I had the honor of attending the DOLE Packaged Foods Summit this year! I’ve been working with Dole fresh for a couple of years now, and I’m really exciting to be working with Dole packaged as well. Dole packaged foods consists of frozen, canned, and other shelf stable items that make healthy eating on the go and in a hurry, simple and easy! I am loving some of their new products and can’t wait to share them with you below!
All of the bloggers met at Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, California for a fun night of drinks and ton of food! Chef Ben Ford welcomed us to his fabulous restaurant with an endless amount of hors d’oeuvres!
Mixologist, Jordan from This Girl Walks Into A Bar created the perfect cocktails for our evening in Culver City. Each drink recipe was created with one DOLE packaged item! Her Pineapple Island Cocktail had DOLE Frozen Pineapple Chunks in place of ice for a sweet cooling addition to the drink. The Blueberry Vista Champagne Cocktail also had the addition of DOLE Frozen Blueberries at the bottom, and the Summer Golden Cocktail had delicious DOLE Pineapple Juice!
From left: Katie from Once A Month Meals, Nikki of Seeded at the Table, Chef Ben Ford, Ally from Ally’s Kitchen, Amelia of Eating Made Easy.
Of course I made some of the girls pose for ridiculous pictures haha. Instant friends! Katie from Once A Month Meals, Pattie of Living Mi Vida Loca, Chrystal from Duo Dishes, Nikki of Seeded at the Table and I!
Typical blogger summits equals everyone on social media at all times! #working
I love seeing other bloggers in their element! Pattie from Living Mi Vida Loca was so fun to watch, she is brilliant at arranging food for photographs!
I love hearing how everyone started their blogs! The best part of blogger summits for me is meeting everyone and hearing their personal stories. Some people started their blogs because they went to culinary school, some started because they were diagnosed with food allergies and restrictions, some are simply passionate about cooking, and some like me, started their blog because they lost weight! Each blogger at the summit brought a different strength to the group which was so fun to see.
Ally of Ally’s Kitchen was the winner of the 2013 DOLE California Cookoff recipe contest! She describes her style as “bohemian bold” and “peasant chic!” Loves her! Too cute!
Meet the bloggers!
Amelia: Eating Made Easy
Pattie: Living Mi Vida Loca
Ally: Ally’s Kitchen
Katie: Once A Month Meals
Kristy: The Wicked Noodle
Leslie: Hungry Housewife
Amy: Super Healthy Kids
Nikki: Seeded at the Table
Chrystal: Duo Dishes
Sara: Average Betty
After a fun night at Ford’s Filling Station, we headed to the Four Seasons – Westlake Village to check in and rest up for the big day ahead.
We woke up bright and early and headed across the street to the Dole headquarters, which is conveniently located just feet across the street from the Four Seasons.
Inside the DOLE headquarters there is a huge mural of fruits and vegetables in the heart of the building.
We had the pleasure of meeting Brad Bartlett, President of Dole Packaged Foods! He joined us for breakfast and the rat of the day at DOLE!
We ate breakfast outside and then gathered in the official DOLE test kitchen! This is where all of the DOLE recipes are made and well… tested!
I love bloggers, we are always on our phones social media-ing it up haha. I had to get a photo of this moment when we were literally all on Instagram sharing the new DOLE products with our followers!
One of my fav new DOLE products is DOLE Fruit Squich’ems. Applesauce may seem like a kid’s snack, but these are AWESOME. The BPA free squeeze pack is portable, mess free, and designed so you don’t need a spoon! The produce in DOLE Fruit Squish’ems use a rapid heating and cooling technique made by scientists at North Carolina State. This process kills microbes within 80 seconds which retains 90% of the original vitamins and nutrients versus other processes that have to heat produce for 15 minutes which lowers nutrients and alters taste. This is a brand new technology that doesn’t exist in any products in a grocery store besides these! DOLE wants their products to have the least amount of processing as possible while making it safe to consume from the shelf.
Another favorite product is the new DOLE Shakers. A.K.A. the blender-less smoothie! You may have seen tehese in the frozen fruit aisle of your grocery store, but these are the new and improved Shakers – now with Greek yogurt AND vegetables! As you guys know, I’m addicted to smoothies, especially smoothies with veggies added in! This is a suer convenient way to get a serving of fruit, veggies, and protein rich greek yogurt when you’re on the go and don’t have time to use your blender! All you do is fill it with your juice of choice, shake shake shake, and you have a perfectly blended fruit & veggie smoothie!
Inside of the Shakers are tiny frozen beads of pre-blended fruits, veggies, and Greek yogurt, kind of like Dippin’ Dots! Since I have a severe berry allergy, I was SOOO happy to find a flavor that I could enjoy! I’m obsessed with the new Pineapple and Mango flavor, which also includes sweet potato and carrots!
We all filled our Shakers with DOLE Pineapple Juice, but I actually love using fresh orange juice in mine!
Amelia and Kristy shaking it up!
Another new product that I was super stoked about are the DOLE Fruit & Oatmeal instant oatmeal cups! Unlike other instant oatmeals that contain dehydrated fruit, these come with fruit packed in 100% fruit juice on top! After heating the oatmeal mixture with water, you pour the fresh fruit and juice into the cup and stir it in!
Have you ever wondered why DOLE Pineapple Juice is in a can and never a plastic bottle? I have! and I learned why at the DOLE Summit! DOLE stores their Pineapple Juice in a can to avoid exposure from light which alters the color os fresh juices. Look at a competitor’s pineapple juice on the left and the fresh DOLE Pineapple Juice on the right! the other brand looks like apple juice!
A very very exciting announcement: Dole is coming out with DOLE Garden Soups! They have short ingredient lists and are made with natural ingredients! We got to sample the Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil soup, and it was to die for. I’m a HUGE fan of tomato soup, and this flavor did not let me down! I cannot wait for these to hit the shelves.
I had no idea until the summit, but Dole acquired one of my favorite snack companies Mrs. May’s! I used to be addicted to their Cashew Crunch!
The Mrs. May’s Crispy Veggie Chips are so good. They’re unlike any “vegetable chips” I’ve had before. They’re made from real vegetables, not vegetable blends, and they’re perfect seasoned and crunchy! We ate the entire bag by the end of the presentation haha.
After sampling all of the new DOLE packaged foods products in the test kitchen, we all headed to the DOLE cafeteria for lunch. Their cafeteria is really incredible. It’s the healthiest corporate cafeteria I’ve ever been to – everything is made to order, and nothing is pre-made. There were tons of vegetarian and vegan options, and an abundance of fresh produce. If I worked at DOLE HQ, I would never eat anywhere else. Wait until you see my veggie wrap from lunch, you will agree!
Veggie wrap with hummus, roasted red bell peppers, spinach, chopped tomatoes, avocado, and shredded mozzarella wrapped up in a sundries tomato tortilla and lightly grilled in a panini press.
After lunch, we walked back across the street to our hotel for some R&R, and I mean real R&R! The DOLE team treated us to spa treatments at the hotel. It was such a dream, and I am so spoiled from the realizing massage.
Once we all finished our spa treatments, we walked down the street to Lure Fish House where they had a special menu prepared for our DOLE Blogger Summit.
I had the most incredible Organic Tuscan Kale Salad. Chopped raw kale mixed with carrots, quinoa, wild rice, red peppers, green onion, and red grapes. Mixed in shaved parmesan and toasted sunflower seeds and tossed with a citrus champagne vinaigrette. Still drooling over here!
The best part of blogger summits is the ridiculous amount of food photos that we all take, and we all understand. We will literally let our food get cold until we get “the perfect shot.” My family usually tells me to put my phone away, but these ladies get it! I also love the amount of selfies that went on during the summit! Katie and Ally to “selfie” to a whole new level! So cute!
Halfway through dinner, I looked over to see Pattie staging a photo of her dinner with candles from the table for lighting! Amaze!
I have to say that Day 3 was my favorite day of the summit! We met at the California Health & Longevity Institute Wellness Kitchen where Paulette Lambert, R.D., CDE prepared us breakfast made from DOLE packaged products! The Wellness Kitchen is absolutely stunning. I’ve decided that I NEED a chandelier in my kitchen ASAP! How stunning is the light? Swoon.
Breakfast consisted of a Detox Smoothie, Almond Date Energy Bars, Blintze Soufflé, and Spiced Quinoa Breakfast Porridge.
The Almond Date Energy Bars were my absolute favorite. I will share the recipe with you guys so you can make them too!
After breakfast we took a walk to the California Health & Longevity Institute while Miss Ally prepared for her cooking demo!
Ally is a total rockstar in the kitchen! She cooked up a gorgeous DOLE Jerusalem Fruit Tabouleh.
Kristy photographing Ally’s dish!
Next up we watched Paulette Lambert, R.D., CDE cook our lunch. I LOVE LOVE LOVED watching and listening to Paulette talk about each ingredient she used and WHY she used it! When I make recipes with kind of funky ingredients, I love sharing why that certain food is good for you and how it benefits your health, and that is exactly how Paulette cooks as well! I was mesmerized watching her chop and cook 5 dishes at the same time!
As Paulette cooked, we sipped on Pineapple Apricot Bellinis!
Loved seeing a Vitamix in the Wellness Kitchen!
Below are the finished lunch dishes by Paulette Lambert, R.D., CDE! Recipes to each dish are coming to you this week! Check back each day for a new DOLE recipe from the summit!
Gingered Carrot & Orange Soup
Beet & Mandarin Orange Salad
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice with Crispy Tofu
Dark Cherry Buttermilk Cake
Saying good bye to everyone from the DOLE Summit was so hard! I just adored all of the bloggers and am crossing my fingers that I see some of the girls at the Dole Cookoff in Santa Monica! Have any of you bunnies submitted a recipe for the contest?! The grand prize is $25,000!
Stay tuned all week long as I post recipes from the DOLE Summit!
Health & Happiness
Disclaimer: Dole Summit was a sponsored event. All opinions expressed here are my own.