Viewing posts from: October 2014

Katie’s Granola- A Healthy Start to Your Day!

by SierraMerril

10 30, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | 0 comments

After I swim in the morning and come in to work, I’m ready for a big breakfast that will fill me up until lunch. Whether I’ll be sitting at my desk all day, in a morning meeting, or running around Camp before a group arrives, I’m always satisfied with Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and Camp’s house made granola. I love Camp’s granola! It tastes buttery (but there isn’t any butter!) and is usually packed full of yummy additions like coconut and raisins. After yogurt and granola, I’m ready to start my work day. I’ve always wanted to make my own granola, so I asked Katie Pileggi, Camp’s sous chef, if she would share her recipe. Lucky for me, and you, she said “yes!” Katie grew up in Reno and has been cooking professionally for the last 12 years. Her cooking experience includes pizza restaurants, catering companies, coffee shops, fine dining and most recently, a retirement community. Katie is in her second year as Camp’s sous chef. Her favorite thing to cook (and eat) is steak—medium rare, but if I could only eat one of Katie’s dishes or treats, it would be her granola! Katie created this recipe on her own with the intent of making it enjoyable for everyone. It is nut-free, vegan, and even gluten-free. I’ll admit it, I had to look up if oats were gluten-free or not, and to my surprise, they are! Katie’s recipe yields more than 60 servings, but I’ve modified her recipe so it yields 10 servings (approximately five cups). So if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast treat to fill you up for a day of meetings, hiking or relaxing, make sure you find some of Katie’s granola on the breakfast bar, or make your own!

Stanford Sierra Camp and Conference Center has a wonderful breakfast spread in the main dining room.

I enjoy Katie's granola with yogurt and fresh berries!

Katie's Granola: Ingredients
  • 5 1/4 cups oats
  • 2 cups brown sugar (not packed)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup salad oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Mix all dry ingredients with a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl
  • Add molasses, honey and oil while mixing on low speed
  • Mix until blended well
  • Bake 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes, or until toasted (use a spatula to mix granola after five minutes to help granola bake evenly)
Recipe Notes: -Yields approximately 5 1/2 cups -Feel free to add raisins, cinnamon, nuts or dried fruits to the granola before baking -Granola keeps best in an air-tight container and can be frozen

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Feedback Needed!

by SierraMerril

10 16, 2014 | Posted in Dining, Lodging, Meeting, Special Events, Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of the best ways for a company to improve and grow is through feedback from its customers. Feedback with praise lets a company know what they’re doing right, while negative or constructive feedback tells a company about problems or issues (ongoing or new) that can be improved.

Groups may choose to have an outdoor barbecue lunch or dinner. A majority of the main courses and sides are gluten-free.

Groups may choose to have an outdoor barbecue lunch or dinner. A majority of the main courses and sides are gluten-free.

At Stanford Sierra Conference Center (SSCC), we give all of our guests an opportunity to supply us with feedback about their stay. After a group departs, we provide them with one of two ways to let us know how we’re doing. A handful of our program attendees receive paper surveys at check-out while we email electronic surveys to attendees of most events. Almost all of our departments benefit from these surveys, especially our kitchen, maintenance and housekeeping. Having a guest mention a squeaky door, a tree branch scratching a roof, a burned-out light bulb or a running toilet is a great way for us to gain knowledge when it comes to general maintenance and upkeep. While we do our best to keep an eye on everything around Camp, without actually sleeping in a cabin, it’s hard to know what small details can make someone’s stay better.
Wireless internet is available throughout Camp. In the past two years, it has gotten faster and is available in more areas of Camp.

Wireless internet is available throughout Camp. In the past two years, it has gotten faster and is available in more areas of Camp.

Over the past few years, we saw two things continue to appear on our surveys as items for improvement. The need for stronger and more consistent wireless internet was the most mentioned, while providing more gluten-free food options was the second. SSCC has made big strides in both of these areas. In the past two years, SSCC has added four more T1 lines, bringing the total to eight. T1 lines increase bandwidth, making internet faster. In addition to faster internet, cabins on the east side of Camp have had Ethernet cables hardwired to them, which increases signal strength and helps to eliminate dead zones in cabins. More improvements will continue next year with the last set of cabins becoming hardwired. In the dining room, gluten-free bread is now readily available at breakfast and our hiker bar. In addition to increased bread options, most entrees on the buffet hot carts are gluten-free. Our chefs have made purposeful changes to many of their classic dishes to limit the number of items containing gluten on the hot cart. Our staff will be happy to point out items that do and don't contain gluten. Surveys are also a great way to boost staff morale! SSCC prides itself in having professional, helpful and friendly staff members. Weekly staff meetings include shout-outs for specific staff members from surveys as well as overall staff compliments. Praise for a job well done is always motivation to continue providing the highest level of service.
A group of staff take a break from swimming on one of Camp's floating docks off of Baby Beach.

A group of staff take a break from swimming on one of Camp's floating docks off of Baby Beach.

Looking back at the last season of survey responses, I see quite a few that are helpful. Our website could include better information for individuals who need ADA accommodations, and tips for combating altitude sickness would also be helpful.The expression “It never hurts to ask,” is what comes to mind when I read some of our survey responses. And it’s true-- it never hurts to ask, but there are some things we just can’t control. Suggestions like “heat the lake, ” “more chocolate!” and “less wind” always make me smile. So whether it’s negative feedback, positive feedback, or a rather large request, let us know! We can't make any promises, but we'll try. Our surveys help us to improve our facilities, our service and our overall programming.  

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Photography Tips from Brooke!

by SierraMerril

10 02, 2014 | Posted in Location, Preparing for your visit, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you ever looked back at a photo and thought: "Hmm, it was so much prettier in person!" ? I have definitely thought that, and I'm never sure if it's me, my camera or that photography can be hard to perfect! On a mission to take awesome photographs at Fallen Leaf Lake, I sought out Camp's summer photographer, Brooke Davis for a few tips.

During the spring season, Fallen Leaf Lake is surrounded by bright green vegetation.

The Stanford Sierra Camp boat dock from the water. During the spring, the lake is surrounded by bright green vegetation. If you're talented enough, you can catch the reflection of the trees in the water!

This is Brooke's third summer at Sierra Camp, and she'll be back for a fourth summer next year as the summer staff director. After two summers of teaching people how to wakeboard and water ski, she was tasked with capturing Camp’s special moments in photographs this past summer. Her work culminates each week with a 25-minute slideshow of the week’s highlights.

Brooke Davis (right) and Jan Schlereth (left) in front of Camp's main lodge.

As a child, Brooke used to write storybooks and illustrate them with her photographs. She also took a lot of fishing and sports action photos--  activities that she and her family enjoyed together. What is Brooke’s favorite thing to photograph at Camp? People! Brooke enjoys taking both portraits, and candid photos of Camp’s guests. She uses a Nikon D300 with a big zoom lens, but she promised me that either a camera phone or point and shoot digital camera can produce good photos.
Virginia doing art

Portraits, especially candid portraits, are one of Brooke's favorite types of photographs to take.


Brooke’s Tips for Taking a Great Photo:

Take a lot of photos. Bad pictures happen, but if you take enough, you’ll be sure to get a good one. Brooke takes approximately 1,200 photos a day. At the end of the week, she has more than 7,000 to choose from to co-create a 700-picture slideshow with her fellow Camp photographer, Chipper Stotz. Make sure you have an extra memory card on hand so you don’t run out of space! Use the things around you to frame a shot. Trees, water and scenery can help create a natural frame for your subject. Change your perspective. Try zooming in on your subject or photographing it from an atypical angle. Up-close and microscopic perspectives can represent an object or subject in a different way.  

Looking up at a tree

Always carry your camera with you! You never know when you might find something photograph worthy. Brooke believes that photography makes you much more observant. Once you’ve started taking photographs, you’ll want to take as many as possible.
Silhouetted Water Skier

Silhouetted water skier on Fallen Leaf Lake at dawn

Trying to take an artsy photo? Try a silhouette or reflection. To take a silhouette photo, make sure the sun is behind your subject. Shooting straight into the sun will darken the subject and can create awesome photos. Reflections can also create artsy photos. Sunglasses, windows and water are all good places to be looking if you’re trying to take a photo that’s more outside of the box!
Sunrise at Camp

Sun rises over Angora Ridge each morning casting a beautiful glow on Fallen Leaf Lake.

Get up early and take sunrise photos. Early morning is Brooke’s favorite time to take pictures. Later in the afternoon, the light can be harsh, and parts of Fallen Leaf Lake are usually in the shadows by 4 or 5pm. Sunrise is also a great time to catch Fallen Leaf Lake when it’s still. The sun is best at Camp in the morning, so this is also a great time for portraits and people shots.

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