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The Praying Mantis Incident

Praying MantisI found a praying mantis in my backyard last week and took some pictures, fascinated by its size and a head that turns 180 degrees, but it was still kind of pretty except for all those tiny razor blades on its front legs. But as big as it was, it moved slowly so I had no fear… not until the “incident.” After I took my pictures, I stayed in the backyard for an hour or so, then went inside and cooked dinner.

After dinner my husband went out with some friends and I drove to the mall. It was dark. As I was pulling in to a parking spot, I felt something on my left hand, grabbing my finger and biting or sticking me with something. I panicked because it was dark and I couldn’t see what it was. I shook my left hand but I still couldn’t see what it was. A spider? A scorpion? I jumped out of the car while it was still running and the interior light came on and I saw it… a praying mantis on my steering wheel. And it was huge! I didn’t know what to do.

I grabbed a kleenex from my purse but he looked bigger than the kleenex. I knew I had to act. I was trying to work up my nerve to grab him with the tissue when he suddenly dropped to the floor where there was no light. I ran around to get a flashlight out of my glove box, came back and shone the light but he was gone. But where?  Somewhere in my car. Even if I found him I wouldn’t know what to do. Maybe it was time to sell the car.

I called my husband and said I will not get back in the car so he came and let me drive his car home and he drove mine (my hero ❤️). Once in our garage with lots of light, he was unable to find the intruder. I cut some leaves off a shrub and placed them inside my car overnight hoping it would coax him out but the next morning he was still missing. Maybe he got out? Maybe he’s waiting for me to drive again so he can crawl on the back of my neck while I’m on the freeway. Click these pictures I found online to get a good look!

For the next couple of days we kept checking with flashlights and we never saw him. I was too scared to drive anywhere. By the third day we still didn’t see him but we did hear something… a scratching noise coming from inside the air conditioning vent right by the steering wheel. (It’s coming from inside the car!) The good news: We found him. The bad news: He can’t get out. He’s been there for days. Or maybe he CAN get out and is just resting. What if he crawls out while I’m driving? We took the car to three mechanics who said there’s nothing they can do without taking the whole dashboard apart so I should just let him die in there. I looked up how long a praying mantis can live without food – TWO WEEKS!

He must have hitched a ride on me when I was outside. But why didn’t he go after my salad? I spent ten minutes making a salad, and then ten minutes eating it. Where was he then? On my back? He must have been on me for two hours while I cooked and ate dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, and drove to the mall. I would like to go out today but it’s hot and I would need to run the air conditioning. What if he tries to get out while I’m driving and see I those bulging zombie eyes looking at me through the vent? I’d like to sell the car, with a praying mantis discount of course. Otherwise, to drive I need to arm myself… maybe drive with a fly swatter or an oven glove or a box of cats???


My Birthday Poem

Well I finally made it to seventy two!
And I’ve learned a few things that might help you
I was scared at first about getting older, you know
Would my hair turn grey, would my nose really grow?

There are some things you simply can’t avoid
Like wrinkles, but they’re proof that your life was enjoyed
So you want to take a nap? Do it – it’s reviving
Nothing wrong with that, just not while you’re driving.

Don’t lie about your age, there’s no reason to miscount
Enjoy the benefits – get that senior discount.
So you need to wear glasses, that bothers you a bit
Truth is without reading glasses, I can’t see… a thing.

The serenity prayer is kind of my plan
Accept what you must, and change what you can
The list for accepting is not very long
Your eyes or your muscles may not be as strong.

But the list you can change… where should I begin?
Fix your bones and your heart and your hair and your skin
Diabetes & cancer & stroke can be prevented
It’s up to your lifestyle – you just reinvent it.

No sodas or fast food, no junk or diet drinks
What’s that you say? This really stinks!
And easy on the pizza & sweets & ice cream
Jenny, you’re killing me. This is a bad dream!

Instead of coffee, drink water or tea instead
And no booze except one glass of wine that’s red
Eat veggies, wear sunscreen, exercise must be done
I know what you’re thinking. Can’t I have any fun?

I’m not here to say that I never cheat
An occasional pizza and gelato I eat
But the next day I’m back on this plan of my making
I cook every day, and do all my own baking.

I know it’s a lot and I’m not saying it’s easy
But you can live without things in bags that are cheezy
Feed your body with the best fuel at every meal
Then see how fabulous you can look and feel.

                                   ~~ ❤️ ~~


Taking a Break

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I’m taking a break from my blog so I can bake more cookies. Seriously, there is not enough time to focus on my Jenny Can Cook website and recipes, handle the daily responsibilities of being alive, and still have time to go to the mall. So I won’t blog for a while but I will start back up when my next philanthropy project gets going. (I need time for that too!)

Some subscribers were lost when I changed servers so if you got notified about this post, you are still subscribed. If not, feel free to subscribe for when I come back to this blog. I’ll be back soon… maybe sooner if George Clooney ever returns my calls! 🙂

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I Can’t Throw Them Away

Honey Bottles

What is my problem? I can’t throw things away! Those cute plastic bottles that honey comes in? I have twenty-seven! After my next batch of granola bars, it’ll be 28! And a good jar with a lid that screws on tight? I can’t throw them away! I need a bigger kitchen.

It’s not just my kitchen items. This is much bigger than that. I have wrapping paper from 1985; Rubber bands spilling out of a shoe box; Pieces of fabric from dresses I sewed in the 70s; Did you know old socks make good cleaning rags? I digress. I also have: Cookbooks that use ingredients they don’t even make any more; Keys that don’t open anything… but you never know; Plastic forks from my 40th birthday party; Enough pieces of string for any possible things that need to be tied up… until I die.

Am I the only one?


Does This Look Like Me?

Bert wrote to me saying, “I have a dress pattern by Simplicity. It looks very much like you on the package modeling the dress. Is that you?” Bert was kind enough to send a copy of the pattern (thank you for that!). So…. does this look like me? Me with dark hair? Me circa 1965??

Simplicity PatternI did some modeling in my teens. I even landed a cover! Okay, it was a bar of soap but it was the cover…

select soapSo what do yo think? The soap box was me around the same time. (It should have been an eyeliner product – or an ad for “Hairstyles you can hang clothes on. With a flip like this, who needs a coat rack?”

Back to the pattern. This looks like an easy one to make. I still have some Simplicity and Butterick patterns for dresses I made when I couldn’t afford to buy them. But the cover of Simplicity #5589 – does this look like me?


They Like Me in Tanzania

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When I started posting my cooking videos on youtube, I had no idea how popular they’d become. I did it just for fun because I love to cook and people always asked for my recipes. I’ve made almost a hundred videos now and they want more! I’ve had over ten million views so far (10,249,165 views as of today) with around 25,000 people a day tuning in. Who knew?

And it’s international. People all over the world are making my recipes… from 197 countries! From Iceland to Brunei to Tanzania, they like my cooking. They write to me in broken English and sometimes in Spanish or Polish or Greek. I love it! And here’s the best part: Some people are using my recipes to earn money to help support their families.

~ Maria in Mexico sells my granola in little bags to earn money.

~ Chin Chin in Thailand sells my whole wheat bread to help support her family.

~ Marcio in Brazil sells my pan pizza and hash browns in his pub.

~ Carmen in Ecuador sells my cinnamon rolls to help provide for her children.

It sure feels good to know my recipes are helping people, not to mention that hundreds of thousands of people have made and enjoyed my recipes at home, wherever they are. What are the most watched videos? My fall-off-the-bone ribs; then pan pizza; followed by my hash browns. Yes…. hash browns. I never saw that coming!

I’d like to thank whoever invented the internet for allowing me to share my love of cooking with the world. Who was that? Was it really Al Gore?

If you’re curious about my youtube videos, click here:


Pot holder / Bikini

Cooking is more fun when you have great toys to play with, like colorful bowls and kitchen tools. I even found a hot pink spatula last week but colorful pot holders are nowhere to be found — except in my kitchen. Because I made them. I went to Jo-Ann fabrics, got 1/4 yard each of quilted fabrics, some binding and made my own. Each fabric has a different design on the back. Aren’t they beautiful?

Here are my pot holders…

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Here are the backs…

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Here’s how I made them: There was no pattern to so I just cut the fabric into 7 by 8-inch shapes and rounded the corners. I used two thicknesses per pot holder so before adding the binding, I first connected the pieces together to keep them flat. I did that by sewing two seams – each one diagonal from corner to corner. Then I used Double Fold Bias Tape (extra wide) for the edge. I used an old existing pot holder to see how to secure the “loop.”

A safety note: When I baked a cake at 350 degrees and used my new pot holder to remove the pan, a little heat came through by the time I put the pan on a rack so when I make more, I plan to use 4 thicknesses instead of just two and I suggest that if anyone makes them, to make them thicker or just use them as decoration. Next time I plan to use some leftover plain quilted fabric for my extra filler and save my fancy fabric for the outside.

Hey, with those colors I could turn these pot holders into a bikini. All I need is some colorful string and voila! Coverage for the beach! Of course, men would have it easier. All they need is an oven mitt.


Just another Saturday night… NOT.

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We bought tickets to benefit a fundraiser on Saturday and went to the Pantages Theater to see the show. I was excited to see the headliner, Neil Young, but did not expect to see Brad Pitt in the audience. Brad Pitt!! So here’s the rundown…

The tickets were benefiting Autism Speaks, which is a wonderful cause, but I thought it was just a concert. Then Jack Black walked out as the host. Then Christina Applegate came out after that. And we saw Ed Asner in the audience, too! The best part of the night was an auction for a guitar signed by everyone involved that people in the audience were bidding for and Brad Pitt was one of the bidders, which is how I got this picture that was put up on the screen.

The highlight of the concert was definitely Neil Young. Everyone was thrilled to see him perform. Also on the bill were Stephen Stills and Shawn Colvin as well as The White Buffalo. That’s the band you hear if you’ve ever watched Sons of Anarchy. They were great! Here’s the best picture I could take with my phone of (left-to-right) Stephen Stills, Jack Black, Neil Young, and another artist.

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I thought it was going to be just another Saturday night but it was way beyond our expectations to see all these people. By the way, the auction was for a signed Fender Stratocaster and Brad got it for $25,000.


My New Website!!

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons With

It’s finally here! My new website!

More cow bell! More party balloons!! I’m celebrating the launch of my new website and I’m so excited! It’s been a long wait but it’s so worth it. Plus, it’s now mobile-friendly, too! A big thank you to my friend and website developer, Robert Avedissian (Avetar Interactive) for his fabulous work on this new site and also to my assistant, Damon, for actually understanding what Robert was doing.

Thank you, Robert, for my awesome new home!!  See you at our celebration lunch. I’ll be the one with balloons!!! And a cow bell. Big hugs!! xoxoxo

p.s. My old (vintage) website is still available. Just click here.

Why I’m Grateful

Happy-Thanksgiving-
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
It’s a day to be grateful and I have much to be grateful for.
1) Squirrels are hybernating.
2) I don’t have to wear Spanx.
3) I have never bought anything “as seen on TV.”
4) I can still drive at night.
5) There’s a TV in my bathroom.
6) TMZ doesn’t know where I live.
7) I will always be older than Cher.
8) I will never be a vegan.
9) No one recognizes me at Target.
10) They make 3-ply toilet paper.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. I’ll be cooking all day and loving it.
Coming soon: A brand new website… I can’t wait!! 🙂 🙂