24 May, 2016

Freezer Meal Fun

There’s been a lot of talk at John Henry’s about Freezer Meal Workshops and until I attended one I had no idea what benefits this event would be for me. For years I did what I called “power cooking”. I worked all week, spent my weekends playing catch up and rarely got to see my friends. I had a family to feed and when I got home from work there was no energy left to make a home cooked meal. Fast food was detrimental to my budget and my waistline! So my solution was to run to the grocery store at 7 am on Saturday morning (that was before I knew John Henry’s would deliver Farm Fresh Meat right to my door!); and while I unpacked my groceries I started putting together three or four meals for the week. Chicken went in the pot to boil, ground beef started frying with my chopped onion and so on.  Five hours later after all the clean-up was done, my weekly meals were ready and in my fridge. Then it was on to more chores.

Fortunately I was introduced to the Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop. This event revolutionized my life along with so many others I know. It solved my dilemma of cooking healthy for my family, being budget friendly and some much needed “me time” with my friends. I hosted an event in my home, invited ten of my dearest friends and had the time of my life. There was so much laughter and yet we accomplished what didn’t seem like a chore that night-10 meals in 2 hours!! We all went home with a freezer full of food! I guess it reminded me of the good ole days where women would get together and quilt.  They worked with their hands, did something productive but got a chance to talk and have a good time. As my life changed, so did the importance of the Freezer meal workshop to me. I found myself as a single mom of an only daughter. I didn’t think the workshop would fit into my budget and my need to feed more than two disappeared. Then it was brought to my attention that I could package the servings to feed 2 and Make 20 meals that would feed us for almost the whole month with the cost of less than $3.50 per serving. That beat Taco Bell and frozen dinners!!! Not to mention the health and time benefit.

Freezer Meal Workshops are as simple as contacting Katie at John Henry’s and inviting friends. Once you pick out your option of what workshop you want to make meals from http://www.johnhenrys.net/t/freezer-meal-workshops  you are sent a “grocery list” of the groceries that you need to purchase. In the options of meat, my family is not too big on pork and I am not a fish eater. Mind you- the Cajun heritage comes alive if we are talking shrimp, crab or crawfish, but “fish” is not on the top of my favorites. So I just substituted chicken or beef for those recipes and it still tasted amazing. The first workshop that I did, I wasn’t connected with John Henry’s so I had a lot of prep work. Time spent shopping, cutting up meat and labeling the bags to prepare for the workshop. I was used to a lot of prep work but when John Henry’s partnered with Wildtree it has been an overwhelming asset with the service they provide. One call is all it takes and my Grass Fed Meat is cut, bagged, labeled and delivered right to the Workshop!!  I have my choice of meat to use in the recipes and it is always delivered fresh.  My time could be focused on other things in my life. It was such a benefit.

Since the time with my friends was so great, I hosted one for the girls at my previous work that I had always said, “We need a girl’s night out to get together”. There was always “need to” in the conversation, but time restraints for everyone seemed to be an issue. There was talk about a painting party, meeting for dinner but when I mentioned the Freezer meal workshop they all went crazy. Everyone likes to do something new, and even though this isn’t “new” it was new to them. It was something that they felt good about knowing it was going to help their family. One of the girls has sensitivity to gluten.  People with food sensitivities seem to feel like the odd guy out. They can participate, but not fully in activities and especially those related to food. I have seen her celebrate birthdays and not eat cake, come to a cookout with a glass dish of food she can eat in hand. It is really hard and fortunately for her and unfortunately for others; more and more people are forced into understanding how it is; due to their own food sensitivities.  Wildtree was founded by a mom whose children had food allergies and she had to create the products so her children could eat healthy meals. We at John Henry’s also share the same reality as some of our families are affected by food sensitivities. There even is a Paleo workshop for those who follow the Paleo diet!!  My previous coworker was in awe when I told her Wildtree was certified gluten free and she could participate fully in all the meals. I thought she was going to come unglued!!! We all got together and were able to see and catch up with those we had not seen in a long time.  My coworker continues to attend and have Freezer Meal Workshops to keep her fridge stocked. Her kids began to eat things because they tasted so good. Her dietary needs and budget needs were met and for the first time in a long time dinner was not a strain on the family. She could cook and eat the same meal as her husband and children.  It changed her life.  All the girls later told me they were impressed with the service John Henry’s provided and the quality of the Healthy Meat, not to mention the fun they had. It started a regular meeting of getting together because that is important for us too. In one of my first workshops that I hosted, my friend’s husband loved the food and the convenience so much he happily watched the kids while she went to “cooking club” every month.

If you find yourself strained for time, strained budget, worried your family is eating healthy or just worn out while you keep going… A Freezer Meal workshop is something that is a must on your calendar. If you feel you “don’t have time” for it, you definitely don’t have the time not to do it!


11 May, 2016

My Paleo Journey

Have your heard of the Paleo diet? Have you ever wondered what the hype is all about? Do you think it’s just another fad?  When I first heard of the Paleo diet, I thought whoever designed it is crazy! How could I ever give up grains?! When I was in school they said grains were supposed to be the biggest part of the diet. I was totally cool with going through life and eating as much pasta as possible. I mean homemade mac and cheese was a lunch staple and seriously, our grass fed cheeses are amazing! How could we not eat it every day?! Unfortunately, recently we found out my son has a reaction to dairy and we have had to cut back for the time being.  According to the dictionary the Paleo diet is based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. That being said, I don’t know what the early humans ate, other than the fruit from the Garden of Eden. I do believe that God made everything on this earth to help us and nourish us but throughout the years that humans have been on the earth, we have tried to change things and in recent years we have really started messing up agriculture. We started making hybrids to resist disease or yield a bigger crop. GMO’s have been designed to allow extremely poisonous chemicals to be sprayed on crops to kill weeds but not the GMO plant. Our food system has gone through many changes in the last several decades and not all these changes have been beneficial. So many of our grains here in the United States have been hybridized and genetically modified; these changes are big enough reasons to avoid them. Take a look at this great website http://paleoleap.com/paleo-101/ it gives you a list of 15 Do’s and Don’ts of the Paleo diet. My family and I have made major changes recently to improve our health and I wouldn’t have been successful without the Freezer Meal Workshops.

Since the day my dad told me I couldn’t date if I couldn’t cook until now I have been in a love affair with cooking. I am now happily married to an amazing man who can cook eggs for our 3 beautiful children on Saturday morning but that is about the extent of it. I am ok with his lack of interest because he is always there to help clean up my mess.  Unfortunately, my busy life does not always allow for endless hours in the kitchen. The John Henry’s Freezer Meal Workshops have been a personal life saver.  We have always focused on REAL foods, healthy meats and veggies but we also ate our fair share of grains and not enough fruit. Since our family’s health issues we have had to eliminate grains, conventional dairy and all refined sugar while healing our guts. We have been putting a big focus on Bone Broth to help speed up the healing process and eating a more PALEO diet.  If any of you have had to do a drastic diet change like me and cut out over 75 % of your normal recipes, you know where I am coming from. This has been a BIG change for my little family but the Freezer Meal Workshops have made that transition so much easier. We are seeing great progress in our health and we may continue eating this way indefinitely but I will definitely continue to have my freezer stocked with these amazing Freezer Meal Workshop dinners.  John Henry’s offer’s several great menu options if you are following a special diet. We have combined taste tested Wildtree spices, oils and recipes mixed with John Henry’s grass fed beef, free range chicken and pork cut to the menu’s specifications.  Check out our Freezer Meal Workshop page to see some of our most popular menus.  If you would like to save time and money and host a Freezer Meal Workshop my mom Kellie and I (Katie) will come to your home and help you and your friends and family put the meals together. It is so much fun and I know you will benefit from it just as much as I do!


02 May, 2016

Eggs, Eggs, and more Eggs!!

Spring is finally here and our chickens are laying eggs like crazy!!  I always enjoy going out in the early morning to let the “ladies” out of their coop.  They are always so happy to see me because they know that as soon as I open their two little doors they can come running out single file down the ramp to the outside world.  While some chickens are in their nest waiting to lay their egg, the majority want to get their day started by eating breakfast first.  “Let me see”, they say, “should we spend the day in the pasture with the cows or roam around the yard eating bugs and digging up Kellie’s  flower beds.  Lucy is our very special hen.  She follows us everywhere we go and she especially loves our grandchildren.  Even yesterday while John Henry was laying under a piece of farm equipment working on it, she had to run over and visit with him. 

I love having a variety of chicken breeds on the farm just because I enjoy the different color eggs they lay and love all the different colored feathers that they have.  As some of the new hens begin their laying process, they just can’t quite seem to get the hang of it to lay their eggs in the nest.  So for the first few weeks in spring, it’s just like having a big Easter Egg hunt looking for eggs everywhere but inside the coop.  Once we get them trained to go into the coop and pick a nest to sit on to lay their eggs, we are “GOLDEN” and the hunt is over!

My mom is our #1 egg inspector and washer.  She loves to come over and visit as she handles each egg with care and washes them.  We couldn’t ask for a better inspector or washer, and the chickens love her too!!  We take great pride in our farm and the quality of every item that we provide for our John Henry’s customers. 

Each evening, just before dark the hens go into their coop to roost and sleep for the night.  After they are all in, I close their two little doors so they are kept safe and I say “good night ladies, see ya in the morning!!”

Our eggs can be found at the Farmers’ Markets that we attend, our Home Delivery Route or if you are having a Freezer Meal Workshop and your recipe calls for farm fresh eggs, we’ve got you covered!!   

Hormone Free Grass-Fed Beef, Pastured Turkey Pork, Open Range Chicken

The benefits of eating pasture raised, grass-fed meats are hard to deny. From the extra nutrients to the shaky ethics surrounding commercially raised animals, pasture-raised cows and free range chickens win every time. While we hear the most about steaks and beef, the same benefits can apply to any animal raised without hormones in its natural habitat. Typically pork or chicken is referred to as pasture raised, or free range instead, as these animals are natural omnivores and eat a little of everything. Our family farm produces grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and free range turkey and chicken. Our gourmet meats and dairy products are shipped fresh to customers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and the Chicago, Illinois area. Pastured pork, beef, chicken, and turkey is not only better for the animal, but it’s also better for the consumer too. If you’ve shopped for meats at most grocery stores, you probably saw bright red packages of similar shapes and sizes, which is different from the varying packages of beef you would find when shopping with an small, local farmer. Each animal is unique, and John Henry’s doesn’t use steroids, hormones, or fatty feeds on our farm. This produces a higher-quality cut of meat that can vary in size, shape, and color depending on what muscles were exercised more. Grass-fed beef, and pasture raised turkey, pork, and chicken also have fat that is more yellow due to healthy beta carotenes that are present. We also cut each of our meats fresh and ship it to you the same day! If you haven’t tried grass-fed beef, pastured pork, or free range turkey and chicken you don’t know what you’re missing. Save $10 on your first shipment with promo code “New10” John Henry’s ships to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennesee, New England, Virginia, West Virginia, THe Carolinas, And more!