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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

Seven Surefire Ways to Stay Warm

January 22, 2008

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It had been a busy day, a cold day, the coldest I can recall. When the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m., the temp was below zero and the wind chill was way down there in the minus twenties and it was something to rise up out of the warmth of quilts piled high into the chill air. Nothing like it in the world. I pulled on a pair of cold jeans and a cold sweatshirt and hustled on down to the kitchen where I made a pot of coffee and a batch of oatmeal in record time.

Getting warmed up can be a tricky thing in this part of the world. You've got to be patient, and you've got to use your head, depending on your situation. Of course, if you've got a furnace you can crank it on up and that's that, but the day will come when the bill arrives and you don't want to set yourself up for a week or two of macaroni and counting your change. We went the wood route so there's the cutting and stacking in the summertime and the measuring out in the winter, and the pile is down low enough that we keep the fire going but a roaring fire it's not.

Of course there's the whole concept of layering, which the kids don't like much. They don't see the point because it involves futzing around and things get bunched up and tight and there's not much tolerance for all that tucking in. So we've been making good use of my Seven Surefire Ways to Stay Warm in Winter When You're Frugal and the Wood is Low:

1. Oatmeal, homemade, with butter, milk, and light brown sugar.
2. Housecleaning. Especially washing the floors and vacuuming, with laundry in between.
3. Baking. Anything needing kneading or rolling out is a bonus.
4. Exercise. Videos, especially the line dancing one we got from Aunt Suzanne. Or Hide and Seek. Throw a jumping jack contest in there and you're good to go.
5. Cheese. Curds deep fried in beer batter is best. Grilled sandwiches a close second.
6. Snuggle Time. You'll need a couch, blankets, and pillows. And everyone in the house has to participate or it doesn't work. A good movie is a nice touch, and so is music, but the best thing is conversation. Like "What if we woke up tomorrow and we were the only people left on earth?" Or "Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?" Or "What do you suppose the average day in heaven is like?"
7. A hot bath.

And Saturday, blessed Saturday, from oatmeal at 6:30 to a hot bath at midnight, I managed to hit all seven. Your average day in heaven, seems to me. Wind chill included. It's why we live where we live. Without that wind chill, warm wouldn't feel so dang good.

These will take you way back to when winters were REALLY cold. The kids will love 'em after school, and they'll make the whole house smell divine. Simply.

Melt-in-your-mouth Sugar Cookies

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup butter
Cream until fluffy.
Beat in 2 eggs.
Add 4 cups + 4 heaping T's flours, and
1 t salt, 1 t soda, 1 t. cream of tartar
2 t almond extract

Mix.

Chill a while.

Roll into balls and press down with glass bottom

dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so.

Makes about 6 1/2 dozen.

Mmm.

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