Five Little Things from Better Blog Retreat 2015 + Twelve Little Things for Thanksgiving

Five Little Things from Better Blog Retreat 2015 + Twelve Little Things for Thanksgiving

The Better Blog Retreat 2015 |

At this time a month ago, I spent a blissful weekend in Park City, Utah, in the company of 11 inspiring women and 11 incredible sponsors. The Better Blog Retreat is the brainchild of Heidi of Foodie Crush and Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod, both of whom I first met in person three years ago at the Alt Summit Conference in Salt Lake City.

It was such an enriching weekend – I was surrounded by ladies who understand what it is like to be in the kitchen, in front of the computer, and behind a camera, and sometimes on the road, day in and day out. Seeing friends I haven’t seen in months or years made for a happy reunion and a chance to catch up, and it was especially nice to meet new friends in the blog world. While we took in the beautiful autumn setting at the Deer Valley Resort, we were able to exchange ideas and “talk shop,” not only amongst ourselves, but with the brands who sponsored the weekend, all in a relaxed setting.

So this Friday, I thought I’d do something a little different for my Five Little Things. Here are Five Little Things from Better Blog Retreat 2015 + Twelve Little Things for Thanksgiving, inspired by the ladies who were there. Secretly, it is a little self serving, as I am currently planning out my own Thanksgiving menu, so I was naturally attracted to recipes perfect for next week’s holiday table. I hope you find some delicious inspiration, too!

1. Epic Charcuterie

Antipasti at the Better Blog Retreat 2015 |
If this could by my dinner every single night, I would be content. This beautiful spread was just the beginning of a delicious meal, all highlighting Private Selection. I was so impressed with the quality of the ingredients – from the antipasto to the cuts of lamb to the gelato and bakery cookies – all perfect for entertaining.

2. Chocolate + Wine = Happiness

Lindt Chocolate and Wine Pairing at The Better Blog Retreat 2015 |

You know how I feel about chocolate, right? Lindt Chocolate, in particular, has a special place in my heart, as well as my husband’s Christmas stocking (I always make sure to stuff it with his favorite Lindt truffles!). Pair it with wine, and I was in heaven. It was so inspiring having dinner with Lindt Master Chocolatier, Ann Czaja. Her career in chocolate and with Lindt is beyond fascinating! If you must try just one pairing in your life, make it this: Lindt Excellence Pineapple with J Lohr Chardonnay. Your tastebuds will be wowed.

3. Say Cheese!

Mac and Cheese Bar at The Better Blog Retreat 2015 |

I was all smiles with the abundance of delicious cheese from Arla Dofino. This European based cheese company is making its presence known here in the US, and I couldn’t help but think of my mom and how much she would have loved seeing and tasting her favorite cheeses – havarti and gouda. I can’t wait to take the idea of hosting a Mac and Cheese Bar and incorporate it into my own parties.
Arla at The Better Blog Retreat 2015 |

4. Breakfast with a View

Breakfast with a View of Deer Valley at the Better Blog Retreat 2015 |

It’s really hard to not be inspired when you are surrounded by the beauty of Deer Valley Resort. I can not wait to return and share it with my family. It’s beautiful in the fall, but can you imagine it covered in snow?

Views of Deer Valley Resort at Better Blog Retreat 2015 |

5. Renewed Hope for Running a Marathon

Altra Running Shoes at Better Blog Retreat 2015

Ok, maybe not a marathon, but running in general! I am what you might call a gym rat, but only because I have always struggled with running. And I’m realizing that perhaps the reason for that is I could never find a shoe to properly fit my wide width feet. And even if you don’t have wide feet like me, you will find that these running shoes from Altra will fit you unlike any other shoe you’ve had – because they are actually foot shaped! We had a running clinic with Golden Harper, the founder of Altra, as the sun rose over the mountain tops at Deer Valley, and I am inspired to take up running again. Small steps. In shoes that fit.

Twelve Little Things for Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving menu is definitely going to be inspired by these holiday-ready recipes!


Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad with Apple, Gorgonzola & Candied Pecans

Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad with Apple, Gorgonzola & Candied Pecans from Monique at Ambitious Kitchen.


Slow Cooker Gingerbread Cookie Oatmeal - The Lemon Bowl

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal from Liz at The Lemon Bowl.

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs. A delicious, EASY vegetarian dinner recipe!

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs from Laura at Blogging Over Thyme

This roasted butternut squash soup is super creamy but light (and easy to make!).

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from Kathryne at Cookie and Kate

Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe

Cranberry Orange Relish from Andie at Can You Stay For Dinner


Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes from Maria at Two Peas & Their Pod.


Stuffed Pork Chops |

Stuffed Pork Chops from Heidi at Foodie Crush.

Chive Dijon Potato Noodles Recipe

Dijon-Chive Spiralized Potatoes by Ali of Inspiralized.


Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole -- naturally sweetened with a hint of maple syrup, and topped with cinnamon pecans |

Sweet Potato Casserole by Ali at Gimme Some Oven.

Sparkling Hard Apple Cider Sangria is the perfect fall drink. Not too sweet, and subtly sparkly, you'll love each sip! |

Sparkling Hard Apple Cider Sangria by Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies Recipe

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies from Kelly of Just a Taste.

A naked Pumpkin Carrot Cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting: perfectly festive for your holiday season!

Pumpkin Carrot Cake from Sarah at Broma Bakery

A special thank you to Heidi and Maria again for all the hard work they put into the weekend. I know it was no small feat – they were gracious hostesses in every way. And a very sincere thank you, too, to the sponsors who helped make it all possible: Deer Valley Resort, Arla Dofino, Lindt, Private Selection, DeLallo, Sabra, Altra, Albion Fit, Montage Deer Valley, and Riverhorse on Main.


  1. Maria

    I am so glad you enjoyed the retreat! I loved spending time with you and I hope we can do it again soon! xo

    • Liren Baker

      I hope so too! Three years between hanging out is far too long! Thank you again for EVERYTHING! Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving to you, Josh and the boys!

  2. Andie Mitchell

    Liren, I am so, so happy that I got to spend that amazing weekend with you!! Getting to know you was easily one of the best parts for me :) 

    Hope we can do it all again xoxoo

    • Liren Baker

      Such a memorable weekend, and I agree, getting to meet you in person and spend time with you was one of my favorite parts! Wish we could all have a reunion every year!

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