Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tips to Organize Online Recipes

I created a system recently that works really well for me for organizing and planning meals. I've been so excited about it, I just had to share it!

Like many folks, instead of clipping recipes out of magazines or looking them up in cookbooks, I've recently instead utilized the Internet to find new ones to try out. Though I loved the limitless number of recipes you can find on the Internet, I found it difficult to organize the tons of printouts I would make of these recipes. I'd always have to go back to searching the Internet to find a recipe I like who's print out I had misplaced.

Enter Evernote. Evernote is a fantastic, free online service that allows you to easily "clip" and store items of interest you find anywhere. So you can take a cell phone photo of something you like and upload it to Evernote. You could also upload voice notes (via your phone) or highlight items of interest from the Internet and using a bookmark tool have them uploaded to your Evernote account.
When viewing your "notes" in Evernote, you can then search, tag and organize them. This has worked great for me because I can now easily tag my recipes. Some tags I might use include:
  • QUICK (I like meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare)
  • and whatever else makes sense to use as a tag.
Using this tag system makes planning meals a breeze now. I've been making a conscious effort shop more from my pantry in efforts to cut down my grocery bills and use up everything I stock up on at Costco (yes, we do have Costco's in NYC). So if I see in my pantry I have a ton of pasta and some garbanzo beans, i can now do a search in Evernote for those tags to find recipes I've stored that I've wanted to try that use those ingredients. Then I only have to buy a few small items to complete the recipe.
Evernote also has smart phone applications. I've recently been using the iPhone application. This makes it really easy to access the recipe without having to either print it out or lug my laptop into the kitchen. Also, let's say my husband gets home from work before me and wants to start dinner for us (isn't my husband a sweetie?!), I can easily email him the recipe from the Evernote iPhone app so he can get a head start on it.
My hubby and I are huge foodies and like to cook and find new recipes ourselves, and this system has been working really well for us. How do you plan your meals?

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