Go Bananas! Celebrating DOLE and the Enchanted Tiki Room

photo: Kathy Patalsky

I toss down my jacket and reach up to twist the little knob that lends air to the cramped cabin of the airplane when the hairy man next to me asks, “you traveling for work or fun?”

“Oh, work.” I reply. But then I stop for a minute and start giggling. “Well, okay, it’s technically work, but I’m going to Disneyland. So, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it.”

He mention something about being jealous through that misshapen beard, I try to listen but decide I don’t much care because I’m going to Disneyland and it’s for work and there’s no one on the planet who currently rocks a job so deliciously fun as mine. Holy embrace the inner brat moment. I really did.

The Straight-Up Facts:

So here’s the thing. I’m gonna tell you about my recent trip to Disneyland, sponsored by DOLE Bananas. But everytime I start writing these recap posts, I start feeling like that girl on the plane who was like, all, “yeah I flew to Disneyland for work. I ate food so good it’d make your tongue stick straight out for a month. I joined up with a roomful of old blogging chums, worked with my favorite PR people, and got to stay in the Disneyland Grand Californian.” I mean, who says that kind of stuff to the unassuming stranger?

And perhaps, the better question is…who does that kind of stuff and calls it work?

So the real secret here is, my job in incredible. It just is. And telling you about some of the adventures of food blogging is part of the job. But I don’t want it to be a sassy sell or a snobbish reminder that you weren’t at Disneyland at DOLE and I was. Blech. Nonsense.

I’ve got a plan to make this a fair deal then, for you. I’m going to pass along a few of my favorite details, but then I’m going to spill a few secrets from behind-the-scenes of the food blogging life. The DOLE Summit was chock full of beloved blogging personalities, wild moments, and to-die-delicious stories and I think you’d much rather hear about those things than how freaking good these DOLE Banana Summer Tea Sandwiches were. Right?  (Note: they were freaking amazing. Go make them. That is all.)

DOLE Summit Secrets:

  • Fourth Times the Charm. This is the fourth time I’ve worked with DOLE (we’ve also celebrated with their DOLE Salad Summit, DOLE Wellness Institute, and DOLE Salatude Celebration) and everytime I take a trip with them, I’m genuinely impressed by the caliber of attention the DOLE company pays to true health and wellness. Having begun with humble roots, the company has grown to be a major corporation, but has never lot their attention to detail and care you’d hope for from a company supplying your home with food for your beautiful body. Super secret: DOLE was nice enough to arrange a mid-morning pilates class, which sounded wonderful and lovely, until we showed up and realized the teacher was like an angry, older version of one of the Disney Princesses. Now I know what happened to Ariel after Prince Eric got washed up on booze and went the way of Val Kilmer.}
  • Energy Rocks. Who knew that Bananas offer all sorts of stabilizing energy without the sugar crash you’d find with traditional energy snacks? The DOLE company has worked hard to educate consumers on many of the true benefits of bananas, or as they call them “Nature’s Original Energy Bar.” I think this is my favorite DOLE Bananas Campaign ever. Discovering that something so simple and affordable has been good for you all along is a lovely way to cut through the chatter of our increasingly consumerized world.  Super Secret: Bloggers Paula Jones of Bellalmiento and Bree Hester from Baked Bree are so full of vitalizing energy (with a side of perfect sassy honesty) that I spent a good too many minutes chirping over gossip with them, and thus forgot several other banana facts that you likely need to know. Topic of conversation: the pain of keeping contract blogging jobs in our ever-changing field. Only we talked about that with a few more swears, and such.
  • Vegan Eating. I’m a fan of any food that supports every diet option I’ve tried this year, namely Veganism and Paleo-ism. Which isn’t an ism, but it sounded so good, I had to say it. From Vegan Banana Pancakes to Paleo Banana Pancakes, bananas are remarkably versatile, lending all sorts of incredible flavor and health benefits to every meal. Super Secret: My beloved Kathy from Healthy, Happy Life kicked it with us at the Banana Summit and I swear to you, even though everyone and their miniature poodles know that girl is vegan, we always show up at restaurants with menu’s chosen that don’t include vegan eats. It makes my eyebrows squinch to see her slurping her way through a measly bowl of marinara or getting served a bowl of berries when the rest of us are eating flambe’d bananas coated in rum and butter. She’s always a love about it, though, and runs straight home to make more truly idulgent vegan creations for her blog. That’s Vegan Power for you.
  • Dole Celebrates their Partnership with Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. The real reason we were all sitting in Disneyland for the Banana Summit, instead of the sandy beaches of the tropics (next year, right, Bob? ;) is because Dole has been the sponsor of Disneys’ Enchanted Tiki Room for a million-and-two years now. Part of our trip was visiting this infamous Disney attraction, partaking of the infamous Dole Whip (yummo, baybeee), and sitting through the infernally long and dated light show that is The Enchanted Tiki Room. Several bloggers shared memories of being a kid and loving the talking Tiki Room macaws. I just felt like I was sitting on “It’s a Small World” without a boat. See? Bratty. Super Secret: Maria and Josh of Two Peas brought their wildly scrumptious baby into the Tiki Room and watching him react with wide-eyed fascination to the walls of animatronics made the entire Tiki Room my new favorite, kinda-pretty-lame-unless-you-have-a-baby attraction.
  • Yo, Bob the Banana. DOLE was kind enough to send us home with two of their popular consumer products, which truly make DOLE bananas shine. The first, a Yonanas Banana Ice Cream Maker, a brilliant little machine that turns frozen bananas into a creamy, one-ingredientsoft-serve. (Scroll on down to the bitter end of this post to nab details on how you can win your own Yonanas Machine!) The other lil’ thang that came home with us was a ginormous version of the DOLE Kids character, Bobby the Banana. Next time you need to buy a half-hour with your tots, have them visit the DOLE page and play some of the fun, colorful kids games available on the DOLE website. Super Secret: My favorite Bob of the DOLE Summit wasn’t a banana stuffie, but the PR guy in charge of the whole gig. He’s been a friend and ally for me over the last two years, both from a business perspective and a personal one, as he’s offered incredible insights and ideas on how to work and live authentically. Good people are waaay better than good bananas, aren’t they? Such a gift.
So there you have it, a few of the nitty gritty deets from back-stage blogging. I hate to tell you, but the job, the people, and the opportunities to work with incredible companies like DOLE are just as enjoyable as you might imagine. Disneyland for work? Who even does that. ;)
Want more behind-the-scenes secrets from DOLE Bananas? Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for great tips, tricks, and periodic giveaways.

Get Yer Giveaway On!

One Cheeky reader will win a Yonanas machine, valued at $49.95.

To be entered to win, we’re keeping it easy pleasy this time. Just leave a comment below and tell me how you do your bananas. Leave a link with your fave recipe, if’n you so desire. Then, go bananas and have a great day!
Schmall print: Giveaway ends November 23, 2012 and will be announced on the Cheeky Kitchen Facebook Page by November 31, 2012. One entry per person. This giveaway and post were sponsored by DOLE. My trip and travel expenses were reimbursed by the DOLE company. All opinions in this post are mine.

44 Responses to “Go Bananas! Celebrating DOLE and the Enchanted Tiki Room”

  1. Darbi says:

    I am actually eating one mashed up into my oatmeal with some pb and cinnamon!

  2. Kari M says:

    I love bananas straight up or sliced on cereal.

  3. Cyndi says:

    I love to blend them up with milk and chocolate syrup…Yummy!

  4. Rana says:

    I do my bananas straight up outta the “wrapper”. My Man and all my kids like bananas covered in PB and hidden between two pieces of bread. And who can resist a banana split?!

  5. kathy says:

    i love bananas just as they are – so portable and easy to eat on the run! (although i have been known to dip the end in mini chocolate chips before each bite) thanks for the chance to win :)

  6. Connie says:

    I prefer my bananas just as they are. Peel and eat. However, they are also delicious sliced up and caramelized in butter and brown sugar as a topping for pancakes and waffles, or smashed up when the skin is brown to make banana bread and cakes.

  7. J Jones says:

    Spread a banaa with a think layer of peanut butter, sprinkle with some nuts (and maybe a few mini chocolate chips) and freeze for an all-natural popsicle. Delicious!

  8. Jamie says:

    I love smearing them with either PB or Nutella, such a great snack! And SO jealous of your job!

  9. Amy Tong says:

    What a nice giveaway! I love bananas and usually make these breakfast cookies (http://utry.it/2012/09/breakfast-cookiesfor-back-to-school.html) Sometimes, I freeze them and make my kid’s favorite smoothies. Would love to have the Yonanas and make some treats for my kids too.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  10. Jenna Z says:

    I LOVE my bananas ants on a log style! Split a nana in half, slather with peanut butter, sprinkle with raisins and eat!

  11. Nichole says:

    Freeze ’em in slices, then pulse them in your processor with a little bit of milk and it’s ice cream! (And if you put some peanut butter it’s EVEN better!!)

  12. Lisa Crockett says:

    I love mine slathered with almond butter and sprinkled with cocoa powder. So yummy.

  13. becca says:

    bananas and peanut butter. so yummy

  14. Margaret says:

    I still love bananas mashed, like my mom served them to me when I was a baby! Releases the flavor, somehow.

  15. Kristen says:

    I am so jealous of your job! You are livin’ the dream:) I make a smoothie every morning with a whole banana, pineapple juice, spinach and frozen blueberries..YUM-O!

  16. Maureen says:

    Split open, add mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips, wrap in aluminum foil and set on the grill. Delish! Or, add to pancake batter…

  17. Sarah says:

    i either eat my banana’s straight up for breakfast or use the ol’ family receipe and turn them into a glorious banana bread!!!

  18. Mayzie says:

    Did you know that Cliff’a favourite milkshake is a banana milkshake? Of course, banana has to be pronounced in his crazy way. Did you also know that when he orders a banana milkshake at restaurants in the States he almost always gets a vanilla milkshake? We blame that on the crazy way he says banana.

    Just thought I’d pass that along, since I know how much you love how much he says banana. I don’t want to enter the giveaway.

  19. Julie says:

    In the peel and just a day or two past green, not too ripe for me!

  20. jenny says:

    I started getting eye twitches a couple years ago- the eye doctor said that I was getting too much caffeine or not enough potassium…. so I gave up the coffee and when it happened again, reached for the banana- it worked! My favorite way, though, is in banana bread with dark chocolate chips-YUM!

  21. Looks like you had fun in Disneyland! :) Yay, Dole!

  22. Elizabeth says:

    Love them straight up or in my oatmeal!

  23. Jamie Duncan says:

    Aside from my insane jealousy that you got to go with a bunch of fantab women to Disneyland, with no munchkins to cater to (their sore feet and rumbly bellies), but also, you look amazing in that picture with the camera. Gorgeous lady!

  24. Lori Hoff says:

    Peel & eat is my favorite, but I am also known to scarf down banana bread if it’s available.

  25. Angie Pitre says:

    I love diced banana on my oatmeal with a cinnamon, walnuts, craisins and a teeny tiny bit of brown sugar! Have a lovely weekend!

  26. Charlene Glover says:

    I love to make strawberry banana smoothies

  27. Darci Evans says:

    I love bananas in chocolate milkshakes! But have them more often as an on the go breakfast item.

  28. Julia says:

    I love bananas on my cereal, or mashed and baked into delightful homemade oat muffins.

  29. Michelle Sistad says:

    I love mine with a smear of peanut butter! Yum!!

  30. Lynna says:

    I LOVE just eating sliced up bananas with peanut butter and biscoff. ♥

  31. Barb K says:

    I like to use bananas in banana pudding. Easy to make. So good.

  32. Janet Hellis says:

    I freeze my Dole Bananas and dip them in dark melted chocolate .

  33. Sherrie says:

    Banana fritters are always the use for overripe bananas in my family.

  34. Denice says:

    Hoping to use a Yonanas so I don’t keep making and eating this when my bananas get too ripe. My hips are paying the price!
    Old Fashioned Banana Cake:

    Best with Cream Cheese Icing. :)

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking pxowder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon table salt
    1/2 cup vegetable shortening
    1 cup mashed ripe banana
    2/3 cup buttermilk
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Grease lightly and flour two 9″ x 13″ baking pan. In a bowl combine the first 5 ingredients. Add shortening and banana, beat on low speed until combined. Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Turn batter into prepared pans. Bake in a 275 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until done. Move immediately to freezer and let chill @ 1-2 hours. Ice withyour favorite cream cheese frosting. Totally yummy served cold from fridge.

  35. Libby says:

    I just *eat* my bananas :) Never done anything fancy with them….

  36. patti says:

    I make frozen bananas in the blender all the time so I’d love to try to the yonanas maker! Just had a Dole Whip in FL for the 1st time. Yummy!

  37. Chris says:

    I like to make smoothies for me and the kids. 4 overripe unfrozen bananas, 1/4 cup sugar, about 2 cups milk, and a shot of vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add ice and grind it smooth again.

  38. Clothes says:

    I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

  39. ellie says:

    Banana BOATS! When we go camping, we love to make smores banana versions. We take the banana, split it in half and stuff with chocolate and marshmellows! Wrap up in foil and leave in the camp fire!!!
    Very delish!

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  41. Laurie Posner says:

    bananas and fruit yogurt

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