Monday, January 25, 2010

Fabulous French Onion Soup

Cold wintery months mean yummy soups, stews and chilis in my house.

One of my personal favs is french onion soup. It can fetch a pretty penny in gourmet cafes and fancy restuarants. But really it is so much cheaper to make at home and so easy really.

I usually have everything on hand to conjur up a pot. Even my little guys flip for it.

Who doesn't want a mound of stringy cheese on slices of french bread atop a bowl of happy?

Fabulous French Onion Soup

4 large onions, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup white wine
1 French baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onions in the butter or margarine for 10 minutes, or until onions are tender. Stir in the flour, ground black pepper and the sugar to form a pasty mixture.
Now add the beef broth, water, parsley and thyme and simmer for 10 minutes, Then add the wine and simmer for 10 more minutes. Preheat oven to broil.

Fill individual oven safe bowls 3/4 full with the soup. Place a slice of bread on top of the soup and cover with the cheese. Place bowls in the oven.
Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly

I personally prefer Gruyere cheese, but mozzerella is more cost effective when feeding this to your family and I usually always have a couple bags in my freezer along with some demi french baguettes.

This sweet little recipe always reminds me of my Paris travels with the hubby.

Ahhh...The City of Lights I ♥ you!

yours truly outside the Cath├ędrale Notre Dame de Paris in 2000.

♥ Enjoy ♥

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti On My Heart

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep in my nice warm bed complete with down feather pillow and comforter.

I couldn't stop thinking of the devastation. The orphans.The disease. The hungry. The injured. The missing. The dead. The mourning families. The looters. The dying.

It seems wrong all of a sudden to enjoy all the modern conveniences that I do regularly without having Haiti on my heart.

What can we do?
Pray. Pray. Pray.
Give money of course. That is the best thing at this point. But I want to do more.
So I went searching for other ways to make an impact.

I came across other opportunities to help be apart of the Haiti relief effort.

This is an organization that helps get shoes to those in need. They have committed to one million pairs of shoes to Haiti. You can enter your zip in their donation site finder to find a location nearest to you.

and others like them adopting children from Haiti and having trouble bringing them home now that the earthquake has struck.

They need everyone's help to influence government to grant Humanitarian Parole for Adoptive Children.

Anyone & everyone can help influence this by simply emailing, tweeting, facebooking, calling and writing letters from the comfort of your home or office.

I can't imagine having to leave my son in Haiti RIGHT NOW!

You can get all the info you need to help plus sample letters on their blog.

Copy & Paste. That simple.
Another great organization that has a ship almost packed and ready to set sail to Port Au Prince to provide aide. They have a list of non-perishable items they need on the site. Also, there is a disaster response application if you are interested in volunteering your time.
This organization has been collecting new dolls/trucks for the children of Haiti and other nations for years. Dolls/trucks may seem trivial admist the other needs, but so many children have been displaced and traumatized that this could provide a small comfort.

Always money is a great idea and can make a HUGE difference.

text Haiti to 90999 and $10 will be added to your phonebill for Haiti relief.
text Yele to 501501 to donate $5 to the Yele Haiti relief

A facebook friend recently posted this: Isn't helping others in times like these the basic responsibility of every human being?

Absolutely. I truly believe so.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day!

A beautiful blanket of snow has hit the mid-west!

Some people freak out.
Some people run to the grocery to buy a bulk supply of milk, bread & eggs.
Some people wait in long lines at the gas station.

Not me.
I leave work early and layer my kids up Christmas Story style and head out for some sled riding.

I feel like a kid again instantly.

Memories of the many snowdays my brother and I enjoyed together in our backyard come to me making me feel all gooey.

I love making these kinds of happy memories with my boys.

And just like when I was a kid, every snowday ends with a cup of hot chocolate. The real kind made on a stove, not with powder in a cup.

Snowday Hot Chocolate

4 teaspoons sugar
1/3 semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 cups milk
a couple squeezes chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

add milk,chocolate chips, sugar and syrup into saucepan on medium heat. continously stir until all is combined. add vanilla. serve steaming in cute mugs with lots 'o marshmellows and whipcream.

yummy, sweet and will spoil your dinner:)

Me & bro (way back there) in our backyard with our awesome Pa in 1984

I was the same age then as my Caleb is now.

Happy Winter!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Yummy Holidays

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone's holidays were as blessed and beautiful as ours:)

The holidays can most definately be stressful with all the shopping, wrapping entertaining and hectic social schedule.

All the more reason why I like to make Christmas Day and New Year's Day relaxing days where I don't have to be slaving in the kitchen or thinking about what to feed my sweet little family.

So I plan some brunch casseroles that we can eat and pick on all day if need be. My longtime faithful is the Country breakfast casserole. So easy and my hubby's fav!

Forgive the pic, but my fam wastes no time diggin in.

Country Breakfast Casserole

1 (16 ounce) package breakfast sausage
1 chopped green onion
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 (2.64 ounce) package country gravy mix (I make my own if I don't have this on hand)
6 slices bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
paprika to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease an 11x8 inch baking dish.
Brown sausage in a large skillet; drain fat.
Combine sausage with green onion and spread evenly across the bottom of the baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Whisk together eggs, water, milk, and gravy mix; add mixture to baking dish. Arrange bread squares evenly on top. If desired, drizzle melted butter over bread, and sprinkle with paprika.
Bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside 10 minutes before serving.

Earlier this year I came across this wonderful baked french toast at Whatever and knew it would be perfect with my other casserole.

So easy and quick and absolutely delish!

Baked French Toast

melt 1 stick of butter then add in 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 t. cinnamon and stir together.
pour into a 9x13 pan covering the bottom.

then layer slices of bread on the sugar mixture with the crusts removed.
(it would probably just as good with the crusts on....)
i used 15 pieces of bread.
fill in the holes with smaller pieces.

in a mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups of milk and 6 eggs.
pour over the bread.
that's it.

put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
when it looks baked and golden, pull it out and drizzle syrup over the top.
put it back in the oven under the broiler until brown and bubbly.

Here's my youngest, Quinn enjoying it all!