Baking with Betty: General Mills Test Kitchens

by Marla on August 31, 2010 · 41 comments

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Baking Workshop in Betty Crocker Test Kitchens

When I originally got the invite to Baking With Betty it took a few seconds to ponder my RSVP. I said seconds, well maybe one second. What was my brief hesitation? the fact that I would need to leave my heavenly Telluride mountains and lovely family for 38.5 hours. I quickly weighed Minneapolis & Colorado in my mind and knew stepping away from high altitude hiking for baking would be OK. My answer was of course, YES. The folks at General Mills are pros at event planning & had me all booked and travel ready within minutes. I was signed up for the Betty Crocker test kitchen blogger baking workshop.

General Mills Betty Crocker Test Kitchens

So as you guys know I am not so much the baker. I do love it when I slow down to do it. I prefer less precise, intuitive, quick cooking. I enjoy tossing food on the grill or in a steamy hot pan. I love to watch it skip, jump & sizzle. For those of you who know me I have a high energy kinetic kind of personality. Quick stuff works with my style. Baking however is an amazing skill that has thankfully been taught to me by Chef Rachel at Blackmarket Bakery. It is Zen-full, cerebral and of course yummy.

Baking with Betty Crocker food blogger workshop

When I actually do bake, I very much enjoy it.

Food Blogger party on boat on lake

Our first evening we had an introductory cruise on one of the many Minnesota lakes. It was gorgeous and super fun. I got to meet all the lovely bloggers and great PR folks from the General Mills-Betty Crocker division. (Fellow bloggers, please link up your re-cap posts below.)

Food Blogger event at Betty Crocker Test KitchensWhen we rolled into the General Mills corporate offices we were greeted with history of the General Mills brands & a lovely breakfast. The headquarters are gorgeous. Filled with sunlight and amazing art everywhere. Everyone walks around smiling. Must be the brightness and constant smell & access to baked treats. I was impressed that they have a employee wellness program. Eat the sweets, burn ’em off. Nice!

Photo of girl with cheerios at General Mills Headquarters

I made a few great new friends, including Megan from Megan’s Munchies.

Food Bloggers attend General Mills Baking WorkshopInside the total glam test kitchens we were separated into small groups. I spent the most my time with Amanda from I am Baker & Nicole from Baking Bites . Amanda is one of my co-panelists for BlogHer Food in San Francisco this October. Our panel is called New to Food Blogging: How to Stand out in a Crowded Food Blogosphere. She is a hoot & one super great gal. Join us if you are there! The three of us made quite the team. They baked, I photographed and cheered them on.

Baking with Betty food blogger event We rotated around the test kitchens. We baked with all kinds of products and of course tasted the creations. There were four different stations….cookies, brownies, Bisquick and cake. The test kitchen bakers prepared samples & then each blogger team prepared their own batch of goodies. There was plenty of room to get creative with ingredient add-in’sย and food styling.

We baked sweets…..

Food Bloggers at Baking with Betty workshopWe baked savories…..

Baking with Betty Food Blogger workshop in test kitchensWe baked more sweets…..

Baking with Betty Food Blogger workshop

There was eye candy everywhere!

Food Blogger tour of Betty Crocker test kitchens & photo studiosWe also had a quick tour of the prop rooms & photo-food styling studios. Let’s just say those rooms put my 4X4 prop/styling/ photography area to shame. very inspirational & again, these folks all looked like the love their jobs.

giveaway graphic-Family Fresh Cooking

General Mills promotion gift for food bloggers

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much for entering & be on the lookout for more fun giveaways soon. Congrats to Tricia from {every}nothing Wonderful blog.

The Baking with Betty team gave us some great goodies that I would like to pass along to one of my readers. I am giving away lots of baking tools & a cookbook from the event. Head on over to my Baking with Betty giveaway page to enter this contest.

Baking with Betty Blog Post Links

Feel free to link up your blog posts that tie into this event.

Thank you to General Mills and Betty Crocker for sponsoring me to attend this event.

To see more photos from the event you can visit Matt Holland Photography.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen August 31, 2010 at 10:10 am

Looks like such a fun, tasty, and friend filled event! Your pictures are stunning and so colorful :)


2 Rosa August 31, 2010 at 10:14 am

That is soooo great! Lucky girl.




3 Cara August 31, 2010 at 10:22 am

What a cool event! I think my favorite part is the prop room – what I wouldn’t give for one of those at home :)


4 Molly August 31, 2010 at 11:08 am

What a fantastic recap. It was such a great day, wasn’t it?! Loved meeting you!


5 Cookin' Canuck August 31, 2010 at 11:36 am

It looks as though you had a fantastic time, Marla! What adorable photos of you.


6 QuatroMama August 31, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Good times. Good times.

So thankful for the opportunity to meet you and get to know you better.

Love your site and philosophy and hope to come back often!



7 Priscilla - She's Cookin' August 31, 2010 at 12:51 pm

What a fantastic opportunity! I’m not much of a baker either – it was great you were able to do some savory dishes. Fantastic photos as always. Looking forward to learning from you during the panel session at BlogHer!


8 Faith August 31, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Looks like this was so much fun, Marla! I would love 5 minutes to poke around the prop room — that is my candy store! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The pumpkin cake is adorable.


9 Tricia @ {every}nothing wonderful August 31, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Marla – For some reason my blog won’t let me post comments on my own posts! LOL, oh well. Thank you for the kind comment, just the same.

By the way, every time I look at the “Big Brands” picture I think “Tiny Person!” – makes me giggle.


10 Marla August 31, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Tricia: I know, I thought that was so funny. I am so small, it was silly standing against that giant wall….makes me look extra, extra tiny.

Faith: When are we ever going to meet up for real? Yes, that prop room was spectacular.

Quatro Mama: It was awesome meeting you too. Your energy is amazing :)


11 Maria August 31, 2010 at 8:05 pm

What a fun trip! Love the photos of you! You are gorgeous my friend!


12 Juliana August 31, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Wow, such a fun event…great pictures!


13 Louise Mellor August 31, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Looks like you had a great time…good for you!


14 Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella August 31, 2010 at 11:33 pm

That event looks like so much fun! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ You guys must have had a ball! Thankyou for sharing it with us ๐Ÿ˜€


15 Kelly Lester August 31, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Looks like it was totally worth a few hours away from Telluride! Beautiful post Marla! And one of my first thoughts was how very fun that they gave everyone red aprons with their names on them, but then I realized it was actually a little fancy font magic on your part ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would have come home 10 pounds heavier. Who can resist this heavenly stuff???


16 FOODESSA September 1, 2010 at 5:26 am

Oh Marla…short of being envious of a French Polynesian vacation…I would have wanted to be right next to you in that fun event.
I’m thrilled that one of us has that type of invitation ;0) It’s so nice seeing how food brings so many people together in such an appealing environment.

Thanks for sharing…it’s ALMOST like being there.

Ciao for now,


17 FoodFitnessFreshair September 1, 2010 at 5:34 am

Ah this looks like so much fun!! It’s crazy how many events are being sponsored for the blog world. I love it!


18 Alison September 1, 2010 at 5:39 am

Great post! This looks like so much fun! You really know how to cover an event!


19 bellini valli September 1, 2010 at 6:00 am

Sounds like one of those experiences of a lifetime!!


20 lisaiscooking September 1, 2010 at 6:13 am

Sounds like a lot of fun! What a great event.


21 Lori @ RecipeGirl September 1, 2010 at 6:54 am

How fun! Looks like a calorie-filled day :)


22 Mary September 1, 2010 at 7:06 am

What a fantastic experience. I’m so glad you had a good time. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

P.S. You are right about the quinoa,


23 Heather (Heather's Dish) September 1, 2010 at 7:29 am

i am in love with the brownie bars…amazing! those would be perfect for a birthday party :)


24 Heavenly Housewife September 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Wow, I have to admit I am kind of jealous of this experience. It looks like soooo much fun. I love all the goodies you made.
*kisses* HH
p.s. cute apron :)
p.s.s. I’m feeling the cherios nose ring


25 Anna Johnston September 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm

What a fabulous experience, I love the props room.


26 Cooking with Coley September 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm

This looks so fun! What an honor to be invited.


27 Katie @ goodLife {eats} September 1, 2010 at 7:49 pm

You are so cute! This sounds like it was a really fun trip. And that prop room? WOULD GO NUTS FOR THAT! You’re going to be at BlogHer Food, right? I hope so…it will be great to finally meet. :)


28 Marla September 2, 2010 at 5:53 am

Katie: I am so excited to finally meet you at BlogHer Food!!

Grace & Joanne: So wish you gals were gonna join us in SF.

Sounds like we are all drooling over all the sweets & that AMAZING prop room. We can all dream together.


29 Joanne September 2, 2010 at 3:46 am

I love this review! Everything I’ve read about this event sounds like so much fun.

I didn’t know you were speaking at BlogHer Food! Now I wish I could go EVEN MORE. If that’s possible.


30 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking September 2, 2010 at 10:17 am

What an awesome opportunity, Marla! You looked so cute in your red apron, and thanks for sharing stories and photos from your incredible trip! Thanks also for hosting this giveaway… I’m going to go check it out now!


31 5 Star Foodie September 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm

What a fun event and I loved reading your recap of it! Excellent!


32 Angie September 3, 2010 at 7:19 am

What a fun trip! It looks like you guys had a blast! And the food looks amazing.


33 Cristina September 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Marla – what a fantastic opportunity. Looks like it was a lot of fun and great networking opptys with other great bloggers. Great pics to capture the event.


34 Jennifer (Savor) September 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Holy C***, I need to be there with you next time – it looks awesome AND you were with my buddy Amy from MomSpark


35 Marla September 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Jennifer: I do hope we can travel together & meet up at one of these fun events some day soon! Amy (MomSpark) is a great gal, it was awesome spending such a fun time with her.

I am glad you guys have enjoyed my re-cap on this super fun event!


36 A Canadian Foodie September 4, 2010 at 6:45 am

For year one of blogging – a little over – you have done amazingly well! This invitation – and the BlogHer panel! Bravo! The apron with your name on it was a super gift, too! What a fun weekend – but, I was laughing the entire time. Did you REALLY taste the sweets? I doubt it. I love that you went and learned and you were certainly diplomatic in writing about the “baking”… but, I am sad to see – that in this day and age with our focus on buying, shopping, cooking, and eating locally and healthily – that there wasn’t more of a focus on this there. The baking didn’t have to be so refined. It could have focused on good nutritious homemade baked snacks and family foods that YOU would actually make.
However, what a BLAST! The quintessential American Experience, for sure!


37 Barbara Bakes September 4, 2010 at 7:01 am

What a fun opportunity. I look forward to seeing you a Blogher Food.


38 Lynne @ CookandBeMerry September 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm

What a great adventure. Your story made me feel like I was there with you. It’s so much fun to meet other bloggers in person, and cook with them, too. I grew up in Minneapolis and that lake looks so Minnesota.


39 sippitysup September 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

Of course you had to be there! Red is your color!! GREG


40 Alta September 17, 2010 at 8:24 am

Wow this would be a fun time!


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