Football, friends and…free tickets?!?

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Cubs vs. Reds

It was a beautiful Saturday in September, which meant that college football was the only thing on the menu for the day.  Ryan and I decided to start what would likely end up as a beer and barbecue filled day by going on a run.  Per usual, I wimped out 2 seconds out the door and managed to twist Ryan’s arm into stopping for Einstein bagels first (I know how baby likes his carbs).  Sitting outside, enjoying the Chicago summer that arrived 3 months late, devouring whipped strawberry cream cheese goodness and listening to a random, cheesy guy on a keyboard playing some legit classics (Elton John?  Jack Johnson?  Ella Fitzgerald? Yes, please!) was so enjoyable.  Knowing that  I was going to spend the afternoon with my best friends watching the Spartans and the Irish stride stumble into victory what some may consider not quite winning, I couldn’t have been happier.  But then a lovely lady  noticed my  Cubs shirt and offered us tickets to the Cubs game that she couldn’t use.  The first pitch was in 30 minutes but did we want them?  Ryan loves him some free goods so we grabbed what was left of our bagels, threw our failed attempt at running to the wind and hopped in a cab to the game.  The seats ended up being fantastic, the Cubs made a 7th inning attempt to stay in the game and Ryan & I enjoyed some adult beverages as well as each other’s company after a particularly busy August.

After smiling about my time in the Friendly Confines all weekend, I got to thinking about about great days.  Lately, I’ve been in a season where I feel like I am constantly looking for “fun”, “great weekends” and “luck”–all tall orders when they’re needed.  I woke up on Saturday morning smelling the delicious chicken bbq Ryan had cooked in the crock pot overnight, feeling the sun hitting my face from the shade I didn’t close, and knowing I had an entire day filled with something I love (college football) with people I love (my Chicago chums).   I didn’t need anything else from the day–it was already more than enough.  The Cubs tickets that fell in my lap didn’t make or break the day and so I was just able to enjoy it for what it was–an awesome time in my favorite city with my favorite guy.  Icing on an already delicious cake.  What a blessing and I am so happy I slowed down to enjoy it, for once.

Oh and let’s give a culinary round of applause for the AMAZING food that everyone made for the tailgate!  For a group 24 year olds, we put together a delicious spread–ribs, homemade pizza rolls, buffalo chicken dip, red skin potato salad, wings, cookies, and chicken bbq.  Thanks for hosting, Laura!

Here is the recipe for our Chicken BBQ–I say “our” because I cut up raw chicken,  participation enough if you ask me.

Chicken BBQ

5lbs of chicken breasts

1/2 bottle of ketchup

1 20 oz. Coca Cola Classic

3 T. Lemon Juice

2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 Large onion (cut into rings)

2 T garlic (chopped)

chili powder, italian seasoning, salt and pepper and whatever else you feel like to taste


Cut the chicken breasts in to thirds and bake for 20 minutes–you want them not cooked all the way but not raw.  Place the chicken breasts in a large crock pot and add the ketchup, coke, lemon juice, worchestershire sauce, onion, garlic and seasonings.   Stir and turn crock pot on high for 4 hours.   Stir and mix well, using a fork to split apart the chicken into the “strings” that end up looking like bbq.  Cook on high 4 more hours, stirring every once in awhile.  Keep on low or warm as you pick at it all day and occasionally make sandwiches.  Enjoy!