We made a quick trip to Chicago this weekend for the wedding of one of my childhood friends. Although JP, the groom, is the same age as my oldest brother and four years older than me, the boys were nice enough to let their little sisters tag along in almost everything that they did, and as a result, we all became good friends. Much of our childhood was spent sitting around our kitchen table defacing People magazines in the cooler months and hanging out at the pool every day in the summer months. I spent the first two summers of college living in Iowa City with JP and at least one of my brothers, and we kept to the same general pattern of embellishing magazines and lounging at the pool. We were major overachievers.
We’ve all grown up quite a bit since then, and our group has expanded to included wives, a husband and a handful of seriously cute kids. JP met his perfect match a couple of years ago, and we had such a fun time celebrating them this weekend. You still probably don’t want to borrow any magazines from my parents’ house after everyone is home for a few days, though.
Several weeks ago, the bride asked some friends and family if we’d be willing to bake cookies for wedding favors, and we all happily agreed. I mixed the dough on Thursday night, and baked tray after tray of cookies before we left on Friday.
We could bring any kind of cookie that we wanted, so I made Oatmeal Walnut Cocoa Nib Cookies. I’ve never thought it necessary to choose a favorite chocolate chip cookie from the millions of varieties out there, but this one has been my default for the last year or so. The crunchy cocoa nibs, nutty pecans (the recipe calls for walnuts, but I prefer pecans) and chewy oats make every bite interesting. I made one and a half batches and tablespoon-sized scoops of dough, and I ended up with close to one hundred little cookies. I fit as many as I could in my carry-on and stashed the rest in our freezer for cookie emergencies.
We’d hoped to make it to Chicago in time for a late dinner at Lou Malnati’s, but our flight kept getting delayed so we settled for food at French Meadow’s MSP outpost. Even with the least healthy salad on the menu, I still probably saved myself a good thousand calories.
Waiting on our ride.
We met friends for lunch at Bat 17 in Evanston on Saturday and then headed to the Northwestern campus for a walk along the lakefront
Our family photographer
Afternoon snack courtesy of the hotel breakfast
Waiting on our ride to the main event
Showered and blue-blazered
The wedding was at a really cool venue in West Town that is apparently a retail space for recycled goods of all kinds that doubles as an event space. My nephew was riding a rhinoceros statue during the ceremony, dipping things in the bathtub fountain during the cocktail hour and drawing with chalk on the chalkboard-walled bathroom during the reception. There were so many rooms to explore and so many things, for a price, to buy.
Awaiting a delicious spread of Indian food
Picture of a picture of our childhood at the pool. The groom is in the black tube, flanked by my brothers. I’m in white, and the sister of the groom is in pink.
Mother of the groom, Magnus, mother of me
Grumpy at breakfast because he was only allowed to hold a plate of fruit instead of a giant bowl.
Breakfast at Clarke’s: eggs, potatoes, and vaguely Mexican ingredients with seemingly zero salt. Made better with salt and a whole lot of hot sauce.
We got home with plenty of time for Matt to do a little work and for me to come up with something for dinner. Pizza seems to be our go-to after a day of traveling thanks to our well-stocked cheese drawer and flour bins.
Left: ham, pineapple, pickled jalapeños
Right: hot Italian sausage and sauerkraut