This is NOT a recipe post but just something I wanted to share. One thing I struggled with for years was a way to organize my “recipes”. I’m not a paper person so I didn’t want to have a bunch of printed out pages all around my house. Most standard recipe computer programs require you type in all the information into pre-formatted fields (which is a waste of time if you just want to remember something that you may want to try but aren’t sure about). I started gathering my collection before Pinterest became popular (and while I enjoy certain aspects of Pinterest, it’s not the end all way to organize your information).
The winner: Evernote.
Evernote is a free program. It is extremely versatile. The things that I love most about it are:
- It’s free. (did I say that already?)
- It’s multiplatform. So I have a program downloaded on my PC, an app on my android tablet, an app on my android phone, and it’s also accessible via any web browser by going to http://www.evernote.com and logging into your account. All of them sync (and they sync well). So I can use the PC version to sit and type/do more heavy keyboarding work, my tablet spends a lot of time in the kitchen with me so I can pull up my recipes there while I’m actually making things, if I’m at the grocery store and I forget what ingredients I need for a recipe I can look them up on my phone, and if I happen to be somewhere random and need recipe information I can tap into any computer anywhere in the world that has internet access.
- My favorite web browser (Google Chrome) has an what’s called the Evernote Web Clipper, which allows me to take any website (where I may find a potential recipe) and instantly clip it to a new Evernote note. I can even “simplify” the website to eliminate all the junk so it’s just the recipe/pictures that I want (not the 800 comments at the bottom of the person’s blog or the ads around the side of the pages).
- Each note can be assigned to a virtual notebook (for example, I have one for tested recipes and one for thoughts that I might want to try).
- Each note can be tagged. I use tags to categorize by type of recipe (cleaner, food, if it’s food is it a main dish or a side dish, what is the main ingredient, etc.) I also use tags to note method of preparation (crockpot, blender, oven, etc.). I have little cheat tags like “make this weekend” so I can easily find the things I’m working on today. Each note can have multiple tags to help you sort and find what you are looking for very easily.
- Notes can include text and photos (so each of my recipes is typed in a standardized format that I created with a photo of the item at the bottom).
- And best of all….it’s free!
The result – if I want to cook a batch of the homemade chicken rice-a-roni that I pre-mixed the dry ingredients for already, I just open Evernote, hit the tag labeled “Rice”, and my list of 236 notes becomes a list of 10 notes. If that is still too much for me to scroll through, I can pick the notebook called “Finished Products” and eliminate 4 more recipes that I just have sitting around to try out some day. In three taps on my tablet I have the recipe I need. Or, if I’m hungry, and I think “I’m in the mood for chicken”, I tap the Main Dish tag, then the Chicken tag. Then I decide I want to use the oven because my house is chilly and I could use some extra heat, so I tap the Oven tag. Now I have three recipes that meet all my criteria and I can pick which one I want.
Truly, they didn’t pay me to write up this article. I just know the frustration I went through trying program after program (several of which cost me money!) and I wasn’t satisfied with any of the results. It is a rare day that goes by that I do not use open Evernote on one platform or another. With the sheer volume of household items that I now make vs. buy, it is crucial for me to have a way to have instructions and recipes at my fingertips. Just thought I would share my experience in the hopes that it may help out someone else!