"What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow." -Nathaniel Hawthorne
We were extremely lucky last week when some of our very good friends, Chad and Caci Hoffman, decided to honeymoon in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, we were not able to fly out there for the wedding. I was really disappointed because I love weddings so much.
Sure, Las Vegas is a long way from Hanska, Minnesota, and Chad whined a little bit about missing it, but I hope that by having our family as tour guides, they felt a little bit more at home. Claud and I are going on 15 years of marriage now and seeing this young recently married couple brought back some amazing memories of when we were first starting out. Ahhhyoung love.
Creamy avocado pasta.
I really enjoy showing people around Las Vegas. We end up doing things we don't normally do, like seeing shows, visiting the welcome sign, and going to restaurants that are a bit touristy. It's really fun for our whole family. We get the feeling that we are on vacation too.
When Claud and I first moved to California from England, I took him to Las Vegas to visit for his birthday. He fell in love with it. He couldn't believe how much fun we could have playing blackjack, people watching, lying by the pool, and staying up way too late. We came back for every birthday for many years after that first time. Now, we live here and forget about a lot of the touristy side of Vegas for the most part. Although, we live about six miles away from the strip, we rarely visit unless we are showing people around.
Claud taught Chad how to play blackjack at the tables. We took Chad and Caci to walk on the bridge, which stands in front of Hoover Dam. I was so proud of myself as I walked much farther across than I ever have before. It was also comforting to know that other people are afraid of it tooCaci. We didn't make it quite to the halfway point but got far enough to get a good photo in. Well, if you call a good photo one where everyone has windblown hair, then it was amazing. It was crazy windy up there which added to the scariness. We didn't want to blow off. I congratulated myself with a nice lunch and glass of wine after surviving the scary bridge. We went to my favorite restaurant in Boulder City, Milo's Wine Bar. I ate the most incredible sandwich on a croissant with baked Brie and vegetables. That sandwich and the glass of white wine, a nice Sauvignon Blanc, made the fear vanish from my memory.
Creamy Avocado Pasta
Time: 15 minutes
1 package orzo pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directions
juice of one lemon
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
4 leaves of fresh sage, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, sliced
Remove the pit and skin of the avocado. Place avocado into a food processor. Add lemon juice, garlic cloves, olive oil (if using), and sage. Mix until creamy. Pour this sauce into a large bowl. Pour in the hot pasta. Mix well. Add lemon zest. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour two cups of this pasta onto a plate, top with chicken (if using), and fresh parsley.
I can't believe we were never able to take them to In N Out Burger while they were here. I talked a lot about it but it just never seemed to work. Even though I don't eat burgers anymore, I know this is the best burger in the world. We did make it to Oscar's Steakhouse on Freemont Street. Oscar's has the most delicious chopped salad, which is loaded with avocados and topped with shoestring onion rings that are out of this world. I am crazy about avocados. I think I could eat avocados every day on almost anything.
I am learning so many ways to make dishes creamy by using avocados instead of cream, butter, or cheese. The good news is that according to the American Heart Association, knowing which fats raise LDL (low density lipoprotein) and which do not is a great way to begin lowering your risk of heart disease. Although your body produces some LDL naturally, saturated fats can raise blood cholesterol further. Monounsaturated fats do not appear to raise LDL. What we want to strive for is to eat foods with more HDL (high density lipoprotein) or "good" cholesterol. When you consume monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fats, you can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Avocados contribute good fats to our diet.
I am always trying to come up with creamy sauces that do not have saturated fats in them. This is a learning process for me. The cob salad I ate while taking the newlyweds to dinner was so creamy because it was loaded with avocado. This week, after being inspired by all of the avocado in that delicious cob salad, I decided to make pasta creamy by using avocado in the sauce. I want to keep Claud's heart and mine healthy and young so we can look (well, at least feel) as vibrant and healthy as Chad and Caci. Eating this way will help. It can't hurt, right? We are so grateful that we were able to spend some time with Chad and Caci. Thanks to both of them for going out to dinner at Oscar's with us or I might not have had any ideas on what to prepare for this article. I bet they are happy to be home loving each other and resting on the same pillow. By the sounds of it, they may share that pillow with a very loved dog too.