A few weeks ago I gathered with a group of blogging friends for a weekend at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, UT. The purpose? To kick off our shoes and cozy up on the couches to learn from one another in an easy and relaxed setting. It’s the best way to conference in my book.

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Even with the constant drone of tweets, Instagrams and Facebook updates, not to mention our actual blog posts, you’d think we’d all be totally in tune with one another. But working in a virtual space makes it hard to connect with peers. While I could tell you a lot about what’s going on in each of my blogging friend’s lives, there’s nothing better than connecting in person.

Thats why Maria and I assembled a group of bloggers to spend the weekend at a lovely mountainside Deer Valley home where we could all hang together and talk about new ways to better our blogs, our businesses and share ways to find balance between work and our personal lives. Because when your business is on 24 hours a day, you have a tendency to be too.

Today I’m sharing some of the highlights of what I learned at the retreat with you. For my fellow food bloggers, I hope you’ll find it helpful. And for non-food bloggers, I think you’re going to love this Garlic and Herb Gnocchi Salad I’m sharing at the end of this post. It’s a win win either way!

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The Best Cheeseburger Soup

by heidi on November 4, 2014

Disclosure before we even get started: NO! I am not pregnant. But I know who is and this post is for her.

The Best Cheeseburger Soup on foodiecrush.com

Pregnancy brings with it lots of cravings. Weird cravings that run all across the bun-in-the-oven-baking map as noted on this amusing weird pregnancy craving list. And as nearly everyone on God’s green earth knows, at the top of that list is pickles. Pickles, that in a weird, roundabout way, was the craving that fueled my fire to create this recipe for the nearly-mom-to-be.

This recipe is part of a virtual baby shower for food blogger Jessica of How Sweet It Is, because as things go in bloggerland, we can’t always be with our bloggity pals in person to party hearty, but we do enjoy toasting to their victories and accomplishments. And there’s not much bigger accomplishment than becoming a parent.

Do I hear an, “Amen sistah!” or more appropriately, “Amen, Mama!”

So for Jessica’s soon-to-be-delivered bundle of joy, a group of bloggers are celebrating the way we do, by creating recipes for stuffing our faces. But today’s theme for Jessica’s baby shower isn’t your normal, everyday will it be blue or pink kind of shower. No, this shower is in the theme that is frequently shared on Jessica’s blog, in the name of getting “all-trashed up” where she takes the everyday recipe and really throws it for a loop to create something special. And usually adorned with neon or sprinkles.

The Best Cheeseburger Soup on foodiecrush.com

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Friday Faves

by heidi on October 31, 2014

Friday Faves Halloween

Happy Halloween friends of fright!

I hope you’ll be enjoying the day in the style it so deserves by oohing and ahhing at all of the cute little Elsa’s that scamper up to your door, scaring the crap out of the teenagers with 5 o’clock shadows in hopes of convincing them this should be their final trick or treat voyage, and relishing the smell of burning pumpkins as their candle light flickers come to an end.

I’ll be donning the wig up above as part of my Halloween outfit. What that is, I haven’t quite figured out yet. I just hope I don’t end up looking like my model come Saturday morning. Remember friends, it’s about moderation in all areas on Halloween. And can someone pass skeletor above an ultra rich deep conditioning treatment, PLEASE?

Have a great Friday and let’s get to this week’s Friday Faves…

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

by heidi on October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies on foodiecrush.com

My mom has a saying about cooking / eating / observing an overly ambitious amount of dinner table food. “This could feed an army!” is the exclamation I’ve heard from her more than once in my life. It’s her way of noting how lucky we are, to live and enjoy such bounty with our family and friends. 

It happens most every year when we cook to excess at Thanksgiving, or when I get a wild hair and decide I need to add just a bit more to the BBQ with a few more side dishes, plus another dessert, and oh heck, why not have hot dogs PLUS hamburgers. Just so nobody goes hungry.

These pillowy, cakey, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies fit that bill. This recipe is perfect. Especially if you’re baking for a crowd. Like for my mom’s invisible army. Or better yet, for a party! Now, that’s an idea I can get behind. Or better yet, I’ll lead the charge.

So hop to it soldier (I’m looking at you, mom), and let’s get this cookie baking party started.

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Easy Lemon Orzo Faux Risotto

by heidi on October 28, 2014

Easy Lemon Orzo Faux Risotto is less fussy than the traditional version #recipe on foodiecrush.com

Say it ain’t faux! Yes it is! Faux ri-soh-tto to be exact.

I’m a big believer in real stuff. Real butter. Check. Real friends. They’re the only kind. Real flowers instead of fake? Always.

So why go faux with risotto?

1.  In my humble cooking opinion, using orzo makes this recipe a whole lot less temperamental to cook. Traditional risotto takes a lot of hand holding—and constant stirring—to ensure success. Orzo is a bit more forgiving.

2. This orzo is organic AND whole wheat — healthy carbs rejoice!

3. I make it often because it cooks up in just 30 minutes and can be served as a main dish, or served as a side. It’s flexible like that. And one of my pantry staples.

Here’s why… 

Easy Lemon Orzo Faux Risotto is less fussy than the traditional version #recipe on foodiecrush.com

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