Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Dealing with #Chiberia January 8, 2014

Chiberia is finally starting to thaw out. Today was my first day back at work, after closing this past Monday and Tuesday due to the weather. Matt and I ended up with a longer post-Christmas break than planned. How did we pass the time without going stir crazy? Here’s our top ten list of how to get through sub-zero temperatures and a foot of snow.

  1. Complete a 1,000+ puzzle. Special shout out to my mom and dad for buying us this awesome beer puzzle.

    1,000 Piece Beer Puzzle

    1,000 Piece Beer Puzzle

  2. Watch a trilogy movie series. We watched The Lord of the Rings extended edition. However, Star Wars or even to Matt’s dismay, the original Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth would also suffice.
  3. Snowshoe. Yep, we went out on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. Saturday was perfect, we wrapped up just before the snow started and temperatures plummeted. Sunday was a little brutal. Matt said I experienced closed to near mountain-like conditions. Glad I could cross that off my list.

    Snowshoeing out and about

    Snowshoeing out and about

  4. Get out the crockpot. First on my list was homemade chili. It does a great job warming you up after snowshoeing in subzero temperatures.
  5. Bake. Corn muffins complement chili too well to pass up. Plus the oven is an excellent extra heating source in the house.
  6. Find a favorite spot on the couch. Don’t be afraid to call dibs.
  7. If you’re looking to be productive, do a little organizing. This included reviewing and shredding many files. Three paper grocery bags later, I felt better and my file cabinet was a lot lighter.
  8. Catch up on new movies. Matt and I ventured out to the theatres to see The Hobbit. We also stayed in-doors and watched The Croods and Hot Fuzz.
  9. Finish a TV series. We’ve been working through a variety of British sitcoms and wrapped up “Coupling”. Definitely check it out on Netflix for a good laugh.
  10. Make soup. If it’s only January and the weather is this bad, I’m stocking up on soup. I made one of my favorites because it’s simple, easy and cheap: French Onion. Here’s the recipe I use:

French Onion Soup

4 medium onions                                                                                          2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cans (10.5 oz each) condensed beef broth                                     1 1/2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon pepper                                                                                   1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 dried bay leaf                                                                                              4oz Gruyère, Swiss or mozzarella cheese (shredded)
4 slices (3/4 to 1 inch thick) French bread                                         1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Peel and cut the onions into slices. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in whatever stock soup pot you use. Stir in onions to coat with butter. Cook uncovered 10 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes.

    Onions Just In The Pot

    Onions Just In The Pot

  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered 35 to 40 minutes longer, stirring well every 5 minutes, until onions are deep golden brown (onions will shrink during cooking).

    The Same Onions 40 Minutes Later!

    The Same Onions 40 Minutes Later!

  • Stir in broth, water, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Heat to boiling over high heat. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat. Cover with lid and simmer 15 minutes. 
  • You may need to move the oven rack so it is near the broiler. Set the oven control to broil. On a cookie sheet, place the bread slices. Broil with tops about 5 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn bread over; broil 1 to 2 minutes longer until golden brown. Or you can always use a toaster to get the same effect. Your choice! Place toasted bread in 4 ovenproof bowls or individual ceramic ramikins.
  • Remove bay leaf from soup. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with cheeses. Place bowls in pan with shallow sides.
  • Broil soup bowls with tops about 5 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or just until cheese is melted and golden brown.

How have you passed the time in the polar vortex of 2014?


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