Jim Beam Apple Bourbon + Pork = Love for Your Tastes Buds This Fall

By Lauren Schwab

IMG_5006

In Celebration of National Pork Month, I am sharing some Jim Beam Apple Bourbon pork recipes. I recently visited the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky and it was an amazing experience. I encourage everyone to visit and start their journey on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

I learned all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. A strict set of standards from the government regulates what’s what. In 1964, under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, Congress declared bourbon “America’s native spirit”. Today, bourbon is recognized around the world as America’s native spirit, led by Jim Beam®, the world’s No. 1 bourbon. You can learn more about the difference between bourbon and whiskey at http://www.jimbeam.com/en-us/behind-the-bourbon/bourbon-vs-whiskey.

Here’s a glimpse of what I was able to see on the tour. The history and beauty of Jim Beam is what makes it so special. The culture and memories made are forever:

IMG_5010It is amazing the aging process bourbon has to go through. My favorite part of the tour was walking inside one of the barrel rooms and seeing endless barrels stacked stories high. They all had their date on the outside and it was fun to remember back to what I was doing at that time. I saw a barrel that was filled in 2008, that’s when I was crowned Ohio Pork Industry Queen. It can take anywhere from four to nine or more years for bourbon to age. That’s a quality that makes bourbon special, you can’t rush the process. Good things take time and are worth the wait. It’s great to see preparation, hard work and patience pay off. There is love and passion in each sip. I admire Jim Beam’s passion and legacy. Just like how farming is continued on in family generations, so is Jim Beam Bourbon.

IMG_5025I also appreciated the agricultural production bourbon supports. They start with a secret mix of corn (at least 51%), rye and barley malt – their “Mash Bill”. It feeds into a 10,000-gallon cooker. Here they add limestone filtered Kentucky water, along with some “set back”—up to 40% of the old mash from the last distillation. You and learn more at http://www.jimbeam.com/en-us/behind-the-bourbon/process. I also enjoyed the opportunity for us to make our own personalized single barrel bottle. We got to take an empty bottle and see it filled with Knob Creek Single Barrel. I watched by bottle go through the line and I picked it up. I was able to put my finger print on the seal and then put a personalized laser message on it! I will always remember this moment.

At the end of the tour we went onto the tasting room where were could pick three bourbons to taste. There were machines we select to dispense our bourbon sample. Among these was Jim Beam Apple Bourbon: http://www.jimbeam.com/en-us/bourbons/apple. This is great to try with pork recipes. Here is a recipe from my friend Leah at Farm Wife Drinks:

CROCK POT APPLE BOURBON SMOKIES

Apple-Bourbon

Here’s a a main course dish from Mother’s BBQ:

Bone in Pork Roast with Jim Beam Apple Bourbon Glaze Recipe On the Traeger Grill

I hope you give these delicious recipes a try this month and take a trip to Jim Beam! To learn more about the Kentucky Bourbon Trail visit http://kybourbontrail.com/

 

Steel Blossoms Are Country Enough For Nashville

By Lauren Schwab

14682129_692400384242376_3015563060280626341_oA few years ago when I started Farm Girl With Curls, I got a follow on Twitter from the Steel Blossoms. With my love for country music and their creative name, I decided to check out their music. I was instantly inspired with their brand and my heart felt warmth and empowerment while listening to their music. Sara Zebley and Hayley Prosser have a traditional yet unique style. They have a personal touch and take every effort possible to make their dream in music come true. They use their talent to touch many lives and build lasting relationships. What meant the most to me was the time they took to write me a Happy Birthday song for my 26th birthday in 2015. From their I was Steel Blossom fan for life.

20545522_684276845100035_3085447495043608423_oThese Pennsylvania natives made the move to Nashville in 2014. They spend their time there and on tour doing personal house concerts for fans. I have been waiting a long time to see them and was so excited for them to come to the Ohio State Fair. I figured they had long forgot about Farm Girl With Curls, but as soon as I introduced myself their faces lit up with excitement. To know they remembered and cared about me personally meant so much. I watched their concert and sat down afterwards for a quick interview. I hope you enjoy their story, inspirational words and uplifting music.

Q. Can you tell me more about how the Steel Blossoms got their start and made the decision to move to Nashville?

20597069_684276561766730_6317917601765372812_nA. “We have been singing for a little over six years together. We used to be in a country rock band back in Pennsylvania. We weren’t called Steel Blossoms at first. We did about three years of singing without the Steel Blossoms name. We realized we were the two in the band that wanted this to be a career, not just a hobby. So we made the trip to Nashville and although it sounds easy, it wasn’t. It was a long process that took some convincing on our parts and we moved in 2014. We thought of the name Steel Blossoms because we wanted to represent Pittsburgh, ‘Steel City’, and that’s where both of us blossomed as people and musicians.”

Q. Can you tell me more about your style and musical influences?

20626233_684277005100019_1409395646116484977_o.jpgA. “Right now we are into Ashley Monroe and Kacey Musgraves. We like the comedy aspects of our songs and it’s hard to pick a genre because we are not the country that’s on the radio right now. Haley tells me very often she aspires to be the country folk version of Bo Burnham, a comedian who plays music. We like to make people laugh and cry in the same show, feel all the emotions.”

Q. How did you build a following on social media and decide to go on tour?

20506987_911111439037935_1267733068460899934_oA. When we first moved to Nashville we played seven days a week, four hours a day. We played in a really crowed Nashville bar that was constantly packed with people so we were meeting volumes of people everyday. We used that to our benefit and asked people to sign up for our email list and gave them four free songs for signing up. We remind them over and over again to please follow us on social media. Also I think our show is really personal that might make it different from a lot of people’s. We make it more intimate and personal because we like to get to know our fans, so we even show that through social media by asking questions all the time to get to know people.

Q. What has been an impactful experience for you?

21125793_928538187295260_2058914348281707969_oA. Being out on the road has been the most impactful experience. Doing home concerts, you get to be apart of somebody’s family for a night. They accept you and welcome you into their group and you feel cultured from that. You see all different walks of life and ways of doing things. We are able to see parts of the country we would never be able to see before. Getting to touch somebody through a song, and the experience of having somebody say that song relates to me because I feel this and went though this, that just makes it all worth it.

Q. What advice would you give to other aspiring artists that are struggling with taking the steps to get their voice heard or have confidence in their music?

12000939_527290610753355_5273178322719902471_oA. I would say learn as much as you can about the music business. Social media is so huge right now and you can use it to your advantage. There is no one-way to get there. Everybody has a completely different path. What my strength might be, someone else has a completely different one I don’t have. So you need to get to know yourself and be aware of the things that are going to help you get ahead. Learn and be open to talking to people about your craft. Understand you can do it on your own; you don’t need record labels or booking agencies. There are many layers of the goal to peel back and you can pick which one you want.

Q. What goals or plans do you have for the future?

12139997_532089026940180_7142215612573116940_oA. Our big goal with these house concerts is that we want to target certain areas so that we can then go back to that area and instead of doing five small shows, do one big show in a theater with three or four hundred people in the next few years. We always want to do the house concerts and of course we love fairs and festivals where we can meet families. We are realistic about our future as individuals to know we want to be married and have kids. So we want to take what we’re doing now and tailor it to be able to make the most of it when we do have families. So that we aren’t super far from them all the time, but can still make a living doing this. We want the best of both worlds.

Visit https://www.steelblossoms.com to learn more and sign up for their email list to get four free songs!  Their new album ‘Country Enough’ is available. Be sure to check them on social media to see their music videos and find out what they are up to!

https://www.youtube.com/user/steelblossoms 

https://www.facebook.com/steelblossoms

https://www.twitter.com/Steel_Blossoms

https://www.instagram.com/steelblossoms

Photo credit to Steel Blossoms Social Media

Some Beach, Somewhere…

The past few months I have been daydreaming of sunny Cancun, Mexico during my hard workdays on the farm. I was fortunate to have a vacation planned with friends to a resort. This was a first to me, never had I been on a long beach vacation. As a farmer, it’s all work all the time and I feel guilty when I’m not. As vacation neared, I couldn’t help but think of the song, Some Beach by Blake Shelton. Now after coming back, I think about it even more. There really is “a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair. Palm trees are growing and warm breezes blowing.”

Today even more so I went to the dentist to get some cavities fixed, I delayed it due to farm work of course. I sang the song to myself while in the dentist chair. While life isn’t perfect everyday, I was thankful to see a tropical paradise. I want to create a life I don’t need a vacation from, but I do love imagining myself in peaceful places around the world when the chaos at home is too much. Here are some pictures we took on the beach. This was a fun memory I will think about, especially on those not so fun days.

In Case You Didn’t Know About Brett Young

By Lauren Schwab

IMG_4418Country music artist, Brett Young, brought his West Coast-meets-Southern sound to Hillsboro, Ohio to capture the hearts of fans at the annual Festival of the Bells. Young shared his honest song lyrics while telling stories to the audience about his song writing inspiration. From telling the story of ending a six year relationship on New Year’s Eve to hearing a great love story of a song writer in Nashville. Young was happy to share with the crowd.

IMG_4420Young told a story about attending his first “Number One” party in Nashville. Country music is the only genre in which the performing rights organizations, the companies that make sure songwriters are paid for the usage of their music, regularly have parties to celebrate songwriters and their number one songs. In Nashville these parties happen almost weekly.

IMG_4416While at the party, Young heard a man tell a story of how he started in songwriting. Him and his wife were 18 years old with an 18 month old child. They didn’t have much money, but moved to Nashville so he could be a songwriter. Young went on to tell the story to the festival audience, “On that day he was telling that story, he was accepting an award for his 11th number one as a song writer. He gave her all the credit and called her his beautiful believer. When I heard that story I thought, I don’t know the rules in this town. I don’t know if I have to give him song writing credit for stealing his story and writing a song about it, but if we’re going to write a song about it we are going to tell the story exactly the way we heard it. This song is called Beautiful Believer.”

IMG_4421Young went on to share how it’s been 20 years now since the man started songwriting and he wrote a song about his wife. Young said to the audience, “Now men, if we’re being honest, we know we’re really bad at expressing our feelings. Here’s the thing, it’s not because we don’t want to say how we feel, we are wired very differently. The best way we’ve come up with to make our women feel sexy, unfortunately, is saying ‘Baby, you look so sexy.’ Cause we’re smooth like that (laughter). So I heard this song, and I knew their relationship. He found a way to tell her that everything she does all day, from putting her makeup on in the mirror to walking down the hallway is sexy to him.”  Makin Me Say is the only song on Young’s record he didn’t write, but recorded for this reason.

Young has used inspiration is his own life and others to write songs that connect with many people. His story is unique and he has worked hard to go after his dreams. For more on Young’s career read this article on radio.com:

Brett Young: How a Baseball Injury Led Him to Country Music

Now listen to these motivational words from Young to go after your dreams!

For more about Brett Young, his music and tour dates, visit brettyoungmusic.com

Photo Credit to Ashley Whitenack and Jessica Schoultheis

Bourbon & Bacon Makes It Better

By Lauren Schwab

Times will be high and times will be low, or they can just be a reason to enjoy a drink, meat and music. While everyone has a time and reason for enjoying a stiff drink, I have come to respect and enjoy the passion behind making bourbon. Just like any farmer has a passion for producing food, distillers have a passion for making a good beverage. There is a long process to making bourbon that you can only come to respect by touring a distillery. After touring the Lexington Alltech Brewing & Distillery  Co. I have new appreciation. After a long day on the farm, I sometimes satisfy my thirst with a good Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale or make a chocolate Bluegrass Sundown. I recently got to enjoy a Mint Julep at Churchill Downs. Now I have positive memories to associate when I indulge in these beverages. As I’ve gotten older, I make memories around food and drinks. I enjoy them with people I care about and there is happiness. I am proud to produce bacon on my farm and support those who produce fine beverages to go with it. Here are some recipe ideas from Alltech:

Blackberry Porter Pork Tenderloin

Maple Bacon Bourbon Cupcakes

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Ribs

When you are enjoying this yummy food and drink you need a good tune to go with it! Here is a fun drinking tune from the Steel Blossoms:

(You can see Steel Blossoms play on August 3 at the Ohio State Fair at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on the Gazebo Stage. Then see me do a pork cooking demo in the Taste of Ohio Cafe at 3:30 p.m.)

If You Ain’t Got Love… at a Concert

I had been looking forward to last Saturday night for sometime. My boyfriend and I were planning to see the Josh Abbott Band in Indianapolis at 8 Second Saloon. I had never been there before and the show had been rescheduled from March. The Journalist in me was excited about the possibility of meeting Josh Abbott.  I had first been introduced to his music by my Texas friend Brittany. Then I came to know a West Texas farmer, Jeremy, who went to collage with Josh through the Face of Farming and Ranching contest. I have spent many hours listening to their music in the barn. It instantly makes me sing and takes me to another place. Most often that place is my love for Texas, farming and my boyfriend.

Before the concert we went to eat at a local restaurant called Grindstone Charlie’s. Little did we know, it was right by the saloon and the recommended place for the bands to eat at before their show. We sat in the waiting area for a few minutes then in walked three men. They asked the waitress how long the wait was and she said thirty minutes. They instantly said no and walked out. It was so quick, but my heart sank because I thought, was that Josh Abbott?! Ryan told me to go after them but they already made it around the corner and were walking down the street. I didn’t want to seem like a crazy fan girl by chasing after them. To say I was majorly bummed would be an understatement. I hesitated and missed my opportunity to talk to Josh!

IMG_4247Later at the concert we confirmed it was him at the restaurant. I saw him by the stage listening to his opening act and pointed out my “We can blame it on the wine” t-shirt. He smiled at me, but that was the extent of our connection. I was so mad at myself for not talking to him at the restaurant. As the night went on, despite the drunken college age people bumping into me, I came to realize I am still blessed to be here enjoying the night with Ryan. I am so thankful he came with me.

I got to thinking how high we put musicians. Most fans would do anything to say we met them and get a photo or autograph. While all that is nice, what comes down to it is the story from any experience. While I wish I was sharing a Josh Abbott band interview right now, I am still happy to share this message of appreciating the people you have in your life. At the end of the night all that mattered was who I had with me at the concert. Someone who cares about me and I love.

 

 

I will continue to listen to Josh Abbott in the barn and day dream of the love I have in my life. I am thankful for a wonderful weekend and my man. Remember to always go after your dreams, take chances and opportunities, but realize your blessings when things don’t go like you wished they had. Dolly says it best, “What good is wealth and fame, fine clothes and diamond rings. It just don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got love.”

 

You’re Going To Miss Me When I’m Gone

By Lauren Schwab

My mind is always searching for the next experience I can have, the next memory to be made. I crave what I haven’t seen that others have or no one has. With money and a GPS, I have the ability to go anywhere my heart desires. I am obligated to my farm, my family and the animals need me. However, I always wondered what it would be like to just travel and call wherever I may be home. I have a feeling, after a while I would get homesick for my cats and I am blessed with people who love me. Yet I still wonder sometimes, who would miss me when I’m gone?

I am not afraid to travel alone. As I become older, it is harder to keep up with friends and plan time together. I also worry about people having a good time or not wanting to do the same activities or spend as much money. So I often take off in my car alone. I like meeting new people and seeing new places. Half the fun is the unknown. There are experiences that are better shared with someone. To me, that’s what love is for. To share life with someone, always knowing it would be better with them. I can relate to this song:

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ’round
Two bottle whiskey for the way
And I sure would like some sweet company
And I’m leaving tomorrow. What’d you say?

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my hair
You’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my walk
You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ’round
The one with the prettiest of views
It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers
It’s got sights to give you shivers
But it sure would be prettier with you

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my walk
You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my hair
You’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh
You’re sure gonna miss me when I’m gone

When I’m gone, when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my walk
You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

Lost in a Pardi Music Video

By Lauren Schwab

I don’t think everyone feels the same connection to music. It can mean something different to you than it does to me. There are many ways to experience a song. A good artist makes the experience for you. They can control the sound, the lighting, their mood on stage. The only thing they can’t control is your imagination, or can they?

img_2739When I hear a song before I watch the music video the artist has made for it, I create my own music video in my mind. When I first heard “Dirt On My Boots” by Jon Pardi, I imagined myself working hard all day on the farm. Covered in dirt, dust and pig poop. Despite having a rough day, I rush into the house and get cleaned up then glammed up real quick so I can hit the town. I imagine dancing the night away in a honky tonk, having worked hard and ready to play hard.

maxresdefaultWhen I watched Jon Pardi’s music video to the song, I found myself lost in trying to figure out the story. I expected him to show a guy working hard in the field, picking up a hot girl in his pickup truck and whisking her away to a honky tonk for some “dirty dancing and blue collar romancing.” Instead he showed himself getting cleaned up ready to sing to a rowdy crowd interchanging with a beautiful girl riding on her horse. Pardi-JonI felt lost in the video trying to figure out the connection with the girl. It didn’t make sense to me until the end of the video when she got cleaned up and glammed up then made her way into the same scene as Jon. She walked away with him when he finished the song. It was a good twist to the story and now I will probably imagine this scene when I hear the song.

IMG_0835An artist should take their music videos seriously. They are powerful in storytelling and creating the scenes that play in a person’s imagination when they hear the song. There have been times, I like a song more after seeing the music video and times I don’t. Your imagination is a wonderful thing. It can take you away and show you a preview of life’s coming attractions if you choose to believe in it. Music can be an escape and while life isn’t always as glamours as a music video, you can find happiness being lost in your imagination and then experiencing the artist perform in real life.

Can You Hold On For One More Day?

By Lauren Schwab

Life is full of choices. When we are young, choices are often made for us. We can accept them and as we grow older decide this was our lot in life. On the other hand we can decide we are meant for more. The U.S. is known to be the land of the free, where you can be anything you want to be. Many times we view thing as limitations from following our true desires. Time, money, age, geographical location, family and friends. When it comes down to it, these can only be excuses for so long. I believe we all have the power to create the life we want. Depending on what you want to do and you current circumstances, it may take a long time to get where you want to be.

Besides our own fears being in the way, we often have to deal with other people. Others will not fully understand you own dreams. They may question you, think it’s not possible and not understand why you don’t just want to have an easy and normal life. Most likely, anything worth doing in your life will not come easy. I have seen my dad work hard to build his dream of farming from the ground up. He often says he shouldn’t have made it. With faith and perseverance, it is possible. There will be mistakes made and lessons learned when you start to make change happen in your life. Most people regret the things they didn’t do when they had the chance rather than the things they do.

I challenge you to imagine what you would want your life to be if you had no limitations. Would you move? Travel? Change careers or start a business? Go after love with no fear? What would you do? Usually what captivates your mind the most is an indicator of what you should go after. Also, think about what you enjoyed when you were younger. I remember as a kid I wanted to be a country music singer. Later I realized I don’t have the voice for singing, but I developed a love for journalism and interviewing country music singers on their own dreams and music.

While it can be easy and comfortable to stay in a situation, you have to live your own dreams. No one else is living your life. You have to trust that everything happens for a reason and even if you feel like you’ve wasted time and aren’t where you should be, trust in the process. What can feel like a setback, could be you setup. We often have to go through trials before we can live a life of treasure.