Feelin’ Fine In 2009

by Jenn (eating bender) on December 31, 2009

Can’t believe…

IT’S NEW YEARS EVE!! :mrgreen:

Welcome to the end of 2009, everyone. Are you ready for another year? I’m going to get a bit reflective here, but we’ll save that for the end of this post. There’s so much to discuss!

In my haste, I forgot to mention a VIB (very important bloggette) in my last post.

I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Caroline in March when I went to Los Angeles for the student Emmy awards. She is an amazing person and fun blogger at the Banana Cabana. Caroline — I’m so sorry that this picture was buried and I hope you know how awesome I think you are! If you haven’t read her blog, check her out.

When I last left you, we were about to celebrate this…

And so we did!

As you can see, I got all of my favorite sweets :) Family and candy is all I could ever ask for, my friends. We had a wonderful morning opening gifts, enjoying each other’s company and listening to Christmas music. That thing Papa Bender is holding above is a vegetable pan for the grill. Fitting for him, no?

After our Christmas morning, we made our usual delicious brunch. Last year we made Brunch Egg Casserole, but this year we decided to go for Light ‘n’ Crisp Belgian Waffles!

This is an old recipe that comes with a waffle maker, so I thought it might be nice for you to see for yourself. I’ve blogged about it before — our special trick is to add an extra egg white for fluffiness.

We served it up in our waffle maker with berry fixins ready to go on the side.

They came out beautifully. Picture perfect on Christmas morning!

We enjoyed our waffles with center cut bacon on the side. I topped mine with fresh blueberries and blackberries — nothing else needed. My mom also substituted whole wheat white flour for all-purpose flour, which gave these a much heartier taste and texture. I really enjoyed it.

We spent the rest of our Christmas day with extended family and friends. It was nice to see people that I rarely have the chance to see and we enjoyed plenty of delicious food.

There were also “chestnuts roasting on an…” oven rack.

Holy. Yum. If you have never tried roasted chestnuts before, I highly recommend you get thee to a store!


Apart from Christmas, it has been a busy time in Arizona! Last Sunday, I met up with the amazing Heather, Deb and Bekah for lunch at Pita Jungle. CD’s mom and Bekah’s mom were also in attendance! They had all gone on a hike earlier in the day that I could unfortunately not attend due to timing, but we still had a great time catching up over food :)

I took one look at the menu and decided I had falafel on the brain. I ordered a platter with pita.

I ordered white pita by mistake, but the girls kindly let me have their extra whole wheat pita. Thank you!

We gabbed for about an hour and I found out all about Bekah’s future in culinary school — I received some fantastic granola from her that is proof she is going to be big! — Deb’s adventures in San Francisco and delicious citrus and nut butter generosity, and Heather’s overall amazingness and fantastic mother-in-law :) It was wonderful to chat with everyone!

After lunch, we decided we saved enough room to hit up The Gelato Spot. This was my first experience here and I was quite overwhelmed by all the delicious options (not that I was complaining). In the end, I decided to go festive with a scoop of peppermint gelato. I was not disappointed — it was very refreshing and creamy, with a stick cookie served on top that was perfect for dipping.

It was wonderful to spend time with these fantastic bloggers.


Speaking of great people, I also had the chance to meet Melissa for breakfast on Wednesday! She was in town for a short visit with family and we made the decision to meet up early and start the day off right at First Watch. I’m a big fan of it, but Melissa had never been so we decided to fix that.

There are a lot of great options — healthy and not-so-healthy alike — on the menu here. Everything from pancakes to oatmeal to omelettes and much, much more. In the end, great minds thought alike and Melissa and I both decided to go with the Tri-Athlete Omelette: an egg white omelette with sliced mushrooms, onions, tomato and green chilies.

Served with salsa, a dry English muffin and fresh fruit. It made the perfect morning pick-me-up.

It was SO nice to see this girl! Melissa and I have been phone, video chat and texting buddies for most, if not all, of 2009 :) She is truly a blessing and I am so thankful to have her as a friend! I enjoyed hearing about her upcoming move across country for her new job. I hope she gets a lot out of the experience.



I’ve enjoyed reading other blogger’s reflections on 2009. It makes me so happy to see how far people have come at achieving their dreams and accomplishing their goals.

You may recall my post recapping 2008: I 8 Gr8 in 2008. It was so much fun to do that last year that I can’t help but follow suit again this year. If you’re interested, read (or click) on!

As evidenced by my inability to choose just one event every month, it has been quite the year. There have been so many positive things that have happened and changed me for the better. I can say with confidence that I am a stronger, more fulfilled person than I was one year ago today. There have been a lot of challenges, but I have gotten through them with the love and support of my family and friends.

This brings me to my 2010 resolution:

Love the ones you’re with.

Sounds simple, right? But too often, I can get caught up in the need to be on the computer, on the phone or just the “need” to do this or that. I lose sight of the people who are in my company and forget how important it is to take advantage of every moment I have with them.

This includes myself.

When I say, “love the ones you’re with,” I’m not only speaking of others. I also need to work harder at making sure I love myself! I’m sure we’ve all made this promise in one form or another at some point in our lives. My goal for this next year is to continue to get to know myself better — to learn what works for me and what doesn’t, what makes me feel my healthiest, happiest and most energetic. I’ve got a lot of stuff figured out, but I know that there is still a long way to go. I think I’m up for the challenge.

There’s much more to say on this subject, but since this post is already a mile long, I will leave it here for now and only ask a simple question:

Are you with me?

Happy New Year! Thank you, as always for stopping by and sharing! I value every comment that I ever receive and count my blessings that I’ve “met” all of you.


1 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) December 31, 2009 at 4:00 am

Girlfriend I live a whopping 10 mins from where you all were..but was gone. And just returned tonite. After a 3 week vacay. I mentioned you in a recent post of mine…that I was soooo bummed to have missed the blogger party of AZ of ’09 LOL


The waffles look incredible too!

2 Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce December 31, 2009 at 6:06 am

gorgeous gals! and gorgeous waffle & falafel πŸ˜‰

3 Jessica @ How Sweet December 31, 2009 at 7:26 am

I love your resolution! I am so going to use it, too. Happy New Year, girl!

4 Rose December 31, 2009 at 8:32 am

Beautiful post, and I love that resolution. I’m adding it to my list :)

5 ksgoodeats December 31, 2009 at 8:49 am

Those waffles are picture perfect! What a lovely Bender family brunch :)

The first blogger meet up looks like so much fun – how could it not be what with Greek food, bloggers, and gelato?! Glad you and Melissa had a great time at brunch as well!

I wish you an equally as fantastic 2010! What a lovely resolution!!

6 inmytummy December 31, 2009 at 8:59 am

I love seeing pictures of blogger meetups.

Happy New Year, Jenn.

7 Susan December 31, 2009 at 9:02 am

I love your resolution. One of mine is to nurture and cherish my relationships more. Kinda similar, no?
Anyhooo, I’m a tad dissappointed that I didn’t have peppermint ice cream/gelato this year. Ah well, there are a many more holiday season to come.

Have an awesome New Year!

8 Emily December 31, 2009 at 9:15 am

OMG! SO much blogger goodness! That gelato made my mouth water! MMM! Those waffles don’t look half bad either! πŸ˜‰

9 jenngirl December 31, 2009 at 9:22 am

Great post Jenn! Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas and you got to have some great “blogger dates”!

And gosh, from winning the student Emmy, getting engaged, going to Maui with you mom…you’ve had an awesome year, and I can only think things are going to be wonderful for you in 2010!

You missed one thing though…the release of New Moon?! πŸ˜‰

Love you <3

10 Marisa (Loser for Life) December 31, 2009 at 9:42 am

Happy New Year, Jenn! You have had an amazing year and have much more wonderful things to look forward to in the coming year! Congrats!!!

11 Kristie December 31, 2009 at 9:47 am

It’s a beautiful resolution Miss Bender :)

Those roasted chestnuts look rockin’ – I had no idea that is what they looked like!

12 MelissaNibbles December 31, 2009 at 10:02 am

Yay! For blogger meetups. Happy New Year!

13 Tracey December 31, 2009 at 10:07 am

This post made me SO hungry. Everything looks fantastic and I want one of everything you posted about!

14 Mel December 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

Looks like you had a ton of fun with all of your Blogger meet ups!

15 Mama Pea December 31, 2009 at 10:33 am

What a great post! I’m so jealous that you got to meet some of my favorite bloggers! I have a feeling that you are going to have a great year, baby.

16 kbwood December 31, 2009 at 10:53 am

those are GREAT resolutions girl!
looks like youve had a good past couple weeks!!

17 Michelle (Snacks and Field) December 31, 2009 at 11:20 am

Your Christmas looked great, and those waffles with berries…mmmmmm! I am so jealous you got to have Chestnuts (regardless of them roasting on an oven rack! :)) I feel like that’s such a Christmas-y thing to do! hehe

I hope you have a wonderful and happy New Year girl!

18 Melissa S. December 31, 2009 at 11:38 am

Such great blogger meetups you’ve had! I’m so glad I got to see you again this year (i realized that i actually saw you twice this year since when i came out to az it was in January!) and can’t wait to see you again next year!

your goals sound great and i know you’ll do great at accomplishing them all this year. no doubt!

19 Lo December 31, 2009 at 12:01 pm

waffles, razzles and fallaffels…pretty much i adore it all. happy new year cant wait for another adventure in the frigid and cold windy city!


20 Sara December 31, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I love the ’09 recap, it sounds like it was a great year. Those waffles look delicious!
I loooove roasting (baking) chestnuts! They are the perfect snack when it’s cold outside.

21 Rebecca_C December 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm

What an uplifting post to round out the year. Though my comments have been far-between I’ve enjoyed your adventures since meeting you in Aug. Happy New Year!

Now I think I’m off to make some waffles…those look amazing!

22 Kristie December 31, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Happy New Year Jenn! Loving the holidays, family time, blogger meetups and year long recap! You’ve definitely had one awesome and fulfilling year and I have no doubt that another one is right around the corner. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Love the ones your with (definitely including yourself!) is a wonderful challenge. I’ll be working on it right along with you!

I hope you have a ton of fun ringing in the new year tonight!

23 Karla December 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Love the reflection post and the holiday recap! Those waffles look absolutely delicious. I hope you’re having a wonderful time at home, with the family and at the blogger meet-up. It all looks so fun! I need to make my way over to First Watch for sure.

Such a good sentiment about loving others AND yourself. I need to keep working on that as well :)

I’m almost finished with you know what already–Twilight! Good stuff Jenn…you never lead me astray!

24 Jenny December 31, 2009 at 5:07 pm

“this includes myself”… beautiful words, bender. I think far too often we focus on loving and pleasing others that we neglect ourselves… which is something I’m striving to achieve as well. Self-acceptance is such a special gift. If it helps at all, I think I love you enough for the both of us :)

Happy New Year, gorgeous!

25 Pure2Raw Twins December 31, 2009 at 5:35 pm

We love gelato and peppermint, so together = heaven :) Looks like you had a great and fun Christmas! Happy New Year to you and best wishes!!

Maybe we will get to meet in 2010 : )

26 Hangry Pants December 31, 2009 at 7:37 pm

That’s a very great motto for the new year. I will keep it in mind also! Happy New Year Jenn!

27 carolinebee December 31, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Jenn I heart you so much!! Let’s chat soon…Have a really great NYE and my Chi-town trip is on the horizon, lol i need to hurrryyy before u move back to sunny AZ! I can’t agree more with you about getting to know myself and treating myself well..after graduating, trying to be a “grown up”, it gets crazy sometimes, but we are so lucky to have our family and friends to be there for us :) XOxoo my VIB looveee!!!!!!!!! ;D

28 Heather Eats Almond Butter January 1, 2010 at 12:39 am

I’m with ya Jen. More love for Bender in 2010!!! I love your resolution as well. I am so bad about thinking of all I need to get done, and my mind is constantly going over my to-do list rather than listening to the person who is sitting in front of me. Really trying to be better about that. Thanks for the reminder.

So excited we got to hang out again in AZ. I hope it will be a December tradition. :)

Happy you got to see Melissa as well. She is such a sweet kind-hearted girl. Plus, you both have great taste in breakfast foods!

Happy New Year my friend. Here’s to a wonderful 2010!

29 MizFit January 1, 2010 at 5:55 am



30 gina (fitnessista) January 1, 2010 at 9:33 am

look at all of those awesome bloggy meet-ups! me = jealous
so glad you had such a wonderful time and a fabulous christmas with the bender familia
i’m so happy that i was able to follow you along this past year as you graduated, got engaged (!) and scored a sweet job. i’m so proud of you and so happy for you. 2010 is going to be an amazing year for you, my friend
have a happy new year <3

31 chrysta January 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Great post girl! I love all your reflections. It looks like 2009 was a fabulous year for you. And I wish you and even more spectacular upcoming year! Happy New Years!!

32 Randy December 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Stephanie Posted on Great! Awesome!1st up the wedding china my moethr gave me 18 years ago, while saying, with a VERY disappointed voice Well since it seems that you aren’t getting married any time soon, I might as well give this to you now. I’ve been carrying them around, thru 3 moves, thinking that I ought to keep them, that I would somehow curse myself or jinx myself if I got rid of them..that I would indeed end up alone.Guess what? Yep, I am still single. I’ve had a couple of relationships between then and now, but the end result? The dishes are not magical and I don’t have to expend any energy trying to make myself feel better about the dishes so that I can keep them.So, I am hereby embracing the real possibility that I may never be married and commit the dishes to craigslist, may they be gone in a wink and trouble me no more LOL!Thank you for the entertaining video about a serious subject.

33 Brittany January 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

There’s so much to say about this post, I don’t even know where to begin.

First off, your Christmas morning looked lovely. Papa Bender definitely knows how to do breakfast up right. I love that he was opening cookware in the photo- suits him perfectly!

I always hear about roasted chestnuts in the Christmas songs but have never actually eaten them. After reading your review, I think I’ll have to do some roasting next year.

I’m so happy to have witnessed the amazing things that happened to you this past year through the blog. I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be a grand year for you as well, especially with the resolution you’ve made. I can’t wait to read/hear all about it. :)


34 Bekah January 1, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Seriously those waffles look ahmazing. I’m soo happy to have met you Jenn, as I already read your blog, but now just feel more inclined to be more active in it. :)

It was so much fun.. and wow you have had an incredible year. It amazes me how much you’ve done with your blog too! So cool.

Hope you had a great New Years Jenn! Your tweets today from BOTH accounts about the football games were cracking me up. πŸ˜‰

35 BroccoliHut January 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Ooh! I am so jealous of those beautiful berries!
I’ve enjoyed reading your blog so much this year, just as I had in 2008:)
PS Such a close game today!

36 Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) January 1, 2010 at 11:05 pm

i’ve followed your blog for a while but never comment! i love it, you are sof ull of life and live a really inspiring healthy lifestyle :) happy new year!



37 Lori January 2, 2010 at 11:15 am

Wow, you were super BUSY this past year!! Sounds like you accomplished so much! That is fantastic!

And I love your resolution. I will too join you to simply love the ones I’m with. And yes, working on myself would be the best place to start. :)

And to answer your question you posted on my blog, I did complete the P9p0X! I did it extremely close, following the program. I did get way stronger but that’s about it. I actually gained weight… hopefully muscle. hah! Anyway, I love the program and will continue to do the different dvds from time to time, and another round this year.

Happy New Year!!!

38 Marianne January 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Looks like you and your family had a great Christmas, and I’m sure your New Year’s was just as good. I like your resolution – simple and to the point. Have a great 2010!

39 Gracie January 3, 2010 at 12:39 am

Uhhh where are you finding those deliciously plump blackberries?!

40 Jenn (eating bender) January 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I think we’re lucky in AZ because we can find some reasonably local berries that late in the season! Slim pickins’ in Chicago right now — that’s for sure! :)

41 Leng January 3, 2010 at 2:25 am

Happy New Year Jenn!!
And wow that is a long list of things that u have accomplished! I should take a look at what I have accomplished as well. that’s great that you have met quite a bit of wonderful people. & that waffle sounds yummy. thanks for the tip!

42 Kristine January 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Yum! I am going to Arizona in a week and have to try that falafel from The Pita Jungle!

43 Shannon January 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm

i am certainly with you, jenn! happy new year :)

44 prettytimepiece January 4, 2010 at 7:59 am

…. i am so with you!!!

:) happy ten!

45 zestycook January 4, 2010 at 8:12 am

Great post bender! Congrats on an amazing year and looking forward to more bender in 2010!

46 strawberryshortstuff January 4, 2010 at 9:39 am


47 Spiceaholic January 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I love your resolution, so simple, but so important.

You had an amazing 2009! Hope your 2010 is even better!

48 Erica January 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Love this post :) Sounds like you had an absolute blast on your vacation. Being with family is SO very special :) Those waffles look totally delicious too- love all of the fruit piled on top. Very jealous of your awesome tawesome blogger meet ups!

GREAT resolution. I have made a similar commitment. I want to slow down and enjoy life and enjoy myself.

Happy New Year chicky :)

49 brandi January 5, 2010 at 8:04 am

I”m so glad you had a good Christmas and good times with your family and meeting new friends! How fun :)

I love the recap and your goal for this year. It’s similar to mine – life is too short to miss out on those moments and I want to be in the middle of it all.

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