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Happy New Year! - Consuming Nothing But Food

I just watched a segment on the Today Show about going on a money diet. They suggested writing down everything you spend money on for a week. Well, on the first day of 2011, I didn't even walk outside of my house. I didn't log onto eBay and buy any old lunchboxes paying tribute to TV shows from the 1970s. I managed consume nothing but food I already had in my pantry - no ordering out. I was a great money dieter.

Two days before, I bought my very first e-book, Eat, Pray, Love. I had asked for this book for Christmas; however, when I didn't receive it, I bought it for myself with some money I got for Christmas. I don't own an iPad, but I have access to one from work, so I decided to see how I would like reading an entire book on an electronic tablet. I'm about 130 pages into the story, and so far so good. The best part about reading on a tablet is the ability to read in low light. No need to sit right next to a lamp. I'll put on my fortune teller hat right now and predict that this will also be the year that finally break down an buy a smartphone. By the end of this year, perhaps I'll be reading most of the books I buy on my phone, an e-reader, or a full-blown tablet. What's your experience with electronic reading? Have you tried it? Do you want to?

Along with this money diet concept, new years always bring renewed motivation for new food diets. I plan to jump on that bandwagon as well, but not until this coming Thursday. In the mean time, I've been doing some serious cooking. On New Year's Eve, I made homemade chicken and noodles. Yesterday, I made French onion soup. Today, I'm firing up the slow cooker once again to make spaghetti and meatballs.

About 5 years ago, I was one of 50 finalists in the "Pillsbury Complete Cookbook, Always a Part of the Family Contest." I won The Pillsbury Complete Cookbook, and I've ended up using it quite often. The book's following recipe for French Onion Soup Gratinee is worth trying for yourself:

3 tablespoons margarine or butter (I always use butter.)
4 cups thinly sliced onions
5 cups beef broth
1 beef-flavor bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon beef-flavor instant bouillon
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash pepper
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 slices French bread, toasted (I usually use sourdough bread instead.)

1. Melt butter in Dutch oven or large saucepan over low heat. Add onions, cook 15 minutes or until golden brown and tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Add broth, bouillon cube, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine Swiss and Parmesan cheeses.
4. To serve, place 6 ovenproof soup bowls on cookie sheet. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with slice of toasted bread, sprinkle each with about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture.
5. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 1 to 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Serving size:  1 cup - 250 calories - Total fat: 13 grams - Dietary fiber: 2 grams.

Give this recipe a try, and let me know how it goes. I usually prepare this in a slow cooker and just let it simmer all day. Of course, if you have your own tried and true French onion soup recipe, I'd love to hear about it.

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