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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

It's Time to Get Out There

May 1, 2013

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was time, at last, to put away the apple cinnamon candles and get out the lemon scented candles and the bleach and the old flour sack towels and go to town. I mean really go to town. I did it. I spent two entire days cleaning, and finished up sometime on Monday night, spent. Everything but the outside windows, and good for that, since the rain is coming down doing it for me even now, and will continue much of the week.

I don't know if it's the death of winter, or the birth of spring, or the cooped-up feeling a person gets being inside for so many hours and bundling up whenever outside, but I felt a major force of something rising up in me on Saturday night and I unleashed it Sunday morning. It was a sunny day, and I started with the bedding. Washed it all, vacuumed under the beds, and shook out all the rugs. I swept the garage, unloaded and wiped out all the cupboards, and cleaned up the small empty room downstairs and began to fill it up with items for a garage sale later this month. I did the windows, dusted the ceiling fans, scrubbed the tubs and floors and counters. Dusted everything, more stuff into the room downstairs, another bag into the dumpster. Vacuumed, used up what I could in the fridge for a lunch here, a snack there, and buffed with a sponge the few scuffs on the white paint of the wall just inside the front door. I sorted through the kids' clothes, more stuff for the garage sale, and cleaned out the junk drawers and let go of some junk.

It was glorious. On Monday evening when I folded the last of the cleaning rags, my shoulder hurt and my legs were tired and I felt great. The house feels lighter, and there is more to do, but I got it going. I've always felt strongly that it's no small thing to have nice things, and it is one's responsibility to take care of them. From the kitchen appliances to the bureaus to dishes and clothes and books and framed photos and birds carved from wood, if it serves a purpose or if it means something to you, use it and maintain it; if it doesn't, give it away. Or fill your garage on a sunny day in May with things needing purpose or meaning, and sell them. Cheap. And use the money for something a little bit fun. Like a family visit to the pizza farm. Or a day trip to a chocolate factory. Or a new trampoline. Spring is here, and it's time to get out there and have at it.

Hard to let go of the comfort soups bring during the winter, so lighten it up a bit and use spring vegetables for something perfect on a May afternoon. Serve this one with some homemade bread, and take some to a neighbor who has been outside working all day.

Kale Soup

1 package frozen or 1-2 lbs fresh kale
1 large sweet Vidalia
3 potatoes, peeled
2 links of your favorite sausage
8 cups chicken or pork broth
¼ cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 can cannelloni beans
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 hot pepper, seeded
⅓ teaspoon paprika
Season with salt and pepper to taste

Slice sausage and sauté in ¼ cup of olive oil, onion, and chopped garlic. Add garlic last to avoid browning. Add liquid and simmer for 10 minutes.

Prepare the kale by rinsing thoroughly and tearing the leafy portions from the stems. Tear into bite-size pieces and discard the stems.

Add potatoes, kale, and simmer additional 30 minutes. Add beans.

You could substitute escarole or Napa cabbage for kale, and add one pound peeled baby carrots at the same time as you add the potatoes. Add fresh chopped leeks or scallions. Use fresh carrot juice as part of the broth. Add a few fresh parsley, sage, or oregano leaves if you have them.

Serves 4

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