My Mealtime Solution: the zen of slow cooking
That hour between 4:30 and 5:30 when I am struggling to find a balance of healthy, inexpensive, and appetizing dinner options is EXACTLY the time when my kids seem to melt down. One wakes up from a nap cranky, the other wants me to play Rescue Bots with him, and all of my work projects are wrapping for the day with a million demands before 5pm. Cocktail hour can't start soon enough.
|Don't let the cuteness fool you|
Present Day Meal Dilema
Fast forward to the present day of aforementioned chaos at the dinner prep hour. I had a distant memory of my conversation with Jane and decided to look up her blog in hopes that my life would no longer come crashing down every late afternoon. I saw that she had a business partner named Meg, and they had developed a line of spice blends designed specifically for slow cookers. They were so successful in fact that they made it into the Peapod's Next Best contest hosted by my grocery savior (PEAPOD, people!! Stop going to the damn grocery store where tantrums ensue around every corner!) on Windy City Live. I knew I need to give this a shot.
It Started With a Tweet
I hopped onto Peapod and ordered their Chicken Tortilla Soup Meal Kit. Ok, this was almost TOO easy. It took 5 minutes of prep and dinner was DONE. Best part? I could do the prep work during Charlotte's nap time, or even when the kids were at school in the morning. It turned out amazing- I actually at the soup every single day for lunch that week. I was hooked. I tweeted the photo of my meal kit and the zen gals took notice.
I contacted Jane and Meg to let them know how amazing I felt their product was, and we decided to meet up to chat. I then learned a great deal about WHY they started this business, and could feel the passion they had for it. Meg had mom guilt- her own mother was a fantastic cook, but Meg was struggling to get dinner on the table. Also, she wanted to provide an employment opportunity for adults with disabilities, seeing firsthand what a challenge this was with her own son Doug. She then met Jane, who has a background in recipe development and food editorial. BOOM. A business was born, and I haven't seen many teams of women who work as well together and balance each other like these two mom bosses.
I am passionate about this brand. I ate dinner with my family during my youth as many nights as possible considering our crazy schedules. I remember sharing my ups and downs of my day with my family, doing funny impressions at the dinner table for laughs, and yes, occasionally poking fun of my mom's cooking (How mean!! Except for the Chicken Casserole debacle which included spoiled mayo. That protest was valid).
|Southwest Fiesta Blend: Chicken Tortilla Soup; Photo: Bloom & Focus|
The point is- dinner was the one time our family came together. My mom sometimes resorted to take out because she was a teacher and didn't have the time or energy to put together a homemade dinner after dealing with her students' issues. This product would have been the perfect solution, so I am using it in my household to create a little more zen in my life. We eat dinner together 95% of the time, and it is a tradition I would love to keep.
|Smoky BBQ Blend: Carolina Pulled Pork; Photo: Bloom & Focus|
Here is the lineup of amazing products they offer. You can find them in some local stores like the Whole Foods on Green Bay in Evanston, on Peapod's website, or on the zen of slow cooking's own site. Want to give a little zen to someone for the holidays? This is THE PERFECT GIFT- you can give a "Gone All Day" package filled with blends and recipes for those who only have time to prep in the morning and can then come home to a home cooked meal after work. You can even take it on vacation- think of walking into your condo after a long day of skiing and smelling your delicious dinner as you open the door. There is something for everyone!
|Indian Dal Blend- Curried Lentil Tortilla; Photo: Bloom & Focus|
|Mulling Spices: Mulled Wine; Photo: Bloom & Focus|
Want to know more? Check out my friend Beth's take on the zen of slow cooking!