Weekend Update – Hall of Fame Balls Just in time for the Holidays!


Good Morning!

With the snowfall in Chicago yesterday, and the Christmas & holiday music being played on some of the radio stations, it really feels like the holidays are here already! I love Thanksgiving and Christmas time.  With that said, I wanted to let you all know that the “Hall of Fame Balls”, the ones that I make for the Bears each week, are going to be sold exclusively at and for the Gateway to Learning Holiday Bazaar on December 1st.

Gateway to Learning is a wonderful organization.  Here is a little information on their mission:

The mission of Gateway to Learning (GTL) is to provide lifelong learning to adults with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities that promotes active inclusion at home, at work and in the community. Founded in 1973 as a Special Education school, Gateway to Learning is now licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services as a day training center. Currently serving 85 adults (and growing), in Chicago’s Lincoln Square Neighborhood, GTL’s programming focuses on skill acquisition, development and mastery in key life sectors, including: academia, employment, citizenship, empowerment and advocacy, and daily living/home life. A strong emphasis is placed on vocational training specifically in the culinary arts, with 4 operating kitchens, a bakery and store front café (Dorothy’s Can-Do Cafe) which sells over 30 varieties of cookies and chocolates. The culinary arts and customer service programming, designed and modified for adults with various DoAbilities including Autism and Down syndrome, supports participants in obtaining food sanitation credentials and/or developing a career path for future employment in the food industry. Although the majority of participants reside at home with their parents or siblings on the northside of Chicago, GTL does not have a geographical requirement for services.

I hope those of you that are in the Chicago area will come out to the Holiday Bazaar and pick up some holiday treats and support this wonderful cause!  These balls freeze well too, so you can buy them early and serve them later. But there will be plenty of other goodies to choose from as well… so save the date! I’ll post more information with the exact time and location after Thanksgiving.

Thank you so much for reading my blog…and Go Bears!!!






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2018 will mark my 7th Season making treats and baking for the Chicago Bears. You might be thinking, how does one land that gig? Well, let me tell you. It’s riveting… My younger brother, Danny, works full-time for the Bears. Our entire family have been life-long Bears fans, btw. Back in the summer of 2012, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need someone to make treats for the team. Do you think you can do it? Because my boss said, Dan, you’ve got all those sisters, can’t one of them bake? So, I volunteered you.” My first response was, “YES, but I don’t know how to bake”. I mean, up until that point, the only things I remember ever baking were 1) S’mores Bars back in the 80’s off a recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box. Come to think of it now, I don’t even think those things went into the oven – so technically that wasn’t baking. And 2) Good old Nestle Toll House cookies – which NEVER turned out the same each time I baked them and it drove me nuts and got me to HATE baking for that very reason. I was always in love with cooking, though. I was the gal who threw dinner parties often and provided an obnoxious array of hors d’oeuvres and wine – that’s more my thing. Side note: I learned the hard way that baking and wine don’t mix. Ha! However, I was honored and excited to have been asked to step up to the plate for this little baking / treat-making gig, for THE CHICAGO BEARS, no less. So my answer was an enthusiastic, YES! I figured I still had a month before the first regular season game, which is when the “treat days” begin – every Thursday during the regular season (not preseason). So, I hit the streets in search of good recipes and then got to work test-baking in the kitchen for the rest of that summer. As I became more internet savvy, I started following lots of baking bloggers and watching video tutorials. I would go to parties and if I tasted something that I thought was exceptional, I would never hesitate to ask for the recipe. Baking for the Bears is always in the back of my mind when eating desserts. I now have an arsenal of treat recipes worthy of offering at a bake shop, if I do say so myself;) . I started getting requests for my pound cake, outside of Baking for the Bears, and my Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies have been quoted as “The best cookies in the world” by a well-known player, as well as friends, family and neighbors. One of the first things I did was perfect a cookie of my own that comes out pretty consistently crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I no longer rely on the old Toll-House recipe. It’s the one thing I never get tired of baking. The guys get them every week. With that said, this season, I plan to blog my recipes each week, and share with you whatever it is I am making for the Bears. I’ll also give you tried & true feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and any fun comments that the players, staff, friends & co-workers might have regarding the treat of the week. My office colleagues love it when football season rolls around, because I typically find new recipes and test-bake on Sundays to bring in on Mondays for critical reviews. From there, I decide if they are Bear-worthy for Thursday Treat Days at Halas Hall. I hope you will check in periodically and enjoy my blog. I’m super excited for the 2018 Bears football season both on the field and in the kitchen! GO BEARS! This is gonna be a good season… I can feel it!

4 thoughts on “Weekend Update – Hall of Fame Balls Just in time for the Holidays!

    1. Hi Carol – yes, Gateway to Learning is located at 4925 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago – just west of Western Avenue on Lincoln. I will post the time too, as soon as I have more information. Thank you so much, Carol!


  1. Can I order them somehow? I’ll be out of town? What a wonderful organization. I was in education for 35 years. Carol

    Sent from my iPhone


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