Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Kroger Cooking Challenge and #Giveaway

Last Friday, I mentioned our mystery trip to Kroger, and today I'm revealing the big surprise!

It all started with an invitation that included this cryptic information.

We were invited to:
  • Experience one of Kroger's newest product lines
  • Join the Kroger team for an exciting event with a twist
  • Travel to Kroger's headquarter city of Cincinnati where we'd personally meet the Kroger team, some special guests, meet other bloggers (like myself), share ideas and inspiration and then, finally, learn the big reason why we  were all brought together at a surprise event!
I love a good surprise and like to buy lots of my fresh fruits and vegetables and other groceries at Kroger, so I figured it would be worth the time. And besides, I always love meeting up with my blogger pals in person.

Only this time, I didn't know anyone! I thought maybe they'd made a mistake in inviting me… but I didn't let on!

It turns out, there was one other dog blogger in the group, Capree at Dog Milk, who I hadn't met before. When we met up with the other bloggers (all food and lifestyle bloggers) in Cincinnati, it also turned out that they hadn't been told that Capree and I were attending.  Hmmm, maybe this was a clue. The other bloggers thought that maybe Capree and I were the "special guests."

The group of terrific bloggers and Kroger folks we hung out with in Cincinnati
We had so much fun meeting this new group of bloggers who included Becky at Vintage Mixer, Jen at Bakerette, Maryanne at The Little Epicurean, Robin at All Things Heart and Home, Tanya at Lemons for Lulu, and Kelly at Cooking with Caitlin.  Capree and I rounded out the mix of eight attending bloggers. We had so much fun getting to know them all and their blogs are all fabulous!

The first day we were there, we had a fabulous breakfast at the 21C Hotel  and then got our first chance to meet the Kroger folks, in a room where we'd be "brainstorming".

The Kroger folks unveil our cooking "challenge" and are met with our stunned gazes!

I'm not as calm as I look!
Uh-oh. The first surprise is that we were each given a card with our ingredients for a cooking challenge. I'm smiling on the outside, but on the inside I was totally freaked out. Here I was with a group of totally awesome cooks, and the best I can do is chop fresh veggies for my signature "big salad."


My ingredients were Chicken Breast, Potatoes and Whole Carrots. After my initial freak-out, I realized that Google is my friend and I searched for an easy recipe without gobs of extra ingredients, because that just gives me a headache. I added in green beans because at least I knew we needed to add a little color to the dish! 

Real Simple came to the rescue with this recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans. Yum! Sounded delish to me! 

Capree from Dog Milk, left, and Becky from Vintage Mixer
Then we were whisked off to the amazing local Kroger store to buy whatever additional ingredients we needed to round out our recipes. Capree and I tagged after Becky like puppy dogs who were looking for our next cue.  Becky helped us both figure out what to buy, thankfully!

So by now, I had an inkling what the big surprise was all about but I was told to quit yakking about it was respectfully quiet about my revelation.

Hmm, fresh ingredients, quality proteins, fresh veggies, nothing artificial… I was already crafting the messages in my brain. 


Next stop was the Culinary Arts School at Cincinnati State. There, we cooked our recipes with the help (thankfully) of three of their teaching chefs. 


I received some great advice from the cooking pros, including help with my knife skills! 

Chef Neace provides some tips to Robin at All Things Heart and Home.
Chef Alan Neace made us all feel like we could do anything, and make it beautiful too!



Here are some of the dishes we all made. Proteins included salmon, chicken and lamb with other ingredients like cranberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes and brown rice. Hmmm, do these ingredients sound familiar? We also determined pretty early on that all the bloggers had dogs.  But mum's still the word, right?!

My surprise! An amazingly delicious dish I cooked myself! 
One HUGE surprise for me was the dish I made! My roasted chicken was delicious, with a little help from Chef Neal. He suggested we baste it with a wee bit of orange juice for the last five minutes it cooked and then serve it with the roasted lemon. I thought the lemon was just for looks but you can eat it all and it adds a terrific zip to the dish.

Here's my base recipe from Real Simple. All I added were the carrots and the orange juice glaze.

And now for the BIG reveal!  Later that night, after we sampled all the delicious meals we all prepared, we headed to dinner at the fabulous Sleepy Bee restaurant where a beautiful table and tasty farm-to-table types of dishes awaited. 



After dinner, and sampling so many delicious and nutritious foods, the Kroger folks FINALLY revealed the big news!


Ta-Da! Looks like there WAS a reason we were cooking with lots of high-quality ingredients, fresh veggies and proteins like chicken, lamb and salmon.

The Kroger team unveiled the newest ultra-premium pet food to hit the shelves at Kroger -- Abound for both dogs AND cats! If you're not sure where to buy Abound products in your area, check out this store locator. (Some stores in the Kroger family of brands operate under different names like Fry's, Ralph's, Fred Meyer and more.)

What's cool about Abound is that it contains high quality ingredients (just like we were cooking with), it's available at grocery stores where you shop every day, AND it's a great price. For me, it's a win-win-win when you can make it convenient for more folks to have access to affordable, quality pet foods.

Abound pet foods contain no wheat, corn of soy fillers, no animal by-product meal and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives while chicken, lamb or salmon is the #1 ingredient.

Rocco's already had the chance to sample some of the food and treats and he says they're lip-smacking delicious!


What's also cool is that Abound is partnering with Best Friends Animal Society to help raise awareness of Best Friends' no-kill mission and its efforts help reduce the number of animals entering shelters and increase the number who find loving homes. 

Win an Abound Prize Pack and Kroger Gift Card!

Here's your chance to win an awesome Abound prize pack from Kroger for your dog or cat. One winner will receive 14 pounds of dog or cat food, 7 pouches of wet food, 2 bags of dog or cat treats AND a $50 Kroger gift card! Wow! That's an awesome prize pack valued at more than $85. 

Enter via our giveaway widget below.

Good luck!

The Abound Prize Pack and Gift Card for our giveaway is being provided by Kroger. Kroger also covered all expenses for our blogger cooking challenge trip to Cincinnati. All opinions expressed herein are our own.


57 comments:

  1. My dogs favorite ingredients is the chicken with sweet potatoes for sure. I love giving my dog the best food with the best ingredients.

    lil_lady_dz@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounded like a brilliant idea for a launch and what fun. Great way to promote what sounds like a great product. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

    ReplyDelete
  3. My pup Stella's favorite ingredients are sweet potatoe & pumpkin. She also adores watermelon! Thanks so much for the chance!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Melvin loves sweet potatoes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bean's favorite treat/ingredient are baby carrots!

    ReplyDelete
  6. My aussie Gershwin loves chicken and peanut butter treats. Great article on a new product! I do all my grocery shopping at Kroger and as a student with limited means, I am always looking for affordable, premium food for my pup. Looking at the ingredients, I was expecting corn or cereals to be the first ingredient on the list so I was surprised to see "deboned chicken". I will make sure to check it out on my next stop at the store!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ha, ha, ha, that was a great surprise! I guess the food bloggers were most surprised! No matter, the whole thing looks like a wonderful experience!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My dogs love chicken...& to chew on raw carrots..& love peanut butter treats....i shop kroger & buy mostly kroger brands but the only thing i dont find @ kroger is my regular brand of dog food...i was considering switching to a healthier brand of food w/o the artificial colors, etc, but was worried about the cost so this new kroger brand of food may be just what im looking for!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have five Treeing Walker Coonhounds, and while they all are very food motivated, not all of them get excited about the same flavors, but the one thing I know I can get all to gobble up is anything with chicken.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A super special treat for our dogs is roast beef! They go off the chain for roast beef!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. OMD what a cool trip! Mom would have freaked out too as she is no cook (sorry). I am just glad that this did turn out to be about dog food, that looks great by the way! Love Dolly

    ReplyDelete
  12. What fun! My two kitties, Lenny and Squiggy, love chicken!
    Mary Beth Elderton

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh! And my two granddogs, Misha and Sherlock, Dachshunds (mostly), seem to love beef treats

      Delete
  13. Schooner and Skipper love chicken, peanut butter and turkey.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Bentley and Pierre love carrots and sweet potatoes!

    ReplyDelete
  15. They can't get anything over a dog blogger. BOL! That sounded like a amazing trip. My favorite ingredient is Chickyum. I can eat my weight in it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Our dog loves carrots but the poor guys getting older and I think they bother his teeth now.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My dog loves chicken treats.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My dogs love single ingredient dehydrated/freeze dried treats.

    I have purchased several pouches of the Abound wet cat food already, and my cats love it!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Our Black Lab, Rainbow, loves bananas (I don't think they're in dog food, tho) She loves when we give her treats and she deserves the best. I'm eager to try this new product line. Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Delby loves fresh steamed carrots and peas.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Bella loves her proteins! Chicken, Beef, Salmon-she loves them all. She's not big on her veggies or fruits though ;) But Kronos and Terra aren't as picky. They enjoy carrots, apples, peas, bananas, and chicken alike.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Forgot to also add that that is awesome about the new healthy dog food product line and that it will be at frequented retailers like Fry's! Hopefully having more healthy pet food options at affordable prices will encourage people to purchase the better food. What an amazing experience and message-thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  23. My dog loves grain free chicken flavored jerky treats

    ReplyDelete
  24. Our pup loves chicken, salmon, and of course PB!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Don't have a dog, but my friend's dog loves chicken flavor treats.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Salmon is a favorite treat around here
    sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

    ReplyDelete
  27. My dog loves ANY kind of chicken treats!~

    ReplyDelete
  28. My dog likes yogurt, green beans and liver treats
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    ReplyDelete
  29. Our lab will eat anything!! We have to watch what we give her. She used to love potato skins until we read they are not good for them.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My dogs love peanut butter treats.

    ReplyDelete
  31. My friend's dog likes dried chicken livers.
    Thanks for the contest.

    slehan at juno dot com

    ReplyDelete
  32. blue would eat just about anything, right now he is eating melon..eww..lol. for ingredients..he loves chicken.

    ReplyDelete
  33. My dogs love salmon, chicken, blueberries, cheese and yogurt.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Both of my Pekingese love most meats and cheese. Jasmine is very picky but does love quite a few veggies with broccoli and green beans being her favorite. The only fruit I know she loves is cantaloupe. She loves tomatoes too. Dutchess who is Jasmine's daughter luckily isn't as picky. She loves many fruits and veggies including carrots, apples, and many more.

    ReplyDelete
  35. My dogs love treats with peanut butter in them.

    ReplyDelete
  36. She loves chicken flavored anything.

    ReplyDelete
  37. My dogs love chicken and also love peanut butter treats.

    jweezie43[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  38. My dogs love treats with peanut butter in them.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Daisy loves apples with peanut butter, Molly likes duck, turkey and chicken treats, Roxy will eat just about any treat

    ReplyDelete
  40. My dog really loves food and treats that contain chicken.

    ReplyDelete
  41. pumpkin and/or sweet potato

    ReplyDelete
  42. Our pup loves lamb as an ingredient.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  43. Chicken is one of his favorites

    ReplyDelete
  44. My pups love crunchy raw fruit and veggies. Carrots and apples are their favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  45. My dog loves anything beef.

    rounder9834 @yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. subscribe email: slehan at myway dot com

    ReplyDelete