Knock Knock! + Dinner Dates [Giveaway]

by Jenn (eating bender) on December 22, 2009

It’s been a busy week for the postman, postwoman, UPS and FedEx drivers (forgive me if I’ve forgotten someone). Between delivering packages to my Bloggie Secret Santa recipient — so glad you liked everything, Jenny! — and bringing me my own bit of Christmas cheer, it’s been a good week so far. For all of you ladies (and gents?) who came over to my little blog from Peanut Butter & Jenny…HI! I look forward to getting to know each of you since I already know that Jenny is a beautiful person, inside and out. I have a feeling she keeps good company :)

I’m going to spread the love to all of you with a giveaway…but we’ll come back to that in a bit πŸ˜‰

First, I’d like to tell you about my amazing time with Mara late last week at Graziano’s.

This place was a big ol’, family friendly place with a long and detailed menu.

Everything on the menu looked so good that it was nearly impossible to choose. But I decided to go with my gut — thinking with my stomach is always the most delicious move — and ordered a “black cow,” also known as the root beer float.

Yes, this thing was massive (like the Santa mug in the background? Mara gave it to me! Does she know me or what?) and I decided that there was plenty of love to go around, so I shared it with my dinner date. We both agreed that it was tasty!

There was also some deliciously doughy bread and olive oil to start the meal off right.

After much deliberation, I decided to go with what the restaurant is “known for” and ordered a brick oven pizza. My choice? The melanzana — wood-roasted eggplant, zucchini, roasted peppers, mozzarella, goat cheese and tomato sauce. Couldn’t go wrong there and believe me, it lived up to all its expectations. The creaminess of the goat cheese melted on top of the pizza was seriously out of this world. I have never had a more flavorful pizza in my life — and that’s saying something here in Chicago!

I ended up eating half that night and saving the other half for dinner the next day. I nearly bounded to the refrigerator when I got home — I was that excited to eat it again :) Two thumbs way up!

Of course, Mara and I had to take the requisite photo after our meal:

I think I wear that scarf every day now. In the winter you’ll always find me wearing a coat and scarf indoors…it’s a funny habit. ANYWAY — I had a lovely time chatting with her in more detail about her beautiful wedding and upcoming honeymoon. It had been way too long since we’d seen each other.


In very similar news, I have the best blog friends. The holidays are a FUN time to be a blogger, especially a foodie one :) Not only do you have the chance to eat delicious, once-a-year dishes with family and friends — you also get to share the “wealth” and deliciousness with other bloggers who you can call friends, even if you live miles apart. It’s truly amazing to me and I love every minute!

My wonderful blog and real life friend Melissa sent me some of her baked goodies:

No words needed her, friends. I’ve tried at least two of everything and am freezing the rest to enjoy once I return from home for the holidays. That’s the way to ring in the New Year πŸ˜‰

I’ve also received beautiful cards from GC, Brittany, Alisa, Melissa and Karla.

Karla was also kind enough to send me a super cute set of mugs and tiny spoons!

Does that girl know me or what? I really appreciate all of my cards and gifts. As I’ve said numerous times before, I love this community and am so grateful for all of you!

This leads me to my next order of business…

Knock knock!

Who’s there?

Knock knock!

Who’s there?


Have I lost you yet? Corny jokes aside, the company really is called Knock Knock :mrgreen: You know I’ve been waiting to do that…

Shelli from Conversify — great company, by the way! — recently contacted me to see if I would be interested in receiving some Knock Knock products. The company’s slogan is, “We put the fun in functional,” and I couldn’t agree more. They have notepads, organizers and list makers for almost every occasion imaginable! Shelli offered to send a Plan-A-Meal Bundle that includes an “All out of” pad, a “What to Eat” pad, and the Take Out Menu organizer. According to Shelli, the bundle was designed to help any/every foodie plan, shop, and cook the perfect meal (or resort to awesome take-out if all else fails). Sounds like a great holiday gift item, no?

You can follow them on Twitter here.

You can visit them on Facebook here.

Good news!

Just in time for Christmas — or any holiday that you may be celebrating! — I have one Plan-A-Meal Bundle to give away toΒ  a lucky reader!


Knock Knock Holiday Giveaway!

**This giveaway is for U.S. residents and Canada residents with a P.O. Box only. Sorry to inconvenience anyone!**

Here’s how to enter:

  • Visit the Knock Knock site and leave a comment with your favorite product
  • For an extra entry, tweet the following: “Visit @EatingBender for a chance to win a @knockknock Plan-A-Meal Bundle:” Then come back and leave a second comment telling me you tweeted!
  • For a third entry, leave a third comment with your best tip for planning a meal

I hope that sounds like fun! Since I’m going to be out of town next week, this will be an extended giveaway that runs now through January 3 at 11:59 p.m. :) I will choose and announce the winner the morning of January 4. The winner can ring in the new year with revived dedication to planning and cooking their meals — aannnndd that may or may not just be my goal with this product. Fingers crossed because don’t we all know that I definitely need that motivation?

Have a very merry Tuesday, everyone! 2 days until Christmas Eve! If you could send some positive vibes Chicago’s way so that it does NOT have icy rain/snow/wind forecasted on the day I’m trying to fly home to my family, I would appreciate it very much :mrgreen: I’m getting a little nervous.


{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

1 eatavegan December 22, 2009 at 7:01 am

Hey Jenn! Glad your holidays are going well!
I took a look at the Knock Knock site, and I’ve decided that although the What to Eat Notepad would be most useful, the Slang Flashcards would be most hilarious…


2 eatavegan December 22, 2009 at 7:02 am

Oh, and I tweeted for ya!


3 eatavegan December 22, 2009 at 7:04 am

And my best tip for planning a meal:
It might not be the most organized way to do things, but I always like to head to the store and see what’s freshest/most interesting/new to me, and then plan around that when I get home. Sometimes leads to disaster, but usually leads to ingenuity!


4 Nicole December 22, 2009 at 7:12 am

I’m going with the “Pack This” pad — I need that right now! I’ve been trying to remember to start a list of what I need for days. Pathetic!


5 Nicole December 22, 2009 at 7:13 am

Tweeted @PreventionRD


6 Nicole December 22, 2009 at 7:13 am

Best tip for planning is a meal is finding one a bloggie loves and has tried out, and then writing a grocery list and following the recipe word-for-word. Easy, but effective!


7 VeggieGirl December 22, 2009 at 7:27 am

Lovely dinner date with dear Mara and beautiful cards!


8 Erica December 22, 2009 at 7:29 am

WOW- the dinner with Mara looks incredible. I haven’t had a root beer float in ages- yum yum! Melissa is such a sweet heart! Her baked goods always look incredible. Very cool that you froze some of them up so you can enjoy them even after the new year. Merry early Christmas to you. I hope you have a fabulous one :)


9 Tiffany December 22, 2009 at 7:31 am

I love the Importance Stickies Set! That would be great for prioritizing when I get overwhelmed with things!


10 ksgoodeats December 22, 2009 at 7:35 am

Don’t enter me because I already won a pad like that but I couldn’t NOT comment on your blog!! LOVE all the gifts – the mugs and spoons? The baked goods? Fabulous!

I love that you and Mara meet up so often! It must be a lot of fun to have a blogger who turns into a real life friend :)

Hope you’re having a lovely week, Miss Eating Bender!! My cousins are leaving Chicago Thursday morning so I’m sending you guys TONS of good weather vibes!


11 Cassie December 22, 2009 at 8:13 am

i love the “what to eat” pad! menu planning is my favorite activity on sundays :)


12 inmytummy December 22, 2009 at 8:16 am

I like the Things you do that really piss me off pad!

Dinner looks fun. Yum, brown cow.


13 Courtney December 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

Id get the make a decision kit for my boyfriend he needs help in that department!


14 Mara @ What's For Dinner? December 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

Hehehe upcoming honeymoon… i laugh i laugh… that was a great night though :)


15 Tiffany December 22, 2009 at 8:23 am

I tweeted! (liltiff917)


16 Laura December 22, 2009 at 8:24 am

their christmas sticky notes are adorable!!


17 Laura December 22, 2009 at 8:26 am

i make a big meal on sunday night and then try to find ways to “re-invent” the leftovers throughout the week. it forces me to get creative so im not eating the same thing over and over again


18 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 22, 2009 at 8:32 am

I love those mugs and spoons. You dinner looks so fun. That root beer float looks amazzzzzzzzzing.


19 Joy December 22, 2009 at 8:33 am

I totally want:
Pet Organizer


20 Tiffany December 22, 2009 at 8:37 am

My best tip for planning a meal is exactly what the What to Eat pad does! Plan out your week’s meals in advance so you aren’t stuck pondering what to eat when you’re starving and standing in front of the open fridge.


21 Jen B December 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

The ‘All Out Of” pad would be SO useful!


22 MelissaNibbles December 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

I want that float!


23 verbalriot December 22, 2009 at 8:40 am

What a lovely dinner! That root beer float looks out of control. Love seeing those cards stack up on the table!


24 Molly December 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

That pizza looks SO good!!! holy cow. Glad you had a good time!


25 Kristie Lynn December 22, 2009 at 8:57 am

I’ll be thinking of you and hoping for safe travel home! :) I think the “Make a Decision” pad is pretty fun, and I have the To-Do pad and it is a good one.


26 Kristie Lynn December 22, 2009 at 8:58 am

For meal planning, I take a couple hours on Saturday morning to plan out meals for the week, then make a grocery list with the items I’ll need to make the meals. It works out well for making sure we don’t eat out, and that I don’t buy too much food (you know how it is to be a foodie in stores… the peanut butters, the cool ethnic food choices, etc. ;))!


27 Ashley December 22, 2009 at 9:04 am

I hope whichever airport you’re flying out of isn’t to insane.

Fingers crossed you get no snow. Send it to the south burbs instead!


28 lindsayruns December 22, 2009 at 9:28 am

I love love love this company…a store in Chapel Hill sells some of their stuff (Cameron’s) and it was my go to quick gift company in college. Is it bad that my favorite is the “things you did to piss me off” check list? haha short and sweet!


29 Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 22, 2009 at 9:28 am

LOVE the stuff you gave PB & Jenny, saw it over on her blog yesterday. Too sweet!
Love the mugs and spoons and cards you’ve received, what a wonderful feeling that must be to have so many awesome & loving friends! I totally missed the secret santa info and never got in on the action but wish I Would have b/c it looks too fun!

As for the give away, #1 would like any of their cute little notepads!


30 Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 22, 2009 at 9:29 am

tweeted it~!!


31 Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 22, 2009 at 9:30 am

I have a give away going right now just to let ya know too hon!

But entry 3 -best meal planning tip. Don’t stress!!! No one will remember if the food was “perfect”. It’s more imp to have fun than to have “perfect” food and enjoy the people’s company you’re with rather than be a slave to your kitchen!


32 lindsayruns December 22, 2009 at 9:30 am

hmmm meal planning. I make lists! Lots of them flipping through cookbooks looking for recipes and make a specific shopping list. Probably my best tip is keeping a “cravings” notesheet on the fridge. Anything we crave during the week that gets written down gets worked into next weeks plan!


33 Natalie (The Sweets Life) December 22, 2009 at 9:35 am

I LOVE the sweet nothing note pad–I would totally use that to write notes to my hubby :)


34 Natalie (The Sweets Life) December 22, 2009 at 9:37 am

meal planning tip–make LISTS! if you go into everything organized, you’ll feel much better!


35 Melanie December 22, 2009 at 9:47 am

Love the takeout menu organizer and the what to eat pad!!!!


36 MarathonVal December 22, 2009 at 9:50 am

That mug and tiny spoon set is SO adorable!!!

Jenn, hope you and Bobby and the Bender fam have an outstanding Christmas and New Year’s! Hopefully I’ll see you sometime in January! :)


37 Sara December 22, 2009 at 10:23 am

That pizza look so, so, so good! I’m just like you with the cold…I’m always keeping my coat on inside when it’s cold. I grew up in Scottsdale afterall, 65 degrees is cold for me. :) I love the Knock, Knock products. I’ve actually used them before and my favorite is the All Out Of…it’s so helpful with grocery shopping!


38 Rose December 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

Beautiful cards and gifts from blogger friends! How sweet! :)


39 Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce December 22, 2009 at 10:33 am

Hey, found your blog through Jenny’s! You are an awesome gift-giver and it looks like your friends fall in that category too…check out all that loot! My tip for planning a meal is: grab a friend, go to the farmer’s market and pick out a new veggie to try out, go back to the kitchen and get creative!


40 lo December 22, 2009 at 10:34 am

jenn! i want that bread and pizza when i get back to chi! ah so jeal! I checked out the knock knock site and Id love to own the VOODOO pad hahahahah —keep my enemies in check LOL


41 Mama Pea December 22, 2009 at 10:52 am

I can’t wait to come to Chicago sometime and go to dinner with you are Mara. It will happen someday…hopefully in much warmer times!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family, Jenn!


42 snackface December 22, 2009 at 11:08 am

Can we plan our dinner date yet? That would be amazing, thanks! Haha, I just have an incredible feeling that you’re even more exquisite in person.

I love the Knock Knock products! I gave Muffin one for her b-day, it was all about what type of b!tch you are. Hilarious.

Anyway, I wish you a merry Christmas if I don’t have a chance closer to the day! xoxoxoxox


43 Jenny December 22, 2009 at 11:38 am

oh honey, you sure know how to make a girl get a big head. Thank you so so so much for the shout out. Love you, beautiful!

p.s. totes not entering the giveaway — I owe YOU precious goodies now :) Just wanted to drop some love for my favorite gal ! xo


44 kbwood December 22, 2009 at 12:02 pm

ooo great meal girl!! thats makin me want some PIZZA, asap


45 Marianne December 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm

this site is amazing and now I want to buy so many things, but I think I’m most fond of the Fashion Citation Nifty Notes – – as there are a few people I would like to give them to.


46 Katie December 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Love the poopy task clips!


47 marie December 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Mu favorite is definitely the “things you do to piss me off” checklist.


48 marie December 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

My best tip for planning a meal is to decide what the next day’s eats will be the night before. Sooo, tonight I’ll decide what to eat for dinner tomorrow and will do all the prep. That way I can come home tomorrow and dive right into making dinner, rather than playing the “what do we want for dinner?” game.


49 Freddie December 22, 2009 at 12:57 pm

haha what a fun site! I like the shit list pad, haha… but there’s so much great stuff!


50 Ali December 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I love your blog! My Knock Knock item I can’t live without it the Money Receiptable, so helpful for ones budget!

I tweeted for you as well :o)

Happy Winter!


51 Spiceaholic December 22, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I love the To-Don’t list pad!


52 Spiceaholic December 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm

I tweeted about the giveaway! I’m @spiceaholic80


53 kristin December 22, 2009 at 2:56 pm

love the menu planner!


54 lowandbhold December 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm

The Pack This Pad! I always make a huge packing list whenever I go somewhere.

That rootbeer float looks epic! Glad you’re having a great Christmas season so far :)


55 Jennifer December 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I love their Home Maintenance Organizer. I love having all that info saved in one place!


56 lowandbhold December 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I just tweeted!


57 lowandbhold December 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Best meal planning tip? Read blogs! Haha. I keep a folder of recipes I want to try and it makes it so easy!


58 Tracey December 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm

So, that restaurant is in Chicago? I’ve never been to it but after seeing your meal I need to go!


59 glidingcalm December 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm

dinner with Mara!!!!!!!! so jealous!!!

hurray for such fun gifts!! Melissa is a doll face! those mugs and spoons are adorable as well!!

love you!


60 Katie December 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm

I’m glad you call them Black Cows, too!

I think I need the What to Eat planner. I’ve been SO bad about that since I started working!


61 Katie December 22, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Tip: Survey ingredients you have in the fridge that are about to go bad, and see what you have to enhance them. Could be from a can (like beans) or a box (pasta!).


62 Shannon December 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

fun fun!! i think the pack this or chef’s planning kit would be awesome :)

Have a wonderful Christmas Jenn! We just had our big storm, so i’ll keep my fingers crossed for your safe travels.


63 Grace December 22, 2009 at 7:00 pm

The sticky cubes are too funny!


64 Julie @savvyeats December 22, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Those mugs and spoons have to be the most adorable things ever.

I love the “Information Central” mousepad. so cute! And handy!


65 Nicole G December 22, 2009 at 7:29 pm


I’m a brand new reader who found your blog from Jenny’s blog. Your whole site is AWESOME. I’ve been exploring for a while. =)

I checked out the Knock Knock site. I LOVE the “Why I Must Get Drunk with You” checklist! Definitely something any twenty-one year old would love!

Good luck traveling home!

Nicole G


66 Nicole G December 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Here’s another entry =)

Best tip for planning a meal?

I like to stop and consider what I’d REALLY like to have and then I center the meal around that food.

Like for dinner tonight, I knew I wanted hummus, so I looked for things I could pair with it for a satisfying meal!

Nicole G


67 Karla December 22, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Positive and warm vibes sent to Chicago (hoping for just light rain for you!!) That meal with Mara looks lovely!

Thanks so much for the shout-out :) I’m so lucky to have you as a friend and I’m glad that you like the mug/spoon set. I saw it and thought it just shouted Jenn!

Have a GREAT holiday and a safe trip!


68 Jenna December 22, 2009 at 10:01 pm

omg that gift set you got is sooo cute!


69 Melissa S. December 22, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Glad you like the baked goods..and you’re totally getting more when I see you…next week! ah!!!!! btw, we need to chat about that. :)


70 Bekah December 23, 2009 at 12:10 am

Favorite Knock Knock product? Definitely the plan a meal package, or notepad or whatever. :)


71 Aurora December 23, 2009 at 12:10 am

First of all I wanted to lick my screen at the sight of that delicious roll and oil….. heavenly!
Second of All that Root Beer Float looks like SIN!!!! DELISH!!!!!!
Third of all……..What a GREAT idea! I Love the What To Eat Pad. I am just this month starting to make meal plans and plan ahead! I need all the help I can get!! LOL


72 Bekah December 23, 2009 at 12:12 am

I usually plan my meals all out a week ahead of time, (leaving room for change, or last minute plans of course. I do that only for variety and use of kitchen supplies/pantry items, etc. ) It helps also to know in advance what you’re cooking, so you’re not wondering what to cook for 30 minutes while you’re starving!

Ah Jen, I cannot wait to meet you! Yeah, I’m a total lurker too, but otherwise, totally normal! Looking forward to it.


73 Aurora December 23, 2009 at 12:14 am
74 chrysta December 23, 2009 at 1:54 am

So fun! I think their Eat Me sticky notes look funny. I like them=)


75 chrysta December 23, 2009 at 1:55 am

I sometimes plan my food around what kind of produce looks the best to me at the market. If there is a particular fabulous looking veggie I buy that up and try to create meals based on that.


76 Jessie December 23, 2009 at 7:01 am

I love the All Out Of Pad.


77 Molly December 23, 2009 at 9:04 am

check out my new post :) I may have mentioned ya in it πŸ˜‰


78 allison December 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

I have a post -its from here – I love them.

I give them to favorite coworkers.


79 allison December 23, 2009 at 9:32 am
80 Michelle December 23, 2009 at 9:58 am

Wow, the Pack This! Pad is like a dream come true for me. I spend the night before every trip/vacation running around the house like a fool trying not to forget everything I need. I never sleep. I’m so not a list maker but a check list, I’m all over it!


81 Michelle December 23, 2009 at 10:00 am
82 sue December 23, 2009 at 10:18 am

i need the maitenance organizer and the take-out organizer!


83 Emily December 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Your pizza looks absolutely delish…glad you and Mara could have a meet-up.
Looks like you got some lovely holiday gifts as well.
Hope you have a great Christmas, Jenn!


84 jenngirl December 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm

You are such a sweet and genuine person, Jenn, so it comes to no surprise to me that you are getting blessed with so much wonderful Christmas cheer! I only wish I could come visit and we could go enjoy a goat cheese pizza together! One day… :)

I will be praying for your weather conditions and that you make it home to your family as safely as possible!
For the contest, I’m a HUGE fan of the Wine tasting pads the Knock Knock company makes, although the meal planning ones sound pretty cool :)


85 jenngirl December 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Best meal planning tip?? Picking your recipes/courses out a day ahead of time and going to the store EARLY! That way, if you forget something you have time to go back.


86 Laura E December 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Thanks so much for the opportunity! I like the “Rate that Beer” Pad the most!


87 Laura E December 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm

My tip for meal planning is to buy things that you can freeze or use as leftovers!


88 schacalieu December 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I love the sticky notes…all of them!


89 schacalieu December 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm

My tip for meal planning is to figure out what meals I am making before I go to the store, that way I have no excuses! I also like to make extra so I have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day!


90 ashley December 23, 2009 at 8:25 pm

I’d have to go with the Pep Talks & Picker-Uppers for All Occasions. This site is awesome!


91 ashley December 23, 2009 at 8:26 pm

My tip for meal planning is make sure you have the right amounts of all the ingredients you need BEFORE you start cooking! This is important, and I’ve learned it the hard way!


92 jvegegirl December 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I like the make a decision pad.


93 jvegegirl December 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Planning a meal? Check out gena’s food combining rules:


94 Melonie December 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

You know what? I think the My Dysfunctions Guided Journal would be the perfect self-gift this season… πŸ˜›


95 Melonie December 24, 2009 at 3:28 pm

And I also have a meal planning tip: Base your meal on whatever the freshest in-season produce is in your market. It will be way more nutritious because the veggies are fresh, and it will keep you out of the land of broccoli boredom (and will also make sure you get a variety of vitamins and minerals all year round)!


96 Ilene December 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm

The My Dysfunctional Guided Journal is the best!


97 Ilene December 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Tweeted also!


98 Ilene December 25, 2009 at 12:03 pm

& my plan is to just let things run themselves and not to stress out too much. Everyone will have fun :)


99 jessca December 25, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I liked the Paper Voodoo Pad so cute


100 Emily December 25, 2009 at 5:19 pm

OMG! THat Pizzzza~ YUM!

I love the plan-a-meal pack, but I also think that the PACK THIS pad is a cute (and functional!) idea!


101 Emily December 25, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Meal planning tip…look into your pantry/fridge and find something (or a few things) that you need to use up. Then (depending on your creativity), plan to create something (based on sheer imagination…or a recipe) that will use up those goods!


102 samialyssa31 December 29, 2009 at 7:24 am

I like the plan a meal pack from Knock Knock!


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