Send In the Clowns


Recession. Depression. Stagnation. Recovery. Jobless recovery. Inflation. Deflation.

What ever you want to call it, what ever is actually happening, these are tough economic times. And it seems there is no end in sight.

It is easy to smile and enjoy life when things are going well. Not so much when times are rough. During times like this when our worries seem to multiply it is easy to get caught up in the fear and worry trap.

Organic  Natural  No Artificial  Addtives  Non-Fattening

I certainly do not have a crystal ball to say when things will get better. But what if I told you there is something that can help you through hard times. What if I also told you this product is organic, naturally sweet, 100% wholesome, has no chemicals, no preservatives, no artificial additives, and is non-fattening.*

No Cholesterol     No Trans Fats       Lowers Blood Pressure

What if I further told you this product is free of cholesterol, trans-fat and saturated fat, lowers blood pressure, lightens depression, strengthens the immune system and reduces stress?**

You would probably call me crazy. But something does exist that does all of this and so much more.

This magic elixir is laughter.

You have all heard that old adage that laughter is the best medicine. Mark Twain once said, “He who laughs, lasts.” Well, it turns out this is true after all. There is a growing body of research and evidence that laughter is great medicine for mind, body, and spirit. You can read some of this evidence for yourself here,here, here, here, and here.

In summary this evidence shows the following:

  • Laughter helps you to relax, recharge, and to shift perspective. It helps to melt away stress and worry. Laughter increases oxygen flow throughout the body.
  • Laughter can help protect the heart by improving the function of blood vessels thereby improving blood flow as well as lowering blood pressure. Laughing heartily 100 times a day gives you the same cardio results as working out for 10 minutes. And you won’t have to spend money on membership at a gym.
  • Some studies have shown that laughter may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells as well.
  • Laughter can also release endorphins or chemicals that make us feel good and promote an over all sense of well being. It can also increase a person’s tolerance for pain.
  • According to a study at John Hopkins University humor and laughter has also been linked to memory retention and creativity.
  • There is some research that indicates laughter may even reduce blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes.
So send in the clowns    
Ways to Add Laughter to Your Life Even During the Recession

1. Smile, smile, smile.  Just do it. Recent research has shown that when you smile the brain thinks you are happy. In simple terms, you may actually be able to improve your mood just by simply smiling!

The article goes on to say smiling “is most certainly not a cure-all, but in the struggle with the gloomies, every thing that helps in even a small measure is worth a try!” And I simply love some of the ways this article suggests to get you smiling:

  • jump on the bed
  • make faces at yourself in the mirror
  • walk in the rain
  • bake cookies
  • find a playground and swing on the swing set
  • find your baby pictures
  • dance
  • hug someone you love
  • watch cartoons you loved as a kid
  • imitate a well know comedian
  • visit a pet store

2. Play board games with your children. Invite the neighbors too.

3. Tell jokes around the dinner table or have a joke night party with friends and neighbors. Tell funny stories about yourself too. Humor-Laughter is a fantastic web site that has great information on all aspects of laughter and humor as well as more pages of jokes and fun stuff than I have ever seen all in one place. You will find plenty of smiles and laughs at this site for sure. Be sure to check out Gerry’s ‘About’ page to learn how the death of his daughter led him to study the positive effects of laughter and how laughter helped him heal.

4. Laugh, laugh, laugh. Watch comedies on TV or rent a funny movie. This is essentially what Norman Cousins did to help alleviate the symptoms of a chronic inflammatory disease. Cousin’s was an early pioneer in laughter therapy and his book, Anatomy of an Illness chronicles his story.

What makes you laugh? Share your ideas for how you add laughter into your life in the Comments Section at the end of this post. What is your favorite comedy TV show or movie? Share clips of your favorites.

To start the laugh-fest off, and since this is a cooking blog, I will share with you one of my favorite and simply hilarious clips from Everybody Loves Raymond.


Featured Recipe      Chicken Salad

When I lived in Southern California I used to frequent a wonderful little café north of San Diego, Pasta Pronto. They have the best Shitake ravioli I have ever eaten. This little gem of a café also has a deli where they sell some of their menu items and lots of delicious home made pastries. They have the best pesto sauce I have ever eaten. They also have a very simple and wonderful chicken salad.

The recipe I share with you today is my version of this chicken salad based on what I saw and tasted in Pasta Pronto’s salad. It is a light chicken salad that does not use very much mayonnaise. The deli case had a sign saying it was made with canola mayonnaise. I have never been able to find canola mayonnaise. So I improvise in my recipe. But I do not use much mayonnaise; just enough to moisten the chicken salad a bit. And to make this recipe mine, I also add green grapes.

This is what you need for 4 people:

2-3 chicken breasts                                     

1-2 cans chicken broth                                

3-4 ribs celery sliced                                   

¼ to ½ lemon                                             

4-5 tablespoons mayonnaise                        

3-4 teaspoons canola oil                              

¼ to ½ pounds green grapes                       

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Cook the chicken in the broth, making sure the chicken is covered completely with broth; do not over cook as you want the chicken to be juicy, not dry. This should take about 20-25 minutes depending on size and number of chicken breasts.

Remove chicken from the broth* and let the chicken cool completely

Slice the celery.

When the chicken has cooled chop it into chunks. Or just do what I do – I just tear the chicken with my fingers rather than use a knife.

Add the chicken and celery to a bowl; add a couple squirts of lemon juice; add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while you make the mayonnaise.

 To “Make” the mayonnaise:

Add about 1 tablespoon of  mayonnaise to another small bowl. Add about 1 teaspoon of the canola oil into the mayonnaise at a time. Whisk the canola oil into the mayonnaise

Keep adding mayonnaise and canola oil till you reach the consistency you like; neither too thick nor too thin. Play around with this part of the recipe. This chicken salad is more chicken than mayonnaise. The mayonnaise just adds a bit of moisture to the salad to hold it together. This is a very lite chicken salad.

 Toss the chicken and celery with the ‘canola’ mayonnaise

 Slice some of the grapes in half and add them to the salad


Serving suggestions:

You can serve the chicken salad on a bed of lettuce.

You can serve it wrapped in a tortilla, or other sandwich wrap, or even in pita bread.

I serve it simply with crackers and some green and red grapes on the side.

 During the Christmas season I add some dried cranberries to the salad for a festive holiday look.

 *LEFTOVERS TIP: Strain the chicken broth and use later in the week to make some noodle soup with diced celery and diced carrots. You can also cook a chicken thigh or two in the broth till cooked through and then debone and shred the meat to add to the soup.

Till next time, keep on smiling and laughing.

Bon appétit!!!


2-3 chicken breasts                         $4.75          

1-2 cans chicken broth                     $1.98

3-4 ribs celery sliced                        $0.40

¼ to ½ lemon                                 $0.40

4-5 tablespoons mayonnaise             $1.67

3-4 teaspoons canola oil                   $0.07

¼ to ½ pounds green grapes           $1.95

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost for 4 people:       $11.22
Cost per person:                 $2.81

Quote of the Day

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. 

Woody Allen



*Hopman, Gerry;                                                                      

**Hopman, Gerry;


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