Saturday, November 4, 2006

November 4, 2006: Free Weekend and French Onion Soup

Wow. I am soaking in this day. This is the first time in 10 weeks that we've had a completely free weekend. Soccer is over. Our annual Soup and Pumpkin party has come and gone. Trunk or Treat, AHG/Cub Scout Hayride and Campfire, dentist appointments, John Notgrass seminar....all over. It's the flurry of activities that always come before we settle in for the winter, and while I'm not ready to get out the Christmas decorations yet, I am excited to spend evenings wrapped in the afghan in our blue chair (the one that has seen much better days in its first life with Randy's dad).

Speaking of being free, I read a great line in a homeschooling magazine at the library today. The author of the article was described as having been a homeschooled family "since they were liberated from public school." I loved that line. It's been seven years since we were liberated, but I still feel that powerful sense of freedom each and every day.

We've been terribly productive around here today. Randy and Jesse finished with Stage 1 of the tree house: The Platform. I've been mostly catching up on paperwork and emails, tying up those odds and ends of duties that get lost in the daily shuffle (often literally). The kids and I spent a relaxing hour at the library, and now they're all watching the big game while supper cooks. French Onion Soup and smoked turkey sandwiches are on tonight's menu. The soup recipe is below. I found a fabulous addition to our sandwiches: Mario's Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade. It's not as fabulous as roasting your own red peppers and using marinated artichokes, but it keeps a long time in the fridge, and it's quick.

French Onion Soup
Serves 4

2 TBS. butter
4 large yellow onions, sliced thin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. mustard
dash of thyme or Italian seasoning
6 cups water
3 TBS. soy sauce
2-3 TBS. dry white wine or red wine (opt.)
few dashes of pepper
Croutons (recipe below)
Grated Mozzerella or thin slices of provolone or swiss cheese

1. Melt butter in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onions and salt. Cook over medium about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add mustard and thyme. Cover. Continue to cook very slowly for about 35 minutes. The onions will be so soft and will simmer in their own liquid.
3. Add everything else except the toppings. Simmer 15 minutes more. Dish into overproof bowls and top with croutons and cheese (in that order). Put under broiler briefly to brown the cheese. Serve with smoked turkey sandwiches or just crusty bread.

Cube some old hoagies, hamburger buns, stale bread, or whatever you have handy. Saute in garlic butter and then toast at 300 for a few minutes.

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