Special Meals&heuip;Every Day

>It’s a tradition at our house to have dinner together each Sunday. Even now that my brother, sister and I are adults, we still gather at my parents’ home in Erin, Wisconsin for one of Mom’s incredible meals. It’s a time that our family reserves for each other.

My mom, Sharon L. (right), has always made mealtime special…and not just on Sundays. She puts thought, time and effort into each and every meal she prepares.

She loves to entertain, especially at Christmas. When company is coming, Mom will spend the whole day in the kitchen. She’ll serve a four-course meal with appetizers, soup or salad, main course and dessert. Everything has to be perfect…right down to the presentation. The dining room table always looks beautiful with a tablecloth, centerpiece, candles and her good dishes.

When it’s a special occasion—a birthday, graduation, anniversary, etc.—the person who is special that day can put in a menu request with Mom. If it’s someone in the family, he or she also gets to eat off the “red plate,” which says, “You are special today.” Last Christmas, Mom even gave each of us kids a red plate so we can carry on the tradition with our own families.

Birthday Menu

My mom’s best meal, I think, is the one my sister, Kristin, chose for her birthday: Puff Pastry Salmon Bundles, Comforting Broccoli Casserole, Strawberry Spinach Salad and Ice Cream Cookie Dessert.

The Puff Pastry Salmon Bundles make any menu elegant. The crisp pastry and delicious cucumber sauce are a wonderful combination, and the salmon almost melts in your mouth.
Her Comforting Broccoli Casserole is not only flavorful but nutritious, too. And the Strawberry Spinach Salad is a refreshing, colorful toss with a fruity raspberry vinaigrette.

Our entire family loves dessert, so we can’t wait to see what Mom prepares as a finishing touch. Her yummy Ice Cream Cookie Dessert is a real favorite…even during cold winter months.

School Days

My mother grew up in Milwaukee and learned to cook from her mom, who was also a wonderful cook. She met my dad, Richard, when they were in the fourth grade! She was a stay-at-home mom when my sister, brother and I were young. My mother now teaches fourth grade and is the assistant principal at an area elementary school. My dad is an executive director of three Lutheran schools.

When Mom cooked for our family of five, she always made too much food—and she still does. Now that our family is larger, though, she can send food home with each of her children.

My sister, who’s an attorney, is married, as is my brother, Bryan, who’s a CPA. He and his wife have a 2-year-old daughter, Calla—my mom’s only grandchild. I’ve been dating my boyfriend, Luke, for 4 years and teach kindergarten at the same school where my mom teaches. It’s a privilege to work with her each day.

Everyone in our family gets along extremely well, and we sincerely value spending time together. The guys like to golf or attend football games together, while we girls like spending the day at the mall or in the spa. Of course, each week we make a point of joining together for Sunday dinner.

Dinner begins with a prayer and then a big toast to my mom for another wonderful meal. I know you’ll enjoy this menu of hers as much as we do.