Archive for November 2009

30 November 2009

Goodbye sweet cake, goodbye

By: Jessica B.

That’s right, this entire post is about a cake. A very special cake, so buckle up those tastebuds.

This week, I’m mourning a very sad loss. The loss of the BEST CAKE EVER. That’s right, I said, EVER.

It’s sour cream chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting and it’s like taking a bite of heaven and digesting clouds of sunshine and moonbeams.

I’ve mentioned it on here a few times because I have at birthdays and well, it’s just that fabulous. And I’ve had this as my birthday cake since I was a kid. And considering I just turned 30, that is, well a long time and a lot of cakes.

So why am I mourning it’s loss? Because last weekend, my brother texted to tell me that the bakery is closing due to the economy and ownership change. And that it was closing on Thanksgiving.

No joke, I nearly started to cry.

This cake was going to be my wedding cake and be a tradition I carry on for a family I may have one day. And now, the thought of it not being there for my next birthday breaks my heart.

What? Breaks my heart? A cake?

Yes, it’s dramatic and overblown but it’s more than that. It’s the symbolism that a long-time tradition is now gone.

And last week, my mom and dad surprised me at work by emailing to say they’re getting one more cake for us to enjoy at our separate Thanksgivings as a way to say goodbye. Bittersweet.

So now, I pour some malt liquor on the sidewalk to honor that bakery and say goodbye. I even play a little Peter Gabriel, clutching a branded napkin in it’s honor.

Goodbye Shaker Baker and thank you for being there with us for so long.

So questions for the evening! Do you have a favorite cake that you can’t live without? Or what is a longstanding food tradition in your family, for holidays or birthdays?

And here’s some cake porn to take us out tonight:

I’ll miss you :(

29 November 2009

Weekend recap: Thanksgiving food insanity and shopping!

By: Jessica B.

Happy Sunday everyone. Yikes this long weekend went fast. I barely even know what day it is anymore. Right now, I’m reporting to you live from my living room, where I’m currently in my third day of comfy pants. It’s amazing how fast regular pants change from fitting to not fitting over the course of Thanksgiving.

But I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and stuffed yourself until you could barely keep your eyes open.

I know I did!

Alrighty, I’ve been gone a few days so let’s start recapping the fun.

Sweet baby Jesus more food?

I love home-cooked food and Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of food in my house. A close runner up is Christmas.

And because I have two Thanksgivings in one day, I took Twitter’s advice and rocked the leggings. And thank goodness I did. Without them, I would have been walking around pantsless by 3p.m. Don’t worry, I would have had underwear on. But Thanksgiving #2 in just underwear and a sweater would have been embarrassing (for others).

And the food this year (as always) was amazing. Turkey, fruit, green bean casserole, (super cheesy) mashed potatoes, Jell-O and of course, more dessert than I could handle. Good lord the amount of desserts almost outweighed the meals! And sadly, because we were mourning the loss of a local bakery, both mom and dad got cakes from it to say goodbye, which means my dessert was bumped from the roster.

I know, I’m disappointed too but dad specifically asked me to make them at Christmas so I will not be defeated.

Here are some pictures!

IMG_3906Lovely table decor

IMG_3897Super cheesy potatoes (hmmm cheese)

IMG_3898Turkey! There’s a good lookin’ leg up front too

Oh and I didn’t photograph the stuffing and cranberry relish. I’m not a fan of either one. I know, I’m a freak.

I even skipped an impromptu Thanksgiving #3 because the tryptophan was making me sleepy and I had to lay down and rub my stomach while watching the Beyonce concert on ABC (which was fab!)

Black Friday: Coupons and no mercy!

I’m not a huge post-Thanksgiving shopper. Something about massive crowds, pushing and being forced to make immediate decisions freaks me out, but we do have a nice Black Friday tradition in my family. Every year we go to the Kenosha outlet mall to begin our holiday shopping, but we only end up buying for ourselves. Oops!

Anyhow, this year, I was able to score a few cute things at good deals, including some shirts, two new JCrew necklaces and a new Coach wallet. Some of my bounty is below.


My best deal: A $22 Banana Republic necklace rung up at the wrong price of $4. Win for me!

I also found a gorgeous purple dress to wear to my company’s holiday party this year. I love the color and it’ll be super flattering on my problem areas (aka my stomach).


All in all, it was a good, relaxing weekend. But getting back into a routine this week is going to s-u-c-k!

So what about you? What was your favorite part of this weekend or your favorite Thanksgiving food? Or did you go shopping on Friday and score any good deals?

25 November 2009

A silly and serious thankful list

By: Jessica B.

Well tomorrow is the big day, Thanksgiving, and I am already fasting as I type this.

My parents are divorced so every year I have two Thanksgivings in one day. Moms in the morning and dads in the evening. And the first year we worked out this arrangement, I thought my stomach was going to explode from all the food. My dad found me passed out with a plate of turkey next to me and woke me up to go to bed.

The image of me passed out on a couch, drooling with turkey next to me is hilarious. I wish I had a photo of it.

Anyhow, tonight I’m on my way back to Wisconsin to be with my family, shop my heart out and try to get into the Christmas spirit.

But before that, it’s time to share a silly and serious list of what I’m thankful for this year.


  • Family (we’re not perfect, but they’re mine!)
  • Friends (even those I’ve been estranged from lately)
  • A good job
  • Good health
  • No credit card debt
  • A good life in a great city

Silly (this is more fun):

  • Jacob’s abs (cougar time!)
  • Glee
  • HD-TV
  • A full head of hair (I would be more thankful if I didn’t have so much gray)
  • iPods
  • Text messaging
  • John Krasinski’s hotness
  • Push up bras
  • Cotton leggings
  • Nordstroms
  • A good sense of humor
  • Twitter (which will help me get through four days at home)
  • Mac and cheese (or just cheese)
  • Honey crisp apples
  • Cupcakes

And of course, thankful for all of you :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

So what are you thankful for this year? It can be silly and serious!

23 November 2009

Operation Thanksgiving dessert

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food

The men and women in my family have a simple rule: recognize our strengths and outsource our limitations.

For me, this includes the kitchen.

But after a recent successful baking weekend, I decided to give it another try by volunteering to bake a dessert for our Thanksgiving this year. Yes, there will still be the best apple pie ever (Elegant Farmer) and a tragically uneaten pumpkin pie, but I’m excited to make something special.

Except now Thanksgiving is this week and I can’t decide what to make! Eeek! This weekend I spent a ton of time online to find recipes and everything is either pumpkin, apple pie or too difficult for a beginner like me.

So after all my research, I found three recipes I’m interested in:

Martha Stewart – Apple-Raspberry Pie (yeah I know this is still apple, but it’s a little different than a traditional one)


Photo from

Smitten Kitchen – Cheesecake-Marbled Brownies

3907578311_fe6e27a8d7Photo from

Food Network – Paula Deen Five Layer Bars (could be a nice pie alternative)


Photo from

I like all of these, but I dunno. I feel like there is something else I should be making. Cake seems too heavy, brownies seem a little casual. Blah!

I’m not opposed to more pie, I think I’m just unsure of other pie options.

What do you think? Which one do you like more? I’m also open to suggestions for easy dessert options or sites I should check out for great recipes.

Blosse help me!

22 November 2009

Weekend recap: New Moon and more football

By: Jessica B.

Happy Sunday everyone! I cannot believe it’s time for Thanksgiving but at the same time, I’m ready for a break from the city, basking in the scary quiet of the suburbs and one-on-one time with my parents. Well, at least for a few days :)

Anyhow, let’s get started!

Vampires, werewolves and shirtless action, oh my!

As you know, Friday morning at 12:45 a.m., TC and I were at the Chicago AMC theater with several hundred other Twilight fans to get our New Moon-on. We arrived at 11, thinking the line wouldn’t be too bad and were greeted with this.


Holy sh*tballs

People must have arrived for the movie at 8 or 9 p.m. That is a level of hardcore I will never achieve.

Thank goodness for relevant reading materials to pass the time.


Sadly, people didn’t dress in costume (we were easily the most casual people there), but the ladies got R-O-W-D-Y when the movie got started, clapping, cheering and gasping/screaming when Jacob and Edward were on screen. As expected, Jacob’s ab-action got the loudest response while Edward didn’t fare so well. I guess the ladies like a little meat on their men’s bones :)

And as a member of Team Jacob, I would look at that chest all day long. RAWR. I even said to TC pre-movie, “when I see Jacob without his shirt on…it’s cougar time.” I think we laughed about it for 10 minutes. Exhaustion will do that.

We got out of the movie at 3:15 a.m. and I walked into my apartment at 3:45 a.m., where I promptly went to bed and got back up at 7:30 a.m. to get ready for work. Kill me now. I fared pretty well during the day but crashed HARD Friday night. But, it was SO WORTH IT.

So what did I think of the movie? (non-spoilers below)

I loved it. It was much better than Twilight (like day and night different, aka better) and the things that really irritated me about Twilight weren’t so bad this time (minus Jasper’s unfortunate hair and Alice’s bad fashion sense.)

I also really loved the Jacob character. He was exactly what I imagined he would be and the scenes he had with Kristen Stewart had more heat and emotion than anything with Edward (sorry ladies). Maybe I like him so much because I identify with his character in a lot of ways, but he was great. And TC and I disagreed on a scene in the movie that foreshadows book four but we did agree that we’ll be back at another midnight showing for Eclipse on June 30. It’s on the calendar already!

Football with a side of soft pretzel

Lately, we’ve been really fortunate with good weather in Chicago. And by good, I mean not frickin’ freezing. And Saturday was a great day that included mild temps and sunshine. And that was the day I was up in Evanston with my parents for the Northwestern/Wisconsin game. Compared to the seats my parents and I are used to in Madison (50 yard line, 20 rows back), these seats were….not as close.


I cannot believe that guy stood up in the middle of my shot. D-bag.

Whenever I go to a game, I always treat myself to a hot dog, soda and soft pretzel. That is my go-to for stadium food. I don’t know what they put in it (and don’t want to know) but it is awesome. And as it got darker and colder outside, the fans became bigger d-bags and my team started losing, I was ready to get out of there.

Oh college football, I love it but it will break your heart sometimes.

So did anyone else do fun stuff this weekend? If you saw New Moon, what did you think? Or what is your favorite stadium food?