Weekend Twilight Adventures

by Jenn (eating bender) on November 23, 2008

The end of another weekend is upon us. Say it isn’t so! Fortunately, it’s been another fun-filled one, so I can’t complain!

First of all, Twilight totally met and exceeded my expectations. I haven’t felt this way about a book-turned-movie series since Harry Potter. It literally makes me giggle like a little girl, and I love that feeling. I have plans to see it again very soon. My friend and I arrived at the movie theater at 9:45 pm on Thursday night, only to find that the line had started as early as 5:00 in the afternoon! Fortunately, we still secured a good spot and brought along some magazines to read until it was time for the show to start. The movie also featured the new and improved trailer for the next Harry Potter movie, so it was twice as nice! I just want to recommend the Twilight books once again – they are suitable for so many different personalities because who doesn’t like to read about love? If you read them, let me know what you think!

On Friday, I met up with my cousin Lisa – who came to visit me earlier this summer – for dinner on Michigan Avenue. We decided on the Grand Luxe Cafe, a favorite of mine and a restaurant that is very similar to Cheesecake Factory in terms of portion sizes and menu variety.


The best part was that we were actually able to secure window seats and got to look out on the amazing splendor that is the shopping district of downtown Chicago. Splendid! We sampled some amazing fare as well, including New England Clam Chowder and a Southwestern Salad. But by far the most impressive part of our meal was the dessert!


Apologies for the slightly blurry picture, but it was very dark in the restaurant! This dessert is called New Orleans Beignets. It’s baked to order and can basically be described as a lighter-than-air puff pastry that is covered in powdered sugar – aka ABSOLUTE PERFECTION! It came EIGHT to a basket (we each had two and brought the rest home for leftovers!) with three dipping sauces: chocolate, raspberry and a white one whose name escapes me but involved a sweet liqueur and white chocolate. Mm Mm Mm! We were so impressed!

After dinner, Lisa and I walked around and browsed some of the shops. I came home with a bit of a splurge beauty product: Jacqua Sinfully Rich Body Butter in Buttercream Frosting. It makes me smell like a cake! And the best part was that it lasted all day long. I went to the gym this morning and even though I was sweating, the smell of cake permeated the air around me. I was surrounded by a buttercream cloud 😉 If you enjoy sweet scents, I highly recommend this product!

On Saturday evening, my roommate and I ventured back to Michigan Avenue to witness the Holiday Lighting Ceremony. There was a Disney parade – complete with Mickey Mouse and the gang – and the chance to watch the entire street become lit up in the glow of holiday cheer. The roomie and I also enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Big Bowl, which I have reviewed before. It’s another one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Two of my favorites in one weekend? I’m a lucky girl.

Unfortunately, a busy weekend did not leave too much time for me to post a new recipe for this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient contest. But good news! Lindsay was nice enough to allow me to post one of my old favorites. It also happens to be one of the first-ever recipes I posted on my blog! They’re called ‘Pump’ It Up Muffinsclick here for the recipe page link – and I wanted to post the recipe again for your convenience.

‘Pump’ It Up Muffins

At first I was going to make mini muffins to have as a snack option. In the end, however, I decided to go all the way and make six big muffins that I can have for breakfast options instead! I’ve dubbed them “Pump” It Up Muffins – thanks to the extra “power” provided by oats and flax. I hope that’s a somewhat original name!

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. chocolate chips (divided evenly)
  • Cinnamon to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl (leave out the chocolate chips at first). Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray and evenly distribute the muffin mix into each cup. Stick chocolate chips on top. Bake at 375* for 25 to 30 minutes.



So they look super scrumptious and all, but my favorite part about pumpkin pie is the crust. I thought to myself, what could I use to mimic the crust and still be somewhat light and healthy?

Two words: TEDDY GRAHAMS!!!!!!

A perfect imitation of a graham cracker crust. Plus, they’re adorable! :mrgreen:

Each muffin has 180 calories and 7 grams of fiber!


Last but not least, I’d like to introduce a really cool new site. It’s called Glisten, and it features a lot of great workout tips for women, among other things. It was started by a brother and sister team who are both professional athletes – the sister, Allyson, even won a medal in Beijing! – and if you sign up on the site, you can have workouts delivered to your inbox. Check it out if you’re interested!

That’s it for now. I promise to have more foodie-ish posts this week – especially since it happens to be THANKSGIVING week! I can’t believe it’s already here! I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this foodie’s dream holiday, and I’m excited to share some of my own recipes with you as well. As long as you can keep a family secret 😉 You know Papa Bender will be cookin’ up a storm!

Have a great evening – “see” you again soon!

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sweetandnatural November 23, 2008 at 3:30 pm

FUN weekend! Good to hear you liked Twilight b/c I’ve read mixed reviews about it. And I LOVE beignets! My dad made them for us as special weekend breakfasts growing up, so they always bring back fond memories. :-)


2 Sharon November 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Wow, what a super weekend.

I can’t wait till I get the chance to catch Twilight myself! =)


3 Shannon November 23, 2008 at 3:47 pm

I LOVED Twilight! It totally exceeded my expectations too! I went in there expecting it to be a crappy movie and was even bored by the beginning, and then I completely loved it! Those muffins look super chewy and wonderful, by the way :)


4 Erica November 23, 2008 at 3:51 pm

What a fun weekend! I bet the Holiday lighting ceremony really got you excited about all of the upcoming festivities! Good luck in the BSI contest! I stink and didn’t get anything put together this week 😉


5 Hangry Pants November 23, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Well, I missed the whole Twilight thing, but it really sounds like a fun event. And how cute are those muffins with the little teddy grahams popping out the top!


6 Sarah November 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm

oh, such a fun weekend! i have to say that i am jealous of just about every aspect of your weekend: the food, family, activities. SO much fun. I seriously cannot wait to see Twilight—and I have you to thank because it was per your recommendation that I picked up the book in the first place!


7 VeggieGirl November 23, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Soooo glad you loved the film!!


Those New Orleans Beignets = indulgence at its finest.

Your Teddy Graham “Pump” It Up Muffins = HOLY YUM!! 😉



8 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) November 23, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Glad you had such a fun weekend!


9 seeleelive November 23, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Is this not the cutest muffin you have ever seen guys? Wow, EatingBender–this is impressive! Thanks for the sweet comment you left on my wall- it brightened my day. I admire you for your dedication and influence amongst the blogosphere, and I feel honored that you took the time to read my post!!! And did i mention those muffins are too great? Fantastic!
And my roomie say Twilight and just adored it. She is giving me her old books to start reading soon!
Have a nice night!


10 bobbi November 23, 2008 at 5:25 pm

what a fun and lovely post!! I love those muffins, I almost took a bite out of my screen;) I have never heard of that cafe I am going to have to check it out the next time I am in the area;!


11 Marianne November 23, 2008 at 5:29 pm

The beignets look awesome – but I thought they were normally deep fried, not baked?

And the muffins are too cute with the Teddy Grams sticking out.


12 marafaye November 23, 2008 at 5:35 pm

My best friend and i went to see Twilight last night, and we were sitting there squealing and drooling and were SO excited that it did such a great job converting the book to the movie.
Those are the CUTEST muffins!


13 Andrea November 23, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Grand Lux beignets are da bomb! Every time I go home to Dallas, my Mom and I go there and get them. There’s way too many for two people, so we give them away to other tables :)


14 Fit Bottomed Girls November 23, 2008 at 6:58 pm

I’ve been to that Grand Lux and had their beingets! It’s hard to top the ones at Cafe DuMonde in New Orleans, but they were good! And I loved the chocolate sauce the best with them!


15 glidingcalm November 23, 2008 at 7:13 pm

wow that dessert looks awesome! and I always thought your pumpkin muffins were incredibly delicious…….looking (for now! someday I’ll get around to making them!)

I can’t wait to see a Bender Thanksgiving, and more of Papa B’s skills in the kitchen!

happy Monday Jenn!


16 elise November 23, 2008 at 7:18 pm


Those muffins, first of all, with the teddy grahams? CUTEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. They look like the most delicious things I’ve ever seen. Honestly.

Secondly, those beignets make me drool. All over my computer.


17 Pearl November 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm

those look great! and omgosh the teddy grahams are SOOO adorable! does the flax seed give it a weird texture?


18 eatingbirdfood November 23, 2008 at 8:25 pm

It looks as though you had an awesome weekend. I’m glad the Twlight movie was worth the wait!

I’ve never had Beignets but they looks delish. And, your teddy bear muffs make me smile.

Happy Thanksgiving week!


19 Megan November 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm

What a fun weekend!

Love the Teddy Grahams in the muffins!


20 tiffanie November 23, 2008 at 8:47 pm

just started reading the first book in the series :) i’m sure i’ll get sucked in!


21 Katie November 23, 2008 at 9:00 pm

I haven’t seen Twilight yet, but I am getting more excited now that everyone says it is better than they expected.

I love the Teddy Grahams in the muffins, they are adorable!


22 Maggie November 23, 2008 at 10:27 pm

That is such an awesome pumpkin recipe! I definitely have to make these to have for breakfast. Yum :)


23 gina (fitnessista) November 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm

i’m so glad you liked twilight! i can’t wait to read the book so i can go see it! (i like to read books before seeing the movie)
love love love those pump in up muffins!
can’t wait to see what chef papa bender creates this week 😀
hope you have a wonderful night!


24 Lara November 24, 2008 at 1:03 am

The pump it muffins look great–love the teddies on top!


25 Mark November 24, 2008 at 7:46 am

What a weekend! Thanks for the recipe!


26 carolinebee November 24, 2008 at 10:17 am

I don’t know if I commented before!! I just started a blog, after reading so many great ones like yours! I appreciate the Lazy Chef section especially 😀 Thanks for the website too, it sounds really great, i added u to my blogroll if u dont mind!


27 Halie November 24, 2008 at 11:13 am

Beignets!!! Delish! So great that you had such favorite filled weekend!

Great entry! How could you not enter something so delicious as Pump it Muffins! I love the little teddy grahams poking out the top! :)


28 lauren November 24, 2008 at 12:28 pm

look at those muffins! awesome!


29 Joanna November 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm

those muffins are beautiful!! i love the little teddy grahams in there. they look so happy.

i can’t get any of my friends to see twilight with me because they are all so cheap. i’ll prob end up seeing it by myself because it looks so good.


30 tiffanie November 24, 2008 at 3:51 pm

making the muffins RIGHT NOW. just put em in the oven. can’t wait to see how they turn out!


31 Marisa November 24, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Those muffins are brilliant!!! I bet my kids will even eat them!


32 Lida November 24, 2008 at 8:12 pm

i loved twilight! i’ve already seen in twice in one weekend, and i might see it tomorrow…
i see you also live in chicago. where did you find seasonal clif bars? i haven’t been able to find them anywhere!


33 zestycook November 24, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Jenn – looks like you had an amazing weekend! Those muffins look fabulous!



34 eatingbender November 24, 2008 at 9:08 pm

You all never fail to make me smile. I’m glad to hear that so many of you liked Twilight, and that you think my muffins are cute!

Pearl ~ The flax really isn’t that noticeable! It just gives it a bit of a nuttier texture.

Lida ~ I couldn’t find them ANYWHERE, either!! But then I went into an outdoor store near my school called Uncle Dan’s, and there they were! So I’d suggest going into a place like Dick’s Sporting Goods or The North Face to see if they have them in stock!


35 sportylise November 25, 2008 at 2:23 am

Those are the cutest muffins ever!


36 Sammie November 25, 2008 at 5:16 am

Those muffins are way too cute!!! And they sound delish.


37 Kathy November 27, 2008 at 8:04 am

I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE TWILIGHT! I’ve been listening to the music ever since I saw the movie. SO OBSESSED with both the books and movie! ahhhhhhh!!!!


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