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Friday, March 9, 2012

Recipe Organization

I have been (attempting to) follow along with the 52 Weeks of An Organized Home Challenge. I won't say I've done every challenge, but I have done most; the one I was most excited about was this one: Organize Recipes and Cookbooks. What I really like about this challenge is that every week, she send you an email with the challenge, and suggestions of different ways to complete it.  I had been planning to make up a recipe binder for all my paper recipes- I have magazine pullouts, recipe cards, cookbooks, ideas on the computer, Taste of Home magazines... so confusing when I know i have a recipe and can't remember where it is!  I'd always seen recipe binders and thought it was the best option.  But in the challenge, she included a section on digital organization and mentioned Evernote


I LOVE IT.  I'd heard of it before but for some reason had decided against using it (just in general, not even thinking of recipes). When she suggested it as an option, I went back and revisited. It is an amazing program and it is FREE!  


You can get an Evernote app for almost anything- I have it on my computer, Nook, and I-Pod Touch. So you can access it anywhere.  


The sidebar is where you can see your "notebooks"

As you can see, I'm not only using it for recipes, and haven't even begun to really use it as I hope to.  But you can see above that you can create sub-groups of notebooks, such as my "RECIPES" group above. Below I have all my categories.  And within each notebook, it looks like this.
On the far left, is the sidebar I have already shown you. The next row is all the Notes within the chosen Notebook. You can see I have chosen the "Main" notebook to show you.  So the second row has all the recipes I have collected so far within the Main category.  As you choose it, it shows up in the view box.  You can edit, add tags, comments etc.  This recipe was taken from the web using the Evernote clipper, which is amazing!  You can snip out any part of a webpage you want and put it in evernote! The program automatically records the URL in case you need to easily find it again.  This all is made even easier by the Evernote Clearly tool, which gives you a screen with just the article, no buttons, ads, etc. This makes for non-distracted reading, but also is a super easy way to clip just what you want from the page. The purple lettering above is  my note after making this for dinner!


Now to menu plan, I've begun to use the "recipes to try" notebook.  There are several super easy ways to change the notebook of an item; you can grab the item from the second row, where the notes are listed, and pull it to the notebook you want, or you can click on the upper right of the note and change it from a drop down menu. So I pull recipes I want to try into the notebook, and put them back as I'm finished.  


Recipes I have already typed out on the computer (I had been attempting to do nice recipe cards) can just be copied and pasted into a note. You can pull in pictures if you have them, add pdfs, links to other recipes and tons of other things I've not even discovered.  


I have been loving that I can pull things up on my ipod or nook (since we only have one computer, its nice to not need it for a recipe). And since our internet is spotty, it is amazing to have all these on the computer, but also backed up to Evernote's site. I don't have to worry about losing them if our computer crashes! And I've found on my ipod that if I connect to the internet and open a note, its then available there as I need it, internet or no!


Another amazing thing about Evernote is the search function. It can search within things you've typed, things you've clipped from the internet, pdfs, almost anything!  So if I have some avocados I need to use up, all I need to do is search for "avocado".
Obviously, I need some more avocado recipes, but get the picture?  I'm not even positive I need all the separate category notebooks with the search and also the tags (categories, like you can do with your pictures). But they are there for now...


According to the Evernote site and blog, people are using evernote to organize their entire lives.  Financial information, tax preparation, trip planning. Its amazing.  


My goal is to be able to get rid of all the paper recipes I have floating around.  I plan to scan in all my magazine pages (apparently there is a "scan to evernote" app for some printers that I haven't been able to set up yet that makes it so easy), copy and paste all my typed recipes, and clip ones I find on the internet.  For now, I've been using Pinterest for meal inspiration and ideas.
and moving them into Evernote as I use them, either from Pinterest, my computer, or a paper recipe.


I also created notes like this:
Here, I plan to write my favorite recipes from my cookbooks. I'm not quite ready to get rid of those yet, though the recipes from books I use less frequently may end up being scanned into evernote...


The possibilities are almost endless.I am so glad I discovered this and really excited about seeing the potential in organizing the rest of my life!  


UPDATE!!!
I remembered seeing something on the evernote blog about linking notes... I went searching (found it on the first try!) and ... AHA!  The perfect menu planning system. So ignore what I wrote above, this will save time and I won't have to put recipes "away"!
It might be hard to see... but I made myself a table with the days of the week.  See the letters on the left side?  That's the link to the recipe I'll use that day!  By right clicking on a recipe (on that middle bar with the pictures) and choosing "copy note link", you copy the URL and can then past it into your chart (control + v). I still will write them out on my notepad (I got a days of the week notepad in the dollar section at walmart that I've been using) for quick peeks at the menu when I'm not at my computer, but this way I'll have it here too! And it will be easier to find the recipes for each day. 

2 comments:

  1. Yep, Evernote is definitely the way to go. I use tags pretty extensively, as I find them more versatile than the folders. I mean, hot chocolate could go under "drinks" or "dessert" but with tags you just tag it both ways, and then whichever you search for, it will come up. I like your idea of using links for the menu planning. That is probably the best way, but just as an idea, you could also have a thisWeek tag you could stick on various recipes, and then take the tag off when you're done. Getting familiar with tags and searching makes evernote totally awesome, as you've found!

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