A Break is a Good Thing to Take

Archived | March 7, 2014 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Spent the day looking at travel size shampoo bottles and deodorant and Kleenex, and searching all over for a flashlight that might send a good amount of light through the brush of the jungles of Costa Rica, and hoping to find just the right rain jacket for a March day in New York.
It’s Spring Break this week, everyone, and if I’m intact come 8 a.m. Saturday, I’ll take a break myself. By intact, I mean able to think more clearly than I am right now. Been a long week of coming up with my own version of travel size because heck if I’m paying two dollars for a smudge of something when a bottle and a baggie will do as well. Been picking up hiking gear and clothes pins to hold sheet music and cash for spending and snacks that will pass plane inspector inspection. Two kids off on school outings: one to Costa Rica for an eleven day biology study of ants for vaccine-creating purposes; another, to the city of New York for a five day whirlwind tour and orchestra performance.
I waved goodbye at the airport this morning and drove toward home thinking good thoughts. One down; one to go. The meet time Saturday is 3:45 a.m., and there’s a lot to do before then. It’s a wonderful thing, to see your children off on adventures. First time I got on a plane, I was much older and somewhat more naïve, but just as excited. A break for them, this time around, is about adventure and risk and being somewhere they’ve never been before.
A break, for me, this time around, means no laundry for a while, quiet in the house, and sleep. My Spring Break is going to be extraordinarily ordinary, and I’m going to savor every moment of it. Spring rolls, washing the mud and salt from the floors, shaking carpets out over the melting snow, cleaning the oven, cooking what I feel like cooking (or not) for a few days. This break means reading one or two of the books on the pile on my nightstand, and falling asleep on the couch, and taking a walk down by the river. And Mr. Sundberg flies in Sunday, in time to catch a movie and make some homemade pizza together before he leaves again on Tuesday.
A break is a good thing to take, now and then. Just time, a few days, to reacquaint yourself with where the world ends and you begin. A place you won’t find on any map.
Still in comfort mode, and this one is a work of chicken art. Pair it with some good bread and a decent bottle of wine, and you’ve got a meal for any crowd. Or just for you, if you’re alone in the house awhile and wanting something just this side of special.
Alfredo Chicken Lasagna
2 cups cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese (the kind with Philadelphia in it if you can), divided
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ cup tightly packed fresh basil, chopped, divided
12 lasagna noodles, cooked
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine chicken, artichokes, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and tomatoes. Beat cream cheese, milk and garlic powder with mixer until well blended; stir in 2 T basil. Mix half the cream cheese mixture with the chicken mixture.
Spread half the remaining cream cheese mixture onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish; cover with 3 noodles and ⅓ of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of noodles and chicken mixture twice. Top with remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture and mozzarella; cover. Bake 25 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting to serve.