Fabulous Fourth-some

by Jenn (eating bender) on July 10, 2012

Hey there! Long time, no chat.

I’m back into my groove after an excellent looong weekend with family and friends. When I last left you, I was reconnecting with my best friend Sam. The morning of Fourth of July, we woke up bright and early (thanks, time zones) and got the party started with some fresh-squeezed mimosas.

Mama Bender had the genius idea to make Dutch baby pancakes, so we got to work in the kitchen.

While she made us these beautiful red, white and blue fruit cups.

Alex took these photos of the final presentation. Aren’t they gorgeous?

We had a great morning chowing down and watching Independence Day. Did you know they are making a sequel? It’s about time, methinks. We also got in some quality time at the pool.

After numerous games of Lightning (or Knockout, as the case may be), we all headed back indoors for another Mama Bender meal that was just as awesome as the last. Shredded chicken and beef barbecue sliders (both meats were picked up pre-made from Whole Foods) with pretzel buns and quinoa salad. You can’t ever go wrong with pretzel buns. They are so good!

After lunch, Bobby, Eric, Sam, Alex and I headed out to the driving range to work on our chipping, iron and putting games. We couldn’t resist snapping a few photos in our golf outfits. I’m trying to convince Sam to keep playing so that we can go out for 18 holes next time. :)

The weather in Arizona was darn near perfect compared to the rest of the country. Though it was a bit cloudy in the morning, the light rain brought about temperatures in the low 80s. Much better than Chicago’s hot and humid 100 (I know my fellow Chicagoans felt the heat). We were able to dine al fresco for both lunch and dinner, which was a real Papa Bender treat: fajitas!

Made with refried beans and all the usual fixins: shrimp, chicken, beef, peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheese. PB also went so far as to make his own guacamole, which was delicious. I truly can’t thank my parents enough for creating such great meals for us on this trip.

Meals…and margaritas, that is.

Mama B always makes the best – and most potent – margaritas on the rocks. Whoo-ee.

Our evening was complete when we watched the fireworks shows across the valley. All in all, a fabulous Fourth of July! The next morning, we continued on the yummy food streak with Brunch Egg Casserole before spending another day at the pool.

And ended the evening with a trip to a familiar favorite: Benihana.

We also saw The Amazing Spider-Man in 3D. I really enjoyed it and think the rest of the group did, too. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone had great chemistry (plus, I just love Emma Stone in general). I’m excited for the sequels. Wonder who the villains will be?


The first half of our trip was a lot of fun, but there was plenty of excitement still to come. I’ll be back with the second half soon. Time to get back to my big to-do list for the week!

How was your Fourth of July/weekend? What did you do?

Also, just for fun – I highly recommend you watch this video:

Share cookie, maybe? Thanks to Sam for alerting me about this new hit. :)


1 Kristie July 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

One of these days, I am going to make that delicious brunch egg casserole. Every time you post it I am drooling!

2 Jenn (eating bender) July 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Do it! It’s nothing but goodness. :)

3 Erica July 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

oh my gosh- that pool is SO gorgeous. What a great way to celebrate it up. I want those fruit cups- too cute. And you can never go wrong with a pretzel roll. Or Emma Stone (adore her). We went to my Aunt’s on the water for the fourth. So lovely
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4 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thank you! All credited to my mom – she literally built the house from scratch and did all the design work herself! Emma Stone is awesome. Glad you had a great Fourth!

5 Susan July 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Wow – looks like a great time! :) And no, I didn’t know about the Independence Day sequel – umm…awesome! I watch the original every year when they show it 80 times back to back in early July. Also, I quite enjoyed the Cookie Monster video. “Me going off me rocker…please feed me Betty Crocker.” haha…classic.

6 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I truly can’t wait for the sequel. Wonder if Will Smith’s kids will be in it? I’m so glad you enjoyed the Cookie Monster video as much as I did. I think Bobby is getting annoyed by how much I have been quoting it the past two days, haha… :)

7 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner July 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

So glad to hear a pretzel bun ‘review!’ I’ve been eyeing them up in the store for ages, but I’ve been indecisive about actually buying them. I will now! Looks like you had a great trip. :)
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8 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

You should definitely buy them! I may have had pretzel buns for multiple meals last weekend. So good. :)

9 Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) July 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

That pool is gorgeous! Looks like a great time.
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10 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Thank you! My mom built and designed the house from the ground up, so she loves to hear that! :)

11 Megan (Braise The Roof) July 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

You really did get lucky that you missed that awful hot streak we had in Chicago over the 4th! Luckily I found a pool, otherwise it would have been miserable! Looks like you had a great trip and excellent food!
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12 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:15 pm

The pool is key! Glad you had a good holiday, too! Thank goodness for cooler temps this week.

13 lynn @ the actor's diet July 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

i saw spiderman too and loved it!
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14 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Yay! Another Spidey fan! I’m tempted to see it again…

15 BroccoliHut July 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Looks like a fantastic Fourth!! All the food looks delicious–I now have a simultaneous craving for a Dutch pancake and a pretzel roll.
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16 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Now I’m craving both of those again, too! :)

17 natalie @ will jog for food July 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

How fun! Mama B sure makes some awesomess :)

I had a quick trip to Sonoma this weekend, it was great!
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18 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:24 pm

How awesome that you went to Sonoma! Hope you had a blast!

19 Karminn July 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I haven’t seen Spider-Man and I hope soon I can.. I haven’t find time yet to watch it together with my husband.. He is a big fan of it too..
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20 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Yes, you and your husband should definitely see it soon – in 3D if at all possible! It was awesome!

21 Karla July 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm

What a WONDERFUL weekend, Jenn and crew! Good eats, good fun and good grief—has your family’s AZ home always been that beautiful? That picture of your pool makes it easy to see why you spent some afternoons there!

Thanks for the super-fun recap and the Spider-Man review. I might have to drag my family with me to see it! :)
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22 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Thank you, Karla! Yes, my mom quite outdid herself – she literally built and designed the house from the ground up, from the architectural plans to sourcing everything from window glass to doorknobs. She is my idol and I hope to be like her when I grow up. :) Please do take your family to see Spider-Man – in 3D if possible. It was so awesome!

23 emily (a nutritionist eats) July 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm

That vacation looks absolutely perfect.
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24 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Thanks, Emily! :)

25 Melissa @Tryingtoheal July 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Hahahahahaha! I just showed my field tech buddy that video and we died laughing.

Glad you had a great fourth with Sam and your family! The weather sure did cooperate for you! I didn’t celebrate this year, Peru is not one to follow American holidays!
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26 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I’m so glad you enjoyed the video as much as I did. :) I can imagine that Peru is not one to follow American holidays, but it looks like you are having an amazing experience so far!

27 Irina @ Chocolatea Time July 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

I haven’t had Dutch baby pancakes in years! I think it’s time I change that…

Looks like you had a fantastic time in Arizona! You were quite lucky to escape the heat wave we had here.
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28 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Yes – I see a Dutch baby pancake in your near future! :) I heard about the heat wave – all I have to say is thank goodness for the cooler temperatures this week!

29 Sam July 11, 2012 at 9:09 am

Sounds like you had an amazing trip! Your mama definitely knows what she’s doing in the kitchen. Everything looks so yummy! And also, that pool is gorgeous!
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30 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Thank you, Sam!! Credit goes to Mama B again, who designed everything in the house from the pool to the doorknobs. She is amazing and I hope to be like her when I grow up! :)

31 Jordan @ Bake Write Sleep July 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

Holy crap! Is that YOUR pool? Ummm, I’m moving in! =]

I love egg casserole. We have a family recipe similar to that. It’s my favorite.
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32 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Haha you are welcome anytime! :) My mom designed the house from the ground up, so she gets all the credit! I love egg casserole, too. SO. Much. Goodness.

33 Cara (Twinthusiast) July 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

Love this recap!
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34 Jenn (eating bender) July 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Thanks, Cara!!

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