Dole Summit & Our California Vacation

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We recently spent 10 days in sunny California for the Dole Summit and a fun family vacation. First, we went to Monterey to attend the Dole Blogger Summit. Josh grew up in California and had been to Monterey many times, but it was a first for me and I fell in love. It is gorgeous! We stayed at the Clement Monterey Hotel and I wanted to move in. Caleb loved the big bed, bath tub, and toy Otter that was in the room.

The Dole Summit was packed full with fun, learning, and lots of taste testing:) Dole is the largest fruit and vegetable producer in the world! Sure, they are known for pineapples and bananas, but they produce SO much more. Dole works with more than 9,000 small growers, employs 76,000 employees and distributes their products to 90 countries.

My favorite meal was the lunch we had at La Bicyclette in Carmel. The entire menu featured Dole’s products. The carrot risotto was out of this world. I am still dreaming of it!

May is National Salad Month and we had a huge salad party the final night! Dole set up salad stations with party themes-movie night, game night, breakfast, BBQ, etc. It was fun to taste so many different salads. We can’t wait to host our own salad party at home! Thanks for the inspiration Dole:)

We loved hanging out with our blogging friends and the entire Dole crew. Dole sure knows how to throw a good party-and a tasty one!

Amie, Me, and Gina (Photo courtesy of Gina)

Caleb wore his pj’s to the party! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks Dole for a fabulous event! Go get your fruits and vegetables on and don’t forget to celebrate National Salad Month!

After the Dole Summit we met up with Ben, Whitney, and Easton (Josh’s brother, our sister-in-law, and nephew). We took the boys to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Caleb and Easton had a great time! They loved looking at the bright colored fishies!

We spent the rest of our vacation hanging out with family and friends in the Central Valley. It was so fun to relax!

We took the boys to the zoo one afternoon and they loved all of the animals.

Caleb loved the Lorikeets. Well, he loved them until they started landing on his head…ha! He was a good sport!

I made sure we had time to visit Trader Joe’s. I stocked up on a few items. Hello, Cookie Butter! I REALLY wish we had a TJ’s in Utah. Sigh.

Caleb loved playing with his cousin every day! They had so much fun together. We really wish we lived closer!

We had a fabulous time in California, but now it is back to the grind:)

Dole sponsored our trip to Monterey, but our opinions are our own! 

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. The dole summit looks like so much fun! What an experience. Sounds like they are a fabulous company. AH! Your peanut is SO darn cute. Melts my heart

  2. Looks like a lovely time! Monterey is such a stunning town and I’m so glad you got to enjoy it.

  3. What a great trip! I think we need a re-creation of that carrot risotto. It sounds fabulous! ๐Ÿ˜€ Plus, I love all the photos of Caleb…he is SOOO precious! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. That looks like such a lovely time getting to know all of the Dole products and seeing the part of the country that inspires their work. Also, the cousins are adorable and that photo of your baby wit the bird on his head is priceless!

  5. What a wonderful trip! Glad Dole threw such a lovely event and that you had a chance to partake. I learned something new today too… Didn’t know they were so versatile in their products and that they employed so many people!

    Loved the photos of Caleb and his cousin and the Lorikeet on his head! He is such a sweet, good sport!

  6. OMG that pic of Caleb with the bird on his head is hilarious!!! Love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. What a great trip! The photo of Caleb with the bird on his head is classic. I totally love it! And, did you hear there is talk of Trader Joe’s coming to Utah!? Squeeeee! Of course nothing is “final” yet but there is talk!!!

  8. Oh my gosh, didn’t you love the aquarium?! Adam and I went last year and I fell in love with Tula, the little blonde sea otter. I wanted to take her home with me.

    And Caleb knows what’s up—wearing his pjs to the party!

  9. That last photo is just too cute and distracted me from the rest of the post. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looked like a great trip!

  10. That photo of your little guy with the bird on his head is priceless! What a great shot.

    The Dole Summit sounds like it was a great opportunity…what a fun trip that must have been.

  11. Sounds like a wonderful time! Loved all the Caleb pictures, especially the one with the Lorikeet on his head. Too adorable for words! Thanks for sharing with us! ^_^

  12. What an awesome post! I’ve seen pics from the Dole Summits in prior years and this one looks especially awesome and that it was here in CA…glad you guys had such a fabulous time!

  13. What a great trip. Looks and sounds like you had a great time and even had a chance to visit with family…That’s AWESOME!!! Love the idea of a salad party and all those themes….yummmy! Looking forward to your next post. Besos!

  14. Carrot risotto?! Yum. Also, Caleb is so stinkin’ cute especially with the Lorikeet on his head.

  15. Caleb is just darling, I love the look on his face with the bird on his head, “ok, what IS this thing doing?” Such an expression..

  16. The pic of Caleb with the bird on his head is hilarious. His expression reads “Yes, I have a bird on my head. So?”.

  17. it was so great to meet you guys!! i’m glad we had some time to chat ๐Ÿ™‚ can’t wait to see you all next month!

  18. Great job Maria. It was so great to spend some time with you guys and finally meet Caleb. Looking forward to seeing you all again in June!

  19. This sounds like such an awesome trip and a great excuse to let Caleb visit with his cousin! That boy just gets cuter every second. I swear it.

  20. Glad you all had a good time in Monterey, and especially glad the Salad Party was so inspiring! We’re glad you were here – we love sharing our passion for healthy eating, and of course, our own Salad’tude!

    1. Thanks again for having us! We had a great time and learned a lot. Happy Salad Month:)

  21. This looks like such a fun, relaxing trip. So glad you got to enjoy California! I love the picture of Caleb playing with his cousin – so adorable! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. You are fabulous darling and I am so happy we had time to play together in California. Thank you for including me in your blog post; you are so kind! I can’t wait to see you in Seattle soon. Already getting excited to hug the lil’ pea! Thank you again for a great trip; I am so happy we were able to meet and spend time together!

  23. I heard some crazy news that Trader Joe’s is looking to come into Utah. Not sure how true it is though.

  24. Looks like such a great trip! Love Monterey, we went there this time last year. And Caleb is just the cutest!

  25. you were in my hometown! I’m glad that you got to appreciate our beautiful Monterey Bay. Sometimes, I go to the aquarium during my lunch break, to enjoy the Outer Bay Exhibit. I work just up the street- closer to Lover’s Point. We are very spoiled to have TWO Trader Joe’s in Monterey!

  26. Monterey is about 15 minutes from my childhood home! So nice to see beautiful pictures of that lovely little city, especially Cannery Row. I have never been to La Bicyclette in Carmel, but if you ever return, Il Fornaio has EXCELLENT Italian ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Hi guys, great write-up and it was lovely to meet you. Will you be at BlogHer Food? If so, see you soon!