Attitude Check and The Best French Onion Soup Recipie Ever

Around 12:30 this afternoon, I decided to make a menu for the week, complete with grocery list. The idea was to then go to the grocery store and get my supplies for the week so that I will be prepared and perhaps even a bit more relaxed this week. Just think, when I leave the hospital at 4pm, I can be home by 4:15pm instead of stumbling around the grocery store trying to think of something to make for dinner. Lovely.

And yet, it is 3pm and I have just completed my list. It is like I can't let myself do something useful to give myself a hand up for the rest of the week. I could have been to store and back by now. I could have already done the one other task I set out to do today and be reading or doing something creative. But here I am. Still on the couch. And now I will rush around to get all my goals completed before we go to church in 2 1/2 hours.

I can still go to the store. And I can still be prepared for the week. I mean, I have a great menu planned . . . french onion soup and flank steak, fish tacos, and this yummy concoction of chicken, artichokes, mushrooms, kalamata olives covered in a yummy red pepper cream sauce - and the best part is, it is a Cooking Light recipe, so I can feel good about pouring the half and half into the food processor because the elves at CL have found ways to let me use yummy ingredients while watching out for our health at the same time! Bless 'em!

When I was single, I think I probably fantasized about Sundays like today. I would have loved to have a second person to plan meals and cook for. Going to the grocery store while he was snug on the couch with the football game as the backdrop of his dreams would have sounded like heaven to me.

But here I am. It is reality now. And while I enjoy planning meals and going to the grocery store, I don't feel all that different than I did back in my basement apartment, sitting on my hand-me-down fouton - wishing I had a partner to share life with. I still feel discontent sometimes. I still wish I was different - you know, less sensitive and more disciplined. I still get "stuck" sometimes . . . unable to do things I want to do in exchange for widdling away my time and then rushing around later.

I have been studying certain women around me lately. Some live nearby, others are friends far away . . . some are strangers whose blogs I "monitor" on a regular basis. What I am learning is that circumstances inform our experience of life much less than I would like to give them credit for. I have always thought that if circumstances are the barometer, then when I don't feel the way I want to, I can just daydream about different circumstances that might someday bring me the experience and emotions I want.

But I know better than that! I am a therapist, for goodness sakes. I knew in the back of my mind that marriage would not solve all of life's problems . . . my mom told over and over again that a man was not the answer to any pain I might have in my heart. And I replied with an indignant, "I KNOW that mom! But I still want to be married!" But she was right. I hate it when she is right. But she is right . . . a lot . . . especially when it comes to me.

I have the man now - a great man! - but my heart still feels empty sometimes . . . okay, more often than I would like to admit. So I won't.

The point is: the women I have been studying have a variety of circumstances: some are single, others have had tradgedy, some have sick children or struggle with their own health, some have awesome marriages, others struggle financially. But they all have something in common: a strong faith in Christ and a daily choice to look for the positive and enjoy what they have.

So, I will stop my pity party and my daydreaming about being a different person and go put MY shoes on. Because really, despite a few scuffs and the fact that I trip and twist my ankle when I wear them sometimes, they are good shoes. Then, I will kiss my sleeping husband on the forehead. I will go to the store. And I will be thankful.

And now, the soup!

Frech Onion Soup

1/4 cup unsalted butter
6 large onions (about 5 pounds), thinly sliced (**** I find my food processor cuts the prep time for this recipie in half!!!)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup brandy
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 cups beef broth, homemade or canned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 (1/2-inch thick) slices French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyere

Heat the butter in a soup pot over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized, about 40 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and add the brandy. Return the pot to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost dry. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. While stirring, slowly add the broth. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, with the cover slightly ajar, about 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

Arrange a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and preheat.

Arrange 6 ovenproof crocks or deep soup bowls on a baking sheet and ladle the hot soup into them. Arrange 2 slices of toasted bread on top of each soup and sprinkle with the cheese.

Broil the soups until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.

(***This soup can be made the day before - it tastes even better after it has been around for a while!)

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Blogger Jennifer Coomer said...

Did you go to the store? Because if you did I really admire you. When I worked at Kroger I was told that Sunday is a grocery store's busiest day. Which is why I could never have Sunday off. But they did let me start my shift after church. And that was nice.

Which night came I come over for dinner? I mean, with the time difference I save an hour so maybe I could make it there and back in time???

10:09 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Cara said...

i DID go to the store, actually! yay for me!
i recommend you come over tuesday or thursday for the soup! tres yummy!

10:20 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Lolita said...

i'm so hungry now.

good thoughts & i love the new look!

10:44 PM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger Sarah said...

I adore Cooking Light recipes. They are inspiring, mostly yummy and easy to follow. Did you use the menue planner from their website? If someone were really smart they would start a grocery shopping company. They take your list, buy your stuff and put it away for you!

9:51 AM, September 28, 2006  
Blogger Cara said...

hi sarah! how fun that you are commenting!!!
disclaimer: the french onion soup recipe is NOT from cooking light (although there is only 1/4 cup of butter in the entire thing!!!) i typically use their recipe finder.
as much as i complained about going to the store, i actually LOVE being there. so i am not sure i would be willing to give that one over to somebody else. .. . but i would certainly hire somebody to do my laundry for me!!!!

11:19 AM, September 28, 2006  
Blogger peanutgallery said...

um. i can't get past that step 1 of this recipe takes 40 minutes. you are a very, very good wife.

4:16 PM, October 04, 2006  

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