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Last week, I was able to visit Minneapolis for a few days as part of the General Mills blogging team.  If you’ve noticed all of the recipes I’ve done for Betty Crocker and Pillsbury lately, it’s because I was chosen to be part of a team that develops recipes for their Today’s Dish and Doughboy Dish features on their websites.  This wasn’t my first trip to the Betty Crocker kitchens, but it was such a great and informative trip – and my favorite of the two!

The first night there, we went to dinner at Cafe Lurcat, a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.  It was a fabulous dinner, and I didn’t take one single picture.  It was amazing food, and the company at our table was fantastic!

The next day, we woke up bright and early for a full day at General Mills.  After a quick tour as we headed through the building, we were led to the Betty Crocker kitchens.  Let’s just say – so many kitchens, and such great light!!  This isn’t even all of the test kitchens that they have.  I have decided that if I lived in Minneapolis, I would totally want to work in the test kitchen.

We took a short tour around the kitchens, and my favorite was the library.  Thousands of cookbooks.  Thousands of them.  I could seriously get lost in here for hours.  Days.  Weeks.  My collection at home looks so small now!!

After checking out the library, pantry, freezer, etc, we headed back to the main kitchen.  We were divided into 4 groups, where we were each given a basket of ingredients that we had to use in a recipe.  We also had a small pantry, where we could I think it was 5 additional ingredients.

Our group got started on some delicious cookie cups that will be up on the Betty Crocker site soon.  It was fun to see everyone’s different thought processes as we sat down to formulate our recipe.

Joanne from Inspired Taste – putting on the final touches

We had an hour and 15 minutes, and luckily it was plenty of time for our recipe to come together without stressing.

When the time was up, we plated up our cookies and headed over to the taste panel.

Every day at 2pm, they have a taste panel in the kitchens, where the day’s recipes are tasted and critiqued.  Talk about a fun job!!  They told us how the panel went every day, and how they even have spit cups so that they aren’t just eating and eating all day long.  It was so interesting to see how everything happens in a professional test kitchen.  Each group got in front of the panel to answer questions about the recipes and to hear critiques.  Luckily, it was all pretty painless!

Our team – Laurie from General Mills, me, Lauren from Completely Delicious, Joanne and Adam from Inspired Taste

After, we headed to the photography studios for my favorite part of the day.  They showed us around the photography prop room, which is HUGE.

Check out all of those cutting boards!  I know you are jealous, Bev!

 

Then we headed to the photo kitchens where we separated back into our groups and made our recipe again, this time to be photographed.  We had a photographer and a stylist between 2 teams, and it was so interesting to watch them work.  They let us do what we thought we should do, but then I loved seeing them step in and tell us what they would do.

I really did love this part of the day, and I learned a lot – especially about styling.  It was an awesome experience!

 

If you look close, you can see Bree, Angie, Paula and Mark in the back seat!

That night, a group of us headed to the Mall of America for some fun and for dinner.  Most of them rode a few of the rollercoasters.  Unfortunately, I got to watch since it’s not the best idea to be riding on rollercoasters when you’re pregnant!  (and I was bummed, because I love rollercoasters!)  Then we headed to dinner at Crave, which was delicious.

The whole experience was so great, and I learned a ton.  And I feel so lucky to be a part of such a great team of bloggers.  And the General Mills team was amazing – I already loved working with them, but meeting them face to face and feeling their energy and passion for their jobs and company validated that it is a great company to work with.  I’m super excited ot continue working with them.  I seriously have the coolest job!!

And in case you wanted to know, here are all of the fabulous bloggers that I get to work with.  If you haven’t checked out their blogs, you really should!

Angie from Eclectic Recipes
Bree from Baked Bree
Brooke from Cheeky Kitchen
Cheri from Adventures in the Kitchen
Jessica from Lil’ Miss Bossy
Joanne & Adam from Inspired Taste
Lauren from Healthy Delicious
Mark from The Manly Housekeeper
Paula from Bell’alimento
Paula from Blogging Foods
Rachel from Coconut and Lime
Sarah from Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Stephanie from Girl Versus Dough

 

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31 Responses to Behind the Scenes with Betty Crocker

  1. COngrats on joining the general mills team Deborah AND for hitting 4000 FB fans. I hope to reach that one day. :) It’s apparent how hard you work on your blog, and I can assure you that I will keep reading whether you post once a week or 7 times a week!

  2. What a great trip!!! It looks like you guys had an amazing time and congratulations for hitting that many facebook fans! :D

  3. What an awesome experience! I would love to do something like this. So great! And congrats on your 4000 facebook fans! We love Taste and Tell. :)

  4. Bev Weidner says:

    Hahahah!!

    a) I write for TBS (Gen Mills) so this was veeery interesting!

    b) Before you even mentioned me my face was on the floor in a pond of drool just looking at those boards. You…know me so well. :)

    c) LOVE that you got to do this. And congrats on 4,000 fans!

    • Deborah says:

      @Bev Weidner, and that wasn’t even all of the cutting boards. I was seriously envious. And I was hoping the Tablespoon team would be there as well – hopefully sometime they’ll get us all together!!

  5. Rachel Cooks says:

    Fun experience! And good for you for cutting back–I’ve always been so impressed by your posting schedule, never knew how you could keep up! Congrats ion 4K too!

  6. So fun! I love their kitchens so much! Congrats on 4000 fans – that’s quite an accomplishment! :)

  7. Deborah, it was so nice meeting you at the conference! I feel honored that I get to work alongside someone as talented as you. :) Hope we meet again soon!

  8. michelle says:

    seriously Deb? You’re so freaking awesome. Who would have ever thought that all of this would be going on just by starting your food blog! I am so proud of you and brag about you to all of my friends. :)
    I loved reading about your experience there! how fun! I can’t wait to see you in July!

  9. Stephanie says:

    Looks like a fun trip and a great experience! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  10. Looks like an amazing time. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of what the experience was like. I was in Minneapolis years ago and hit the Mall of America. You can get lost in there! Congrats my friend on hitting 4000! That is so awesome! :)

  11. I LOVE THIS POST!!!

    I grew up in Minneapolis and as a little girl, my grandparents would take me to the waters/green grassy areas near the Betty Crocker campus and I have memories of feeding the ducks that would wander there. Fast forward to now, even living in CA, I have such fond memories and would love to go back there.

    It’s such a Minnesota staple, part of the community, and I can only imagine how sweet they were and wow, the props, the books, the photography…amazing!! experience!

  12. Shannon Ellis Waite says:

    deborah-so fun and yummy!!! Ok when you are not preggos we need to plan a trip to the mall of America, then we will ride the roller coasters . I cannot wait to see you in November….I am coming for a week!!!

  13. What a fun recap of your super fun trip! Your cookie cups look delicious. I’d love to see their prop room.

  14. What an amazing opportunity, Deborah! Thanks for sharing all your experiences through photos and stories. Looks like it was definitely a time to remember!

  15. That test kitchen looks like a dream! Those cookbooks and cutting boards are like a taste of heaven!

  16. Cassie says:

    What an awesome experience. Thanks for sharing, Deborah! And congrats on 4000 fans. You are a rock star and such an inspiration!!

  17. Chels R. says:

    How cool is that!!! You are such a lucky girl to have been given such an awesome opportunity :) So jealous!

  18. Sarah Caron says:

    First, that’s awesome about the 4,000 fans! Congratulations. Second, it was so great meeting you in Minneapolis. Great photo of the rollarcoaster (and I, for one, and so happy I didn’t go on — eek).

  19. Sounds like a great trip. I’ll keep on eye on your new column. What a fun idea.

  20. Kristy says:

    I’m 34 too. It’s funny…must be the age. I’ve been on a reevaluate, reorchestrate and simplify kick this year too. What a fun trip! I love the twin cities and what a great experience!

  21. Joanne says:

    Sounds like a super fun get-together and wow. That test kitchen. Love at first sight!

  22. congrats on 4000! woot! and, glad you enjoyed MN & General Mills!

  23. Kim says:

    Awesome! What a wonderful experience. Thanks for a peek into the test kitchens.

    I don’t blame you for cutting back. You have a full plate with two little ones. Little people are cute and sweet and oh so worth it…but they sure do wear you out, especially if you’re pregnant!

  24. Wow, this looks like so much fun, thanks for sharing a sneak peek of what goes on “behind the scenes”! My dream house will definitely have a “prop room” – how organized could life be then?? Hope these non-posting days mean extra naps for you…I’m pregnant too and naps are a pretty crucial part of my life right now :)

  25. What an amazing trip! And that is so cool that you get to work with them to make all those yummy recipes!

  26. Cheri says:

    Love your recap and loved meeting you at GMI Blogfest. Look forward to reading more and hope to see you again!

  27. Angie says:

    I love that picture of us, thanks for getting it!

  28. Katie says:

    What an amazing opportunity! I can’t wait to get my hands on the recipe you and your team created too!

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