BlogHerFood09 seriously rocked my socks off! I met so many amazing people and received such great information. It was interesting to see the different types of people who attended from Magazine Writers to Bloggers to PR people to company Bloggers. I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s story and learning about them.
I started out by getting up bright and early stopping by Starbuck’s along the way. I was feeling super fall like – so I ordered a Grande FF Chai Tea Latte and one of those AMAZING Pumpkin Scones! It was totally worth it and I didn’t want to wait for 2 hours to eat breakfast…..MMMM!
The first session I went to I think was my favorite. It was the Vocation Track: How Blogging Best Practices Apply, No Matter What Your Blogging Niche. The entire panel of fabulous bloggers shared their tips for how to improve your readership to blog design to monetizing. The LIVE BLOG for this topic is awesome – you should check it out for some amazing tips.
After the first session there was a LIVE demonstration by Ryan Scott, who had previously appeared on Top Chef. He is pretty entertaining while he cooks and posed for my picture while he cooked up an amazing sounding Frittata.
I actually learned a cool tip while he was cooking. If you ever drop a piece of your egg shell into the egg, use your half egg shell to dig it out. Somehow it automatically magnetizes to it. I definitely need to try this next time I crack an egg.
Next up was the Pillsbury Easy Frosting Demonstration. I thought it was such a cool idea that they now have cans of frosting with the tips to decorate. They decorated this entire brownie cake using a jar of Raspberry preserves and a can of chocolate frosting in about 5 minutes.
I also met with the FANTASTIC folks at Healthy Choice during lunch. I was really excited to provide my voice as to what I think is important in the products I buy and what I look for. I LOVE that they are coming out with a REAL ingredient product line that has nothing artificial or added. I checked out the stats and you can recognize every ingredient ~ What a HUGE improvement. I look forward to checking them out!
Lunch was sponsored by Bertolli Frozen Meals and presented by none other than Chef Rocco DiSpirito. I was super excited for this because I LOVED how he created meals on The Biggest Loser! I have to admit though, I am not sure I bought his selling points of stocking his whole house with Bertolli 🙂
He was fun to listen to and has such high energy.
I had the chance to eat lunch with some of my favorite bloggers ~ Kath, Tina and Jenna. It was so cool to finally put a face with the emails and words I read on their blogs. They are all just as nice and friendly as the appear on their blogs 🙂 I LOVE our “CIA” agents in the back.
The menu was fully loaded and came with 3 types of wine. I sampled all 3 of them and surprisingly enjoyed them all.
We started off with an awesome Grilled Tuna with Olive and Tomato Salad. This salad was amazing – you could really taste the fresh herbs used in the dressing and throughout the salad.
The first entree was Lemon Herb Shrimp Penne. It was eh, ok. The pasta was mushy, it was super saucy and there were not too many veggies in there.
The second Entree was Meat Lasagna Rustica. I have to admit for being a frozen lasagna this was really tasty. I LOVED the meaty tomato sauce and the cheesiness of it all.
The final course was Tri Colored Ravioli’s ~ YUM! These raviolis are really big with a creamy alfredo sauce and baked parmesan on them. You can tell it was a jarred sauce, but, all in all, it wasn’t a bad meal. Can you ever go wrong with cheese and cream though?!
Kath decided to head out and make up her own frosted cookie at the Pillsbury station. Tina and I decided to follow basically for the FROSTING! I made a mini brownie with 3 types of frosting (chocolate, cream cheese & vanilla) & sprinkles. I should’ve picked a cookie to get MORE frosting 🙂
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the Milk Chocolate Pana Cotta dessert because I was thinking it would be “flan” like. It was surprisingly delicious! I LOVED the puffs of steamed coffee cream, the milk chocolate glaze, creamy pudding middle and the added caramel corn for kicks. I ate about 1/3 of this before I didn’t have any room left– YUM!
Then, it was off to two afternoon breakout sessions: Your Blog Is Great – Now What? and The Meaning of Identity. Both sessions were VERY inspiring as they involved top bloggers and writers discussing how they became successful. I really enjoyed the speakers because they were so real – just like you and me. Nothing arrogant about them…..they were all so funny and down to earth.
SNACKTIME was probably the BIGGEST food highlight for me – everything was delicious! I started off with an interesting cup of Mushroom “Cappuccino Soup with Savory Bacon Cream and Pimenton Mushroom Crisps from The Mushroom Channel.
The afternoon demonstration was sponsored by Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker and TuttiFoodie. TuttieFoodie is bringing back their AWESOME Chocolate Adventure Contest where you can win one of TWO $10,000 prizes by entering your original recipe!!! All you have to do is create a dessert that uses Scharffen Berger Chocolate and at least one of their Adventure Ingredients. Check out the Chocolate Adventure Contest site for all the details.
The famous Elizabeth Falkner was there to create one of her demolition desserts to give us ideas for how you can use the 16 Adventure Ingredients.
She used an INCREDIBLE 11 Adventure Ingredients in her recipes.
To create ALL of this yummie caramel, chocolate ganache, rice chocolate cake, brownies, toffee and MORE. Oh she even made homemade marshmallows…MMMM!
She started off with an empty chocolate box ~ My FAVORITE way to start ANY dessert 😀
She started off by crunch peanut butter, pretzels and powdered sugar…..MMMM!
Then, she went to town mixing things together and throwing them in that big chocolate box.
She kept layering and layering….
Until there was no more room! Did I mention there are Corn Nuts in there too?!
Then, the fun part came. You put on a rubber glove and dig in – literally!
I have to admit I was scared to try it knowing all the crazy ingredients in there. But, it was surprisingly GOOD – AMAZING – FANTASTIC and insert any other word you can here 🙂 It was crunchy, salty, peanut buttery, caramelly, marshmallowy, chocolately, nutty and then you’d get hints of BBQ flavor. I ate about 1/3 of my hand before I had to toss it since it was so rich…..I LOVE this idea – wouldn’t it be fun for a party or wedding?!
We all got super cool LOOT bags to get started on the contest and we are able to announce it to you all before they tell everyone else on October 1st – so get your brains thinking and enter!
After our sugar rush, we all gathered for the closing speakers. The closing Key Note Speakers were MORE FAMOUS bloggers that were quizzed Oprah style by the audience. It was really awesome to hear their answers to questions I am sure everyone had. We all had such a great time that we ended up carrying over into cocktail hour.
The Cocktail hour was sponsored by Campbell’s and Swanson Soup. I found it interesting that they managed to use their products in every item on the menu.
I had 1-2 of each of the items you see here. My FAVORITES were the Butternut Squash Soup, and the Tomato Soup Cupcakes which were basically like carrot cakes – SO GOOD!
I really wanted to stay for the after party but I knew I needed to get some rest after our go-go-go vacation. In addition to all the AMAZING SWAG we received which you all will be seeing on my blog in upcoming weeks, I bought 3 books that I cannot wait to dig into.
The first book is called Will Write for Food. The author, Diane, was one of our speakers and she offered such awesome advice. I had to pick up a copy of her book and she was nice enough to sign it for me – yeah!
The next book, The Recipe Writer’s Handbook came highly recommended by everyone at the first breakout session I attended. I never knew that there was advice on how to write your recipes. Just perusing it I know there will be so much information I can use in it.
And the last book includes advice from some amazing sources ~ The Huffington Posts Complete Guide To Blogging.
BlogHerFood09 was my first BlogHER experience and I had to say it exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait to apply all the knowledge I learned, say hi to all my new friends and more importantly, to go again! I highly recommend it if you are ever debating whether to go or not, you won’t regret going.
Alright all – I am completely tired of blogging now after my two marathon posts 🙂 Off to relax ~ regular blogging to resume again tomorrow!