Friday, April 29, 2016

Utah Local: Route 67 Tex-Mex

My neighbor Kim posted about this brand new restaurant owned by someone in her family so I was in a hurry to go try it out for 3 reasons. 1. I wanted some good food! 2. I like to support local business. 3. I wanted to share it with everyone on Facebook and on my blog. So I was glad to actually enjoy their yummy food and be able to support them in my little way by being a customer.

BUT I have failed you all because I left my camera bag on my sofa so the only photos I have were taken with my phone. As you can see, the quality is not good. Hopefully I'll remember it next time and take some more. But I think you can still see the fresh ingredients and get hungry just looking at the tacos.

Route 67 Tex-Mex is in American Fork in a shopping strip at 456 E State Road Suite 1200, right at the intersection of 500 E. and State St. The front of the restaurant actually faces 500 E., not State, but it is set back a bit from the road. There is plenty of parking.

Before I went, I saw that the online MENU has descriptions of all the dishes, but it doesn't have prices so I wanted to snap some photos of the menu there with prices, but my photos of the menu were very blurry.

Besides the regular menu, they also have a featured item of the day which changes. Today was a South of the Border Burger with fries and a drink for $10.50.

The salads (that photo was too blurry to post) are available in half or full sizes, which I love because I have a small appetite.

Steak        Half $7.95 Full $10.95
Chicken    Half $5.95 Full $8.95
Shrimp     Half $7.95 Full 10.95

They also had nachos on the menu, but I didn't get a pic of that so I don't know the price.

Unlike at some restaurants, they don't ask you if you'd like black or pinto beans. It's black. 

I went with my daughter Elisa and she and I usually share a dish, but we didn't this time so that we could try two things instead of just one. I ordered the steak tacos and Elisa ordered the chicken tacos (not street tacos) and we each swapped one of each with each other.

These are the Vino Tinto Pomegranate Steak Tacos just as they came out to the table. It's difficult to tell, but the tacos are smaller than most that I've had. Here is my daughter holding one so you can sorta, kinda see the size.

The steak was very tender and well seasoned. I loved the pomegranate pico on it. Yum! I don't often eat beef when I have a choice, but this time, I actually preferred the steak to the chicken tacos.

I didn't really taste pineapple in my taco, but it was good and I thought the use of kale on a taco was interesting and tasty.

I really like the unique combinations of flavors that I haven't seen in other restaurants. Next time I go, I will try the steak salad. Or maybe the pork tacos, even though I rarely eat pork. That chipotle mango is tempting me. And eventually the nachos! I guess I'll have to go back soon.

I know that running a restaurant is so, so, SO much work (from seeing my sister and brother-in-law when they had one), so go support Route 67 and eat good food and pass along the word to others!

And Route 67 is just a block away from The Puppy Barn so we stopped by there after lunch and played with some cute little puppies.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Southwestern Chicken Cups

Found the recipe for these at Kevin and Amanda (lots of great recipes there) and tweaked it just a tiny bit. I love the crisp won ton wrappers and the combination of flavors. They're cute for a dinner or party food! Next time I might try it with just a little sour cream and some avocado on top before serving. 

Southwestern Chicken Cups
1 T. olive oil
2 c. frozen diced bell pepper and onion mix (or 1 c. each, fresh)
2 c. corn kernels (canned, fresh, or frozen)
1 t. salt
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. canned black beans, drained
12 oz. (2 c.) cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 t. pepper
2 T. cilantro, chopped
Crushed red pepper, to taste 
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
24 won ton wrappers

Preheat oven to 375°. Generously coat a standard-size muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, carefully add the onions, bell peppers, salt. If you're using frozen corn, add it now. If you're using canned or fresh corn, add it later with the beans. Cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, until slightly blackened on the edges, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the minced garlic, and stir until fragrant and well incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, chicken, and pepper. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place one full won ton wrapper and a half won ton wrapper overlapping (to make a slightly larger wrapper) in the bottom of each cup in the prepared muffin pan. Fill with chicken mixture and top with about 1 tablespoon cheese.

Bake for 12 minutes, until heated through and edges are golden.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Work, work, work

I am glad to hear that Alex had a better week this past week. But it's crazy how late he's been writing lately. I got his mass email around midnight and then his letter to me at almost 4 am. 

My week was better just because I didn't have to stay at home sick. I don't like sitting and doing nothing. I feel useless. I had a runny nose, and a fever, and that was about all the symptoms. Thank you for your prayers, I can feel their effects.

Thank you for the encouragement. It is harder sometimes to see that I'm always doing good than others, but I'm trying, and that's all that God asks. As you saw from the mass email, we didn't find anyone yet, but we're always looking. If we stop, we'll never find anyone. The blessings don't come until after the trial of our faith. Thank you for the reminder about my role, and the role of agency in the lives of others. I truly do feel both the weight of the thousands of souls placed on my shoulder, but also the light yoke that is Christ's Gospel.

I rarely talk about the end of his mission, but I told Alex that someone told me this week how sad he was to be home after his mission. His family was crying because they were happy to have him home, but he wanted to cry because he wanted to go back. This is what Alex said about that.  

I will definitely feel like Brother B. when I come home, because I already don't want to leave at all. Of course I realize that there is more for me to do than just missionary work as part of the plan of happiness established by our Father, but it will be a sad departure from all those I have come to love. I don't usually think about my homecoming, but I just noticed that I have almost exactly 6 months left until I come home. How crazy!

This week has been a bit more productive and healthy.
My scripture of the week is Doctrine and Covenants 84:80 "And any man
that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to
continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither
darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head
shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry,
neither athirst."
Kanji of the week is: 避難 pronounced "hee-nan" and means evacuation.
Monday was not anything special, and I don't have anything to say about it.
Tuesday we just talked to lots of people, and also had a lesson with
our recent convert.
Wednesday we went to a different area by train, and tried to visit
less active members. Having not been to meet any of them, and not
having a train that would get us back in time, we talked to people as
we walked back to our bikes, ate dinner, and then had English class.
That was normal.
Thursday we had weekly planning. After that we did finding, and in the
evening we had an activity that not too many people showed up to.
Friday was zone conference, and it was great, as usual. After that,
the only thing we were able to do was English class.
Eating well!
Saturday we went around and tried to visit less active members, but the only one who was home didn't want to talk with us. In the evening, we went to the church and met with President Smith and went to dinner with him, followed by teaching members at the church with him. It was fun, and I liked the experience. Sunday's regular church meetings were great, and President Smith gave a nice talk in sacrament meeting, and I learned in my other classes. Then we went to Koriyama and had a region fire side. It was great, lots of members and non-members came, and we had amazing music and presentations. That's my week, I hope you all are doing well. I love you! Love, Elder 長老

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spinach and Garlic Potato Patties

I seem to have a bit of an obsession with potatoes and when I saw these at Diethood I had to make them. I made them tonight and devoured  several of them. They are similar to the Ecuadorian Llampingachos that I make, but slightly different. 

After processing the boiled potatoes in the food processor instead of by hand, I threw the other ingredients into the processor and quickly mixed it. In the photo, you can see that I used red onion. These are garlicky and I like the crisp outside.

In case you would like to try some of the other potato dishes I like, I have also made Mashed Potato Puffs and Mashed Potato, Cheese and Chive Waffles and posted the recipes.

Spinach and Garlic Potato Patties
1-lb. potatoes (about 4 medium-sized potatoes), boiled, peeled and quartered
¼ c. milk
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 bag (8 to 10 oz.) baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 c. shredded parmesan cheese
2 T. lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 c. panko crumbs
¼ c. olive oil, for frying (add more as needed)
Optional Toppings:
Sour Cream
Soy Sauce

Combine prepared potatoes and milk in a large mixing bowl; using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add spinach and garlic to skillet; season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for 2 more minutes, or until spinach is wilted.

Remove from heat and add spinach mixture to the potatoes. Stir in cheese and lemon juice. Add egg and panko/bread crumbs; stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Shape the mixture into patties. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Working in batches, fry each patty on both sides until golden brown; about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer potato patties to a paper towel–lined plate.

Serve with yogurt, sour cream or soy sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

This is a copycat recipe for a Cheesecake Factory dish which I've never had before so I can't compare it to the original, but this one from Food, Folks, and Fun is really good. I love all the layers of flavors. They're kinda like loaded nachos. Don't be scared away by the several different components because they're all easy and come together quickly. 

I personally won't make the Southwest sauce next time. I think it's great with just the sour cream, but that's a personal preference. To speed up the corn cakes mixing, after processing the corn, I just threw the butter and other ingredients in the next steps into the food processor and blended it in there, being careful not to process too much after adding the flour and masa harina. Then I mixed in the remaining corn by hand.

It made 4 corn cakes, but I only took a photo of 2 of them. Look at all those pretty colors!
Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes
For the Salsa Verde:
2 tomatillos, roughly chopped
1 (4-oz. can) diced green chilies, drained
1 green onion, sliced thin
2 T. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 ½ t. granulated sugar
¼ t. ground cumin
¼ t. salt
⅛ t. ground black pepper

For the Pico De Gallo:
1 large Roma tomato, diced
1 T. red onion, diced
1 T. fresh cilantro, minced
½ t. lime juice
Salt and ground pepper to taste

For Southwestern Sauce:
½ c. mayonnaise
1 t. white vinegar
1 t. water
½ t. granulated sugar
½ t. chili powder
¼ t. paprika
⅛ t. cayenne pepper
¼ t. onion powder
⅛ t. garlic powder

For the Corn Cakes:
1 ½ c. frozen sweet corn
½ c. butter, softened to room temperature
3 T. sugar
⅛ t. salt
½ c. corn masa harina flour
2 T. all-purpose flour
1½ T. olive oil

For Garnish:
Sour cream
Avocado, diced
Fresh cilantro, chopped

For the Salsa Verde:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until combined, but still a little chunky. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and chill at least 1 hour.

For the Pico De Gallo:
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and toss. Cover and chill at least 1 hour

For the Southwestern Sauce:
Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix until well combined. Cover, and chill at least 1 hour.

For the Corn Cakes:
add 1 cup of the frozen corn in a food processor until it's coarsely pureed. In a medium bowl add the pureed corn, softened butter, sugar, and salt. Mix until combined.

Add masa harina and flour and mix until no flour streaks remain. Add the remaining ½ cup of frozen corn kernels, and mix until corn is evenly distributed.

Measure ½ cup portions of the mixture and use your hands to form them into 3-inch wide patties.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet and preheat over medium-low heat. Add the patties to the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, another 5-8 minutes.

To assemble, add the Salsa Verde to platter and spread it evenly. Heat the platter in the microwave for 1 minute. Place the corn cakes on top of the warmed Salsa Verde, and evenly distribute the Pico De Gallo and Southwestern Sauce over the tops. Dollop with sour cream, and garnish with avocado and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Alex should have put the subject Sakura instead of honey with all the cherry blossom photos he sent. I've been bugging him to make sure to take lots when they finally blossomed and he did! I was so excited to get them.

I don't know why I titled this message honey, but I don't have
anything else to write.

Scripture of the week is Doctrine and Covenants 88:125, "And above all
things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle,
which is the bond of perfectness and peace."
Kanji of the week is: 嵐 pronounced "a-rah-she" and means storm.

Monday we went to go see the cherry blossoms at the castle here in Aizuwakamatsu and it was really pretty. Right after we finished, the on and off snow that we had turned into a strong snow storm, so we walked back home. Not much else to say about Monday. Tuesday was not very eventful either, and the only thing I can really say about it was a good lesson with our recent convert. He's doing good.

A wedding at the castle
Wednesday I got sick again, so we didn't do anything besides going to English class in the evening. Thursday we had a lesson in the morning with a less active, and we helped him make a family history account on We then had district meeting, weekly planning, and an activity with the missionaries and others (investigators, less active members, etc).

Friday we went to Koriyama and had a lesson with an investigator there. We then waited for someone else who we made an appointment with to show up, but he never showed up, so since we weren't going to have dinner because of that appointment, we went to eat. We then did English class, and that was fun. Saturday was a picnic near the castle in a park that was full of cherry blossoms with the branch. It was pretty and really fun. After that we went to go to a lesson with an old investigator that we made an appointment with. He really wants to know about Christ, but is super busy. Then we had a lesson with a recent convert, and reviewed the plan of salvation.

The bridge leads to a wall called the "Falling Ninja" wall because it's really tall

Sunday was great, and we had fun with the members in appropriate ways while learning about the doctrine of Christ. I especially liked a lesson during the third hour, which was focused on home teaching, but I was able to apply it really well to questions I had regarding missionary work. After church we went to the ward counsel meeting, and after that the rest of the day was studies and reporting. This week has been trying, but I know that as I continue to put my trust in God that all will work out for my good. I know that He lives, loves me (and everyone individually), and is my Heavenly Father. Have a good week everyone. Love, Elder 長老

Eating cherry blossom ice cream-- really delicious

Cherry blossom ice cream all around

Monday, April 11, 2016

An Active God

I am so grateful for the knowledge of an active God. Our Father in Heaven worries over each one of us, wanting us to come back to His presence--and he will do anything to help, so long as it is righteous and His children let Him.

Scripture of the week is Jarom 1:4, "And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked. And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith."

Me with a famous Japanese man who was born
in a small town in my area. He is on the 1000 yen bill.

Kanji of the week: 鞄 pronounced "caw-bahn" and means "bag."

Monday it was raining all day, so we had to walk everywhere, and basically only did basic shopping. In the evening we found someone who had interest while housing, but his health isn't the best. He did say we could come back and teach him whenever he's feeling well.

Tuesday we had a lesson in the morning with a less active, and talked about patriarchal blessings. He really wants to get one, and recognizes that he needs to be coming to church and keeping the other commandments in order to get one, and he's trying to better his life. He's a great guy. Then we tried to visit some less active members, but didn't find any. In the evening we had a lesson with a recent convert, and had fun with him. The rest of the night was more finding.

Wednesday we tired to visit some more less active members, but weren't able to find any. We also were trying to find new people to teach, but no luck there either. English class was fun though, and was a good experience.

Thursday we went to a lesson in the morning with a less active again, and talked about family history, and showed him how he can do it online, or on the family tree app the church has. Then we went to visit another town to find a less active member. We met him right as he was coming home, and had a nice warm conversation with him. He's a nice man, but doesn't really feel like he can follow all the teachings of the church right now. Then, in the evening, we had an activity set up kind of like family home evening, with a spiritual message, and then some kind of activity. We played card games.
Elder H. on a road near a grave I front of a
mountain that is very famous here.

Friday we had zone training meeting, and that was great. After that, we were going to have a lesson, but the investigator cancelled this week on us. We did get to meet two college students we met last week, and they came to English class with us. They are foreign exchange students, and they are really nice.

Saturday was General Conference, and that was great, because of studies and the 6 hours of instruction from prophets, that's all we were really able to do, but we did get to call some people and set up an appointment.

Sunday was also General Conference, and also had a lunch provided by the youth. It was really delicious Curry Rice. The rest of the day was studies.

I love General Conference, and am so glad to have learned so much. Please, everyone, learn from God's prophet, and fulfill your amazing destiny! Love you all so much!

A funny sign at a bookstore that part of it got
knocked off and now says that they atone. Not sure what it says

Monday, April 4, 2016

Led By the Spirit

This week, I have really been led by the spirit, and I have learned anew that this truly is God's work, being led by Him. I have also thought about how just as God's work and glory is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man," man too--in a more limited, but important way--must strive for not only his, or her, own immortality and eternal life, but also his, or her, neighbors' as well; for God cannot work without the cooperation of man in respect to their agency.

My scripture of the week is Mosiah 28:7 "And the Lord said unto Mosiah: Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites." Kanji of the week is: 富士山 pronounced "Fuji san," and means Mount Fuji. Monday we helped the other elders with something, and then tried to visit some people, but no one was home. We did meet a really prepared man, but he was going back to his home town which was really far from any real city, and we didn't have a Book of Mormon to give him because we had already given the rest out to others who were accepting. We did get him a card, and also an English class flier, so we'll see what happens. Tuesday was a lesson in the morning with a less active that really likes meeting with the missionaries. He is looking to find more joy in the Gospel, and is progressing really well. Then we tried some finding, but no luck. In the evening we had a lesson with a recent convert, and then tried to visit some people with no luck. Wednesday I got a cold, and so we stayed at home for basically all of the day. I was feeling good enough towards the evening, though, so we went to English class, and that was fun.
This is of a cookie decorating activity we did on Thursday
evening. Of course I had to do something with the old rivalry, seeing
as I had not many other ideas with the colors available.
Thursday I was still a bit sick, but we went out and tried to visit less active members to no avail. We then prepared for an activity with a bunch of investigators, and other non-members, as well as some members, and then the activity itself was great and fun. Friday we spent all day in Koriyama, trying to talk to people there. We found quite a few people who were willing to talk, but no one willing to set up a next appointment. We did meet a guy that was super open to what we had to say, and we might be able to meet with him. In the evening, we had a great time with English class, and it was fun. Saturday we did weekly planning for most of the day, and then went to a lesson with a recent convert. That went well, and he's progressing a lot. After that, we went to try and visit a less active, but found out that he had actually told missionaries before to stop visiting him. We had no record of it, so we didn't know. He was very understanding though, and is a nice man.
A duck that was living in someone's
yard. I say yard, but it was a really small space they had boxed off.
It looked quite pitiful, and on the fence there was a sign that said
something about endangered animals, or at least protecting animals.
Not sure how much it was helping though.
Sunday we went to Koriyama for church, and that was great. I love the members there, and also the opportunity to take the sacrament. Then we came back to Aizuwakamatsu, and the only other thing we did was studies and call in reports. It was a lot longer, because a new zone opened up and we were put into it, so we're still figuring things out. Next week will be better. That's my week. I hope all yours were great too! I love you all, and wish you the best. Love, Elder 

Blueberry Cheesecake Crumb Cake

Bursting blueberries in every bite! I made this coffee cake that I found on  Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts  (even though it's not a ...