P. Bender Dinner Special + OpenSky

by Jenn (eating bender) on January 21, 2010

Hi lovelies!

I feel like a broken record here, but seriously, THANK YOU for the sweet comments on my last post. I loved reading the “it doesn’t get better than” moments that some of you wrote about and appreciated all the tips on how to get Bobby to loosen up for the engagement shoot. I also love that most of them included a bit of alcohol or some wine if all else failed — works for me 😉

When I was reading all of your comments during the week, I got so smiley that I tweeted about how lucky I was to have all of you. You can read it here — and several of my fellow and favorite bloggers and readers responded that they feel the same way. Every comment I receive is such a gem and I keep them all in a special folder in my email — seriously. Just know that I think the world of you!

Let’s see, what else can I tell you?

Oh yes, how about something related to food.


I’m technically back in Chicago and have been since the beginning of January, but there were several delicious meals that I enjoyed in Arizona over the Christmas holiday that I felt needed to have their place in the spotlight. Why? They were created by none other than the fabulous Papa Bender!

Today’s special: Dueling Pastas

I say “dueling” because Papa Bender made two different types of sauces and did not want them interfering with each other, so he created a broccoli blockade on my behalf. I know Miss Broccoli Hut can appreciate such a veggie-tastic barrier.

The first sauce he created was clam-based:

  • Clams and juice
  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Topping: mussels

It was sensational :) The mussels were that just-right tenderness and they went perfectly with the bed of angel hair pasta that they rested on.

The second sauce was meat-based:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Tomato sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine

Equally tasty yet slightly more “traditional” when you think of spaghetti and meatballs. I wanted to make sure I tried both of the sauces. When I mentioned this to him, here’s how the conversation went down.

PB: Which sauce would you like?

Me: I would love to try both if I can!

PB: No, no. You can’t possibly have both on the same plate. The flavors will mix and it won’t taste right.

Me: Oh…

PB: [lightbulb goes off in head] Wait, I think we can get around this!

Thus, the broccoli blockade was born.

That man is a genius, I tell you.

We enjoyed Papa Bender’s Dueling Pastas with a nice glass of red wine.

That’s the chef himself in the background 😉 He likes to lurk in the back of my pictures, doesn’t he?

Can’t wait to show you some of his other creations!


Yes, friends. Like several of my fellow bloggers (even more, I’m sure, than who I have linked here), I have decided to open shop on OpenSky! My store is still technically under construction, but I now have three of my favorite products added and you can check them out at my store front.

Click here!

I’m so glad that everything is finally ready for launch. The great thing about this site is that it allows me to share my favorite products with you and allows you to engage in a discussion around them! I can’t wait to continue adding new items that have inspired my blogging in some way these past (almost!) two years.

We’re open for business :)

Happy Thursday to all! Any big plans for this weekend?

My best friend from college is coming into town. I can’t wait to see her and catch up on life. She makes me so happy! We’ll be hanging out with my other BFF from college, too — it’s a reunion!


1 Erica January 21, 2010 at 8:40 am

I know I’ve said it like 20 times, but I love that your dad is so into cooking! I grew up in a very traditional home (i.e. my mama did ALL of the cooking). The only cooking my dad ever does is grill on occasion. Love the broccoli barrier- too funny. Can’t wait to go check out your store. This weekend- Josh’s parents are coming to town. They are actually going to look at houses in the area (hooray!)

2 Sweet and Fit January 21, 2010 at 9:04 am

two different sauces? I wish my dad could cook even a little bit!

congrats on working with open sky =) thats so exciting!

3 Danielle January 21, 2010 at 9:06 am

Your Papa is so talented, that meal looks amazing! And congrats on Open Sky! What a wonderful opportunity for you :) As for my weekend, nothing too special planned other than enjoying my last first college weekend everrrr. Haha, I’m ridiculous. Have a good one sweetheart!

4 zestycook January 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

Go Papa bender!!!

5 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is January 21, 2010 at 9:11 am

Congrats on Open Sky girl! That meal looks SOOOO tasty. :)

6 Mara @ What's For Dinner? January 21, 2010 at 9:12 am

OMG I love the P. Bender dinner! SO delicious looking…makes me want mussels and pasta :)

HOORAY for OpenSky!

7 tryingtoheal January 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

You papa is going to have to feed me one day. i’m making a valiant effort to get to AZ for his food one day.

this weekend i’m getting together w/ amanda from runtofinish! going on a 10 miler and hitting up a chocolate festival!!! Yes, my name was written alllll over that one.

8 Kristie January 21, 2010 at 9:32 am

Looks like a very delicious Papa Bender meal – and glad you came up with the broccoli barrier so you could have both sauces :) Love your Open Sky page so far!

9 Julie @savvyeats January 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

The broccoli barrier is adorable (and healthy and yummy!)

10 Mama Pea January 21, 2010 at 11:11 am

See, this just goes to show why every meal should be served on section plates. I am the queen of “food can’t touch!”

Enjoy your weekend with your friend! I’m off to check out your store :)

11 kbwood January 21, 2010 at 11:58 am

aww go papa bender! i wana come over for dinner!

12 Michelle January 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Aww Jenn you are the gem for sure! Papa B’s meal looks awesome…my papa isn’t much of a cook, but I get to experience his pillsbury doughboy oven creations every once in a while. heheheh

I love those pics you picked for Open Sky! I know i’ve seen ’em before, but SO CUTE!!!

13 eaternotarunner January 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm

mmm I love mussels! Very exciting about the open sky store :-)

14 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm

congrats on your own store, that is sooooo awesome!

15 Jenny January 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm

yay! congrats on open sky girlfriend.. now I can really pursue my mission to be just like you and buy all yo’ swaggie 😉

16 gina (fitnessista) January 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

hey lovely girl,
thank you so much for the amazing comment you last left me- it brightened my day so much. thanks for being such a wonderful friend <3
papa b is at it again!!! next time i'm in az, i'm going to the bender house disguised as you. maybe he will feed me?? haha
hope you're doing well!

17 ksgoodeats January 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Haha I love the conversation between you and your daddy-o! That’s so cute! Glad you were able to get the best of both worlds in the end :)

No plans for me this weekend – I have a big trip coming up for work so I’ll take all the down time I can get!

18 Katie January 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Yum, I LOVE spaghetti con vongole!

19 schacalieu January 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Love the broccoli blockade. Too funny!

20 braingutshands January 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Lolz on the brocco wall

21 BroccoliHut January 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm

A new use for broccoli! Love it!
This weekend=the last half of recruitment–thank goodness!

22 Molly January 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm

yum! love the dueling pastas! ( I would want both too :) )
I love visitng/having visitors from college. Im going down to KU next week to visit some of my favs. Kind of brings you back to life, no?
Hope all is well Jen!

xo- Molly

p.s. I think more of your classmates are getting engaged than mine! Its like every time I turn around another person from 2005 is puttin’ a ring on it! No joke! (granted I hear all the gossip from the teachers at BSM lol) but Molly M just got engaged. what!? It just never ends! Love it!

23 MarathonVal January 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Paper Bender is such a wise, wise man :)

Have fun with your friend this weekend! Let me know when you have some free time since you sound even busier than me these days – have a great rest of the week and hope to see you soon!

24 Tiffany January 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm

yay for opening an Open Sky store! I, too, love my immersion blender. 😀

I love that PB is sooo into cooking, it must be so exciting when he makes/tries new foods!

25 Pure2Raw Twins January 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Paper Bender is so cute! Love the broccoli bridge between the two sauces 😉 Food looks delicious. And congrats on OpenSky that is awesome. Wish you the best of luck!!!

26 Rose January 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

This post made me miss you. Let’s phone chat soon.

27 Marianne January 21, 2010 at 10:36 pm

LOL – the broccoli barricade is pretty funny, and genius really. Plus it adds that pop of green colour to your plate :)

28 Megan January 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Lovvve the broccoli barrier. I totally hate when my food touches, so I like the idea LOT.

29 Katherine January 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Congrats on the open sky launch! I have been thinking of buying the Polar Heart rate monitor! I might just have to get it now :)

30 Mae (OhhMay.Wordpress) January 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Your dad sounds so awesome!!! 😀

31 frogsandmen January 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm

beautiful blog…..what kind of wine?

32 Runeatrepeat January 22, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I love the broccoli barrier!

33 Brittany January 23, 2010 at 9:49 am

Papa Bender is quite the chef. But that’s nothing new! However, it’s too funny that he set you up with a broccoli wall to separate the two sauces. Sounds like the perfect wall to me. :)

Can’t wait to see what you’ll be selling in your lille boutique.

34 Mary (Food Fit & Fun) January 23, 2010 at 10:48 am

haha I love the broccoli separator!!!

35 Jessie @ thehappinessinhealth January 23, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Lol to “broccoli blockade”! Yay for your Papa :)

36 elise January 23, 2010 at 8:30 pm

im curious about your opensky stuffs…im sending you an email.

37 jenngirl January 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Ahh broccoli barriers are SO my thing! And wow, Papa Bender has definitely not lost his touch!

I’ve been really confused about what OpenSky is! I’m definitely going to check out your store..it sounds like a cool concept :)

38 Jenn (j3nn.net) January 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Oh my goodness, the best of both worlds! Both of the sauces look fantastic. I love clam sauce. Yum!


39 Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce January 24, 2010 at 10:23 pm

hope you had a great time with your friends, those mini reunions are the best! yum pasta, so good!

40 glidingcalm January 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

BEAUTIFUL MEAL!! i hope to have my own open sky account soon too! 😀

41 Lindsay Maddox {Designer Wife} January 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm

First, that dueling pasta looks DE LISH!

Second, I hadn’t yet heard of open sky! I’m looking at it now and it looks so awesome – very excited to check it out more :)

42 JessicaE January 28, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I just love how close you and your father are. It seems obvious, but do you think a lot of your healthy lifestyle came from your close relationship with him?

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