Food and Wine Conference Recap #FWCon

Food and Wine Conference Recap #FWCon

Rosen Shingle CreekLast month I had the pleasure of attending the Food and Wine Conference held at the gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek Spa and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida. A conference for food bloggers, the Food and Wine Conference was packed full of good eats, excellent workshops and of course, wine. There was a lot of wine. My kind of conference for sure!

Food and Wine ConferenceAt the beginning of the conference the tone was set when attendees found a chocolate high heeled shoe filled with macarons which was delivered to our rooms. The conference founder, Isabel from Family Foodie, made each of us feel welcomed AND pampered throughout our stay. The chocolate shoe was just the beginning of a rather decadent weekend!

Dixie Crystals Sugar ScrubsContinuing with the sweet theme, the conference started with a welcome reception which included an opportunity for attendees to create sugar scrubs using one of the conference sponsors, Dixie Crystals, product to make several different types of sugar scrubs which smelled divine. I especially enjoyed making the chocolate foot scrub. Because every day should start with a chocolate exfoliation!

Strawberry MartiniAnd then we moved on to cocktails because that’s what receptions are for, right? Actually, my favorite cocktail of the entire conference was during the opening reception. The Florida Strawberry Growers Association in conjunction with St. Augustine Distillery created a killer Strawberry Shortcake cocktail. It was sinfully delicious. I wish I had the presence of mind to get the recipe!

Certified Angus Beef
Cabot Cheese Wine PairingBesides enjoying wonderful cocktails, we actually had workshops and opportunities to learn from industry experts. One of my favorite sessions was the meat carving session which was sponsored by Certified Angus Beef. I’m not particularly good at cutting steaks and it’s a skill I’ve wanted to learn as it’s cheaper to buy steaks in bulk and cut them yourself. And after the meat cutting session, I feel much more knowledgeable about how to cut my own steaks. Awesome!

Cabot Cheese and Hess Select Wines offered a cheese and wine pairing seminar which was educational and delicious! We learned about which cheese paired with which wine and why. An entirely fascinating workshop which will come in very handy when I entertain in the future!

Certified Angus BeefWe also had a meal featuring beef that was pretty epic. We sat in large groups as to create a Sunday Supper atmosphere which is what Isabel is famous for promoting. And honestly, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to attend this conference. I love her message on the importance of families gathering around the kitchen table to share a meal together. It’s something that I’ve taught my children as well.

Supporting a conference that speaks to that meant a lot to me and I’m really glad I had the chance to attend. It was so much fun spending time with my peers, many of which are my friends. It was a conference I won’t soon forget.

Idaho Potato PoutineAnother thing I won’t soon forget was the Idaho Potato Poutine luncheon. Poutine stations were set up all over the ballroom with different Idaho Potato Poutine creations. Every single one of them delicious, but I think my favorite was the beef short rib poutine. I’ll be dreaming about that until I recreate it in my own kitchen. It’s on my shortlist of things to do.

If you’re a blogger and considering which food blogging conferences to go to next year, I highly suggest the Food and Wine Conference. You’ll learn so much and the community will make you feel so welcome. It’s a fine choice for beginners and veterans alike as we all can learn something new from our peers no matter where we are in our blogging journey!

Chicken Marsala Lasagna

Chicken Marsala Lasagna


Chicken Marsala LasagnaAs a new transplant to the state of Maryland, my choices for grocers changed from what I was familiar with in Massachusetts. Food Lion, which is one of the closest choices in my new hometown, was a natural choice because it’s one of the larger stores in the area.

So when Food Lion reached out to me to work with them on a recipe post, I was pretty excited! If you visit the Food Lion website, you’ll find all kinds of useful resources. Weekly specials, coupons and information on your favorite brands, Food Lion’s website is a great resource for anyone who cooks. Or eats for that matter.

As I was cruising around the site, I was impressed by how everything was so user friendly. I was even able to download coupons directly to my Food Lion MVP card. Sweet!

But one of my favorite features is their recipe portal. If you are in need of mealtime inspiration, the recipe portal is a real help. Customers can submit their favorite recipes for all to enjoy and those that try the recipes can rate them. Even though I write about food for a living, even I can use inspiration now and again. The dinnertime rut is a real thing. And when the tried and true turns to boredom, inspiration is a welcome thing!

For my contribution to the Food Lion recipe portal, I created a Chicken Marsala Lasagna. Sautéed mushrooms, pan seared chicken breasts, fresh spinach with garlic and of course ricotta cheese and pasta all baked together into a bubbly cheesy extravaganza. If you like Chicken Marsala, you will love this!

Chicken Marsala Lasagna

Chicken Marsala Lasagna

Chicken Marsala Lasagna

Chicken Marsala Lasagna

Chicken Marsala LasagnaFor recipe instructions for this Chicken Marsala Lasagna, be sure to check it out on the Food Lion website. And while you’re there, poke around and see the other recipes that customers have submitted. There’s all kinds of good stuff like sides, main dishes and some pretty luscious looking desserts. And if you have a family favorite, you too can share it with the Food Lion community. Because everyone can use a little mealtime help now and again!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Chesapeake Crab Melt

Chesapeake Crab Melt

Chesapeake Crab Melt

Continuing along on my quest to take advantage of local seafood, I have yet another seafood recipe to tantalize you with today. If you found the Ultimate Party Crab Bites, Hot Havarti Dill Crab Dip and the rather decadent Lobster Poutine a little too much work, I have a rather simple to make Chesapeake Crab Melt that requires minimal effort but has maximum crabby flavor. For this recipe I'm using the Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe which Cuisinart so graciously sent for my review. I've been wanting … [Continue reading...]

Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon Dressing #Pastapalooza

Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon Dressing #Pastapalooza

Dreamfields Pasta

I try to eat healthy as often as possible. And while I'd like to make healthier choices, I'd still like to enjoy some of my favorite foods. Pasta is the perfect example. It's something that I really don't want to cut out of my diet if I don't have to. That's why I enjoy cooking with Dreamfields Pasta. With 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving, it’s an easy way to add nutrition to your diet. And it tastes great, bonus! Dreamfields is celebrating the fifth anniversary of their … [Continue reading...]

Moroccan Flank Steak with Blistered Peppers #FWCon #GrillTalk

Moroccan Flank Steak with Blistered Peppers #FWCon #GrillTalk

Moroccan Steak with Blistered Peppers

After a long harsh New England winter, this mama was happy to dig out her grill. Blissfully happy. Never mind that it's perpetually 90 degrees plus every single day here in my new home state of Maryland. Never mind that I won't have a nice hair day again until fall. Never you mind because I am NOT shoveling umpteen feet of snow anymore in Massachusetts. Can I get an amen? Bring it summer. Bring your hot sticky days and I will meet you tongs in hand with a bag of charcoal briquettes and a big … [Continue reading...]

Mexican Arancini #FWCon #WisconsinCheese

Mexican Arancini #FWCon #WisconsinCheese

Mexican Arancini

Hot melty cheese is a decadent thing, isn't it? Oh how I love it. So when I heard that the Food and Wine Conference partnered with Wisconsin Cheese to offer a recipe contest for attendees, I was all in. A chance to win my travel and conference fees covered? That's something worth winning. Not to mention the free cheese for the winners. Free cheese = happiness. And can I tell you how excited I am to attend this conference? It's coming up in a jiffy. July 17-19 to be exact. The deadline to … [Continue reading...]

Roast Chicken with Prosecco Herb Sauce

Roast Chicken with Prosecco Herb Sauce

Roast Chicken with Prosecco Herb Sauce

Oh do I have something special for you today. I'm giddy over it. Are you in a dinner rut? Having a hard time finding something that satisfies everyone in the family? That can be a struggle over here too. With four kids, no one seems to agree on a meal ever. Except last night. Everyone in the family agreed that last night's dinner was da bomb. And that my friends is something worth writing about! Chicken is a weeknight dinner staple, but coming up with new and interesting ways of serving it … [Continue reading...]

Crunchy Polynesian Salad

Crunchy Polynesian Salad

Crunchy Polynesian Salad

Ramen noodle salads are all the rage right now and for good reason. The crunchy noodles make salads so much more interesting! They're fun to look at and even more fun to eat. Crowd pleasers for sure! Today I'm going to toss my own version into the ramen salad ring and if you're a macadamia nut lover, you're going to go bonkers over this. Crunchy Polynesian Salad. Toasted ramen noodles, roasted macadamia nuts and grilled pineapple come together to totally elevate your salad game. Crunchy, … [Continue reading...]

Food and Wine Conference 2015 #FWCon

Food and Wine Conference 2015 #FWCon

Food and Wine Conference 2015

Coming up this July 17-19, 2015 is the annual Food and Wine Conference which is being held at the lovely Rosen Shingle Creek Resort and Spa in sunny Orlando. To say that I'm excited about this conference would be a huge understatement. For years now I've been following the Sunday Supper movement which is the organization behind the conference. The founder of the Sunday Supper movement, Isabel Laessig, is a fellow blogger who's passionate about gathering the family around the dining table. … [Continue reading...]

Hot Havarti Dill Crab Dip with Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits

Hot Havarti Dill Crab Dip with Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits

havarti crab dip

Upon moving to Maryland I absolutely had to find local restaurants offering crab anything. Steamed crabs, crab cakes, crab stuffed anything and my most favorite appetizer of all time, hot melty cheesy crab dip. Yup, I was on a crab mission. And not surprisingly, crab isn't hard to find here. Just about every restaurant offers some type of crab specialty. At first I was aghast at how pricey crab dishes are here. Crab dishes are not for the budget conscious. But after enjoying an all you can … [Continue reading...]