We were in Las Vegas for an International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association conference at The Palazzo/The Venetian. Whether a person is in Las Vegas for a conference, for the shows, restaurants, glitz or gambling, the city cannot be truly experienced without a lot of walking.

Inside The Palazzo/The Venetian, Las Vegas

Inside The Palazzo/The Venetian, Las Vegas

For three days we lived at The Palazzo/The Venetian, sister casino-hotel-convention facilities. Both our motorhome and towed car could have stayed in the suite with us, with room to spare. In addition to attending seminars, food demonstrations and a wine symposium, we toured over 60,000 square feet of the facility’s banquet/conference kitchen with Executive Chef Dubreuil, sipped special conference cocktails, indulged in breakfasts, lunches, dinners and brunch — and sampled a $750 cupcake. Occasionally, we even slipped a twenty-dollar bill into a slot machine.

The Cooking Ladies and Executive Chef Dubreuil, The Palazzo/The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Cooking Ladies Lamont Mackay and Phyllis Hinz with Chef Dubreuil, The Palazzo/The Venetian, Las Vegas

Like everyone visiting Las Vegas we squeezed as much as we could into those three precious days by constantly walking. On day four we decided to give our feet a treat. We left the conference/casino level for the third floor, where Nikki Pishotti, Marketing and PR Manager, enthusiastically described The Canyon Ranch SpaClub facilities. We opted for “Healthy on your Feet” and “Instant Relief” massages followed by a series of dry, steam and herbal-infused saunas, a cool Arctic Mist igloo, a Salt Grotto and Wave Room. We showered, we lotioned, we bundled up in warm towels and robes and we relaxed in heated lounge chairs beside the swirling hydro spa. Our feet made promises to carry us forever if only we would treat them this well more often.

Our final food demonstration at the conference was at The Canyon Ranch SpaClub Grill, where the menu emphasizes items made with fresh vegetables and fruit, legumes and whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Chef James Boyer demonstrated a salad that included the ancient Mayan grain, quinoa. Our salad is just as healthy as his and even easier to make.

QUINOA CORN SALAD (Makes 8 servings)
1          cup (250 mL)                quinoa
1          cup (250 mL)                fresh diced tomato
1/2       cup (125 mL)                diced sweet onion
1          cup (250 mL)                 chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4       cup (60 mL)                  chopped parsley
3          tablespoons (45 mL)    extra virgin olive oil
1          tablespoon (15 mL)       fresh lemon juice
1/4       teaspoon (1.25 mL)       salt
1/4       teaspoon (1.25 mL)       black pepper

Recipe for Quinoa Corn Salad

Quinoa Corn Salad

Rinse the quinoa (keenwa) thoroughly in cold water. Pour into a fine mesh strainer. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Fluff the cooked grain with a fork. Place in a bowl and set in the refrigerator to cool.

Add the tomatoes, onions, chick peas, and parsley to the chilled ancient grain.

In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk well.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and tomato mixture. Toss to coat all the ingredients with the dressing.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

© 2012, and -- Posted September 10, 2012 at 7:27 am

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