There is almost no one more synonomous with me and my life, than Beka. Sure, you know Ben and Huck. But over the last three years you’ve also had the chance to meet and get to know the person I call my best friend, and you’ve laughed with us through so many things. She is the one who stood next to me at my wedding, who tried to teach me how to roast my first chicken (oh it’s a story alright!) , and she suffers from Crohn’s disease.
Photo by Kimbry Studios
1.4 million people in the United States suffer from various forms of Crohn’s and Colitis. She is but one of the many. Despite the diagnosis that effects her day to day life, she has managed her condition with zeal, brevity and humor that not many could muster on their best day, yet she does with grace and humility.
There is no one more inspiring to me than her. And Jackie. Next month those girls are lacing up their shoes and tackling Beka’s first half marathon in Napa all for TeamChallenge Northwest and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Together these two ladies have crushing pavement and spreading the word for this worthy cause. But, the work is far from finished!
Because of all of the qualities that Beka possesses, and because Jackie is crazy enough to keep gluing her knees together to rack up the miles, 30+ bloggers, and myself are all putting up baked goods and loot for auction to help these raise the money they need to run their race this summer – and raise money for Crohn’s research and to help send kids suffering with Crohn’s and colitis to camp at Camp Oasis. Childhood is a time in life that must be treasured and the funds raised through this cause ensure that kids can spend their precious time being kids.
Last year for the 1st annual Bake Sale for Beka – we raised a staggering amount of money, and shipped dozens of treats all over the US. This year, we hope to make it an even larger success with your help. To catch up on last year’s event, click here.
To preview the items that will be up for bid at this year’s event – look below for all the treats, goodies and unbelievable swag, like signed copies of cookbooks from your favorite food bloggers!! Be sure and stop by their sites, say Hi and tell them “Thank You!” for supporting a worth while cause and these two vivacious and half crazy women. It’s only a half marathon, so they’re only half crazy. Right?
All the Details:
How to Bid: Send your bids to me, Megan, via e-mail at email@example.com with the subject line of your e-mail being the name of the item you are bidding on.
All bids will be updated as soon as I get them. So – make sure you check back OFTEN to see the most current bids – and Bid again and again to make sure you get the loot that you want! It’s all tasty.
Bids: Bids on all items are in $5 increments. IE – All bids must end in a “0″ or “5″. Bid often! The bidding wars is what makes this FUN!
Hours of Bake Sale: June 22-23, 2013 -> 7am PST – 8pm PST
Shipping Limitations: Unfortunately, all items will be limited to residents of the US. International friends who still want to contribute may do so at their direct donation site here!
How to Pay for your Item: After the auction/bake sale is over, the winning participants will be e-mailed and given the details on where to pay. After payment for the baked goods or items has been received, you will be shipped your baked good or product by the appropriate blogger or company. Easy peasy!
Keep up on Social Media: Check Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for our hashtags #Cookies4Crohns and #BakeSale4Beka
Now for the fun stuff!! Let’s see what’s up for bid!!
Put away your battle gear, wipe the war paint off of your gorgeous faces, put down the booze – because you won’t need any of it any more when you head into the kitchen for your next pie-venture. I’ve failed at so many, its embarassing. I used to resort to the store bought crusts under the veil of convenience, but I knew I was buying them only because I was an absolute horror at making them myself. Compliments would roll in about how fantastic the crusts were, “just like mom used to make”, “mmm, so flaky”, “Oh yeah Mmm, can I have this recipe? My wife needs to learn this one.” and I would conveniently forget it every time they asked… Yup, I’m a full on FRAUD. Or was. But making a pie crust was stressful, inevitably ending up with me just throwing my hands up in the air, falling down on the ground with the most exasperating of sighs and throw a full on adult tantrum. Huck would get concerned and grow an extra wrinkle on his forehead, Ben would shake his head and walk away never to be seen again. It was ugly. But no more. And learning how to make pie crust was made easy in one simple step – USE A FOOD PROCESSOR.
Did a light bulb just got off for your, too? Oh good. My dear friend Kirsten introduced me to her recipe for her No Excuses Pie crust almost three years ago and it has been my pillar for all other pie crusts after it.
One thing I learned along the way, was to substitute a little vegetable shortening, like Crisco, for some of the butter in the crust. Crisco has a higher melting point than butter, and for me, it seems to help minimize the shrinking and drooping of the pie crust along the edges of the pan.
The other key to your fats is to chill them. And not just chill – but freeze them. Cut your butters and shortening into small chunks before hand, place them in a small dish and stick them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. I like keeping a few pieces tucked away in the freezer so I can just pluck them out when necessary.
In your food processor, pulse together your flour, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
Add in your shortening. Pulse until it starts to resemble course meal.
Add in your butter and pulse in to combinem until it looks like course meal again.
For the water – just like the butter – make sure it is ice cold.
Turn on your food processor and pour in your water in a steady stream. The dough will start to form and right as it starts to gather and almost form a ball you’re done!
Remove it from the bowl, press it together into a tight ball. If you’re making a double batch, separate your dough into two even balls. Wrap your dough into plastic wrap and press down on the ball to form a large dish. I like to flatten mine as much as possible by hand – usually a 6 inch round disk, to minimize the amount of rolling I have to do later.
Place the disks into the fridge for at least one hour before rolling out.
Roll out your dough to a 12″ circle, based on a 9″ pie pan. Cut off any access crust and gently fold the edges under for a clean edge. For decoration, use mini cookie cutters to cut out seasonal shapes for the edges. For fall, mini leaves look festive. When the edges have been prepared and crimped, place the crust back into the fridge to chill again for at least 30 minutes.
If you’re making a crust that must be partially baked ahead of time – like with this Nutella Pecan Pie, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Gently line the crust with aluminum foil and pie weights. If you don’t have any, dried beans work speldidly and are budget friendly. Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on the pie). Remove from oven, remove weights and foil then fill and bake again!
It really is so easy. No tantrums, fits, booze or war paint required. Ya hear? Now, I’m craving pie. Who’s gonna bake me one?
This was the perfect weekend to devour an entire batch of this Earl Grey Ice Cream, because I came to the conclusion that I am a total and complete hot damn mess and definitely needed to eat my weight in ice cream feelings. I don’t normally think of my self as clumsy – but I proved myself wrong, and I have the banged up toes that I decided to kick into the wall to prove it.
Next, I proved how tragically short my short-term memory is. It’s embarrassing. Wait, where was this post going? Oh right, short term memories… I went to the store list-less and came back with 99% of the items needed, but naturally the one piece that almost everything hinged on was the one thing I forgot at the store. Not only did it happen – it happened TWICE! *Slow clap for Keno* And nope, the forgetfulness didn’t stop there either because I also got my weekends backwards, flip flopped and switched around, that meant that I missed one of my dearest high school friend’s bridal showers, because I had it in my calendar for next weekend!! WHO AM I?!?!
Hand me a spoon, STAT.
See? Embarrassing. To say that I feel awful is the understatement of the CENTURY! Have you ever done any of these things? Someone please console me and make me feel less jerky about all this whole scenario. I will be making it up to her next month though, because I am making her wedding cakes! She is a doll and a half, and sharing that little bit of her special day with her and her soon to be hubby means the world to me. July 27th is a day I will NOT forget. It’s in my calendar twice, with every possible and conceivable alarm, bell, horn and trumpet alert that can possibly go off leading up to the event.
On to this ice cream now – because I have to tell you right off the bat – it tastes like FRUIT LOOPS. That’s okay, take it in for a second. I understand it’s a lot to process. Are we good? Yes, I said Fruit Loops. The cereal kind.
When I was growing up, my mom and I would often have a nightly cup of tea together. Her with a cuppa chamomile and me with orange spice with half a bottle of honey sitting on the bottom. It was what we did. Those were times I cherished. The woman is kinda awesome. But I’m also biased. In college I picked up the Earl Grey sipping habit from my English chemistry TA, who always had a proper cuppa ready to brew for anyone who stopped by. Always cream and always sugar, and that’s when the Fruit Loops epiphany happened.
Did anyone else eat Fruit Loops as a kid and feel like they chewed on a porcupine if it didn’t sit in the milk long enough? Oh, just me?
Well let’s add totally weird to the list of forgetful and clumsy as words that perfectly describe me. It’s okay I can take it.
And because you’re a weirdo rebel like me, melt some white chocolate and drizzle it over the top. Like the cream in the tea, you just can’t have a proper ice cream or tea without some white based sugar confection in or on it.
Summer is here, the kids are out of school and it’s time to celebrate everything that the summer has to give. We finally have a chance to enjoy the sun and spend good quality time with those around us. This is what summer is all about! And while you’re at it, bring your friends over for a shin dig. But don’t worry, this isn’t going to cost you and arm and a leg. Hosting a party can be so easy with a few easy tips and tricks – and stuff you probably already have around your house!
You know that one piece of china that never gets brought out, except for holidays and special occasions? It’s perfect with a few colorful glasses, with matching color tones to host a great garden party – which are all the rage right now. Pair up finger foods, mini tea sandwiches and don your favorite fascinator for a stepped up bridal shower event. Just don’t forget the cheese! Cracker Barrel‘s line of cheeses are perfect for any event and really go well with grandma’s wedding china for your garden party. Set your cheese along side season fruits, like strawberries with some Cracker Barrel White Cheddar for a sweet and savory combination that is out of this world.
But don’t stop there. Add grapes, crackers, and herbs to the mix. Dried apricots are really fun along side Cracker Barrel Marbled Cheddar and dried cherries go well with the spiciness of the Cracked Pepper Cheddar.
For a final touch of class – set up a sauce station that has balsamic vinegar, or flavored honeys to go with your cheese and fruit. Add a subtle sweetness to the mix.
For a more bright and casual event, track down those bright and colorful margarita glasses from you Cinco de Mayo party! Set your favorite cheese tray up with sweet and spicy peppers, and fresh herbs like cilantro!
Don’t forget the wine either! Cheese and wine are a natural pair, and picking out the perfect pairing is half the fun. For light cheddars, a crisp Pinot Gris can be really refreshing with white cheddar and strawberries. For a cheese tray with Cracked Pepper and Mediterranean Herb Cheddars, try something a little darker and bolder. There really is no wrong answer, so pick set out a few bottles for your friends to choose from and compare notes!
Cracker Barrel is a staple and center piece of a good cheese tray. Try a variety of cheese and see which ones you like best. I’m positively smitten with Cracker Barrel white cheddar with strawberries and balsamic vinegar and the cheddar with pistachios and cherries combos.
Which one would you like to try?
*This post is part of a continued partnership with Cracker Barrel Cheese. All opinions are my own.*
Let’s be honest–If losing weight was easy, we’d all look like Gisele. Is Miranda Kerr more your speed? Whatever, we’d all be Victoria Secret models and marry NFL stars. Or not. But you get the point. But it’s not easy. It’s really hard. What gives? We are women and this is our plight.
Our plight is never over and it’s so hard to wage battle against yourself and the pastry in front of you everyday just so you can stay in those jeans you love oh so much that are perhaps, becoming a little too tight. Gasp! *Cue dramatic theme music*. I have been active for as long as I can remember, from playing sports in middle school and high school, nearly all year long, to being in college and trying (unsuccessfully) to stave off the ‘freshmen 15′ (*cough 20*). I was always working to stay in shape and be healthy, but sometimes my willpower against the vile pastry just wasn’t strong enough.
When I was in college, I was a competitive lumberjack. Yup, just like the guys you see on TV! I loved every second of it although I had never imagined it was something I would do. I grew up in the ‘burbs, playing volleyball and going to the mall. Of course, I loved camping, being in the outdoors, hiking and riding horses, but these lumberjack people are a whole new breed of outdoorsy! And crazy. Somehow I found myself standing on blocks of wood and swinging axes near my feet and chopping pieces of wood with saws the length of Dekembe Motumbo. And on one fateful Saturday afternoon in the middle of a competition, sawing with one of those saws, three pops in my back came out of nowhere and on the ground I went. I had to be helped off the ground and out of the arena. As I would later find out, what I thought was a pulled muscle in my lower back was actually two herniated discs and a pinched sciatic nerve. Ouchie!
Being laid up with excruciating pain made staying in shape very hard, and the pounds started to creep up. It has been a challenge, and one that I need a little help with. Luckily, I’ve been very fortunate to be managing my back health and fitness quite well, by working out 4 or 5 days a week, spinning, kickboxing, lifting weights and walking the dog. But the pounds don’t come off that easily. Diet is so important. And let’s be honest, we can all use a little help in that department. 9 times out of 10 I will tackle a chocolate chip cookie before a stalk of celery, but incorporating a Slim-Fast snack into my plan helps take the edge off the “Hangries” that come at around 3 o’clock. Those hunger pangs and low blood sugar angry feelings are such a drag and no one wants to be around you when you’re feeling like that!
So I’m on a new journey. Of course I want to be the healthy and hot newlywed wifey that I am, but to be perfectly honest, I wanna lose weight so I can start swinging sharp objects near my appendages again!!
Onward and downward my weight goes–where it stops nobody knows! But my jeans sure will! Holla!
What about you guys? I know you’ve tried to lose weight for a reason other than health! Was it a boy? Skinny jeans? Tell me about it! Just leave a comment telling me about the silliest reason that for you’ve had for wanting to lose weight. Entries will be pooled between participating blogs and two lucky winners will be picked at random to each win a $1,000 SpaFinder gift card! Because who couldn’t use more spa-time in their hectic lives!
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
Do you ever feel compelled to ask someone to join you at dinner if you see them sitting at a restaurant eating by themselves? Do they look sad, or is that your guilt talking? I’m just curious, because I think I’m one of the only weirdos that actually enjoys eating alone at restaurants. Seriously. I actually throughly enjoy it. The first time I ate alone in a restaurant was in Georgetown at Pizza Paradiso after hours of meandering through all of the best tourist spots in DC, and devouring at Georgetown cupcake right at the counter much to the surprise of the poor kid behind the register. A box? Please kid, give it to me straight. Who do you think you’re talking to? But I needed more. And then I needed pizza. So for two hours I sat right at the open window with the whole restaurant to myself, with a pizza, a beer, a book and Georgetown walking by. Bliss! Ben says “Wow, that’s awkward”. Not at all! And I did it again after I came home from my latest trip to Portland on Mother’s Day weekend. The rest of the troupe was having an obligatory Mother’s Day breakfast and I was released from my duties of Celebrate The Mom’s to explore Portland on my own and did I ever! Stumbling into a new restaurant, Irving St. Kitchen, I grabbed a paper, ordered a mimosa and read away the morning learning far too much about Liberace and Sandra Lee’s waredrobe from the NYT Style section and ravenously devoured the most divinely caramelized french toast with cherry compote on top. And tasso bacon on the side. Who do you think I am? And I think that this absolutely needs to happen in your life too, because well, look at it it’s cashews crusted french toast with cherry compote. Duh. Right?
No joke, this was last night’s dinner. It has been on my mind for all these weeks, so I got home from work, threw down everything, didn’t unpack my gym bag, barely kissed the dog and petted the husband and then threw this together – with bacon, natch – for a super early still-able-to-photograph dinner. Then we became lions over a dead carb zebra to devour this in three minutes. No foolin’. It was sick, in the most ridiculously sinful of ways.
You will adore the crushed cashews that are sprinkled on top of this and toasted to a golden brown. The cherries are sweet and a bit tart, with just a little gleek factor. Don’t even get me started on the challah. Can we start a dance? Call it the Challah Hollah? No? Dang, I thought I was onto something.
Well, the Challah Hollah might not be the next big thing, but at least I know this french toast like, totally is.
*Sidebar* For those of you wondering where the recipe is – you must click the “Read More” tab located below. So if you’re reading this from the main page of Country Cleaver, hit “Read More” and you’ll be taken straight to the recipe. If you’re reading this from the French Toast post the recipe will be visible straight away, no extra clicks necessary. The Recipe Box located here on Country Cleaver formats to allow only one recipe to be readily visible from the main page. Thanks for your patience – but make sure you make the click to get your mitts on every recipe here.
Make sure you get your breakfast on with these other favorites listed below, too!
How roux you do? Okay, you just had to know that there was gonna be a pun in here somehwere! This one in particular has been playing endlessly in my head for DAYS! It makes me giggle every time and felt compelled to subject you to it, too. Sorry, not sorry. And naturally it led to other lame kids jokes. Like, What does a nosey pepper do? Gets jalapeno business! BAM! Insta-funny. You’re welcome. Everything funny and cheesy has been compounded by me being utterly exhausted from last weekend’s trip to Austin for BlogHer Food Conference. I’m running on empty guys. No, past empty. It’s that funny stage of empty where your get-me-gas-now light comes on, but your little meter stick is hanging precariously below the E for Empty mark… Yeah, that’s me right now. But its been worth it. And you know what else is worth it? Roux. And a good roux can take a regular dish from drab to fab and learning how to make a roux is really easy. It can take a little while, but its a totally necessary step in so many great dishes.
Remember when we learned how to brown butter – and you had to keep a close eye on your simmering butter so it toasted and didn’t burn? Making a roux is a similar process. The butter and the flour mixture both have to brown – not burn. The butter solids and flour all get nice and toasty brown, but not black and gunky. Some rouxs can get to be a dark, deep rich chocolate brown and they are complex and utterly amazing. Depending on your dish, you can lightly toast your roux or almost-char it for whatever it is you’re making.
First off – you need two ingredients, butter and flour. Some use oil, again do what suits your dish and preferences. Oil will work just for soups and stews. I prefer butter and use it when I make pasta dishes like mac and cheese. Personal preference is what wins here.
For tools – A whisk and a skillet. Or a saucepan or pot. Whatever.
With your pan over medium heat, melt your butter and bring it to a slight simmer. You will want to whisk it so that it keeps moving constantly and doesn’t sit in one place for too long.
Slowly, start to whisk in the flour making sure that it has a chance to incorporate fully before adding more.
Keep whisking constantly and add the rest of your flour slowly until it becomes almost like a paste. Or at least like a thick soup, depending on your butter/flour ratio.
As you keep whisking it over heat, you will start to smell it and the butter starting to toast and brown. It will have a slightly nutty smell to it.
The longer it sits over the heat being whisked the darker brown it will get. Keep an eye on it for just the right color that will work for your. And when I saw brown – you can get it B.R.O.W.N. For Julie’s Chicken and Andouille Gumbo that stuff got dark, I mean look at it! Gumbo-y perfection.
The one I made today has a bit higher butter content, but it works beautifully for making stuff like drippy mac and cheese. Test out your favorite butter/oil and flour combo to see what works best for your needs.
Now you know how to roux. It’s like doing the Dougie, but better.
Pinterest is a dangerous place. I mean it! How many times have you been sucked in for hours, and totally zoned out not realizing it’s three hours later and you didn’t feed your feed your dog or take your husband out? Strike that, reverse it. There is no judgement here. I love Pinterest. And you wanna know who else loves Pinterest? Beka. And someoonneee decided to get all crafty one day and string me into her web of Pin-crafts one day, resulting in me having three new customized photo frames and a new magnet board for my office. Damn her. And damn Pinterest. But look at these? How fun are they? For a whopping $3 and 10 minutes of your time you can customized you craft store frames. We’re just crafting all the crap up in here today. So follow along and I swear you’ll be out to the craft store by the time you finish reading this, buying palets of these dang things.
A What You’ll Need:
Plain Unfinished Picture Frames – Available at local craft stores
Mod Podge in Matte Finish – Or go bold with a gloss, its up to you!
Small Paint or Foam Brush
Your choice of Scrapbook Paper
Cutting Mat or Cutting Board
Line up your picture fram into the corner of your scrap book paper. Press down firmly and using other hand, run Exacto knife along the edge of the picture frame. Repeat along remaining edge of the fram to remove extra paper.
Repeat process on the inner sections of the frame to cut out the middle square, where the photo will be placed.
In a small dish, add Mod Podge. Using foam or paint brush, pain the areas of the fram that the paper will be adhering to. This will glue the paper to the frame.
Step 4: Starting at one end of the frame, line up the edge of the paper cutout and gently lay the paper over the fresh glue. Careful to remove all of the air bubbles from the paper. The glue dries quickly, so move gingerly.
Once the paper has been laid over the first round of glue, repeat the process of brushing the Mod Podge over the paper to seal it to the frame. Swipe the brush over all of the edges of the frame and paper to give the whole frame protection and to make sure the paper stays down.
Resist the urge to make about 37 of these all at once. It’s hard, I know.
Step 7: Let dry for three hours – if you’re impatient like me, or over night is best. Add photo memories and bam, you’re done! I adore my photo frames. I purposefully left the sides of the frame scrap book paper free to give it a little texture and a bit unfinished look. I think it’s fun. Of course, you can always wrap the whole fram – but repeat this process – but when cutting out your paper, factor in the width of the frame’s sides – so then all you have to do it fold the paper over and Mod Podge it into place. You can see that I did it with the Orange Frame in the first photo. But personally – I still love the unfinished sides.
TidyMom has a great how-to on faux-tiquing your frames like these. Go check it out, too. Super adorable, doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Ohhh Schmidt, stop staring at my Fritatas!! — Okay, sorry I had to get that off my chest, metaphroically speaking. I have been making Ben watch all this last season of New Girl, and after watching it 1,738 times myself I can say that that is my Favorite line! Now that The Office is over, Ben and I need a new show to watch, and New Girl is it – not the least of which because my husband is Nick Miller. Not the bartender part, but the crotchety old Hey-You-Kids-Get-Off-My-Lawn Part. Oh, don’t worry Ben fully recognizes it in himself, too. It’s not me harping on my husband. But back to the main point of the story – this is a frittata, I love them, it was not made in a saucepan – because this isn’t prison (another Schmidtism). Who wouldn’ love this fresh spring asparagus and balsamic glazed red onions frittata? No one, that’s who! Wait, double negatives on a Monday morning? Oh that’s just unkind before coffee. It’s glorious I swear and just so fancy pants, but totally not hard to whip up at all!
Later this week I am going to be heading down Austin way for the BlogHer Food conference – and girrllll, am I excited!! I’ve never been to Texas before, but I just know that Austin is gonna be my kinda town. It’s like the Portland of Texas, so I’m all set with the weirdness that will come. And BBQ. I’ve dubbed the five pounds I’ve been trying to lose for this week the 5 Pounds for Austin with the goal of losing it now just so I can eat it back in BBQ. Counterproductive? Sure. Worth it? Duh!!
This year, I am fortunate enough to be sponsored to attend BlogHer Food by Star Fine Foods. I’ve worked with Star for the last couple of years creating recipes with their greats line of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and multitude of other products, including olives like for this Artichoke and Red Pepper Tapenade. I still dream of this stuff.
And guess who’s going to BHF with me? Laurie from Simply Scratch! We’re teaming up to spread our love of STAR with our fellow bloggers. And while we’re there meeting all of our friends and taking in all that Austin has to offer we’re going to be giving away our favorite STAR products, too!
So if you’re a blogger in Austin this week – or a reader who’s in town - stop by and say “Hi” to me and Laurie. We’ll also be holding a SCAVENGER HUNT for free product! And these aren’t just for samples, we’re talking full size bottles of olive oils, vinegars, glazes and MORE! To play along make sure you follow me AND Laurie on Instagram (M & L) and Twitter (M & L) where we’ll be sending out our locations! Just hunt us down and say you want to reach for the STAR! Sorry, you knew I had to throw a pun into this post somewhere!!
Be sure to check out my side bar all month long – and click the STAR banner to enter to win a trip for TWO to the Mediterranean! There are other prizes, too! Including a cooking trip to Napa, an Ipad and over 95 other great prizes up for grabs.
So, see you in a few days Austin! I can’t wait to eat you!
For other great recipes made with STAR Fine Foods, click the “Read More” Tab to see the list and grab this Asparagus and Balsamic Glazed Onion Frittata Recipe.
This has been a long time coming – it’s been two weeks, geez I’m slow. But I have to tell you guys about my weekend in Orlando at this year’s Food Blog Forum. It was hot, sunny (my tomato skin can attest to that), full of inspiration, wonderful people, adventure, and me screaming like a sissy pants with my face buried into Rachel’s shoulder going down Tower of Terror – we’ll get to that later.
Food Blog Forum was held at Disney’s Victorian styled resort, The Grand Floridian. It was pure gorgeousness! Blog conferences can be a bit nerve-wracking, but if you haven’t gone to one yet – GO!! What are you waiting for? You’ll never know the connections and new friendships you’ll develop!
Carla and I arrived at the park at about 2 am, well before everyone else. We weren’t certain our rooms would be ready when we got there – but they were and sleeping in a real bed after we each red-eyed from the West Coast was wonderful. We were all ready to go sleep in the lounge chairs by the pool! At 2 am it was still in the high 70′s! After a few hours of sleep we headed down to the pool and I learned the hard way that me and the Florida sun are mortal enemies.
Then it was time for the park!! A big group of us girls all teamed up and headed out to see Magic Kingdom. Thanks to Amanda for the snaps of all of us. Bunch of hotsy totten hotties!
To sustain ourselves through an evening full of rides and walking – we needed to load up on some protein! Giant smoked caveman club sized turkey legs filled the tummies and got us through the night, or until we needed another snack, which wasn’t long. It’s how we roll.
The next day at the conference we listened to some motivating speakers, including Scott and Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen and Diane Cu and Todd Porter of White on Rice Couple. Listening to Diane and Todd makes me get choked up every single time. Their sincerity is so evident in everything they create. I adore them. Everyone in the room was soaking up all their words of wisdom and I was no different.
These were two of the most inspired sayings I took away from their talks. I want to print them and plaster them all over my walls. Or get them tattooed on my forehead.
Diane and Todd told us all about this cool website called Animoto where you can make free 30 second clips and videos. So I gave it a shot. What do you think? It took me only 20 minutes to create!
Saturday night and all of Sunday we had all day to explore the parks – and we headed to Planet Hollywood and Epcot! I lost my ish on Tower of Terror, keeping my eyes shut like the woosy pants that I am the entire time!! I had a terrifying basement as a kid, so scary, faux-haunted, ghosty crap scares me to death. Don’t judge.
And in Epcot Carla, Gina, Julie, Rachel and I played a little country hopscotch visiting Germany, France, Japan and Italy. We made sure to load up on (more) sweets at the little bakery in France. Hello Macarons, so lovely to eat you!
But then early Monday it was time to head home.
It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but one that I won’t be forgetting. I can’t wait until next year! If you want to catch up on everyone’s journey and see how they did Disney take a peek at some of the other recaps below! Or if you want to see photos on Instagram or tweets on Twitter, search #fbforl to see everyone’s snaps!