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!
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.
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.”
(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.)
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?
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.
Does anyone use a cool strategy for the grocery list or keeping track of what you have/need for food storage?
Learning New Skills
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.
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.