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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

What if they come to our house?

January 29, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Things got a bit warm in the kitchen as I was throwing together some dip for our Sunday night gathering at the Stevensons' and whipping up some homemade macaroni and cheese for the kids to eat while we were away. I opened a window and the cold air rushed in and, oh, did it feel good. But only for a moment or two. It was cold out there, let me tell you. "Ass-burn cold," my father would call it, but that's my father. Let's just say it was pretty dang cold Saturday night, and Sunday was even colder.

Mr. Sundberg and I headed over to the Stevensons' at 5 after a day of church and baking and lounging around. The theme for the evening was "Comfort" and everyone was dressed accordingly. The Gustafsons wore matching purple flannel shirts and the Gales wore green plaid flannel pants and blue sweatshirts. Ms. Abelfee had on a pink sweat suit and giant white puffy slippers, and Mrs. Stevenson wore a black velvet lounging outfit while her husband had no qualms about mingling in a pair of red long johns, complete with a back flap. Mr. Sundberg doesn't like to call attention to himself, so it was his favorite gray sweater and jeans. I wore jeans, too, and an old sweatshirt reading, "Save the Whales."

We'd all brought our favorite comfort foods. My artichoke dip went fast, I'm glad to say. There was spinach dip, too, and the meal included meatloaf, mashed potatoes loaded up with sour cream, a fruit salad, some cheddar biscuits, and steamed broccoli floating on a bed of cheese. The conversation was lovely, as we drew questions from a hat and read them aloud and everyone weighed in. Mine was "What have you wanted to do your whole life but haven't yet done?" Simple, I said. Climb a mountain. I've always wanted to climb a mountain and I don't doubt that it'll happen. "What mountain?" someone asked. Doesn't matter, I said. Any mountain will do. I just want to get to the top and have a sandwich and take a long look at the world. Maybe sing "God Bless America" or do a little dance.

It was getting dark and we were discussing our greatest fears over French Silk pie when the phone rang. It was the kids. "The news guy said that there are thieves in the night and he'll tell us where at ten. What if they come to our house?" I told them to relax and there aren't any thieves outside but lock the doors and turn on a light or two so you feel better, and have some butter brickle ice cream. The kids are old enough to be home alone, but young enough to flip out on occasion if they let their imaginations take over.

When we pulled into the driveway an hour or so later, every light in the house was on. The doors were all locked, and both TVs were on, and the kids were nowhere to be seen. I went upstairs and their beds were still made and I was a bit perplexed. Then I heard Mr. Sundberg holler from the kitchen. When I got there, he pressed his finger to his lips and pointed to the pantry. There they were, all three of 'em, bundled up in the blue blanket from the hall closet, sound asleep on the pantry floor. There were flashlights and books scattered over the blanket, and all three of them had faint white lines above their upper lips. Ice cream mustaches. Butter brickle.

Artichoke Dip

This dip would work out just fine if you're headed to a Superbowl party. It's warm and salty and goes well with hot beefs or chicken or as a lunch all its own.

1 10 oz package spinach
1 13 oz can artichoke hearts
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 large garlic cloves, pressed
2 T lemon juice

Drain spinach. Press between layers of paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, and next 5 ingredients in a bowl. Stir well. Spoon into a lightly greased 11 x 7 baking dish, or a casserole, or what have you.

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Serve with assorted crackers, bagel chips, or bread sticks. Makes 4 cups dip.

Optional: Mix 2 T melted butter with 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs made by pulsing chunks of a French baguette in a food processor. Sprinkle over dip before baking.


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