Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making my virtual recipe box

I have heard that most people only have about 5 go-to recipes that they repeat week after week. Not me. I love food, and I love cooking all sorts of different meals. There are definitely a few things that I repeat pretty regularly, and some things that we'll eat every week for a month or two then forget about for 6 months. But mostly I like to mix it up, cook with the seasons, and regularly try a variety of new and forgotten recipes.

With that in mind, this week, I started organising my recipes.  Eep!  It's such a big job, but one I have been wanting to do for a very long time. I decided to use Evernote to do the organising. Jen at Conversion Diary mentioned ages ago that she uses it for her writing, but I thought it is exactly what I need for my recipes.

pile of cookbooks
photo by penguincakes on flickr
Basically, Evernote is a program that helps you organise your thoughts. I think it was originally developed for writers and researchers (I can imagine it would have been great when Jon was writing his PhD), but you can really do anything with it. You can write notes or save images or websites, then tag them with every conceivable attribute, allowing for easy categorisation and retrieval later. This was what I really wanted for my recipes. I hate it when I have a head of cabbage in the refrigerator (I always have cabbage in the fridge at the moment--thanks, winter!) and I want to do something different with it. I look at the index in my cookbooks, but I swear they don't have half the recipes listed. And any recipes I have written down, ripped out of a magazine, or saved on the internet have no index at all. It makes my life very difficult (woe is me!).

So, I have started on the recipes I have bookmarked online. I have so many recipes in my favourites, and most of them have been completely forgotten about and never even been tried. I am saving each one to Evernote, then tagging by type of meal, major ingredients, type of cuisine, whether we've eaten it before (sometimes you're just not up for trying something new, you know?), or any other special attributes. There is also space to write notes about any changes or additions I like to make, or side dishes that I think goes well with it. Next I am going to list all the random recipes I have saved from magazines and such. I won't type out the whole of these recipes, just the title and tag by ingredient. I'd like to do the same with my cookbooks, but that might take forever!  And do I include recipes that I have always wanted to try and not quite gotten around to yet, or only tried and tested ones?  The possibilities!

I am really excited to get this together and start using it to find long-lost recipes. I might even start doing weekly meal planning again. I feel like a whole world has opened up to me!

How do you organise your recipe collection and plan meals?

This post is obviously not sponsored or in any way related to Evernote, it's just a program that I am really excited to use.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to have to check that program out - it sounds like a great way to organize recipes and I have been looking for a better system for awhile now. I have a blank recipe book with slots for cards that I once recorded all my favorites in, but ever since I started using the internet as my primary source for cooking inspiration, I've been so forgetful about filling it in!