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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

The Condition of Being Human

December 19, 2013

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It's been something of a crazy month so far with school activities and concerts and shopping and shoveling and baking and sending things out in the mail which I forget whether or not I've sent after I think I sent them. Not crazy in a certifiable way, but crazy wild and rather beautiful. Like how the stars look on a clear night, or a pure meltdown with tears and a rant and the blessed calm after, or how chocolate and peanut butter swirl together and then you add the marshmallow. Crazy like everything happening at once, and each of the every things is good and right, but together it's something else, and then one more thing happens.

I lost track of what the one more thing was. There were several "one more things" this week. "I just want life to be simple," one of the kids said this week, the youngest, as she struggled with her own array of crazy things. You said it, I thought. Simple. "Life" and "simple" don't go together, I was about to tell her, but I didn't. Last thing a kid studying for a big test needs is a mother flinging pithy statements her way.

But I got to thinking about simplicity, and how life really is simple, and we just complicate the heck out of it. I remember reading a quote a long while back about how stress is simply the condition of being human. Makes me smile. We kind of set ourselves up, really. We go buy alarm clocks that ring and flash a blue light brighter and brighter until we have to get up and turn them off. We put calendars on the fridge where we keep our food. We organize the hall closet. We plan elaborate celebrations with amazing food and a myriad of personalities on the guest list and we festoon the house with garlands and spice and when the time comes to celebrate, one more thing happens.

Someone gets the flu. The Big Storm hits. The furnace dies. The dog runs away. A man sets the garage on fire while frying the turkey. A woman slips on the ice. One of the kids decides to go rebellious. Someone brings up health care reform at the table. Another of the kids calls and can't get home. Someone bled on the carpet, and something peed in the garage. It's one more thing. One after another. Stressful. But we're human, and we can choose. It's snowing again, and what do you see? All the shoveling you're going to have to do later on today? Or those crazy beautiful flakes of snow falling thick from the sky?

It's Christmas time. Take a big ol' deep breath, everyone. Simple as that.

Here's one for the relatives to ooh and ahhh over. Halved jalapenos make for a lighter snack, and there's just enough spice to get it all going.

Jalapeño Kickers

20 whole jalapeños cut in half & seeded
1 lb jimmy dean breakfast sausage
⅓ cup onion, chopped
1 8-oz package cream cheese
⅓ cup Parmesan
Sriracha sauce to taste

Brown sausage with onion and cool. Add cream cheese and Parmesan, and mix well. Stuff halves of jalapeños, and sprinkle a little extra Parmesan cheese over top. Add siracha for an extra kick.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 min.

Enjoy!

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