APRIL 2017 WHOLE30 ($117/person)

Meals for the Day
In alphabetical order if you ignore descriptors
Condiments
Shopping List
Notes: We didn’t buy the garnish for the Basil Chicken Curry. Other notes are contained in parenthesis. This list is for ONE. Multiply by the amount in your party.
Homemade
  • Bone broth, 1 cup for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • bone broth, 24 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • chicken broth or stock, 8 cups for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
Produce, Herb
  • cilantro, 1/2 cup for multiple recipes
  • cilantro, 1 Tbsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • garlic cloves, 13 for multiple recipes
  • ginger, 1 teaspoon for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • red onion, 1 for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • Thai basil, 1/2 cup for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • yellow onion, 1 for Whole30 Taco Soup
Produce, Vegetable
  • bell peppers, 4 for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • brussels sprouts, 2 cups for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • carrots, 6 for multiple recipes
  • cauliflower, 1/2 for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • green chiles, 8 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • jalapeño, 2 for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • jalapeño, 2 teaspoons for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
  • kale, 2 bunches for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • onion, 4 for multiple recipes
  • potato, 6 for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • russet potatoes, 4 for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • spaghetti squash, 1 for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
  • sweet potato, 1 for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • tomatoes, 1 cup for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
Meat
  • Beef Steak, 1 1/4 pounds for Mediterranean Steak
  • chicken, 2 pounds for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
  • chicken, thighs, 2 pounds for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • Ground beef, 3 lb for multiple recipes
  • ground chicken, 1 1/2 pounds for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
Dairy
  • butter or olive oil, 2 tablespoons for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • coconut cream, 3 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • eggs, 11 for multiple recipes
  • heavy cream (Whole30 sub: coconut milk/cream) 1/2 cup for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
Oils & Dressings
  • apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • coconut oil, 2 tbsp for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • ghee, 1 1/2 tablespoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • olive oil, 1 cup for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • ranch dressing (we made this from scratch), 1/4 cup for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Spices
  • basil, 3 tablespoons for multiple recipes
  • black pepper, ⅛ tsp for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • Black Pepper, 1 teaspoon for Mediterranean Steak
  • black pepper, 1/2-1 tsp for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • black pepper, 2 teaspoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • chili powder, 3 tablespoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • chives, 1 tsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • cinnamon, 1 teaspoon for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • cumin, 2 tablespoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • cumin, 1 teaspoon for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
  • dill, 1 tsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • dried thyme, 1 tsp for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • garlic powder, 3 1/4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • ground cloves, 1/4 tsp for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • onion powder, 2 1/4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • paprika, 2 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • parsley, 1 tsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • pepper, 1/2 teaspoon for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
  • Rosemary, 1/2 teaspoons for Mediterranean Steak
  • Sage, 1 teaspoon for Mediterranean Steak
  • salt, 1 1/4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • sea salt, Sprinkle for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • Sea Salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons for multiple recipes
  • Thyme, 1 teaspoon for Mediterranean Steak
  • yellow curry powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
Sauces
  • hot sauce, 1 cup for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Baking Goods
  • coconut flour, 1 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • cornstarch, 1 tablespoon for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
Canned/Jar Goods
  • coconut milk, 2 (13.5 oz.) cans for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • coconut milk, 1/4 cup for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • coconut milk, 5 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • coconut milk, 2 Tbsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • tomato paste, 2 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • tomatoes, 28 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
Deli
  • bacon, 3 slices for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • sausage link, 1 for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • spicy italian sausage, 1 pound for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup (I couldn’t find compliant sausage, so I bought ground pork and pork belly, ground the pork belly and added it to the ground pork to make it a more sausage pork/fat ratio, then added spices)
Pasta/Rice/Beans
  • naan or coconut rice, for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch

Whole30 Menu (April 2017)

We spent $117/person
Meals for the Day
Shopping List
Notes: We didn’t buy the garnish for the Basil Chicken Curry. Other notes are contained in parenthesis. This list is for ONE. Multiply by the amount in your party.
Homemade
  • Bone broth, 1 cup for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • bone broth, 24 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • chicken broth or stock, 8 cups for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
Produce, Herb
  • cilantro, 1/2 cup for multiple recipes
  • cilantro, 1 Tbsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • garlic cloves, 13 for multiple recipes
  • ginger, 1 teaspoon for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • red onion, 1 for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • Thai basil, 1/2 cup for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • yellow onion, 1 for Whole30 Taco Soup
Produce, Vegetable
  • bell peppers, 4 for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • brussels sprouts, 2 cups for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • carrots, 6 for multiple recipes
  • cauliflower, 1/2 for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • green chiles, 8 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • jalapeño, 2 for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • jalapeño, 2 teaspoons for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
  • kale, 2 bunches for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • onion, 4 for multiple recipes
  • potato, 6 for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • russet potatoes, 4 for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • spaghetti squash, 1 for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
  • sweet potato, 1 for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • tomatoes, 1 cup for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
Meat
  • Beef Steak, 1 1/4 pounds for Mediterranean Steak
  • chicken, 2 pounds for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
  • chicken, thighs, 2 pounds for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • Ground beef, 3 lb for multiple recipes
  • ground chicken, 1 1/2 pounds for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
Dairy
  • butter or olive oil, 2 tablespoons for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • coconut cream, 3 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • eggs, 11 for multiple recipes
  • heavy cream, (coconut milk/cream) 1/2 cup for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
Oils & Dressings
  • apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • coconut oil, 2 tbsp for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • ghee, 1 1/2 tablespoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • olive oil, 1 cup for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • ranch dressing, 1/4 cup for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Spices
  • basil, 3 tablespoons for multiple recipes
  • black pepper, ⅛ tsp for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • Black Pepper, 1 teaspoon for Mediterranean Steak
  • black pepper, 1/2-1 tsp for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • black pepper, 2 teaspoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • chili powder, 3 tablespoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • chives, 1 tsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • cinnamon, 1 teaspoon for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • cumin, 2 tablespoons for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • cumin, 1 teaspoon for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
  • dill, 1 tsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • dried thyme, 1 tsp for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • garlic powder, 3 1/4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • ground cloves, 1/4 tsp for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup
  • onion powder, 2 1/4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • paprika, 2 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • parsley, 1 tsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • pepper, 1/2 teaspoon for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon for Jalapeño Chicken Burgers
  • Rosemary, 1/2 teaspoons for Mediterranean Steak
  • Sage, 1 teaspoon for Mediterranean Steak
  • salt, 1 1/4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • sea salt, Sprinkle for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • Sea Salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons for multiple recipes
  • Thyme, 1 teaspoon for Mediterranean Steak
  • yellow curry powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
Sauces
  • hot sauce, 1 cup for Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Baking Goods
  • coconut flour, 1 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • cornstarch, 1 tablespoon for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
Canned/Jar Goods
  • coconut milk, 2 (13.5 oz.) cans for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • coconut milk, 1/4 cup for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • coconut milk, 5 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
  • coconut milk, 2 Tbsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch
  • tomato paste, 2 Tbs for Shepherd’s Pie (Paleo, GF)
  • tomatoes, 28 ounces for Whole30 Taco Soup
Deli
  • bacon, 3 slices for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • sausage link, 1 for Brussels, Sausage & Bacon Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
  • spicy italian sausage, 1 pound for Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup (I couldn’t find compliant sausage, so I bought ground pork and pork belly, ground the pork belly and added it to the ground pork to make it a more sausage pork/fat ratio, then added spices)
Pasta/Rice/Beans
  • naan or coconut rice, for Slow Cooker Basil Chicken
  • rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp for Maria Makes…Dump Ranch

April 2017 Vegetarian Party ($119.25/person)

Meals for the day
In alphabetical order if you ignore descriptors
Making before party
Shopping List
Notes: Notes are written in parenthesis
Homemade
  • vegetable broth, 16 1/4 Cup for multiple recipes
Produce, Fruit
  • bananas, 2 for Banana Blueberry Bars
  • cherry tomatoes, handful for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • cherry tomatoes, 10 ounce box for Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche
  • dates, 1 cup for Banana Blueberry Bars
  • fresh blueberries, 1 cup for Banana Blueberry Bars (I just bought the bag of frozen organic)
  • lemon juice, 1 tablespoon for Vegan Pesto
Produce, Herb
  • basil, 1/4 for Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche
  • basil, for Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche
  • basil, 2 1/2 cup for multiple recipes
  • cilantro, 1 cup for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • garlic, 1 head for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • garlic, 1/2 teaspoon for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
  • garlic cloves, 6 for multiple recipes
  • ginger, 2 tablespoon for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • ginger, 1/2 teaspoon for Chana Masala
  • leek, 1 1/2 for multiple recipes
  • thyme, 1 tablespoon for Spinach and Sweet Potato Lasagna
  • yellow onion, 2 for multiple recipes
Produce, Vegetable
  • baby spinach, 4 Cup for Chana Masala (we bought 13 2-pounds containers of organic spinach from Costco to cover all recipes for six families.  Two pounds is around eight to twelve cups)
  • broccoli, 1 bunch for Leek and Broccoli Soup
  • cauliflower, 2 for Spinach and Sweet Potato Lasagna
  • chopped spinach, 1 (10 ounce) package for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
  • small russet potato, 1 for Leek and Broccoli Soup
  • spinach, 12 cups for Spinach and Sweet Potato Lasagna
  • sweet potatoes, 4 for multiple recipes (add two potatoes for a sweet potato crust on the quiche)
Dairy
  • almond milk, as needed for Spinach and Sweet Potato Lasagna
  • Almond Milk, 1 1/4 cup for Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche
  • cream cheese, 4 ounces for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
  • eggs, 7 for multiple recipes
  • goat cheese, 4 ounces for Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche
  • large eggs, 6 for Fresh Semolina and Egg Pasta
  • Mexican style cheese, 1 cup for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
  • Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
  • part skim mozzarella cheese, 9 Tablespoons for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
  • ricotta cheese, 1 (15 ounce) container for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
  • sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup for Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche
Oils & Dressings
  • apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar, 6 teaspoon for Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • coconut oil, 2 tablespoons for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil, 1 tablespoon for Leek and Broccoli Soup
Spices
  • black cardamom pods, 8 for Garam Masala
  • black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon for Garam Masala
  • cayenne, 2 teaspoons for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • chili powder, 6 tablespoon for Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • cinnamon, a pinch for Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • cinnamon, 1 1/4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • cloves, 15 for Garam Masala
  • coriander, 1/2 teaspoon for Chana Masala
  • coriander seeds, 2 tablespoon for multiple recipes
  • cumin, 7 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • cumin seeds, 2 tablespoon for multiple recipes
  • dried red chiles, 2 for Garam Masala
  • garam masala, 1 tablespoon for Chana Masala
  • garlic powder, 4 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • green cardamom pods, 10 for Garam Masala
  • Italian seasonings, 1/2 teaspoon for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
  • nutmeg, 2 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • of cinnamon, 2 sticks for Garam Masala
  • onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon for Chana Masala
  • oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoon for Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • paprika, 1 teaspoon for Chana Masala
  • parsley, 2 tablespoon for multiple recipes
  • pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • sea salt, 3 teaspoon for multiple recipes
  • turmeric, 1 tablespoon for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry (stains, make sure to lay something down when you’re measuring it out)
  • turmeric, 1 1/2 teaspoon for Chana Masala
Baking Goods
  • all-purpose flour, 2 cups for Fresh Semolina and Egg Pasta
  • flour, 18 tablespoons for Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon for Banana Blueberry Bars
  • semolina flour, 2 cups for Fresh Semolina and Egg Pasta
Beverages
  • apple juice, 1 1/2 cups for Banana Blueberry Bars
  • water, 1/2 cup for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
Breakfast Foods
  • rolled oats, 3 cup for Banana Blueberry Bars
Canned/Jar Goods
  • black beans, 1 15-ounce can for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa (we bought dry, about 1/3rd to 1/2 cup or pound per can, see serious eats link above)
  • coconut milk, 15 ounce for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • crushed tomatoes, 1 28-ounce can for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • diced fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles, 1 15-ounce can for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
  • Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes, 1 1/2 15-oz Cans for Chana Masala
  • red enchilada sauce, 2 15-ounce cans for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa (we skipped this and made homemade sauce)
  • tomato paste, 12 tablespoons for Homemade Enchilada Sauce
  • tomato sauce, 32 oz for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Frozen Foods
  • frozen chopped spinach, 9 ounce for Cherry Tomato, Leek, and Spinach Quiche
  • yellow corn, 1 15-ounce can for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa (bought a big bag of frozen corn from Costco)
Pasta/Rice/Beans
  • dried brown lentils, 1 cup for Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
  • dried chickpeas, 1 cup for Chana Masala
  • lasagna noodles, 9 for Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls (made fresh pasta for the lasagna noodles)
  • lasagna noodles, 12 ounces for Spinach and Sweet Potato Lasagna
  • un-cooked quinoa, 1 cup for Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
Snacks/Candy
  • pine nuts, 1 cup for multiple recipes
  • walnuts, 1/2 cup for Banana Blueberry Bars
Uncategorized
  • nutritional yeast, 5 tablespoon for multiple recipes

Meal … wha?

What is meal prep?  Why have a party?

The questions cover discrete spheres.  Even though I throw meal prep parties, you can totally do meal prep without sharing it with fifty other (okay, five other, in my case) people.

So, why do I meal prep?  It’s made a huge difference in my life!

  • I no longer eat out when I don’t feel like cooking.  I shop my freezer.  It’s helped me lose so much weight and save a lot of money!
  • I put in all this time upfront (usually a day or two) and I’m able to cook *from frozen* with minimum effort but with a thoroughly tasty meal.
  • I save a lot of money on bulk buying, though this sort of goes in the “party” section.  I used to buy meat from Costco and make a lot of something and freeze it, so it can apply.
  • I love to cook cause I like fresh food (even cooked freezer meals are fresh food, it’s the left overs that aren’t “fresh”) and I’ve learned how to freeze so I can cook portions at a time.
  • I waste so much less than I used to because I’m actually USING the food I put in the crisper!  Haha!

Okay, meal prep makes sense, but why have a party?

  • It takes some heavy organization and planning, and I like doing this stuff.  I don’t like working that hard on my own stuff, but when other people are involved and counting on me, I throw myself into the effort.  Babywearing was the previous community where I gave a lot of myself.  Creating a meal prep community has channeled some of that desire to give to a community but my family still gets something very tangible out of it.  Every party will need someone to take the lead like this.
  • Even though I do a lot of work before anyone sets foot in my house, the group effort involved and the sense of accomplishment when we see all the meals together is huge.
  • Even though you set aside one day for meal prep, over all, you’re spending less time alone in your kitchen and more time with your family.

  • You’re trying foods outside of your comfort zone, since the menu we create is a group effort.  It gets you out of your food rut and teaches you new recipes to add to your rotation.
  • Since we’re shopping in bulk, we buy organic meat and dairy (whenever we can find it), organic spices and pantry items and organic produce.  Our meals typically cost $15 per meal, or $2.50 per serving.  For the highest quality ingredients we can get our hands on.
  • We make a lot of items from scratch rather than from a can or box, to increase the quality of the ingredients.  Something I wouldn’t go through the trouble with on my own, but is totally worth it when four to six families are involved.
  • You fill your social cup.  I’m an introvert and it’s hard for me to make new friends or open up to new people.  Having an activity that we spend six hours on, plus all the related conversations before and after the party, has led me to get to know more people than I could have at the fitness group or produce co-op (these are the communities where many of our group members are from).

So, how did you get started?

Pure serendipity!  I’ve always wanted to do something like this.  My local friends weren’t interested in it, but by chance, I found someone else who has wonderful planning and organizational skills, as well as being a great cook, to partner up with me.  Having a partner makes SUCH a huge difference.  Someone to be accountable to, someone to help pick up the slack when you get busy with your family or keep the momentum going, and someone to act as a sounding board.  Better yet, she’s an extrovert and she’s pulled so many new members into the group.

We learned a lot together and we also learned that there are not many resources out there to get people started.  There are sites that provide you menus, but we wanted more individualization.  There are sites that give advice on how to throw a meal prep party, but aside from the initial advice, it doesn’t go into much detail.  We’re writing up content for our group and since that’s being done anyway, I’ve decided to include that content on my blog.  I hope you enjoy and have a chance to throw a meal prep party, too!

Coming back!… with a new hobby!

When my second child was born, I got to enjoy my babywearing stash.  The market had changed and I didn’t feel the desire to churn any more.  Since the desire to try out baby wraps had died down in me, I needed a new hobby.  I read about jewelry making–and I still want to do this some day but it doesn’t seem like something I felt like I could manage with young children.  I did card making for a while, and LOVED IT.  Except that I moved to a new house and couldn’t find time to run my household and also craft in a way that was meaningful.

My new house has a gorgeous view, though.  For a little while, I was taking pictures of my wraps, my loves, and my view, but even that wasn’t fulfilling.

Picture

I found myself cooking a lot more.  I joined a fitness group and found another mom who  loved to cook, but was looking for ways to cook less but eat well.  We started a meal prep group together, in December.  Together, we are building a community and we’ve hosted six meal prep parties since.  I’m excited to say that we have enough experience to finally write down some content that should be helpful so that others can run their own meal prep parties and enjoy the benefits of meal prep (which deserves its own post).

Thanks for finding me and being here!  I’m excited to provide some useful content because meal prep is aaaammaazzzing!  Watch this page for the benefits of meal prep, tips and tricks on menu planning, shopping, and bulk prep.  I will also be publishing menus and their shopping lists after every meal prep party!

Mamamokum Handwoven Spring Bling

The Mamamokum Handwoven tester, Spring Bling, is a wrap with a cotton warp and a mercerised Egyptian cotton, 16/2, broken/pointed twill weft.  I don’t know if there’s a technical name for the twill–Sadie calls it broken twill but it looks like a fancier point to me.  It is 4.2 meters (soft tape in hand) and 74 centimeters wide (flat on my ironing board) with a GSM of 277.  What is interesting is that Sadie named each wrap slightly different–they all have “Bling” in their names.  Cinder’s Bling was Sadie’s Spring 2014 Competition of Weavers entry.

Spring Bling came to visit me while I was pregnant and I got to wear it with my toddler.  I remember when I first got it, I thought it was thinner than I was used to.  Now that I’ve been wearing a squish (though she transitioned into a wiggly baby just recently), I found that it was thicker than I was used to.  On both occasions, it performed the carries that I was currently doing magnificently.  With my toddler who was just a smidgen over two years old and weighed around 29lbs, we did DH torso with the tails tied under the bum or we did ruck.  We went on walks around town and didn’t do ruck for very long, maybe 30 minutes to an hour (she was an active toddler even then) but it served us very well.  From the pictures, it looks like I preferred ruck with it, which makes sense because it was so wide.  It’s soft and has enough give that I wouldn’t ruck with it for a hike, but for every day errands with a toddler, it was perfect.

Fast forward six months and I have a four month old, 14lb baby to wrap!  It’s moldable, so while it is wider than I am used to, that extra seat/fabric isn’t bulky at all around her legs and it’s welcome cushion on the shoulders.  The mercerised ec weft gives it a nice slide that allows me to get the passes into place even around my tiny, fragile baby.  The baby and I live in slipknots 75% of the time and it’s a dream in a slipknot carry. I do take the extra time to lock the knot tight when I’m done with the big adjustments–it’s perhaps more grippy than glidey but it’s not a grippy wrap.  I do wear my baby for up to two hours, depending on how long it takes to get her to fall asleep or how long our walk around town was (we still do that, except now I don’t wear my toddler cause baby be there), and Spring Bling was definitely supportive for those endeavors while being airy and breathable to use in this crazy heat.

Action shot
Action shot and toes!

In hand, Spring Bling has a nice, substantial weight to it while not being heavy or blanket-like.  It has a smooth, dense feel but there’s a slight texture to it.  When I wrapped, there was a little bit of grip to it.  The weft can be a little delicate; I was nervous about doing a back carry with it with a chip in my nail (though I’m always nervous about chips and usually keep my nails short just for my precious wraps).  I fixed less than five pulls when it got to me after six months of travels, though, and none of them were substantial.  I’ve tried a lot of twill–from twills that feel like plainweaves to twill that had a lot of texture or feels blanket-like.  This felt like a lighter twill; not plainweave but not far from it.  On my shoulders, it felt flat, not diggy, and cushy–I don’t normally see flat and cushy on the shoulders together, but I think the width had something to do with this.

The weaving is great; this was Sadie’s second warp and when I ironed it, I could hunt out about a handful of skips here and there.  There are several weft changes on either side, including one band with sparkle thread.  This makes it asymmetrical but I found I loved it with my slipknots–it made it easy for me to judge where I wanted to start the slipknot and made the whole thing look more interesting.  Sadie mentioned other testers some day, as she says her weaving has improved even more since Spring Bling.  Her attention to detail is incredible.  Her hems are still perfect.  Her tags are beautiful and have weathered six months of testing and travels with only a stray fiber or two out of place on the tag in the tail.  Sadie wove the fabric for the tag and hand-stamped it.  Many weavers start out with plainweave but Sadie starts with a fancy twill–and her twills have only gotten *fancier*.  The craftsmanship for the whole piece is a beautiful example of care for the details and finishing.

When I first saw Spring Bling on the loom, I was impressed.  It was so classically feminine.  Additional warps have revealed that classically feminine, classy and sophisticated are part of Sadie’s signature.  There are gorgeous girlie wraps out there that match my baby and toddler, and their cuteness, so well.  Mamamokum does feminine beauty that matches me (or at least, what I would strive to be if I had time!).  And it’s not just the colorways, though it does provide the foundation for her signature.  The mercerised ec and sparkle yarn promises us a soft, floppy, and moldable wrap while adding an aspect to the warp akin to how shimmery eye shadow enhances the eyes.  Her twill drafts add density to increase support and add dimension to her overall craft that makes you wonder what other surprises she could have in store for us.  She is experimenting with soft and strong fibers like pima cotton and lyocell (tencel).  All in all, I stalk her Facebook page (Mamamokum Handwoven) and group (Mamamokum Chatter) like a hawk hunting prey!

Obiligatory S fold
Obiligatory S fold. Don’t forget to click on the pictures to bring up full screen! Same with the tiles at the top, it will bring up a slideshow.
Let’s be straight up–I love Sadie.  She’s a founding co-admin of Loom to Wrap and before that, she was an admin of Oscha Slings.  She’s devoted a lot of time to the community through these and other endeavors.  I have spent the last year and a half talking to her almost daily.  She has an amazing attention to detail, a beautiful way with words, and is thoughtful and intelligent.  She often brings up big-picture consequences.  She put a lot of time and thought into her business–learning how to weave, researching, and starting her business.  She speaks of weaving and her company with pure joy; it’s obvious she loves what she’s doing.  I greatly enjoy following her to see what else she has in store!

Review: Golden Thread Mistress Isteri

Isteri came to visit in March.  It is an all EC (Egyptian cotton) warp, woven in plainweave. This particular Isteri is the chocolate ec cottolin version. I measured it STIH, post wash, as 4m long, 72.5cm wide and I calculated 294 GSM.

Marcia didn’t ask me to review, she just sent it cause she knows I’m a fan and this was her personal wrap. I didn’t take pictures of the tags and other geekery so this review won’t be as detailed as normal.  But I used it hard, every day and several times a day, as the arrival of my second baby has increased my wearing significantly. When it first got here, I didn’t remember the details about it.  When I looked it over, I guessed it was cottolin–it had the slightly nubby look of cottolin but it wasn’t nearly as nubby as I often see from cottolin. When I say “nubby”, I mean a little bit of thickening in the yarn, a little bit of fibers escaping from the plainweave, not in a hairy way, but just in the nature of linen.  This almost looked and felt like all cotton, except that I could see enough of a nubby characteristic, regularly but infrequently, that I assumed it was cottolin.  The grad is so smooth from color to color; I’m so impressed with Marcia’s gradations.  Her middle markers are the characteristic “Right About Here” that we can expect from Golden Thread Mistress.  The hems are perfect, though her care tag had some threads escaping from the stitches and needed a touch up.

294 GSM with all EC feels a little bit more like 270ish GSM in an all cotton Maurice Brassard wrap.  It wasn’t thin but it also wasn’t heavy or dense.  It was right smack in my sweet spot, immediately moldable with a dense and somewhat smooth/silky/cool feel to the fabric.  It was versatile, meaning I felt it would successfully work in any carry, from ruck to multiple passes, carries with slipknots or double knot. It worked easily in a slipknot or a double knot, was easy to adjust and lay flat on the shoulders, had a nice stretch and give that allowed me to tighten the top rail significantly more than the rest of the wrap, as my baby was still quite floppy at the time.  When I made a seat, it went between us and her little legs easily without feeling thick or unwieldy. It felt amazing with my baby in terms of support.  Please click on the photo gallery and come to your own conclusions, though!  That’s what the pictures are for.

Jewelry Aside:  The necklace I was wearing was my Sundown Bead Designs chain, Lullaby Links Infinity Charm, circle clasp, wedding ring, and Sundown Bead Designs D20 charm.

I put my toddler up in a ruck for a tandem when I got it, but it was perhaps the second time I tried a tandem with them and I did it horribly.  The tension was all wrong and it totally dug in my shoulders.  That said, from my experience with similar wraps, I think I could have gotten a perfect ruck with her.  Honestly, I could see this particular wrap, with its length a perfect 4m for us, taking us from squish to toddler all on its own.

I’ve tried a few other GTMs.  Painted Sunset, an older all EC wrap came to visit and it was what gave me the GTM bug.  Heck, it was what opened my eyes to something more luxurious than Maurice Brassard (MB) cotton, which is fantastic on its own and a staple in the babywearing handwoven community.  I often liken Egyptian cotton to MB cotton that has been broken in… but it’s like that right after the first wash.

I tried Citrus Brights, which lived here shortly.  It was wide, with beautiful bright colors, though not the typical gradation that Marcia does now.  It was an MB warp and a cottolin weft, densely woven (around 290ish GSM).  It worked wonderfully with my first child, who was around a year old, 25lbs and napped on my back twice a day for a couple hours a day.  (Thank goodness that’s behind us).  But it isn’t EC nor my colors, so it moved on.

The other GTM I’ve tried was the gorgeous Hope and Peace, a more recent gradation and a colorway after my house heart.  It was the superwash wool weft, 4m and 288 GSM, stretchy but supportive in a ruck.  Not at all diggy, though the wool felt prickly on my bare skin when I wore a tank top when I used it.  It is one of the few wool wraps I’ve tried, since I live in Hawaii, but its softness and stretch (along with a delicious Linuschka Tulpia with silk and cashmere) led me to giving superwash wool a try for one of my semi-customs.  That is Rhockett Weaving Mistfit Rainbow and one of my favorite wraps in my stash and one of the first of my own stash I’ll review once I work through my current backlog.

If I know the weaver, I normally like to share a little bit about her (or him) cause this community is so small and the options are so many. I love supporting weavers as people and artists when I can, rather than just buying based on the end product alone. Marcia, who IS Golden Thread Mistress, is the bees knees. She is a founding co-admin of Loom to Wrap, so I’ve gotten to know her well. She donates her time to the community and has since her first child. She is an active member of the community, often answering (and asking) questions and she is active in her locale as a babywearing educator. She’s also hilarious and fun to talk to. She weaves as a hobby, and has been weaving since 2013. If you are a member of Loom to Wrap, learn more about Marcia and GTM through her Weaver Wednesday interview!

A little birdie told me that we can expect a re-weave of Hope & Peace! Follow her Facebook Page, http://www.facebook.com/GoldenThreadMistress, and join her chatter group, Golden Thread Mistress Fans, for updates!