by Jenn (eating bender) on December 9, 2008

I am overwhelmed – in a good way – by the response I’ve received so far about the Vita-Mix Super 5200 Giveaway! Look at all of you lovely people popping out of the woodwork to comment on my blog :mrgreen: Please stop by more often – I love the company! Remember, you have until Monday, December 15 at 11:59 p.m. to enter! I’ve been keeping track of everyone who has linked to me on their own blog or referred the post to their friends – you’ve got extra chances to win!

When I last left you, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my mom. I am happy to say that she has made it safe and sound, and we’ve been having an amazing time together. Perhaps the funniest moment came tonight on our way home from dinner. It is a BLIZZARD out there right now, and as we were walking, a huge gust of wind literally blew us backward! We both had umbrellas and they basically took on a mind of their own and ran away from us. I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time.

I have several foodie highlights over the past two days that I want to share. When my mom first arrived, we headed to Big Bowl for lunch, a fantastic restaurant that I reviewed in this post.

I started out with a glass of Pomegranate Ginger Ale. It was so delicious – they actually use fresh ginger when they are making it! Combined with the sweetness and tart of the pomegranate juice, it was a very refreshing drink.


My mom and I each started out with a bowl of the Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho).


This soup is made with rice noodles, herbs, lemon and chili pepper, along with huge chunks of chicken. It’s hard to eat with a spoon because the noodles are long, but it’s worth a little slop all over the face because the taste is hearty and perfect for a wintry day.

For our main course, my mom and I ended up splitting two appetizers: chicken potstickers and shrimp spring rolls.


Both were delicious. The sauce you see on the right hand side of the white plate is actually peanut sauceWOW. I had never tried peanut sauce before, but I always knew I would love it – and I was right! I need to make it for myself sometime this winter. Anybody have a favorite recipe?!

It was another successful trip to Big Bowl. If you have one of these restaurants in your area, I highly recommend it – you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu!

Another exciting new find was discovered at another old favorite – Cosi!


Yes, there is a bite taken out of the sandwich – but only so I could show you what’s inside 😉 This is called the T.B.M. Light – It’s made with tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and fat-free Cosi vinaigrette. Make sure to ask for it heated up – it makes a huge difference!


The vinaigrette is so flavorful and tangy! It really compliments the tomato and mozzarella well, and when you heat it up on Cosi’s Etruscan Whole Grain Bread, you have a fantastically filling meal.

And that brings us to tonight’s blizzard-filled meal. Bobby and I had a $20 gift certificate to Koi, the restaurant we went to on our anniversary, so that’s where we headed with my mom tonight.

Bobby and my mom shared an appetizer sampler to start.


It included potstickers, crab wontons, egg rolls, spare ribs and beef satays. I tried a bite of each one and they were all very tasty. But not as tasty as this…


Mmmm – a freshly made California roll! It featured real crab, avocado and cucumber – and went very well with peanut sauce 😉 Told you I liked it!

For the main course, we decided to split two dishes because the portion sizes are quite large – you really get your money’s worth! We chose the Mongolian and Kung Pao flavors with all three “meats” – beef, chicken and shrimp. It came with brown rice – my favorite!


Both dishes are incredibly flavorful. I served up a plate of rice with about 1/4 of each main dish. Turns out we needed the fuel, since we’d be walking against the wind all the way home! The extra weight helped keep us from flying away 😉 Haha, bad joke I know.

Between studying for finals and having fun with my mom, it’s been a busy start to the week, indeed! I am looking forward to the end of the week, when I will be going home for winter break. I leave you with a fun picture – look what finally arrived on my doorstep!


Thank you, Foodbuzz!! Love the apron and spatula!

And don’t forget to stop by and check out this week’s Grounded Fitness Giveaway. Cindy Whitmarsh is awesome – she always kicks my butt on Exercise TV!

Have a happy hump day, everyone!

1 Sharon December 9, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Yah for Pho! I love Vietnamese cuisine!

2 Julz December 9, 2008 at 9:52 pm


And everything looks to die for! (Especially, the TBM! I’ve never had one… I rarely order sandwiches out! I rarely eat out! I should totes do more of both! haha)

And the picture of you in YO A-PRON is so cute! Little hottie you are! :) lover you, Jenn!

3 Julz December 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Oh and I’ve never had PHO! Tho I’m not a fan of rice noodles :-

4 gina (fitnessista) December 9, 2008 at 10:18 pm

so glad you’re having fun with your madre!
the apron is so cute!!!
i have a recipe for peanut sauce on my blog right here:
have a great night!

5 Katie December 9, 2008 at 10:48 pm

I loooove Big Bowl. I’ve never tried the menu items (besides the ginger ale); I usually do the build-your-own-stirfry thing. And I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Koi. YUM!

6 Melissa S. December 9, 2008 at 10:53 pm

ahhh…what great meals!!! all that yumminess w/ the boy and mom!!!

and love the pic of you w/ the apron…wonder when mine is coming? hehehe…i bet i’ll be in FL by then!

7 Caroline December 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Sounds like you’re having a great week!

Love your picture!

8 Pearl December 9, 2008 at 11:49 pm

oh how adorable! :)

9 Moran December 9, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Have a Happy Humpday too!
All the food looks delicious! I haven’t had sushi in so longgg

10 Maggie December 10, 2008 at 12:47 am

SO much awesome Asian food. Vietnamese is my absolute FAVORITE. YUM!!!

11 Marianne December 10, 2008 at 1:05 am

I want to eat all of your meals. Seriously. I’m drooling.

12 Lara December 10, 2008 at 4:52 am

I’m not entering the contest as I live abroad but I wanted to say hi and comment on all the great eats! Isn’t Koi a famous, fancy restaurant that all the stars visit?! Cool!
Cute apron. Glad you are having a fun time with your mamma!

13 Erica December 10, 2008 at 5:17 am

Glad your mama made it safe and sound! Looks like you two are having a blast already! Enjoy your time!

14 marafaye December 10, 2008 at 5:31 am

OMG I love Koi!! Thats the restaurant that my fiancee met my dad in… be careful in the snow out there!

15 Sarah December 10, 2008 at 6:55 am

mmm delish eats—peanut sauce is THE BEST

16 ksgoodeats December 10, 2008 at 6:58 am

Yay for foodbuzz!!

I am a may-jah fan of Cosi! They have a new roasted veggie sandwich that is pretty tasty!

17 VeggieGirl December 10, 2008 at 7:05 am

**Peanut sauce recipe:

Hooray for Foodbuzz goodies!!

Be careful in the blizzard weather, girl!!

18 sweetandnatural December 10, 2008 at 7:11 am

Fun with mom – hooray! I haven’t been to Cosi in FOREVER and now you’ve got me missing their bread. I love the saltiness of the crust. :-)

19 Jenny December 10, 2008 at 7:28 am

Glad your mom made it safe and sound, and it looks like y’all enjoyed some great food! Yum sushi! Good luck with finals!

20 eatingbirdfood December 10, 2008 at 8:13 am

Yay for your madre coming to visit- I hope you you all have a fab time together. Too funny about the umbrella experience :)

I like cosi – main because they have smores, but I have never been to Big Bowl or Koi – both look very delish. If I’m ever in the area I will have to try those!

21 Natalie December 10, 2008 at 8:27 am

a great and easy recipe that includes peanut sauce….

cook a bunch of whole wheat spaghetti noodles until al dente. while it’s cooking, cut up carrots, red peppers, and sugar snap peas (the size is up to you). once the pasta is done, add your veggies and some cashews (or peanuts, but i prefer cashews) and then mix with peanut sauce. the sauce has quite a kick so i often add lime juice to sweeten it a bit. so easy to make and delicious!!

22 Rose December 10, 2008 at 8:56 am

Wooo for mom being in town! I miss my mom so much :( I always do!

I am so excited about the blender give-away…. I have a post coming up soon on it on my blog, and I think you’ll like it!

Glad you got your foodbuzz gear – finally! I wonder what took so long?

23 Megan December 10, 2008 at 9:23 am

I love Big Bowl! We don’t have one near us anymore! So sad!

24 bobbi December 10, 2008 at 9:32 am

love all the food!!!! I can’t wait to see who the winner is I HOPE I HOPE its me!

25 Erin December 10, 2008 at 9:46 am

YAY MOMMY! Wow Jenn, you look adorable! I have a great peanut sauce recipe, want me to send it to you?

26 Krista December 10, 2008 at 9:59 am

WOW! Fantastic looking food! I have a craving for Thai now!!

27 Grounded Fitness December 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

I love pho- its my favorite sick/hangover/comfort food. If you use chopsticks its way easier to eat. I always put hoisen sauce in the spoon and dip the noodles/meat in it.

Kelly Turner

28 Halie December 10, 2008 at 11:37 am

Oh m’goodness! I absolutely LOVE the pomegranate ginger ale! Well, I’m sure I’d love it if I could get my hands on it! I will have to replicate that one (at least an adequate replication, I don’t think I could make one as perfect as the one you had!)

Glad to hear you had fun with your mom! Be careful while out battling the elements!

29 Heather December 10, 2008 at 11:55 am

Oh man, I LOVE pho! And yea for lunches with mom :)

I have a good peanut sauce recipe somewhere- I’ll try to find it and pass it along to you. Have a great day!

30 Leng December 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm

i love peanut sauce! You know the funny thing about it? IT’S SO EASY TO MAKE! The portions vary from how pea-nutty or watery or potent you want it. it’s basically hoisin (there’s two versions of them the squeeze bottle kind that is typically used in Pho and then there’s the glass bottle type, which is typically used in cooking. Either one is good except that the latter has very little sugar), chili sauce (if you want it spicy), creamy/chunky peanut butter, and water/broth.

You put everything in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. stirring and adjusting the consistency and taste to what you like. Then when it’s all melted, you’re ready to dip into it!

31 Leng December 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm

oh btw is FoodBuzz sending out aprons and spatulas?

32 catms916 December 10, 2008 at 1:14 pm

All your eats look amazing!! I’ve never tried Pho before and now I’m totally intrigued. There are tons of Thai places near my apt so I may just have to stop in for a taste soon! Why’d you get the foodbuzz apron – is that from getting a certain amount of hits on your site?

33 ttfn300 December 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm

lovely eats and fun momma time!! enjoy the rest of your time together :)

34 lauren December 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm

all of your eats look AWESOME! especially the potstickers because I currently am obsessed with them! :)

35 Meghann December 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm

When did you join FoodBuzz? I never recieved my Apron and Spatula, did you have a delay as well?

36 Mel December 10, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Awww, you look so cute in your foodbuzz apron! And your eats look amazing, especially the cosi sandwich!

You asked about the snow, go to apperance, then extras. The snow option is there!

37 glidingcalm December 10, 2008 at 5:26 pm

dang. all of those meals look like choices I’d pick. california rolls. pho. cosi sandwich. asian food. potstickers. spring rolls. dang. dang. I SAID DANG YO!

wahoo, i got my foodbuzz gear too!

HAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPY HAPPY THURSDAY/WEDNESDAY JENN! which ever one you prefer. or happy Friday. or happy weekend. or HAPPY LIFE. yes, happy life!!!!!!

38 Fit Bottomed Girls December 10, 2008 at 5:32 pm

What a fun, tasty time you guys had! I love me some Cosi!!!

Love the apron, too. :)

39 Heather Eats Almond Butter December 10, 2008 at 8:56 pm

My favorite peanut sauce recipe, but it’s actually made with almond butter :)
Blend the following ingredients:
1 cup almond butter
2 Tbsp fresh ginger
1/2 cup water, more or less (depends how thick you want sauce)
4 Tbsp lemon or lime juice (fresh)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp Tamari
4 tsp sesame oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic
pinch red pepper flakes

So easy and so good!

40 eatingbender December 10, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Thank you to everyone who gave me great ideas for peanut sauce! I am so excited to try it myself once I get home and have some time on my hands :) I think my family is going to love it, too!

41 Lida December 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm

it’s so cool that you live in chicago and i know all the places you’re writing about. gotta love big bowl’s ginger ale…

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