Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 1 of the rest of my life

I'm tired. I'd like to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. Lately 3 hours has been a luxury, too. I am ready to take my sleep back. I am ready to start the rest of my life, filled with fun days with my kids, kicking butt around the house, and feeling invincible. The few nights that I've had good sleep I have been invincible the next day. No amount of green smoothies can make up for horrible sleep, trust me.

My lovely son who always seems to be full of life and energy will not sleep through the night anymore. The thing that kills me most is that he used to! Just after this amazing point in our lives of very rest-filled nights he got sick and essentially reverted back to newborn sleeping. After a winter of mild but persistent colds he is now oh-so-used to mom and dad's comfort at night. He doesn't take bottles. He doesn't take pacifiers. He will take a sippy cup, but only if it's water and he won't take it if he's upset. He won't take mamma's milk from anything/anyone but mamma.  In his fits of rage/crying he throws any comfort object we offer him. He will cry for hours if we let him (we don't). He will rock/walk to sleep- after 30 to 45 min. Should I go on? I think we see the picture here...mom and dad are suckers. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me for nearly 365 days...shame on me. But we still love you.

But that's okay, because starting tonight everything is changing. We won't pick him up from his crib. I won't nurse him to sleep initially and I won't feed him past 11. We will hear a lot of crying. We might even have to put miss thang back to sleep several times if his crying wakes her up. I will not sleep well tonight. I may have to sit propped up against his crib all night in the rocking chair (hopefully not). He might even vomit (REALLY hope not). Mom will be there for you and I will visit, but you are putting yourself back to sleep tonight buddy, no matter how many cute little tears you shed and no matter how much my heart breaks. Wish us luck.

Monday, July 29, 2013

11 Months

I cannot believe that my little man is 11 months old today! The fun thing about him having his birthday next month is that he is included in birthday season :) From August 27-October 24 we have 7 birthdays in our family! Anyway, little man is getting so big! He is already outgrowing his 6-12 mo clothes, he is starting to stand on his own, and he says 'dada' and 'baba' with ease. He's only said 'mama' once, and luckily I heard it, but I won't give up on getting him to say it. He is understanding a lot more of the toys that we have and he actually enjoys playing with them. Him and Julia are starting to play together a lot more as well and it is SO adorable. He wiggles like crazy all the time and it is nearly impossible to get him dressed or change his diaper by myself. He LOVES baths and splashing in water. I really wish that he'd sleep through the night...since he's teething he is still waking up around 3 times a night :/ He does have a third tooth with 3 more on the way.

At the aquarium today.

The hooligans playing together.

High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to bake and since living in Utah I have felt like I've had more baking fails than ever in my entire life. I'm from Oregon so I never thought twice about using the high altitude conversions listed on most recipes. One day it hit me *duh* I'm at pretty high altitudes and I should convert my recipes. I've started doing that and ever since I have had no mishaps whatsoever. Here is a recipe that I adapted from a secret recipe and then also adapted for high altitudes. The nice thing is that they get cooked all the way through without overdone bottoms and they don't fall after baking. They will be just crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (without being doughy/under done). It's a small batch, which is nice for my family since Julia and I are the only one to eat cookies.

My cookie helper :)

1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tea salt
Scant 1/2 tea baking powder (measure 1/2 tea then give it a little tap to knock some out)
1 stick butter
1 egg
6 TBL brown sugar
4 TBL white sugar
1/2 tea vanilla
1/2 bag chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars. Then add the egg and vanilla, mix well. Add the baking soda, salt, and flour. Mix until blended, but do not over mix. Then add the chocolate chips.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 min, or until the edges are just golden brown.

Done in the middle but still soft. Lightly crunchy on the outside and they didn't turn out hard as rocks once they cooled down.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

An "everything" smoothie

I know, it looks gross...but it tastes great! Have you ever heard the saying "everything but the kitchen sink" is in it? That's how I feel about this. The great thing is that it hits a lot of must haves for a smoothie these days.

3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup frozen sweet potato*
1/4 cup frozen peaches*
handful of frozen blueberries
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

Blend it. Drink it. Love it.

*Remember how I made homemade baby food? I put some in ice cube trays and I now have perfectly sized cubes of frozen sweet potatoes and peaches for smoothies, as well as for the baby's meals.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BotH: Chapter 12

Chapter 12
The Chefs

The chefs at The Resort were simultaneously the best and worst people to work with. On the one hand they were friendly to me since I wasn't their subordinate and I was nice to them, but on the other hand most of them had huge egos and thought they were always right, even when they weren't. The Resort had a weird hierarchy for the chefs, so it seemed like there were always power struggles amongst them. At the top was the Food and Beverage Manager (not a chef...at all) and he was over things like food cost, events, supply chain...the boring stuff. Next was the Executive Chef, Phil, who was technically in charge of all of the other chefs. Then there was the head restaurant chef (side note: the restaurant was not technically run by The Resort, it was run by the brand of restaurant that it was-- like how the food court is in the mall but each restaurant is run by itself, not the mall as a whole but the mall still has some say in what happens...it was confusing), the sous chef, the head banquet chef and his assistant, the head pastry chef and his assistant, then there were all levels of chefs in the restaurant. They all had numbers (like chef I or II) based on seniority/experience so it was also confusing to know who to talk to about what.

In the first couple of months I mostly worked around Tony the head banquet chef and Phil the executive chef. Phil was full of all kinds of random information that he felt the need to always divulge. Sometimes it was interesting, like how the pigs in Italy are fed certain foods (like wine and nuts) before they're made into prosciutto/pancetta, and sometimes it was not, like how he showed his sons his scars from his vasectomy. For real he told me all about that in addition to how his wife cheated on him but they decided to stay together for the kids and how she pretty much sounded like she was in the marriage for the money. One time I saw him go ape crazy on a mouse in the kitchen--obviously necessary, but instead of disposing of it himself he left it there and called stewarding to come clean it up. I don't think I mentioned stewarding before, they were at the beck and call of the chefs, managers, and servers to do things like dishes, polishing large silver pieces, moving flatware and silverware, cleaning up broken glass, transporting trays of glasses from point A to B...lots of hard labor, basically. Anyway, back to Phil. I liked him and didn't have any beef with him, but apparently he threw a lot of people under the bus to save his own butt. And one last thing about him, his favorite thing to eat was ramen and beer...I guess you just never know sometimes.

Tony was from New York (I mentioned him in the royal wedding) and so most people were afraid of him because they thought he was "mean." Don't get me wrong, I saw him get into a lot of arguments with my manager (she was also from New York) but he never was mean to me. He thought I was joking when I told him that I worked with my mom...most people didn't believe me actually. He also teased (but not in a mean way) that I was Mormon. It's funny how people who know something generic about you tend to bring up all they know on the subject, which ends up being a whole lot of nothing. Like if I had ten husbands...silly stuff like that. Anyway, we got along really well and he would teach me how to make things when they were slow. I did an amazing hollandaise sauce for a holiday brunch (on my first try, if I might add) that he taught me to make. He also helped me plan my birthday dinner that another chef was catering for me. Him and his assistant, who were friends, were always bickering with each other and I remember him (the assistant) saying that he was sure that Tony was wrong so he was going to make it his way and not listen to him. He got sick of being over worked so he left a few months before me and went to go work at The Montage and he is managing his own restaurant over there now.

Orin is my favorite. We're still friends and he owns an amazing pastry shop in Draper. He originally came in as a pastry chef, and after our head pastry chef/chocolatier left becasue she thought everyone in charge was idiots (too true) he became in charge. The annoying thing is that they wouldn't give him the title of "head" pastry chef. Him and Phil didn't get along very well. Anyway, whenever we were slow or had time in between events I would go hang out with Orin. He had pastries that he would share with me, or let me try out new things that he was making. He also gave me TONS of baking advice and shared a lot of fun stories with me about his pastry upbringing and his family growing up in...Norway (?). It annoyed him to no end that instead of allowing him to make things from scratch, Phil ordered premade croissants, muffins, and bagels which contributed to the huge "food cost" debate that seemed never ending. I got to the point where when I was pregnant I did not want to work up in Private Dining anymore and Orin wanted me to come work with him but Phil said no. Then I went on maternity leave. Then I quit...but I digress. We actually both quit at almost the same time. Orin had to drive over the mountain from South Salt Lake and during the snow season you never knew how long it could take. He got stuck in an accident that shutdown the freeway so he was a sitting duck for two hours on his way to Park City. He called to let Phil know about the accident and Phil told him to not even bother coming in. That was the end. Orin is such a nice guy and he owns his own pastry shop now, but he was the scape goat up there and it was ridiculous.

I mentioned that chefs had egos and could be hard to work with. One time when I was working in Private Dining I went to the line to pick up my order and it was wrong. I told the sous chef who sat there and argued with me and i told him over and over again to read the ticket again because I was missing a dish. This was the first time that I literally yelled at a chef and then once he read the ticket he saw he was wrong and walked off to fix the order. The head restaurant chef was the most egotistical chefs I had ever met. Phil and I discussed how much we both disliked Bobby Flay and I never had the heart to tell him I disliked his restaurant more than I disliked Bobby Flay and that is saying something. Almost all the chefs swore like sailors which annoyed me, but was bad for The Resort when they had guests touring the kitchen and came around the corner hearing a string of profanity. The restaurant's kitchen was not my favorite place.

Friday, July 19, 2013

1 Dinner 2 Ways

Do you ever make something for dinner and then realize you have too much left over? I made a big ol' batch of chicken kabobs for dinner and we had a ton left over and so I decided to do a dinner "refashion".

Day one we had chicken kabobs with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and pineapple. I marinated it in a yummy citrus blend (I didn't use a recipe, but McCormick has great mixes) I whipped up and did it on a baking sheet (we don't have a grill).

Day two I took some of the left overs (minus the pineapple) and turned it into fajitas. I added some sour cream and cheese and I'm telling you it was delicious. And I bet you're wondering, "Rachel, where's the pictures?" Well, funny story...I gave my camera to Alex for his mission and so I only have my phone to take pictures with and both times I was eating I forgot...until I was done. So...great ideas can come without photos.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Potty Training

We are potty training in these parts and the past couple of months I have not been diligent enough about getting number one done on the potty. She loves her princess potty and the music it plays when she does number two but mom is ready for number one to get that happy song, too. I know there are a million websites with potty training, but what I think it comes down to is finding out what drives your child and what they're comfortable with. Julia loves stickers, so that will be our first bribe/reward of choice. She really digs the singing potty, too, so I think we'll stick with that. She has only once gone on a real toilet and it was stressful for her (we were in public). Wish us luck, here we go!

Also, here is a potty training sticker chart that I made for her. I'm hoping it will help ME to be more diligent about getting her on there more frequently and help her to see her stickers/reward.

BotH: Chapter 11

Chapter 11
10 kinds of crazy

The Resort offered great packages for companies as an incentive to get them to stay, dine, and play with us. We had a group come in, the Smith-Colby Group, and they took up around 50 room and had every meal and snack with us as well as booked up all of our conference rooms for a few days. It was the most hectic week of my life there and a lot of planning went into making it easier on the employees to handle.

The Smith-Colby Group had breakfast, lunch, and dinner banquets everyday in between which they had meetings and in between the meetings were "snack" stations throughout the hotel. As a banquet team most of us worked splits (5am-9am and 5pm-9pm) to handle the load. This meant that I was waking up at 3:45 am so that I'd leave my house by 4:15 and would catch the 4:45 shuttle to the hotel. This particular week I lived off of 5-hr energy drinks and Powerade. After my shift (which usually ended late) I would go home, sleep, then wake up and repeat the same morning schedule in the afternoon all over again. All week. Rough. Imagine an entire team running this schedule. Things got crazy fast. This also didn't include the extra shift we picked up to help private dining with their portion of the load (which was the coffee stations/snacks in between meetings) throughout the day. They had to synchronize delivering coffee and snacks twice a day to about 20 rooms at a time with just a few servers and two elevators. Yeah, things got interesting there. Luckily they were really well organized and most of the things went well on their end. We (banquet members and butlers) sat and packaged snacks (all custom made, too) for each room, everyday, as well as helping them with their regular service. They also paid for drinks and packaged (non-custom) snacks per item, so that was challenging to bill. All the servers had to drop off, refill, and count missing items in about a five minute time span in each room they visited each time. Luckily I wasn't one of those servers, I was a prep and bill person for the week. If that sounds hectic, you should have seen banquets. That's where the "real" fun began.

By the middle of the week we were really worn out and things were tense. One meal in particular I was assigned to be a greeter. Little did I know that the servers were getting their butts handed to them since all of the guests came to breakfast (?) at once. This is the one and only time that I got on Candace's bad side (and trust me, you knew if you were). About three-quarters of the way through the meal my manager asked me to go join the rest of the servers, so I did. In the back of the house Candace reamed me for not helping sooner. She didn't know that I was assigned to stand as a greeter per the client's request, and was furious because she thought I was doing nothing while they were all running to catch up with the rush -- end of the story was that I ended up sitting in the ballroom once guests were gone crying since it wasn't my fault the meal went poorly. I tried to transfer to private dining for the day to help them and they said I had to have my manager approve it. Then I looked like an idiot crying in front of my manager asking to switch someone for the day. I was broken. I ended up still going back to finish the day in banquets, and things were a little awkward between Candace and I for a couple days, but things ended up being fine. I think the thing that was even worse than that encounter was my manager at one of the dinners. We had completely set up the ballroom for dinner, which takes quite a while when you have to polish every piece of silverware and every glass, plus folding all the napkins. My manager walked in just as we were finishing and decided she didn't like the napkin fold (which she originally chose) and she made us unfold all of them and do a different one fifteen minutes prior to guests arriving. I was furious. The one really nice thing from the week was that the meeting planner was so impressed with how the core servers did that she gave us a card with lots o' cash in it :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ANOTHER new project

Just in case I wasn't busy enough, I have really felt like I need to start this new project. It's based around price matching for missionaries. My poor bro who is serving in San Antonio seems to always be emailing us the woes of being poor or asking for a few extra dollars. I know he's in an adjustment period since he's only been there a month-ish, but I suggested price matching to save him time and money. Now I feel like it is a huge undertaking that I want to offer to ALL missionaries in the U.S. If anyone is interested in helping, even like 30-60 min a week, I will take it. Let's help all the great missionaries out there!!

I might be crazy.

I'm probably really crazy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

BotH: Chapter 10

Wow, 10 already.

Chapter 10
The Residents, Part deux

I recently wrote about some of our residents, but I did not mention that it was only residents that could stay in a residential suite. Friends and families of an owner could come and stay there also. This is a great benefit to the owner to get more use out of their condo/suite if they aren't there often, but it also caused small amounts of chaos trying live up to their (the friends) expectations.

One morning I was in Private Dining working as an order taker. This means that I sat in a chair taking orders all morning over the phone. Once I got used to the phone etiquette and AAA/Forbes standards, it was a pretty easy job. Now, here is where things get hairy; I got a call around 10:30 am from a man who was staying in a residential suite (that his friend owned, not him) and he wanted chocolate croissants with his breakfast. Usually that would be an easy order to fill, however since it was a particularly busy weekend and breakfast service ended at 10, we were out of chocolate croissants. I offered him regular croissants and he would not have it. I sat there on the phone with him, him yelling at me nearly the entire time, for about fifteen minutes. The outrage. He couldn't believe that we would be out of croissants and it was such a horrible thing, and we were ridiculous and he wanted to speak with the General Manager (he called him by name, apparently they had met...once) and he wanted his food for free and so on. He had a point, I won't deny that, but lets get real. It was after breakfast hours and it was a busy weekend. We actually were able to find some mini chocolate croissants that were left over from a banquet that morning, so we sent those up, but this guy was the worst. The thing is that this seemed to happen a lot. What was listed on the menu was not always available, but you can't change out 200 menus on a daily basis. I would say that about eighty-percent of the time we did not have all of the flavors of yogurt listed on the menu.

There was another family that stayed with us often in the a residential suite. His family was super nice; his wife was a doctor, he had twin girls and one of them was a tennis prodigy, and then they had another little boy (who looked like a girl...he had long hair). They were in town often during the first summer I was there and every time you went to their room they gave you twenty bucks.  I had brought them up some hot chocolate and once I was up there they wanted extra marshmallows, so I ran down and got more. Twenty bucks the first trip and twenty bucks the second trip. I served them so much that I knew where everyone sat at each meal and who ordered what. They also were sick of renting cars so they just willy-nilley went down and bought two Escalades and had them parked in the underground parking at The Resort. No big deal.

Remember Mr. French from chapter 4? He stayed in the residence as well. He would play really weird power games with us...for example one night a server delivered his meal and left the check for Mr. French to sign. We didn't always have them sign it in person/right away if they didn't motion to do so. Later when the server picked up his dishes he noticed that he still hadn't signed the check, but he charged it anyway (that was our policy). Mr. French was in an uproar about it (remember how he's a billionaire?!)  and called the General Manager, Mr. Great, and told him that since he didn't sign the check he would not pay for the meal. Of course, Mr. Great comped the meal that was over $100. And that was $100 just for one person. Another night I delivered drinks to his family as they sat out on the terrace by the fire pit. Our policy, according to AAA/Forbes was to open and present a drink to the guest in front of them. So, I did just that. I think his wife had wine so I gave her the plastic wine glass (so tacky but no glass was allowed outside). Then I walked over to him, opened his Fiji water and set it in front of him with the cup beside it. Picture perfect, I was proud since I was so nervous. Nope. He reprimanded me for not bringing him Evian (which we didn't have) and then said he wouldn't drink the water because some was missing from the bottle. I had literally opened it right in front of him and he would not take it. Then I brought his kids apple cider. The wife asked, "where are the cinnamon sticks?" I understand the thought process there, but we didn't give cinnamon sticks out with apple cider so I didn't bring any and they hadn't requested it prior to my delivery. So, I ran back to the kitchen, got a new water bottle, cinnamon sticks, and was then told to speak to their security guard/man servant. He paid in exact change, no tips. And they had the poor man being bossed around by walkie-talkie while he watched over/chased around their kids. I hope they paid him well...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Homemade Fruit Leather

Homemade {Plum} Fruit Leather
This is probably our new favorite snack and it was super easy to make...3 ingredients and that's it!

First wash, cut, and pit approximately 18 ripe plums (we like ours thick). Roast them at 350* for about fifteen minutes, just to help them warm up and relax. 

If they release water/juice into their cavities (as seen below) just pour it out. 
Transfer them to a food processor or blender and puree them until the chunks are gone. Add sweetener-- I had a couple that were tart so I added 1 cup sweetener (1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup corn syrup). You want to add enough sweetener to get it to the "just sweet" realm. Don't add too much because once it dries it will be too sweet. 

Pour onto a pan with raised edges that is either A- lined with parchment B- lined with a Silpat C-sprayed with cooking spray (I have not tried that method) or D- lined with plastic wrap.
Dry in an oven set at 175* until it is smooth and not sticky (especially the middle). If your outside edges dry a lot faster, you can trim them off during the process. Mine, since it was SO thick, took about 8 hours to dry.
Once it's done, if you used a Silpat just put plastic wrap on top, flip it over, and un-peel the Silpat (pictured above--the plastic wrap kind of blends in, but it's there I promise!). If you used parchment paper or plastic wrap, you can cut it straight from the pan into strips and roll it up. I used a pizza cutter and it worked great. I've also used scissors and they did great.
Store it into an airtight container (up to two-ish weeks) or freeze it in a freezer bag (up to a couple of months). Most of all, enjoy!  

You can easily use any fruit to make fruit leather, and with most fruits you don't even need to add sugar. We did mango-banana and it was delicious plus I didn't add any extra sugar.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

BotH: Chapter 9

I promise I will do residents part 2, but this popped up and I wanted to write about it first :)

Chapter 9
Employee Shenanigans

You would think that The Resort would be very particular in the employees that they hired. But what it comes down to is that if they passed the drug test, they were hired. We had a lady named Susie that was hired to be a part of the banquet team. She was hired to support the "core" team (me, my mom, Candace, and Remy) on larger events. I'm telling you know, this lady did not know beans about serving. She was nice as a person, but she was slow and stumbly/mumbly. It was hard to work with her when we were going mach 10 and we could barely get her going, let alone to keep up. In response to watching how she worked my boss said to Candace, "I just don't understand, she wore a suit to the interview." That's right folks, she was hired because she wore a suit to her interview...that solved a lot of questions as to why she was hired. She wasn't the only one.

Unfortunately the inmates ran the prison. Members of the restaurant and bar staff stole alcohol from the bar. One employee brought a duffle bag up to the floor with him and stuffed wine bottles in it. When a guest was done with their meal or if they needed it to be boxed up, it was brought to the back of the house to be taken care of. Time and time again I saw restaurant employees eating off of plates. Oh they didn't finish their fries? Then it's only natural that you should...super gross. When a guest first arrived to dine they were given a basket of bread that was freshly sliced. The servers would slice the bread, then sit there and eat the seeds that had fallen off the top. Also gross. The thing was that we were allowed to eat bread, so I don't know why they felt the need to pick seeds off the cutting board that was used over and over.

The thing about The Resort is that it is open 24/7, which means that it is staffed accordingly. You'd better believe that people were sleeping around with each other. The girl who worked overnight in Private Dining was sleeping with one of the security guards. The thing was that she was married and had kids. Yuck. Our other overnight guy (Van) was completely unreliable. He would show up, watch movies on his laptop, and then do some of his work here and there. We would show up at 6:45 am to get ready for breakfast and he usually hadn't done much to help, leaving us to pick up all the slack. He got fired/re-hired a million times. One time I had a guest call and ask for a side of berries to be added to his order. Alex asked Van to get the side of berries for room 611- meaning he wanted him to get them and add it to the table we were taking to his room. Van got the berries and walked off-- instead of putting it on his delivery table, he delivered just a bowl of berries! A few minutes later I got the angry phone call from the guest in room 611 that only his fruit had arrived and that he didn't want blackberries in it (not previously mentioned). He also slept on the job and would just forward calls to the front desk. This type of thing happened time and time again with Van.

This is my all time favorite story. Steve was a Private Dining Server and he was really good at his job. He was almost always on point and got tipped really well from guests. He and I got along and we carpooled to work a lot since he and his girlfriend shared one car. Anyway, remember how we couldn't be on property if we weren't working? Steve forgot that. He left work through the front entrance (into Park City) and went drinking but didn't remember until later that he had parked on the other side of the mountain and was shuttled to work, so he decided to cut through the hotel to catch the shuttle down to the employee lot. When I got to work the next morning everyone in security was in a roar over the surveillance video of Steve. Housekeeping had arrived that morning and there was poop all over the floor of their office. All over. Apparently Steve had been so drunk that when he was making his way to the shuttle he somehow mistook the Housekeeping office for the bathroom and made a mess everywhere. The video showed him stumbling all over, coming in and out of Housekeeping, and crawling out to the shuttle.  I felt bad for him since we were friends, and he got fired that day. He came up and said goodbye to me on his way out and he was crying. I think it was a hangover/oh-crap-what-did-I-do cry more than anything, but still, I was sad to see him leave. The news spread quick about what happened to him and people would say, "You work at The Resort? Did that guy really crap all over?" Yes, we became notorious amongst other Park City resort employees for having that guy.