Alexandra Hedin's Weeknight Society Does All Your Meal Planning for You
byRachel WarrickJul 12, 2017
Alexandra Hedin, mother
of a 5, 7 and 9-year-old, has been cooking and entertaining her entire career. Already the author
of recipe and entertaining book “Entertaining at Home” and the blog
Weeknight Party Girl, as well as a lifestyle contributor to Q13 Fox in
her hometown of Seattle, Hedin knows a thing or two about cooking for a crowd. Her latest
culinary endeavor is Weeknight Society, a nutritious meal-planning app that
launched last year and answers the ever-looming question: What am I going to
make for dinner this week?
“I don’t always have
time to sift through sites like Pinterest and plan meals and grocery lists
every week. I wanted to create an app that took the guesswork out of meal prep,”
Hedin says. Weeknight Society delivers an impressively comprehensive answer.
Every Saturday, weekly menus are uploaded to the custom app, complete with beautifully
photographed step-by-step instructions and a grocery list. Each recipe calls
for seasonal ingredients found at a local farmer’s market or grocer, so you can
take advantage of the freshest flavors of the season.
What really sets
Weeknight Society apart are the convenience factors. “These recipes can all be
completed in under 35 minutes and do not require a million ingredients. Also,
thanks to the app’s aggregate grocery list that allows you to check off items
as you shop, you are always prepared with a list of what you need on hand, for
whenever you can make it to the store,” says Hedin. (That’s right—that means no
more forgetting your grocery list on the counter.) So, no matter what your day
brings, in 35 minutes or less, from prep to plate, you can cook an entire
meal for your family.
Hedin talks with Mom.me
about how her own family values shaped Weeknight Society and how she maintains
the balance of working motherhood.
Describe the moment when you were inspired
to create Weeknight Society.
You have no idea how many times I’ve heard other
moms struggle over what to cook for dinner. It wasn’t until one of my son’s
baseball games ended at 7:30 p.m. (at which point our kids were hungry and it was
almost time for them to go to bed) that it dawned on me that I could create an
easy, weeknight cooking solution. I have always loved cooking, and coming up
with dinner recipes that were quick and easy was a new challenge for me. I
started sending recipes and ingredient lists out to my girlfriends, and they
told their friends, and suddenly more and more people were asking for new
recipes. Soon I had such a big collection of recipes and clients that moving
all my recipes to an app just made sense.
As a mother as well as the founder of
Weeknight Society, how do you make it all work?
Everything is a balancing act—especially as a
working mother! I’m so fortunate to be able to work for myself and make my
hours work around my children’s schedule. Every day I’m working to perfect the
balance of having a full-time job with three young children.
What sets Weeknight Society apart from other
cooking and recipe apps?
Unlike other “mommy” apps, Weeknight Society
places a large focus on teaching your kids to eat fresh, seasonal ingredients—not so-called “kid-friendly” options like chicken nuggets. My recipes are also
designed to avoid cooking two meals every night—one for the parents and one
for the kids. Each recipe is tried and tested at home with my family to
guarantee they are user-friendly and kid-approved. I also make sure these
recipes are easy and quick, so I can cook them with my kids and teach them
about what they’re eating. I’ve found that when you take the time to cook with
your kids, they’re more likely to eat what’s on their plates!
When did you first feel successful?
I feel successful any time I overcome an obstacle
that feels unattainable. For example, years ago, landing a gig on a local
television show felt impossible, but is now something I do on a pretty regular
basis. Once I had some smaller achievements under my belt, aiming for larger
things didn’t seem as intimidating. Every small move forward toward
bigger dreams feels like a moment of success.
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are
some ways that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
I was raised to believe that there was nothing I
couldn’t do—not because I was a girl, but simply because there was nothing I
couldn’t do. I have two sons and one daughter, and I have raised them with this
same philosophy. I don’t believe gender should ever restrict you from
pursuing your dreams.
Has there been anything about creating Weeknight
Society that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
Not long into the process of writing recipes for
Weeknight Society, my family began experiencing some issues with allergens and
food sensitivities. As I’ve learned more about accommodating allergies
and intolerance, I’ve developed more recipes adaptable to eliminating
gluten, dairy or nuts. I’m excited to see what I can do next to further support
dietary restrictions, especially as they affect more and more families.
What's your advice for moms who are looking to
start their own business or make their own app?
Network! I don’t just mean develop business contacts
(although that doesn’t hurt), but make connections wherever you are. Some of
the best people I’ve brought in to support the app and to build the business
are connections I made at PTA meetings and school playdates.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom
and business owner to keep everything in balance?
I know that I can’t do everything. There are a
million things I want to do with Weeknight Society, but I’ve had to pace myself
and my goals to make sure I can attend baseball games and school potlucks. I
would love to be the mom who makes everything from scratch for every potluck
and party, but the reality is that I just don’t have the time. I have brought
cupcakes to Girl Scout meetings that were made from boxes and that I would have
liked to have made from scratch—but I still
made it to the meeting with the cupcakes, so I call that a win.