11 Fun Facts From My Trip to Minneapolis

Let the travel adventures continue!

Ok, so on Tuesday morning, I left Seattle to fly to Minneapolis for a blogger trip, which was hosted by General Mills. (Mal flew home solo with Quinn because, well, he is Super Dad. Somehow they scored an extra seat on the airplane, so Quinn snoozed the entire flight and everything went perfectly… minus poor Mal arriving home to an extra foot of snow that he had to shovel at 10:00 PM.)

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During my travels, I contracted some sort of stomach bug, so I ended up leaving Minneapolis a little earlier than expected. I missed half of the second day at General Mills, which, of course, I am super bummed about, but I still learned all sorts of interesting things during my time there. That said, here are some fun facts from my trip to Minneapolis!

I love Chex mix so much, and I can eat a hell of a lot of it, especially if it’s a sweet recipe.

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I must have helped myself to 5 or 6 servings of the caramel chocolate Chex mix that was served to us when we arrived. OMG, it was so frickin’ good.

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In 1975, Lucky almost lost his job as cereal mascot and was briefly replaced by Waldo the wizard. Whoa. I can’t even imagine Lucky Charms with a wizard as its mascot. I’m so glad Lucky kept his position!

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Betty Crocker is a fake woman. I know! I was surprised by this one too. Here’s the whole story. It’s really interesting, especially how her image has changed over time.

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cold Brew Coffee is a thing! What, what?! Yes, you heard right. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cold Brew exists, and I want it.

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General Mills served Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Hot) Coffee at their breakfast on Day 2, but, unfortunately, I didn’t have an appetite for it. Whomp whomp. Now, I must make the CTC cold brew at home!

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Aveda originated in Minneapolis. I get my hair cut at an Aveda salon and love their hair products (and tea!), so I was pretty excited to hear this. The nice General Mills folks included some travel-size products in our welcome bags!

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Bruce Jenner was the first official spokesperson for Wheaties. Did you know he was an Olympic athlete?! Kidding!

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Dinner at Travail was a dining experience. Holy cow. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun at a restaurant in my entire life. Each course was so incredibly interesting and incorporated cereal from General Mills in some capacity. We even had the chance to make Dipping Dots in cereal flavors! It was so cool!

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General Mills HQ is one cool place to work. The company offers their employees so many on-site services and perks, including a fitness center, daycare, cafe, Aveda salon, health clinic, credit union, stand-up treadmill desks, and so much more. It’s pretty incredible. I want to work there!

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General Mills Infant Care

General Mills has reduced the sugar in their cereal by 17% since 2007, and they continue to strive to make healthier products.

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 I take recipe development very seriously. Look at the photo of me on the left. What is that face!? Haha!

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During our time at General Mills, we each had the opportunity to create a breakfast recipe in the Betty Crocker Kitchen.

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It was a lot of fun, and I came up with a French toast pancake using French Toast Crunch, rolled oats, and shredded coconut in the batter. It was delicious!

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Spending time with blog buddies is simply the best, and I don’t know where I’d be without this wonderful group of women. 

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I truly don’t know what I would do without these ladies in my life (plus some others not on this trip). Even though we blog about similar things, none of us are ever competitive and we provide so much support for one another. I love them all.

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And, finally, not necessarily a “fun fact,” but just a little something I wanted to say about General Mills. They invited us to Minneapolis simply to learn more about their company and pick our brains about their products and how they can better improve them. They didn’t ask us to blog about our experience, and they straight-up told us this. It was totally optional if we wanted to share via social media. At the end of the day, General Mills just wanted to create a better relationship with each of us.

A common theme of many of my conversations at General Mills centered around bettering their products, specifically their cereals. The company wants to have a positive impact on what their customers eat, so they were really open to our feedback and, on multiple occasions, we were encouraged to “not hold back” with our comments, questions, and concerns. General Mills is a huge company and they know they have the scale to do great things with regard to healthy eating, and I have a feeling they are well on their way.

Questions of the Day

Have you ever visited Minneapolis? If so, what’s your favorite thing about the city?

What’s your #1 favorite cereal? 

57 Comments

  1. I live in the Twin Cities and work in Minneapolis! General Mills has been a staple here forever and I love the company and their products!! My favorite thing about the city is there really is a lot to do even in the winter. Minnesotans, much like Northeasterner’s I suppose find ways to adapt to the cold and hot weather trends. Even in the bitter cold we find things to do outside and there are plenty of things around town indoors to help with cabin fever. Summer time obviously all our lakes are a great part of the city. You don’t need to travel hours away to enjoy lake life. I could go on and but I think it’d would start to come across as biased ha! Glad you had a good time and you’re feeling better.

  2. Very cool that General Mills is picking the brains of people who CARE about food and health in a realistic setting. It can be so easy for big companies to become disconnected from the people they are serving, so the trend of bringing it back to the home-front, so to speak, makes me hopeful.

    I love seeing the same faces in your outings – it must be awesome to have friends who live far apart but be able to see them somewhat often at these events!

  3. That’s pretty incredible that they offer so much to their employees, so many employers don’t, especially in recent years. It’s good to see a company that is looking to improve their products and really give consumers what they want. Sorry you got sick and had to leave early! 🙁

  4. GM products are full of GMO’s and processed chemicals. I guess I’m just surprised you’re promoting such a thing on your health blog.

      1. @Tina: Lucky Charms (Oats, (Whole Grain Oats, Flour), Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellow 5 & 6, Blue 1, Red 40), Artificial Flavor, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Artificial Color, Trisodium Phosphate, Zinc And Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbic), A “B” Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1, Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A, (Palmitate), A B Vitamin (Folic Acid) Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added To Preserve Freshness.)

        Phosphates, Corn Syrup, artificial dyes, artificial flavors = NOT REAL FOOD

        1. This is one cereal of many, and GM is working toward healthier products, which is part of the reason why we were invited to their headquarters. You said their products are “full of GMOs and processed chemicals” and this is simply not true. Again, if you’d like to chat with someone at GM, I’m more than happy to put you in touch!

    1. This comment made me laugh. I am currently in Minneapolis for a two week work assignment. I met up with a friend of friend for dinner the other night who happens to work at General Mills. We randomly got into a discussion about the GMOs. He was explaining the extra safeguards General Mills has to go through since they are larger company and subject to heightened scrutiny and more likely to undergo related litigation. After my conversation with this person I am assure if a General Mills products claims to GMO free I will believe it before I believe a small company. @Rachna:

  5. Your trip to GM looks like it was so fun. Bloggers, food and good times. That’s what it’s all about. I’ve been to MSP many times. There are so many things I love about the city. I especially love the outlet mall right outside the city. The mall of america wasn’t that exciting.

  6. My fave cereal growing up was Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs. Remember that? Does it still exist? I don’t often buy cereal because I end up snacking on it all day… As a breakfast, it doesn’t really fill me up. Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins are pretty amazing, though!

  7. My parents are from Minnesota, so I’ve been in and out of MSP more times than I can count. I’m usually spending time with family while I’m there, but, generally, I would say the people are the best things about MN. 🙂 (not that I have a family bias or anything!).

    Favorite cereal(s) – because I can’t pick just one: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Cheerios (most any variety!), and Frosted Flakes (Kellogg, I know). 🙂

  8. That’s so awesome that it was conditional that you would blog about it (although how could you not). I’ve been reading everyone’s recaps and it looks like an amazing trip. I haven’t had Chex Mix in a long time, prob bc the main one you can buy is more savory and I like things sweet. The one that you had looks amazing! I used to go to town on some Puppy Chow and I might just have to go out and buy some Chex after all of this food talk…

  9. I love ALL cereal. This sounds silly but cereal is my vice. Not chocolate, not ice cream, not cake, not pizza, not fast food. CEREAL. I try to buy cereal with the least amount of ingredients and additives but I like to snack on sugary cereal sometimes too. My hope would be that companies leave out unnecessary additives, synthetic vitamins and nutrients (especially fiber) and chemicals like BHT.

  10. First of all, what a great group of bloggers they invited! Second of all, it’s pretty awesome to see a company merely want to share with you guys and let you get to know what they’re up to without an expectation of promotion. Looks like it worked! Sorry you came down with something, but still an awesome trip. 🙂

  11. I am so happy that you made a French Toast Crunch pancake! I’ve been looking for recipes using French Toast Crunch cereal…I experimented with maple banana FTC muffins but I’m looking for more ideas! Are you planning to share that pancake recipe on your blog?

  12. That chex mix looks so delicious…that stuff is so addicting! I was only in Minneapolis for a quick layover…never got to visit! I’m not sure I can choose only one favorite cereal! Lucky charms is up there, but I totally ate all the marshmallows! I used to love cinnamon toast crunch. Oh, and do you remember Cracklin Oat Bran? Yumm..I don’t eat any of these sugary cereals anymore…the craziest I’ll get is gluten free chex!

  13. I’m really glad to hear that the company is striving to continue to make healthy changes. I look forward to the day when they remove things like BHT from their cereals – think about how many kids’ lives they’ll (positively) impact by doing that one thing!
    Glad you had a fun time, though it’s too bad you got sick later 🙁 Minneapolis is such a fun city!

  14. I haven’t had cereal since I’ve become more health-conscious, but I used to go to town on some CTC. I really liked both Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles, too. There’s nothing else quite like drinking that sweet milk at the end!

  15. Hello! I started following your blog fairly recently, so it’s funny that one of the first posts I read is about Minneapolis. I actually live in Minneapolis and work at General Mills, so it was fun to read this and see your pictures of the halls I walk through (basically) everyday. I’m glad you enjoyed the visit 🙂 And now I need to track down where they are hiding that CTC cold brew…

  16. I used to live in Minneapolis and worked at General Mills in marketing until summer of 2013. It’s a great company that really tries to always do what is best for the consumer so it does not surprise me that they brought you in. In fact, I used to do a ton of blogger outreach on my brand, too. Seeing all your pictures definitely brings me back and makes me miss that big sprawling campus. Glad you enjoyed your trip!

  17. My favorite cereal growing up was Berry Kix! So random haha. For a while I couldn’t find anywhere that carried it anymore! I haven’t had it in years, so I don’t know if they still make it.

  18. Such a fun trip! I really really like Minneapolis. They have a great downtown area with incredible restaurants and fun bars. I also love all the lakes: so many trails! and such an active community too!
    However, I could never handle the winters. I live in Kansas City now, and I will never ever go further North. Never.

  19. I feel like I need to apologize to Mary Lou Retton I asked my husband why Bruce Jenner was wearing a leotard on the box of Wheaties to the right. My husband told me that one was Mary Lou. Sorry about that Mary Lou!

  20. OBSESSED with cereal. I could eat it all day, every day. It’s my favorite after dinner, late night, I don’t need it but I want it – snack. I love Frosted Mini Wheats, the ones filled with fruit are fantastic, but I really don’t discriminate. Honeycomb has always been a staple, I love how the milk stays in the little honeycomb holes. My husband hates it, but I’ll always buy it!

    I digress!

  21. Never been to Minneapolis but I do have a favorite cereal – Puffins. Pretty much any flavor – especially cinnamon. Or peanut butter. Or maybe just plain…

  22. Looks like you had an excellent time! It’s not a GM cereal (though, I love me some Lucky Charms!) but I love Trader Joe’s Toasted Oatmeal Flakes. Really, I love just about any cereal.

    The Twin Cities is just about one of my favorite places! I feel I am a mid-western girl at heart even though I love the mid-atlantic DC area too. If you ever get to back during the summer, plan to go to the Minnesota State Fair. It’s by far the best fair! Who can beat the deep fried cheese curds, the skyway, sculpture made of butter, and of course, Princess Kay of the Milky Way! I had friends who lived literally around the corner from the Aveda headquarters – w/i walking distance! When I was visiting, I went there and bought some products. I think they have a cafe too. So cool! If I could make life smell like an Aveda store, that would make life so good.

  23. My oldest daughter is special needs and Honey Nut Cheerios are the one thing I identify with her more than anything else. My home could be destroyed by any natural disaster and I think random Cheerios would still be found among the ruins. A new box of HNC is brought into my home every week. So cool to hear about the events GM treated you to. Oh, and this post inspired me to pull the trigger on the LULU scarf!

  24. My favorite is CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH..100%…now I want some and I need to try the CTC cold brew…It looks like a life changer…LOL

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