Happy Wednesday! It’s a gloomy day here in Charlotte but good for productivity. I just finished teaching yoga and having coffee with a friend and now I’m hunkered down getting work done.
I’m so excited to share more of my ALDI test kitchen visit with you today. You can catch up on part one in this post. Overall, the whole experience was very hands-on and interactive. One of my favorite activities that we did during our time in the test kitchen was a smoothie challenge.
We were brought into a test kitchen stocked with every ingredient you could possibly want for smoothie making. All of the ingredients were from ALDI. I wish that my kitchen at home had this many smoothie options!
There were four work stations set up with blenders, juices, spices, yogurt and various milks.
We had big trays for selecting and transporting our ingredients. It was a challenge to take a direction with your smoothie when there were so many ingredient options. I was careful to select a theme and keep it simple. It was tempting to just throw a ton of stuff in the blender!
Each station had a test kitchen staff member who helped us with getting everything blended and ready to go. (Side note: the Kitchen Aid 5-Speed Blenders they used in the test kitchen did a GREAT job with all of the smoothies. I get asked for blender recs all the time!)
And then we submitted our smoothies for judging. You can see how super serious I was about this competition in this photo. I was in it to win it…I don’t take my smoothie making lightly! 😉
You can never go wrong with keeping it simple. I picked a theme and stuck with it. My smoothie was “nutty fruity” themed with spinach added in for an extra punch. The color was perfect and it tasted great! I will write a post about making smoothies that taste good and look pretty soon!
It was really interesting to travel around the table and see everyone’s combinations. There were some creative and great looking smoothies!
It got quiet in the room when the judging started. My smoothie was the first one they tried out of 10 so I was worried they’d forget it after tasting all the others but they came back at the end and gave it another taste…and my smoothie won second place in the challenge! The judges commented on how light and refreshing it was and how they’d love to have it on a summer day. Score for the nutty fruity!
After the smoothie challenge we were served dinner. The spread was beautiful. I loved this Sunsational Salad and I’m definitely adding it to my list of summer entertaining recipes.
This pan of deliciousness is Lighter Baked Gnocchi Bolognese and OH MY GOD…it was amazing. I loved that the recipe used gnocchi instead of pasta. It was such a great way to switch up an Italian bake.
Top Sirloin with Balsamic Avocado Salsa.
All together on my plate with a glass of ALDI red wine. All of the food was made from ALDI products and test kitchen recipes. I couldn’t believe how flavorful and tasty it all was. I cleaned my plate!
While we ate we listened to a presentation from Janice Stahl on food styling. She is a professional food stylist who frequently works with celebrity chefs and the Food Network. She styled all of the food you see in the photos above and also showed us how to style for smaller individual servings. She had some great takeaways…
– Always use white dishes, they are best for showcasing the food.
– Don’t buy holiday themed dishes, instead use decorative items like flower arrangements to set the theme for your meal
– Play around with things like cocktail glasses and votives for serving individual portions
– Use things like dried beans and chocolate chips to layer under food
– Garnishes can go a long way for adding color and depth
After her presentation we enjoyed dessert. Would you believe that these chocolate cups are filled with Avocado Mousse? It didn’t taste like avocado at all. So good.
There was also a healthy frozen Greek yogurt that was a cold and refreshing way to end the meal.
I really enjoyed my time in the ALDI test kitchen…it was a day full of learning and good food!
This post is sponsored by ALDI.