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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

Where words just don't cut it

February 13, 2013

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. There was a lovely woman who sang "500 Crows" on the show and she has this soulful voice, and the most charming laugh I've heard in a while, the kind of laugh that kind of lifts a person skyward, and all of it together made me want to get up and dance. "I am part heartache / I am part joyful child" she sang, and I'm right with her. "To tell you the truth / I'm still searchin', to find that bigger light..." It gave me goosebumps. "I'm looking for a melody that will break my heart open..."

This time of year, mid-February, when love becomes topic of conversation, when we go searching for the right words, the perfect gift, the amazing evening out, it's in music that I feel it all most. There's a song for every feeling, it seems, and thank goodness. I can stop trying to explain myself, and say, "Listen to that. THAT's how I feel." I remember the scene in Children of a Lesser God when a deaf Marlee Matlin asks speech teacher William Hurt to SHOW her the music, and he tries, with his arms, his eyes closed and face turned up. And Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, toward the end, when the music takes over his body, and he -- a man near death -- stands and, watching him, you know what he is feeling. Such moments.

And that's why we dance, I think. To express something where words just don't cut it. I dance pretty often in the kitchen, often when I am alone, because I can't help it and because it feels good. Now, Mr. Sundberg is not a dancing man by nature, but he has become more so in our time together. He'll polka with me at weddings, and waltz me around the kitchen at the end of a good day, but what I'm hoping for this Valentine's Day -- you can't plan these things -- is that we'll find ourselves in the kitchen, and the perfect song will play on the radio, and we'll have a slow dance, just the two of us, for the loving.

I had the privilege of attending my grandmother's funeral a while back, and those blessed Methodist women at her church served an amazing meal for all of us as part of the celebration. Casserole never tasted so good, and one of the women slipped me the recipe upon request, and here it is. Take my word for it -- this is one fine casserole. Add some rolls, maybe some roasted asparagus on the side. Divine.

Chicken Almond Casserole

5 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 cups diced celery
3 cups cooked rice
1 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts
2 10¾ ounce cans cream of chicken soup
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
2 T chopped onion
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¾ tsp pepper
1 cup sliced almonds

Mix together and pour into a 9x13 baking dish.

Topping
½ cup sliced almonds
3 cups crushed corn flakes
⅔ cup butter, melted
Mix together and sprinkle over casserole.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes at 350.

Enjoy!

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