Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Monday!

Hi, Foodie Friends.

This morning I have just pulled some Nectarine-Spice Muffins from the oven. Guests will be coming down shortly. My featured entree today will be Belgian Waffles with Sliced Strawberries.

After a busy, busy weekend at Inn at Long Lake, we have a short breather. The Staff and I always have our lists of things to do (mine extends into Year 2012!!).

The Painting Crew is coming this week to start painting the inn. This will be done in stages over the next few years. With all the rain I can imagine they are behind.

In my travels today (Gail is watching the inn) I must remember to bring some muffins (I made extra) to the Town of Naples Fire Department. Not only do they help those in need, but a few weeks ago (with notice) they arrived to test out a new fire engine's capabilities. Inn at Long Lake is the tallest building in Naples so they really put the truck through its moves! Seven firemen were here to lend their expertise.

And life in a small Maine goes, inn-baked muffins may just extend the gratitude of "neighbor thanking neighbor." Incidentally, my insurance man did tell me that 90% of home fires are during the Winter months. Always be careful, though.

That's all for today. Hope you like the image above. My photographer and friend, JB Sabin, is one great (and fun) guy!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Every Day is a Lesson...

Greetings to all from hot, humid Western Maine! Yes, Summer is here and in full force.

This weekend found Inn at Long Lake very busy. Saturday's check-ins were all in early and I thought the evening innkeeper duties would be light. Not so! At 6:30PM the power went down in Naples and 3 nearby towns . It remained out for 3 hours. Part of innkeeping entails crowd control mixed with a good dose of positivity at times like these. It was a longer evening than most getting the inn back together when power restarted and this had its effects.

Sunday breakfast was probably one of the worst performances I have had in 6 years cooking at the inn. Perhaps it was the way the orders came in--I was unsure. All I could think of (besides getting out quality breakfasts) was Gordon Ramsey (who you have heard me speak about so many times) yelling: "Stop flapping around like a silly ." Kirsten was setting up plates and expediting in the kitchen. Debbie and Gail were out in the dining room taking orders and keeping people happy.

I tell you this because one thing Gordon Ramsey advises in all his Kitchen Nightmares episodes is to: 1). remain calm and 2). look at the reason for the problematic "flow" of what has happened. And so, I called Gail and Debbie outside after service and got their perceptive feedback on what had just happened. The results from this meeting were that is was indeed a timing mess-up...everyone had sat at once and my response (perhaps enhanced by my being tired from the late Saturday night before) did not help my physical stamina during this particular breakfast. I thanked these two valued members of my staff for their feedback.

We all get tired in our busy lives. Every day cannot be a Gold Medal winning day. In truth, we all exist as "people" and when our physical resources are spent, it is almost inevitable that our performance slides. We can balance this with our standards of caring and Faith that everything has its lesson. Humbling as that breakfast service was for me (I look back on this now with persective), it reminds me that sometimes we are all just "human." Learn and be gentle with yourself.

PS: After a needed nap, I went back in the kitchen for afternoon cookies, rejuvenated, and made some of my Strawberry Snickerdoodles (which got excellent reviews from my Sunday evening guests!). Monday's service went excellent and the weekend was over before I knew it.

This weekend was a great lesson for me. Thanks for reading!

Inn at Long Lake

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An Inn by any Other Name...

Greetings, Blog Readers and Foodies:

First off, a few months ago I mentioned when making MUFFINS it is fun to top some types of muffins with "raw sugar." To clarify, the ingredient of which I wrote is: Demerara Cane Sugar.

A few sprinkles on your muffin batter will create a wonderful sugar topping to your muffins! It looks fairly liquid when you pull the muffin out of the oven but will turn into a somewhat glistening crunch of sugary delight, finishing off in a tender, crumby cake of goodness underneath. Yum!!

Back to now:

Last weekend saw a fully reserved inn and some visitors from out of the blue. Diane & Frank, who owned the building back in 1979, came in to chat, amazed at the progression of the property. They also shared some interesting tales from when the building was converted from a home to a Bed and Breakfast.

I did not know that Inn at Long Lake was not always called by this name. Its first name was "The Old Annex Inn." Only floors 2 & 3 were used for guest rooms (now all 4 floors are used). Frank and Diane relayed some great tales and I was so happy to meet them. I take great pride in knowing I am blessed with the stewardship of this grand building. Every owner has put their share of love, tears, and toil into creating a "haven away from home" for our guests.

That's all from Naples! Remember to try that Cane Sugar idea on your muffins!

Western Maine Lakes & Mountains
78 degrees

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Helping Hands are always around...

Happy Saturday from Inn at Long Lake!

One of my projects this week was to order 2 more oven racks for the gorgeous inn range/oven I inherited when I purchased Inn at Long Lake. The internet was a convenient place to begin. After locating the manufacturer's customer service (they were very nice), I was informed that the model was discontinued and no other oven racks would fit (ummmm...How many oven sizes do they make??! hehe).

Losing an hour of my daily schedule made me frustrated. One thing, though, I have learned is that in moments of frustration, deep breathes and keeping the Faith that everything has its course will get you through. All I wanted was the ability to bake MORE cookies at one time (my 1-rack oven only fits 2 dozen at a time). FOUR dozen would be preferred--and save on propane gas (hence, more eco-friendly).

I relayed this scenario to Debbie, the inn's Head Housekeeper. She let me know that her hubbie (of 25 years!), "Butch", is not only a diesel engine mechanic but is a fantastic welder as well. This is a blessing from out of the blue. Butch can fashion what I need in short order using his talents...and some stainless steel! Seems like a small hurdle to have overcome but I do know that when your passion is real, all things fall into place to teach, assist, help, and celebrate your small gifts to the world. This is the recipe for success sometimes.

During your week ahead, if something upsets or frustrates you, take a moment to breath, and rather than beat yourself up with ideas of "failure," continue to remain open to the answer/help that is on its way. Try it & wait. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

That's all from the inn today. I'm going out to watch the boats drift on Long Lake on this sunny Saturday evening ;-).

Your Maine Innkeeper,

Naples, Maine