A handful of my favorite bloggers don't live too far from me, we have a nice little cluster here in the Chicagoland area. While emailing back and forth with a couple a few weeks ago I thought "I wonder if they'd be up for a potluck at my house?" and asked their thoughts on it. Surprisingly they all immediately said YES!!! without a moment's hesitation!
I've seen pictures of blogger meet-ups at restaurants and events, but I thought it'd be really cool to have a potluck because we all read and follow each other for our cooking and recipes! I decided to just make it simple - meet at my house at the set date and time and bring whatever you wanted! No expectations, no limits, because I wanted them to just cook whatever they felt like, without having to be pinned into "you need to bring a dessert." Thankfully, none of us cooked any repeats and it was a super well-rounded spread!
Biz of Biggest Diabetic Loser arrived first. I was so nervous and excited beforehand with the anticipation. I knew these people from their blogs, but I wasn't sure if we'd get along in real life too, but thankfully Biz has a really strong personality that burst forth within 20 seconds of meeting her and I felt like I'd known her for years! Within a few minutes Mara of What's for Dinner? arrived with Michelle from Lucky Taste Buds. Again, it was like we'd known each other for years once we started assembling the food and "talking shop."
Biz brought us each a jar of her made from scratch tomato sauce that I can't wait to try! I've never canned home-made sauce, just made extra and frozen it. I think that's a terrific idea to have some easily on hand! Then, she got to work making her famous no-rise pizza dough pizza! I've made her pizza three or four times before, but seeing her make it in person was great and she had a few little tricks that made it taste so much better than my versions! The basil shreds really made this!
Mara came to the door with a crockpot full of her Chicken Chili Blanco and also assembled her addictive (and unpictured) buffalo chicken dip within minutes of unpacking her bag! After everybody left Johnny came downstairs hungry and attacked some of the leftover chili I snagged! He really liked it, so I'll have to make this easy recipe in the future - so much flavor from so little ingredients! That's my kinda dinner!
Michelle made a delicious pasta salad that she presented beautifully with lettuce leaves around the bowl. I might have had two servings of this! She said she only used about a tablespoon of mayonnaise in it, and it made it so light and refreshing, not bogged down like other pasta salads! She also presented me with my huge bag of goodies from winning her giveaway a few weeks ago and an adorable little treat bag with a sweet note in it! I've already broken into both! She was also the only one to bring a sweet item! A delicious (and unpictured) banana bread with cashews (!!!) and chocolate chips. I enjoyed a slice last night for a snack and it's so moist and flavorful. I'll have to add cashews to baked goods more often!
We were all talking and having so much fun I totally forgot to take pictures of US. I also meant to ask Johnny to grab a group photo of all of us with our cameras, but only remembered after everybody had already left. Here's a small idea of what the spread looked like (with Mara on the left and Michelle on the right) - this was before everything was even put out! We ate for a good solid hour until we were all stuffed!
Here's the dishes I brought to the mix:
White wine sangria. (post forthcoming)
Pioneer Woman's bacon-wrapped jalepeno poppers. (post forthcoming)
Veggie tray with unpictured dip
Croissant-wrapped baked brie with crackers (post forthcoming)
...and finally the secret family recipe of zucchini pie!
Thanks again Biz, Mara, and Michelle! I sent them each home with some homemade sausage I made during my dad's visit in these adorable foodie Dollar Tree bags! I can't wait to see what they cook with them!!
Check out Biz's recap and Mara's recap for their take on yesterday's fun with pictures!