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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

A Solid Routine

September 21, 2006

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Not bad at all. It's good to get back into that routine again. It's been a while. When every day begins with an alarm followed by cooking breakfast for the kids, a shower, running errands, lunch for Mr. Sundberg, then dishes and laundry and, after a visit to the post office, the whole dinnertime thing, it helps to have something a bit different to look forward to.

Like that woodcarving class Mr. Sundberg and I took last fall. Five Tuesday evenings of pure joy, let me tell you. Of course we each had a project to do and since it was a beginner's class Mr. Sundberg thought he'd keep it simple and carve a set of wooden spoons. Which is admirable for all kinds of reasons, but when making Jell-O is the creative high point of your day, you want to go all out when you have a chance. So I went to work on my own little interpretation of "The Ecstasy of St. Theresa." The bonus was that we were able to work at home all we wanted and we did - late, some nights -- and drank wine while we worked (he whittled; I carved) and talked about the cruise to Alaska and what did and didn't work in the garden and the time the kids wrote "BOO HOWDY" all over each others' faces with permanent marker.

A few weeks back, while having dinner out with the kids to celebrate my birthday, Mr. Sundberg handed me a small gift wrapped in blue. "For you," he said. It was the three spoons from the woodcarving class. The thing about wooden spoons is that they're practical and useful and if you snap one in half while mixing a batch of cookies you can just pitch it into the fire or toss it into the garbage. You can use them to get things out from under the stove, or to brace open the oven door while the bread is rising or to kill small bugs on the counter. They work well as d├ęcor on a birthday gift, and after you use them enough they soften up and fade a bit and feel as if they belong in your hand. I now have 9 wooden spoons, each with a purpose. One in particular I especially like. It's from Africa, and made of teak, and could be used as a weapon should the opportunity present itself.

Mr. Sundberg's spoons turned out much better than my statue, which looked more like an Adele penguin running for dear life from a polar bear. Not at all what I was aiming for. But that's how it goes. When you try something new you run the risk of failure, but who's keeping track? And don't get me wrong. There's something to be said for a solid routine. Keeps you from flying off into the cosmos, if you know what I mean. That's why I bake so dang much. And this week's cookies? They're almond-flavored, with chocolate and cherries and coconut, and the kids were nearly catatonic after polishing off a dozen or two. You really ought to give it a whirl.

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Cream together.

Add 1 cup oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
Mix well.

Add 3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. soda 1 tsp salt

Add 1 cup oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet)
1 cup rice krispies
1 cup coconut
About half a jar of chopped maraschino cherries.
Chopped walnuts, optional.

Drop by teaspoonsful onto a cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 12 - 15 minutes or so.
Let cool for a while.

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