Thank you, Bill! – Bill’s Smokehouse
Dec03

Thank you, Bill! – Bill’s Smokehouse

My husband and I have a lot of trouble eating out. Over the last ten years or so, we’ve become what I would call “at home chefs.” Between Food Network (with a heavy lean towards Alton Brown), ChefSteps (YouTube) and Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel, we’ve learned how to make phenomenal meals at home. We invested in an immersion circulator several years back and it’s changed our meat game like nothing else. We can pretty much make a restaurant quality meals at home, for a fraction of the cost, and have it cooked to perfection. Now, that’s kind of a double-edged sword . . . one, we don’t get the feeling of getting all gussied up and ‘going out’. Two, we don’t get to sit and relax and be waited on. Finally, the restaurants we might splurge on have disappointed us. Steaks aren’t cooked to the right temp. Asparagus is fibrous. Dishes were just lacking proper seasoning. I sound like a huge food snob, I’m sure, but when you can make food to a certain standard, you expect a restaurant to be able to hit the same standard, especially when paying so much. So, this brings us to Bill’s Smokehouse. Naturally, we were leary. We hold a special place in our hearts for barbecue. It’s smokey, succulent and just plain delicious. Also, it’s something we can’t do at home . . . yet. 😉 So we have our favorite place in town to get it and hold all others to that standard. As we walked into Bill’s on a cool, dark evening, we could smell the smokers from the back. The restaurant was quiet as there were only a couple other tables with guests. The room was moderately lit and looked nice with a classic, high-end look with a lean towards the a western theme. Booths and tables are both available and our booth was comfortable. Soon, we were the only table. Considering the menu is full of local, organic meats, it’s kind of hard to make a choice.We had a nice basket of corn bread while we made our decisions. While the inside was tender and sweet, the sides were dry. I went with the 28-day wet aged USDA choice tenderloin filet, six oz, a ⅓ rack of ribs, a side of apple slaw and fried Brussell sprouts. My husband got the pulled pork and brisket with sides of collard greens and green beans with bacon and onion. We also tried the sausage sampler as an appetizer. The sampler came with a smoked pork sausage, a chicken sausage, a couple cheeses and two mustards, as well as plain and...

Read More
Planting Wholesome Roots with Cooking
Oct01

Planting Wholesome Roots with Cooking

  When I was growing up, (we won’t say how long ago that was), we only had a few cooking shows. From The Frugal Gourmet to Yan Can Cook and, of course, Julia Child, we sat and watched them make one delicious meal after another. I remember one particular episode of The Frugal Gourmet where Jeff Smith had characters from Sesame Street on. They cooked kid-friendly meals and played around a little. Fast forward to the late ‘90’s and we get an entire tv channel dedicated to cooking and baking. Shows like Great Chefs showed us the professional side of cooking and baking in restaurants, hotels, and theme parks. Emeril came on prime time with a Bam! The Two Fat Ladies taught us that no amount butter was too much. Then there was Iron Chef. The Chairman chose a high-qualified chef who, in return, got to pick an Iron Chef to challenge.   I believe that having family that cooked from scratch and access to these shows helped to grow my love of food and cooking. I love trying new foods, cooking in new styles, with new tools and creating my own recipes for my family to pass down. My kids love to cook, too! They’re interested in what dad and I are doing in the kitchen and often want to help. Sometimes, though, life gets busy. I don’t always have time to let the kids cut veg or help flip the pancakes. It gets hard to teach them everything I want to pass down. Also, I believe in having other influences to teach them. That’s where Wholesome Roots Cooking comes in. Wholesome Roots Cooking has cooking classes for kids. Meghan Hauser, owner and certified Healthy Hands cooking instructor, teaches kids hands-on cooking skills and that eating healthy can be simple! Her goal is to “plant wholesome roots for a healthy lifestyle.” “One of the best parts about my job is to watch students become inspired to create new food and feel proud of their accomplishments!” says Hauser. Wholesome Roots offers kids cooking classes publicly and also privately in schools, birthday parties and co-ops. They also offer a Homeschool Cooking Club where homeschoolers have a monthly class during the day on Tuesdays. Do you want to take a cooking class? Well, Wholesome Roots offers classes for adults, too! Just contact them via their website at www.wholesomerootscooking.com. While you’re there, you’ll find their class schedule as well as the types of classes they offer. Getting your kids involved in healthy cooking as young as possible will set them up for a healthy life so check out some Wholesome Roots Cooking...

Read More
Wet Paint: Stain and Stencil
Sep24

Wet Paint: Stain and Stencil

One of the hottest trends in home decor is signage. Whether it’s a quote, a simple word or a personalized motto, signs are what people are looking for to tell their guests more about them and maybe as a reminder to themselves. Another trend is the DIY movement. People are trying all sorts of new crafts and having a great time. Whether it’s an evening with their friends or family or even alone, trying something new and getting creative is fun and relaxing. Stain and Stencil combines both of those trends into one. Their DIY sign workshops are perfect for new and pro crafters alike! You walk in and owner, Rachelle Harkenrider, and staff take care of you every step of the way. They’ll transform you from newbie to pro in just one sign! Once you’re in the shop, you’ll get to pick all of your color and stain options. The staff will teach you how to apply stain or paint and distress your board. Then, you’ll apply your stencil. The staff has lots of tips and guides for making sure you get it on just right. Then, you’ll paint in the stencil with the colors of your choice. Depending on your piece, you may or may not have a few more steps to finish. Rachelle and her team work hard to make sure you’re happy with your piece. To sign up for a workshop, simply go to their website (www.stainandstencil.com) look through their gallery and find a sign you’d like to create. Then find their calendar and an open workshop. If you’d like any customization, you can let them know in the registration process.  Have an event or a group you want to create with? Stain and Stencil will set up a private event with your group. As a unique small business owner in town, Rachelle has been eager to help and collaborate with other small businesses wherever possible. From sign projects, to cupcakes for customers, to the wine slushees she includes in your workshop, Rachelle is sharing the business wealth and helping other businesses grow along with hers. You can find Stain and Stencil on Facebook, Instagram and at their website, www.stainandstencil.com. Check out their social media what others have done with their signs, for specials, and upcoming...

Read More
What Fort Wayne Needs: An Independent Art & Culture Magazine
Jan05

What Fort Wayne Needs: An Independent Art & Culture Magazine

If you looked up the word ‘pique’ in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you’d be hit with quite a few meanings that you probably wouldn’t expect. The one I was looking for was fairly far down the page, despite being, in my opinion, the most popular or well-known meaning. Pique v. \pēk\ to stir up, excite To stir up. To excite. I think that the city of Fort Wayne has many things that ‘pique’ a lot of people’s interests and what better to name a magazine that shares the news of these events with the people of this great city. Pique Magazine was started a few years back by Mariah Knight, then an art major at the University of Saint Francis, for her senior project. She wanted to design a captivating magazine that would feature local art, commentary, comedy, causes and other community aspects all around a central theme. With two zines under her belt, and the help of editor Kara Hackett, they brought the same content to Facebook to create a place where the people of the Fort can find local happenings in the local art or entertainment realms, find some humor and be able to have a say about their town. One recurring article is entitled “What Fort Wayne Needs” and features the wishes of citizen longing to add to Fort Wayne’s list of attractions, or create a change. Whether its more restaurants open on Sunday, an amusement park or a Cheesecake Factory, writers let us know what they want to see. Do you have any thoughts on what Fort Wayne needs? With the 2018 edition of Pique coming, the zine has a call for entry. “Into the Wild” theme is based on the title itself, the 1996 non-fiction book of the same title by Jon Krakauer, or the 2007 movie adaption. Artists must be 16 or older, any medium is acceptable, and artwork must have been created in the last two years. You can find more information on their website. Pique is also interested in hearing what you have to say. If you’re a writer, artist, etc., email them and let them know that you would be interested in contributing. Just interested in a past copy of the zine? They’re available at the following locations or via their website. Fort Wayne Museum of Art Artlink Contemporary Gallery The Hedge Fancy & Staple Crestwoods Frame Shop, Roanoke Firefly Coffee House Pique is also available for check out at all Allen County Public Library branches. You can follow Pique on their website or Facebook page. They also have an email newsletter. You can sign up here. Be on the watch for the...

Read More
Fort Wayne Astronomical Society Brings Us Closer to Space
Aug16

Fort Wayne Astronomical Society Brings Us Closer to Space

I am fascinated with space, and maybe you are, too. The solar eclipse is coming up, and the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society has our space nerdery covered. I went to their July General Meeting to get more information, and member Jon Thomas gave an exceptional explanation on how we plan on getting to Mars. We explored possible routes to the Red Planet, the length of time they’d take, and the pros and cons. He also covered different theories on how we could make water, methane for propellant, and oxygen for the stay on Mars and the trip home. Finally, Jon covered the concerns about the trip, one of the bigger ones being the human factor. The FWAS began in 1959 as a not-for-profit “to support amateur observing and promote public education in Astronomy and related sciences.” They hold several meetings once a month both public and for members only and have public observing sessions every clear Saturday which start about an hour after sunset. Public observing sessions are held at Jefferson Township Park in New Haven at their newly built observatory, featuring a 16″ telescope. FWAS has volunteers that will come out to your large group, school, or church with telescopes, and teach you about what you’re seeing in the sky. I asked society secretary Gene Stringer if they were planning an event for the solar eclipse on August 21st. Not only are they planning an event, they’re planning two! The first event will be at the Allen County Main Public Library on Aug. 21 from 12-3pm. The FWAS will be handing out eclipse viewing glasses on a first-come, first-served basis. They will also be bringing telescopes with sun filters and projectors to help us view the event. The food trucks will be there and admission is free but donations are welcomed. The second is a group of society members who are actually traveling to Evansville, IN. The Society says that hotels have been booked for two years in preparation for this event. The Solar Eclipse will be crossing over 14 states on August 21, 2017. For more information on the solar eclipse, check out NASA’s website. Find out more about the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society on their website, and follow them on Facebook and...

Read More