Tag Archives: French Onion soup

Shiny and Bright

Saturday I made it to the gym!!! After being snowed/iced in for two days I braved the drive and made it. My little car would not have made it out of our street –which was a sheet of ice–but the Subaru did great and once I got on the main streets it was clear.

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It felt SO good to get to the gym! I hadn’t been since Monday. I was also slightly sore still from Thursday’s at home workout. Squats and kettlebells ALWAYS get me.

At the gym I did some light body weight/ab stuff, went through a circuit of the weight machines and then did 27 minutes on the elliptical. It felt awesome!

Then home to clean up and get ready to go on a date. Michael’s mom and stepdad came over to spend some time with the little dude so we could go out to lunch and possibly get a Christmas tree.

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The roads were decent but sidewalks were super icy still. We ended up going to Lardo on SE Hawthorne for lunch. It’s been years since I’ve been there. The place was packed when we arrived. We ordered and then sat outside in the covered and heated patio area.

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We both got the Block 15 Sticky Hands IPA. For lunch Michael got the Grilled Mortadella:

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I got the Lardo Egg Sandwich, smoked pork belly with a runny egg and cheese. It came with a hash brown patty on the side.

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Michael got an order of their “dirty fries” –fries with cheese, pork pieces and pickled peppers on top. I nibbled on some. I didn’t love the fries. I did enjoy the pickled peppers, though!

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We talked about getting a Christmas tree. We both had concerns, obviously. Logan is almost 9 months old (on the 22nd!!) and he is an ACTIVE little boy already. He’s been crawling for two months, standing for a month and he’s already “cruising” (walking while he holds on to things like the coffee table). He also goes right for all the things he shouldn’t have and big, sparkling, blinky Christmas tree would be a bad idea.

We talked about getting a small tree and putting it on a table, that didn’t really seem feasible, because we a) don’t have a table that would work and b) he could probably pull that down too. I floated the idea of getting a tiny living tree (something I’ve always wanted to do) and putting it on this one tall side table we have in the living room. So we went to Lowe’s to check it out and found the small living trees.

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For about the same price as a large Christmas tree we got the living tree. It’s small and the needles are super spikey! That’s the only downside. But I like that we can plant it in the yard somewhere after Christmas and it doesn’t feel like such a waste.

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It’s okay, it does the trick. Next year we’ll go all out and it will be great! And Logan will be old enough to “get it”.

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Saturday night we were supposed to go to the Milwaukie Solstice Festival and then some friends were coming over for dinner but our friends were sick, I was still under the weather and we just didn’t feel like going back out. So Michael made dinner for us instead and we just chilled.

He made French Onion Soup!

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Here’s the recipe:

French Onion Soup

From: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/french_onion_soup

Ingredients

  • 6 large red or yellow onions (about 3 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced root to stem (see How to Slice an Onion), about 10 cups of sliced onions total
  • 4 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
  • 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme (can also use a few sprigs of fresh thyme) OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 8 inch-thick slices of French bread or baguette
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere and a sprinkling of Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Caramelize the onions: In a 5 to 6 quart thick-bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with the olive oil.
  2. Cook the onions, stirring often, until they have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter and cook, stirring often, until the onions start to brown, about 15 more minutes.
  4. Then sprinkle with sugar (to help with the caramelization) and 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to cook until the onions are well browned, about 10 to 15 more minutes.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.
  6. Deglaze the pot with vermouth: Add the vermouth to the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pot, deglazing the pot as you go.
  7. Add stock and seasonings: Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.
  8. Season to taste with more salt and add freshly ground black pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Add brandy if using.
  9. Toast French bread slices: While the soup is simmering, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil and preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven.
  10. Brush both sides of the French bread or baguette slices lightly with olive oil (you'll end up using about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil for this).
  11. Put in the oven and toast until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
  12. Turn the toasts over and sprinkle with the grated Gruyere cheese and Parmesan. Return to oven when it's close to serving time and bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
  13. Serve: To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and transfer one cheesy toast onto the top of each bowl of soup.
  14. Alternatively, you can use individual oven-proof bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350° F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51311

Dinner was great!

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We missed the Winter Solstice but we did manage to go to Peacock Lane this year!

I told Logan we were going to see sparkly Christmas lights. He giggled:

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We met up with a friend of mine who has a baby about 2.5 months younger than Logan. Peacock Lane was PACKED! You could barely walk there were so many people. But the babies loved the lights!

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I’m really looking forward to Christmas this weekend!

When Good Classes Go Bad

I went to the gym on Wednesday, looking forward to returning to Spin class after a week off. After a lot of trial and error I’ve found a good teacher and a good class that I really enjoy. I was surprised when I went into the Spin room to find a substitute teacher. Boo. I tried not to be too negative about it, despite the fact that the sub looked like a Barbie doll and was wearing full makeup (even blush). My first thought was “dammit, I’m totally not going to get a good work out tonight.” This was not the case, as I soon realized.

Barbie (I have no idea what her name was) basically skipped the warm-up period and immediately instructed us to set the resistance at “8 out of 10.” Seriously? I did as instructed but it was probably more like a 7 out of 10 for me (I was worried about aggravating my knee). Barbie proceeded to bark at us to increase the resistance about every 20 seconds or so until we were essentially biking up a mountain.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to sweat and I love a challenge AND I place value on my workouts depending on how many calories I burn but……this chick was intense. Despite her wildly unrealistic expectations of our abilities, the workout itself was pretty good. We did a very fast interval routine of VERY challenging standing climbs then back in the saddle for about 30 seconds, then back up standing again. I LIKE those types of routines but this chick was nuts!

She said things like “Let’s get our heart rates to 205!” And then she went on a long rambling tangent about how if we were older than her  (“like over 40”) than we shouldn’t do 205 but that she “wasn’t 40.” Um, okay. Then she told us that we needed to challenge ourselves to do “15 out of 10” in resistance. Eventually I ignored her recommendations and just did the routine but at a resistance I knew would not cripple me the next day (it’s important to tailor your workouts to your own abilities and know your body). My heart rate was steady in the 160’s –which is pretty high for me.

Like I said, I liked part of the workout and I love being challenged. I feel like the instructor was a little….off. Her tone was super grating. I would use the word “shrill.” She reminded of me of Parker Posey’s character in the movie “Dazed and Confused.” Remember her yelling at the freshman in a shrill, shrieking voice? Yeah….

The sub instructor reminded me of her. Her tone was really off-putting and I found that it annoyed me as the class went on. She would bark things like:

“COME ON!” shrill

“GO! GO! GO!” shriek!

“You can go FASTER THAN THAT! PUSH IT!” meow!!

I don’t think I am adequately illustrating just how “whiney/nagging girlfriend” her tone of voice was. Instead of being encouraging or inspiring, I found that it was obnoxious and I was just begging for the class to be over with. I didn’t feel positive about her or my time spent there–even though I burned a crapload of calories.

After class I asked another gym-goer what she thought of the substitute. The girl was super nice and she just laughed and said, “Um…she’s not the worst I’ve ever had but….” Yeah….

Oh well. They can’t all be naturals, I guess. If I had any words of wisdom for Barbie, I’d say tone is everything. Less nagging/shrieking girlfriend and more cheerleader “you can do it!” She had a good base but needed to tweak the workout to fit the abilities of the people in the class. Oh, and warm-ups are nice. 😛

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:30
Calories Burned:  704

(Those numbers include about 100 calories from running 1 mile on the treadmill and doing ab workouts.) When I got home, sweaty and sore, Michael was preparing a feast for dinner! I don’t know what inspired him to do so, but dinner rocked. He made French Onion soup from scratch (healthified by skipping the bread and only using 1 slice of Swiss cheese for 70 calories).

And we split a cut of steak. I added some raw broccoli and Light Ranch dressing to mine because I was so hungry I felt like I could eat everything in sight.

I made it through the day without eating ANY candy from the Candy Room at work and was feeling really positive about breaking my habit. 3 days in a row, go me! For dessert at home I had one serving (200 calories) of chocolate. It was from the giant chocolate bar that Michael got me for my birthday. 🙂

It hit the spot and was the perfect amount of dessert. I savored every single bite and still had about 200 calories left for my day.

QUESTION: Have you had negative experiences with fitness instructors? Did you leave the class? Stay and suffer?