Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hey, this is worth a try, since I can’t remember Jack Schitt….

Researchers in the United Kingdom found that test subjects who doodled while listening to a recorded message had a 29 percent better recall of the message's details than those who didn't doodle. The findings were published in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

"If someone is doing a boring task, like listening to a dull telephone conversation, they may start to daydream," study researcher Professor Jackie Andrade, of the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth, said in a news release issued by the journal's publisher. "Daydreaming distracts them from the task, resulting in poorer performance. A simple task, like doodling, may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task."

"In psychology, tests of memory or attention will often use a second task to selectively block a particular mental process," Andrade said. "If that process is important for the main cognitive task, then performance will be impaired. My research shows that beneficial effects of secondary tasks, such as doodling, on concentration may offset the effects of selective blockade."

In everyday life, Andrade said, doodling "may be something we do because it helps to keep us on track with a boring task, rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist doing."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Better than Sex aka Robert Redford Dessert

Better Than Robert Redford Dessert
adapted from Family Circle

Lord Have Mercy,  does this ever look good!!!!

When I published the lemon desserts, I totally forgot to put in our family favorite, especially John’s favorite, Better than Sex aka Robert Redford Dessert.

And since he’s coming home this weekend, I’m going to make it for him, and since it’s easier to Google the recipe than to find it in my cookbook, I was looking online when I found  this variation.

Holy Schmoly, does this look awesome or what????  But no, I’m going to make our tried and true, and I need to get my original version  added to the lemon dessert section as well as the family favorites.  It’s wonderful…

You can get the recipe for this adapter Family Circle version on Jan Can Cook.

~ jan

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lemon Desserts are posted…


Okay, ladies, there is something for everyone here.  Great springtime desserts for you, wonderful for Easter, too.  Access by clicking on the lemon in the right sidebar.

I’ve been doing so many things this month on the computer, if you sent me a lemon recipe and I didn’t get it on here, please send me an email, let me know.  Even though I did try and drag everyone’s recipes into a separate folder, I  might have missed somebody.

  Enjoy, these all look absolutely amazing!!!!   And thanks to everybody who took the time to send me their lemon favorites.

I also did a little long overdue site maintenance.  I put up links again to my other recipe pages, as well as all of my other blogs.  It’s all in the sidebar.

~ jan

When life throws you a lemon, you have to make lemonade…


mo_lemonade_30 copy

More specifically, the great lemon desserts you all sent me.  I have errands to run, some actual “work” that I have to do  on the computer, but the lemon desserts are all ready to go, I just have to index and publish them.  I’ll do it  later today.  I’ll give you all a little sunshine.

And I did have sun peeking thru the clouds this morning,  specifically two little dogs that always make me smile.  They sleep in, if the house is quiet, they seldom get up before 10 am.  Mollie always barks when she’s ready to get up, she won’t jump off of the bed.

I heard her a few minutes ago, and I go in the bedroom and she was standing in the middle of the bed, doing her morning stretches.  Maggie woke up, got out of her bed, she had to stretch, too, then here they came.  Mollie crawled in my lap, Maggie jumped on me and gave me a sloppy kiss, and I smiled.  Even on sad days, life is good…

Don’t put off calling an old friend….

For a few weeks now, I’ve been thinking, “I need to call Ramona and see how she is.”  She’s older now, seventy-seven and I haven’t talked to her since last fall.  Obviously she’s been on my mind, as I posted her recipe just a few days ago for her wonderful Butterfly Salad.

This morning, I was reading the obituaries, which I always do, and she passed away.  I feel so sad, that I didn’t listen to my inner voice telling me to call her.  Learn from my mistake, if there is someone in your life that you care about and that you haven’t taken time to call lately, do it, right now, today.  Don’t put it off, tomorrow may be too late…  Rest in peace, sweet Ramona, you were a kind and gracious lady…

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random thoughts on a gray winter’s day…

  • Smooth jazz playing, makes the morning unfold softly.
  • Breakfast was half a bagel with cream cheese, chunks of fresh pineapple and strawberries, hot coffee made with freshly ground Sumatra beans, which by the way, I always drink with Fat Free Half and Half, a staple in our house.  I never looked at label until today – the bastards stuck corn syrup in there – it’s the 2nd ingredient, too, so it’s laced with it.  grrrrrrr
  • Sheets in the washer, floor of the bedroom piled high with pillows and blankets, with dog beds thrown on top.  I just walked by, Mollie had somehow managed to climb on top of them all and was  fast asleep in her bed. I gave her kisses and moved her bed to the floor. 
  • Shoulda taken a picture, camera is broken, and it’s not that old.  If hubby can’t fix it, I’ll either have to wrap it with a rubber band, which will look geeky, or buy a new one.  *sigh* always something.
  • Reflecting on Michele Obama last night, she looked nice, but why do women wear sleeveless dresses in the winter?  Don’t their arms get cold???  Its just not right… I’m from the old school, no white until after Memorial Day, then retire it after Labor Day, no patent leather in the winter.   Just makes sense… 
  • Trying a new hairdresser next week.  I’ve gone to the same one for years, she’s a sweetie, but she hasn’t given me a good cut in months.  Time to try somebody new.  I don’t like change…  I’m old now, I want things to stay the same…
  • Still looking for the hammered daisy knockoff earrings that Diane Lane wore in Nights of Rodanthe.  I’ve Googled myself silly, can’t find anything about them.  If anybody has any thoughts about this, email me.
  • Always amazed at the trust my dogs have in me.  Maggie had a couple of snarlies on her tummy.  She lay on her back yesterday, no problem letting me trim them.  Sweet little dog…
  • Really thinking a lot about salad lately.  I always do that this time of year, I’m hungry for green.  Animal instinct, probably…
  • I’m outta here, going to work on those lemon desserts later. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Do any of you really want to see Paula Deen’s ass?

Probably not, but you know me, I’ll post anything.  Ewwwwwwww, no big girl panties, either!

Aren’t you glad I shared? 

Hey, it’s late, I’ve been in the whirlpool too long tonight, the steam has fogged what’s left of my brain… Maybe I’ll delete this tomorrow, but probably not…..

The Oscars, my two cents worth…

Kate Winslet – looked amazing, old world movie star glamour with her dress choice, and she has a real body, not a twig.  Loved it when she told her Dad to whistle.  He was so debonair in his hat!

Jennifer Aniston – what was up with the braid in her hair.  I’ve seen her look awesome, but last night wasn’t one of her better evenings.  The dress was not that attractive, and I was surprised because you would have thought she would have gone all out because of Angelina Jolie being there.  But, hey, good for her, maybe she didn’t feel the need.

Angelina Jolie – the emeralds worked. I still don’t like her, but those emeralds were stunners.

Sarah Jessica Parker – what was up with the boobs?  Implants?  They looked silly.

Goldie – older, heavier, still adorable.

Sophia Loren, ageless.

Sean Penn – arughhhh, can’t stand the man, why doesn’t he leave his politics at home “You commie, homo-loving sons of guns.”  And why didn’t he thank his long suffering wife.  He is so obnoxious!

Reese Witherspoon, adorable, but her dress got hit by the ugly stick.

Mickey Rourke, disappointed that he didn’t win, only because his dog died, silly, yeah, I know….

I thought Beyonce looked amazing, she has a real body, too.

It wasn’t a memorable night, but I did like the theater in the round and the special effects of the backlit screen. 

Its just not the same as it in the old days with Johnny and Bob and Whoopi. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It’s been one of those days….

The M&M’s have acted like a couple of little sh*ts all day long!   I swear, dogs can be as naughty as little kids….  Bark, bark, bark, whine, whine – I’ve been really busy, and they are so spoiled, they weren’t getting enough attention, so they’ve just been little terrors.  I know, I know, it’s my fault for spoiling them, but enough already!   If this keeps up, they are going to have to take me to obedience school!

Egads, what a day!  But I did make hubby a nice dinner, including Ramona’s Butterfly Salad, which he adores.  Barb made it for her Valentines Day Party, and it reminded me that it’s been awhile since we’ve had it, and I had fresh strawberries and pineapple, and I sectioned some oranges to put in it – it was wonderful. 

I’ve gotten quite a few lemon recipes, thanks to all of you for helping me out with this.  I’m going to post them later this week, when things settle down a bit.

I’m also revamping the spring salad pages, and I will be posting our great salad recipes.  I would love to have more to add to the collection, so if any of you have salads to share, email me at, and I’ll include them.

And yes, I know, you all want to know what Ramona’s Butterfly Salad is like.  Ramona is a wonderful lady that I’ve known for several years.  She is in her early eighties now, and she’s just delightful, and one of the best cooks I’ve ever known.  So here’s her recipe, this is absolutely wonderful!  If you blend the dressing for quite a while, it becomes as thick as honey.  I usually set it out of the fridge for a bit before I drizzle it on salads, it’s so thick.  It’s a sweet dressing, good on any kinds of greens.

I’ve also had great success making roasted sweet potato salad with it.  I just roast sweet potato chunks tossed with olive oil in my oven until they are tender and starting to brown, cool them, toss them with red onion slices, dried cranberries, walnuts and this dressing, then chill in the fridge.  It’s awesome!

And now, I’m going to cuddle my little monsters for awhile, even when they’re naughty, they’re still adorable!  Oh what a sucker I am…

Ramona's Butterfly Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

My friend Ramona gave me this recipe last year. Her daughter, Jane, made it for a brunch, and she LOVED it. I love it, too - the dressing is so thick, it is like honey.

It's a spectacular salad, good with chunks of cooked chicken tossed in, also... I made it recently and substituted strawberries and grapes for the kiwi, and used pecans instead of almonds - it was yummy!  This works well with any kind of fruit.

~ Jan


1/2 C. (or so) sliced almonds, toasted

1 T. olive oil

1 T. sugar

4 crisp romaine hearts (or a bag of loose romaine heart lettuce, divided among 4 plates)

2 kiwi, peeled and sliced

15 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

1/2 C. (or so) coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

Poppy seed dressing:

3/4 C. sugar plus 1 1/2 T.

1 t. dry mustard

1/2 C. chopped onion

1 t. salt

1/3 C. balsamic vinegar

1 C. mazola oil

1 1/2 T. poppy seeds

To make salad:

In a skillet, stir together almonds, olive oil and sugar. Cook over medium to medium-low heat until almonds smell "toasty." Allow to cool slightly.

On 4 plates, arrange equal amounts of romaine hearts, kiwi slices, mandarin oranges and Parmesan. Sprinkle with almonds.

To make dressing:

Whisk together all ingredients until you can no longer feel the sugar grains (because they have dissolved in the liquid) and the whisk leaves a trail in the thickened mixture. Drizzle, to taste, over plates. Makes about 3 cups, so you will have leftover dressing.

NOTE: When I make this, I find it necessary to blend dressing ingredients in my blender to get the silky smooth, honey like consistency, I prefer. ~ jan

Serves 4.

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