Animals, Day Trips, Design, Entertainment, Food, Nature, Plants, Restaurants

365 – Drive Carefully, Come Back Soon!

The backside of the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign.

The backside of the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

And so it ends, where it began, on the Famous Las Vegas Strip at the Famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign. Three-hundred sixty-five days of pictures. Pictures of food, plants, road trips, landscapes, buildings, sunsets, flowers, animals, and a whole lot of this-n-that!

Thank you to all of my followers, some who were with me from the beginning and others who joined mid-journey. Thank you for the comments and the views. Hopefully, you found a few pictures you liked and a few commentary’s that made you laugh or smile.

As I set out on this photo journey, I didn’t realize the challenge it would become. I love taking photos. I’ve taken between 10-20,000 photo’s in just the past 10 years. But never before had I challenged myself to take a picture every day. Combined with the time it takes to update a blog post, it was sometimes more work than play, more task than enjoyment. But all in all, it was worth it!

I found myself paying closer attention to the ‘routine’ of my life. The going and comings from work, or the grocery store, or drives around my neighborhood. I noticed new buildings, new yard decorations of neighbors, new cars, and new food. I was always looking at and examining my surroundings, trying to find the ‘picture of the day.’ Often I would take pictures of several different subjects in a day and then would decide that evening what I would use for my blog. Other times, the hours and minutes of the day ticked by, creating a mild panic, as I searched for something to take a picture of.

Not all of the pictures were truly worthy of posting. Many were blurred. The subjects of others, mostly uninteresting. Some were complete failures, as far as photography goes, because I didn’t understand the capabilities of the camera on the iPhone 5s or I hurried and didn’t spend the time I should have to get a good picture. But there were also successes.

I loved some of the Panoramic shots I achieved, like Kolob Canyons at post #60, and the mountains behind Red Rock National Conservation Area at post #039, or more recently, the Las Vegas strip at post #337.

It was fun to share my road trips to various places, like Thanksgiving near Zion National Park at post #331, the Mount Nebo National Scenic Backway at post #263, my Arizona road trip at posts #222, #223, #224, and #225, the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Road Scenic Backway at post #130 or Death Valley at post #088.

Some of the standard photo’s turned out well, like those of the Bellagio at post #297, the Amaryllis at post #363, the Christmas ornaments at post #359, Sin City Sushi at #249, the morning glory at post #150, the Clematis at post #104 and some of the pictures of Le Reve at post #137.

Hopefully you saw restaurants and places in Las Vegas that were both familiar and new, something for you to visit, whether you are now a local or a returning visitor, all seen through the eyes of a ‘local.’

As the backside of the Welcome To Las Vegas sign cautions. . .”I drove carefully” even with my moving panoramic and other pictures and of course if you subscribe to my blog you will receive invitations to “Come Back Soon” (maybe not daily), but there will be future posts as I find new things to capture with my iPhone 5s!  May you all have a Happy New Year!

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Nature, Plants

363 – AAA

A Large Amaryllis in my Home.

A Large Amaryllis in my Home.

AAA – Amaryllis Addicts Anonymous! I may have to form a group after reviewing my blog this year and seeing how many times I posted a picture of an Amaryllis! Obviously, it qualifies as one of my favorite flowers.

This is a new one I purchased via a mail-order catalog. It is similar to the Apple Blossom variety, but I don’t recall exactly what this one is called. Enjoy!

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Entertainment, Food

362 – Something New

Cream Cheese Stuffed Fresh Dates Wrapped in Bacon

Cream Cheese Stuffed Fresh Dates Wrapped in Bacon

We got in some very large fresh dates at work a month or so ago. One of my co-workers quickly found a recipe that I haven’t stopped thinking about since. It was for ‘Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates, Wrapped in Bacon.’ The combination sounded very good to me.

I finally decided to make them this afternoon and see if they were as good as I imagined. The results are in the picture above. Let’s just say they were very good. However, they were on the ‘rich’ side and really needed some salt to balance out the sweetness and richness. I guess you could add a little salt as you stuffed the date with the cream cheese or sprinkle some on top of the bacon just after it finished cooking. I’m not much of a cook, so there may be other ways to add a little saltiness to counter the richness of the stuffed dates. I actually thought including a little piece of pickled jalapeño (the kind they use for nachos or sandwiches) might be good.

I would welcome any suggestions as I have lots of dates left and almost a full package of cream cheese. So I would be willing to try suggestions.

These would make great appetizers for a holiday party. They could be stuffed and wrapped hours in advance and then cooked just before your guests arrive. You can see how I used a wooden toothpick to secure the bacon around the date.

I cooked them at 400 degrees for 5 minutes and then turned them over for another 10 minutes, to make sure the bacon was cooked and on the crispy side.  I would probably suggest cooking them for 7-8 minutes on each side, depending on your oven. You will need a full ½ strip of bacon to wrap the date if they are extra large dates like mine were.

Below is a picture of the dates ready to be cooked.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon

Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon

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Design, Plants

361 – African Violet and Christmas Lights

A flowering African Violet

A flowering African Violet

I was reminded what a great houseplant African Violets make, as I visited my parents today. My mom had 3 African Violets blooming in the window above her kitchen sink. Yes, they bloom even in late December. In fact, African Violets will bloom any time of year, give the right conditions. The one pictured above had the most interesting flowers of the three.

As I left to return home I took a picture of the lights on my parents house. My Dad always puts up lights for the Christmas season as does the rest of my family. The pictures of lights below are from my parents and brother’s homes.

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Food

360 – What a difference 340 Days Make

The closed Macayo's on Tropicana Ave., in Las Vegas

The closed Macayo’s on Tropicana Ave., in Las Vegas

I featured the Macayo’s on Tropicana Ave., in Las Vegas on Post 20, back in January. I referred to it as a Las Vegas favorite. Apparently, it wasn’t as much of a favorite as I assumed, because sometime in the past 4 – 6 weeks it closed and is currently being remodeled into the Red Pot, a Seafood Restaurant.

I tried to find more information about the closing via a google search but was unable to locate anything meaningful. However, there was one site that said it was rumored the other two Macayo’s locations may be closing come the end of January 2015. I hope that isn’t true.

I first ate at Macayo’s when I was a kid and visited my Aunt who lives in Henderson. I have eaten at Macayo’s off and on ever since. It is a Vegas staple and will be missed, especially by long-time residents.

Below is another picture of the now closed Macayo’s.

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