Seriously, almost every single time I've been to Las Vegas I've driven the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop. It's only about 30 minutes from the Strip and a wonderful place to decompress from all the bright lights and craziness that is Las Vegas. It's one of the reasons I always get a rental car when I go there, well, that and to get to Whole Foods. The drive is about 13 miles along and can be as short or as long as you want it to. I usually drive slowly with lots of stops for exploring and picture taking and it takes me a little over an hour to complete it. If you have some additional time there are over a dozen short day hikes to explore just off the loop.
One important thing to know before you drive out to Red Rock Canyon is that there is a day use fee of $7.00 and they only accept cash or checks. So don't make the mistake I did and have to drive all the way out there only to turn around and drive back to civilization for an ATM.
Now let's be honest, many of us are going to see the Calico Hills at the beginning of the drive and then feel like nothing can top that. You might see some rock climbers scaling up these gorgeous red marbled rocks and you can even try scrambling up a couple yourself. But after being there several times now, there's a lot more beauty to the drive than just these hills.
I think perhaps the vast openness of this area is what makes it so wonderful. Especially if you're spending the rest of your time on the Las Vegas Strip. Red Rock Canyon is a nice place to breathe.
It's also kind of interesting to look back at the way you came. From this vantage point at the first stop along the Calico Hills you can see just a bit of city.
Make sure you always remember to look both ways on the drive or you might miss a great view. One nice thing about the loop is it's wide one way road with lots of places to stop.
Past the Calico Hills you'll find a small spur road taking you to a parking lot where you can view and walk out to the Keystone Thrust Fault.
Continuing along the loop you'll see more beautiful rock formations on the eastern side. I can't totally recall what this particular area was called, but it was somewhere in between the Keystone Thrust Fault and Ice Box Canyon.
Continuing along the look you'll come to Ice Box Canyon which offers place to take a short hike, or you can just admire the way the sun highlights certain parts of the rocks.
So, if you're headed to Las Vegas and you think you might need a place to just take a breath get yourself a car and head out to Red Rock Canyon. It's a great way to offset the commercial intensity, cloudy air, and noise of the Strip.
Here's my next installment of lists. I think my favorite of this round was Day 25 and I have to give my hubby credit for the first one - that's his very endearing term for me. Anyway, now checking back in on my list from day 2 on this months goals...
Instead of goals I've completed...this is more of a what I've got left:
Go to a Zumba class - I'm going to try and get to a class this weekend...
Write and photograph a what's in my travel bag - This one I did push off until April because I've got two week-long trips that will be perfect for this.
Have at least one adventure day - Sigh...I'm not sure if I'll be able to make this one happen. But I did take Friday off this week - so there is potential.
I've been on the hunt for some homemade dog biscut ideas and glad to have found this one. Miss Parsley is a huge fan of greens, particularly kale - not sure how we're going to keep her away from the kale in our edible garden.
In other news.... You'll notice in the photo above that I've switched to a different font. This is going to be the first change you'll see in my move to a new site I'm building over at Squarespace. Expect the move to happen sometime in April - I'll make sure to keep you updated and redirect you over to the new site! Good things are in the air!
Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to take a class on gluten free baking taught by Gluten Free Girl & The Chef at The Pantry at Delancy. The two most valuable take aways I had from that class were first, don't be afraid to experiment and second, gluten free doughs will look completely different from gluten-full dough. From here I was off, experimenting with bread with much more confidence and determination. I tried to take some cue's from the best gluten free bread I had even eaten, the honey oat bread from Jenny Mae's, incorporating oat flour and lots of eggs.
I'm sure this will not be my gluten free sandwich bread recipe for the rest of my life, but I am quite happy with it. It's fluffy, has a nice crumb, freezes well, and has a great crust. I make two loaves each weekend and the first is 3/4 of the way gone by the first day because it's just so darn tasty to eat plain. While I'm sure this bread is not the end all be all of gluten free breads, I thought I would share and see if you all have any suggestions for improvement. That being said, this is a bread that works well in our house. We like egg-y, oat-y, whole grain-y, bread - so that's how this recipe came to be what it is.
A couple of quick tips about how I make this bread before we get started;
The dough should be considerably more wet than a gluten-full bread dough, sort of like a very very thick and gooey cake batter. You may want to add more water if your dough looks too much like a gluten-full bread dough.
I usually cut the edges of the parchment paper off, so it lines up with the top of the pan and eliminates burned parchment paper all over the oven.
I rise my bread on the edge of my kitchen table, directly over a wall heater cranked to 80 degrees. This seems to really make the bread rise well, occasionally I haven't paid enough attention and it's overflowed. If you're placing the bread in a spot that's not quite as warm, you may not get as much of a rise.
In a small bowl or cup, mix the flaxseed meal with the boiling water and set aside - this will make a sort of slurry.
In a 2 cup or larger measuring cup, gently mix the yeast and sugar with 1 cup of warm water and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) whisk the flours, goat milk powder, baking powder, and salt together.
Once the yeast mixture has risen to the 2 cup mark, add the flaxseed slurry, yeast mixture, and egg mixture to the stand mixer bowl.
Using the dough hook attachment (or a wooden spoon and a strong arm) mix the ingredients together and add the remaining water gradually.
Line two 5x9 inch loaf pans with parchment paper.
Pour the dough into loaf pans, splitting it between the two pans.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the bread has risen to the top of the loaf pans.
While the bread is rising preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Fill a small baking dish with 1 inch of water and place to the side on the bottom rack of the oven.
Once the oven has reached 350 degrees, place the loaf pans in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the top has browned and hardened, and the internal temperature has reached 180 degrees.
Carefully pull the bread out of the oven and out of the loaf pan by the edges of the parchment paper. (Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot loaf pans!)
Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely on a wire rack.
A meadow near Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, Canada
Exciting times are coming soon along with the much needed change in the weather. I love pretty much love all of the weather the Northwest has, yes even the rain, but I feel particularly enthusiastic for all the excitiment that this Spring has to offer.
The next few months will see...
a move to a new home for Gluten Free Travelette,
the Edible Garden Project will be up and running,
my first blogging conference,
travels to Maryland, Alaska, and California,
more Gluten Free Ratio Rally recipes,
crafty adventures including curtains and dresses,
and intensive planning for our Iceland, France, and Spain adventure.
Additionaly, Abby from Seaweed & Sassafras has nominated me for my first ever blogging award; The Versatile Blogger! I'm a big fan of Abby's blog, especially the tales of her travels and her blog has got just such a darn gorgeous look to it - total inspiration for my new site! I love the idea behind this award, especially being a realitivly small blog, it's a great way to get the word out about all the new high quality blogs I've found and I look forward to finding even more!
Here's how it works;
Thank the person that gave you the award. (Thanks Abby!!)
Include a link to their blog.
Select 15 blogs that you've recently discovered and started following.
Link to those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award and let them know by posting a comment on their blog.
Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
Here are my nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award;
Here's my next installment of lists. Loved Day 22's list, what's in my care package - such a fun thing to think about. I also thought it appropriate to include my handwriting as something I'm famous for on Day 24's list - I've received so many nice compliments and comments on it! Anyway, now checking back in on my list from day 2 on this months goals...
Goals I've Completed:
Take Lunch Time Walks - I definitely need to continue this one.
Sew Living Room Curtains - These are my second set of curtains and I think I'm really getting the hang of making them. I know this isn't a "craft blog" but maybe I will put together a little tutorial post on making simple cotton curtains when I start on our next set.
Create My New Blog Banner - We're photographing it today and I will be working on my new site next weekend! Can't wait. I've even been thinking of throwing a little party or something for the relaunch - perhaps a Travel Guide & Cook Book Party?