Orlando Food Blogger Forum-

One of my favorite things since I’ve started in the catering business is when I actually get to be a guest at an event! This weekend I am attending my first blogger conference right in my own backyard!  Work backyard that is- The conference is being held right at Epcot.

I took a walk early one morning to grab a shot of the Food Blogger Forum venue in the break of dawn.

The unique part is that I while I was signing up for this talent loaded conference put together by amazing bloggers, I have also have been working on planning the events from an operational stand point.  And I have been getting sooo excited because our teams are really pushing boundaries to give the bloggers an awesome experience.  We, as chefs and caterers love when our guests are equally as passionate about food and beverage, and never want to disappoint!

Inside these doors is where the Magic happens!

Our teams spend weeks planning events, looking at guest flow, station designs and looks, as well as the food presentations, and that’s just some of the details.  We dream big- and consider what a right fit for each event and what we can do operationally.  Our teams are numerous and it is quite a feat to keep everyone on the same beat.  

Logistics!

 

Creativity is quite important!

My favorite events to help plan are the functions with high detail- whether it’s a dinner for 5000 people in a theme park with numerous action stations, off premise kitchens and only an hour to set, or a more intimate dinner with a highly creative menu and room set up.  The adrenaline rush that comes from pulling off these events is what I love about catering.

Mornings at Epcot are so gorgeous!

Planning events are pretty awesome, it is great having the ability to sit down with such a creative team and bounce ideas until something sticks. Those planning meeting are definitely my favorite!  They certainly can go on for hours, and sometimes we have to walk away because we have hit a brick wall.  I told a friend recently, that it is embarassing how much I love my job, but it is true.

What great timing -The Flower and Garden Festival is going on too!

And now, after weeks of planning the events of the food blogger conference, I am hanging up my chef hat and putting on my guest hat!  I am definitely going to soak it all in and I can’t wait to experience the magic first hand!

SOOOO Glad I am on my "Lent Mulligan" this weekend- these desserts and pastries are going to be awesome!

In a few minutes the quiet of the day will be gone- So pretty!

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Chocolate Ginger Cookies- The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I was so excited to participate in the first ever Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen.  It was fairly simple, I made and sent a dozen cookies to three participants and three other food bloggers sent a dozen to me!  Pretty easy, once I was finally able to decide on which cookies to send!!   Convinced by Sir Wes, I picked his favorite, Martha Stewart’s Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookie, these little guys have a lot of punch and are delicious! 

The kick in these cookies warm you up!

 They don’t last long in our house!!  If you prefer a lighter ginger flavor, you can cut the fresh ginger by half!

Chocolate Ginger Cookies Mise En Place!

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (cut by half if you want a mild ginger kick)
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

    Little Balls of Dough, dropped in sugar before baking.

Directions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Warm and Decadent! Packed with Punch!

We look forward to these cookies all year! 

Sir Wes says these cookies "Have moves like Jagger!"

To ship cookies, check out this link, which offers great tips to keep your little gems safe and sound.  I packed up my cookies with plenty of cushion, using tissue paper and filler from the paper shredder. 

Ready to be shipped across the country!

Many thanks to Lindsay and Julie, the hosts of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, who spent many hours orchestrating  food bloggers across the world!!!  I hope  Also, the cookies I received from Kate, Eleana and Mackenzie were sinfully delicious, just amazing!!  If you would like to partipate next year in the swap, sign up for notifications here!

Let the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies begin!!!!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011!! Woot Woot!!

Woooooooo…..Cookie Girls look out…..

1st one ever and I am pretty happy to participate!  Many thanks to Lindsay at Love and Olive oil and Julie at The Little Kitchen

Here is the low down from the talented and dedicated organizers!

The premise is this: sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next years’ cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Want to join in the fun?

Sign up now!

Sign ups are open through Friday, November 18th. Matches will be emailed to you on Monday the 21st, and we ask that you please get your cookies in the mail no later than December 5th. Blog posts with your cookie recipes should be written and ready for publication on December 12th. Julie and I will be posting a full round-up of all the participating bloggers and their cookie recipes shortly thereafter. Please note these deadlines and make sure you are able to meet them before signing up. We have no tolerance for flakes or no-shows in this swap.

Currently this swap is open to US and Canadian food bloggers, but we are willing to open it up to bloggers in other countries, as long as you can convince at least 4 bloggers from that country to sign up. Email us if you’d like to add yours.. We will do our best to match folks with others in the same country to keep shipping costs reasonable.

Follow the links to learn more and sign up- Maybe your cookies will end up in my mailbox!!  Waiting for the tummy aches!

Happy Baking!