I Miss…

by Jenn (eating bender) on January 6, 2012

I mean, really. Who wouldn’t miss this smile, and the laugh that comes along with it?

I am finally back in Chicago after a wonderful (almost) two weeks with family. As always, it was bittersweet to say goodbye to Arizona, wildlife and sunsets included. I miss it already.

We enjoyed some delicious meals during the final days of the trip. On New Year’s Eve, we made our own pizzas using whole wheat crust from Whole Foods. Mine was topped with red pepper, yellow pepper, spinach, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives and a three cheese blend.

The next night, Papa Bender put together an assortment of pastas, giving us a sampling of each. The first one was an olive oil sauce made with grilled calamari and chives. The second was a meat-based tomato sauce, blended in the Vita-Mix. Both were delicious!

And on the last night of the trip, Mama Bender made pork chops.

She decided not to stuff them this time, but they still tasted great brushed with barbecue sauce.

On the side, we had a potato vegetable medley and corn.

Oh, and of course, wine was also served. You didn’t think I would forget that, now, did you?

Bearboat Pinot Noir. Sometimes on sale at World Market. A definite must-try.

Then there was the chocolate old-fashioned soda.

“Healthier” Chocolate Old-Fashioned Soda

Ingredients (makes one fantastic soda):

  • 2 tablespoons organic chocolate syrup
  • 4 scoops organic vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 bottle chocolate soda (made with real cane sugar, such as Coco Fizz)
  • Additional whipped cream, optional


Add the chocolate syrup and ice cream to a glass (any will do, but the float glass featured above is a fun option), then pour in the chocolate soda until it fizzes near the top. Keep pouring until you’ve gone through roughly half the bottle. Add extra whipped cream, if you’d like! This soda isn’t really healthy, but you can definitely feel a bit healthier about using mainly organic ingredients.

Let me know if you try the recipe – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend ahead, filled with reading, writing and cooking. :)

What are your plans for the first full weekend of 2012?


1 Erica January 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Aww :( Leaving after family time is so hard. The pizza looks great! As does the soda treat. This weekend=date night in tonight, body pump launch tomorrow & dinner with friends, sunday= brunch

2 BroccoliHut January 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I’m still recovering from the shock of being back on my own without my family too…the holidays are always too short!
That chocolate soda sounds delicious!

3 Melissa @TryingtoHeal January 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

omg i want that chocolate soda! Now if only my belly could tolerate soday, or ice cream, or whipped cream. boo :( You can enjoy more for me!

And I’m glad you had a great time with your family in AZ!!!! I’m sure the weather cooperated nicely!

4 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I love making homemade pizza with the fam bam. Must be nice to be back home though too.

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