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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 I get in return?

October 10, 2012

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Was a bit of a rush trying to listen with the kids in and out of the kitchen looking for pumpkin bars and juice and answers I do not have to advanced chemistry and physics questions. Then there were questions about the upcoming driver's test, and advice on a friend issue, and frustration with a slow computer. And a few bad jokes just after a mad search for trumpet music. Thank the Lord for the multitasking gene.

We're at the stage of things where not everything I do is cool, and that's ok with me. Being cool is not my prime directive. I think sometimes the kids think I'm, well, kind of a nerd, the way I sing and clean up and get all hepped up about something I made for dinner. I know that they kind of linger with their friends after play practice when I pull up in the Minivan with music blasting, and I know that my overweening desire to bring fresh cookies or bars wherever I go to share with whomever I meet is probably a bit embarrassing. And I know that sometimes, when friends are over and I'm cleaning and wearing my shredded up jeans and my old nasty Converse sneakers and my "Dreamer" T-shirt or my hoodie that is barely holding itself together, they may rather I spend some time in the pantry or my closet until their friends leave.

But. It's not my job to be cool, or to be their friend, even. My job is to parent them through all of their rebellious, negative, frustrating days along with the happy, optimistic, joy-filled days. My job is to make sure they have enough protein, especially on test days; provide warm, clean beds and clothes that are functional and reasonably hip; listen to their agonies and their thrills; answer what questions I can and give direction for those I can't; give them a solid example of what it means to try to be a good person; hold them close when they're lost; and the list goes on, and is long. Today we get out the winter coats and hats and mittens, and they're not going to enjoy trying it all on...

What I get in return? I get called "Mom." Big deal to me, and whether I'm cool or not is beside the point. Rather "Mom" than "Pope" or "Queen", or "Rock Star", and that's the truth of it. And, now and then, I get to be told I was right. Like this morning. "I do feel better after going to bed early." I'll have to remind her again of that, but it is nice to be -- if not cool -- right. For a fleeting moment.

If I found myself on an island for a year, and had only one thing to eat for lunch each day, this one would be in my top five choices. No doubt at all.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz elbow macaroni
½ cup butter, divided
1 T chopped garlic
6 T flour
3 cups whole milk, warmed
1½ cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1¼ cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
½-1 cup bread crumbs

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Sauté garlic in butter for about a minute.

Whisk in flour; cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add warmed milk, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat while whisking, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.

Blend in cheeses (reserving ¼ cup shredded Parmesan); salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring until cheese is melted.

Toss pasta with sauce and transfer to a 2½-quart greased baking dish. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Toss with bread crumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over pasta.

Bake in a preheated 375° oven 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

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