Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Introducing the Plan to Eat "Kitchen Stewardship" Group

June 5th, 2012 · 20 Comments · What to Buy

Are you a KS groupie?

(Don’t answer that; the very idea kind of freaks me out.)

Let’s ask a better question: do you want searchable access to over 2000 whole foods recipes (and counting) that the readers of KS deem good stuff?

tangy avocado dip bowl

There’s a new KS group on Plan to Eat now, and just by going to kitchenstewardship.plantoeat.com you’ll be added to it. Everyone who joins will be able to share recipes in a sort of real food haven, free from Crisco and where people know what soaked grains and ferments are! PS – I can kind of proctor the group and boot anyone who clearly has all the wrong sorts of recipes, but I can’t promise purity all the time. Just know that when you search, you’ll only have to sift through 10% junk instead of 95% like when you do a Google search for a recipe.

Here is how it works:

  • When new users visit  and sign up for a new account they are automatically added to the group and a 20% coupon is applied to their account for a year subscription.

  • When current PTE customers visit, they are automatically added to the group as well (and all the recipes in everyone’s "recipe box" sort of land in a big pool for us to immerse ourselves in…).

The "group" function means you won’t have to ask me to be your friend to share recipes with me, and you can benefit from so many other people’s recipes (12 already with just a "soft launch" via Facebook; I can’t wait to see what happens after today!) without having to "know" them or "friend" them. My apologies if I’ve ignored some friend requests in the last month; I knew this was coming and would be the better way! Winking smile

Just click the "groups" tab near the top of your Plan to Eat dashboard and you can view everyone’s recipes, organized by category. You’ll be able to search for a recipe or ingredient, or filter by any or all of the following categories:

  • course
  • main ingredient
  • tag
  • website
  • member (I’m "kitchenstewardship")
  • and more!

I just barely started browsing and I already have a new tab open with some grain-free pancakes I’ll plan in for next week!

This post is sponsored by Plan to Eat.

How I Import Recipes

I admit I’m still a Plan to Eat rookie, but I’m pretty quick at popping recipes in from websites. Here’s my 60-second system:

I copy and paste the ingredients, which takes about 30 seconds, less than that if the bookmarklet tool reads the post properly, then it’s automatic.

I type the title of the recipe. I choose the course and the main ingredient. I tag it, because tags will help ME when I’m looking for a recipe with a certain ingredient, or something “fast,” "easy," or “slow cooker,” three of my most important tags.

In the “method” section, I don’t copy all the instructions for three reasons:

  1. Sometimes bloggers include a lot of photos in the method section, so it would be multiple copy-and-paste moves, taking more time than I want.

  2. If I’m on the computer looking at my recipe anyway, I might as well go to the site to benefit from the pictures, recipe notes, and even comments that might enhance the recipe.

  3. It’s kind to the blogger not to completely copy his/her instructions, especially when thinking about the sharing function of PTE. Now others who are interested in the recipe can also be introduced to a great blogger, and that blogger gets a little traffic as a thank you for their good recipe.

Having the ingredients in your PTE recipe box makes all the difference, since that will populate your pantry/shopping list and be searchable if, say, you’re looking for a recipe that has potatoes, spinach, and canned salmon when you’re two weeks overdue for a grocery store trip and that’s all you have!

Why PTE is a Struggle for Me

Katie in the kitchen (2) (475x356)

I’ve been trying to plan my meals the past few weeks with PTE, and I just keep failing. I think my hang ups include:

  1. The time investment can’t be denied – it does take a minute or two to import each new recipe.

    • However, if I had a smart phone and could use the shopping lists, that would make a huge difference.

  2. Whenever I get on my computer, I get sucked into the world of blogging. So sometimes, it’s safer for me and more efficient to keep things off the computer on paper…

    • However, I’m getting more and more online recipes, so a big part of me loves the idea of having them all in one place…I just need to commit to the investment so I’m not looking all over for a recipe: “Hmmm, did I bookmark this in Firefox, pin it on Pinterest or get it into Plan to Eat? I can’t find it!”

  3. I’m currently struggling with inspiration for meal planning, so I am likely to have “scrambled eggs and smoothies” or “leftovers” or “meal from freezer” in there a lot, or just simple things that don’t need recipes like “salmon and baked potatoes” or “hamburgs and potato salad.” For me, it’s easier and quicker to just scribble that phrase in my calendar than it is to even type it in the right place in PTE.

BUT…I am excited to have more of my recipes in one place, and I love sharing with others. I think using Plan to Eat will mean that, when I see a recipe I want to try online, rather than bookmarking it and never getting back to it because I don’t remember what I bookmarked, I’ll get it right into PTE and maybe even plan it right away for the following week. As I work with it more, it will become more useful to me, and I’m excited about that (see note above about meal planning inspiration slump).

If you want to give it a go, try the free 30-day trial membership, and remember, as long as you visit the KS group, you’ll automatically get 20% off a year’s subscription.

A System I’m Working On

three bean soup

As I plan my weekly menus, I’m testing out how to help myself prepare for the next meal in advance. I’ve created some "recipes" that are pretty much blank other than the title, for things like “thaw meat” and “soak beans." Then I can quickly drag and drop them into my menu plan for the day before a meal that requires those steps.

I’m hoping this will help me remember to do things like "soak beans" 4 days before a meal and then "sprout legumes" for the next 3 days. (How to sprout stuff)

How do you plan ahead for traditional foods tasks like fermenting, soaking, and sprouting?

I also have a couple strategies for speeding things along with recipe importing and planning:

  1. If I have a recipe that I use on a recipe card or in a cookbook, I might not type it all in to PTE. I’ll just create the recipe with title and maybe main ingredients so I can search it, then make a note of where to find the rest in my physical kitchen. This isn’t so helpful for the sharing aspect, but it makes my life easier…
  2. If I want to plan something that doesn’t take a recipe, like stir fry or hamburgers, I’ll just "add a note" in the weekly calendar and drag it to dinnertime, rather than creating a new recipe.
  3. I’m letting myself take it slowly. For example, this week I made sure my recipes were imported for Monday and Tuesday’s meals (like Three Bean Soup, pictured above), even though I didn’t officially make a plan (it’s on my old paper system). Wednesday I get my first CSA box (ever!), so I want to see what’s in there before I plan the rest of the week (although Thursday already has something with kale tentatively planned;  you know CSA boxes this time of year!).
  4. If you use PTE, really, install the bookmarklet in your browser – it’s fantastic! You don’t even have to open a new window/tab to put an online recipe into Plan to Eat, and if the recipe is nicely formatted, PTE does all the work for you and you can just tag it, save it, and be done! 

I think Plan to Eat is ideal for:

  • People who don’t already have a system for meal planning.
  • People who have a smart phone or tablet that they use in the kitchen.
  • Folks who already have their calendar online instead of on paper.
  • Those who like to use online or eBook recipes (KS has 4 awesome eBooks right here, and you’ll see many of those recipes in my PTE recipe box often)
  • People looking for new recipes – utilize that KS group and let me know how it’s going!

Remember that you can try the 30-day trial to see if it works for you OR try to win one of two freebies in this week’s giveaway, open through Sunday, June 10th. 

See you in the group!

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I’d love to see more of you!  Sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

Disclosure: Plan to Eat is a sponsor of Kitchen Stewardship this month, and this is a paid post. See my full disclosure statement here.


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20 Comments so far ↓

  • Valerie

    I use Plan to Eat ALL the time – daily. Love it! I do have an iPhone and use the shopping list at the store. Very helpful. I love to be able to drag and drop my recipes and move them around as things change during the week. I also find it helpful sometimes to look back and see what I did in previous weeks. I use the PtE calendar for everything food related, not just meal planning. I put blog post deadlines in there, holidays, ordering deadlines for Azure Standard, etc. For reminders for soaking and such, though, I use an app on my iPhone (Alarmed). If you don’t have a smart phone, you could use Google Calendar to send yourself email reminders for that sort of thing.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Danielle Hetzel

    I have a question about how the group should work. I have been using PTE for a while, so I have already inputted a lot of recipes – many of them yours! If it is a recipe that came from a group member (like you), should I make it private so that multiple versions of it don’t show up in the group?

    Thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Danielle,
    That’s a very good question…I don’t think so, just because I don’t even have all KS recipes inputted there, so maybe you’ll save me some work! ?? I’m just learning the ropes myself…what do you think of the group so far?
    Thanks! Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Danielle Hetzel Reply:

    Hmm, I’ll have to make some of the stuff I have posted non-private then.

    I think it is a great idea! I haven’t had too much time for looking around yet. Our first child is due in 2.5 weeks, so I’m not really looking for too many new recipes unless they are (1) simple and (2) easily freezable. Hopefully I’ll get to poke around a little more after things settle down!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Elizabeth

    Is there a way to see not only the recipes others have inputted but also their meal plan for the week? I like the benefit of other’s recipes but I’m looking for inspiration from what others are cooking each week. It would help me see how others are cooking with leftovers or cooking once and using the meat again in the week and so on.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Elizabeth,
    I don’t think so, but I like the way you think. I’ll check with the boss of PTE! ;) Sorry I got behind on noticing the comments on this post…

    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Pamela

    I just want to say that I love your blog! I’m very excited about this group and I think it will make me more likely to use Plan to Eat more. One of the hardest things about eating whole/real foods for me is finding recipes without spending a ton of time scouring different blogs.

    I am about half way through my one month free trial and I was wondering if there was any way to take advantage of the 20% off when I go to order it? I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure if it is there or not.

    Thanks again!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Pamela,
    It should be automatic; if it doesn’t go through, contact Clint and he’ll clear things up for you for sure. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Clint @ Plan to Eat

    Thanks for the wonderful post Katie and I’m excited to see how your PTE group grows!

    Danielle, If you decide to make your recipes private you can quickly do this by clicking on the private buttons under each recipe in your recipe book.

    Pamela, if you have never paid for a subscription the 20% will automatically be applied when you visit kitchenstewardship.plantoeat.com.

    Thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Pamela Reply:

    Thanks Clint!

    So far, I’m liking Plan to Eat!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lori

    I have been ready to take the meal-planning plunge for quite awhile. Katie, this post makes it even more tempting. I think I will cross my fingers that I win the giveaway. If I don’t, I will take advantage of the 20% discount and go for it. Thank you!!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Theresa

    How do I install the bookmarklet into my browser? Just signed up for Plan to Eat. Is that a feature on their site?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Clint @ Plan to Eat Reply:

    You can install the bookmark from this blog post (http://www.plantoeat.com/blog/2011/07/import-recipes-from-any-websiteblog/) or from the top of the page when adding a new recipe.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Shauna

    So, I have signed up for the free trial. Not sure where the discount shows up if i decide to buy it. And I know you do not have a smartphone, but how to use PTE on it does not jump out at me. I found exporting to an android-based app, but not iPhone. Dont see the bookmarklet directions either.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Clint @ Plan to Eat Reply:

    You can see the discount applied on the page: https://www.plantoeat.com/subscriptions/select_plan

    You can access our mobile site by visiting http://plantoeat.com in your mobile browser. You can also save our mobile site to your homescreen for easier access and a more native app like experience.

    And you can read more about our bookmark on our blog: http://www.plantoeat.com/blog/2011/07/import-recipes-from-any-websiteblog/

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Tabitha

    Thanks for tip. I tried another service and loved the shopping lists. I didn’t enjoy the no input of family recipes. I am using the PTE free trial at the moment but figured out a shortcut to get going. Rather than input all my recipes, I used the “add event” to put the recipe name and source. For example, Black Bean burger (Cookbook name page number). Then when I was cleaning up the shopping list I chose “Add Item”. It let me enter a bunch of items, still merged my ingredients, and was a great improvement from my chicken scratch handwriting.

    Of course, now that I’ve seen the bulk input & re-read your post, it would’ve been about as fast to type the ingredients while adding the recipe. Doh!

    The “add ingredient” is brilliant when the plan is to prep a veggie.

    I will keep adding recipes, especially our favorites from my tickler list. (My tickler list is just recipes that kids and hubby have enjoyed broken down by meat, veggie or category. When I plan I pick mostly from the list and then pick 2-3 new things to try. It keeps me from looking at recipes ad nauseum and never buying the food.)

    Items from a cookbook, I’m marking as private. Recipes from a blog: I’ve been including the source in the source box and copyright info in the description. I’m hoping others will friend me and find some of the talented bloggers that have made living mostly grain free and almost dairy & sugar free delicious.

    I’m 99% sure I’ll stay on Plan to Eat. I had to get over obsessively entering all the recipes to mame it fast. Now I’m totally seeing the powerful impact this will have. It’s kind of fun to drag and drop menus. It will be so convenient when I have more recipes in.

    The only inconvenience is that I’m paying cash when I shop and have to add totals to my grocery app on iPhone to make sure I don’t overspend. Do you know if they will be adding a price feature? I would love to have an estimate to make sure I didn’t plan an overbudget menu.

    Thanks again. I really appreciate your recommendation.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Clint @ Plan to Eat Reply:

    Hi Tabitha,

    I have one quick suggestion. If you are on your meal planner you can actually use our recipe import bookmark to quickly add a simple recipe without leaving your planner. Then after you have added the recipe just refresh the page and your new recipe will show up at the top of your recipe book ready to be dragged to your planner.

    If you have not been using our bookmark you can learn more about it here: http://www.plantoeat.com/blog/2011/07/import-recipes-from-any-websiteblog/

    Thanks for trying out Plan to Eat and for your feedback. I’ll get back to you on the pricing question on our support site, but the simple answer is that this feature has been on my todo list for a while and I just haven’t had the time to work on it.

    Thanks,
    Clint

    [Reply to this comment]

    Tabitha T Reply:

    Thanks. It’s really wonderful, but it will be brilliant when applying your advice. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • julie

    I own all of your ebooks and am wondering if there is a way to import them to my PTE site?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Julie,
    Right now, there’s no sort of bulk import for PDFs like that. However- the NEXT eBook, Better Than a Box, will actually come with a “freebie” of a PTE group with all the recipes included. Sorry we weren’t on top of that for the previous ones! I wonder if you could use the bookmarklet just to speed things up? About 1/3 of the recipes in each book are often part of KS online, which would make a quicker import to PTE. Good luck! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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