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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

Nice to be surprised now and then

February 6, 2012

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Another weekend without much snow but that's not the worst thing in the world. I'm contemplating making an appointment for a massage not so much because I need one but because it's something different to do since I can't go tobogganing and it would feel good and why not. It's ok to treat oneself now and then. Especially when there is stress involved. I recall reading once about how stress is simply the condition of being human. Well, I'm human.

And Valentine's Day is coming so maybe Mr. Sundberg will think, "Hmm. A gift card to the spa for this particular human is just the thing." But it doesn't matter much what he decides. He's never given me anything that isn't the sweetest thing. Last year it was roses and chocolate. Only the roses were this lovely purplish silver color, and the chocolate was filled with sea salt and caramel and almond slivers. I mean, my gosh. His every gift is so thoughtful.

I have to say, it has been a stressful few days with one of the kids having strep throat and one with an advanced chemistry class. And one far away wishing for cookies shaped like hearts. Throw in a strange odor in the basement while the washer is running, and my lack of familiarity with the periodic chart and a conversation about politics that got out of hand and a new pet dwarf bunny. Who chews on the paneling but IS potty trained already. Throw on top of it all an ad from a local floral shop suggesting if a man buys their wife flowers, he is guaranteed a "Happy Valentine's Night."

Well. What a lot of pressure to put on people receiving flowers. I won't go into detail, but gifts are from the heart, and given without expectation, or keeping track, and I know it seems trivial but you can't guarantee sex, or romance even. You just give. From your heart. Especially when Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday and includes guitar lessons, three hours of chemistry homework, a community development meeting, leftover pizza for dinner, and a need for formalwear to be pressed and ready to go for the jazz ensemble on Wednesday. The rest happens when it happens, flowers or no. The beauty of it all is, it's bound to, at some point. How 'bout that for an ad, Mr. Flower Man? How 'bout, "Love Someone? We Have Flowers, A Whole Bunch from Which to Choose. Pink and Red included. Give it a thought. You just never know."

It's the possibility of good things that keeps life interesting. Nice to be surprised now and then. Especially when you're human.

Feel like surprising your honey with a nice meal for Valentine's Day? Here's a soup for starters. Or for a main course if you've got a cheesecake hidden away in the fridge. With love from me to you.

Baked French Onion Soup

6 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
9 cups beef broth
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
6-8 slices French or white bread
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
8 slices Gruyere or provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 325°.

Remove the crusts from slices of bread if you desire. Bake bread pieces 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden and crisped. Set aside.

Sauté sliced onions in olive oil over medium heat until onions become translucent but not brown. Add minced garlic cloves to onions during last few minutes, making sure garlic does not brown.

Stir in beef broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste adding salt and pepper as required. Remember that Parmesan is salty, so don't go overboard with the salt.

Ladle the soup into ovenproof serving bowls, one for each serving. Cover soup with a slice of bread. Top with Gruyère or provolone and sprinkle with Parmesan. Place serving bowls under broiler set on high, and broil six to seven minutes or until cheese is bubbly and a browned a bit. Serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling at table.

Makes about eight servings.

Enjoy!

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