This week’s dinner menu is a special edition where I tell you about my visit to Smithfield, Virginia in addition to showing you seven easy dinner recipes. I was not compensated or asked to write this post. I just thought you might like to hear about my trip!
Hi! Remember I told you I was going on a work trip? I’m back! I’m actually flying home right now while writing this. If you have ever wondered what the heck bloggers do when they go on a trip with a brand, I did too because I had never done one. Let me give you the scoop.
I left my house at 4am (!!) on Tuesday and flew all the livelong day to Norfolk, Virginia. There I met up with a couple other bloggers, and a car service took us to the most adorable hotel ever in Smithfield, Virginia. It was about an hour drive to the hotel, and I was exhausted. Shortly after arriving, all eight of us bloggers had a long dinner at the hotel with Smithfield and PR folks. It was a wonderful meal, but by the end, I was beyond full and tired.
The next morning started around 8:00. We had breakfast together and then went on a guided museum and walking tour to learn about the town’s heritage. Afterward, we went to lunch to eat more. After lunch, we went to tour the Smithfield smokehouse, which was very interesting. We saw how they cure, smoke, and pack their genuine Smithfield hams all by hand, the old fashioned way. Some of their hams spend over six months in the smokehouse! It’s a pretty amazing process. After that, we had about an hour break before meeting for dinner.
We went to a gorgeous farm house on the river and had a wine tasting. Then we ate a whole smoked hog with southern sides and desserts. It started storming before dinner started, but it was still a great evening. I drank too much wine and stayed up way too late talking to the other bloggers. It was a fun night, but we had to be up early the next day!
The next morning, I dragged myself up to get packed up and head downstairs by 8:30 for breakfast. (As it turns out, that was supposed to be 8:00 and I was a half hour late. Oops.) We ate more, and then we went to tour the Smithfield Innovation Center. This is where they do small-batch testing of new products and recipes.
After the tour, a PhD in meat science (that is a thing!) showed us how to butcher an entire half a hog. It was so interesting! We saw where pretty much every cut of pork you can think of comes from and how next to nothing is wasted.
After that, we went to eat AGAIN! We had a beautiful lunch on the water and then rode about an hour to the airport. I flew out of Virginia at 4:30 and had about eight hours of air travel ahead before I would get back to San Francisco around 11pm.
After the trip, I was much better acquainted with the Smithfield brand and their products. (I was also very full.) I definitely wouldn’t call a brand trip a vacation! I’m exhausted and talked out, but I learned a lot and do have a new respect for the Smithfield products and team.
While I was there, I hope you had a chance to enter my Facebook giveaway for a free year of Smithfield bacon! I announced it on social media and to my email subscribers. If you aren’t already signed up for my newsletter, I hope you will subscribe so you don’t miss special announcements like that!
If you made it this far, I’m impressed. Let’s get to some dinner recipes for the week now! Click here to go to the menu!
I couldn’t help but include some pork recipes for this week since I’ve got pork on the mind. There are plenty of other easy recipes in the mix too. Let’s dig in!
- Fast Pork Fajitas
- 25-Minute Cheeseburger Macaroni
- Buffalo Chicken Wraps
- Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Ribs
- Philly Cheesesteak Pizza
- Layered Mexican Barley Casserole
- Cheesy Chicken over Pesto Quinoa
Want even more dinner ideas? I put together a list of creative spins on Chicken Noodle Soup for Parade Magazine this week. Check it out here!