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High Altitude Baking Tips From a Colorado Pastry Chef

At more than one mile above sea level—6,035 feet to be exact—Colorado Springs can be a challenging place to bake delicious goodies. Today, Bethaney Rogers, Garden of the Gods Club’s lead PM pastry chef, shares her favorite tips for creating yummy baked goods at a high altitude. Bethaney combines her background in art and illustration with her fascination with cake decorating and baking to create what she refers to as “edible art.” To gain more insight on how you can do this as well (yes, even at Colorado’s altitude!) keep reading below.

Bethaney Rogers, PM Lead Pastry Chef at GGC, shares her tips for creating yummy baked goods, like this delicious carrot cake, even at high altitudes.

Pastry Chef Bethaney Rogers

1. Learn how to adjust flour. “When baking at a high altitude, the bubbles from the liquid in batter expand more than they would at lower altitudes, which can cause breads and cakes to sink in the middle,” Bethaney said. “To counter this, increase the flour by up to 2 tablespoons [see conversion chart below]. The extra flour helps those bubbles to not expand as much.”

2. Understand the difference between baking powder and baking soda. Although many people think that baking powder and baking soda are interchangeable, they actually serve two different purposes. While baking soda enables your baked good to spread out, baking powder helps it to rise. “A good way to remember this difference is to think about what would happen if you dumped out a glass of soda. It would spread out everywhere,” Bethaney explained. “If you were to pour out a bottle of baking powder, it mounds up,” she continued. “With this in mind, you can decrease the baking powder or baking soda by one-eighth to one-quarter of a teaspoon, depending on the result you want; however, only do this if you’ve already tried increasing the flour and have not achieved the desired result.”

3. Compensate for a lower boiling point. At higher altitudes, water not only boils at a lower temperature, but it also evaporates faster. This can cause baked goods to be too dry. “To avoid dryness, I recommend increasing the liquid by two to four teaspoons,” Bethany advised. “For bread, add cool water, as it takes longer to heat up. You can also add steam or a warm mist during the first 20 seconds of baking,” she added. “This helps to ensure that the crust doesn’t get too hard, allowing both the inside and outside of your baked good to bake equally.”

High altitude baking conversion chart.

High altitude baking conversion chart

4. Account for the changing seasons. In Colorado, we are lucky to enjoy all four seasons; however, varying temperatures and moisture levels can also affect the way your favorite baked goods taste. “Because Colorado is dry in the summer, add more yeast when baking to aid rising,” Bethaney said. “On the contrary, less yeast is needed during winter and fall, as there is generally more moisture in the air.”

Bethaney emphasizes that baking is different from cooking because it’s very scientific, and when baking at a high altitude, it’s important to experiment until you get the results you want. At Garden of the Gods Club, Members and Lodge guests enjoy delicious, fresh-baked goods, as well as monthly cooking classes on a variety of topics. Interested in learning more about membership at Garden of the Gods Club? We encourage you to chat with Membership Director Tracey Kalata by calling 719.520.4980 or emailing tkalata@ggclub.com.

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Fitness Friday: Three Beauty Tips for After Your Workout

If you compensate for a busy schedule by squeezing workouts in on your lunch hour or before evening events, you’re not alone. Even so, this doesn’t mean that you have to go through the rest of your day sporting a post-gym grunge look. Whether or not you frequently find yourself in a time crunch after hitting the gym, the beauty tips below will help you seamlessly transition from your workout into the remainder of your day.

These simple tips will help you feel refreshed and pretty after a workout.

These simple tips will help you feel refreshed and pretty even after a sweaty workout.

1. Prep your gym bag with helpful products. To avoid lugging a bunch of skincare and beauty products to and from the gym, choose products that are small and that provide the most bang for your buck. “Therapeutic Cleansing Packs by Sanitas are great for cleansing skin after a workout,” Dana Young, interim spa manager at The Spa & Salon at Garden of the Gods Club, said. “These quickly wipe away dirt and oil for a fresh feel,” she continued. “The Spa & Salon also carries travel-sized Skin Authority skin care and Neuma hair care products that are handy to stash in your gym bag. Blotting papers, which help soak up extra oil on the face, are another must-have item for your gym bag.”

2. Plan an easy “updo” for your workout days. If you struggle to find a way to get around the “greasy hair” look that often accompanies a workout, plan to wear your hair in a simple, cute updo on days that you fit in a workout. “I like to wear my hair in a messy braid or bun on days when I know that I’m going to work out,” Chantal Santos, front desk concierge at The Spa & Salon, said. “Or, I will throw my hair up into a ponytail and add a cute headband. Sometimes I also use a ‘dry shampoo’ to soak up any excess sweat from my hair.”

3. Cool off quickly and keep your makeup simple. In her Fitsugar article “How to Work Out at Lunch,” writer Su Reid-St. John suggests freezing a towel overnight or storing one in the refrigerator for immediate post-workout cooling.  After cooling off, wash your face with cool water and use simple makeup, such as a tinted moisturizer, tinted lip gloss, and mascara for an easy post-workout look.

We hope that these tips help you fit a workout into your busy day and still feel fresh and beautiful!

You’re Invited:  Healthy Happy Hour

Image of rice paper rolls

Enjoy healthy appetizers Feb. 6

To help you stay fit in 2013, The Sports Club at Garden of the Gods Club invites you to join us for a “Healthy Happy Hour” on Wednesday, February 6, at 6 pm.  This fun evening is designed to help those considering membership to experience the Club firsthand by enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres with a healthy twist while mingling with Members and staff.  Monthly dues for a sports membership (which can be enjoyed by your entire family) are just $185 per month, and a special incentive for becoming a Member will be offered exclusively to those who attend this event.  An RSVP is required by Monday, February 4, to 719.520.4980 or tkalata@ggclub.com.

If you are already a Member of Garden of the Gods Club, then we encourage you to think about which of your friends, family members, or business associates would make great workout buddies—and then personally invite them to join you at this event!  Those who work out with a friend are more likely to stick to fitness routines, and both you and your guest could earn credits to your Club accounts if your guest decides to become a Member. To RSVP for you and your guest, please contact Membership Director Tracey Kalata at 719.520.4980 or tkalata@ggclub.com.

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Guest Post: Tips for Taking Better Vacation Photos

With spring break and summer just around the corner (they will be here before you know it!), you may be enjoying some vacation time in the near future. Today, Becky Kercher of Black Forest Photography, one of Garden of the Gods Club‘s preferred wedding and event photographers, shares some simple tips for how to successfully capture memorable vacation moments with photography.

Heading on vacation in the near future? These tips will help you capture some great photos.

Planning a vacation in the near future? Capture great photos with the tips below.

For most people, vacation is a time to relax. It is a time to get away and spend quality time with family or friends. Naturally, these moments should be documented in photographs! Here are some of my recommendations for how to do just this.

1. Get a good camera. Although this may seem obvious, many people simply rely on their phones for pictures. This is an easy way to quickly update your social networks, but having a good camera on hand for the memories you’re making is essential. With this in mind, don’t bog yourself down with a ton of lenses and flashes. Unless you are planning to publish your photography, extra “bells and whistles” really aren’t necessary for your personal vacation time. Choose a camera with one good zoom lens and snap away!

2. Pack for the trip. Make sure you pack plenty of memory cards, batteries, and chargers. These items are easy to forget, and depending on where you are vacationing, they could be hard to get a hold of.

3. Tell a story. Taking a photograph in front of every landmark is traditional, but you should also try to document other things about your trip. Take photos of the hotel, the car you rented, and the room you stayed in. These types of photos help tell the story of your trip. The most important parts of the story are the people with whom you are vacationing. Try to capture them candidly. Capturing people with their real smiles, doing real things on your trip, will make your photos all the more memorable.

4. Use the best light. It can be difficult to find the best time of day to capture some great photos of yourself, your family, and your friends. In photography lingo, the best time of day to take portraits is called the “golden hour.” This “hour” is near the end of the day when the sun is low in the sky. If you can’t use the golden hour for some reason, then find even light in which to place the people in your photo. Even light means that everybody in the picture is in the same type of light. For example, one person isn’t standing in a shadow while the others are in light.  The shade works well for creating even light; however, make sure you turn on your flash if the location is back-lit. A photo will generally become back-lit if the sun is very bright behind you.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun. You will have a wonderful time reliving your memories when you look back at your photos.

We hope that you find these tips helpful on your next vacation. Black Forest Photography was recently voted a “best photographer” in the Colorado Springs area by The Knot, a popular bridal magazine and source for all things wedding-related. To say “thank you” for this honor, Black Forest Photography is offering a complimentary portrait session and a $75 credit toward photographic prints. To learn more, please contact Becky Kercher of Black Forest Photography at 719.464.5429 or becky@blackforestphoto.com.

Do you have any other tips for capturing excellent vacation photos? We invite you to share them in the comment box below.

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10 Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Wanderlust

If you love to travel, you will enjoy today’s blog post. I’ve compiled a collection of some of the most famous quotes about traveling and how the experience of traveling can significantly impact your life. We hope that you enjoy these quotes!

This year, we hope you travel on paths that lead to many wonderful memories!

This year, we hope you travel on paths that lead to many wonderful memories!

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
– Susan Heller

“If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.”
Fay Weldon

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.”
– Moorish proverb

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
– Samuel Johnson

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
– Bill Bryson

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.”
– Freya Stark

“May all your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view… where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you.”
Edward Abbey

I hope that these quotes have piqued your interest, and that all of your travels for this year will be safe and rewarding experiences. If you will be passing through the Colorado Springs area this year, consider staying at The Lodge at Garden of the Gods Club. With access to our Salon and Spa, Sports Club, indoor and outdoor tennis, 27-hole championship golf course, and fine dining, The Lodge offers something for nearly everybody in your travel party. Please visit our website or call The Lodge’s front desk at 719.632.5541 to learn more. In the meantime, happy travels!

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Fitness Friday: The Connection Between Fitness and Golf

If you live in Colorado and are an avid golfer, you may find yourself daydreaming of summer’s longer days, green grass, and warm temperatures. Although it may feel like golf’s peak season is still far off, summer will be here before you know it. With this in mind, now is the time to start preparing for your best golf season yet. To help you golf at your best, Garden of the Gods Club Sports Club Manager Lauralee Beerman recently attended the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) in Arizona. We had the chance to talk with Lauralee about the TPI, as well as why you should be excited about it. We invite you to “eavesdrop” on our conversation below.

Prepare now for a great golf season!

Prepare now for a great golf season!

Garden of the Gods Club (GGC): Tell me a bit about the TPI.
Lauralee Beerman (LB): The TPI is known as “the leader in elite golf player development” and is a leading source for golf fitness. The institute has “over eight years of experience in research and development of golf fitness and is dedicated to teaching golf, fitness, and medical professionals to work together to get golfers at their best.” The TPI provides in-depth instruction on the biomechanics of the golf swing, major fitness deficiencies that many golfers struggle with and how to correct them, as well as how to reduce pain and the likelihood of injury. The three most common things that lead to efficiency breakdown are poor mechanics, poor conditioning, and poor equipment. This knowledge will help me to address these areas so that I can help golfers to create the best scenario for their individual needs.

The TPI's Hexagon of Player Development.

From the Titlelist Performance Institute

GGC: You mentioned that there are some common fitness deficiencies amongst golfers. Can you tell me more about what they are?
LB: Yes. Muscle imbalances caused by a sedentary lifestyle and prolonged static postural stress (stress from remaining in one position too long) are the two that I see most often. It is easier to address these areas of weakness with exercise now than it is to fix  injury later on with corrective surgery. Common symptoms that golfers might experience as a result of these deficiencies include tight hip flexors, weak gluteus muscles, weak core and back, and tight hamstrings.

GGC: How can the TPI help golfers, and why should they be excited about it?
LB: The knowledge that I’ve gained from the TPI really boils down to helping golfers to work around their own physical limitations so that they can golf at their best. I will take golfers through a very detailed physical screening process to pin down areas that need work. Based on this screening, I create a personalized golf-fitness training plan. This plan encompasses all areas that affect player development, as shown in TPI’s Hexagon of Player Development diagram (pictured at right). This plan will help golfers reduce the risk of injury while helping them develop a more powerful swing and more accurate shots.

The golf season will be here in no time. If you are interested in preparing now for a great golf season, we encourage you to contact Sports Club Manager Lauralee Beerman at 719.329.4009 or lbeerman@ggclub.com about how the TPI can help you.

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