Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Daddy and his Beauty Queen

Labor Day weekend in our town means our little homecoming festival. Sassy always enters the pageants. 374 always drives a truck through the parade. Here's our first runner up with her Daddy before the parade. She was also in the parade on a pageant float.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

"What do you want for dinner?"

"I don't know, what do you feel like?"

"I don't know, I'm just hungry and I want to eat."

"Well I don't know either, just make whatever you want."

Common discussion in our house that usually ends with both 374 and I annoyed. I dread the "dinner debate", so I've been trying to come up with new dinners that are both easy (both kids have started back into their school year routine of Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings - on the same night) and everyone will enjoy.

We have some pretty different tastes in this house - from not being able to handle too much spice, to being picky about vegetables, and one of us doesn't really like much meat. It's hard to please everyone with one dinner, but that's my main goal.

Tonight we are trying a new recipe for the first time. I'm hoping it goes well. It's a taco based dinner, which is always a hit here. I'll post the recipe here, and then come back tonight and update -- hopefully with it being a success!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup

*2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
*1 can of corn, drained
*2 cups chicken broth
*1 can cream of chicken soup
*3-4 (depending on size, I used 4) boneless chicken breasts (I used frozen ones)
*1 small onion, diced (because of my picky eaters, I opted for eyeballing some dried onion flake, but would have preferred an onion)
*1 packet taco seasoning (i prefer the lower sodium one)
*1 can diced tomatoes (with or without green chilies -- again to oblige picky eaters i opted for without)
*shredded cheddar or taco blend cheese
*sour cream
*crumbled tortilla chips

In your crockpot layer the onion if you used onion, then the chicken breasts on top of that. If not, I laid my chicken breasts down first, then sprinkled the dried onion on top. Add corn and beans on top of chicken. In a separate bowl mix together the chicken broth, soup, diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Pour over the top of your beans, chicken and corn in the crockpot. I plan on cooking this on low for 6-8 hours (my chicken breasts are frozen). You could do high for 4 hours, but I'd only do that if you are using thawed chicken. about an hour before serving I plan on pulling the chicken out and shredding it, and adding it back in.

I will serve this topped with the shredded cheddar cheese, a scoop of sour cream and some crumbled tortilla chips.

I will be back with an update later this evening!

This soup was a huge success! Seven and a half hours cooked on low was perfect for this dish! Everyone had seconds. The only thing I was worried about was the diced tomatoes. I knew it would set radars off with Sassy and Bubby -- but much to my surprise they are them up without a word! This will definitely be added to our regular meal plan. I am loving being able to add soups to our options for the upcoming cold months!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review: Blauer 6'' Clash Tactical Boot

About a month ago I was contacted by Blauer to gauge 374's interest on a review for a new line of tactical boots they were rolling out. For anyone not familiar, Blauer is a company that has been offering uniform garments for law enforcement, fire and EMS professionals since 1936. We were more than willing to partner with them for this review, their products are high quality and well known. We appreciate their offer, and are happy to have the opportunity to provide this review for them and our readers!

We chose to review the 6" Clash Waterproof Boot in black. The boot is constructed of a full grain polishable leather, suede and nylon outer. After a month of wear on countless fire and EMS runs, as well as 374 wearing them a few times to his full time day job constructing ambulances, these boots held up nicely and still look brand new. Any dirt or wear is easily polished off and their new out of the box shine and appearance is restored. The nylon allowed for his foot to breath nicely in our humid summer climate.

The sole of this boot offers a non-slip rubber and hybrid traction tread that offers superb stability and grip on just about any surface. 374 ran them through their paces with gravel, dirt, muddy ditches, and car fluids leaked on pavement at accident scenes - just to name a few scenarios these boots found themselves in. 374 reports they are very light weight and easy to maneuver in. Most notably he appreciated this when lifting patients on EMS calls when your concentration needs to not be on your feet, but on the task at hand.

The Clash boots hugged his feet providing confidence in every step he took. This was provided by the heel patch on the back of the boot as well as the polyurethane foam insoles and heel cup. The one comment I heard over and over was he felt like there was never a "break-in" period - from the get go these boots felt like they were molded to his feet to provide the utmost comfort. One of first few days after receiving the boots, he wore them to his full time day job to really test their comfort. He runs around a plant on concrete floors assembling ambulances - crawling in, out and under them for hours on end. When he came home at the end of a nine hour day he enthusiastically reported the Clash boots were far more comfortable than his regular athletic shoe he typically wears.

One of the main features of this boot is the Boa™ lacing system. The Boa™ lacing system features steel laces, nylon guides and a mechanical wheel that allows for a glove like fit. 374 found it easy and quick to slide his foot into the boot, and turn the wheel to tighten the boots to his desired fit. In a volunteer firefighter profession, seconds are crucial in their response time to the station. He found himself getting out the door quicker with these boots. Removal is just as easy - pop the wheel out and the laces let go and loosen. No knots to untie, no laces to pull out.

Another feature to note is the waterproof membrane that allows your foot to stay dry in the elements. While 374 did find himself out in some rain, it was no where near enough to really test this feature. We are very interested in seeing how these boots hold up this winter in our snowy area. Given the quality of all the other features offered by Blauer on this boot, we are sure his feet will stay dry and we won't be disappointed.

After experiencing the ease of use and comfort of the Clash boots, 374 has retired his previous tactical work boots he previously wore. He is very happy with their performance and quality. At a price point of $144.99 you really get a lot of bang for your buck. He would gladly buy these boots for himself. As much as he'd like to have some constructive criticism for these boots he finds himself at a loss for anything negative about them. Blauer has produced a great qaultiy boot with some top notch features. If you or your firefighter are in the market for a new pair of boots, we highly recommend checking these out!