Monday, January 4, 2010

Soup - French Onion Soup

This is a really easy soup and so wonderful on these cold winter days. A good loaf of crunchy, crusty bread is great for dipping!

I use red onions, but you can use Spanish or any other that you prefer.

Peel and thinly slice a quart or more of onions. I toss them with a couple of tablespoons of all purpose flour as it thickens the stock a little bit. Heat 5 or 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy pan until bubble then put in the onions, stirring them to get them covered with the butter. If the flour dries it too much, add some extra butter. On medium heat, cook the onions until they are nice and browned and carmelized -- not burned! If you cook them slowly they will brown ever so nicely! Now add beef stock, vegetable stock, or beef consomme -- I use the reusable containers of stock or cans of consomme ... you might need two of the containers (add enough water so that you have plenty to cover the onions by about 2") and if using consomme 2 cans plus some water will work. Add some parsley -- a tablespoon is good -- and salt and freshly ground pepper. Simmer your soup for about a half hour.

Slice french bread thickly and toast lightly. This helps keep it from getting too soggy on top of the soup. Spoon onions and broth into soup bowls or little ramekins if you have them. Add a slice of the toast and pile on some shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place under the broiler for a minute or two until the cheese is melted and browned.

Serve to rave reviews!


Life Changes

I chose the quote for the day, "The one way to get thin is to re-establish a purpose in life," very deliberately as this is a big month of change for me. My new purpose in life is to live it to the fullest! In order to do that, I've decided to get a major grip on my weight issues and I'm scheduled for gastric bypass surgery next week. This has not been a quick or easy decision, but it is a good one in my mind and with the various doctors whom I've consulted. So, before my 60th birthday I'll be on a healthier road. I don't mind the getting older part of living -- I'd just like to enjoy it more and be as active with my body as with my mind. And I wouldn't be adverse to wearing smaller clothes again!! ... Tomorrow I go for all day education classes and Wednesday is for physical fitness assessments. The rest of the week I'll probably get some projects ready to do while sitting as the first week or so is rather sedentary. I'll keep you posted!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Soup - Baked Potato Soup

It's National Soup Month! Have a recipe to share? Add it to the comments! I love winter and winter soups are so tummy warming! Practice making some great breads to go with your soups and you'll be the hit of the neighborhood!

Today's soup has many variations ... here's just one version. Lots of folks make this in a crock pot.

Start out by baking 2 large potatoes. Peel and cube them to have about 2 cups potatoes.
3 (or more) strips bacon diced and sauteed until crisp. Drain bacon and reserve 1 T of the drippings.
1 small onion and 1 clove garlic, chopped. Saute in the same pan with remaining drippings until translucent and tender.
3 T flour, 1 t salt, 1 t dried basil, 1/2 t pepper added to cooked onion and garlic.
Add 3 c chicken or vegetable broth and boil for 2 minutes
Add potatoes.
Stir in 1 cup half and half or table cream.
Grate 1 cup cheddar cheese and add to soup.
Heat through but do not bring to another boil.
Garnish with additional 1/2 cup grated cheddar and some fresh parsley.

Let's defat this a little bit!!

1. Use turkey bacon.
2. Saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil instead of drippings.
3. Use low sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
4. Use fat free half and half or fat free canned evaporated milk instead of cream.
5. Reduced fat cheddar cheese will work really well here!

Happy New Year

Once I slip away from doing something, I really do lose track of how long it's been that I've been missing, so I was, of course, surprised to find that it's really been quite a bit longer since I posted here. For that I apologize .... to you as well as to myself because this is something that I really do enjoy doing! I can use an excuse that we travel a lot and there isn't always a computer available, but that got taken care of at Christmas when Santa brought me a shiny new wireless laptop :) Now I have no excuse but laziness left and I hope that won't be used!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful year ahead. I'm always so excited by the end of one year and the start of another ... not because the year was so bad (well, sometimes it has been), but more because one never knows what adventures are coming in the weeks and months ahead! It's sort of like opening a brand new journal (and it's time to do that, too!!) with all those lovely blank pages just waiting to be filled! I hope that you look forward to what this year holds in store for you, and that everything is sparkly and wonderful!