by Jenn (eating bender) on October 30, 2012

**Thinking of everyone affected by Sandy on the East coast and hoping you and yours stay safe.**

This past weekend, Bobby and I traveled to a very familiar city.

It felt good to be back in Chicago! I don’t think enough time has passed for it to feel different. Other than the fact that we drove away from O’Hare in a rental car to an apartment that was not our own, it was just another (short) weekend in the Windy City – complete with Wildcat growls.

We arrived after midnight on Saturday to attend the Northwestern homecoming football game that morning. It was great to have the chance to finally use our season tickets – the sunny skies and cool fall breeze made for perfect spectating.

Our visit was made even sweeter by a 28-17 victory over Iowa! It’s always a big rivalry game, so it was nice to come away with a win on homecoming with so many Northwestern alums in the stands.

Another highlight of the weekend was having the chance to see Lauren, who graciously hosted us at her new apartment. After the game, the two of us met up with Kelli and Monica for a warm drink at the Unicorn Cafe. The hot chocolate was delicious, but the conversation was even better. The four of us decided to hold a Pinterest party in December – I can’t wait to share more on that. :)

Eventually, Lauren and I headed to Winnetka for our dinner reservation at Restaurant Michael, which was just as delicious as it was the last time. I got a few strange looks due to the mysterious purple paw on my face, but everyone was excited about the win so it was all good.

We spent the rest of the night watching Harry Potter and catching up on life. It was a great trip! And it felt nice to come back to our new home in plenty of time to enjoy a beautiful Sunday sunset.

Speaking of Arizona masterpieces, tonight Mama Bender and I (well, mainly MB) got a little fall-friendly in the kitchen.

The dish of choice was this Pork and Apple Scallopini recipe from The Chew

…and it turned out to be incredible! The pork was tender and juicy but it was the cider flavor of the Granny Smith apple and ham topping that really made this meal pop. We served it up with some organic corn and Merlot on the side.

For dessert, MB made these Country Apple Dumplings, substituting ginger ale for the Mountain Dew. The result was a beautiful caramelized topping that smelled out-of-this-world good.

Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it made for a perfect fall feast!

We’re in the midst of a big week on the house front. Our final walk through is this weekend and we just received word from the bank that we are clear to close! While I’m still cautiously optimistic, I do think we have a good chance of owning our first home as of November 9. It’s a wonderful feeling!

Any plans for Halloween night? What are you looking forward to in November?

I can’t believe there are only two months left in 2012!


1 Melanee October 31, 2012 at 12:16 am

You are both so naturally photogenic! Love these photos! And… how wonderful to begin your new life in your own home in the autumn. There is such a rich feeling of energy and renewal during this season. I hope everything goes better and more smoothly than you even expect!
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2 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Thank you for the sweet comment, Melanee! I couldn’t agree more with your feelings about autumn. October and November are two of my favorite months and there has been plenty of excitement so far! Hope you and your family had a lovely Halloween. :)

3 Erica October 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

The chew has such fabulous recipes! What a meal!! Glad y’all had so much fun. I haven’t been to a Big 10 game in forever ever
Erica recently posted..A Family Farm in Tuscany: Zuppa RibollitaMy Profile

4 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

My mom loves The Chew and now I definitely realize why!

5 Ashley October 31, 2012 at 9:39 am

Go wildcats, I love apple dumplings – they look to die for.

6 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Yeah, Wildcats!! Thanks, Ashley. :)

7 Melissa @TryingtoHeal October 31, 2012 at 9:41 am

What a great trip home! I’m glad you got to go to a game and see Lauren!

And I can’t wait to hear about your house!!! Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly over the next week!!
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8 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Thanks, Melissa! I can’t believe we are just a week out from closing on it!

9 Irina @ Chocolatea Time October 31, 2012 at 10:35 am

I’m glad that you made it back for a weekend! Don’t forget this beautiful city :)

*fingers crossed* that all goes well on the house front!
Irina @ Chocolatea Time recently posted..Small Steps Towards Big ChangesMy Profile

10 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I definitely won’t forget it! Hoping to come back again in December. :)

11 Megan (Braise The Roof) October 31, 2012 at 11:27 am

Wow, that really was a quick trip in and out of Chicago! I’m glad the weather held up for you. Fingers crossed that all goes smoothly with the house!
Megan (Braise The Roof) recently posted..Spicy Beef and Butternut Squash StewMy Profile

12 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

We definitely got lucky with the weather – hoping to be back for a longer trip in December! Thanks for the well wishes on the house. :)

13 Nicole @ The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie October 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm

So that first photo of you and Bobby is adorable! It looks like you guys had an amazing weekend!

And congrats the house progress! You guys will be home owners before you know it!
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14 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thanks, Nicole!! We really can’t wait to be homeowners. :)

15 Cara (Twinthusiast) October 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Glad it was a great trip – you two look ADORABLE!
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16 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm

It was really fun – thank you!

17 Monica October 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Yes, it was great seeing you during the brief window that you were in town :) Thanks again for inviting me – I had a lot of fun! And I’m sure you already know this, but I’m super excited for the Pinterest party… I ended up purchasing the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams cookbook (the one we were talking about) since it was only $13 on Amazon, so get ready to make some ice cream!

And I really hope everything works out with the house – I will be crossing my fingers for you two!

18 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

It was so great to see you – I’m glad you could come and had a good time! I can’t wait for our Pinterest party, either! You made me so excited with your talk of Jeni’s ice cream. :)

19 Kelli October 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I’m so glad I was able to spend Saturday evening with you and the girls, Jenn! Really looking forward to more house updates and, as if I haven’t said it enough, your December visit and the Pinterest Party! And I just saw Monica’s comment about the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams cookbook. So excited to venture into the world of ice-cream-making with you ladies! Talk to you soon!

20 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I’m so excited to make ice cream, too! December can’t come soon enough. :)

21 Emily November 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Glad you had fun in Chicago!! The city misses you!
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22 Jenn (eating bender) November 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Thanks, Emily! This trip was super quick, but I’m planning a longer trip in December and would love to see you!

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