Dole Healthy Lifestyle Blogger Summit, Day 1

The theme of this post is: Better late than never.

I attended this Dole Summit in Westlake, California two weeks ago, which I’m sure is no surprise to you if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I was a social media machine, I tell ya.

After settling in the gorgeous Four Seasons Resort, I had some lunch and got some bloggy stuff done before the night’s festivities started.

mini crab cakes

We met in a room downstairs at the Four Seasons with plenty of snacks to nosh on, including this crab cakes.

hummus and crackers

Hummus, chips, veggies, and libations kept us busy munching and sipping when we weren’t greeting the rest of the summit attendees.

mingling at the Dole Summit

We immediately started making friends with the other attendees and the folks from Dole.

For most of you who don’t know about the Dole Summit (at least, I didn’t until they invited me), the Summit takes place every year and is made up of roughly 8-10 bloggers from all over the country, plus some brand reps from Dole company partnerships, guest speakers, and even a couple of Registered Dietitians.

It’s not a conference, but a group of like-minded bloggers put together in an intimate setting to learn about Dole, their products, and who they are as a company.

After the meet-and-greet, we were broken up into teams to participate in a cook-off.  After my recent success in a similar cookoff, I was excited about this part of the evening.

I was paired with Erin from Well in L.A. and we got started immediately brainstorming our idea for an appetizer, which we were assigned to make along with a bag of fresh broccoli and parmesan cheese.

Brainstorming before the cookoff, Dole Summit

There was a lot of brainstorming going on in the kitchen.

After participating in two of these types of events, I have to say that the make it or break it point happens in the first five minutes of collaborating with your partner.  I have been so lucky in the past that my partner(s) and I have meshed so well.  The kind of meshing when you’re all on the same page and every idea thrown out is further elaborated on by a complimentary idea rather then “eh, I dont know…”.

Seriously. It can totally make you or break you in these competitions.

The winning appetizer -- mini quiches

Erin and I immediately decided on a quiche using the broccoli and parmesan cheese, then somehow the idea of sundried tomatoes got thrown in.  Erin had the wonderful idea to make the crust from ground walnuts. And because we only had 30 minutes from start to finish including brainstorming and plating, we decided to make mini quiche to minimize the cooking time.

As you can see, they didn’t come out exactly picture perfect.  In fact, I want to send out a big I’M SO SORRY to the person who had to clean the oven we used.  Our muffins tins over runneth and there was egg all over the bottom of the oven.  But miraculously, the mini quiches were completely cooked just seconds before the 30 minute mark, leaving us about five seconds to plate our quiches and run to the judging table to present our dish.

Cookoff, Dole Summit

There was some steep competition including some beautiful stuffed pineapples, but luckily we were only up against the other team that was assigned appetizers and given the same ingredients to work with as us.

Mini Quiche with Broccoli and Parmesan Cheese

The competition was fierce but our little ugly mini quiches got the winning vote by the judges.  I’m sorry, but I have no recipe to share.  Erin and I didn’t write a thing down, but if I get enough requests, I might consider remaking the recipe to share. 😉

After the winners were announced, we were on to the main event: dinner.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

We had a creamy broccoli soup as an appetizer, then were presented with a healthy Thanksgiving buffet.

Healthy Thanksgiving

I filled my plate with salad, dressing, turkey, green beans, and a cauliflower mash.  Everything was really tasty and I absolutely loved the “healthy Thanksgiving” theme of the meal, showing how you can still enjoy yummy foods, even Holiday themed foods, in a healthy way.

Pineapple Dessert

Last but not least was dessert, which was, in my opinion, the perfect dessert size — small, just a few bites in fact.

However, I only had one bite because it was a pineapple dessert, and pineapple is one of two foods on this planet that I don’t enjoy (along with olives).  Shocking, I know. But the texture and sweetness were amazing so I’m sure I would have enjoyed this dessert in any other flavor.

The theme of making eating fun and healthy was a major theme throughout the two and a half days I enjoyed myself at Dole, but it was day two where we really started learning about Dole’s products and easy ways to increase the healthiness of our food through simple swaps and additions.


Now here comes the fun part for you people who LOVE healthy recipes! Dole shared with me all (yes, all) of the recipes that we were served at the Dole Summit.  The recipes are fantastic and were developed in their very own test kitchen, made over and over again until they were just right.  So you know they’re good.

I want to share these recipes with you, but don’t want to mix them up with my own personal recipes, so I’ll be sharing them periodically for the next few, maybe weeks (there are a lot!) on my Facebook page.  So if you don’t already like me on Facebook, head over there now to get all of these yummy recipes.  And if you just “liked Foodie Fresh” or have liked my page for awhile, follow the directions below to make sure you’re receiving all of my updates.

Step 1: Go to my Facebook page and place hover over the “Liked” button.

Step 2: When the window pops up, select “Show in Newsfeed”. A check mark should appear.

In fact, you should do this for all pages for which you want to be notified when the page is updated. Otherwise, Facebook only shows you a very small percentage of updates for the pages (and people) you follow.

And if you do not use Facebook but would like the recipes, shoot me an email at and I’ll email them to you.  There are a lot of fabulous healthy holiday recipes, which I know you’ll want this holiday season.

**Dole picked up the tab for my involvement in the Dole Summit and all travel costs.  However, I was not compensated for my time there and am not being compensated for any related posts. All opinions (as always) are my own.**