Travel

Jun
13
2013

BlogHer Food Conference 2013, Austin

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What a fun weekend in Austin, TX!  The BlogHer Food Conference 2013 was smack dab in the middle of downtown Austin where hundreds of food bloggers across the country gathered together to learn, socialize and EAT. When you see my pictures below you’ll definitely understand what I mean about eating.  Boy did we eat, lol!

If you follow me on Instagram, you got a live preview of my weekend.  For those of you who didn’t, take a peek at what we were up to!

BlogHer Food 2013

First Photo-Left to Right: LoriSommerSandyHeatherBetsyMe, Lisa, AmandaMaria

What a whirlwind from the second I stepped foot in Austin.  I arrived to the hotel and had 5 minutes to change my clothes and run to our first party for Tasty Kitchen with Betsy and Ree.  These girls are so sweet and had their party in a lovely upstairs restaurant called La Condesa with amazing lighting.  Had a great time talking with these amazing women.

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After the Tasty Kitchen party, we scurried over to a KitchenAid party at Uchiko.  One of the best sushi restaurants I’ve ever been to.  There’s Amanda and I enjoying our dinner :)

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After Uchiko, we went over to the Ziplist party for desserts and more chit chat time with friends.  Busy busy night!  Here’s Lauren, sweet baby Blake, Amanda and I.

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Chit Chatting with more friends.

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 Woke up Friday morning to such a lovely view from our hotel room!

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First things first, I had Amanda take me back to Torchy’s Tacos where we shared a delicious breakfast taco and these ridiculous fried cookie dough bites coated in corn flakes.  Oh baby they were good.

BHF Gourdoughs

After Torchy’s it was off to Gourdough’s Doughnut Truck.  Take a look at this table!  Ridiculous.

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This happened too.  I believe this was the Banana Split Doughnut off of the secret menu.  Yikes!

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For lunch, we met up with the Michael Angelo’s Brand for a delicious lunch at Backspace.  This pizza was one of the best pizza’s I’ve ever had, not kidding.  Salivating just thinking about it.  Michael Angelo’s mom was one of the sweetest ladies around.  She reminded me so much of my grandmother.  She has such a love for her family and good food.  What a gem she is.

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Left to Right: DesereeMariaJulieMe, Lindsay, and Amanda

Here we are after a delicious meal from Backspace.  This was such a lovely afternoon.

Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Photo by Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Not even kidding when I say that snuggling Kristan’s sweet baby Lucy was one of the highlights of my trip.  There is something about this little girl that just absolutely melts your heart.  Her little and smile and giggle is just perfect.  In fact, her and Pax need a play date asap Kristan, come to CA girl :)  Love Love Love this little gal and her mama.  Had so much fun chatting with Kristan on our LONG, hot walks back to the hotel.


Cupcakes

When food bloggers get together you know there’s bakery hopping.  We started at a bakery called Delish then went to Sugar Mama’s.  How cute is the little devil cupcake?!

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We stopped at a jewelry shop called Kendra Scott Jewelery.  I found these sparkly earrings to take back as a souvenir. Love them!  Check out the ones Shelly got too.

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Later Friday night we went to a lovely dinner at Moonshine hosted by Land O Lakes and  ReeMariaSommer, Brenda, and Julie.  It was a night of good food, friends and lots of laughs.

Land O Lakes Lunch

The food!  I got the Green Chili Macaroni with Chicken.  It was to die for.  Then there was the Skillet Apple Pie.  No words needed to describe the flaky crust on this little pie of heaven.

Photo Booth LoL

Then there was the photo booth, with Shelly,  Amanda and Maria.  Be sure to see Amanda’s re-cap for our silly animated version.

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What an honor it was to host a Nestle Lunch Saturday afternoon with Maria and Amanda in organization with Chris from Nestle at the lovely Parkside Restaurant.  Chris put together the most lovely group of bloggers for an afternoon filled with great food and wonderful friends.  Thank you Chris for the amazing opportunity to work with Nestle.

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I absolutely adore Lisa of With Style and Grace.  Our sweet baby boys are only a couple months apart and we always have so much to talk about.  It’s always a pleasure spending time with Lisa.

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Our appetizers were so pretty!!  Strawberry and rhubarb with brie bites.  Mmm!

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Love this shot that Chris captured of us enjoying our lunch.

Nestle Lunch

Lovely Roasted Chicken, Mushrooms, Sweet Corn Puree for lunch.  The desserts blew our minds.  You are seeing a Butterfinger Mousse with Salty Peanuts and Roasted Banana then a little Key Lime Pie and another crazy good mousse cup.

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Before the closing party, hopped on a pedi-cab with Ali and Maria for a Driscoll’s Strawberry Shortcake Party.  We were digging our driver’s mow hawk :)

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What a treat meeting Camille, Elyse and Kristen from Six Sister’s Stuff.  Also got to meet Kristen of Kristen Duke Photography on the right and Nikki from Chef in Training.  Sweetest girls.  Just love meeting new blogging friends at these events.

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JessicaTina, Amanda with Lauren ’s sweet buddy Blake, and me :)

There’s always the epic photo booth pictures, lol!  I cannot get over Lauren’s sweet baby Blake.  He was the best little 5 week old baby ever.  His little face kills me.  Can I have him Lauren?  Lol!

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So, this Cool Haus Ice Cream Sandwich was one of the best treats of the weekend.  Soft Chocolate Chip Cookie with Coffee Oreo Ice Cream.  Nuff said :)

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Left to Right: BrendaSommerLori, me, AmandaCherylSandyKristen

I have known most of these women in the above photo for years online and what a treat to have real one on one time with them.  Definitely my favorite part of going to these conferences, just being able to chit chat in person.

 BHF Austin

As I was getting ready to head to the airport ,Amanda and I got some pictures with these adorable girls….Ali from Gimme Some Oven and Cassie of Bake Your Day.  Photo via Amanda.

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Left to Right: KarlyErinJocelynAimee, Amanda and me

We also ran into these cute gals.  Such a fun and exhausting weekend.  Loved every minute of my time in Austin!

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I came home to this.  Love these boys so much :)  …and to my husband who had the boys all weekend-You are amazing.  xoxo


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May
24
2013

Food Blog Forum Orlando, 2013

What a weekend in Orlando!  The Food Blog Forum took place at Disney World May 18th and bloggers from around the country joined together for a weekend full of food and fun.  You know I can’t resist Disney, so I gladly endured the 5 hour flight to partake in the fun.  So glad I did!

Florida in Flight

How gorgeous does FL look from the air?  Was so excited to get started with the festivities.

Walt Disney World Entrance

I was aboard the Disney Magical Express Shuttle Bus headed for my hotel.  So close!!

Disney's Grand Floridian

We stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort for the weekend.  It was perfectly stunning.

Food Bloggers

Back Row left to right: AggieSommerKatrinaMeganRachelErinGinaCarlaAudraJulie
Front Row left to right: MeaganJennyTina, me (Photo via Audra)

After our opening dinner a giant group of us food bloggers were headed to Magic Kingdom.  Can you tell we were excited?  Lol!

Magic Kingdom Castle

We made it!  There’s something so magical about Cinderella’s Castle at Disney.  Even as an adult.

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Left to right: RachelGinaMeganMeaganCarlaErinJulieMeJennyKatrinaTina and Sommer

First things first, we made sure we got our photo in front of the castle.  Then we proceeded to Space Mountain and hunting down churros, turkey legs and dole whips.  Fun night indeed :)

Speakers

Right photo via Julie

Saturday morning we met nice and early in a lovely conference room at the Grand Floridian to start our sessions.  We were so lucky to hear from the Steamy Kitchen Family including their adorable boys, The White on Rice Couple, EliseJulie, Lindsay, David and so many more.  So inspirational sitting in that room.

Food Blog Forum Orlando

Photo via Julie

We are ready to go!

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During our breaks we always had time for some chit chat and photos.  Love all of these gals!  Left:  Angie, Leslie, Paula, me, Rebecca and Tina.  Second photo Aggie and I.

Friends

Julie, Amanda and I on Saturday at the conference.  Love these gals!

Robin and Kiran

Two of some of the sweetest women around.  Robin from Simply Southern Baking and Kiran.

Lunch Party

Left Photo via Cate O’Malley

Where there are desserts, you can find Amanda and I photographing like maniacs, lol!  Had so much fun.  We were served a gorgeous lunch and dessert from the Disney Chefs Saturday afternoon.

Epcot Center

Saturday afternoon Amanda and I spent some time at Epcot Center.  Love this place.  We darted straight to walk eat our way through all of the countries.

Countries

Have you ever been to Epcot Center and walked through all of the countries?!  It is amazing.  You can find authentic foods that you would actually eat in the country you are visiting.  We got a steamed BBQ Bun and Curry Chicken Pocket from China, Werther’s Caramel goodies from Germany and Gelato Cookie Sandwich from Italy!  What a dream!

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Later Saturday night we raced to Hollywood Studios to hunt down a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake and I reluctantly went on Tower of Terror with Amanda.  That ride scares me to death, lol!  If you look right above the goofy guy folding his arms, that’s Amanda and I.  I am closing my eyes screaming and Amanda smiling :)

Magic Kingdom Main Street

Sunday morning Amanda and I packed up and spend a couple last hours at Magic Kingdom.  We were determined to try a gooey cinnamon roll we heard about.

Gastons

How adorable is Gaston’s Tavern?!  Get a load of our cinnamon roll we shared.  We begged for extra frosting which is a must should you go.  Gooey and delicious!

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Photo via Julie

Huge thanks to these adorable girls Julie and Lindsay  in the above photo who put together this whole event for us.  They worked so hard and we are so grateful!

More Food Blog Forum Re-caps (will update as more come in)

Amanda of Kevin and Amanda

Julie of Table for Two

Rachel of Baked by Rachel

Audra of The Baker Chick

Angie of Big Bear’s Wife

Liz  of The Lemon Bowl

Amy of Nifty Foodie

Please link in comments so I can add your re-cap!!

Check out my first video attempt from Animoto.com  Thanks Todd and Diane for the recommendation!


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May
3
2013

Chit Chat Eighth Edition, Big Traveling Potluck

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend The Big Traveling Potluck which is a food blog conference/event that was held in Temecula, CA.  My friends Amanda and Angie flew down a day early and we may have had a dessert fest.  See below, lol!  Oh yah, what you see above is a chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake from the Shake Shack in Crystal Cove.  It overlooks the beach.  Such a fun spot.

Sweet and Saucy

Angie, Amanda and I decided we definitely had to go visit Melody at her “Sweet and Saucy Shop” in Newport Beach.  Melody has some of the most beautiful and delicious desserts around.  You can see we sampled our fair share.  Party time!

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Photo via Melody

Here we are doing what we love to do!!  Take pictures of our treats…..then eating them of course :)

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Photo via Amanda

And more snapping photos of our desserts, lol!

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Photo via Amanda

After we checked into our hotel Friday afternoon we hit up a mall in Temecula for a little shopping with Maria.  Of course we spotted a cupcake shop that we HAD to try.  It was called “Truely, Madly, Sweetly.”  How cute is that?

Cupcakes

Left photo via Angie

 You can see we ordered an assortment.  Their S’mores was to die!  A great little bakery.

Dinner night 1

Left photo via Angie

We showed up for dinner Friday night to the most gorgeous home on a hill with a backyard that opened up to an amazing view.  It was a perfect place to catch up with old and new friends.  I can not get over Diane’s ginormous lemon cream cake that she brought.  It was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.  Look at our faces, lol!!  Right:  Lisa, Maria and I.  Love these girls!

Breakfast

Here’s the scene of our breakfast Saturday morning.  It was sunny and lovely.  The food could not have been better.  Fruit, yogurt, breakfast pizzas, muffins, breads, you name it we ate it, lol!

Bakerella and Picky PalateAngie and I at breakfast.  We always have the same bright colors on.  Love spending time with Angie.  Soooo wish we were in the same city.  Absolutely LOVED the KitchenAid mixers on display for our fruit.  Lovely!

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Photo via Sandy

More breakfast friends. Left: Maria and Caleb, LoriHeidi, Ali, Me, Amanda and Sandy.

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After breakfast we went right into our speaker sessions.  What a great group of speakers we had.  So motivational and uplifting.  This is Matt Armendariz talking to us about his journey through photography.  Love him.

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Spending a little time outside with my gals.  Maria, Angie, me and Amanda.

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Oh my goodness Whole Foods had the most gorgeous spread for lunch.  Every kind of grain and topping you can imagine.  It was heaven in a bowl.

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Had a fun lemonade spritzer bar from Whole Foods.  How refreshing does this look?!

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Photo via Angie

Later in the afternoon before dinner we had a guacamole party with Gaby Dalkin in this most fabulous backyard.  What a setting for us.  Loved every second of it.

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Ree was here too!  It’s always so fun chit chatting with her.  Fun Fun Fun weekend!

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Our last morning together, we had a beautiful breakfast and said goodbye to our friends.  Here we have…  Left: Dara, Angie, Ethan, Amanda, Me, Lisa.

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Photo via Brian

One more of more friends! Left: Cathy, Lori, Dara, Angie, Ethan, Brian, Me, Lisa and Rachel 

A huge thanks to Maggy, Pam, Erika and the rest of the Big Traveling Potluck team that worked so hard for this perfect weekend of food and friends.  Loved every minute of our time together in the California sun!

More Big Traveling Potluck 2013 Re-caps.

Kevin and Amanda
Two Peas and Their Pod
Bakerella
Reluctant Entertainer
Foodie Crush
Bake Your Day
A Thought for Food


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Jun
26
2012

Gold Medal Flour Trip to Kansas City

I had the opportunity to head to Kansas City with a group of wonderful bloggers to learn all about Gold Medal Flour who I’m partnering with this Fall.  What an exciting wheat filled 2 days we had.  This first photo was taken at a wheat farm.  How fun is that?  Let’s take a look at my trip.

We stayed at the lovely Raphael Hotel.  The room was adorable!

I kind of LOVE Room Service and enjoyed Bananas Foster French Toast the first morning and a Belgian Waffle the second.

The first afternoon I arrived, met up with Jamie, Kristen, Maria and Bev for a fun lunch and cupcake party.  Love these ladies.  Yes, for those of you who do not know yet, I AM indeed 7 months pregnant as it is now very obvious, lol!

Here we are day 2 in the wheat farm.  Bloggers include:  (Top Left) Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg MD of Artisan Bread in 5, Jamie Lothridge of My Baking Addiction, Maria and Josh Lichty of Two Peas and Their Pod.  (Bottom Left) Lori Lange of Recipe Girl, Me and Meagan who will be the new blogger for Betty Crocker.com.

We had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with the wheat farmers and watching how the wheat is cropped.

We even had the opportunity to take a ride in the giant tractor.  Being 7 months pregnant, I passed.  Lol!

All the wheat berries getting transferred.

After the wheat farm, it was off to General Mills to see how Gold Medal Flour was made.  It was incredible to see the wonderful passion that each of the General Mills employees had for their job.  Loved spending time and learning from all of them.

 

Here we are geared up for our grand tour :)

Our last day in Kansas City we headed over to a charming Culinary Center where we got to bake with each other.  Lots of fun.

 

Our tables were assigned for us!

We got to bake each others’ recipes. Meagan was baking my Baked Pumpkin Ice Cream Donuts and I stopped by to help.

A sneak peek at the new Gold Medal Flour packaging.

Here we are getting started at the culinary center.

I had the opportunity to bake Zoe and Jeff’s Almond Raspberry Pastry.  It was gorgeous!

Braiding dough is quite fun.

Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar!

Transferring our lovely pastry to a serving tray.

Had so much fun with these lovely bloggers.

After our baking, we whipped up some homemade pizzas for lunch.  Delicious!

Thank you to the Gold Medal Flour team for having us in Kansas City.  Had a wonderful time and look forward to working together this year!

**All photos minus a few of my own Instagram photos are courtesy of Gold Medal Flour**


This post is in partnership with Gold Medal Flour, but opinions are my own.


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Jun
15
2012

Seattle and Tree Top Orchards

What a whirwind of a weekend Amanda and I had last week.  I thought for sure since we had a good 5 nights in Seattle that this trip would seem nice and long, but nope, it went by in the blink of an eye.

BlogHer Food Conference was going on which is why we came out.  We didn’t go to any sessions, but rather ran around town to eat and see our way through Seattle and caught some fun parties too.  Let’s take a look at our fun-filled weekend :)

photo via Amanda

Last Thursday started out with a fun cooking video day with the National Pork Board and these wonderful bloggers listed below.  We had good food, great conversation and lots of laughs.  Look for our pork videos coming up later this year.  Should be fun :)

From Left to Right: Sandy & Paul @ Reluctant Entertainer, Jaden @ Steamy Kitchen, Diana @ Eating Richly, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Lauren @ Lauren’s Latest, Jessica @ The Novice Chef

After our video shoot Amanda and I scooted over to Top Pot Doughnuts which we heard wonderful things about.  They were gorgeous and that Old-Fashioned one in the front should be illegal, lol!

 

The inside of the shop was adorable.  Had it’s own little library and upstairs seating for a relaxing experience.  Loved it.

 

Yes, this is what Amanda and I look like most of the time on our trips.  Snapping photos at our food :)

Look at the size of that glazed doughnut?!  Fabulous.

photo via Amanda

Here’s Amanda and I at a party Thursday evening.  Keep in mind my chubby face is also almost 7 months pregnant, lol!  Gotta love it.

 

 

photo via Amanda

Loved meeting Leigh Anne of Your Home Based Mom in Seattle.  Her blog is beautiful and what a wonderful sweet person she is.  Not to mention has the cutest style too.  She always looked perfectly adorable!

 

Thursday night the fun continued at a Ziplist party.  My pregnant body was pooped by the time I got there but had fun in the photo booth with these adorable ladies :)

Darla @ Bakingdom, Shelly @ Cookies and Cups, Kristan @ Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Leslie @ The Hungry Housewife, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Shaina @ Food for My Family, and Tara @ Unsophisticook.

photo via Amanda

More fun continued Friday, lots of sightseeing and eating for sure.  We met up at this Tasty Kitchen party that Ree and Betsy put together.  Had a blast with all of these ladies listed below.

Jenna @ Eat Live Run, Maria @ Two Peas and Their Pod, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Elise @ Simply Recipes, and Bev @ Bev Cooks.

photo via Amanda

So fun to meet Lisa of With Style and Grace.  ….and we are both pregnant and in stripes.  Too fun!

photo via Amanda

Bev @ Bev Cooks, Lisa @ With Style & Grace,  Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Maria @ Two Peas and Their Pod, Jessica @ How Sweet It Is, Me, Tracy @ Shutterbean

photo via KitchenAid

Maria, Amanda and I at the KitchenAid table.  Yup, there’s that baby bump of mine :)

Saturday, we stopped at a fun cupcake shop called Yellow Leaf Cupcakes.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

photo via Lori

Wouldn’t be a food conference without a dessert PJ Party right?!  Met up with some of our favorite friends Saturday night and Brooks of Recipe Boy came for a visit!  What a cutie he is.

Sunday morning, we took a bus ride with the Tree Top group to Lake Chelan, Washington.  Here’s a shot from outside my hotel room.  Gorgeous!!

We had a tour of the Tree Top Apple Orchards.

How pretty that the orchards overlook Lake Chelan.  Loved it here.

After the orchards, we had one of the most beautiful dinners I have ever had at Benson Vinyard Estate Winery.  The views were breathtaking.

 

photo via Epicurean Mom

The ladies in our group: Me, The Epicurean Mom (Katie), Kevin and Amanda (Amanda), Reluctant Entertainer (Sandy), Food for my Family (Shaina), Kim Sunee, The Healthy Apple (Amie), The Novice Chef (Jessica), The Kitchen Magpie (Karlynn), Mom Start (Louise), Mommie Cooks (Julie)

We started with these gorgeous appetizers.

After our appetizers, we headed into this gorgeous banquet room where we had a beautiful dinner.  It was unforgettable and we ate until we busted, lol!  Thanks Tree Top for a perfect end of our trip!

 


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Mar
20
2012

Weekend at Walt Disney World, Food Blog Forum Orlando

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Last weekend I flew out to Orlando for a Food Blogging Conference, The Food Blog Forum.   The conference is put together by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple and Julie of The Little Kitchen.  These people are downright incredible and made the best weekend happen.  It’s hard for me to even know where to start because of all the fun we had.   I will let my pictures do the talking, let’s take a look.

I arrived Friday evening right before our opening party at the gorgeous Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  I met my roomie Angie of Bakerella at our hotel and we hustled over.  As you can see, we had a beautiful arrangement of good eats ready for us.

We were dying over the size of these shrimp!  They were so good :)

Lots of these photos will be from my Instagram, so bare with me :)  In this photo Left:  Nikki, Krissy, Julie, Me, Angie and Rachel.

These salads were suspended and so delish!

Oh the mac and cheese.  Let’s just say it was perfect.

Photo via Julie

Here I am snapping photos as usual, lol!

Angie and I got a kick out of the cake pops, the chefs were making then from the baby cakes machine, lol!  Didn’t they know Bakerella was in the house?!  Too funny :)

Loved this chef making baby creme brulee for us!

Hard at work :)

Yup, it was a real treat :)

Left:  Rachel, Julie, Angie, Me, Nikki and Krissy.  After our dinner, we went straight to Magic Kingdom.  You know me, I am a Disney fanatic, so I was in heaven.

Krissy, Me and Angie enjoying some Disney World Churros.  What a treat!

We even caught a few minutes of the Electric Parade.  I was so excited since they don’t do this in CA!!

Left:  Julie, Rachel, Angie, Me and Nikki

Here we are enjoying our Dole Whips!!  At Disney World you have the option of adding a vanilla swirl to your Dole Whip and you can even get an Orange Whip.  What?!  Come on CA, we need this :)

Saturday morning we woke up nice and early, hopped on the monorail and headed to Epcot Center for our Conference.  Talk about a fun place to have a conference.  This park is absolutely stunning.  If you haven’t seen this giant ball in person, you must!

 

We had our lunch break in a gorgeous decorated ballroom full of Disney Chef’s feeding us their best dishes.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  The food was out of this world!

 

We walked from station to station eating our hearts out.  I think it’s safe to say we were stuffed!

These pork sandwiches were one of my favorites.

How good does that look?  Those are crispy quinoa fries on the side :)

The desserts were equally as beautiful.

This pretty little cheesecake was to die for.

Our last day, Sunday morning, we spent at a local Whole Foods Market,  The set up was absolutely beautiful and the food was non stop.  They went above and beyond for us.  Really had a beautiful time.

 

Left:  Angie, Me, Lindsay and Julie

The Whole Foods Chefs were so good to us.  Get a load of this banana french toast?!  So good.

This quiche was so addictive.  Think I had half of this platter, lol!

These babies were equally as good.

 

 Angie was the best roomie ever.  Loved our late night chit chats,  and crazy time at Disney.  I seriously love this girl to pieces.

Thanks to the Food Blog Forum Team and Walt Disney World who made it all possible.  There were so many wonderful food bloggers I got to meet,  Wish I had photos of everyone!  I am so grateful for our wonderful foodie community.  I feel so fortunate to do what I do.


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Jan
12
2012

Frozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity Style!

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A few weeks ago I was in NYC for literally less than 24 hours and one of the only things I was able to squeeze in other than what I was there for was a visit to Serendipity for one of my favorite treats…..the Frozen Hot Chocolate.  It is massive, chocolaty and perfectly ice-y.

When I got back home I told the boys all about the treat I had and said I would re-create our own version!  So…..I got to work :)

 

Here is your line up.  Please add one more hot chocolate to the picture.  I ended up using 5 packets.  Use your favorite brand of hot chocolate mix.  I used the Trader Joe’s brand of cocoa.  This literally takes 5 minutes to make, not kidding.

 

I had my little guy hop on the counter and help whip the cream and sugar.   Whip it until perfectly creamy.

 

Like so :)

Let’s start with the milk.  Pour it right into the blender.  PS…..LOVE my Blendtec!

Cocoa time!

Give it a good blend!

Add the ice and crush it up!

I found the perfect consistency and was in love :)

See those little ice crystals?!  Those are the best part.

Time for the sweet cream and chocolate!

I used mini chocolate chips, but you can used shaved chocolate that looks more authentic to the original :)

Ahhhh, wait until you try this!  Love!

A few boys I know enjoyed the treat :)

It was so fun bringing a little bit of NYC to my stinkers :)

Frozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity Style

2 cups whole milk

Five 1.25 ounce packets of Hot Chocolate mix

4 cups ice

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or grated chocolate

1. Place milk into blender. Add hot chocolate packets and blend until combined. Add ice and blend until ice is blended into tiny chunks. Pour evenly into 4 glasses on top of plates to catch any dripping frozen hot chocolate.

2. Whip cream and sugar until whipped cream. Top each glass with whipped cream and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

Makes 4 servings




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Nov
22
2011

The Disneyland Hotel Experience

A couple weekends was one of the best weekends my family has had together…..ever.  We celebrated my birthday and our anniversary at Disneyland and The Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim California.  I snapped pictures of our time to share….let’s take a look :)

To start, the hotel is under some construction right now, so make sure you ask about that if you plan on staying soon.

When you pull up to the hotel you have the option to valet your car for $22.00 per day or self park for $15.00 a day.

We checked in on a Thursday evening and met with friendly staff that showed us to our room.  As you walk out of your elevator you are greeted with this fun Disneyland banner on the carpet.  Too fun!

 

Skipping down the hall anxious to see our room.  Now, I will say I called one month in advance and most of the rooms were already booked.  The only rooms available were the suites so…..since it was my birthday and anniversary we splurged :)

 

As you open your door to the suite, you have a bathroom, separate living room and bar area.  Lots of space.  We had a decent view…not fabulous.  Next time, I will make sure we have a view of the park.

 

To the right of the living room was a separate bedroom and bathroom.  The beds were fabulous, soft and fluffy just like you would imagine.  My favorite part of the entire suite was the lighted Disneyland headboard.  Not only did it light up, but when you turn the light on, the lamp plays “When You Wish Upon A Star.”  It is magical without a doubt.  The boys and I would come into the room just to play the sweet song and watch the headboard light up.  Loved this :)

 

Every corner had Micky…..everywhere.  Perfectly festive.

 

My sweet boys had these fancy chocolate covered strawberries and Sparkling Cider ready when we checked in.  They were delicious.  There is also a room service menu you can peek at HERE.

 

The next morning we walked out the back door checking out the pool and restaurants.  Loved these Disney shaped bushes.

 

Here is the monorail water slide.  It was quite chilly when we visited, so we didn’t swim, but it looked very fun for summer!

 

Here is a separate pool area.  It was under construction during our stay, but it looked lovely from a distance.

 

Here is a shot of the vibrant blue hotel from the pool.

 

A couple shots of the water slide area.  The water slides didn’t open until 11am, but kids were still swimming around them.

Plenty of places to sit and watch the kids :)

 

Some of the scenery around the hotel grounds.  The boys loved the steam coming from the rocks.

 

One of the restaurants at the hotel, Tangaroa Terrace.  It is a casual dining experience.  We didn’t make it to this one, but will be trying it soon.  Click HERE to see the menu.  There’s also Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar you can see their menu HERE.

 

There is a Disney Fantasia shop to purchase plenty of Disney gifts for family and friends.  It was like a smaller Disney Store.

 

For breakfast one morning we dined at Steakhouse 55.  Next door is Goofy’s Kitchen (review coming soon) which is very busy.  Keep in mind if you waited last minute getting reservations to Goofy’s Kitchen you can generally get seated right away at Steakhouse 55.  Take a look at the menu.

Menu Date: March 2011


All That Jazz

Espresso – $2.99

Caffe Latte or Cappuccino – $4.19

Mocha – $4.29

Brewed Regular or Decaffeinated Coffee, Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream, Hot Tea – $2.99

Juices: Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry, Apple or Tomato – Small $2.99, Large $4.99


Steakhouse 55 Struttin’ Selections

Buttermilk Stack – Steaming buttermilk pancakes piled high. Served with whipped butter and Warm Bananas Foster or Warm Berries. $11.00

French Toast – Thick-cut French toast dipped in eggs, cream with vanilla and powdered sugar served with Warm Bananas Foster or Warm Berries. $12.00


Sunrise Rhapsodies
With fresh-cut fruit or roasted potatoes with peppers and onions

Eggs Benedict – Two fresh eggs, expertly poached atop Canadian bacon and an English muffin. With hollandaise sauce. $14.00

Two Times Four – Two slices of French toast, two fresh eggs, any style, plus two strips of bacon and two links of sausage. $12.00

Build-Your-Own-Omelette – Choice of three: cheese, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, ham, avocado, tomato, onion or roasted peppers. With toast or bagel. $12.00

American Breakfast – Two eggs, any style with ham, bacon or sausage. With toast or bagel. $12.00

New York Steak and Eggs – A juicy, 7-ounce certified Angus steak, with two farm-fresh eggs, any style. With toast or bagel. $17.00


South-of-the-Border Serenade

Huevos Rancheros – Two fresh eggs, corn tortillas, cheese and black beans with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. $12.00

Sunrise Burrito – Scrambled fresh eggs, chorizo, potatoes and cheese in a flour tortilla with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream on the side. $12.00


Healthful Harmonies

Egg-White Omelette – Egg whites, with mushroom, tomato, onion and peppers. With toast or bagel. $11.00

Bakery Basket – Choice of three: Blueberry or Bran muffin, Croissant or Fruit Danish. $6.00

Granola – Rolled oats with sliced almonds, with choice of one: fruit, yogurt or small juice. $8.00

Seasonal Fruits with Yogurt – Fresh-fruit cocktail or a grapefruit half. $8.00

Kellogg’s Cereals – Froot Loops, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Mini Wheats, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Special K or Corn Flakes, with choice of one: fruit, yogurt or small juice. $8.00

Oatmeal – Served with brown sugar and raisins, with sliced bananas or strawberries. $10.00

Smoked Salmon and Bagel – Dill cream cheese and traditional accompaniment. $12.00

Here is a fun seating area as you walk into the restaurant.  My son was trying to dance like Michael Jackson and got embarrassed when I tried taking a picture :)

 

You’ll find a very nice dining area.  I will say this is not really kid friendly, however there were other families with kids dining around us.  This is more of a nice dinner atmosphere, but the breakfast was really good.

 

I ordered the eggs benedict, which was great.  The boys wished they would have ordered it for themselves.  They loved it….so did I!

 

The boys ordered the Micky Pancakes.  What kid doesn’t like pancakes in the shape of a mouse?  They gobbled these up no problem.  I like that it came with a side of yogurt and fruit.  Here is the menu for kids.


For Kids Ages 3 through 9
Each meal includes a side of Seasonal Fruit and Yogurt plus one of these beverage choices:
Minute Maid Juice, Low-Fat Milk, Low-Fat Chocolate Milk, Dasani Water

Kellogg’s Cereals – Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Mini Wheats, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies or Special K $6.99

“Mickey” Shaped Pancake. $6.99

Jr. Scramble – Scrambled Eggs with Breakfast Potatoes $6.99

My husband ordered the French Toast with a Banana’s Foster Sauce.  This was heavenly.  Overall, Steakhouse 55 was a great place for breakfast with no wait during a Holiday weekend.  Love that!

The Disneyland Hotel

1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802

_______________________________

Goofy’s Kitchen review coming next!

Hope you enjoyed our review of the hotel.  Have you been?  Tell us your experience.

 


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Sep
5
2011

La Paz Mexico

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A little over a month ago, I had no idea La Paz Mexico existed.  I put a rush on my passport and now have such fond memories of this beautiful part of the country and  am thrilled to share with you the highlights of my weekend.  A group of food and travel bloggers were whisked off to the Costa Baja Resort and Spa for a fun filled weekend.

The travel was intense, but the memories that were made were worth it.  My one regret is not bringing my big camera.  I was unsure whether or not to bring it and wished I would have.  My point and shoot did pretty good, but you’ll see some borrowed pics from my good friend Amanda who was smarter than I :)  For the record, I felt completely safe in Mexico the entire time of our trip.

Scroll down and I’ll show you everything :)

Photo via Amanda

The group arrived Thursday August 25th to the resort.  This is a photo of the lobby.  It was open and airy with beautiful views of the pool, beach and marina.

Photo via Amanda

When we checked in, we headed off to our rooms.  Amanda snapped this gorgeous photo.  It was nice with a view of the pool, giant glass door shower, flat screen tv and comfy bed.

Here is the pool area.  Nice and inviting.

 

Friday morning we had breafast right down the beach from our resort, this is The Beach Club.  We LOVED spending time here.  It was just gorgeous as you can tell in the photos.

Another shot of the pool at The Beach Club.  This infinity pool was so pretty.  This is definitely a place I would like to hang with my family all day.

Right across from the restaurant where we had breakfast were these fun little cabanas.  You can rent these for no extra charge.  How inviting does this look?!

Here is the front view of The Beach Club Restaurant.  They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We had a little of everything during our trip….and it was all delicious.

Another view of The Beach Club.  We had the whole place to ourselves for breakfast.

Here’s Amanda, Lisa, me and Katie enjoying our breakfast.  We had a lovely table right by a waterfall behind us.  So relaxing.

No kidding, the best fresh squeezed orange juice I’ve ever had.  Wish I had a glass right now :)

Friday morning after breakfast we met in the marina to get ready for our snorkeling adventure to Isla Espiritu Santo.  This was by far the highlight of my trip.

Just sailing off, passing beautiful boats and yachts.

Getting our sunscreen on and enjoying zipping through the water in our party boat.

I am still in awe of how crystal blue the waters were.  It’s hard to believe it until you see it for yourself.  Stunning.

Couldn’t help but snap a photo of the fish swimming all around our boat.  I have never seen water this clear.

This was the area where the sea lions hung out.  They chose a great home :)

Love this.

Photo via Amanda

Here we are getting ready to snorkel.  The water was perfect.  Lots of little fish all around us.  The sealions were on the rocky area behind us.

Lori and I.  I am ready to go snorkeling again.  My boys would love this.

Photo via Amanda

On our way back , we found a group of dolphins that enjoyed racing the boat and jumping over our waves.  Adorable!  Love this photo Amanda captured.  We were all in awe!

Photo via Amanda

There they go.  It was a fun game for them to jump through our waves.  Little cutie pies!

Photo via Amanda

Saturday morning we headed to Todos Santos to the Hotel California.  Very bright and full of personality.

Here is the lobby of Hotel California.  Loved the colors.

Walking to the back of the hotel.  Great seating areas.

Nice sparkling pool area.

Photo Via Amanda

It was time for lunch!  We had a Mexican feast, all delicious.

 

Photo via Amanda

Lori, me and Katie waiting patiently for our lunch :)

photos via Amanda

We started with chips, guacamole and salsa along with some fish tacos.  Delish!

photos via Amanda

We also had chicken verde enchiladas and a chocolate truffle cake for dessert.

Photo via Amanda

Bloggers I spent the weekend with:

Rachelle Lucas, Lisa Overman, Katie Goodman, Amanda Bottoms, Katja Presnal, Dian Emery, Mardi Michels, Gary Arndt, Lori Lange and myself :)

A big thanks to the Mexico Tourism Board for having us and to the PR folks who worked so hard to show us a good time.  Had a great time in LA Paz.  Will treasure the memories forever!

Disclosure:  This was an all expense paid trip via Mexico Tourism,  thoughts and remarks are my own.

 


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Jenny Flake, Picky Palate

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!



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