Honey, I’m Home!

by Jenn (eating bender) on February 1, 2009

Hello!! :mrgreen:

Sorry to leave you in the lurch for a couple of days, but…I’m home! Bobby and I arrived in Arizona on Friday morning – yes, he’s here, too! – and have been soaking up the sunshine and 70* temperatures while we can! We are here for a long weekend because the price was right for tickets and because we really wanted to be here for the Super Bowl! I know many of you are Steelers fans, right? I’m really not biased one way or the other, but I can tell you that the atmosphere here is a a lot redder 😉 Bring it on! I can’t wait for the game.

I have so much to say and don’t know where to begin! First of all, thank you so much for all the kind comments about my good news and my PowerPoint presentation on my last post. Being able to share all of that with the blogosphere makes everything even better because your encouraging words keep me smiling for days! You are all so supportive and I can’t thank you enough for that.

Secondly, thanks to everyone who provided me with advice on the coffee/tea debacle. After reading the tip from many of you that I should try decaf coffee, I thought “DUH!” :) So thank you for helping me see the obvious! And as for tea…well, I have some success there, too! More on that later.

After a busy traveling day on Friday, we went to bed super early! On Saturday, I woke up feeling refreshed and made myself a Coffee Cocoa in my favorite mug.


I went on an early morning run up and down a mountain. I can’t say that very often in Chicago! It was about three miles, and when I came back I felt amazing! I did a 25-minute ab workout with Cindy Whitmarsh (she’s killer!) to seal the deal.

We had an early tee time, so I made myself a big bowl of cereal to fuel up. It came out to 1.5 cups Kashi Go Lean with 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk.


Golf went better than I expected. I played pretty well considering I haven’t touched a club since I went back to school! When we were finished, we came home and Papa Bender made us lunch! Nothing too fancy (he’s saving that for our Super Bowl dinner!), but I had 1/2 of a Chicago hot dog on a whole wheat bun with ketchup and pickles to start.


And then I heated up a microwaveable bowl of shrimp wonton soup. My mom found these at Costco, and they are tasty! All you have to do is add water – reminds me of ramen! – and you get these plump shrimp wontons filled with whole pieces of shrimp. Delish!


And just because I could, I made myself a little sweet treat to end lunch. My mom bought some angel food cake from Whole Foods, so I had a slice topped with fresh strawberries and a little fat-free whipped cream. One of my absolute favorite desserts because it’s actually pretty healthy!


I spent the afternoon working on school papers. Yes, even though I went home for the weekend, I still have three of those puppies to write! While I was working, I tried my luck at (gasp!) a mug of hot tea!


This tea is called Pomegranate Berry Fusion from Gloria Jean’s. I decided that a sweet tea would be my best bet. Now, I have to tell you that I’m not a big fan of honey, so I decided to try adding something new. My mom wrinkled her nose when I told her, but maybe some of you will be more open-minded 😉 It was…

Maple syrup.

Well, what do you think? Am I insane? I figured that maple syrup is a lot like honey in texture at sweetness, right? And I love maple syrup. And, best of all, I actually liked this tea! I think that the tea itself is really good, very sweet on its own and full of pomegranate and blueberry flavor. Adding the maple syrup was like icing on the cake. Thanks again, everyone!

Dinner tonight was my family’s celebration of Bobby’s new job. We went to Benihana, a Japanese restaurant where the chef cooks right in front of you. To start, we split a California roll. It was so fresh!


The entree orders at Benihana come with delicious soup and salad to start. The soup is a delicious broth filled with mushrooms and onions.


The salad is filled with veggies and features one of my favorite parts of Japanese restaurants: the ginger dressing! I don’t know what all goes into it, but it is absolutely amazing.


For dinner, I ordered the Benihana Delight, which comes with shrimp


And chicken


And a lot of grilled veggies, including zucchini, mushrooms and onions. I had a picture of the veggies but it came out blurry :( I ate all of those plus the shrimp, and saved the chicken for leftovers.

The entree also comes with your choice of ice cream or sherbet for dessert. I went with the rainbow sherbet and was reminded of my childhood – I used to eat this all the time! It was v. tasty, and of course, by this point I was v. full! But it was worth it…we were celebrating!


Whew! Today promises to be even more exciting. We are going to workout soon and might play some touch football to get in Super Bowl Spirit! My random question for the day is, are you a Super Bowl fan? Do you watch it more for the food, the fun, the commercials, or the game?

My answer: ALL of the above!

And now, I leave you with a really cool signature that I came across thanks to bloggers like Ryan and Mrs. LC. I hope you both don’t mind me using your idea! I just think it’s awesome :) You can find the website here.


1 Moran February 1, 2009 at 10:42 am

That signature is awesome!!
Enjoy your long weekend and watching the superbowl!
I am so jealous at the weather ! Its snowing here !

2 Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) February 1, 2009 at 10:43 am

I LOVE ginger dressing too! That’s my favorite part!

Love the signature…enjoy your time at home!

3 Mel February 1, 2009 at 10:59 am

I love Benihana! I haven’t been there in years, but their salad is so good!

Enjoy the warmth down in AZ while you can! It’s still cold as heck up here!

4 Erica February 1, 2009 at 10:59 am

Hi friend! So fun that you got to go home for the weekend! Enjoy that weather! It is gorgeous here too and I am LOVING LOVING every minute! I already went to Body Pump this am but might need to head outside for a run just because its so nice! All of your eats look amazing- especially your lunchy dessert! I love watching the superbowl for all of the above as well! Josh is pretty bummed about the game and doesn’t want to watch. We were going to go up to my aunt’s house for a party but I think we have too much to do!

5 Sarah February 1, 2009 at 11:08 am


Haha, can you tell that I’m excited? I LOVE FOOTBALL hehe.

and I love Benihana—I like it when the flip the shrimp tails into their hats! Ginger dressing is the best and I totally used to eat rainbow sherbert all the time when i was a kid!

have fun at home!

6 marafaye February 1, 2009 at 11:15 am

Hey, you can run up and down Mount Trashmore :)

7 sweetandnatural February 1, 2009 at 11:32 am

Yay! A trip home – how fun. I’m watching the Super Bowl this evening with a group of friends – one is from Pittsburgh so she’s way pumped. I’m more excited for the commercials this year. 😛

8 sarahannmatheny February 1, 2009 at 11:33 am

Hi girl!

Genius idea about the maple syrup in the tea. I bet it would be extra tasty in an apple spice or english toffee tea, or even Chai. Num!

I’ve never been to Benihana’s but we have one, so I’ll have to hit it up!

I like the Superbowl because its about the only time we can have to TV on for four hours and not feel guilty about it. I never get to watch much of the game with the rugrats running ’round. But there are always good snacks!

Can’t wait to see Papa Bender’s spread. Enjoy!

9 Sharon February 1, 2009 at 11:34 am

Angel food cake looks amazing. And that hot dog looks scrumptious! I’ve never had a chicago hot dog before! It sounds yummy, and looks yummy yoo!

10 Sarah February 1, 2009 at 11:46 am

oooh, love your “magic shrimp” in the soup!

and the idea of maple syrup in tea has never crossed my mind … but i think i like it!! esp w/berry tea … kind of like blueberry pancakes :-)

11 Melissa February 1, 2009 at 11:51 am

delicious meals, light and healthy

12 ksgoodeats February 1, 2009 at 11:54 am

I’ve been trying to stay out of the crazy Superbowl-ness but I have to say, I kind of want Arizona to win just because they’re the underdogs! To answer your question though: the only thing I’ll be watching in this Superbowl is The Office, Matt Lauer’s Obama interview, and probably the last minute :( Sorry I’m a basketball girl!

THANKS for the link, I’ve been wanting one of those for a while now.

Oh and I can’t wait to see what Papa Bender cooks up in his kitchen today!

13 Kate February 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

I’m so glad you liked a tea! It really is all a/b personal preference. I think fruity teas are always the way to work up to stronger, plainer ones. I could seriously live off sushi-it’s so healthy, reasonably priced, and pretty! That looks so healthy too! You should really try the Caribou MANGO hot tea-I think you’d really like it:)

14 Shelby February 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Cool signature! I’m going to have to try that!

Mmm, I’m drooling over that big bowl of cereal. What is it about cereal that makes me weak in the knees?? 😉

Ooo and that strawberry dessert sounds luscious! I wish angel food cake was vegan! =(

I’m not a big superbowl fan…I think I watched the whole thing like 2 years ago or so and I loved the commercials.

15 beautifuldancer February 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Ohmygosh Bender! I love maple syrup too (I’m gonna have to try that in my tea)!

But I just HAD to ask you about P90X… it looks intense, is it working for you? I considered ordering it because NOTHING is keeping me away from a teeny bikini this summer :-)

ANDDD in your last post you talked about Vitamuffins… I NEED to try these and WHERE DID YOU GET THEM!?
Congrats on the Powerpoint too by the way! Nothing feels better than doing a project and having it turn out PERFECTLY!


16 Marianne February 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I love going to Japanese restaurants where they do the cooking in front of you with the whole show – I’ve only been once, but it was so good. And really, I just love Japanese food. Mmmm.

As for Super Bowl – it’s not my thing. I don’t like football, we don’t have parties, and the Canadian stations DON’T show the commercials from the States. You only get to see them if you head to a sports bar or have satellite yourself. It’s so dumb. I’ll watch the half time show, but that’s about it.

17 Erin February 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm

YAY JENN! I’m so glad you and BD got the chance to go home! I can’t wait to see what Papa Bender cooks up for ya’ll!
I LOVE your signature! Totally copying you on the idea! Four degrees of copying!
I could give a rip snortin’ diddly do about the actual GAME, but I like the Superbowl! I love being with friends and seeing how much fun it is for them. I usually do a mani or play Rush Hour or something though!

18 Melissa S. February 1, 2009 at 12:24 pm

don’t know ANYTHING about football…even any of the positions. how sad is that? haha!

love the bennihanas…i’ve never been there but heard lots about it! glad you enjoyed it~

19 Beadie February 1, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Gorgeous eats!!! I’m so jeal of the weather!!

I don’t watch the superbowl!

20 VeggieGirl February 1, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Hooray!! Keep enjoying yourself at home, dear Miss EB :-)

Rainbow sherbet!! Nostalgia alert!!

21 keiko February 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Totally not weird!
Plenty of people use maple syrup as a sweetener.
At the farmer’s market downtown (I’m in nyc), there’s a stand that sells iced mint tea sweetened with maple syrup.
I’m all for it!

22 jenngirl February 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Glad you’re enjoying a weekend at home, even if you do have papers to write! Omg, I haven’t had sushi in like a week, I NEED my fix! haha 😉

I’m much more of a commercial/half-time show gal, so sad I know, but I just never really got into the whole football thing. Have a great day Jenn!

23 Heather Eats Almond Butter February 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Jenn, I am SO JEALOUS you are in Sunny Scottsdale! How exciting that you and Bobby get to be there to celebrate the Superbowl. Please enjoy some of that dry air and sunshine for me!

I cannot wait to see what Papa Bender cooks up for the day’s festivities. I’m sure it will be his usual gourmet fare. Yum!

Have so much fun and best of luck with your 3 papers. Chris and I are going to stay in and watch the game together. He’s a huge football fan and actually likes to watch AND listen to the game. Therefore, we opted out of going over to a friend’s house…all the girl talk always distracts him. :) I like the game myself, but I LOVE watching all the clever commercials and the half-time show.

Again, enjoy your time at home…oh, and I wanted to tell you about my favorite tea. I have tried them all: cheap, expensive, sweet, non-sweet, green, black, herbal, etc. I have to say my favorite tea of all time is Celestial Seasonings Blueberry (their Cranberry-apple is good as well). I keep at least 2 boxes on hand all times. It’s super cheap compared to many others out there, and lately each box has contained a $1.00 coupon that I use for my next purchase. It’s caffeine free and all natural. Sometimes I don’t sweeten it all and other times, I might add a packet of Stevia. I have it every night before bed – love it! Oh, and love the new signature. So classy. :)

24 seeleelive (for the love of peanut butter) February 1, 2009 at 2:12 pm

heyyy EB! so glad u are safe in AZ and enjoying yourself. i have heard lots of things about BENIHANA’s….it looks so delicious!

and I am thinking of asking my mother to purchase some of that shrimp wonton!!!

oh, and i used to eat sorbet lots when i was younger-i have not had it in so long. i love the texture and aroma, its soo soo so special!!

i opened my first box of kashi golean today…i havent had it in about a year-its sooo good! crunch crunch crunch!!
tlk to you soon:-)

25 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) February 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Hooray for your trip home! Arizona sounds awesome!! :) And glad you like the signature thing! haha it took my forever to pick a font that I liked. :)

Enjoy the Super Bowl tonight (I’m usu. in it more for commercials if anything…hubs and I are gonna have it on the background while we work on work and other random stuff!)

26 Lara February 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Oooh I love Benihana! So wonderful that you’re getting some warm weather and sunshine. Soak it up for all of us here in the cold!!

27 Ryan February 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Nice sig you got going there!!! YUMMY trip food! Looks like you’re having a great time! Enjoy the game!

28 glidingcalm February 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Bringing the chicago dog to the AZ. Hilarious!!

The benihana meal sounds so freakin good!! I’ve never been there before.

And I totally have a friend in Tempe that’s been trying to get me to visit him for the last couple weeks. If only the economy were good and I had the money!! Temps in the 70s and 80s sound delicious right about now!


29 Kailey February 1, 2009 at 7:23 pm

How awesome it it that you’re at home in AZ!?? Such a nice change in weather, huh? Sorbet always reminds me of when I was in elementary school and would stay home with strep. My mom always used to feed my brother and me orange sherb! BTW I’ve been inspired and started a blog. Check it out if you can! snackface.wordpress.com

30 Krista February 1, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Love that mug!

I haven’t had strawberries and angel food cake since the summer! We eat a lot of it then…

Enjoy the rest of the weekend at home….in the warm weather! :)

31 Krysten February 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Hi Jenn!! I’m a frequent reader but a very infrequent commented! I love love love your coffee mugs with the cute sayings, and I was wondering what brand they are. Love the blog, keep up the good work!

32 gina (fitnessista) February 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm

you’re in ARIZONA RIGHT NOW?! you know i’m way jealous, right? please eat some mexican food and go to fashion square for me!
i can’t wait to see what papa bender make for superbowl food 😀
i looooove benihana!
have so much fun <3

33 brandi February 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm

glad you’re having a good time!

I don’t really care about the game so much – we’re watching it, but I watch WAY more college football than pro :)

I like the food and fun the most

glad you found a tea you like! Those fruit flavors are so much sweeter than just Earl Grey.

34 eatingbirdfood February 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Enjoy the warm weather and spending time with your fam.

Strawberries on angel food cake is my favorite dessert as well – yum!

I’ve never been to benihaha, but I have been to similar places – I love the soup and ginger salad!!! Great place to celebrate Bobby’s new job.

I can’t wait to see what papa bender has up his sleeve for the SUPERBOWL!

35 Bec February 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Wow that shrimp wanton soup looks amazing! My favorite part of the Super Bowl is usually the commercials and tonight it will be the hour long ep of the Office that follows the Super Bowl!

36 Nicole February 1, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I love your mugs! They are way too cute. Have a great night!!

37 Olga February 1, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I also do homeworks when I’m home! Booooo.

I watch the superbowl for all of those reasons as well! Although this year’s is going to be particularly memorable… hahah

38 Caroline February 1, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Love the signature! I think I just found a new procrastination tool…

39 Megan February 1, 2009 at 11:58 pm

mmm wontons! one of my favs.

i do NOT do super bowl. or any sporting events for that matter haha. we have a non-super bowl party at our house every year! no boys allowed+sex and the city marathon+alcoholic beverages= WAY better than the super bowl :)

40 carolinebee February 2, 2009 at 12:15 am

WEE so glad u made it home, what a fun weekend trip! I’m SO pumped from the superbowl 😀 How freakin’ badass was Bruce’s halftime show!?? LOVE him! I went to a friend’s house with tons of food, friends and football it was awesome..hope yours was good too girl.

41 Mariposa February 2, 2009 at 8:31 am

love the japanese food – it looks soooo tasty!

42 lauren February 2, 2009 at 10:15 am

all the food looks delicious…as usual! and I really enjoy your signature!

43 bobbi February 2, 2009 at 10:50 am

I posted the answer to your question in todays post:)

44 Danielle February 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

yayy for going home!
Hope you are enjoying your time in Arizona!

45 Missy (MISSY MAINTAINS) February 2, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Yum! Maple syrup in tea?? I need to try that!! Your sushi and dumplings look amazing as well. As for the superbowl? I like the drinking part of it!!!

46 runjess February 2, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I only watched the Superbowl to get together with friends, but I did cheer for the Cardinals, just so you know.

47 limberkimbers February 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I totally forgot that the superbowl was even on this weekend.. so I guess that answers that question!

I like the idea of adding maple syrup instead of honey because maple syrup>>>honey. I’m just not a fan of sweetening tea, but that’s just me 😀

48 Erin February 2, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I’m totally jealous of your weather and your eats! Yum!

49 Heather @ Hangry Pants February 2, 2009 at 6:47 pm

What a fun weekend trip. I think it’s always fun to be in the city where the team in the superbowl, world series, etc. is!

How do you not like honey?

That is the biggest hot dog I have ever seen! It’s big, right? It’s not just me.

Oh and thank you for telling me about my post in google reader. I think I accidentally put it back as a draft when I was editing something in it.

Have a safe trip back to Chicago.

50 Sweet and Fit February 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm

looks like you had such a great trip! I am so bad at golf, but I love to tag along so I can drive the cart.

I am not a really big fan of honey either because it just tastes too too sweet! Maple syrup – sounds like a good alternative.

51 ttfn300 February 2, 2009 at 9:16 pm

…and i had a hard day. pour me a cold one. oh shoot, sorry :) great eats! and that’s not too strange with the maple syrup 😉

52 luckytastebuds February 2, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Ohhhh Jenn you are too cute! :) What a lovely post! I loved reading about your day with the fam…makes me miss home so much. That chicago dog is a big guy huh? He’s practically busting through that bun. heheheh

I am SUPER impressed with that shrimp wonton!!! I’ve been trying to find nice big ones with real big chunks of shrimp in them, but have failed miserably. Even the Asian grocery stores have failed me..so THANK YOU for showing that wonton soup. :) I hope the Costco here in Chicago has some of that.

Btw, that angel food cake looks delicious. It’s also one of my favorite desserts!! I like to drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top and eat it with slices strawberries. Come back to Chicago soon! We’ll hit the 40’s and almost 50 by this Friday!!!!

53 Katie February 3, 2009 at 7:53 am

I’m with you on the Super Bowl. I love everything about it. I also love your mug!

54 zestycook February 3, 2009 at 8:31 am

Love the Signature and the EATS… WOW – I want to eat with you guys some day :)

55 Sheena February 3, 2009 at 9:48 am

I love benihana! The food all looks so good! As for the Super Bowl, since I am kind of by myself out here I didn’t watch it for the food — though I tried to get in the spiriti with a low fat 7 layer dip! I love the game and the comemrcials, however I kept getting interrupted during the game to put out articles for work, so that kind of sucked!

56 elise February 3, 2009 at 10:03 pm

love all the cute mugs! (and the food too of course)

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