Lemon Spaghetti

Lemon SpaghettiLemon Spaghetti is one of my very favorite pasta dishes to make!  It is a simple dish that can be served as it is or paired with seafood and a good glass of Chardonnay. 

1 lemon
12 oz. spaghetti or other long pasta
Salt
Dash of crush red pepper flakes
¾ cup heavy cream
6 Tbsp. unsalted (COLD) butter
3 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about ¾ cup)
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.  While pasta is cooking, in a large Dutch oven add lemon zest.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out enough juice for 2 T. and set aside.  Add cream, ½ tsp salt and red pepper flakes to pot with lemon zest and cook over medium heat. Continuing whisking for about 2 minutes, then reduce heat and whisk in the butter, 1 T. at a time until all butter is melted.  Your sauce should be creamy.  Then, add ¾ cup of the pasta water to the cream sauce and return to medium heat.  Add the pasta to the cream sauce and then begin adding the Parmesan cheese ¼ cup at a time, ensuring you are tossing the pasta and sauce together.  The sauce should be creamy, if it is not, add a bit of the pasta water and stir.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with more salt if needed. Top with freshly cracked pepper and serve alone or with seafood.

Spanish Paella

PaellaI first had paella when I was visiting my in-laws. My mother-in-law Josefa, orginally from Madrid Spain, had made the traditional Spanish dish for me to try. She loves cooking as much as I do.

From Wikipedia: Paella is a typical Valencian rice dish, traditionally eaten on Sundays. The name paella is the word for “frying pan” in Valencian (from Latin patella). Paella is usually garnished with vegetablesand meat or seafood. The three main ingredients are rice, saffron, and olive oil.

This dish has become one of my family’s favorites. It is fairly simple to make, but does a take a bit of work. Since a major part of this dish is the seafood and saffron it can be expensive to make. But, you can substitute Spanish rice with saffron and only put shrimp if you want to save a little money.

Josefa’s Paella
I’m going to give you the true recipe for paella, and then I will give you some notes to modify for American style. This is for 1 cup of rice only.

1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 cup of rice
1 pound of raw shrimp
1 pound of clams
1 medium onion chop
6 to 8 chop garlic. Do not be shied with the garlic “HA”
3 to 4 package of saffron
1 red chop red pepper
1/2 cup green Spanish olives
1 cup of fish stock
3 cups of chicken stock
Salt to taste
Little water if needed only

Recipe for the fish stock
Peel the shrimp, put the peels in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water boil, and reduce to 1 cup of stock. In another pot dissolve about 6 cubes of chicken bouillon cubes in 3 cups of water and boil (2 cubes per 1 cup) reserve 1/2 cup of the chicken stock.

In a large skillet pour in the oil and rice and sauté the rice till a light golden color, then add the onion and garlic and sauté. Know that the garlic will cook faster then the onion.

Add the cup of fish stock, saffron, red pepper, green olives, and chicken stock. Taste the stock and see if it needs salt. (Remember that the fish and chicken cubes are salty.)

At this point stir the rice. Taste your rice as it cooks, when the rice is half done, add the seafood, stir lightly to blend. Keep tasting the rice. If you think that the rice is dry then add the reserve 1/2 cup stock, when the rice tasted soft outside and a little nutty inside turn the heat off but leave the skillet on the burner, the rice will continued cooking as it cools.

If during the cooking time you see some grains of rice on the edge of the skillet that they are not cooking, then very careful with an spoon push these grains to the center of the skillet with-out stirring the rice. Try not to stir the rice….if you stir the rice it will break down the starches and make sticky rice.

NOTE: if you do not have the red pepper or saffron, use 1/2 cup of ketchup dissolved first with the fish stock. You can also buy Yellow Spanish rice with saffron if you don’t have saffron available. Also, making this dish just with shrimp is just as good. Be sure and pair paella with a good glass of wine. Makes wonderful leftovers the next day!

Missouri Public Affairs Inductee

It isn’t everyday that you find yourself surrounded by so much love, but over the last four months that is exactly what I’ve experienced from professionals, friends, family, businesses, and farmers market customers that I see out and about.  

It was in 2003 that I took my first shopping trip to the Columbia Farmers Market as a college student at Mizzou, and I fell in love with the market lifestyle!  Fresh veggies, smiling farmers, amazing foods, and the sweetest beekeepers…ever!  I would frequent market many times my senior year in college, until marrying my high school sweetheart, Charlie, and moving to Jefferson City, MO.  

There, I worked for the Brownfield Farm Radio Network and learned so much about online marketing, social media, event planning and public relations.  It was my first job, fresh out of college and it was a good one, filled with amazing people, and luckily I was still only 35 minutes away from my favorite place- the farmers market!  

As a young professional and married woman, I worked on perfecting many dinner meals that I prepared with my husband with foods from both the Columbia Farmers Market and the farmer friends I made like Lowell Mohler at the Jefferson City Farmers Market.  My husband and I would even help Lowell harvest his amazing asparagus from time to time!  

Then, in 2007, I had a friend at the Missouri Department of Agriculture ask me if I was interested in possibly switching career directions.  A position opened up with the department in the local foods sector.  I decided to take a chance and it paid off.  I began working at the department as a Marketing Specialist in the area of local foods, agritourism, organics and specialty crops.  I oversaw farmers markets across the state, assisted small farmers in marketing and business planning and presented numerous workshops and presentations around the state. I made friends all over the state, helped to organize conferences and educational workshops for farmers, almost tripled the number of farmers markets in the state of Missouri, grew the organic cost-share program, presented 53 presentations on local foods, and loved every bit of my job!

In late 2009, I was awaiting the birth of our first child, Caston, in October. My husband was offered a very exciting opportunity that would move our growing family back to our home area of Southwest Missouri and closer to my family farm. We moved in January 2010, to Taney County and I slowly begun to build my business, Agri-Comm Services, which provides grant writing, business planning and marketing focused on agricultural and local foods.

Why am I looking back on my earlier career? Because the past has lead me to where I stand today. The past tells a story of how we became the people we are today, the choices we make and guides our future. I recently posted about ending a very important chapter of my life. It was the chapter after I moved to Taney County and helped establish a local foods pillar in our region, Farmers Market of the Ozarks.

When I moved back to Southwest Missouri my main goal was to somehow, someway build a local foods community in Springfield. And, I knew it could be done because our region was rich in local foods, home to an array of progressive farmers and foodies that were all searching for the same circle- a local food community circle where both farmer and foodie could meet. Thus, Farmers Market of the Ozarks was created. I owe Amanda Millsap Owens the biggest kiss for teaming up Matt O’Reilly and myself. After many meetings, hours of research, too many drafts to mention…Farmers Market of the Ozarks came into reality in 2012. The market has received numerous awards over the years and I have enjoyed working alongside some of the most hard-working, kindest, loving and generous people in my entire life. I am grateful to have learned so much from my farmers market vendors, and I wish the market only the best in its future!

I decided it was time that I focus on my next chapter this past fall and resigned as the Executive Director of market. It seemed fitting that as I close out an important chapter in my life, that I learn that I am being nominated for an award that celebrated my contributions in growing local foods in our state.   I was nominated by a former intern and now friend of mine, Kelsie Young, and two MSU professors to be inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame. I feel very thankful that these individuals believe in my work in local foods to be nominated and grateful to the Public Affairs committee for the award in which I will receive this coming spring.

I’m super honored to be inducted into the annual Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame with Peter Herschend, Jean Carnahan, Phyllis Washington and General John J. Pershing. Just to be part of this group of amazing individuals is humbling.

As for my next chapter, I am working on writing it currently. Stay tuned…

Growing a Family, While Growing a Business

I recently posted on my Instagram page a video of beeswax melting over a double boiler. I said, “If you would have told me a year ago that I would be watching beeswax melt as my job, I would have laughed at you!” But, it’s true! I spend my days melting beeswax, infusing organic olive oil, and creating amazing all natural products with family in mind!  Follow my @417localista or @MamaLanes for updates.

I have to admit, I truly enjoy the slower pace of this life, than the hustle and bustle of “climbing the career ladder,” and missing out on cherished time with my family. For years I helped to build a successful farmers market that brought in over $255,000 in grants and sponsorships in 6 years, managed the marketing and public relations of the business, answered phone calls and emails constantly, presented speeches on local food and marketing and helped others build their businesses, while all the time yearning to find my “own” niche. I loved my career in local foods, I helped many get their footing, and I was truly blessed to have the career I did, but times change and so do we as humans.

I resigned from a career that has brought me much joy, but I knew there was more for me and my family. The juggling act between family and career had become too much for me to give 100% to both, and I was not going to let my family take second place.

I launched Mama Lane’s All Natural in October 2017 after a friend of mine suggested I sell my Vapor Rub and other goodies I made for family and friends. (Thanks Stac)

I sold 53 jars of Vapor Rub in two weeks! My kiddos helped me in my kitchen unscrewing the tins, laying them out on a table for me to pour what friends like to call “liquid gold” (aka vapor rub) into each little tin, then patiently waiting for the mixture to harden, so then my kids could screw the lids back on the tins and add a label, while I cleaned up the kitchen. (I’ve learned to clean up fast, nobody has time for harden beeswax!)

And the rest is history…

I spend my days in my kitchen making products with my family, on the road meeting new potential retail customers, on my phone or Mac adding to the online marketing for my little business or experimenting with new products (I currently have 27 products I make.)

These are two of my displays at Hy-Vee’s Natural Beauty aisle in Springfield (left) and Sunfest Market in Branson (right).  That’s my handsome little guy, Caston, pointing at his mama.  I had to surprise him one night after a basketball game and let him discover this sign on his own- he decided we had to stay and watch a lady put two of my products in her shopping cart.

Besides my little business, I am also helping to grow my family’s farm, which is another reason I decided to turn-in my office gloves for a slower pace career.  My family operates Grassland Farms in Seymour, MO., you can also find our farm on Instagram and Facebook and follow our journey there.  We currently produce pastured-raised chicken and pork and will be pursuing our goal of constructing hydroponic greenhouses to produce lettuce and herbs.  My parents, brother David and I run the family farm and have big goals for 2018!

All of these big life changes have allowed my family the time we need- together!  My son put everything into perspective just a few weeks ago as we were on our way to a basketball game.  He and I were discussing athletes that he admired and why and I was telling him about who I admired as a kid, and I listened to him and he listened to me.  Then, after a moment of silence he told me he really loved that “I decided to choose him and sissy.”  At first, I didn’t know what he meant, so I asked.  “You quit your job so you could be with us more and now when we talk, we REALLY talk,” he said.  That was all the perspective that I needed…out of the mouths of babes.  They hold SO much in and do not tell us.  He was correct.  Being an active listener is difficult when you have so much weighing on your mind between balancing work and family.  I do not have it all figured out, but I am working on it!

Stocking Stuffer Ideas from Mama Lane’s

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When it comes to gift-giving during the holidays I always try and include something unique, handmade and meaningful for the recipient. That could be a batch of my family’s fudge, bath salts, an artisan find made by a local, handmade ornament, favorite bottle of wine or even cooking classes.  Gifts are meant to be special and make those receiving them feel important.

Luckily, here in the Ozarks we have an array of locally-made products to choose from, including my own handcrafted health and beauty product line, Mama Lane’s All Natural. From lip balms and lotions to vapor rub and hand salves- I’ve got a great product line-up that will score you a win with your next Christmas gift.

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Whether you are looking for single products to add in stockings or other gifts, or maybe you are needing a ready-to-go gift set, I have options for Mommy-To-Be, Gents Trio Set, Ladies Duo, Ladies Trio and I can even custom make you a set with your favorite things.

Lip and Hand Salves are popular options for this time of year, as these products protect lips and hands from getting chapped, the wind and cold.  Or, you can choose between body butters or lotions for extra moisturizing, which is something we all need a little extra of in the winter.  The Rose Petal Lotion is a soft, subtle rose scent that has become a favorite of my customers, as I infuse organic olive oil with rose petals in a slow process to create an aroma-filled oil.  For the guys I offer a Coffee Lip Salve, Men’s Cedarwood and Cedar Leather Lotion and even a Beard Balm.

You can shop online on my Etsy store or message me on Facebook for a specialty order.

Merry Christmas to your family and Happy New Year!

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(Photo credit: E.Marie’s Boutique)

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