Jen’s faves

Some of my favorite things this month:

The sound of frogs. Unlike past years, we did not have any spring peepers at all this year, which was disappointing. On the other hand, the regular summertime frogs have been super loud this year. It’s all frog party, all the time, and we can hear them from pretty much every part of the house. I find the frog chatter to be rather soothing, especially when I’m trying to go to sleep.

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I just can’t help myself

You know you wish you had moves like Astley.

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To your own self be true

Yesterday was a big news day here in the U.S.

Between Wendy Davis’ amazing 11 hour filibuster in Texas that led to SB 5 not getting voted in and then the Supremes’ ruling on DOMA, I was a rather happy American.

Of course, there were an awful lot of busybodies — people who want to tell other people what to do — who were unhappy, but that’s not my problem.

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Photo via Yahoo Images.

A year or so ago, Gwyneth Paltrow — she of the can’t live like the rest of us mere mortals universe — posted a recipe on her website for chia pudding.

Chia seeds, in case you’re possibly uninformed, are not only the basis for really great gag gifts, they are also the latest wonder food to sweep across the U.S. Supposedly, eating chia seeds will do all sorts of miraculous things, including bump up some of your daily nutrients, help you lose weight, and possibly bring on world peace. As with any of the latest food crazes to engulf the nation — goji berries, green tea, and pomegranate seeds, I’m looking at all of you — the reality is that while chia seeds are beneficial in some ways, they are not the magic pill that so many people seek. If you eat a healthy and balanced diet in proper amounts, you’ll do your body far more good than by gorging on just one food.

Anyway, getting back to Gwyneth’s recipe, last year she shared the following:

A recent and very in-depth food sensitivity test revealed – surprise, surprise – that I’m sensitive to dairy, gluten, wheat, corn and oats, making breakfast all the more challenging.

But of course. Because why should she eat straight-up oatmeal or toast or cereal like the rest of us? I’m guessing she got one zit or had one fart and decided that she had sensitivities.

And yes, I realize that I am being slightly bitchy here. I do know that food sensitivities actually do exist — for example, giving one of my daughters certain fruits and vegetables will cause her mouth to feel like it’s on fire and for hives to pop up all around her mouth. So I know it’s possible that Gwyneth actually does have bonafide sensitivities, but doesn’t it just feel like maybe she’s overstating the situation and that maybe wheat just bloats her up a little bit?

If you scroll through the various recipes — some of which actually look pretty good and not too over-the-top — you come to the following:

Pudding? For breakfast? Sounds like a dream come true! Just make sure yours is made out of chia seeds, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, lots of fiber and calcium. Not quite a pudding-in-the-morning person? Then add chia seeds to your smoothies – the seeds expand in liquid and help you feel fuller longer.

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2/3 cup water

Place the chia seeds in the water (either warm or cold, whichever you prefer) and stir, stir, stir! Then let the concoction sit in the fridge for 10 minutes and it will form a “pudding-like” consistency.

Top your chia pudding with some blueberries, bananas and shredded coconut for a yummy, fast and filling breakfast.

I had heard that Gwyneth’s recipe is laughably bad, but I just had to try it for myself. I did it for y’all, so you won’t have to. I already had chia seeds in my kitchen, so this seemed like it would be an easy experiment.

The result? Oh it’s bad. It’s really, really, reeeeeeaaaallllllly bad. Do you know what you get when you combine water and chia seeds and let the concoction fester in one of your Williams Sonoma bowls for the specified period of time? Slime, y’all. Really slimy slime. And when you force some of that slime down your throat, your gag reflex might just kick in and threaten to expel that slime quickly. Trust me on this.

An additional piece of advice: If you decide to attempt this at home, do not let the bowl o’ slime sit on your counter for a couple of hours while you summon the strength to dispose of it. Just do the deed quickly or else you’ll end up with a bowl of really sticky, wants to ooze everywhere and infect the planet slime. And you really don’t want to throw away the slime-encrusted Williams Sonoma bowl that you’ve had for 22 years, along with the rest of your 12 place settings of white pottery, of which you have broken only one piece in two score + two years. So just pour the slime into your trash soon after ascertaining that I didn’t lie to you about the slimy slime.

And — this is just a hunch here — don’t use the garbage disposal, because I have serious doubts about said disposal’s ability to process that level of slime. I know someone* who has broken her garbage disposal not once, but TWICE, by pouring cornmeal or something similar down the drain, which totally gummed up the works, so I cannot even begin to imagine what slimy slime would do to it. Probably fill all the pipes under your house and throughout your neighborhood.

* It was not me, I swear on the lives of my favorite J. Crew ballet flats.

So I think I’ll just keep eating chia seeds the way I have been, which is to say a little bit sprinkled over my cereal or oatmeal and eaten before it turns into something nasty and blog-worthy.

What about you? Do you eat chia seeds? Have you tried Gwyneth’s ersatz pudding recipe?

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Just for kicks, here’s my question for today:

Have you ever experienced the kindness of a stranger?

Was it a good Samaritan who helped you out in a big way?

Or was it someone who said or did something that might have seemed minor to thembut turned out to be major to you?

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