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L i f e & S t y l e i n C e n t r a l Te x a s

March 2015



Food, Fun & Fellowship

Gourmet Supper Club creates dinner parties with unusual themes

Twelve couples sit at a festively-decorated table with place cards and an assortment of unique gourmet dishes that have been meticulously prepared by all of the dinner’s guests. As they talk about the issues of the day, laugh at inside jokes and remember past dinner conversations, they dine on foods they’ve never tried and enjoy the fellowship of those around them. By Jessa McClure



Experience benefits of spices



Black Hawk Brewing Supply brewing up business

A mother-son duo is brewing up a thriving family business in Harker Heights. Lori and Mark Laack opened Black Hawk Brewing Supply in the Indian Trail Plaza three years ago this March. By FRED AFFLERBACH 


Raj Dhaliwal’s seemingly middle-class home contains a Pandora’s Box of spicy secrets. As she greets guests at the door, a sparky Pomeranian named Twinkle warns visitors with a series of staccato barks, warding off the unwary mailman and occasional UPS driver. Raj’s daughter, Ravneeth Maan, quiets the tiny door sentry, ushering visitors into a warmly-lit living room leading to the dining area, where a mouth-watering display of Indian foods and spices is artfully arrayed. Raj and her family jointly own and run Kesar, an Indian food home-catering business in Temple. One by one they emerge from behind a curtained-off kitchen to discuss how their passion for cooking developed from a rich family history. By JESSICA PEARCE


BUZZING WITH ADVENTURE Explore Walker Honey Farm

On an unseasonably warm, bright day in February, Jonathan Walker, a beekeeper at Walker Honey Farm, holds out an active, open bee hive for inspection with ungloved hands. Thousands of bees crawl industriously, carrying out their various functions while swarming around one large bee with a bright green dot on her thorax. By JESSICA PEARCE



TexTalk Neighbors CTC Culinary Arts Hospitality Program


TexTalk FLAVOUR Scratch Elevated Bistro


TexTalk BEAUTY Mollie Bertrand opens her bag


TexTalk SCENE Black History Month



13 L i f e & S t y l e i n C e n t r a l Te x a s

Valentine’s Day dances

March 2015







ON the COVER Chef Melissa Sandoval of Scratch Elevated Bistro in downtown Killeen. 18 Photograph by KARIN MARKERT







TexTalk CALENDAR Events in March


TexPets Homemade dog treats


TexFIT Work out at home


TexADVENTURES Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery TEXAPPEALMAG.COM

From the Editor Dear Readers, There is nothing like good food and drink to warm the heart and soul, as our March issue highlights. Whether at home with loved ones and pets, in a group with friends or traveling in Central Texas for a fun foodie adventure, what we eat and drink is an intricate part of the ties that bind. This month the Kesar catering family in Temple shares with us just how the herbs and spices they use every day in their authentic northern Indian dishes make for better health (page 39). In Killeen, Jeanette Noble of Everything Paw Related reveals her tips for making all-natural, healthy pet treats at home as a thank you to the furry friends who ask little and give us so much (page 51). While home is the seat of most of our cooking and sharing efforts, there are many opportunities outside the house to learn new cooking skills or to share gourmet cuisine in a group. Chef Ramona Lezo, founder of the CTC Culinary Arts Hospitality Programs, provides an in-depth look at her students and how they enthusiastically tackle new cooking projects (page 14). For those who prefer to eat the fruits of their labor with friends, David Hall of the Gourmet Supper Club offers an alternative for food and fellowship (page 31). If you’re in the mood for comfort food taken to the next level, Chef Melissa Sandoval at Scratch Elevated Bistro offers a feel-good favorite you can enjoy eating in or taking out (page 18). When a good meal alone isn’t enough, Lori and Mark Laack of Black Hawk Brewing Supply show customers how to add a little “spirit” to their cuisine (page 35). For the adventurous food lover, Clint Walker III of Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery extends an invitation to hit the road and visit one of Central Texas’ best kept culinary secrets (page 59). And, when it comes time to work off some of those good-food calories, Personal Trainer Jessica Stuch and her trainee, Mollie Bertrand, provide easy, practical ways to work out at home (page 54). Have a seat, fix your favorite meal, pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage and enjoy the March Food and Beverage Issue. Feel free to contact us with any ideas you have for future issues. Bon appetit!

Catherine Hosman

Tex Appeal Editor 254-501-7511

Jessica Pearce

Tex Appeal Interim Associate Editor 254-501-7442 


Tex Appeal Life & Style in Central Texas




1809 Florence Rd., Killeen, TX 76540

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February 2015


Tex Appeal Magazine is published monthly by Frank Mayborn Enterprises, Inc. 10 S. Third St., Temple, TX 76501. The cover and content of Tex Appeal Magazine is fully protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in any manner without prior permission. Subscriptions: For the United States, $24 per year, 12 issues. Mail check to P.O. Box 6114, Temple, TX 76503-6114.

Questions about subscriptions, call 254-774-5264.

Postmaster: Send address changes to: Tex Appeal Magazine, P.O. Box 6114, Temple, TX 76503-6114. How to contact us: Advertising: Call 254-774-5264 or 254-501-7494. Editorial: Contact Catherine Hosman at 254-501-7511 or edittexappealmagazine@ or Jessica Pearce at 254-501-7442 or


DID YOU KNOW? You can read back issues of Tex Appeal Magazine at Log on today to find the current issue and older editions of Tex Appeal. You also can connect with us on Facebook at TEXAPPEALMAG.COM

Contributors Jessica Pearce

is a freelance writer, independent songwriter and an award-winning published poet. Widely traveled, she has taught English language and literature overseas in Bangalore, India, and blogged about her cultural experiences. Although raised in Alaska, she is a native-born Texan who now lives in Killeen where she currently serves as the interim associate editor for Tex Appeal.

Valerie L. Valdez

has taught theater arts and film classes at Central Texas College in Killeen since 2009. An accomplished writer of stage plays and screenplays, she earned her M.A. in theater arts from Texas State University in 1991. Val served as a marketing director for architecture firms in Austin for a decade. From 1981 to 1991, she worked as a producer and director of training films for the U.S. Army at Fort Hood and was also a program director at NBC and PBS affiliates for eight years.


is an award-winning writer and novelist, college graduate at age 50, and former long-haul trucker. His stories and columns have been published in daily newspapers across Texas. His novel, “Roll On,” debuted in 2012, and is an interstate odyssey about a man afflicted with an incurable wanderlust despite pressure from family and friends to settle down. Fred lives in Cedar Park with his wife, Diane, and enjoys perusing Central Texas backroads with a keen eye out for roadrunners, old trucks and lipstick sunsets.

William Toro


James Paul Stanley

is a freelance photographer, owner of KLMarkert Photography, Army wife and mother of three. Her passion for photography started when her father built a darkroom in 1983. Karin has photographed the last couple of years in the Washington, D.C., area, explored Nepal several times through her camera lens, and is now capturing life and scenes in Central Texas. MARCH 2015 | TEX APPEAL

is a part-time freelance writer and fulltime mom to two energetic children. She is a long-time resident of Bell County and spends her time running around with her kids, volunteering and channeling her creativity. She finds inspiration everywhere and uses her experiences to create articles that inspire and touch those who read them.

Gail Dillon

is a journalist and a former Air Force Public Affairs officer. She also writes a weekly blog, “Married To It,” about life as a military wife and mother, for the Killeen Daily Herald, and a weekly column for the Fort Hood Herald. She and her family are stationed at Fort Hood.


Jessa McClure

Tex Appeal Magazine is looking for photographers and freelance writers with at least one year experience photographing and/or writing features for a newspaper or magazine. We are seeking candidates from the Central Texas area to include the cities of Killeen, Temple, Belton, Salado, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights. Candidates must be detail and deadline-oriented and good storytellers, and must be familiar with AP style. Ability for writers to take photos is a plus, but not required.

Interested candidates may send their resumes and three recent clippings and/or photographs for consideration to Catherine Hosman at

is a long-time resident of the KilleenFort Hood area and the a son of a retired soldier. He attended Texas State Technical College where he earned an Associate of Applied Science in media communications and information. He is a freelance photographer. His background includes contributing to the Waco ISD Television sports program and having photographs published in the Killeen Daily Herald. He lives in Killeen with his boxer — Lulu.

is a Central Texas freelance photographer. His interest in photography began while serving at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia. Retired from 20 years of military service, he had the opportunity to travel to many countries and capture life through the lens. He resides in Killeen with his wife, Julie, and daughter Sarah, and teaches Basic Photography for the Continuing Education department at Central Texas College. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


neighbors 13

flavour 18

beauty in the bag 20


scene 22

calendar 26

Serving up 12



Chef Ramona Lezo, Central Texas College culinary arts instructor, right, helps first-year student Christine Inouye roll dough for pizza.



TexTalk neighbors

CTC Culinary Arts program keeps growing Story by Valerie L. Valdez Photographs by James Paul Stanley


Central Texas College student Drew Bauer tenderizes chicken for a chicken poblano dish during the South American Cuisine Patio Cafe dinner inside the Student Center in Killeen. 14


magine a gourmet restaurant with white tablecloths, beautiful china, sparkling glasses and a rotating menu that offers diverse cuisine, such as Mediterranean Cornish hen with feta cheese, tomatoes and olives, grilled lamb or fresh Italian cannelloni made from homemade pasta. Now, imagine that scrumptious food costing less than $20, all of it prepared by students to the highest culinary arts standards. Don’t just imagine it — go to the Student Center, Building 106 on the Central Texas College campus in Killeen (across from the Anderson Campus Center) and taste it for yourself. The widely popular Patio Cafe is one of Chef Ramona Lezo’s ideas that has helped fuel the growth of the college’s Hospitality Programs. In 1995, Lezo began as a cook in the college’s one small kitchen that primarily served dorm students. She then progressed to food and beverage manager, where she learned the accounts payable and receivable systems. The college administration had a vision for the future — a culinary arts program — and Lezo eagerly stepped up to the plate. “We had a hospitality program then but there were no cooking classes, and we were just getting the space to cook,” said Lezo, now executive culinary arts instructor. She began teaching all the classes, from sweet to savory. When she began to specialize in baking, she hired another cooking instructor. The program grew steadily with support from students and administrators. “Everything we have now was built from ideas by our students, and I can’t say enough wonderful things about the college’s support,” Lezo said. In 2007, Central Texas College named Lezo “Instructor of the Year.” As a child, Lezo, now 53, a Michigan native, placed the back of a chair against a stove, stood on it and started her cooking career by helping prepare Sunday family

Chef Keith Pascar, culinary arts instructor, talks about the growing culinary program at Central Texas College.

dinners. Lezo carried her love for cooking into the U.S. Army, where she attended cooking school and entered competitions. After the Army, she attended additional schools and culinary arts competitions, which inspired an idea she brought to her current culinary program — cooking contests based on the TV shows “Iron Chef” and “Chopped.” Now students learn techniques and establish their skill sets in two fully equipped instructional lab kitchens, one for sweet and one for savory foods. Each lab has 18 stations and one Americans with Disabilities Act-approved station. In a small outdoor courtyard, there are raised garden beds filled with seasonal herbs and vegetables grown by the students for cooking. None of the fresh garden foods are labeled, so students learn to identify them on sight. The full kitchen is where students prepare all food that is served to the public, including meals for the Patio Cafe. Chef Keith Pascar, culinary arts instructor, puts the students through a trial run of each meal for the café before it is served to the general public. “We and the students develop a consensus as to whether the food tastes good. We ask each other, ‘What can we do to

make it better?’” Pascar said. A brainchild of Lezo’s, the cafe is open to the public in the fall and spring semesters every other Friday night, except during spring break, featuring a different cuisine each time. “When it started, about 20 people came to dine, but now we feed 80 to 100 people each night, so reservations are required,” Lezo said. Success breeds success. Besides Lezo, two full-time instructors and one part-time instructor teach 18 classes to about 200 students. The classes include basic food preparation, sauciér and international cuisine. The Hospitality Programs offer six certificates of completion and five associate degrees, including a new baking degree coming in fall 2015. Local high school students can enroll in the dual-credit program, which allows them to earn college credits toward a degree in the hospitality field while attending high school. Pascar includes the high school students in the prep work for both the trial run of the Patio Café meals and the dinners served to the public. “The high school students create the menu from pre-prep right up to where it can be cooked and Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


TexTalk neighbors

Second semester student Laura Garrett chops collard greens during the trial run for the South American cuisine Patio Cafe dinner at Central Texas College . Held every other Friday during the fall and spring semesters, the cafe gives students real-world dining experience and a chance to explore different kinds of cuisine.

ready for restaurant service.” Another Lezo-inspired idea is the new bakery managed by advanced bakery students, serving freshly-baked goods like cinnamon rolls and kolaches from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, instructor Brandi Weiand teaches menu management and restaurant operations so students learn how to run a cost-effective business. She said students 16


love the hands-on, real-world experience. “We teach them everything they need to know to earn a living, so they can move on and move up in their careers,” Weiand said. Lezo added that she has not had a student say he or she couldn’t find a job, and that she is always looking for more instructors to hire. “The sky’s the limit, and each semester

we have about 60 percent growth, which is really amazing,” Lezo added. Lezo happily wears many hats, including her favorite as an instructor. “I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” she said, beaming her endless smile as she enjoys the fruits of everyone’s labors. “It’s great to see our students when they first start off, then they ‘get it’ and become successful. That’s what feeds me.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


TexTalk flavour

Scratch Elevated Bistro raising the bar

Story by Gail Dillon Photographs by Karin Markert


he newly-opened Scratch Elevated Bistro in downtown Killeen blends an ambience of urban sophistication with a variety of freshly-made food that cannot be easily categorized. From stuffed French toast, homemade soups and burgers to tuna ceviche and steak tacos, co-owners Robert Cavazos and Melissa Sandoval have selected the dishes and the décor to reflect their own eclectic tastes. “It all began based on things that we both liked — certain foods, certain restaurants or places we would go,” Sandoval said. As the head chef, Sandoval is proud that freshness has become their hallmark. “Everything is made here — we have no canned foods. You ask for some fruit in the morning, there’s somebody slicing your apples or your pears right then.” Originally from Mexico and El Paso, she features several Mexican-inspired items on the menu, but gives them a modern twist, such as the shrimp tacos topped with honey apple slaw, or their version of ceviche. “Tuna ceviche sashimi is a speciality,” Sandoval said. Cavazos, who also owns the Daiquiri Express chain in Killeen and Temple, said the historic building they purchased was originally the First National Bank with an opera house upstairs. “We loved the building, he said. “We just didn’t know what we were going to put here (at first).” He and Sandoval made the decision to turn the 1,000-foot space into a restaurant because they felt the city needed it. “I’m from Killeen and everybody goes to Austin or to Temple to eat,” Cavazos said. “So, we tried to bring an urban feel to Killeen, something different — thus, the word ‘elevated.’” Breakfast specialties include Nutellastuffed French Toast (see recipe on next page) and the hearty Whole Hog Omelet for hungrier diners. The lunch menu features dishes such as the Portobello Sandwich and their signature Scratch Burger. On Fridays and Saturdays, they offer 18


The breakfast menu at Scratch Elevated Bistro and Bar includes Nutella-stuffed French Toast topped with bananas and walnuts, above, and Strawberry-stuffed French Toast, topped with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream, below. The restaurant also serves lunch daily.

NUTELLA-STUFFED FRENCH TOAST 1 slice 2-inch thick bread (preferably homemade) 1 large egg ¼ teaspoon vanilla Pinch of nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ cup evaporated milk Pinch of salt Nutella Sliced bananas Walnuts

First, slice a pocket in the bread. Mix together all ingredients except Nutella, bananas and walnuts. Place bread into mix, making sure to soak both sides. In pan over medium heat, add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place bread in pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Then remove bread and fill with Nutella. Put on a plate and top with more Nutella, sliced bananas, walnuts and powdered sugar, if desired.

Melissa Sandoval and Robert Cavazos are co-owners of Scratch Elevated Bistro in downtown Killeen.

a full bar, and patrons can order off the lunch menu until 10:30 p.m. Again, freshness remains the key, such as using fresh mint for their mojitos. “Our drinks taste a little different because they’re all scratch-made,” Cavazos said. “Every day we’re getting better … we’re bringing in new things, offering new things that people are going to like,” he said, adding that they recently added outside dining and are also available to host private events

during the week. “We’re small, locally owned … everybody who’s come in here loves it — loves the look and the feel,” he said.

IF YOU GO Address: 224 Avenue D, Killeen Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday (serves breakfast and lunch). Friday and Saturday: Kitchen open until 10:30 p.m., bar open until midnight. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Beauty in the Bag

beauty TexTalk


How do you stay beautiful on the go?

Each month Tex Appeal peeks inside the bag of one busy woman to reveal her best beauty secrets and must-have essentials.

Mollie Bertrand In-house Counsel

Tigua Inc.

ESSENTIALS she CARRIES BObbi Brown Treatment Lip Shine 7 Rosy: It’s a pretty pink/red lipstick that I can throw on for any occasion. Plus, it’s moisturizing and has SPF 15. Cover Girl Simply Powder in 510 Classic Ivory: I use this powder for fighting shine and for quick touch-ups on the go. Lila Grace Blueberry Lip Balm: I bought this for my daughter but ended up keeping it for myself because I liked it so much. I’m constantly moisturizing my lips here in Central Texas. Kate Spade business card holder: This was a gift from my mother-in-law; it’s a pretty and feminine holder for my business cards. Vineyard Collection Grapes Antioxidant Skin Moisturizer: I wash my hands a lot to fight off germs, so hand lotion is essential. iPhone: This keeps me connected to my job, kids, hubby, calendar and life!

Wallet: I’ve got to have my driver’s license, military i.d. and Starbucks gift cards. Keys: I can’t get very far without these. Sunglasses: These are a requirement in the bright Texas sun. I love my Target sunglasses; they are stylish without being pricey. Monogrammed notepad and pen: It’s always fun to have something with your initials on it for writing quick notes or jotting down a list. Extra Polar Ice Sugar-Free Gum: Fresh breath is always appreciated! Teething necklace: This gives my toddler something to chew on, but it still looks like a pretty necklace. Pin: I carry my III Corps military unit pin. We wear this to military events to represent our spouses’ units, but I forget it unless I store it in my handbag! Scarf: It’s nice to have a pretty scarf to throw on and dress up any outfit.

Photographs by KARIN MARKERT

Most valuable TOOLS in her BAG What is the one essential thing you won’t go anywhere without? My CamelBak. I am constantly drinking water pre and post-workout, on the go from one meeting to the next, while eating a protein bar, etc. I feel so much healthier and have more energy when I’m drinking water. I keep it in a reusable thermos since it’s more environmentally friendly than plastic bottles. What is your signature beauty item? Euphoria Perfume by Calvin Klein. I’ve worn it since college and I still love it just as much today. Do you have a helpful hint for readers? Never purchase an outfit or pair of shoes unless it makes you feel 100 percent your best. You’ll save money and spare yourself from having clothes in your closet that you never wear. Tell us about any other essential item that helps make your life easier. A full night of sleep.





TexTalk scene





Killeen NAACP celebrates Black History Month 7



scene TexTalk

1. Verda Jarmon, right, and Thelma Canty review their lines for a skit at the Killeen NAACP’s Black History Month Jubilee on Feb. 6 at Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Jarmon portrayed Rosa Parks; Canty portrayed Lena Horne. 2. From left, Artie Jacson, Gladys Peterson and Michelle Jackson. 3. From left, Calvin Moutrie, Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison and Mayor Scott Cosper. 4. Sandra McCloud-Wright, left, and Debbie Nash-King discuss the program. 5. From left, former Harker Heights Mayor Ed Mullen, Jan Anderson, dean, Central & Service Area Campus at Central Texas College, and Horace Grace, Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District president. 6. Guests enjoy a sampling of soul food at Killeen’s Black History Month reception. 7. Ernestine Hill-Warren, former Rosebud mayor, left, Millard Wright and Mary Holloman talk after the program. Photographs by KARIN MARKERT





TexTalk scene





1. Children and their parents dance at the Harker Heights Activities Center during the Valentine’s Day Family Dance. 2. Gerald Reddick of G Fire Production entertains guests at the city’s annual dance. 3. Chase Hardin, 1, of Killeen, is mesmerized by the strobe lights.

scene TexTalk

Family dances in Killeen, Heights celebrate Valentine’s Day 5


4. Richard Corpuz and his 5-year-old daughter, Adelina, dance to “Gangnam Style” during the annual DaddyDaughter Dance on Feb. 13 at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. 5. Jeff Cahall and his daughter, Mara, have fun dancing to a slow song. 6. Charles Richardson and his 5 year-old daughter, Madisyn, dressed up for the Roaring 20s-themed dance. Photographs by MITCHEL BARRETT

Photographs by JAMES PAUL STANLEY 24




TexTalk calendar

The Army Marathon III March 1, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come out on race day and support more than 2,000 runners on a 26.2-mile course starting in Killeen and ending in Temple. This race was created to honor our military folks and their families, and to help raise money and awareness for the many organizations who serve these heroes. The finish line will offer food trucks from Sure Fire Tacos, Genghis Grill and Firehouse Subs. Enjoy kids’ activities, contests and more! For more information, call the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce at 254-699-4999 or visit www. Killeen Civic and Conference Center (race start) 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive Killeen Les Miserables, a Concert Production March 6, 7:30 p.m. This international smash hit may be the most popular musical in the world. This one-night concert production of the musical is performed by the Waco Civic Theatre. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For more information, visit, or call Jane Boone at 254-773-9926. Cultural Activities Center 3011 N. Third St. Temple



jewelry and textiles, furniture, housewares and great all-American collectibles. Admission is $3 for adults; children 12 and younger attend free. For more information, call Stephanie Turnham at 254-9335243 or visit Bell County Expo Center 301 W. Loop 121 Belton

Connie Tayeb of Killeen plays a slot machine during last year’s Rock the Foundation Casino Night. This year’s fundraiser for the Greater Killeen Young Professionals is March 6 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Killeen.

Sixth Annual Rock the Foundation Casino Night March 6, 8 to 11:30 p.m. Hosted by The Greater Killeen Young Professionals, Rock the Foundation benefits scholarships to help support higher education in our community. This free event features blackjack, craps, roulette and Texas hold ’em tables, as well as authentic Las Vegas slot machines. There will be door prizes, a photo booth and music. Appetizers are provided, and drinks will be available for purchase. Poker chips and raffle tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance. For more informa-

tion, please contact Jennifer at 254-526-9551 or Courtyard by Marriott 1721 Central Texas Expressway Killeen

Annual Big Bell County Garage Sale March 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bell County Museum hosts its annual garage sale to benefit the museum fund and educational programs throughout Bell County. Come by and pick up everything from collectibles to electronic equipment, fabulous antiques, vintage

“Working on the Railroad” Day March 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn what goes on behind the scenes at the railroad from the tools and machinery to the folks who actually work on the railroad. This free event is open to the public. For more information, please call Sandra Mojica at 254-298-5585, or visit Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum 315 W. Avenue B Temple Free Family Day March 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum hosts a Free Family Day event the first Saturday of each month. Regular admission charges apply to view the rest of the museum. For more information about this and upcoming Family Days at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum, please call 254-298-5172 or visit Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum 315 W. Avenue B Temple

Food Truck Showdown/Battle of the Bands March 7, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year more food trucks will offer smaller food portions so you can sample more cuisine. This event is combined with a Battle of the Bands. Come out and enjoy some great food and great music. Food is for-purchase only, but admission and music are free. For more information, visit or call the Temple Parks Foundation at 254-298-5690. Santa Fe Depot Gardens 315 W. Avenue B Temple Texas Western Swing Showcase and Dance March 7, 12 to 5 p.m. bands; 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. dance Get ready to experience great Texas music as Western bands take the stage from noon to 5 p.m. Enjoy Randy Elmore, Bobby Flores, Jimmy Burson, Ricky Turpin, Wes Westmoreland and Austin Lake Travis Fiddlers. Come back to dance the night away from 8 p.m. to midnight to live music provided by Bobby Flores and the Yellow Rose Band. Admission for the bands is $20; separate admission for the dance is also $20. Concessions are available. For more information call 254-939-8390 or visit Bell County Expo Center 301 W. Loop 121 Belton

calendar TexTalk

Community Garden Q&A Harker Heights Parks and Recreation March 9, 6 to 7 p.m. Learn how you can obtain a garden plot and start growing your own produce. This free event is open to the public. For more information, email Sarah Mylcraine at Harker Heights Community Garden 400 Miller’s Crossing Harker Heights

Reading History Book Club March 10, 5:30 to 7 p.m. The book club focuses on nonfiction books relating to American history or other historical topics. The March book is “The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in the Jazz Age,” by Deborah Blum. Membership in the group is free and open to the public. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, contact Jonathan Logue at 254-298-5586 or visit Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum 315 W. Avenue B Temple “Temple Collects” Exhibit Opening March 13-May 23 This exhibit highlights a variety of collections from collectors in the Temple area. Stop by to see the cool things that Temple collects, from vintage radios and Continued



TexTalk calendar pharmaceutical antiques to military relics. For admission information contact Jonathan Logue at 254-298-5586 or visit www. Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum 315 W. Avenue B Temple

Bell Fine Arts Colored Pencils Class March 13-14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day Award-winning artist Deborah Martin will instruct a two-day colored pencils art class for beginners to advanced artists. Learn the basics of the color wheel, how to use pencils to create a floral picture, and how to make your work look 3-D. Fees are $100 for Bell Fine Art members or $130 for nonmembers. Artists can provide their own supplies, or request supplies for an additional fee. Class space is limited. For registration and more information, please contact VeeAnn Stowell at 254-771-0090 or email dccringle@ Bell Fine Arts 306 E. Fifth St. Belton Band of Heathens Concert Temple Cultural Arts Center March 14, 6 to 7 p.m. optional preconcert dinner; 7:30 p.m. concert Formed in Austin, the Band of Heathens became a band totally by accident. Songwriters Colin Brooks, Gordy Quist, and Ed Jurdi were all doing regular sets



calendar TexTalk at Momo’s in Austin when they began sitting in with each other, eventually making the whole thing one big show. Enjoy the original music by this talented band. Tickets are $22 in advance and $27 at the door. The optional pre-concert dinner is $14 and includes a meal provided by the Hilton Garden Inn, Great American Grill. For tickets and more information, visit, or call Jane Boone at 254-773-9926. Cultural Activities Center 3011 N. Third St. Temple

Fashion Fandangle March 14, 11 a.m. Bell Extension Education Association in partnership with Cochran, Blair & Potts, present Fashion Fandangle as a fundraiser for 4-H scholarships. A baked potato and salad lunch begins at 11 a.m. with live music by LaRon Tubb. At noon, the 4-H fashion review winners model their own creations, and Bell Extension Education members model Cochran, Blair & Potts fashions and accessories. Door prizes will be given away throughout the luncheon. Advance tickets are $10; children under 5 years attend free. Tickets may be purchased from Bell Extension Education Association members and through the extension office at 254-933-5305. Reserved tables of 8 are $100 and can be purchased by calling 254-931-5657. Tickets must be

purchased prior to the event; purchase deadline is March 9. Bell County Expo Center 301 W. Loop 121 Belton

Carson & Barnes Circus March 14-15, show times at 2 and 5 p.m. Watch elephants, jugglers, clowns, horses and motorcycles perform amazing feats before your eyes! Advance tickets are $14 per adult, and free for children with an online coupon and an accompanying adult. Tickets are available at the box office for $16 per adult ticket and $10 per child’s ticket. For more information, contact Liz Sherman at 254-547-7571. To purchase advance tickets visit Ogletree Gap Park 1878 Post Office Road Copperas Cove 29th Annual Silver Classic 5K Run and 3K Walk Metroplex Health System March 15, 8 a.m. start Runners and walkers of all ages are welcome to participate in one of the largest and oldest races in the area. Trophies will be awarded to the first-place runner/walker in each category, with medals awarded to second- and third-place winners. The Silver Classic is the primary

Special model train layouts built by the CentraMod Model Train Club will be on display March 17-21 for spring break at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.

fundraiser for the Metroplex Wellness Department. Registration is $25 for civilians and $20 for active-duty military and veterans. Preregister to receive a goody bag, BMI screening, T-shirt and snacks. Sign up at or call 254-5198200 for more information. Metroplex Hospital 2201 S. Clear Creek Road Killeen

20th Annual Denver Mills Golf Tournament March 16, check-in at noon; shotgun start at 1 p.m.

Golf like a pro for a good cause. Join in on the 20th annual Denver Mills Golf Tournament at the Mill Creek Golf Course in Salado. The entry fee is $90. All proceeds benefit the Tablerock Amphitheater in Salado. Registration is open up to the tournament day. For entry fee and sign up, call Denver Mills at 254-541-4830; Nancy Mackey at 254-9133890; Letta Meinen at 254-947-6207 or Tablerock at 254-947-9205. Mill Creek Golf Course 1610 Club Circle Salado

Spring Break Model Train Display March 17-21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Special model train layouts built by the CentraMod Model Train Club will be on display in the Grand Lobby. Some of the modelers will also be on hand to talk about their hobby. This free event is open to the public. For more information, call Sandra Mojica at 254-298-5585, or visit Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum 315 W. Avenue B Temple Continued



Food, fun & fellowship

TexTalk calendar

Belton Market Days March 21, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy buying, selling and trading in downtown Belton. Come see our vendors and visit the farmers market in our historic downtown on Central Avenue. Enjoy food and entertainment every third Saturday of the month. For more information, visit, or call 254-939-3551. Downtown Belton 412 E. Central Avenue Belton Color Up 5K March 21, 9 a.m. start Get ready to Color Up for a Cause. Experience an incredible 5K course with Color Zones, Color Bombs, Painters and Magical Pixie Dust. Run it, walk it, skip it — just don’t miss it! Sign up as an individual or create your own color squad team. For variable ticket pricing and sign up, please visit or email Temple Lions Park 4320 Lions Park Road Temple Havana Nights Fundraiser The Contemporaries of the CAC March 28, 6:30 p.m. The Contemporaries of the CAC will host the Havana Nights Fundraiser benefiting the Cultural Activities Center. This sizzling event will include a cocktail hour, compli-

Exclusive club in Killeen creates dinner parties with unusual themes mentary tropical bar, Latin food, variety show, casino games, live swing music and dancing. Come out for a good time and support a good cause. For sponsorship tickets and more information, please visit, or call Jane Boone at 254-773-9926. Cultural Activities Center 3011 N. Third St. Temple

Fifth Annual Bush’s Spring Chicken 10k March 28, 8 a.m. start Shake the winter blues by getting out for the Fifth Annual Bush’s Spring Chicken 10K race. This 6.2-mile race will begin and end at West Temple Park. Preregistration is $25 until March 23; race-day registration is $30. Dri-fit shirts are guaranteed to each runner if registered by March 8. Awards will be given to the overall male and female finishers, as well as the top three finishers in each age group. To register, please visit any Temple community center, visit www.

It’s your home. When you re-imagine your space, it’s your life that gets a redesign. Transform yours with all the details that make home a happy place. Our showroom product experts share your passion for getting it right, helping you select the perfect products for your building or remodeling project.

St George Suite

By Jessa McClure Photos courtesy of Sue Hall

Steve Pettit’s Swingtime Big Band performs for the Havana Nights fundraiser at the Temple CAC.

T or call Tracy Klusacek at 254-298-5582. West Temple Park 121 Montpark Road Temple

welve couples sit at a festivelydecorated table with place cards and an assortment of unique gourmet dishes that have been meticulously prepared by all of the dinner’s guests. As they talk about the issues of the day, laugh at inside jokes and remember past dinner conversations, they dine on foods they’ve never tried and enjoy the fellowship of those around them. This dynamic group, who come from a variety of backgrounds and professions, gather together once a month as part of The Gourmet Club. Led by a county employee and long-time club member, retired Col. Dave B. Hall, the group has taken being a foodie to a whole new level.

Fifth Annual Underwater Easter Egg Hunt March 29, 1-1:45 p.m., ages 3-5; 22:45 p.m., ages 6-10 The Easter Bunny is at it again, leaving eggs all over the pool! Join the underwater hunt for Easter eggs in a heated indoor swimming pool. Then, enjoy time to play in the water with family and friends. Tickets are $5 each. To purchase tickets, stop by Sammons Indoor Pool or call 254-298-5930. Sammons Indoor Pool 2220 W. Avenue D Temple

How it began “The group was formed in 1972 by military officers assigned to Ford Hood,” Hall said. “It was an opportunity to come together, perhaps in a more structured setting, to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy good food and wine.” The Gourmet Club was founded and run by military officer Gene Wentworth of Harker Heights and his wife, Joanne, for many years until Wentworth stepped down for health reasons. The original club began with 12 couples with a passion for good food and a desire to try something new.

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How it works Before the couples can enjoy a gourmet meal, there is a lot of careful planning that goes into each dinner. “When we know that our turn is coming up to host a dinner, my wife and I will sit down and say, ‘What do we want for our theme?’” Hall said. “Then, my wife will spend days combing through recipe books Continued

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Nina and Sven Erichsen host the Gourmet Supper Club for An Evening Meal in Northern California.



The table setting for a Paris-themed dinner at the Gourmet Supper Club included miniature Eiffel Towers as decorations and placecard holders.

and the Internet finding recipes or picking recipes she knows have been perfect. But, the intent is to try new things.” After the host and hostess have chosen the theme and recipes they’d like to see as part of their menu, they present these items at the prior month’s dinner before they are set to host. “Say your month is September,” Hall said. “At the end of the August dinner, you, the upcoming hostess, will have a menu moment where people go in and draw numbers. When it’s your turn to draw, you say, ‘Oh, I’ll do the vegetable dish or the dessert.’ Then, you have a month to prepare your dish and get it ready to present.” Main dishes could be anything from beef ragu to rack of lamb, and desserts could be anything from pineapple upside down cake to a seven-layered dish made with cream cheese. “It is truly up to the hosts’ imagination,” Hall said. The host and hostess provide the tables, chairs, décor and beverages, which usually include precisely paired wines that complement each item on the menu. “What I find fascinating about this is that everybody gets the same menu. The hostess will say, ‘I need two people to bring 32


“Say your month is September. At the end of the August dinner, you, the upcoming hostess, will have a menu moment where people go in and draw numbers. When it’s your turn to draw, you say, ‘Oh, I’ll do the vegetable dish or the dessert.’ Then, you have a month to prepare your dish and get it ready to present.”

Retired Col. Dave B. Hall

spiced pork for this dinner.’ Then, everybody reads the menu and goes away and makes their dishes. The two spiced pork dishes will not even look alike, much less taste alike,” he said. “We still haven’t figured that out.” Not only do the host and hostess of the monthly dinner get to dictate the theme of the meal, they also get the chance to designate how their guests will dress. “The uniform is usually coat and tie, but it can be whatever the hosts decide,” Hall said. “This means there’s a chance you might be asked to show up to dinner in tails and cutaways.”

Dishes and themes Because the club has been around since the early 1970s, the members have seen their fair share of interesting and unusual menu items and dinner themes. Hall and his wife hosted a Korean dinner one evening celebrating the birthday of the last emperor of Korea. Another member created a Bastille Day dinner that included French recipes the group had never tried before. Perhaps the most unusual and creatively themed dinner was one that was modeled after a real dinner that occurred at The White House in the early 1900s

Each Gourmet Supper Club experience includes a detailed menu, such as this one seen with an appetizer.

while President William Howard Taft was in office. “One of our members was doing some research for a book he was writing and found a menu for a dinner with President Taft,” Hall said. “So, he printed up the menu on cards and sent out invitations that you had to respond to by courier.” The guests donned period clothing and had someone hand deliver their RSVPs to go along with the old-fashioned theme. Aside from unusual themes, there have also been unique treats and eats at The Gourmet Club’s dinners. “At a Phantom of the Opera-themed dinner, the desserts were mini grand pianos crafted by one of our members out of white and dark chocolate,” Hall recalled.

Becoming a member Although the current members have integrated new and inventive dishes and begun using modern methods of finding recipes (i.e. the Internet), the club has

continued the tradition of only having 24 members (12 couples) at a time. This means new members can only be inducted if there’s a vacancy. If a couple happens to leave for military duty in another area or for any other reason, then the current members can invite a new couple to join them. “Current members can bring a guest as long as the number (of diners) does not exceed 24,” Hall said. “After a new couple has come twice, then I ask the group for their opinions. If there are no objections and there is a spot to be filled, then we will extend an invitation to join The Gourmet Club.” Anyone who is asked to be a part of the group must be as dedicated to the events as the current complement of members. It is Hall’s hope that the club continues the traditions of the original 12 couples even after he’s gone. “My hope for the future is that we continue to focus on fun, food and fellowship,” he said. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Brewing up business

From beginners to experts, Black Hawk Brewing Supply cares for customers Story by Fred Afflerbach Photos by JAMES PAUL STANLEY


Black Hawk Brewing Supply owners, Lori Laack and her son Mark Laack, offer brewing supplies for home brewing and wine making at their Harker Heights shop. 34


mother-son duo is brewing up a thriving family business in Harker Heights. Lori and Mark Laack opened Black Hawk Brewing Supply in the Indian Trail Plaza three years ago this March. Black Hawk fills a need at a time when artisan and home beer brewing has grown from a curiosity to a hobby to finally, a passion. Whether you are a beginner with a thousand questions, or an expert with a thousand ideas, Mark and Lori Laack have everything in stock a home brewer needs. However, it’s more than fresh hops, yeast, malts and grains that has customers returning. The Laacks rely on old-fashioned family values and more than 40 years of combined experience in home brewing and wine making. “I think a lot of people are enjoying the fact that you can come in and talk to either one of us,” Lori Laack said. “We don’t have any other employees. We’re here, one or the other, or sometimes both of us.” Mark Laack said he works well with his mother because their family has always been close-knit. His father, David Laack, is a retired Army aviator, which meant his family was often on the go. “I think it comes from being a military family,” Mark said. “Growing up — my brother and I — our parents were our friends because we’d move every three years. We would have friends ... but our constant friends, our lifelong friends, are our parents.” Lori and Mark each bring different skills to their business. Mark is a graphic artist, and designed the logo of a black hawk against an orange background to honor his dad, who flew Black Hawk helicopters. Mark recently graduated from an advanced home-brewing course at Siebel Institute of Technology. Lori was a comptroller at an auto dealership in Copperas Cove. She tackles accounting chores, and, with a modest laugh,

Whether you are a beginner with a thousand questions, or an expert with a thousand ideas, Mark and Lori Laack have everything in stock a home brewer needs. However, it’s more than fresh hops, yeast, malts and grains that has customers returning. The Laacks rely on old-fashioned family values and more than 40 years of combined experience in home brewing and wine making. calls herself “Chief Financial Officer.” The Laacks opened Black Hawk because they saw a niche in the Killeen area. To purchase ingredients for their brew, they had to drive to Austin, or order online. Today, their clients drive in from Georgetown, Waco, Hillsboro and College Station. They have also built a strong local following. One couple spent a year consulting

the Laacks about a beer they eventually brewed for their own wedding. A Fort Hood soldier, Jack Shuff, brewed his first beer from a starter kit he bought from Black Hawk. Misunderstanding the fermentation process, he poured out a good batch. The second time around was a different story — “It was delicious,” Shuff said. Now, he’s hooked. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


Lori Laack helps Ethan McCartney of Killeen choose a beer clarifier at Black Hawk Brewing Supply in Harker Heights.

“I probably spend way too much time here,” Shuff said. “Home brewers are generally a little bit nerdy, a little bit into the science of things. But, there’s also that art side to it. Science can tell us a lot about beer, but it can’t tell us the soul of beer. At the end, it’s kind of intuition, that ‘fingertip feel.’ Home brewing is not about making the cheapest beer possible; it’s about making good beer.” Starter kits such as the one Shuff bought include all the necessary hardware except bottles and a large pot for boiling water in which you steep the grains, like making tea. Ingredient costs vary, depending on your taste. Once the hardware is purchased, though, brewing your own beer costs about as much as premium beers sold at grocery stores. The brewing process is straightfor36


ward. Three work sessions about a week apart is all it takes. Thirty days later, you can open, pour and drink your own beer. Operating out of a 1,100-square-foot store, Black Hawk sells about 70 grains from six countries. Lori and Mark grind the grain as you watch, like grinding coffee beans at a coffee bar. You can buy a kit that matches your favorite flavor such as an amber, pale ale or chocolate milk stout. Experienced home brewers can build their own recipes, mixing and matching ingredients to taste, to produce beers such as Irish stout, imperial nut brown, Belgian wheat beer or American lager. Black Hawk also sells ingredients and hardware for do-it-yourself foodies. Kits for making wine, cider, sausage and cheese are all available, and a shelf near the front door is stocked with T-shirts that celebrate all things beer and brewing-related. A wide

assortment of bottles also is available. To celebrate the craft beer culture, Mark leads monthly tours to area breweries. He’s built a Facebook page called the Texas Beer Brigade. He also would like to hold brewing classes in the future. Looking forward to their business’ third anniversary party this month, the Laacks are considering their next steps. In a few years, they would like to open a brew pub that sells their own brand of beer. On a recent, sunny afternoon, regular customer Laurie Nixon dropped in just to hang out. Her husband Matthew brewed his own beer when they lived in Germany. Before Black Hawk opened, the Nixons had been ordering grain from the Midwest. “When we first got here, [the Laacks] basically opened their arms,” Nixon said. “They are a family away from home.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


The ladies of Kesar Catering: seated, from left, Ravneeth Maan and Manjit Berk; standing, from left, Navneeth Dhaliwal and Raj Dhaliwal are very knowledgeable about cooking with spices and the benefits they provide. Common spices, seen at left, include garam masala, fenugreek, coriander, red pepper powder, red pepper, cumin and turmeric powder.

Experience the benefits of Indian herbs and spices Story by Jessica Pearce Photos by JAMES PAUL STANLEY


A seasoned life



aj Dhaliwal’s seemingly middleclass home contains a Pandora’s Box of spicy secrets. As she greets guests at the door, a sparky Pomeranian named Twinkle warns visitors with a series of staccato barks, warding off the unwary mailman and occasional UPS driver. Raj’s daughter, Ravneeth Maan, quiets the tiny door sentry, ushering visitors into a warmly-lit living room leading to the dining area, where a mouth-watering display of Indian foods and spices is artfully arrayed. Raj and her family jointly own and run Kesar, an Indian food home-catering business in Temple. One by one they emerge from behind a curtained-off kitchen to dis-

cuss how their passion for cooking developed from a rich family history. Raj was the first of the family to emigrate to the U.S. in 1984 from the city of Amritsar in the northern Indian state of Punjab. She has opened several convenience stores over the years, and currently owns a gas station/convenience store. The rest of the family emigrated over time to join Raj, seeing the benefits of a life in the U.S., which included better education for their children. While it took several years for the extended family to become firmly established in the U.S., including a move from Round Rock to Temple, they jointly decided last year to open Kesar and share their passion for the Indian food and spices from their childhood. Manjit Berk, Raj’s sister, was one of the latest family members to arrive in 2007.

Manjit, along with Navneeth Dhaliwal, Raj’s daughter-in-law, share the responsibilities and joy of cooking the multitude of northern Indian dishes they have known since childhood. Manjit, in particular, grew up watching her mother and father cook. “My strongest memories are of my father teaching me how to prepare tandoori chicken and goat, and my uncle helping me make chapattis,” Manjit said. It was not until she was a teen that her family deemed her responsible enough for the cooking. Manjit, however, had learned much by observation during her early childhood, and quickly became a strong cook in her own right. In the dining room, the entire family described the dishes currently spread Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


around the table by referencing the herbs and spices infusing them. The family has used Indian herbs and spices for as long as they can remember. “Back in the day,” Navneeth’s husband said, “it was all we had.” “We use them mainly for flavor, but they have so many other uses,” added Ravneeth. “The spices of India brought the whole world together. We keep a tiffin box (series of nesting containers) full of spices ready to use.” The dishes on the family table ranged from chicken curry made with ginger, garlic and onion paste; red pepper, turmeric, cumin and coriander to Paneer 65, a side dish of homemade cheese marinated in ginger, garlic, curry leaves and mustard seed, and fried with bell pepper and onion. Their Rice Pulau, a dish commonly combined with meat and sauces, is made with bay leaves, black cardamom, cumin, cloves and black peppercorns. The family uses herbs and spices not only for cooking, but also as natural remedies passed on from generation to generation. They use the spices to strengthen the body’s immune system, improve digestion, control obesity, create glowing skin and calm the mind. “We don’t run to the doctor every time we get the sniffles,” Ravneeth said. “We try our own remedies first.” While many of their herb and spice remedies have proven physiological benefits, it is chai (Indian tea), that reaches beyond the physical to affect the psyche. Most Indian chai is infused with cardamom, ginger, honey, milk and other ingredients to create a sweet, potent brew worthy of kings or just the nearest neighbor. “Chai is very communal,” said Ravneeth. “We offer it to everyone.” Chai is not just a social drink, though. Ravneeth rattled off reasons for drinking chai like an infomercial, uttering,” Are you cold? Tired? Stressed? Have some chai!” Navneeth added, “Something is missing in our day if we don’t have chai morning and evening.” The family explained that ginger chai is used to calm the mind and body and to aid in digestion. They added that depression is less common in India than in other countries, and postulated that chai has something to do with that. For an easy ginger chai, they boil ginger root with loose black tea leaves and honey, then strain out Continued, page 42 40


Indian dishes made with a variety of spices such as red chili, garam masala, turmeric powder and cardamom.

Indian Herb and Spice Cheat Sheet Every family member had something to contribute when it came to the many uses for the following herbs and spices: Turmeric: antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory Fennel: antacid, breath freshener,

memory booster, acid reflux remedy, relieves stomach pain, relieves colic (for babies) Ginger: mental calm, soothes upset stomach, weight loss aid, natural cold remedy Green Cardamom: aids in digestion

Cinnamon: antibacterial, aids in digestion Cloves: antiseptic, cough suppressant, soothes toothache Coriander: aids in digestion Cumin: aids in digestion

Fenugreek: controls blood sugar and cholesterol Red chili: speeds up metabolism Mustard seed: antiseptic, chest congestion relief, good for hair Tamarind: cools internal body temperature, weight loss aid

Asafoetida “Devil’s Dung”: aids in digestion Carom seed: aids in digestion, relieves stomach pain Black pepper: natural cold remedy, regulates body temperature TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


the ginger root and tea leaves, and enjoy. Whether for flavor or as natural remedies for the body and mind, these spices reveal themselves in unexpected ways. The family, eager to share and often talking over each other, generously offered several of their own spicy home remedies as well as suggestions to incorporate Indian herbs and spices into everyday cooking.

Natural Herb and Spice Remedies Turmeric Raj described turmeric as one of the many spices used in Indian beauty treatments, especially for brides to be. • This saffron-colored spice has been known to help combat autoimmune diseases, also acting as an anti-inflammatory. It can be taken internally as a daily supplement in loose or pill form. • Turmeric also has many healing properties. Manjit advised heating turmeric powder and milk together, then applying the mixture to cuts and scrapes to prevent infection and aid in healing. Mustard seed/oil and turmeric As an antiseptic, Navneeth suggested using the following mix on pierced ears that have developed a slight infection. • Mix ground mustard seeds with turmeric powder and water to create a paste. Thinly spread the paste over a cut or small infection to speed healing. • To relieve chest congestion, create a poultice by combining ground mustard seeds and water and spread directly on the chest. • To create strong, shiny hair, distribute several drops of mustard seed oil throughout the hair. Fenugreek Raj explained that her mother-in-law would use the following natural remedy to control her blood sugar and cholesterol. • Add a spoonful of dried fenugreek leaves to a cup of water and soak the mixture overnight. Strain out the leaves in the morning and drink the infused water. Fennel and carom seeds • To combat acid reflux, stomach pain and colic (in babies), mix fennel seeds, carom seeds and warm water and let the mixture sit to infuse. Take up to a teaspoon or more of this natural “gripe water” as needed. 42


Several Indian dishes are made with a garam masala blend, as described below.

Cooking with Indian Herbs and Spices Experimentation, as with anything new, is a fun way to branch into adding new herbs and spices to cooking. The family suggested these easy ways to add a little “masala” to everyday cooking: • Try marinating chicken with any combination of Indian spices, adding turmeric for flavor, color and health benefits. • Saute cumin seeds in oil, then add to cooked rice for a smoky, earthy flavor. • Add bay or curry leaves to a bottle of your favorite cooking oil to create herbinfused oil. Use the infused oil to sauté vegetables or cook meat. • Try adding different spices to meat or rice one at a time to decide what flavors you like, then try combining several of these to taste. The Kesar catering family creates a mild garam masala spice blend (pictured above) of cumin seeds, coriander, black pepper, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom and star anise. This spice mix can be duplicated at home to taste. Try it in mild yogurt curries or on homemade sweet potato fries. Tamarind and Mint Navneeth said that because there is little air conditioning in India, it is very important to have something on hand to cool the body’s internal temperature, especially on the hottest summer days. The same drink can work wonders in a hot Texas climate. • Combine water, cumin seeds, tamarind pulp, black pepper, black salt and mint leaves. Let the mixture sit to infuse, then strain out the ingredients; or, pulse all ingredients in a blender to create a blended drink. Black pepper, ginger root and honey According to Ravneeth, black pepper, the most commonly used spice next to salt, came to the world from India. This black pepper combination works as a natural cold remedy to shorten the duration and severity of a cold.

• Combine honey, black pepper and ginger root; boil them to create a hot tea, or simply mix them together in warm water until the honey and black pepper are dissolved, then drink. Ginger root and honey The family explained that there are fewer overweight people in India because of the natural digestive qualities in many of their spices. • As a weight loss aid, they advise boiling ginger root and honey in water to drink. Clove oil Cloves are commonly used in India to treat toothache and to prevent infection. When someone has a toothache, they either wet a clove to soften it and lay it against the aching tooth, or rub clove oil over the affected area. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


The area dining scene is growing and our local restaurateurs and specialty food stores offer cuisines perfect for any occasion. We welcome you to explore and we encourage you to visit soon. photographs by Julie Nabours Courtesy photo

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA Chicken Tikka ½ teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon ground coriander ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon table salt 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat 1 cup plain yogurt 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed through a garlic press, about 2 teaspoons) 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated) Masala Sauce 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 ¼ cups) 2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed through a garlic press, about 2 teaspoons) 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (grated) 1 serrano chili (fresh, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced) 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 tablespoon garam masala 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes 2 teaspoons sugar ½ teaspoon table salt 1/3 cup heavy cream ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves (chopped) FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so 44


mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chili, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm masala sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve with rice.

Pop-Abilities Gourmet Popcorn

7349 Honeysuckle, Suite 120, Westfield Marketplace off West Adams, Temple 254.295-0996 | The tastiest popcorn you have ever had is ready for you at Pop-Abilities in Temple. Pop-Abilities makes a variety of mouth-watering popcorn flavors every day. “All flavors are made fresh daily,” according to owner Amanda Parker, who opened the Temple business in May 2014. “All recipes are our own creation.” Unique and fun flavors include Reese’s, Dill Pickle, Cookies and Cream, and Jalapeno Ranch. From sweet buttery Classic Caramel popcorn to savory wonders like spicy and smoky Chipotle Cheddar, there’s always something new to try. Chocolate lovers will savor the nutty Dark Chocolate Cashew or the caramel and toffee infused White Chocolate Toffee popcorn. Parker wanted to bring something new and different to the area; she has certainly succeeded with the area’s first gourmet popcorn store. Pop-Abilities gourmet popcorn makes a great gift for any occasion – even as a gift to valued customers or employees. Pop-Abilities will ship anywhere. Amanda Parker, owner

Let Pop-Abilities put a smile on your face and a little POP in your day! TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




Schoepf’s Bar-B-Que 702 E. Central Avenue, Belton 254-939-1151 |

Start with delicious barbeque. Add a clean, family atmosphere. Throw in a popular summer music series. That’s a recipe for success. That’s Schoepf’s Bar-B-Que in Belton. For more than 21 years, Schoepf’s has been serving mouth-watering selections to residents and Central Texas visitors. The mission of the business is “to deliver the very best product and service to our customer with integrity.” Customers can choose their meat right off the mesquite coal-filled pit and have it sliced or chopped to their liking. Choose from brisket, sausage, ribs, chicken, turkey, pork chops, sirloin, rib-eyes, quail, and much more. Brisket enchiladas, brisket chili and pork loin are a few of the non-traditional items occasionally added to the menu. Scrumptious sides include potato salad, cole slaw, pinto beans, green Ronnie & Staci Schoepf, owners beans and cheesy potatoes to name a few. Complete the meal with a delicious dessert or a variety of breads. Schoepf’s is a great place to enjoy a breakfast taco early in the morning, as well as lunch and dinner. Schoepf’s also offers catering for your special event. Beulah Spragg, Head Server, and Vira Chudasma, owner

La Riv Italian Cuisine

7410 W. Adams, Suite 160, Temple 254-231-3661 |

The Free Texas Music Series attracts top talent and visitors from across the region to Belton. Ronnie and Staci are also involved in the community, supporting a variety of charities. The Schoepf’s BBQ Golf Tournament supports Peaceable Kingdom. The Scott &White Foundation Boots and Bandanas benefits McLane Children’s Hospital. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve what we are doing and always putting the customer and quality first in our food and music series,” Ronnie says.

Grand Avenue Theater La Riv Italian Cuisine on West Adams in Temple may be one of the region’s newest restaurants, but it is quickly gaining a reputation for great food, great service and an extensive wine selection. “Great new restaurant! Wood fired pizza is delicious and want to come back to try all the other yummy looking things on the menu as well. Handmade pastas, in house made desserts, and 400+ wines to choose from,” is how one patron described her experience. “Egg on my pizza... Where has this been all my life?” is what another new customer said. “Peppery arugula, smokey prosciutto and shaved Parmesan with a perfectly poached egg.... Sheer delight. The bread pudding was out of this world. Definitely going back for dinner.” La Riv opened in October 2014 with the goal of providing “Central Texas with a taste of Tuscany where food and wine brings people together,” according to owner Vira Chudasma. Using the freshest ingredients available, La Riv features Tuscan dishes such as wild boar sausages, fresh pasta made in-house and wood fired pizzas from original recipes. The wine list includes more than 400 selections designed to complement every meal. Patrons may select from the homemade desserts to finish a special dining experience. The atmosphere is “upscale urban vibe,” Chudasma says. 46


La Riv is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11a.m. to 10p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11a.m. to 9p.m. on Sunday. The restaurant employs 20 to 25 people. “Creating jobs while bringing a Tuscan experience to the west side of Temple, has been fulfilling,” Chudasma says. The new restaurant is family owned and operated. Chudasma appreciates the support she has received from her husband, Phil Monge, who is active duty military with 16 years of service.

2809 Oakmark Drive, Belton 254-939-5050 (Showtimes: 254-939-5000) You may think of the Grand Avenue Theater in Belton as a great place to watch a new release or a major sporting event on the big screen. It is, of course. But is also a café that is becoming a popular spot for a nice lunch – especially for busy professionals.

The couple also owns Nolan Creek Winery, which opened in January 2013. “The idea of owning a restaurant was born there while serving fantastic wines every day,” Chudasma says, adding that “wine is just half of the story. When we combine food and wine together, we bring a memorable experience to our guests.”

The Grand Avenue Theater lobby café features a diner-style menu with weekly specials, gourmet sandwiches, burgers, chicken fried steak and more, according to General Manager Daniel Bucher. The prices are competitive and the atmosphere is relaxed.

“Ara Yauk is our executive chef and is the one responsible for all the good eats and treats,” Bucher said. “We appreciate everything he has done, providing us with his expertise in culinary arts … an excellent menu and options.”

Delicious food, great wine and good company is the recipe for a fantastic evening. Vira Chudasma, owner

courtesy photo

Grand Avenue is the only area theater with a full-service kitchen. Movie-goers aren’t limited to nachos and popcorn. The in-theater menu, featuring items like delicious grilled chicken sliders and mouth-watering onion rings, is available from 30 minutes before the first showtime to 15 minutes after the last showtime. The lunch café is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Opened in 2012, Grand Avenue Theater brought a unique and needed entertainment option to Belton and Central Texas. “Entertaining you in Grand style through core principles of ‘Clean, Courteous and Classy’ is our mission,” Bucher said. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM




14 South Second Street, Temple 254-778-1269 | Great food and great wine collide at Pignetti’s Italian restaurant in downtown Temple. Pignetti’s is the place for fine Italian dining in Central Texas. It is perfect for a first date, a lunch or dinner meeting with clients, a special celebration or a relaxing evening with friends. “We try to treat everyone as if they are a guest in our own home,” says Pignetti’s owner Clinton Harwell. Pignetti’s serves traditional Italian dishes with a familiar Texas taste. Pignetti’s signature favorites include Grilled Bistecca, Blackened Salmon Salad, Buffalo Tenderloin, Pan Seared Black Drum and Butternut Squash Ravioli. The food is complemented with the region’s largest wine selection. “We offer over 1,300 wines at affordable prices – often similar to grocery store pricing,” Harwell says. Pignetti’s won the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014.

Clinton & Lydia Harwell, owners

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Special events each week include Family Night on Tuesday, Wine tasting on Wednesday, Thursday is “Date Night”, and a Saturday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with $1 mimosas. On Wednesday, April 1, Pignetti’s will host Sean Minor, owner of Sean Minor Wines, for a wine tasting event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pignetti’s patrons will soon be treated to another dining experience, Vinoteca Urban Winery & Tapas, which is opening next door. Harwell is involved with the project, consulting with owner Alex Manuel.

Las Casas Restaurant & Patio

IH-35 at 57th Street, Temple | 254-774-7476 | Las Casas Restaurant & Patio, Famous “White Wing™” originator, has been serving Bell County and the Central Texas community since 1982! Owner and hosts Ralph and Debbie Sheffield are proud to be nationally acclaimed as a top independently owned restaurant. Ralph is a past president of the Texas Restaurant Association and past chair of the TRA Education Foundation. Debbie is a past president of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival. Las Casas is open every day at 11a.m. Las Casas’ popular dishes include Tex-Mex and Southwestern Cuisine as well as classic fajitas and margaritas. Enjoy dining in the restaurant or on the patio for a more casual atmosphere. We are now serving more than 25 kinds of tequila. Las Casas was voted No. 1 Mexican Restaurant in Bell County and No. 1 Caterer in Temple. The catering service includes everything from seated dinners to casual buffets and delivery orders. Las Casas is a favorite for take-out orders; check out the Fajita Pick-up Special on the website. Ask our customers – we do more than just Tex-Mex – and we do it well! Ralph & Debbie Sheffield, owners



April is our Home & Garden issue. Pick up a copy of Tex Appeal to read our profile section highlighting the professionals who are buliding the homes and businesses of tomorrow. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Cooking up canine cuisine Story by VALERIE L. VALDEZ Photos by WILLIAM TORO


Jeanette Noble creates bone-shaped dog treats. 50


oh la la! What’s this? A bite into a pig-shaped biscuit releases the flavors of crispy bacon and savory cheese as it crunches and swirls in the mouth. This may sound like the latest tasty treat, and you’re right, but it is not for people — it’s a homemade dog treat created by Jeanette Noble, 19, owner of Everything Paw Related, direct from her family’s kitchen in Killeen. This spunky entrepreneur is the baker of yummy pet treats that dogs devour, sending their owners obediently back to buy more from Noble’s stand at the Pioneer Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. Noble’s interest in pet treats came from her desire to help one of the family’s rescue dogs, Shadow, who suffered with food allergies. Only 12 years old then, she researched what dogs could and could not eat. “I did a lot of reading online, bought cookbooks for making dog treats and just experimented with the recipes,” Noble said while mixing dough in the kitchen. Noble grew up helping her mom, Heike Noble, a baker, learning the basics of cooking from scratch. “I’ve always liked baking but it turned into making dog treats instead of cookies,” she said. Her early experience infused a passion to tinker with recipes. Blending creativity with her natural love for animals, it’s easy to see how she became a baker of canine treats. As a child, Jeanette wanted to be a veterinarian, but after volunteering at the Texas Humane Heroes shelter, she decided the vet idea didn’t suit her after all, so she focused on making the treats. She gave the shelter dogs some of the treats, then a friend advised that she sell them at the farmer’s market. That was about two years ago, and now the business averages about 20 customers each Saturday. Occasionally, she still volunteers at the shelter. After graduating from Killeen High School in 2013, Noble went full-time with

Jeanette Noble, 19, entrepreneur and owner of Everything Paw Related creates an at-home treat.

her dog treat business, developing a welltuned system of organization, timing and a baker’s knowledge that tells her when she needs to add a little of this or that. “Sometimes I’m making three different recipes a day based on what sold that Saturday; I usually sell out of peanut butter ones.”

In all, Noble bakes six flavors of dog treats including peanut butter, her most popular one, bacon and cheese, mint with parsley to freshen the dog’s breath; sweet potato and chicken training dots and Parmesan cheese training treats. Besides white Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Jeanette Noble creates peanut butter dog treats.

flour, she also makes treats with rice flour and oat flour that she grinds herself, selling the treats by the pound. The ingredients she uses are all natural with no chemicals, byproducts or sugar. They require refrigeration and can keep for up to three weeks, or can be kept in the freezer for about six months. Noble works in the kitchen mixing the batter, then she uses a bone-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out the treats before baking them. She uses many shapes, including a heart shape for Valentines Day, a Christmas tree and even dog shapes, such as poodles or Labradors. She also makes pumpkin- and gingerbread-flavored treats during the holidays. “The ingredients are flour, peanut butter or another flavor, milk and baking powder, so it’s everything we eat,” Noble said. She recalled a soldier who bought a large treat for his dog and then took a bite of it. “He said to me, ‘This tastes pretty good.’” Like any smart business owner, Noble researches new recipes to please her customers and attract more business. “I’ve had many flavors that were popular for a week or two but no one wanted them anymore, so I have come up with recipes that sell,” she added. Besides dog treats, she also makes special orders of horse treats consisting of apples and carrots. One faithful customer travels three hours just to buy them. Not one to sit watching TV or post on Twitter 52


Noble works in the kitchen mixing the batter, then she uses a bone-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out the treats before baking them. She uses many shapes, including a heart shape for Valentines Day, a Christmas tree and even dog shapes, such as poodles or Labradors. She also makes pumpkin- and gingerbread-flavored treats during the holidays. or FaceBook, Noble is always busy making something — treats, flashy dog bandanas, collars and leashes. Her new goal is to earn a masters degree in business with an associates degree in agriculture so she can operate her own bakery specializing in canine treats and other pet products. She laughed at the suggestion that she could become the “Martha Stewart” of dog treats, but stated without hesitation that the profits are saved to help pay for her first semester of college. What started as an act of compassion and love to help another creature has blossomed into a local home-based business for an enterprising and hard-working young lady with a bright future. “I never intended for this to be a business, because I just wanted to make treats for

“luxuries for your lucky little ones”

7410 W. Adams Avenue No 170, Temple 254.773.5200 | Mon - Fri 10:00am - 5:30pm Sat 10:00am - 4:00pm

Shadow, but I love making something that helps dogs and their owners,” Noble said.

PEANUT BUTTER DOG TREATS 2 cups flour 1 cup milk 1 cup peanut butter 1 tablespoon baking powder In a bowl, stir the milk with the peanut butter until smooth. Slowly add the baking powder and flour, stirring all ingredients until they are well mixed. Put the dough on the table and use a rolling pin to flatten it to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to stamp out each treat. Put all the treats on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool before serving to your pet. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Fitness begins at home

Personal trainer Jessica Stuch helps Mollie Bertrand develop at-home goals Story by GAIL DILLON Photos by KARIN MARKERT


t any grocery store checkout stand, magazine covers tout fit-looking models with stories promising new weight loss secrets and workout plans. TV ads hawk fitness equipment and nutritional supplements. There is no doubt that health and fitness are hot topics these days, and it is clear that to stay healthy, regular exercise is crucial. The good news is, it’s not necessary to join a gym to achieve your fitness goals. Home workouts can be just as effective and considerably less expensive than paying monthly dues to an often-crowded and intimidating gym. “Besides the cost, there are some other benefits to working out at home,” said Jessica Stuch, a certified personal trainer. “I think a lot of people are concerned about how they’re going to look in a gym,” she added, explaining that being overweight can cause even more self consciousness when it comes to exercising in public. Others prefer the ease of sweating in their own abode. “It’s just more convenient,” Stuch said. Stuch, 30, is originally from Chapel Hill, N.C., but moved to the Killeen area when her husband was assigned to Fort Hood. She has been a personal trainer since 2012, though her first career was in the fashion industry working as a product assistant in a major department store in New York City. “Weightlifting became a hobby of mine and a really big part of my life,” Stuch said. “My husband and I would be in the gym by 5:30 every morning.” She initially fell in love with weights as a college student in Greesboro. After putting on “the typical freshman 15” in college, she began running and doing other cardiovascular exercise, losing pounds in 54


For people looking to get a good workout at home, Jessica Stuch advises doing body weight squats, walking lunges and pushups (starting standing up and pushing against the wall, then progressing steadily lower, using a table or counter top and finally, the floor). the process. “I lost a lot of weight but I was just a smaller version of my old self,” she said. “That wasn’t exactly the look I was going for.” She decided to give weightlifting a try, eventually gaining lean muscle and definition, and it quickly became her favorite type of workout. When she and her husband relocated to London so he could pursue his masters degree and he decided to go back into the Army (he is prior enlisted), she realized she needed a career that could move with her. “I decided to turn my passion into a business and became an independent personal trainer,” Stuch explained. For people looking to get a good workout at home, she advises doing body weight squats, walking lunges and pushups (starting standing up and pushing against the wall, then progressing steadily lower, using a table or counter top and finally, the floor). For arms, Stuch suggests using gal-

lon water jugs or even canned goods to perform shoulder presses, bicep curls and other exercises. She said it’s important to remember to do a back exercise as well. “Gallon water jugs can work — just bend over and row.” For abs, there are a wide range of options including traditional situps, crunches, oblique crunches and planks. Stuch said one of the most effective ways to exercise is circuit training. She recommends choosing one exercise per body part and repeating each exercise 10-12 times (or reps), resting and repeating the entire routine three to five times. “If you move fast enough with enough intensity, you’re going to get your heart rate up — you’ll get your cardio in and your weight training. Other options for cardio include plyometrics, such as jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers and high knees,” she said. “Results will come in time,” Stuch said, “although not overnight. If you’re looking for fat loss, a lot of that is going to come from your diet, but I would say that within a few weeks, you’ll at least be building up your endurance and your strength.” When building a home gym, Stuch said it can be very simple. She advises beginning by purchasing some dumbbells, either separate ones or an adjustable set. A bench is also a good investment, and a mirror is nice to have to check your form. “People are always selling gym equipment — you don’t have to buy it new,” she added. Mollie Bertrand, one of Stuch’s clients, said that getting her exercise in at home is the best option for her at this stage of her life. As an attorney working full time from home with two young children and a husband in the Army, Bertrand, 39, is the living definition of “busy.” “I want to get back in shape after having two babies, but it’s hard to find the time to Continued

Personal trainer Jessica Stuch watches Mollie Bertrand do lunges. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Mollie Bertrand uses a book for weight and the couch to hold her feet while she does situps in her home.

Jessica Stuch helps Mollie Bertrand with exercises in her home, including pushups, as seen above. The attorney and mom doesn’t have time to go to the gym, so the personal trainer comes to her so Bertrand can meet fitness goals. Below, Bertrand lays on a mat and raises her body off the floor to work her glutes and hamstrings.



go to the gym between the job, kids, housework, and other commitments,” Bertrand said. “I prefer to spend time exercising rather than driving to and from the gym.” Bertrand’s goals are to build lean muscle, gain strength and keep her heart healthy. “I want to lose the fat that pregnancies and aging have put on me,” she said, adding that she also wants to be able to keep up with her kids. As important as exercising is, eating right is also vital. Stuch believes many women don’t get enough protein in their diets, which can cause a gal to reach for the Oreos when she’s suddenly ravenous. “(Protein) is kind of like a building block,” she said. “It helps provide satiety, keeping you full longer.” Stuch does not advocate eliminating food groups or depriving yourself. “I completely believe in keeping everything in your diet, especially if you enjoy it — and just kind of moderating everything that you eat,” she explained. “You want your diet to be primarily whole, natural foods, but add in some treats here and there.” Bertrand is heeding Stuch’s nutrition advice. “I’ve increased my protein and vegetables and I’ve cut back on desserts and

alcohol,” she said. “I’ll have a small bite of dark chocolate if I’m really craving something sweet.” Stuch said her client is on the right track. “If your goal is fat loss or physique transformation, your diet’s going to be really important,” she said. “Because you don’t just want to lose weight, you want to lose fat and build muscle.” Between sessions with Stuch, Bertrand said she tries to incorporate small bursts of home exercise, such as walking their dog, lunging to the mailbox, or doing glute kickbacks while holding her toddlerage son. “By the way, picking up clutter around the house, doing the laundry, and washing the dishes all count for calorie burn too,” she pointed out. Body building has changed Stuch’s perspective on what the scale says. “Now, I don’t care what my weight is,” she said. “I just care how my clothes fit and how I look in the mirror.” She is eager to share her knowledge and experience with others who are ready to make positive life changes. “I love helping women get fitter and stronger, all the while avoiding the typical pitfalls of endless cardio sessions and insane diets.”

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Life from the inside out

Explore flavors of Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery Story by JESSICA PEARCE Photos by JAMES PAUL STANLEY


Clint Walker III and his wife, Janice, own Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery in Rogers. 58


n an unseasonably warm, bright day in February, Jonathan Walker, a beekeeper at Walker Honey Farm, holds out an active, open bee hive for inspection with ungloved hands. Thousands of bees crawl industriously, carrying out their various functions while swarming around one large bee with a bright green dot on her thorax. The queen bee, so marked by her keepers, weaves in and out of the swarm, laying eggs at random while curious onlookers observe. Worker bees carry bright red and yellow pollen on their tiny legs, ready to pack the honeycomb with progress. A hive cell, dormant just seconds before, begins caving in as a new bee gradually pokes through and emerges into the open air. The bees, heedless of their human bystanders, continue life as they know it, all the while suspended aloft for a closer examination. Their headway in the most unlikely of circumstances is a microcosm of the environment at Walker Honey Farm itself. At first glance, the property at Walker Honey Farm in the small town of Rogers lies dormant, two lone buildings and a bright red food truck against the wind. A bare gridwork of stakes and trellises covers an acre, sheltering plant roots in the dark earth. Entering the Walker Honey Farm Store, the Spartan outdoor façade gives way to an entirely different atmosphere. Inside, the scent of honey permeates the air, complementing golden-colored walls and cheerful artwork of dancing bees. The store houses an amalgam of good things, with a mead and wine-tasting bar on one side and a honey-tasting stand on the other. In the back lie giant barrels of honey for those who bring in their own bottles to refill. A “kegerator,” the store’s newest offering, houses the most popular meads on

Walker Honey Farm marketing director Chelsea Clifton shows a bottle of wine from the Dancing Bee Winery.

tap with large “growler” bottles on hand to take home a favorite drink. Handcrafted offerings of soap and candles made on the farm lie next to homemade honey granola, while the front counter boasts fresh bread

made in the brick oven pizza truck on site. There’s a sense of energy and excitement about the place — this is no sleepy little store, but a living, growing operation. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



Walker Honey Farm in Rogers offers a variety of pure honey products, including raw honey, honey mead and honey soap.

Chelsea Clifton, marketing and retail manager, greets customers with a cheerful “hello.” Clifton, who began with Walker Honey Farm after graduating from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2011, came into the business the old-fashioned way. While most job searches today are conducted online, Clifton boldly popped her head into owner and manager Clint Walker III’s office and announced that she needed a job. Walker, while initially reluctant, soon realized Clifton’s skills were exactly what he needed for his growing business. Having recently created the separate Dancing Bee Winery next door to the store, he needed someone to market his newest venture. “I love the people and getting to use my skills,” said Clifton, now several years into her role. “I give input and suggestions, and have room to experiment.” 60


“If you hire good people, they make a good product. Most of our staff are in their 20s; every person here is smart, creative and into the thought process behind things. Their energy keeps us current and fresh.”

Clint Walker III

“If you hire good people, they make a good product,” agreed Walker. “Most of our staff are in their 20s; every person here is smart, creative and into the thought process behind things. Their energy keeps us current and fresh.” This synergy of shared ideas among the staff spills over into the Dancing Bee Winery, where young mead maker and vintner Chase Cohagan gives customers tours of his work. Cohagan, who also serves as a beekeeper on site when not making mead

and wine, generously pours out samples of mead. When asked why he chose his profession at such a young age, he replied, “It’s awesome! I’m making the oldest alcoholic drink in human history—I’m carrying a torch ‘from bee to bottle.’” Cohagan proudly displays vats of mead wine at various stages of maturity. He has given each vat nicknames such as “Doris, Judy and Betty,” revealing an undercurrent of humor that runs through the whole operation. This humor is easy to see

Chase Cohagen is the Walker Honey Farm mead maker and vintner.

on the labels of several unique mead wine varieties, such as “Logi’s Libation,” a blend of smoky chipotle peppers and honey that goes down smooth and lingers spicy on the palate. Logi, the Norse god of fire, is pictured surrounded by bees and holding a jar of honey while lava and flames erupt from a honeycomb volcano behind him. “Traditional mead dates back thousands of years, all the way back to Beowulf and Bavaria,” said Walker. It is made by the same process as grape wine: honey and yeast are mixed together; the yeast feeds on

the sugar from the honey and ferments, producing alcohol. As with grape wine, mead can be made into endless varieties and flavors. Unlike grape wine, it ages rapidly, within six months to one year. It can keep for any number of years, though the flavor is fixed within the first year. Along with traditional mead, the winery also produces melomel varieties containing fruit infusions, metheglin varieties containing spices or hops and pyments, varieties that contain grapes. Continued TEXAPPEALMAG.COM



The Queen Bee, marked in green, can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day. The bees create honey, which is turned into many products at Walker Honey Farm.

Currently Cohagan is experimenting with “session mead,” a variety with lower alcohol content and no sulfates, similar to a wine cooler. Nicknamed “Chase’s Baby” by Walker’s wife Janice, Cohagan is slowly refining his session mead through several batches. His efforts mirror that of the Dancing Bee Winery itself. The bare stakes and trellises on the property do indeed hold young grapevines just planted last year, due to push through the ground in another season. From the time they crop up, the vines will need another two years before they will produce grapes, and another couple seasons following before they can be used in mead winemaking. Though still growing, the vineyard is another example of life stirring just beneath the surface at the farm. Walker Honey Farm itself was founded in 1930 by Walker’s grandfather, Clint Walker, then worked by Walker’s father, Clint Walker Jr., and now worked by Walker himself. “I was out among the bees as 62


“I don’t know of any other location in Texas where customers can taste 10 different types of honey in the same place.”

Clint Walker III

soon as I could walk,” he reminisced. “In my earliest memories I can remember getting stung!” Initially, the sting of the bees was enough for Walker to decide that he did not want to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. He left the farm in his youth, married his wife, Janice, and together, they had two boys. While grateful for the new life he had, the honey had already seeped into his soul. He decided to return to the life he knew to give his young boys the experience of growing up the way he did. “Besides marrying my wife (CFO and ‘Queen Bee’ of the business), coming back to honey farming was the best decision I ever made,” he said. “I’m an amateur bota-

nist and bird watcher, and this business allows me to pursue my interests. I feel very fortunate to work in a business that gives me this much pleasure.” Walker’s pleasure is evident in his eyes, which twinkle when he talks about his honey, often with a little smile on his face. The farm produces multiple varieties of honey on site and also brings in smallbatch varieties from other honey farmers throughout Texas. The honey ranges from a light wildflower honey to a deep amber buckwheat honey. The flavors of unique honey such as the smoky huajillo honey and the rare pecan honeydew make honey tasting a truly original experience. “I don’t know of any other location in Texas where custom-

To promote recycling, Walker Honey Farm refills honey containers for a discount.

ers can taste 10 different types of honey in the same place,” Walker proudly said. While Walker went on to describe the multiple benefits of eating raw honey, a regular customer from Houston stopped in for his bi-monthly visit to pick up six gallons of honey. Many customers driving between Houston and Lubbock also make it a tradition to spend an afternoon at the

farm and winery. “Elderly customers from Temple often drop off their empty jars for filling, complete their medical appointments at Scott & White Hospital, and come back for their honey and the conversation,” added Clifton. “We have a relationship with our customers,” Walker said. “Everyone has a story.” TEXAPPEALMAG.COM


ADVERTISERS INDEX Anderson Chapel AME Church................................................................43 Aspen Dental................................................................................................7 Bell County Museum..................................................................................49 Bello Photography.......................................................................................28 Best Wishes Gifts..........................................................................................7 Blind & Shutter Gallery.............................................................................33 Brick City Martial Arts............................................................................... 21 Callie’s.........................................................................................................33 Cameron Park Zoo......................................................................................64 Central Texas Orthodontics.......................................................................43 Clem Mikeska’s Pit Bar B Q.......................................................................12 Dental Images.............................................................................................29 Doctors Express.......................................................................................... 11 DocuMaxx...................................................................................................27 Dr. Philip Davis Jr., DDS............................................................................19 Eagle Home Mortgage................................................................................ 17 Ellis Air Systems..........................................................................................26 English Maids............................................................................................. 61 Estacia’s....................................................................................................... 17 Extraco Banks-Temple/Local......................................................................68 Ferguson Plumbing.....................................................................................30 Giebel, Dr. Shelley/Healthy Success..........................................................12 Giebel, Dr. Shelley/Healthy Success.......................................................... 17 Grand Avenue Theater............................................................................... 47 Hallmark Service Company........................................................................49 Killeen Overhead Doors.............................................................................43 La Riv..........................................................................................................46 Las Casas Restaurant..................................................................................48 Lastovica Jewelers........................................................................................ 17 Lucky Bebe..................................................................................................53 MaxFlight......................................................................................................5 Metabolic Research Center of Waco, Inc...................................................63 Metroplex Hospital.......................................................................................3 Montessori Schools of Central Texas......................................................... 67 Painting with a Twist..................................................................................53 Paperdoodles............................................................................................... 61 Pignettis.......................................................................................................48 Pop Abilities Gourmet Popcorn & Candies..............................................45 Schoepf’s Bar-B-Que................................................................................... 47 Scott’s Lawn Care Central Texas................................................................53 Shar’s Consignment..................................................................................57 Shoppes on Main in Salado........................................................................57 Smile At The World Orthodontics..............................................................9 Solar Centex............................................................................................... 21 Sonic Drive-In...............................................................................................7 Stillhouse Wine Room...............................................................................44 Temple Area Builders.................................................................................15 Texas Bariatric Specialists........................................................................... 21 The Gin at Nolan Creek Steakhouse......................................................... 11 The Grout Doctor......................................................................................49 Union State Bank.......................................................................................12 Wayne Benson, M.D. P.A. Clinic.................................................................2 Westside Baptist Church............................................................................44 Zooty’s.........................................................................................................63 The Advertisers Index is published for reader convenience. Every effort is made to list information correctly. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions. 64





Because you’ve always wanted to own an island

Every Extraco customer has a special connection to our bank. They’re a neighbor, a fellow Texan, a member of the same community. Which means that, when you have a goal, we make it our goal. That’s banking with a purpose.



Extraco Banks is a Member FDIC.


To see how Extraco can help you, contact an Extraco Mortgage Consultant at 254.774.5500 or

Texappeal March 2015  
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