A few weekends ago Brett took the day off of work (for his birthday!) and we headed to Balboa Island for the day. It’s about an hour from us and it’s been on my bucket list since we moved to San Diego a year ago. We didn’t really have an agenda other than to explore and just have fun….and eat a Balboa Bar 😉
Back in July, I hopped on a plane and flew across the country (literally) to Hershey, Pennsylvania for a quick blogger trip with The Hershey Company I got to visit the “Sweetest Place on Earth”, this chocolate lover’s dream I was seven months pregnant, it was a whirlwind of a trip packed into just over 24 hours, but so educational and fun.
I love meeting new bloggers, making new friends and connecting with old ones, it’s probably the best part of my job!
The bloggers that attended were Vanessa of De Su Mama, Kath from Kath Eats Real Food, Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen, Angie from Little Inspiration, Richard from Single Dad and Cook Like a Dad, Annalise from Completely Delicious, Cara from Big Girls Small Kitchen, and Jeanette from Jeanette’s Healthy Living.
The first night there we enjoyed a nice dinner followed by chocolate liqueur tasting in the Chocolate Lab. We learned all about different sources for cocoa beans and the different flavors they produce. Just look at that giant cocoa bean.
One of the most interesting parts of the trip was learning about the history of Hershey, its founder Milton Hershey, and the legacy he’s left behind.
Day two was all about creating chocolate, creating caramel, and even more taste testing.
We got to have a live Q&A with several of the experts who work at Hershey, discussing the quality of ingredients Hershey products are made with, how they are sourced, cocoa projects, sustainability initiatives, how Hershey is meeting special dietary needs, innovations, and manufacturing. I’ll be touching more on some of these topics in future posts (but don’t worry, all include delicious chocolate recipes too!)
The last thing we got to do before heading home was visit Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction. This is where I spent my life fortune on chocolate. Just kidding. But I bought lots of chocolate, treats and toys for the fam! Hershey really is the sweetest place on earth and this place was swarming with kids and families. It was such a great ending to the trip!
This trip was sponsored by The Hershey Company! All opinions are my own.
This post is sponsored by Duncan Hines. All opinions are my own!
A few weeks ago I got to spend a very quick weekend at the Duncan Hines test kitchen in Parsippany, NJ. A group of bloggers attended along with some contest winners for Duncan Hines’ Spring Bake-off. It was a quick, whirlwind of a weekend but we were able to learn from Duncan Hines’ head pastry chef, a professional cake decorator from Wilton, and each other.
We were spoiled with good food and lots of treats all weekend! 10 pounds gained, easily. And well worth it:)
Here’s a peek at the weekend….
This is where we slept.
This is the star treatment we received upon arriving at Duncan Hines (inside Pinnacle Food Group headquarters) Red carpet and all.
Inside headquarters, a little store showcasing all of the Pinnacle Food Group products including Duncan Hines cake mixes. Cute right?
Cool wall art displaying the Pinnacle group brands.
The fun people I got to hang out with!
This is how I gained 10 pounds…
Cake decorating demo with Wilton. It gave me hope:)
And this would be Chef Joe- Duncan Hines’ head pastry chef. He taught us all kinds of cool tricks and had us laughing all day long.
Learned how to make these fancy desserts and how to decorate with chocolate!
Simply take a cake mix, one egg, three egg yolks, and a tablespoon of butter to make a basic pie dough. One cake mix will make two pie shells so divide the dough, roll it out flat, and press each into a pie pan.
Bake and voila! You have pie crust. It’s meant to be used as a pre-made crust!
You can see I made a chocolate crust, and filled it with chocolate pudding, peanut butter whipped cream, and some hot fudge.
- 1 Duncan Hine's chocolate fudge cake mix
- 1 egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 (4 oz) package instant chocolate pudding
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (add more to taste)
- 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- hot fudge sauce
- 1. In a mixing bowl beat cake mix, egg, egg yolks and butter together until a dough is formed.
- 2. Divide dough into two equal parts. Roll each out on a piece of parchment paper, then press into two 9" round pie pans. Let chill for 1 hr.
- 3. Bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes (don't over cook)
- 1. Prepare the pudding according to package directions, whisking in 3 cups cold milk. Place pudding in the fridge to set up.
- 2. Beat whipping cream until slightly thickened but not quite soft peaks. Whip in peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
- 1. Once the shells have baked and cooled, divide chocolate pudding between two pie shells. Spread peanut butter whipped cream over the top of each.
- 2. Drizzle with hot fudge. Chill for another hour before serving. Store in fridge, covered.
- Thanks Chef Joe for the pie crust recipe!
I was provided the Britax B-Ready Stroller to review, but have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
This isn’t a typical post for ST&M, but I have to tell you about this stroller. 1) I was given one to review it and 2) I really do love it!
When Miles was about 9 months old I began the hunt for a double stroller. I could no longer carry a toddler while pushing a stroller or squish two kids into it. A double stroller was a necessity for us. We love to be out and about and we like to travel, so I knew we would absolutely need a double stroller to cart my two boys around.
But do you know how many different double strollers exist out there?
I couldn’t for the life of me make a decision on which one to buy. There are so many options and so many opinions. Did I want a side by side, stadium seating, sit-stand option? I just couldn’t decide.
So in my indecisiveness, I waited. And waited. Then, Britax offered to send us their B-Ready stroller for review. I about died in excitement! The B-Ready is a top of the line stroller, it comes as a single stroller but with a few additional accessories you have 14 different configurations.
We ordered the second seat attachment right away. I love the stadium seating style of it (one above and one below), because it keeps the stroller narrow. (We can fit through doors!) The stroller is pretty light-weight for it’s size, easy to collapse down, and rides extremely smooth.
The B-ready is compatible with most infant car seats and the bassinet attachment will be fabulous someday when baby #3 rolls along.
We got the stroller just in time for summer and we put it to use right away. It was a life savor on our first family trip to Florida and Universal Studios. There’s no way we could have made it three days at theme parks without the B-ready. Shoot, we couldn’t have made it through the airport without it.
There have been many a naps in the stroller. Which saves us from two very grumpy little boys. Sometimes, Owen likes to put up a fight for the top seat. But when he’s really too tired to walk, he gladly rides in the bottom. And gets quite cozy down there:)
There’s a large under seat storage space with plenty of room to store things when both kids are riding. And when needed, Owen will walk and the second seat can be used to lug our stuff around.
Like when headed to the pool (ohhh summer, come back!)….
Or when we walk to the grocery store…
We just love this thing! Thank you Britax for making life easier for us!!