This, my friends, is a very delicious smoothie bowl. Mango makes up the base, followed by sweet blueberries and tangy raspberries. Then you add nut butter and this collagen beauty greens blend from Vital Proteins (any mild vegan protein or greens powder with vanilla flavor works too). I like to add hemp hearts, plant milk, vanilla and a drizzle of honey. Occasionally I’ll add maca for an energy boost.
This recipe was born out of a very special retreat. At the tail-end of July, Amanda Paa (Heartbeet Kitchen) and Sherrie Castellano (With Food + Love) invited me, Alanna (The Bojon Gourmet), Sarah (Snixy Kitchen), Shelly (Vegetarian Ventures), Liz (Floating Kitchen), Emilie (The Clever Carrot), Jamie (Holly & Flora), and Kristin (The Broken Bread) out to Minneapolis. Why? To eat tons of gluten free, vegetarian food, of course!
And to explore our friendships in person. That, more than anything else.
The recipe for this smoothie is below. Keep scrolling beyond the recipe for the whole event recap + feels + more photos.
We all knew this event had amazing potential. 10 uniquely talented, ambitious women flying from all over the country to commune and create? It was bound to be good.
But none of us knew how great it would be.
No, not just great. Transformative.
Not just transformative. Magical.
Do I use that word too much on this blog? Do you care?
IT WAS WIZARDLY.
I’m reading a lot of Harry Potter right now forgive me.
We crushed cases of La Croix.
We scarfed boats of hummus and troughs of beet-deviled eggs. We moaned collectively over gluten free tempura squash blossom tacos filled with queso fundido, drizzled with salsa rojo and chimichurri.
We sulked over not having enough time to grab Minneapolis’ famous vegan coconut soft serve (apparently served with gf waffle cones).
Yes, we ate and ate and ate. We ate until our limbs were filled with a magnificent warmth. A sort of food-induced falling-in-love that makes the tips of your fingers tingle, that slows your heart rate, that makes everything you look at seem lovely and easy.
We also shot thousands of photos together. Mostly of food elaborately arranged on artfully painted boards. We shot pictures of smoothie bowls. And pictures of each other laughing over how insanely fantastic the cereal-based treats we made in the Official Betty Crocker Kitchens turned out (more on that in a minute).
We shared tips, tricks, strategy. We talked shop. We got deep. We shared things about our work lives that you just can’t google you guys. It was enlightening, empowering, freeing.
I should probably also mention that this event was particularly powerful because, as full time food bloggers, we work in almost complete isolation. Most of the time.
I love my job, I love blogging. But there’s no denying. Being isolated is the shit sandwich of freelancing, blogging included.
So to sit in a room with these women… to look each other in the eyes with a “damn you’re a great human” kind of grin stretching across your faces. To be in the presence of these people who are really making it work. It was such a privilege and honor.
Flew in, got picked up by Amanda. I knew it was her because I saw her brilliant, cheshire-cat-like-grin through the van windshield from 30 feet away.
Got to the air b n b house and was greeted with snacks and Strawberry French 75 cocktails. The spread included Amanda’s beet-deviled eggs (she used pasture-raised Vital Farms eggs, one of our sponsors). And a gorgeous, sea of swirling hummus topped with Now Foods seed mix (also a sponsor).
Once everyone arrived, we eased our travel weary heads with a pre-dinner cocktail session hosted by Erik of Easy & Oskey Bitters. That green cocktail above is made with his sugar snap-pea infused gin. Surprisingly delicious, sweet and herbaceous.
After that we sank our teeth into a six-course dinner at St. Dinette. The chef prepared an amazingly creative dinner for us, including a chilled melon soup with basil oil and that squash blossom taco I mentioned earlier. My normal dairy-free rules were totally out the window. When in Rome, you eat hand-churned peanut butter ice cream with whipped cream and cocktail cherries 😉
We took a brief tour around General Mills headquarters. A huge facility, it looks more like a San Francisco think tank than what I would expect from a company founded on cereal. There was a cheerio themed zen garden.
In the GM headquarters lives the Betty Crocker Kitchen. This place is a dream. It’s where their official recipe testers do their work (and you betcha they were all holding it down with some solid, fluffy, midwestern mom-hair).
Once in the test kitchen, GM had us all break off into pairs to come up with and bake / make a recipe in an hour. The only stipulation: use a General Mills cereal. Every other ingredient you could possibly imagine was provided.
Oh, wait, I know. You’re confused. General Mills??? WHAT?! BETTYCROCKERWAITRENEEAREYOUONDRUGS?
But then I got schooled on how their cereals are all now free of artificial dyes (except for Lucky Charms, they’re still working on that one). All of their cereals now have a grain as the primary ingredient, not sugar. They’re reducing their water consumption and making more sustainable choices.
It’s not perfect. But I would actually put TRIX in my mouth now.
So, of course, after learning all of that… I couldn’t resist using TRIX in my challenge. TRIX is pure childhood nostalgia for me.
(Not that my mom EVER let it in the house. Idk how I got my hands on it.)
It must have been fate. Because Emilie and I paired up and we were thinking exactly the same thing. “Break the TRIX up into the different colors and grind them into a flour for …. something.”
That something ended up being a riff on Italian Rainbow Cake. Made with coconut oil, eggs, sugar, a splash of almond milk, gluten free flour, the different TRIX cereal colors ground into flour, vanilla, and baking powder. We barely got it all baked off before we had to go. We let the layers cool than stacked them with marmalade spread between the layers and a crescent of TRIX on top.
Crowning. Achievement. Award.
Look at our happy freakin faces! We were shocked it even worked.
And it tasted like Trix Vanilla Clouds.
Do you want a recipe for that bad boy? Because I could make that happen.
Huge thank you to General Mills for partnering with us and sponsoring this amazing event!
After GM & the kitchen adventures, we ate gf ‘za slices at Pizzeria Lola. And then went to Willful Goods and made flower crowns together! Willful’s products are quirky, bright and feminine. As you can see, most of the products are kitchen goods and planters dipped in colorful rubber. The photos above are from the owners shop in St. Paul.
Dinner that night was grain bowls prepped by Sherrie & Amanda. I used tons of Now Foods nuts and seeds for crunch. And I’m super stoked about Bob’s Red Mills sorghum (also a sponsor). Sherrie prepped it like couscous, which is just brilliant!
Thanks to Jered’s Pottery for the matte plates and bowls we used for styling!
I led a yoga sequence early in the AM. It was such a dream, looking out over the lake outside of our Air B n B, going through a flow.
We spent most of breakfast prepping toast plates with Vital Farms Eggs and Udi’s bread (thanks Udis!). And we also made smoothie bowls. I made mine with Vital Proteins Beauty Greens supplement, which is a really dreamy marine-based collagen supplement. It tastes like vanilla and coconut and also has wheatgrass and coconut water in it.
It’s not vegan, as it’s made with wild caught snapper. I personally have no problem with this, as I eat seafood very occasionally (like once a month). Vital Proteins is our official sponsor, and really made this event possible. So thank you to Vital Proteins!
In the evening we had a La Croix mocktail hour. We dabbled in blending teas, shrubs and tonics to make our own flavor bombs. I am officially obsessed with Passionfruit La Croix (I currently have two cases on hand at all times).
We topped it all off with a five course v/gf dinner from Create Caters, prepped and served in our air b n b. A part of me wishes I’d photographed absolutely everything. It was all so beautiful, so wonderfully composed.
But another part of me is glad I was present, turned off my phone and set my camera aside. It was a peak moment for all of us, I think. Eating this incredible plant-based food. Sitting around a table together, starry eyed one moment and laughing uncontrollably at poop jokes the next. Truly, a boss babe fest to behold. Thank you to our special partner LaCroix Water for making that dinner + mocktail hour happen!
Thanks to all of our amazing sponsors!
Vital Proteins — Official Sponsor
And huge shout out to all of these brands who generously donated their wares to us:
Big Spoon Roasters (best small batch nut butter ever!)
Mademoiselle Miel (amazing small batch chocolatier with mind blowing maple white chocolate)
My Encha (legitimately the best matcha I’ve ever had)
A Heirloom (incredible hand made cake stands!)
Jered’s Pottery (beautiful hand-made matte ceramics)
Fauxgerty (plant-positive swag!)
Ok if you’ve read this far you probably actually went to the retreat. So hi. I love you. Let’s be friends forever?