Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Fishing in Minnesota!

      The title might throw you for a loop!  Yes, chocolate chip cookies are a necessary part of a Minnesota vacation!  When we bought our resort in 1987, we had no clue how to run a resort.  We joined our statewide resort association, the CMR, or the Congress of Minnesota Resorts.  This organization's motto is "Resorters Helping Resorters".  We learned from our first conference that resort owners were a rare breed.  These people were willing to share their ideas with each other...and make us all better business people...and successful resort owners! say....what does this have to do with chocolate chip cookies?  Well, at one of the CMR conferences we attended, some of the 'seasoned' owners were sharing some of the things they did at their resort for their guests.  Someone...and 25 years later I cannot remember who...said they baked cookies every week and put them in the cabins.  Being very green in this business, I thought....I can bake...I think I'll put cookies in my cabins next summer to greet my guests!  And the tradition was started...except I didn't realize it would be a tradition! 
Here's the cookies setting on the cabin table waiting for the guests!

       Now the reason for this blog post is not's a simple trick I learned this week that made baking my cookies so much easier!  It's called....Parchment Paper!  I cannot believe that I have never used it, but wow...did it make baking easier, faster and the cookies baked to a golden brown on the top and bottom! 
Chocolate chip cookies on the paper, ready to bake!

      I baked the cookies for the same 11 minutes at 375 degrees...the difference was that they all baked evenly and....bonus....I didn't have to wash the cookie sheets!  That was a huge time saver for a resort owner!  
Cookies right out of the oven....perfect!

      Now, this might seem like a useless story, but maybe you've never tried parchment paper?  If not, give it a try...and maybe it won't take you 25 years to discover how awesome it is to bake with!
Plates of cookies....ready for the guests!

      Are you hungry yet?  Come on's cookie baking day!

Side note for resort not start baking cookies and putting them in your cabins unless you intend to do it each and every week...each and every year!  The guests will thank you for it!  A tradition started at a resort can never be discontinued....but chocolate chip cookies are very welcomed!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Those Lazy Days of Summer!

      When we were kids, our summer break from school lasted forever!  Swimming, riding bikes, skating, climbing trees...and a family vacation.  I was the oldest of 8 kids and most of our family vacations were spent at home.  I tell my kids the stories of our Dad piling us all into the car to take a ride...ending up at McDonalds where we got a snack...we could choose from an 18 cent hamburger or 12 cent french fries...and with 8 kids, we found someone to bargain with so we could split that order and we both got part of a sandwich and fries!  My parents are both gone now...but the memories my siblings have provides plenty of stories to share with our kids and grandkids!
      Now we find ourselves in the "vacation" business...a northern Minnesota resort providing vacations for families from all over the week at a time....and doing our best to make their time with us a memorable one.  Fishing, swimming, skiing, paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, to name just a few of the activities offered at many Minnesota resorts!  My husband tells me that we're on vacation all the time...and after I throw something at him, I have to agree that we have a pretty good job!  We share our home/cabins/lake with all our guests and do our best to provide them with a memorable time together.  Here are some examples of summer fun at Cedar Rapids Lodge!
Sunday morning fishing seminars with free donuts and fish advice from the Lodgemaster!

Smiley face pizzas made by Mitch(with a smiley face!)

Spending your KidKard in the candy store...buying 2 bracelets and a necklace!

Learning to tie your shoes for Kindergarten...and your reward is a Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae!

Building sandcastles and showing the resort owner in hopes that she will take a picture!  Nice job!!

Bonfires with Fudge Striped S'mores...

The resort dog, Wrigley, celebrating her birthday with her annual scoop of strawberry ice cream!

Arrive on Saturday, jump in the boat, go out about 30 feet and catch a 35 inch Northern...and let me tell you, she was excited!  Everyone  in camp knew that a)someone drowned or b)Vickie caught a big fish!  We love her enthusiasm!

Being thankful for wonderful families like this who call us home for one week of the year!

Enjoying this nightly performance and trying to never take this beautiful place for granted!

We still have some warm weeks left at Cedar Rapids Lodge....and the fall is such a great time of the year to relax in the northwoods....reading, fishing, napping, hiking....repeat again and again!  Come join us at this special won't want to leave!