Last Monday, the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off® took place in Nashville, Tennessee.

I was very fortunate to attend as media. The Pillsbury Bake-Off® is something I’ve always followed closely. I like trying out the winning recipes and of course, finding out who won the grand prize. I’ve even considered entering before. With a $1 million grand prize, it’s the biggest prize money for an amateur baking competition.

So you can imagine my excitement at getting to see everything first-hand. From the thousands of initial entries, the Pillsbury test kitchen narrowed it down to 100 recipes. These 100 finalists got to cook their recipes live. The judges then chose four winners, one from each category: Amazingly Doable Dinners, Weekend Breakfast Wows, Savory Snacks & Sides, Simply Sweet Treats. The voting is then given over to the public to determine which of the four will win the $1 million prize.

Here’s a quick shot of the contest floor before the event started. Can you imagine 100 ovens working simultaneously? Imagine all the electricity…

The contest started with the “grand march” where contestants paraded and danced around, with live country music, a life-sized Pillsbury dough boy, and host Chef Carla Hall (Top Chef, The Chew). After making their way around the room, the contest started.

Hot chicken is a signature dish in Nashville, and Hattie B’s is supposed to serve some of the best.

I recently took a quick trip to Nashville, as media for the 47th Pillsbury Bakeoff (more on that in a future post!). It was my first time visiting the South, and I took full advantage of any free time I had– trying to soak up the atmosphere and eat as much as I could. I completely fell in love with the hospitality and amazing comfort food. When researching for my trip, I learned that hot chicken is a local specialty in Nashville. It’s a type of fried chicken, usually pan fried, that is then brushed with a spicy sauce.

The most famous place for hot chicken is Prince’s, but I read really good things about Hattie B’s and it was a lot closer to my hotel. My uber driver, a 20 year resident of Nashville, confirmed Hattie B’s is the best place to go and he goes at least once a week.

The heat levels on the chicken range from “mild” to “shut the cluck up!!!” I found that quite amusing. Even though the restaurant was packed, the staff was super patient and friendly with us as we decided.

Small white meat plate (breast + wing)

This lighter version of my pumpkin spice mug is only 190 calories. It’s a nice little treat you don’t have to feel guilty about and ready in just a few minutes.

I don’t know about you, but I try my best to eat a little better right before the holidays, knowing all the overeating that is to come. Which is why I created this skinny version of my regular pumpkin mug cake.