by Jenn (eating bender) on March 21, 2013

Thank you for the wonderful comments on my blogiversary post. You’ve put a huge smile on my face! And if you haven’t yet, you still have until tomorrow night to enter the giveaway!

It has been a crazy week around here, so I thought I’d do a bit of a mishmash post to share what’s been going on beyond my world of food lately. I’ve seen these types of posts in various forms on a lot of my favorite blogs and always love the random, fun information that is shared…so here goes!


1. I’m developing a slight obsession with front door decor. You may recall my previous ode to Michaels in February. Now I’m singing Kirkland’s praises. This store always has some sort of sale going on, plus a mobile app that often gives you additional coupons. I picked up the above combination for a spring-y addition to our entrance. I also can’t believe Easter is next week.


2. Speaking of spring, the new season is officially here in Arizona! It has been absolutely gorgeous this week. Suddenly everything around our neighborhood is in bloom, and plants that I didn’t even know had flowers are now a rainbow of bright colors. I hope they stick around for a while.

3. I’m currently reading Cinder, the first in a series by Marissa Meyer. Normally I’d be skeptical of a sci-fi version of a fairy tale (it’s a retold version of the Cinderella story, only this time the main character is a cyborg…) but I am as hooked as all the reviewers on Goodreads. I have a feeling I will be finishing out this series and will be sure to post a review when I do!

4. We have a bit of a prairie dog problem. Gunnison’s prairie dog, to be exact. He’s cute and all, but he has also dug his burrow around some major pipes in our backyard. And I should add that he is extremely smart. We are at somewhat of a loss on what to do at this point – we can’t have him hurting the pipes but I also refuse to do anything to hurt him. We’re taking ideas if you have any.

5. I’m obsessed with this new song from Justin Timberlake. If you have some time, I’d recommend watching the video above. Thanks to Mama Bender, I now also have his new album (I can always count on her to have the latest hits).

6. If you liked the looks of my gougères, you should definitely check out this Red Pepper, Mint and Sage Gougères recipe from Leslie. I happen to have some mint in our new kitchen herb garden so this is next on my list of versions to try.

7. While you’re perusing blogs, I’d also recommend visiting my good friend Karla, who has recently redesigned Healthful Bites.


8. You’d be hard-pressed to find something more quintessentially Southwestern than a Friday night at the Buffalo Chip. We headed there to join the action last week with a couple of friends (who also happen to be our cousin and cousin-to-be). It was the first time we’d been there since July and it was packed! I can’t decide whether the highlight was a bull named “Bananas” or the sheep-riding six-year-old cowboys and cowgirls (all dressed up in their hats and boots).


9. I mentioned that we’ve been growing a few herbs in our kitchen: basil, sweet mint, oregano and cilantro. We’ve used all of them in recent recipes and they have been a big hit, but none so much as the mojito that Bobby surprised me with on a Sunday night. Best way to end the weekend. The recipe is similar to this one but with Sierra Mist instead of club soda.

Paris 2

10. Last but certainly not least on the list is what has been keeping my mind the most preoccupied lately: our upcoming trip to Europe! Yep, it’s officially happening. In fact, we’re leaving in less than a week! We’ll be traveling to Paris, a few cities in Italy and Barcelona. The list of “want-to-dos” is endless, but since we can’t stay in Europe forever (darn) we are also going to do our best to relax as often as possible with a glass of wine and very likely the best food we’ve ever tasted.

To say I am excited would be a huge understatement. :) Thanks to all who have provided tips and thoughts on where to go as we make this big wish for 2013 into a reality!

What’s been happening on your end lately?

Bonus: I filled out my NCAA bracket last night. I tend to pick teams based on a) if I have any sort of connection to the school or b) if someone I know has a connection to the school. I can’t say it’s a guaranteed winning strategy, but it makes it a lot more fun to cheer.



1 Karla March 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Thank you SO much for the love, Jenn! You are way too sweet. Once again, we are soul sisters re: “Mirrors.” Ob. sessed.

Buffalo Chip looks like such Southern fun, and I’m so jealous of your touch of spring! Send us some here in the Midwest, please? :)

I love your NCAA strategy. Mine is quite similar. It’s going to be fun to watch–let the cheering begin!

Final note: EUROPE!!!
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2 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 10:49 am

I’m so not surprised that we are both obsessed with Mirrors. :) Sending spring weather your way this week!

3 Mickie Krenn March 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Hi, Jenn. I just recently made Gougeres for the first time for an International Dinner group (we got together in January). This recipe called for Gruyere, parmesan and dijon mustard and they were delicious. Tom thought I wasted perfectly good cream puff dough by adding the cheese!

Have a wonderful and safe trip to Europe.


4 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 10:54 am

Yum! That combination sounds fantastic, Mickie. I had to laugh at Tom’s assessment though – the batter really is perfect for cream puffs! :) Thanks for the well wishes on Europe.

5 Cara (Twinthusiast) March 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I am commenting on #1 – I need to be more of a “mom” and get some holiday decor already! That wreath is super cute. Gotta head to Michaels. And #10 – so, so excited for you. Please live it up. I’ll be thinking of you toasting Chianti on the Italian coast…

Bonus: Kelly and Caroline picked their own bracket last night. We said all the options and they picked each and every team themselves. It was hilarious hearing them yell out “NC State!” among others…
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6 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

Thank you again for the Europe advice! It was great to have the chance to see the girls in action with their “bracket picking” strategy this weekend. I now know to be excited about every city we’ll be visiting. :) We will be toasting you all, for sure!

7 Erica March 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm

ah! I heart JT. He is so talented. Go your mama for getting you the album! I can’t wait to read about your trip. Hope you figure out the prairie dog problem :(
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8 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 10:57 am

Thanks, Erica! We are slowly figuring out a way to catch them and take them to a new home in the desert. Here’s hoping they will be just as happy there as they have been in our backyard, haha!

9 Wendi March 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm

For one, thank you so much for the book recommendation, girl! I just finished my last read (The Fault in Our Stars—SOOOOOO good BTW’s) and was looking for my next one. I’ll definitely have to check it out (pun intended). Secondly, I am obsessed with the new JT album. I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of him before but his new stuff is really, really good! As my mom said to me the other day, “That’s baby-making music!” Oy. TMI mom, TMI! Haha. Gotta love her. And thirdly, YOU’RE GOING TO EUROPE?!?!?!?! I am SO incredibly jealous! Going to Europe is the number one item on my bucket list! You are going to have a blast hon and I am so excited for you!! Have a great weekend lady :)
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10 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

Thank you for the book recommendation, too! I keep hearing good things about The Fault in Our Stars. Glad to hear you’ve been enjoying the JT album, too – your mom’s comment cracks me up! :) And yes, we are off to Europe in a few days. I can hardly believe it – it’s been on our bucket list for so long. Thanks for the well wishes! Hope you have an amazing week!

11 BroccoliHut March 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I love your Easter egg wreath! So cute! I’m a huge fan of Michael’s, but I’ve never check out Kirkland’s. Noted.
You must be so thrilled about your Europe trip! I shall live vicariously through you, so be sure to take lots of pictures for us!
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12 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

Love your Easter wreath, too! You know I’ll be on picture duty while we’re in Europe – can’t wait to share! :)

13 Susan March 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Need extra mint for future mojitos? I know a certain backyard with a mint surplus… haha. I’m so excited (vicariously) for your Europe trip. It makes me want to pull out my notes from 15th c. Italian Renaissance Art History and reflect on my Florence favorites. :)

14 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

Haha! Your mint bush was the inspiration for our mint plant! If it dies thanks to my lack of green thumb, we’ll definitely be hitting you up for extra. 😉 We will be sure to share all the artsy information we learn from our trip with you!

15 Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles March 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm

LOVE Mirrors (and the entire new album from JT – bought it Tuesday). :)
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16 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 11:01 am

Coincidentally, I am listening to Mirrors as I respond to your comment! Or maybe it’s not a coincidence since I have it on so often. :)

17 Toronto Girl West March 23, 2013 at 12:17 am

First of all, Happy Belated Blogaversary!!!
And second of all – your first trip to Paris!?!? You’ll love it!!!!! It’s honestly a city that is so gorgeous it’s hard to believe it wasn’t built for tourism. Just a couple of suggestions:
* Make sure you hit up the Orsay museum – it really is absolutely incredible
* Don’t let anyone tell you that the maze of Greek restaurants near Saint Michel metro station is the Latin Quarter – it’s not! Explore the area around the Sorbonne to see the real Latin Quarter!
* The Luxembourg Gardens is an absolute jewel and easily my favourite garden in Paris
* If you get cold, Angelina’s tea salon has the most ridiculously rich hot chocolate you will ever have
* The area around Madeleine metro station is an absolute foodie dream
* Watch out for pickpockets and sneaky people in Montmartre

Anywho – I’m sure you’ll have the time of your life!!!!!
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18 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 10:30 am

Your comment brought such a smile to my face, Karen! First of all, THANK YOU for the Paris tips! I’m happy to say that we actually had a restaurant recommended to us near Sorbonne so we will definitely be exploring the “real” Latin Quarter that night! And we plan to go to Angelina’s the first morning we’re there for some of that delicious hot chocolate. :) Your other tips have officially been added to the list and I can’t wait to check everything out in person. Thank you so much!

19 Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate March 24, 2013 at 2:29 am

Your Europe plans sound so exciting! How perfect after just finishing up your book club for Paris wife and making those fancy french gougères.
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20 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

The book and gougères definitely made me even more excited for the trip! :) Thanks, Gina!

21 kate March 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Ahhhhh the Sunday night mojito. Sounds perfect..And I just happen to have some fresh mint in my kitchen too! I do love using fresh herbs…It’s a good thing mint grows so fast!

22 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

We are loving the fresh herbs, too – and yes it’s definitely a good thing that mint grows so fast to keep up with mojito demand, haha!

23 Jayne March 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm

There are millions of people out there who are suffering from panic attacks and the fact is that many of them just don’t know what they can do in order to get a hold of their life and start living it like they used to. Here you will find a closer look at panic away, Jayne
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24 Jess March 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Enjoy Europe!!! I’m so jealous!!
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25 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 11:07 am

Thanks, Jess!!

26 Ari @ Ari's Menu March 25, 2013 at 11:01 am

Have sososososooo much fun on your trip Jenn!!! I love catching up on what is going on in your life, and I can’t wait to read about your awesome adventures!
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27 Jenn (eating bender) March 25, 2013 at 11:24 am

Thanks, Ari!! :)

28 Jenny March 26, 2013 at 4:30 am

I love reading your posts Jenn, have a great trip and thanks for all the info!
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29 Alexander March 31, 2013 at 5:49 am

I hope you get to see Versailles on your trip…it’s beautiful and huge!

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