Delicious, Healthy Food Part of the Restorative Experience at Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center

By Holly Becka, HorsePower Communications

The Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center is restorative in every sense of the word, right down to the wholesome farm-to-table group meals prepared by the on-site chef.

When Dr. Suzanne Hales of CCA North Texas founded the Crescent Moon Lodge near the Texas-Oklahoma border, she intended it to be a tranquil, recuperative place for families, groups and individuals – a respite for anyone looking to unwind and enjoy the healing power of nature. That is why healthful group meals, available upon request, are part of the Crescent Moon’s comprehensive approach to a soothing, relaxing experience for guests.

Locally Sourced Food

Crescent Moon guests can refuel with professionally prepared seasonal meals featuring fresh, local meats, cheeses and organic vegetables, including many grown on-site in the center’s organic garden. In addition, group meals can be customized for any dietary need (including vegetarian and vegan), says Anne Young, a former caterer and private chef in Dallas before she moved to Rattan, Oklahoma, to serve as caretaker and chef at the Crescent Moon.

Organic veggies from the Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center's garden

Organic veggies from the Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center’s garden

“I believe in eating fresh foods and buying locally as much as possible,” Young says. “I don’t believe in buying food that has to travel hundreds of miles to reach our plates. Our ultimate goal here at the Crescent Moon is to garden with exclusively heirloom plants and avoid any engineered foods, as much as possible.”

Seasonal favorites for autumn include Cuban chicken with saffron rice, olives and tomatoes, served with salad and homemade bread; currant-glazed pork tenderloin with wild rice, corn casserole and mushrooms Florentine; and fresh pizza with goat cheese (made from milk obtained from a nearby goat farm), spinach and artichokes – to name just a few options.

Healthy or Decadent: Your Choice

While healthy, low-fat and low-sodium meals are always available, some guests opt for more decadent group meals, which Young is happy to prepare as well. A recent feast that Young prepared for a men’s group included Croque Madame (a luscious casserole with French bread, ham, gruyere cheese and a Dijon- béchamel sauce topped with fried eggs). Dessert was homemade banana pecan ice cream prepared by Dr. Hales.

“It was delicious,” Young says. “One of the guests brought fresh peaches for everyone, so I whipped up a peach cobbler with a sugar cookie crust to go with it. Every single guest we served this meal to came up to me and raved about it.”

If you’re craving food fresh off the grill, Young and her husband specialize in preparing delectable brisket, burgers, grilled chicken poppers (chicken strips with a jalapeno sliver wrapped in bacon and grilled) and grilled corn, among other goodies.

“The food here is a big selling point,” Young says. “People enjoy a freshly prepared, home-cooked meal, and we love providing it for them.”

Upcoming Foodie & Cooking Retreats

In coming months, Young plans to host workshops on cooking, baking, cheese making and wine tasting at the Crescent Moon. Call 214-926-2074 for details or to schedule your group for such a workshop.

Young is happy to share her extensive cooking experience with Crescent Moon guests.

“I come from a family of six kids, and all my family recipes are designed to feed a lot of people,” she says, “so when I was divorced and cooking for just me and my young daughter, we had all this extra food left over. I started selling the extras, making sandwiches and desserts to sell at my office for extra money, and from there I began catering parties.”

Crescent Moon Logo 200 x 200To become a more accomplished chef, Young studied cooking, nutrition, wine pairings and sanitation at El Centro College’s culinary school and served as a caterer for 15 years. She then became a personal chef for 10 families in Dallas. She also served as a wine consultant for a Napa Valley winery and conducted wine tastings throughout the Dallas area for several years.

While Crescent Moon guests are welcome to prepare their own meals in the fully stocked kitchen, Young enjoys cooking for guests. For details on pricing, please check the reservations page on the Crescent Moon’s website.

Let the Crescent Moon Lodge Pamper You

“I like all kinds of food and can cook just about anything, so our menu is very versatile,” Young says. “I love pampering people and making their stay at the Crescent Moon Lodge as comfortable and as fun as possible. Good food is just one of the many benefits we offer guests.”

For more information about the Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center, please go online to

Amenities include sleeping accommodations for 24, four bathrooms, a large open living area with a stunning oversized stone fireplace, a full kitchen, a wrap-around porch and a hot tub. Visitors enjoy panoramic views, cultivated gardens, a five-acre pond, three docks, a river, catch-and-release fishing, bird and wildlife watching, a stone labyrinth and trails for jogging, hiking and exploring.

To make a reservation or obtain answers to any questions, please call 214-926-2074.

About the Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center:

Join us for a retreat into nature. The Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center is a relaxing, tranquil respite for groups, families and friends. The 5,000-square-foot lodge stands on 160 acres of wooded hills in the town of Rattan, Oklahoma, near the Texas-Oklahoma border. The Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center provides comfort and quiet reflection amid natural beauty. For more information, please go online to

About CCA North Texas:

CCA has provided counseling services to residents from McKinney and the surrounding area for more than 25 years. Founded by Dr. Suzanne Hales, CCA offers a staff that includes licensed professional counselors, social workers, therapists and a psychiatrist who provide counseling, psychotherapy and psychiatric care for adults, children, couples and families. CCA is located at 2750 W. Virginia Parkway, Suite 104 in McKinney. To make an appointment, please call 972-542-8144. For more information, please go to CCA’s therapy provides encouragement, support, information and assistance to help you in the changes and transformations you seek in your life. We are honored to be a part of your process of change, and we applaud your courage in seeking assistance to make changes in your life.


The Best of McKinney, Texas, Coming Soon to ‘Shark Tank’ on ABC Television

By Holly Becka,

One of our favorite clients, Dr. Suzanne Hales of CCA North Texas and the Crescent Moon Lodge and Retreat Center, was interviewed by a crew from Shark Tank this summer.

A longtime marriage and family counselor, Dr. Hales was asked to review a new product by McKinney entrepreneur Jason Adams. His product, called Elephant Chat, encourages couples to communicate better. Because she has devoted her life to helping families and couples communicate more effectively, Dr. Hales liked the product and endorsed it.

“Elephant Chat serves as a wonderful visual reminder that couples need to actively work on communicating with each other. That’s why I really like the idea,” says Dr. Hales, a licensed professional counselor, a licensed marriage and family therapist, an Imago therapist and a Jungian analyst-in-training.301097_6637

HorsePower Communications issued a news release this week in advance of the Friday, Oct. 25 Shark Tank episode in which Elephant Chat will appear. The Shark Tank connection also provided an opportunity to promote the couples’ retreat that Dr. Hales scheduled in February 2014 for anyone whose relationship could use strengthening (or for anyone whose relationship would benefit from better communication).

We are thankful to our friends in the local media for helping us spread the word about this fun story that sheds a little light on the remarkable entrepreneurial spirit in lovely McKinney, Texas. We’re a bunch of go-getters — and the city is among the best places to live in the United States!

Here are links to the media coverage thus far: (hyperlocal news site for McKinney and the surrounding area) (McKinney Chamber’s community news site)

NeighborsGo (community edition of The Dallas Morning News)

McKinney Bubble Life (online community news site/content curator)