Food, Surviving Chaos

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Tuesdays are for tacos or so the saying goes. But how about a twist….Taco Soup! If your looking to change up your Tuesday dinner routine, put some soup on!!! This slow cooker recipe is a perfect addition to your fall or winter Taco Tuesdays; the longer it cooks, the deeper the flavor. And don’t forget to pair it with some avocado and tortilla strips. Buen Provecho!!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14.5 oz canned low sodium pinto beans, drained
  • 14.5 oz canned low sodium black beans, drained
  • 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 14.5 oz canned corn, drained
  • 2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • 1.25 oz taco seasoning

Let’s Make It!

  • Add all ingredients to Crock-Pot
  • Cook on LOW 4 hours (up to 8 is fine)
    • The longer the soup cooks, the deeper the flavor
  • Remove chicken and shred/chop
  • Return chicken to soup. Enjoy!!!

Surviving Chaos

  • Vegetarian option: Leave the meat out entirely and add more of you favorite beans.
  • Don’t forget to freeze: This soup freezes really well for up to 2 months.
    • Freeze in small portions for quick and easy lunches.
  • Customize it: Switch out the chicken for ground beef or ground turkey.
    • Be sure to brown the ground beef or turkey first.
When in

Waterloo aka Austin, Texas

If you are ever in Austin, there are a couple of places in downtown Austin that are definitely worth visiting. Actually, there are LOT of places but for my family our favorite places are the Bullock Museum and the Texas State Capital Building. Unlike Austin’s famous tagline “Keep Austin Weird”, these place aren’t weird but fantastic! There so much to see, do, and learn during your visit and you’ll also get quite the workout. And yes, that’s a crane in the background of the star……Austin is boomin’!!! Let’s explore….

Bullock Museum (Texas State History Museum)

Named after Robert (Bob) Bullock Sr., the 38th Lieutenant Govenor of Texas, this museum displays Texas’ history from early indian settlers to the Texas Revolutionary War to the oil boom. Bob Bullock was famous for saying “In order to know where your going, you have to know where you been”; he was the driving force in creating and funding the Texas State history museum. It was named in his honor and the second floor features a 7ft tall bronze statue of him holding a gavel.

There are 3 floors (don’t forget your Fitbit!) in the Bob Bullock museum…..Texas has a lot of history to tell! But before you head to each floor, check out movie schedule at the IMAX theatre. Yes-there is an IMAX theatre inside the museum-talk about perks!!!! They show award winning new release films and documentaries and the 3D effect makes it totally worth while. The for Each floor’s theme is related to a particular period in Texas history. The 1st floor is related to early Indian civilizations and European and French colonial trade and exploration routes. The best part of this floor is what remains of the 300 year old French La Belle ship, a failed expedition to try to colonize the gulf coast. Our kids loved this and couldn’t believe they were seeing a real ship from 1684! Fun fact: Did you know the first European settlers called their settlement in Texas Waterloo? This city was incorporated under than name and but was replaced with Austin.

The theme for the second floor represent the personal history of Texas natives pre- and post Civil War and the Great Depression. On display are first hand accounts of life in Texas during those time periods through personal letters, home artifacts, photographs and fashion. There’s no story untold, from politics to farm living to African-American life in Texas. There is even a section dedicated to the Texas revolutionary war where Texas gained its independence from Mexico-its a BIG deal!! The third floor and final floor takes a look at industrious nature of Texas from oil boom to space exploration (hello NASA) to aviation. It proves there is so much more to Texas than just farms and cattle.


Texas State Capital Building

Texas State Capital Building

The Texas State Capital building is located on a hilltop overlooking downtown Austin. It is the sixth-tallest state capital building (there’s that Fitbit again!) and is taller than the United States Capital building. With 22 acres of grounds surrounding it, don’t be surprised to see people lounging, having lunch/picnics or children playing around. There is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy their day and lots of additional monuments that give a deeper look into Texas’ history. When not in session, the House of Representatives room and Texas Senate room are open to visitors. There are a TON of photo opportunities inside these rooms and so many historical desks to see. Who doesn’t want their kid to take a photo in from of the state seal or from a seat in the House of Representatives??….for future use of course! And speaking of photography, the painted self portraits of former governors and battle scenes from Texas history are magnificent. Don’t be surprised if you see a famous face or two…..in real life. Members of the house and senate are known to walk about the capital building on weekends….giving family tours of course!

Surviving Chaos Tips

  • FREE Admission: The Bob Bullock Museum is FREE!! This is perfect for when you looking for something to do on school holidays, the weekend or a short trip in Austin
    • If your hungry, check out the cafe on the second floor-they great kid friendly options
    • The museum is open on most holidays (yay!!)
  • IMAX Theatre: Be sure to check out the movie schedule, they show movies all day long!!
    • The documentaries are only 45 minutes (short and sweet) and are family friendly
    • Showtimes are mid-morning or early afternoon….so kids won’t miss their nap time
  • FREE Tours: There are free 30 minute tours of the Texas State Capital building. Its definitely worth doing as they pack a whole of of history in 30 minutes.
    • Again!….perfect for school holidays, the weekend or a short trips in Austin
    • If your wanting some independence (yes-pun intended) you do a self guided tour using one of their pamphlets.

Food, Surviving Chaos

Slow Cooker Crock-Pot Chicken

Looking for a meal that can feed the family all week but only takes a day to cook? Check out this Crock-Pot recipe for a whole chicken. Yes, you can put a whole chicken in the Crock-Pot!!! This meal really comes in handy when I know we have a busy week of gymnastics, piano, work events, etc coming up. Make it on Sunday and you can use the leftover chicken for lunches or dinner the rest of the week. With all my recipes, this one is easy to customize, healthy and only takes a couple of ingredients. Bon Appetit!!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds whole chicken
  • 6 stalks of celery, cut in half
  • 2 carrots cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of red potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil

Let’s Make it!

  1. Arrange celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary and thyme into a 6 quart slow cooker bowl. The chicken will rest on top of the vegetables.
  2. Combine salt, paprika, black pepper, and olive oil in a bowl to make a seasoning paste.
  3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken (this items may have been removed before the chicken was packaged). Dry the chicken with a paper towel.
  4. Spread the seasoning paste evenly over the chicken.
  5. Place the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables inside the Crock-Pot.
  6. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.

Surviving Chaos

  • Use the leftover chicken to make chicken salad for lunch.
  • Add barbeque sauce to the leftover chicken and broil in the oven for 10 minutes for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • Make a gravy with the juices from the slow cooker by adding butter and flour.

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When in

Best airlines for 2020

AirlineRatings.com recently released their best airlines for 2020, the worlds only safety and product rating website. Based on the top 10 list below, Air New Zealand took the #1 spot and has appeared in the top 10 for the 6th time in a row. In order to make the top 10, advisors at AirlineRatings.com rated the airlines on major safety and government audits and 12 key criteria: fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, product offering, and staff relations. You can read more about why Air New Zealand made the top spot, the other winners and best low cost winners here. Safe travels!!

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Nippon Airways
  4. Quantas
  5. Cathay Pacific Airways
  6. Emirates
  7. Virgin Atlantic
  8. EVA Air
  9. Qatar Airways
  10. Virgin Australia
Food, Surviving Chaos

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This Butternut Squash soup recipe is perfect when you’re short on time or get home late week nights. With all the activities we have going on (dance, soccer, piano, gymnastics) this is my favorite recipe that we can make when we get home and its supper health. Its a great source of Vitamin A, C, Magnesium and Potassium and helps us keep our goal of 1 vegetarian meal a week. And of course the kids love it, especially since its yellow!!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 green apples, cored and cubed
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 24 oz of butternut squash (frozen squash saves you time!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (tsp) ground pepper

Let’s Make It!

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, and apples for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Add butternut squash.
  3. Bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Mix any remaining stock for desired consistency.
  7. Garnish options: sour cream, chives, nutmeg or cilantro!

Surviving Chaos Tips

  • You can freeze Butternut Squash soup for up to 2 months!!
    • Store in freezer bags (lay flat for better storage)
    • When your ready, add to your soup pot to defrost and reheat

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