Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Monday Mission: Use Technology to Make Kitchen Life Easier

April 7th, 2014 · 10 Comments · Monday Missions, Tips

Using Technology to Make Life Easier in the Kitchen

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to add one new use of technology to your routine that will make your kitchen life easier – organizing recipes, planning meals, shopping and pantry-stocking, or just keeping your sanity while you work.

I’ll share some brief ideas on resources you might tap into if you don’t already use them, or perhaps some new ways to use the programs you’re already familiar with, and since I’m sort of a rookie in this department, I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments, too!

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Tomorrow, I’ll be joined by Susan, the KS reader who inspired this mission, on a special daytime KS Connect *Plus* Google Hangout – we’re chatting for a half hour (11-11:30a.m. EST) about how she has made technology work for her when it comes to meal planning. Really, really well, I might add! We’ll be joined by two professionals, Clint Bounds of Plan to Eat, the sponsor of the hangout and creator of the meal planning system both Susan and I use, and Trish Carty of Keep the Beet, a Nutritional Therapist who meal plans for clients.

You can join us live and ask questions or catch the replay right HERE.

I’m super excited to connect with a reader, first of all, and I think this will be a really helpful topic for all of us – I know I’m just barely utilizing the tip of the iceberg of what’s available with my own technology for organizing, and I’m guessing many of you would like to have a better  handle on meal planning, etc. I hope you can join us! Watching the show by RSVPing just entails seeing our video and typing questions, not actually being on the video “hanging out.” Winking smile

(If you enjoy the video interview “talk show” format, I do it every other week – you can find past programs on the Google Hangout for Foodies page.)

Organizing Recipes

Pinterest screenshot

My recipes are all over the place – printed out and in folders, online on blogs, in cookbooks, and in eBooks on my computer. It’s hard to keep them all organized! I use a few strategies in different places, none of which are perfect, but I hope some of them give you some inspiration for yourself!

  • How I organize seasonal printed recipes (that I don’t need in my way all the time)
  • I use Pinterest as the most effective “bookmarking” system for my own stuff – the trick is to (a) make boards for specific categories like “soups,” “breakfasts,” and “slow cooker meals” NOT just a “food” or “recipes” folder which will quickly get huge, and also (b) learn to use the “search” function with the checkbox “only my own pins.” Then you can find what you’re looking for (or hoping you might have pinned someday) quicker.
  • For eBooks, I’ve learned to very quickly search all my hundreds of eBooks using this PDF search strategy. Step one is to have all your eBooks in one folder.
  • When I have an online recipe that I know I want to make soon for sure, I’ll take 30 seconds to input it into Plan to Eat, an online menu planner. I can quickly search for a particular ingredient or recipe type within both my own recipes and the KS group, where there are over 100,000 real food recipes uploaded by other KS readers. This month I’ll demonstrate that by sharing a new recipe for a spring greens side dish and show you how it looks in PTE.

How do you tame the formerly-known-as-a-recipe-box mess of recipes with the advent of the Internet?

Meal Planning

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I do use Plan to Eat off and on for meal planning, as well as a pen and paper/calendar. I’ve been trying to use Google calendar to input my “prep” stuff like “soak beans for tomorrow” but I’m pretty unsuccessful at it! I’m looking forward to Susan’s tips for integrating and streamlining tomorrow!

Do you have any special tips for meal planning efficiently on the computer/with technology in other ways?

Grocery Shopping/Pantry Stocking

I also recently switched from using a little scrap of paper in my purse for my shopping list to doing it online. Plan to Eat’s shopping list is cool if you’re trying a bunch of new recipes, but for me, I realized that almost all my recipes use 95% items that I already have in my pantry and freezer, so the aut0-generated shopping list was just very cluttered and not helpful (because I didn’t take the time to fill out the pantry list in the program which would automatically delete those items).

I’m thinking about trying to use a shared Evernote “note” with my husband so we can both access the list items, which aren’t usually very long. Then I can say at dinner, “Honey, can you add turmeric to the grocery list please?” since he always has his phone on him and I am usually searching for where I left mine last. Winking smile

Does anyone use a cool strategy for the grocery list or keeping track of what you have/need for food storage?

Kitchen Entertainment

You’ve heard me complain about Mt. Dishes at our house before, and I’ve failed at trying to make it more manageable, so I’ve moved on to making it more tolerable.

When I’m doing dishes at night after the kids go to bed, I try to have something to listen to that will keep my brain engaged. I’ve never been a music person, so discovering podcasts has been a great joy to me.

Conference for Moms

I still don’t have very many I’m listening to regularly, but I catch a few about blogging and my Catholic faith, mainly. This week my goal is to listen to some of the Mom Conference classes – I just caught Amy McCready’s “Get Kids to Cooperate Without Yelling or Nagging” while I was working on the computer during nap time. Humbling. As a trained teacher, I should know how to parent effectively but all those tools are so easily forgotten in the midst of daily chaos.

That talk is free until 10EST tomorrow morning, so sign up to listen ASAP and volunteer to do dishes tonight! Winking smile Also on today’s schedule:

  • Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food
  • Stephanie Brandt Cornais of Mama and Baby Love, master Freezer-to-slow cooker mama!
  • Susan Peterson, talking about starting a business
  • Heather Anderson, talking about make-up for moms

I hope I find time for Susan’s and am interested in Lisa’s and Stephanie’s as well, although I know both those gals and am familiar with their stories/advice already. Each presentation (audio plus powerpoint, so  you could totally listen while working/walking/driving and skip the screen) is available free for 24 hours this week. Register here to keep up on all the other great speakers, and I’ll try to share on Facebook if and when I catch any others!

My husband, for some odd reason, doesn’t care to listen to talks about make-up and parenting (really????) but discovered his own way to make dishes tolerable, but just barely if you ask him. Here’s the lowdown on the man’s dishes entertainment.

Are there any good kitchen-y podcasts I should be aware of? Please share your favs in the comments!

Learning New Skills

Wardee teaching GNOWFGLINS

The Internet is such an awesome resource for improving your basic (or advanced) skills in just about every area! Here are some of my options for learning new skills in the kitchen:

  • this blog and other real food blogs that I enjoy, for recipes and “how to” posts (Here’s a big archive of all the basic tutorials at KS, from chicken broth to sourcing good cheese to making butter…)
  • my YouTube channel has a couple demo videos of various kitchen strategies
  • Better Than a Box, my big massive eBook, comes with a free bonus video of me and my son making three different homemade dressings
  • GNOWFGLINS eCourses are a wonderful source of traditional foods training, demonstrations and support – I am a guest lecturer in a few of the courses that you can watch right in your kitchen while you work or after-hours when the house is quiet. (Membership gets immediate access to EIGHT courses, each with over 20 lessons. Wow!) The big “new news” this month is that Wardeh just added bonus videos for all eBook purchases, so if you’re really more of a “read it” kind of person but might like to see what the videos are like, you’ll definitely want to skim the chapter lessons in all the GNOWFGLINS eBooks (one for each course). You can also see one demo video from each course immediately at the main page. I hope you love what you see!

What are your favorite Internet resources for real foodies? It’s okay if you list blogs other than KS, promise. Winking smile

 

Coming Later This Week

Last week I hosted a Google Hangout with three cookbook authors, and two of their books are coming out this week and next! I’m honored to be on their launch team and excited to share a recipe from each book with you – a soup from The Blender Girl cookbook and a dessert from The Nourished Kitchen cookbook.

I’m giving you a heads up because both authors have wicked good giveaways AND launch bonuses going that I don’t want you to miss since my posts will be near the end of the promotion!

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  • The Blender Girl cookbook launches tomorrow. Pre-Order on Amazon by midnight tonight, forward your email receipt to [email protected] and receive a MINI SUPOON from Dreamfarm and recipes not available anywhere else. Details here.
  • Also win one of SEVEN Vitamix machines as a launch celebration! ‘Cause a Vitamix would be lovely to have, not always so lovely to shell out the cash to buy…
  • Jenny’s book launches next week, but today is day one of the Progressive Dinner Party eight other bloggers are “throwing” to celebrate. I’m on Saturday, Diana from My Humble Kitchen kicks off today, and you can see the full list of participants AND over $1000 worth of giveaways right here.
  • Preorder bonuses for The Nourished Kitchen include access to exclusive recipes and instructional videos. Order on Amazon (best deals are for pre-launch!!) and then just email the receipt to [email protected] BEFORE April 15th at midnight PST to be part of it.

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Phew!

If you made it all the way to the bottom, maybe you have another minute to share one of your best technology strategies for the kitchen. I’d love to hear them!!

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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: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon, GNOWFGLINS, and the Mom Conference from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. Plan to Eat is an April sponsor of KS and the sponsor of the HOA. See my full disclosure statement here.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Karen

    I also have an abundance of recipes in different formats. I have a huge collection of cookbooks (non-digital), and it’s hard to remember where my favorite recipes are located, so I made my own meal planner in Excel. I have a master spreadsheet of the names of the dishes (not the recipes themselves) with a separate column where I list the recipe’s location. If it’s from a cookbook, then I list the book title and page number. When I do my meal planning, I copy and paste onto a different spreadsheet and I will know where each recipe for the week is located. I know a lot of people prefer to have the actual recipe written in their meal planner, but I often make personal notes on the recipes I use (which is why I prefer to print out recipes from ebooks instead of just viewing them on my laptop). For recipes that I print out internet sources/ebooks, I put them in sheet protectors and have them files in different binders. I also have an Excel spreadsheet for my chest freezer inventory and I print it out so I can ideally change the quantity by hand when I remove an item (I often forget though). I also lack the time to sit down at my computer and actually plan (I work full-time and have really busy weekends), so I have lately been writing down my meal plans on our family calendar whenever I think of it. So for this mission, I just really need to get back on my computer and use my meal planner.

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  • Heather

    I’m a pantry stocker, rather than a meal planner, but I love an Android app called Mighty Grocery. It’ll do pantry inventory (even in prepper amounts!), grocery lists, to do lists, let you enter bar codes and prices for the stores you go to, import lists from recipes, and certainly more.

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    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Cool Heather! Can it compare store prices and help you find the best deal on an item? That’s a pretty neat feature if so!
    Thanks! :) Katie

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    Heather Reply:

    I think so. They have a website at http://www.mightygrocery.com. I haven’t used it that way, yet. I’m usually only comparing between Costco and Azure Standard (I think they have finally set up routes in your neck of the woods, btw), so I haven’t entered prices yet. I’ve tried a few different shopping list programs, but this is the first one that didn’t cause me to go right back to the magnetic pad on the fridge and a pencil. I am using an Android tablet as a computer and have an Android phone, and Mighty Grocery will sync between the two, so I can type on the easier to use tablet, but only need to bring the phone into the store. You can set goal amounts for how much of each item you want in your pantry, too, and it will let you know what you need.

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  • marcella

    We’ve been using the app Grocery IQ for the past few years. It works well and you can set it up for multiple users. So if one of us adds something to our list it shows up on the other persons device. It is a little disconcerting to be shopping and see new things pop up because your husband realizes you are at the store :-) It’s free so you might want to play with it.

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  • Crystal

    You’d love powerofmoms podcasts. Thanks for all your great info!

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  • Heidi

    Americastestkitchenradio.com has some interesting radio shows that make good listening while tackling the ever-growing piles of dishes and laundry.

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  • Robin Grant

    I use my google calendar and an app called Cross it Off. I believe Cross it Off can be shared by two people tho haven’t tried it since the hubster doesn’t do any shopping. You can add as many stores as you like & the items you need and then cross off items with a swipe of your finger as your shopping. Its nice to keep track of the items you purchase at stores that you don’t go to every week, i.e. Costco, Target , so that you can pick up the item when you are near that store on other errands. Also helpful to list the items as you run out of them so that you keep your pantry stocked and don’t run out of toilet paper! Thankful for all that Ive learned on your blog! Blessings to you and your family

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    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Thanks Robin! That sounds like so my style…do you use it for to-do lists, too, or is it just geared for grocery shopping? Sounds super cool! :) Katie

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    Robin Grant Reply:

    You could use it for other things. It has the ability to do multiple lists in addition to multiple stores. I only use it for shopping. There is a free version to try but I upgraded since I use it so much. :)

    [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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