The JJs List Blog

Guest Post: Finding My Zen

Posted by on November 12, 2014 - 0 Comments

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Meg Barnhart, Founder/Co-Creator of the zen of slow cooking, shares how she found zen in her kitchen.

 

When people asked me why I started the zen of slow cooking the first answer is simple – I was looking for an easy way to ease my “mom-guilt.”

With the arrival of my first child, Philip, meal time prep was fun.   When my second son, Doug, was born two years later it became more challenging and eventually impossible when their little sister, Lucy, arrived. With three children under the age of 5 my home took on a frenetic energy. My situation was compounded when Doug was diagnosed with a Communication Disorder at age 3. As time passed, our afternoons took on a frantic pace racing between therapy appointments, afternoon sports and homework
assignments. I found myself cooking less and less and eventually running out for prepared food at the end of each day.

One summer evening I went out with one of my dearest friends and literally cried on her shoulder. I told her that I felt like a failure and she said three things:

1)    “You’re not a failure. You just have a harder parenting deal.”

2)     “Stop answering the phone after 3:00pm. You are way too accessible.”

3)   “Buy a crock pot!”

I got the first 2 but was stumped by the third yet willing to do whatever I could to create a calmer home. I went out the following morning and bought myself a slow cooker. I spent the next two years learning how to use a slow cooker to transform our dinners from “fix it and forget it” meals into memorable occasions. Over time, I found slow cooking transformed our entire dining experience and gave me the formula for recreating family meals that I experienced as a child – hence the “zen” in slow cooking.

The second and more poignant reason I wanted to create the zen of slow cooking was to help all home cooks find success in the kitchen while we help chip away at the workplace challenges that adults with developmental disabilities face when they age out of the system. That desire is really because of my middle son, Doug.  Doug has grown into a charismatic, tall, handsome and charming young man but he still has speech and language challenges that could impair his dream of being in sales. Envisioning Doug in a
linear task would be a real waste of his potential, so I decided to create a business where he could use his talents to help me grow.

With that dream in mind, my business partner, Jane McKay, and I created a line of organic spice blends designed to make slow cooking even more accessible for the home cook.  Following our online launch, we asked Planet Access Company to be part of the “zen team.”

Planet Access Company was founded in 1997 to create training and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. Therefore, each time Jane finishes crafting our custom blends, she heat seals the spice bags and brings them to Planet Access where a group of young adults with disabilities packages our spices with great care.

We invite you to treat yourself and help spread a little “zen” this holiday season. Our blends make great gifts for your favorite hostess or teacher, and a perfect stocking stuffer for the cooks in your life.

Click here to place your first order of Zen Blends today!

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