Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Mountain Ranges + Thai Chicken Salad Recipe

I recently spent three days painting a mural of some of my favorite Colorado mountain ranges on the wall in the main room at Alpine Valley School.

The mural reminds me of the mountains that my father painted in my room in his house when I was little. I thought a lot about that while I was painting. I am thankful for being able to paint murals. It is really pretty gratifying to be able to create art.

Here's what it looks like:

I began by picking out images of the Colorado mountain ranges that I love. I did this, instead of just drawing random mountain-like shapes, because it helped me keep them looking realistic and to scale. After I created the image, I put superimposed a grid over it to ensure the right proportions when I drew the image on the wall. Next, I painted the top or back ranges. This was so that I would be able to easily paint over any drips that occurred.
Next, I painted in the finer edges on the top and bottom of the middle ranges of mountains. I did this so that the harder work would be done in the event that someone else wanted to paint along side of me. I also painted over the grid marks I made on the wall from when I drew the images on the wall.
I then painted them. From time to time I would also add in some clouds. I painted the clouds in small spurts as it was not so easy to stand on the foot stool I had and reach up as high as I could extend my arm and brush to paint the clouds.
I also went back over the top mountain range, touching up the paint where it was needed, as I would do with the other layers.
Now it is nearly done. I just have a few more clouds to add in.
I am curious to see if they will want the mountain ranges to expand onto another wall. When I posted the final image on Facebook, lots of people "liked" and commented on it. I hope it helps make the school feel just a bit more special.

Here's a nice dinner salad that we enjoyed:

Thai Chicken Salad
via: My Kitchen Escapades
(recipe adapted from Taste and Tell)
serves 8

Chicken marinade
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 Tb rice vinegar
1/4 C sugar or 2 Tb Truvia
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
dash of salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – about 2 1/2 pounds total

2 hearts of romaine, chopped
1/2 large head of napa cabbage, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 C salted peanuts

1/4 C rice vinegar
1/4 C Thai sweet red chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar or Truvia
pinch of salt and pepper

Peanut Sauce
1/4 C natural peanut butter
2 Tb soy sauce
1 Tb rice vinegar
1 Tb Thai sweet red chili sauce
2 Tb water

1. In a ziplock bag, combine all the ingredients for the chicken marinade. Mush it all around, then place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to marinade. Cook the chicken either on a hot grill, 6-8 minutes a side or in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Allow it to cool a bit, then chop up all the chicken into bite sized pieces.
2. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, except for the peanuts, then add the chicken. Combine all the dressing ingredients then pour over the salad. Toss until the salad is evenly coated with the dressing. Dish out the individual servings of the salad.
3. Stir together the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a small bowl. If the sauce is too thick to drizzle, add a bit more water. Generously drizzle the peanut sauce over each serving of salad then top with the peanuts.

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