Friday, June 19, 2015

Decluttering with Technology - Part 3 (Cookbook Software)

Welcome to Part 3 of my declutter marathon.

This morning I have a confession to make and I'm sure that I am not alone on this one.

I am recipe hoarder!!! Is this you too?  I love cookbooks.... I love cooking magazines.... I love the Food Network....I love food blogs....I love recipe sites.  All of these give me great inspiration to make cooking exciting and to serve up great tasting dishes for my family.

Storing all of this information becomes a task on its own.  Family recipes are housed on cards in my overflowing recipe box.

I've tried to use binders to house more treasures.

As the paper clutter has grown, I still found that at times, I would not be able to find that great recipe for such and such that I made before.  Did I put it on a card? Is it in my binders? Did I even print it out? What site was it on? Where is it?

Can you relate to this dilemma?

Along with all the recipes I have printed out, I also use Pinterest to quickly pin tasty treats on to my boards and I have on line recipe boxes with several recipe sites.  OK......maybe more than several..... but anyhooo.... this still just seemed like a jumbled mess of information that was scattered everywhere.  With a VERY extensive collection, my little recipe box and my binders were just not doing the trick anymore.

It was time to get all of these recipes into ONE spot and what better way to accomplish this than to embrace technology once again.  So the search was on for recipe software which would enable me to do this easily. 

I researched many products that are available for this purpose and as with many purchases, price is not always the deciding factor when I am ready to buy.  There is a broad range of prices for software products, but I am a firm believer in that old saying "you get what you pay for".

After checking out as many reviews as I could find, checking out the faq pages, help topics, product support and watching all the demo videos for each product I was considering, I finally chose the Cook'n software.

Above is my main page when the program is opened.  Click on a cookbook to see all the chapters. You can add as many cookbooks as you like.  As you assign your own chapter names, this can be as detailed as you like.   Click on a chapter and the recipes show below.  Click on a recipe and it will show in full view on the right.  This screen grab has been cropped to fit here, but you do see the full recipe complete with picture if available and a link to the source at the bottom.


If you click on the house up on the toolbar, your right hand side then becomes a built in browser.  Type in the URL of a recipe you would like to save, click the "capture" button and the recipe is saved for you.  Just this feature alone is worth its weight in gold.  It has eliminated all those on line recipe boxes and pins, and has everything stored in one single location. 

There are so many great features such as menu planning, shopping lists, ingredient costs and the ability to capture all of your Pinterest boards into one cookbook right along with all your other cookbooks. 

This powerful little baby is going to help me immensely with my paper clutter.  I'll be so organized that the famous "What's for dinner?" question will never be asked again.  My lap top can join me in the kitchen and is now my new "Recipe Box".

My plan this year to help with budgeting and shopping is to become better at meal planning. It's nice to have a few days of the week dedicated to those old standbys that you are comfortable with and to have another few days dedicated to trying something new.  Searching and pulling from only ONE data base will help to  make this task a breeze!! Below is the start of a plan using some dishes from the Ultimate Cook'n Cookbook that comes with the software, some from my own Family Favourites, some from my Recipes to Try as well as an ingredient that does not require a recipe.
I especially love the look of the week at a glance and seeing pictures of all the dishes.  After all, we eat with our eyes first!  This visual aspect shows me simply that I have a good mix of dishes and not too much of the same all in one week.   I plan out just my dinner menus, but you can also add in breakfast, lunch and snacks if that works better for your family.

Although there are other products available that others may be using, this is the product that I have chosen.  I have not been compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.  I am just thrilled that I have found a method to contain my clutter that works for me and wanted to share this information in case you are searching for something to help you out with your own recipe storage and menu planning.

You can also sign up for Cook'n Cloud to sync all your devices and share with family members.  I know the computer is not for everyone.  Nothing is greater than flipping through the pages of a great cookbook or magazine.  I still do that too.  In fact, it's my favourite thing to do when the weather outside is miserable!

Drop by Cook'n and check out their demo and tour videos!!

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