First off, I have to warn you - I have a little bit of a picture addiction. If you have read my personal blog, you will know this, but this serves as a warning that there are TONS of pictures ahead! I really did narrow it down, and this is what I narrowed it down to. You're lucky you didn't see it before!
I was so excited when I received an email inviting me to join 30 other bloggers in Minneapolis to visit the Betty Crocker kitchens at General Mills. I was a little apprehensive since I didn't know anyone, and because it would be the first time I left Abbi overnight, but I was still so excited. Counting down the days until I went excited! It was really such a fun experience, not only to visit the kitchens and to learn more about some Betty Crocker products, but also to be able to meet some pretty amazing bloggers from across the country.
Before the trip, I did some google searching and found 3 other Utah bloggers that were also attending this event (Jessica from Utah Deal Diva, Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up and Laura from Real Mom Kitchen). Utah had a good showing - no other state had 4 bloggers there!! I had never met any of them in person, but we decided to meet in the terminal before the flight. I didn't see them before the flight, but luckily, our seats were kind of close on the plane and we were able to spot each other out before the plane took off.
Once on the ground in Minneapolis, we met up with 2 other bloggers while waiting for our shuttle (Megan from Megan's Munchies and Amy from MomSpark).
from left to right - Jessica from Utah Deal Diva, Laura from Real Mom Kitchen, Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up, Megan from Megan's Munchies
Once we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by the PR agent who put everything together, as well as a bag of swag and lunch. We all sat down and got to know each other a little better.
After a brief rest in our rooms, we all headed out on a bus to Lake Minnetonka where a lovely boat awaited to take us on a dinner cruise around the lake.
The lake was gorgeous, and there were some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G homes on that lake. Apparently, once you make tons of money, you move to Minnesota and buy a house on Lake Minnetonka! (I actually did a little search and learned that the prices of the homes on the lake range between $500,000 and $20 million. There were definitely some humongous houses there!)
The night was beautiful, especially as the sun set and the temperature went down a little bit. The food was good, and the company was even better!
The next day, we headed over to General Mills. What an exciting day! On our way to the Betty Crocker kitchens, we got to see some of the history and memorabilia from years past.
Some of the General Mills history - top left - and old school Easy-Bake Oven (I want it!), top right - the first design of Cheerios (Cheerioats back then), bottom right - carved cheerios that are in one of the courtyards (sorry about the glare from the window), bottom left - a few different designs of the Wheaties box.
And then the kitchens. This view was from above, and I will tell you that you could look around and see the excitement on everyone's faces!
We were split into 4 groups and spent the day rotating through 4 stations. (To see the food we made and sampled, check out my previous post.)
Off to the side were many more kitchens. It was interesting to look over and see other women busy at work, creating and/or testing recipes.
Making of the Cranberry-Macadamia Bars
Most of my "baking group" (minus 2) from left to right - Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up, Jen from 4tunate, Myra from My Blessed Life, the Betty Crocker cookie station worker, Joscelyn of Mami and the Multiples, me, Liz from Hoosier Homemade (Photo by Matt Holland)
Left to right - Nicole from Baking Bites, Marla from Family Fresh Cooking, Amanda from I Am Baker (Photo by Matt Holland)
Me in action! (Photo by Matt Holland)
We had all had quite a bit of sugar by the end of stations, but it was all worth it. I have to admit, it was over way too fast for me! After we finished baking, so many people had asked to see the photography studios that they took us on a little unscheduled trip through the studios and the prop room.
Can I say that I was just in heaven?!? I wanted to get home and ask my husband if he would build me a seperate room off the side of the house that I could turn into a food photography studio!! It was really interesting to see. You didn't see the photographer with his camera taking pictures like you or I would. Instead, they have these huge, commercial cameras that almost look like professional video cameras. But wow - do they take great pictures!!
Then we went through the prop room and everyone was drooling. So many bowls, plates, napkins, just about everything you could imagine or want. I seriously want that room!
Then sadly, the day was over and it was time to go back home. I'm so grateful for the new friends that I made, and I wish we would have had just a little more time so that I could have really gotten to know everyone! I have been inspired by Betty Crocker and already have many things to try on my list. Thanks to Betty Crocker and General Mills!!
And if you want to check out some amazing blogs - here are the gals that attended!
Amanda from A Few Shortcuts
Amanda from I Am Baker
Amanda from Fake Ginger
Amy from Mom Spark
DaMora from From My Kitchen
Deb from Frugal Living and Having Fun
Deborah from Taste and Tell
Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up
Jacquelyn from Musings by Jacquelyn
Jen from 4tunate
Jessica from Utah Deal Diva
Joscelyn of Mami of the Multiples
Julie from Joy's Hope
Kerri from Save at Home Mommy
Laura from Real Mom Kitchen
Liz from Hoosier Homemade
Marla from Family Fresh Cooking
Marta from My Big, Fat, Cuban Family
Mary from Blogmania
Megan from Megan's Munchies
Melanie from Modern Mami
Melissa from Your Fun Family
Michelle from Gourmet Mom on The Go
Migdalia from Latina on a Mission
Molly from The Snyder 5
Myra from My Blessed Life
Nicole from Baking Bites
Nika from Nika's Culinaria
Sherri from The Adventures of Kitchen Girl
Silvia from Mama Latina Tips
Trisha from 24/7 Moms
Disclosure - General Mills paid for my travel and accommodations. All opinions expressed are my own.