Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: recipes

This week in…: The twelfth in 2016

this week

  • Finished The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Started Evicted (NetGalley) and will be bringing that and American Housewife with me on vacation next week. Put The Nest on hold. I don’t ordinarily put new, megahyped releases on hold immediately but something about this book is making me need to read it NOW. Don’t forget, next Show Us Your Books is April 12th. It will be here very soon.
  • iTunes approved The Armchair Librarians!! As of this writing, we’re still not in the directory but we will be soon! listen
  • Found a dead cat on the road behind my house. It looked identical to my cat but thankfully, it was not. We learned this after my husband inspected the dead cat’s face (and after I picked it up off the road, thinking it was my cat and she needed a proper burial). This is why I HATE having an indoor/outdoor cat. We also gave the not our cat a name and burial (Mrs. Louie Meowzer, RIP. Also, the child named her). 
  • My daughter’s cheer squad is going to US Finals! Talk about an emotional decision. Long story short, they should have won but made a huge mistake in their routine and it cost them first place and a paid bid but we’re going anyway. Virginia Beach, we’re coming for you! My poor wallet is screaming, though. Can you hear it?
  • Made taco stuffed peppers. Super easy. Cook turkey or ground beef and season with your favorite taco seasoning like you would if you were making regular tacos (I use a homemade one that I’d link to except I can’t remember my Pinterest password to get it from my laptop). Cut 4 peppers (any color but we used green) in half and spoon the taco filling into pepper halves. Sprinkle (or use heaping handfuls. Your choice) your favorite cheese and bake at 350 for roughly 20 minutes. Top with salsa, guacamole, sour cream or whatever else you feel like using because you’re an adult and can top your food with whatever you want. Stuff it in your eating hole.
  • Am currently 3 episodes behind in Better Call Saul and 4 in Generation X. I blame House of Cards
  • Got my speaker badge for FinCon16 that WP won’t let me upload for “security reasons”. WTF, WordPress? But I do have all kinds of feelings about being a speaker for realz and not just running a mentoring session. Public speaker I am not. 
  • Internet reads: A whole bunch of things people wish their friends knew about depression (from Buzzfeed). This real life version of The Leisure Seeker (and you should totally follow her on Facebook. It’s amazing to watch and she is my idol). This perspective on child support from a man who loves his children but is hugely delinquent in his payments
  • Funnies: IMG_1875 IMG_1873 IMG_1871

That’s all for me this week. I’m headed to Boston on Monday so if you don’t see me around next week, you’ll know why. I still have some posts coming at you, including a new episode of The Armchair Librarians on Thursday (tacked to the bottom of a post, per usual). I don’t know how many pictures I’ll be sharing but you can follow along on Instagram if you want. See you when I get back! And happy Easter!

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This week in…: The eighth one in 2016

this week

  • Finished Remember Mia and The Flood Girls. Picked up Luckiest Girl Alive. Started Glass. Show Us Your Books is March 8, and I’ll have full reviews then.
  • Made grain free chocolate chip cookies. You can find the recipe here. Guys, they were so good, I don’t know that I can go back to making regular cookies. Even the child says she prefers them. 
  • Been listening to Theory of a Deadman’s “Blow”. Favorite lyric? Kanye West says rock is dead. Guess he’s off his meds again. Lost his mind about the time he got with that Kardashian. LOVE. IT.


  • Found and started recording this documentary series on Gen X. I haven’t been able to watch the first episode yet (second one airs tonight) but I’m really looking forward to watching it because I’m Gen X. And it’s narrated by Christian Slater. Yay!
  • Also binge watched the hell out of Brotherhood. Not the greatest show I’ve ever seen but addictive as hell. 
  • Put up the announcement about my pitch contest. I’m nervicited. That’s nervous and excited. I just hope I get some entries. 


  • Apparently Judd Apatow has a new show on Netflix. One of the executive producers also graduated from the same high school he did. They reference a math teacher, Mr. Eldi. Mr. Eldi is a real person. I know that because he was my math teacher, too. So that’s pretty cool. Fun fact: he’s the only math teacher I had that got me not to hate math. I also wound up in his class after I failed a different one. 
  • Internet reads: This New Yorker piece on another side of Appalachia, which is really just a book review but it makes me really want to read the book. Make sure you go through the slide show of pictures. This millennial’s incredible response to that girl who was fired from Yelp (the author of the response is a repped, professional writer to she clearly has some talent. Should not detract at all from her point, though). If you don’t have a passport (or an expired one, like me) and still want to travel to some exotic places, here’s a list of six you can travel to. This excruciatingly long, but dead on balls accurate, video of a day in the life of a 1990 teenager (it’s real because he recorded his own life).
  • Funnies:

If I had to date, I’d totally do this


What happens when I attempt to read any classic book

war and peace


eat feelings

If I did weekend recap posts, this would be the weekend to do it because it’s nonstop packed with things to do. I am going to crash HARD on Sunday night. Hope you all have a great weekend, too!

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This week in: Oreos, movies, and other stuff

this weekThis week in adulting…dealing with bills. Specifically my county who makes absolutely no sense in the way they issue the sewer bill and then having to choose between magically conjuring up an impossibly obscene amount of money in a very short time or getting screwed 8 ways till Sunday if we opt for a payment plan. Awesome.

This week in TV…I missed the premiere of Better Call Saul. Did anyone watch it? Was it as good as I’m hoping it is?

This week in reading…I finished All the Bright Places. I read it in about 5 hours and a few days later, I’m still not over the last 100 pages. That book wrecked me. Wrecked. Me. I’ll give a full review in next month’s Show Us Your Books linkup (March 10 so mark your calendars) but suffice it to say, I think you should read it. 

This week in cooking…I made a loaded baked potato chicken casserole. So delicious and easy. Here’s what you do: layer diced chicken, potatoes, about 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and bacon in a casserole dish. Green onions optional. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 450 for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are soft. We had it with the steam in a bag broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot medley but you can have it with whatever you want. 

This week in binge eating…I’m pretty confident I could subsist on red velvet Oreos and wasabi and soy almonds. Let’s just say I bought the Oreos on Monday and ate a shameful amount of them on the 10 minute ride home from the supermarket. Yep. I couldn’t even make it home before I opened them. Perhaps this is why I need to lose weight.

This week in things I don’t care about…Fifty Shades of Grey. Can everything relating to this wretched book series go the fuck away? I’m 100% confident that the movie is a steaming pile of shit as well that can’t get any worse unless Kanye West did the soundtrack because he’s a disrespectful asshole who needs to shut his trap. There is no way I will see it unless you pay me a large sum of money, have Matt Damon, Chris Pratt, and John Krasinski as my dates, and then shower me in diamonds and first edition books. And maybe not even then.

This week in 40 by 40 list update…I made plans to go to the Cherry Blossom festival this year and figured out how to pay off all of our credit card debt (admittedly, it’s not much but it’s enough that it bothers me) by June. Maybe earlier. One step closer to debt free, which is a list item. I also tried to get Jimmy Fallon tickets but by the time I got to my computer, all the March tickets had been claimed. Sonofabitch!

This week in shit that’s so awesome I can’t stand it…The Breakfast Club turns 30 this year. This is one of my all-time favorite movies and, old as I am, I was still a bit too young to see it in theaters the first time around. Not this time, though. My ass will be in one of those seats. If you want to see it, here’s a listing of all theaters in the country that will be showing it. And you can buy your tickets today. Like I am. 


That’s all she wrote this week. I’ll see you guys back here on Monday or Tuesday. If you celebrate it, have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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This week in: Traveling, Baking, Celebrating, and more

I’d start off this week’s recap by mentioning the snow, or lack thereof, but that seems like it’s all been done to death this week so instead, let’s just jump right in and see what happened This Week in Jana’s Life.

this week

This week in reading…Still working through The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. When that’s done, I’ll move on to All the Bright Places because my library actually has one copy!!! In other news, I’ve checked out The Goldfinch for the 9204723th time and I still have yet to read it. I think I need to surrender the fantasy on this one. 

This week in being an adult…I made an appointment with a GI doctor to deal with some issues that have been plaguing me for a long, long time. Longer than I should admit. But I put on my big girl panties and made the appointment. It means I have to postpone my haircut but hell, that’s waited long enough. What’s a few more days?

This week in travel planning…In addition to our big trip to Disney in April, I’m planning some short day trips to get me through the spring. Living in Delaware doesn’t have many advantages outside of tax free shopping but one perk is the proximity to 4 major cities (plus the beach). In less than 2 hours, I can get to Philly, Baltimore, DC, and NYC. I’m actually taking advantage of this in the upcoming months.

This week in celebrating…We’re headed to Long Island on Saturday to celebrate my dad’s birthday (1/28) and my nephew’s (2/1). Plus, I get to see my grandmother who is finally moving back up to NY from Florida! There might also be a surprise addition if time permits. Stay tuned on Instagram for that. (It’s not a new pet. Although I want one because I want all the dogs).

This week in TV watching…Guys, the final season of Parks and Rec is both awesome and making me so sad. I don’t watch many comedies besides this one, Mom, and Big Bang and I can’t not have any on my viewing schedule. Suggestions?

This week in being annoyed by Buzzfeed…Hey, Buzzfeed! Enough with the Harry Potter shit. Also Friends. We get it. You like it. But enough already.

This week in wishing I had more money…I found out Rush and Billy Joel will be performing in Philly this summer. They’re two of my favorites and I’ve seen them before but they’re old and I don’t know how much longer they’ll be around so I feel like I need to go see them now except I really can’t afford to. 

This week in writing…My book is getting there! I’ve managed to condense two half started stories into one longer one and I’m working through making it a little more cohesive. Once that’s done, I can work on the second half which is mostly mapped out in my head. When this draft is done, I’m going to need proofreaders and people who are willing to give me honest feedback, even if it hurts my feelings (trust when I say nothing you can say to me will be worse than I say to myself). Anyone interested?

This week in laughing…If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the picture of my daughter’s math homework and you know why this is funny:


This week in bakingNadine gave her recipe for peanut butter cookies. Because peanut butter is basically one of the best foods ever, and because I mentioned this recipe to her, here’s a recipe for peanut butter cheesecake balls (I can’t remember where I found it originally):

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Balls


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I suggest using regular creamy, or the fake natural stuff from Skippy or Jif or whatever brand you prefer. The actual natural peanut butter doesn’t work right in recipes)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (full fat, of course)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Chocolate chips (I don’t measure these. I just dump a whole bunch in until I decide it’s enough)


  1. Mix together peanut butter, cream cheese, and sugar. I found using a hand mixer did a fine job. Probably too much for a regular spoon. This stuff is thick.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips.
  3. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Take mixture out of fridge, roll into balls. Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Eat.

The original recipe called for them to be coated in melted chocolate but that just seemed like too much effort and way too messy so I skipped that part. Didn’t matter, though, because my family ate them like I’ve been forbidden from ever making them again.

That’s all, folks! Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday or Tuesday (still trying to work out a good blogging schedule). Enjoy the Super Bowl! Or the commercials! Or just the food!

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Friday favorites: Christmas stuff

For those who are new or who might not know, I am Jewish. Which means that growing up, I didn’t have Santa or the joy of Christmas morning or even got remotely infected with the Christmas spirit (where I grew up in New York was predominately Jewish, too). The closest I came to celebrating Christmas was my freshman year of high school when I flew to Atlanta to with 2 of my friends to visit another friend who had moved there. She wasn’t Jewish so we got to experience her tree and all that good stuff. 

I liked that.

As for my family, we had some great Christmas traditions that typically involved eating Chinese food and going to the movies on Christmas Day and also celebrating Hanukkah for eight crazy nights (and by crazy, I mean lighting candles and giving each other presents. We know how to party) because that’s what good Jews do. And I figured those would always be my traditions. 

Then I met my husband. And he’s definitely not Jewish. So we celebrate Christmas now and have different traditions and we’re probably a handful of houses that have a Star of David ornament on their Christmas tree. 

Actual ornament on our actual tree.

Actual ornament on our actual tree.

Now that we’ve been together for 19 Christmases (including this one), it’s hard to imagine a time when Christmas wasn’t part of my December. 

Christmas lights. Sure, there were houses where I grew up that decorated for Christmas, including two that went absolutely overboard (in a good, only moderately tacky way) with their outdoor light displays, but now that I celebrate Christmas, I appreciate them more. They’re just prettier for reasons I’m struggling to explain. Also included in this: home decor, Christmas scented candles, 

The food. Holy hell, THIS is what I missed out on. Fudge. Christmas cookies. Fudge. Christmas dinner which is like Thanksgiving part 2. Gingerbread houses and men with frosting and candy and assorted other deliciousness. Fudge. Sure, potato latkes are fried perfection but they pale in comparison to all the other foods.  Sugar and fatness galore. This is part of why my yoga pants are my favorite. One caveat: No, absolutely no, eggnog for me. That shit is revolting.

Bonus: Here’s an easy recipe I found on Pinterest for fudge: combine 3 cups chocolate chips and one can condensed sweetened milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on medium power for one minute, stir, repeat until chocolate is dissolved in milk. Spread on wax paper in 9×13 dish, and chill for 1-2 hours. Cut into squares. Jana inspired variations: replace one cup chocolate chips with mint chips, peanut butter chips, or replace regular chocolate with white chocolate. This is mint chocolate with crushed candy canes. It tastes as delicious as it looks.


Movies. I had watched Frosty and Rudolph and the Grinch as a kid but now, as an adult with a child and as someone who actually celebrates the holiday, the movies are infinitely more enjoyable. And then there’s the whole host of Christmas movies that never meant anything when I was a kid but now I can’t imagine the holiday without: A Christmas Story (true story: I saw for the first time in 7th grade English class), Christmas Vacation, A Muppet Christmas Carol, and Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas (which is really just The Gift of the Magi but with Muppets. I had this epiphany last year).

School vacations. Clearly, as a kid, I loved Christmas even as a Jew because thank you, two weeks off from school. Hard to beat that. Now the two weeks off from school means no early morning fights with the child to get her to school on time, no homework to help with, no lunches to pack, no wasting my time in the afternoon pick-up line, and no wondering what mystery object or paper will come home in her backpack. It really is a wonderful time of the year.

Presents. It sounds cliche, but I definitely love buying presents for others more than I like getting them for myself. I find it enjoyable to search for stuff my family wouldn’t buy for themselves, and the look on my daughter’s face when she opens her gifts is simply priceless. We also have a family tradition of buying for Toys for Tots, and knowing that some kid somewhere else is having a similar reaction to my daughter makes me happy, knowing that I did that (if you want to read about the time doing something like this really made a difference, read this post). 

Two Christmas traditions I’m still working on: sending cards and enjoying holiday music. I’m too lazy to send cards and the music doesn’t do it for me. I typically avoid it as much as possible. However. There are some songs that I do enjoy and in two weeks, we’ll go into my favorite Christmas songs. They’re probably not what you expect.

But so you don’t think I’m totally grinchy, here’s one that I love. It’s easy to figure out why.

 What are some of your favorite things about Christmas? What recipes should I try?

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Linking up with Amanda

Friday Favorites