Monday Mission: Use Technology to Make Kitchen Life Easier

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Using Technology to Make Life Easier in the Kitchen. From organizing recipes to online meal planning, from interactive grocery lists to something to do while doing the dishes, we've got ideas for them all.

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!

Using Technology to Make Life Easier in the Kitchen. From organizing recipes to online meal planning, from interactive grocery lists to something to do while doing the dishes, we've got ideas for them all.

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

Using Technology to Make Life Easier in the Kitchen. From organizing recipes to online meal planning, from interactive grocery lists to something to do while doing the dishes, we've got ideas for them all.

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

Using Technology to Make Life Easier in the Kitchen. From organizing recipes to online meal planning, from interactive grocery lists to something to do while doing the dishes, we've got ideas for them all.

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?

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

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.


Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

10 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Karen says

    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.

  2. Heather says

    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.

    • Heather says

      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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. Heidi says

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

  5. Robin Grant says

    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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