My trip to the 47th Pillsbury Bake Off started out beautifully! I got a free show on the plane and was able to watch the sunrise. Totally breathtaking! In that moment I felt so grateful to be where I was.
When I landed and checked my phone I got butterflies when I saw that Pillsbury was wishing me luck!
One thing I love about the Bake-Off is the way they treat the finalists. They really make each and every one of us feel special. These nice ladies were waiting for me at baggage claim and were ready to whisk me away to the Omni Hotel
I arrived around 8am, so my room wasn't ready yet. I checked my bags and went upstairs to the ballrooms to be nosy and see what was already set up for us. The wall of our recipes was up and I found mine hiding in there
One of the best things about this crazy hobby I have is the friends you make along the way. One of them is named Lauren as well and we met last year in Vegas for the Bake Off. We keep in touch on facebook, support each other in other contests and we each understand the crazy thought process and obsessions that are all a part of the recipe creating process.
I sent her a text as soon as I got there so we could meet for breakfast and we made our way to Kitchen Notes, the hotel restaurant and I was SO excited to try their Biscuit Bar! Three different flavored biscuits, jams, honey and butters galore
There were beautiful cheese platters, fruit platters and, of course, sausage gravy for the biscuits
We had fun catching up over breakfast and I was so glad to have a friend to share the excitement of the coming weekend with.
I finally got word that my room was ready and it was absolutely beautiful!! The TV was on and welcoming me when I opened the door, the bathroom was nicer than the one at my house, the closet lights come on when you open it and I had a King size bed that was all mine
When you check in with the Bake Off employees you are given a goodie bag loaded with all kinds of things from Pillsbury and their sponsor companies. Included in the bag was the "Big Book of Easy Baking" and guess what I found inside?!
My entry from last year!
I made my way downstairs for the Finalist meeting and Picture
It's always fun to walk into that room and see the Bake Off floor for the first time and I was happy to see so many familiar faces from last year's contest!
They wouldn't tell us the exact number but a fellow finalist did overhear a General Mills employee say that there were 65,000 entries this year. Isn't that crazy?!
I feel so lucky to have made it through the entire screening process and to have gotten a finalist spot two years in a row! After the meeting and pictures I headed to a Cocktail Hour that HEB invited me to
and then went to the Dinner Reception next door. It was absolutely beautiful! They had a band playing, cute string lights all over, a bar
a fried pickle station
the cutest little grilled pimento cheese sandwiches you ever did see
Shrimp and Grits Cakes
A gorgeous grilled veggie station
and the highlight of the night was the dessert drinks! Liquid Nitrogen was poured into mixers to create frozen Irish Cream that you could top with sparkling water, chocolate sauce, caramel and assorted toppings. It was absolutely delicious!!
Not ready for the night to end yet, a few of us headed down to the Hotel Lobby to have a drink and catch up. I got the Champagne Cobbler- a mix of raspberry vodka, muddled strawberries, lemon juice and a splash of Chandon Rose
It was the perfect way to end the night- a delicious drink, hilarious sweet friends and a toast to our big day to come!