken must reach 160-165 degrees Celsius to ensure it has been cooked well.

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3.) Remove chicken off the pan once it has been cooked. Clean the pan to prepare for the mushroom sauce.

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4.) Melt butter, then add mushrooms to cook.

5.) While the mushrooms are cooking, mince the garlics. Then add the garlics into the pan.

6.) Sauté together for 3-4 minutes.

7.) Add flour and stir.

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8.) Add 1 cup of chicken broth into the pan. Let it simmer and stir until the sauce thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes. NOTE: Please check the ingredients of your chicken broth. Campbell’s contains barley yeast extract. As mentioned above, my step-dad doesn’t react too negatively with this product. This is just a warning to those who are hypersensitive to gluten. 

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9.) Place the chicken back into the pan with the sauce. OR plate the chicken and pour the sauce on top. Garnish with oregano and SERVE!

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10.) EAT UP!!!

I hope you all enjoy this delicious recipe!!! I highly recommend eating this with rice! OR on its own, if you’re on a diet 🙂

With love,

Mary Dezleigh Teodosio

“Strawberry Cheese-Cupcakes” – A Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift

February 13, 2018

Dear Readers,

Tomorrow is finally Valentine’s Day!!! I am beyond excited to celebrate my FIRST Valentine’s Day with Jason!!! The reason why I baked these cheese-cupcakes is because I wanted to give these to Jason as a part of his Valentine’s Day gift. I also packed some for my friends and family.

This idea of “Valentine’s Day baking and giving“, is inspired by the Japanese way of celebrating Valentine’s Day – the women themselves present gifts to their loved ones. Did you know that in Japan, the girls make chocolates or bake desserts for their special someone during Valentine’s Day??? Instead of the men splurging on expensive gifts for their women, the women are the ones who spoil their men through baking sweets. It has been a tradition for Japanese women to prepare handmade chocolates for their boyfriend/husband, friends, family, or “crushes”, in celebration of Valentine’s Day. I learned about this from a Netflix TV show called “Good Morning Call”. (I was hooked on it for a little bit, but then it got too annoying)

I also think that this recipe would be great to make even if it’s NOT Valentine’s Day!

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Ingredients:

-2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I used HoneyMaid)

-roughly 1/4 unsalted butter of a 1 lb package (MELTED)

-2 250g cream cheese (Philadelphia Original)

-1 300ml condensed milk

-3 eggs (room temperature)

-2 tablespoons white sugar

-strawberries (roughly 1 lb is enough)

-cupcake icing by Cake Mate (or you can make your own)

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Recipe makes 24 regular sized cheese-cupcakes

BEGIN: 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 35O F

1.) Let’s start by making the base. Melt the unsalted butter in the microwave and add it in the bowl of 2 cups graham cracker crumbs.

2.) Stir with a fork until the butter has been completely mixed with the graham cracker crumbs.

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3.) Scoop one spoon full of the graham cracker crumbs into the baking cups.

4.) With your fingers, press down until the graham cracker crumbs are firm and flat.

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5.) In a mixer, blend cream cheese, eggs, and condensed milk until smooth.

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6.) Pour cheesecake filling over the graham cracker crumbs. Fill up to 3/4 of the baking cups.

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7.) Bake in 350 F, for 25 minutes – use the “toothpick test” to determine if the cheesecake is ready or not. (toothpick test = simply grab a toothpick, stab the cake and pull it out. If there are “liquid/sticky” residues on the toothpick, the cake is not ready. If the toothpick pulls out clean without any residues, it’s ready to go!)

8.) While the cake is baking, with a food processor, puree the strawberries (about a cup of strawberries).

9.) Add 2 tablespoons of white sugar in the pureed strawberries, and blend again.

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10.) After 25 minutes or so, the cheesecakes should be ready. Pull it out and let it sit to cool.

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11.) While waiting for the cheesecakes to cool down, cut the strawberries like so:

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12.) Once the cheesecakes had cooled down, scoop a spoonful of pureed strawberries and pour on top of the cheesecakes.

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13.) Add vanilla icing on top of the puree

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14.) Add the cut strawberries on top of the icing – it’s all for the aesthetics!

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15.) BOX THEM UP!!!! OR EAT THEM! UP TO YOU 🙂

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day and night with the people you love! If not, then I hope you treat yourself to something good!

With love,

Mary Dezleigh Teodosio.