Get the Skinny on Swanky

skinny on swanky

Hey!!! I am so excited to get back to Skinny Saturdays!! I have had an insane few months and have had to put these posts on the back burner during book writing, traveling, and conference planning. But now that all of that is over with, it feels good to be back!

So, did you notice?? Skinny Saturday got a facelift and a new name (thanks to Hayley from The Domestic Rebel)!

Here’s the deal: Skinny Saturday has given me the opportunity to connect personally with a lot of you who read it each week. And I’ve really loved that. But I want to talk about more than just weight and eating! I want to be able to write about all of the other odds and ends that don’t necessarily fit into a recipe post during the week and don’t really fit in with Skinny Saturday either (remember how I tried Behind the Instagram that one time?). So I’m rolling all of that other stuff in with Skinny Saturday to create a new series called The Skinny on Swanky, which will be posts giving you the “skinny” on my week! We might talk blog or products or even family stuff! But no matter what else I include in these posts,  I’ll continue to include Skinny Saturday at least twice a month (maybe more).

Thank you so much to everyone who has been so supportive of me as I’ve been writing these super personal posts! I appreciate it so much.

And now, without further ado… today’s Get the Skinny is all about my trip to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen!!

 

traveling headerI mentioned I’ve been traveling… If you follow me on Instagram, you already know about my recent trip to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen. Oh.my.gosh….. coolest trip EVER!!!!

I have to say, I’ve always loved Duncan Hines and have very much preferred their baking mixes. I took a Wilton Cake Decorating class during my BYU days, and during that class the instructor gave a great plug for Duncan Hines. I’ve been sold on them ever since! Some of my favorite Duncan Hines creations include: Cake Mix Cookies, Cake Mix Biscotti, and Cake Mix Monkey Bread. I’ve also played around with their Frosting Creation packets, which you can buy in so many cool flavors.

But as much as I thought I loved Duncan Hines, I had no idea how much I would really love Duncan Hines after I had the opportunity to visit their test kitchen and spend the weekend learning, chatting, and eating (of course!) with them and with lots of other bloggers!

I’m going to post a little more about Duncan Hines next week with a recipe, but I just wanted to go ahead and give you a peek at some of the fun photos from our weekend in Parsippany, NJ…

Dorothy, Aimee, Ashton, Jocelyn

The best part may have been getting to hang out with these ladies!! We never get to see each other since we’re all over the country, and we had such a blast just chatting and giggling all weekend. From left to right: Dorothy, Aimee, me, and Jocelyn. They all have really fabulous dessert blogs– go check them out sometime!

#duncanhines #sweetstars

#duncanhines #sweetstars

#duncanhines #sweetstars

#duncanhines #sweetstars

So… they literally rolled out the red carpet for us. Which was pretty darn awesome. It’s not every day you get the royal treatment, but when you do– you want it to be at Duncan Hines!! Trust me!

And the fun was just beginning. We had a crazy jam-packed day full of awesome demos, food, discussion, and more food!

Oh, and Instagramming. Lots and lots of Instagramming…

#duncanhines #sweetstars

To tell you the truth… I think I’d quit my day job to go work at Duncan Hines! Roaming the halls was absolutely incredible. It kind of felt like that scene in Harry Potter when they walk into the Great Hall for the first time… anyone remember that? With the floating candles and the magical ceiling– it was all so magical! Hashtag me #geeky, but I swear I had the same feeling walking through Duncan Hines…

Nearly every room we visited has some sort of  kitchen. And I mean a kitchen. Filled with cake mix and frostings, and so, so much more…

#duncanhines #sweetstars

#duncanhines #sweetstars

I also loved getting a glimpse at the Pinnacle foods family. There are so many neat brands that work alongside Duncan Hines, and they’re represented all over the building:

#duncanhines #sweetstars

#duncanhines #sweetstars

This wall may have actually been my favorite part of the facility.  Each shadow box is filled with an item representing each of the companies within the Pinnacle Food Group, many of them retro! It was really neat to see some of the company’s more historic memorabilia right alongside current and trending products. So cool!

We spent some time with the DH food scientists (!!!) learning all about the baking process. We discussed world-wide dessert trends and how Duncan Hines develops new products. We even got to see TWO not-yet-on-the-market products! The day was so jam-packed with learning new tricks and recipes that it’s a bit of a blur! But here’s overview of some of the other fun we had during our day at Duncan Hines:

#duncanhines #sweetstarsWilton taught us how to decorate beautiful cakes using canned frosting… which rocked my socks. I had no idea it would work so well!

#duncanhines #sweetstarsChef Joe taught us about dessert trends and then worked some magic for us in the kitchen…

#duncanhines #sweetstars….allowing us to sample, of course :)

And last, but not least… Nikki and I ate and Instagrammed our way through an incredible Baked Alaska (uhm…. or two):

#duncanhines #sweetstars

This was truly such a fabulous opportunity for me! I relish each chance I get to do something fun like this, because… you never really know if you’ll ever get to do it again! As our family changes and as Chris gets ready for grad school, I just don’t know how many more trips I’ll get to take to incredible test kitchens or get to hang out with my glamorous blogging friends.

So for me… this could have been the trip of a lifetime. And if it was, then I’m okay with that!

a BIG hug and thanks to Duncan Hines for the amazing experience!!!

Ashton Swank

Ashton is the owner and author of Something Swanky. Although first and foremost a wife and mother, she considers herself an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and photographer, and brand ambassador. Her focus is in food styling, food photography and recipe development.