Monday, August 31, 2015

Caesar Chicken Wraps

This is an easy meal I often throw together on those nights we have a lot going on after work and school. It's easy to make and eat quickly, or bring along if we are heading out somewhere. Often I will have a rotisserie chicken that I have deboned in the fridge, or some precooked, chopped chicken that I just throw in. Sometime I also have a Caesar salad kit, that has the dressing, croutons and cheese in it, and it's that much faster and easier. 

1 cup cooked chicken, diced
1/3 cup Caesar Salad dressing
2-3 cups Romaine lettuce, cut
1 cup croutons
2-3 Tb. shredded parmesan cheese

Simply, mix all the salad ingredients together and toss in the dressing. Then spoon the salad onto several tortillas and roll them up. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Logos and Images for Camp

I have been working on some logos for girls camp to go along with our theme. Playing around on Illustrator is too fun for it to be a real assignment. Feel free to use any of these for personal or church use only.  

Here are a couple of mock-ups I created to see what one of the designs would look like on a couple of different tops. Some of the other designs will be put onto our camp journals, aprons, flag, and Stake leader books. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Taco Soup

Time for an old stand by. It had actually been a while since I'd made Taco Soup. I used to make it all the time, but somehow it had fallen out of the routine. I am so glad I remembered this little gem. I whipped it up in no time - which is why I am confused about its absence - I have been a bit of a last minute cook lately, and have been getting pretty good at having dinner on the table in record time, if I do say so myself. 

1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked - I cook a lot at once, and only use a small portion for dinner, and freeze the rest in usable portions, saves time when your cooking in a rush. 
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced, mashed or however you want
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can beef broth, or 2 cups water and 1 bouillon
2 roasted green chilis, diced, or 1 can green chile 
1/2 package taco seasoning
1 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

Toss everything in a pot and bring to simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve with avocado, cilantro, limes, and sour cream. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Massaman Curry

Dear internet world, I am quite disappointed that there is a total lack of good Thai massaman curry recipes out there. This post, therefore, is part of the solution. 
One of our favorite Thai curries is Massaman curry - but I tried too many lengthy recipes that did not taste like the massaman we have come to love. Finally I got this recipe from a friend, who told me where to get the curry paste. If you have an ethnic food store nearby that sells Thai ingredients, you might find the curry paste there. The brand of paste is Mae Ploy - you might be able to buy it somewhere online. 

1-2 chicken breasts, diced 
3-5 potatoes, diced 
2-3 carrots, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 Tb. Massaman curry paste
1 Can coconut milk
1 Tb peanut butter
2 Tb. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water or milk

Dice chicken and veggies and stir-fry in a little bit of oil. Mix remaining ingredients and add to pan. Heat and simmer 15 min. Serve over rice. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Make Your Own Longboard

Clear back in 2006, when longboards were beginning to be super popular around here, we decided to make some for ourselves. We ended up making nine longboards that year, and one sh-longboard (short longboard -shown in picture above - scroll to bottom for instructions on how to make a sh-longboard). Through the years, we have helped a few others make their own as well. 
Here's how to do it, without a press or fancy equipment. 

Here's a list of what you need:

Baltic Birch Ply wood, 5 ply
Tite Bond II Wood glue                                     
Sander, sand paper
Trucks and Wheels
Clear Polyurethane Varnish
Grip tape or silica sand
*Optional - stainer, paint, painters tape

Step 1: Get a pattern

We went around to a few skate shops and found the size and pattern that we liked. We brought along some paper and a pencil to trace the design. We asked the store attendant first, by the way. We're polite like that. You could also find designs online that you can print out as well. The paper we used was just some of the painters paper you can buy in a roll at Home Depot or Lowe's. It's long and just wide enough. We also marked the place they had placed the screws to attach the trucks. It's helpful later when you decide where to put your trucks. 

Some boards have grooves above the wheels that are cut out on the bottom, to avoid wheel bite, so be aware of that when you are picking your pattern and making your board. You may want to draw the grooves onto your pattern for later reference. Other boards are just made with narrow ends, like the one shown above - then wheel bite isn't even an issue. 

Step 2: Buy some wood

You want to use some plywood, more specifically, ask for Baltic Birch, 5 ply. We called around to a few stores and lumber yards to make sure they had what we were looking for, and to price it out. We bought one board and cut it in half so we had two pieces that were wide enough for the longboard. Be sure to watch out for wood plugs. We were a little picky when picking out the exact board. We looked for boards that had great wood grain patterns, and no plugs. Sometimes its hard to find one without a plug though. Here's a picture with an example of a plug. 

We wanted to have a clear grip on top of our longboard, and nice finish on the bottom, so a plug kind of ruins the look of the board. If you plan on using grip tape or paint to cover the board, and don't care about the aesthetics of the wood as much as we do, then just discard this whole shpill. They aren't a big deal if you plan on covering them up.

Step 3: Trace, glue, press,  and screw

Take your pattern and trace it onto one of the boards. Use a paint brush to spread a lot of glue on the other board and place your traced board on top. Place both boards on bricks or something that will allow the middle of the wood to be suspended. (We used some chairs, with paper or plastic underneath, since the glue will drip). Then place more bricks or weights onto the boards, about 1/4 of the way from the top of your tracing. This will give the board some bend. Add weight until you are satisfied with the curve of the board. If you have some clamps, clamp them to the sides to hold the boards together. Then use a drill to drill in some screws around the edge of your pattern. Don't get too close to the line. Once the screws are in place, you can remove the clamps. The screws will hold the bend of the board. We also left the weights until the glue was completely dry. Here's how our set up looked. 

Step 4: Cut it out

We let it dry overnight. 
(You could probably cut it out the next day, but we waited a couple days to let it cure). Remove the weights and take out the screws. Use a jigsaw to cut along your traced line. 

Step 5: Sand it

An electric sander is going to be a necessity here. 
The more you sand it, the better it will look. 
On the boards that needed grooves around the wheels, we marked the area with a half circle and sanded in the grooves. We also tried to round out the edges of the board or taper them. 

Step 6: Stain, Design and Varnish

Now you can stain or paint your board. We looked online for a few ideas. We stained most of them, and used a polyurethane varnish to create a clear, smooth layer to finish it off. Some of the boards we used paint and painters tape to create a line or two that ran down the middle. You can also do the same thing with the stain - use the tape to mask off the area you don't want stained. Another way to add design is to draw your own with permanent markers. (You may even print off designs to trace onto your board). Then seal the marker with a spray varnish. And some people may just want to paint it a solid color, varnish it, and throw on some fun stickers on the bottom. 

Step 7: Grip the Top

There are two different ways to grip your board. The most obvious way is to buy grip tape. You can either trace out your board on the back of the tape, or draw a design to cut out. Then peel off the backing and stick it to your board. 

The other way to add grip is to apply a thick layer of polyurethane and sprinkle silica sand over the top evenly. Once it has dried, use a spray varnish over the top to secure the sand even more. (Try to do this outside, and wear a dust mask. Silica sand is especially not good for you to breath in. Wearing disposable gloves is also a good idea).

Tip: try to grip entire surface - places where there isn't any grip makes the surface really slippery, especially if there is ever any moisture that gets on your shoes or board. If you want to do a fun design with grip tape, try griping the rest of your board with silica sand. 

Step 8: Add Trucks and Wheels

There are a lot of different types of trucks and wheels. Check online for prices and styles. We used the bubble gum wheels on most of our boards. We also added a thin riser pad between the trucks and board.

Here are a few more ideas I found online for the variety of shapes, sizes, and designs of different boards. The hardest part is deciding what you want your board to look like. 


Longboarding can be dangerous, so take it easy and be safe. Wear a helmet, and avoid steep terrain. Watch out for speed wabble - tighten your trucks if you experience it. It can throw you off your board if you don't have it tight enough. Learn how to slide stop before you go down any hills. You can buy sliding gloves online, or make your own gloves - click here for a tutorial. (He uses velcro to attach the plastic to his gloves - we just melted them right to the gloves). 

Making a Sh-LongBoard:

It's simple enough - it's basically just moving the placement of the wheels on a regular skateboard. We went and bought a skateboard deck, just a cheap, plain one. Then we made a pattern for the ends (tail and nose) and cut it out. We placed the trucks on the tail and nose, to lengthen the wheelbase, drilled the holes, and put everything together. We added grip tape (which also hid the original place for the trucks) and viola! 

Happy Boarding!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Restaurant Review: Franck's, and a recipe for Three Cheese Fondue

Franck's is a charming and elegant French American restaurant in Holladay. Their chef is a creative genius, to say the least. They have a simple menu with new specials regularly. And they have a new soup. Every. Day. Every day a new soup is born! And never again remade! Simply amazing! The day we tried The Soup was a Peanut Butter and Jelly version of soup. Sounds terrible, right? It knocked the socks off soup. It was the best soup I have ever had! It was more of a Thai Peanut soup, with a hint of Watermelon. His creations are not the typical pairings, but undoubtedly amazing!

They serve a renowned Meatloaf, which is a saucy cake of  shredded meats, on top of a loaf of whipped potatoes and squash, and served with a fruity lavender sauce. 

I fell in love with their Pan Seared Sea Bass that is served with a lychee flavored curry sauce, an Asian tropical fruit. 

We also tried their fondue, and have tried to duplicate this at home. Their dish is a three cheese fondue, made from Gruyere, Swiss, and Emmental cheese, flavored with Kirsch, a cherry flavored liquor. They served cubed French bread 
along side it. 

1 clove garlic, peeled
1 cup white wine, or 1 cup white grape juice 
1/4 cup apple juice
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 lb. Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/4 lb. Emmental cheese, shredded 
2 Tb. cornstarch
1 Tb kirsch, or maraschino cherry juice
Freshly grated nutmeg

Rub pot with garlic, and discard. Add wine and juices to pot and bring to simmer. Grate cheese and toss in cornstarch. Add one handful at a time to liquid in the pot. Stir and let it melt before adding more, until all the cheese is added. Don't over heat, let bubble, but not boil. Add kirsch and nutmeg. 
(Emmental cheese is another type of swiss cheese, and may be omitted/substituted. Appenzeller is another fun cheese to use in a fondue). 

Transfer to fondue pot. Serve with any of the following: cubed bread, roasted potatoes, diced ham, diced sausages, cubed cooked chicken, apples, pears, asparagus, and steamed carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Latest Painting - it's a mini!

I've been working on a few paintings lately, and here is my latest one. I have a few mini paintings I started and they are so much fun! They are pretty quick - which is basically the best reason to do one... or four... Who knows, maybe I'll stick with the wee ones for a while.