On Working With Pepperplate

Last week I committed myself (noooo, let me finish) to using Pepperplate for meal planning, shopping, recipes. And oh my word, how my life has changed.

I think this will be more meaningful if I show what my meal planning process used to be ...

Imagine it: Every Saturday (ideally, usually Sunday or Monday) I sit with my favorite cookbooks, recipe books, a notepad and paper. I write up what's on sale or what I have a coupon for. Then I plan out the week. I make the list on a sheet of scrap paper with three columns drawn. I add items from recipes, leaving off things I already have, and I organize the items - sort of - according to the layout of the grocery store. So long as I don't forget to add something, I'm good. But look at those cookbooks! One is a beautiful out-of-print thing from the 90s. The others? Yes, they are photo albums with index cards as dividers. Useful for keeping my favorite recipes close at hand, but a pain in the !#$#& when I'm looking for something a little out of the ordinary. And a real pain when I forget to replace the recipe after I've used it.

Add to that, lately when I've wanted to use up the frozen blueberries, or a can of tomatoes, I'll just look online. Allrecipes, food.com, and others have become my favorite places to type in "zucchini bread" and surf until I find a recipe that uses coconut, chocolate chips, zucchini, and apple sauce. My old homemade recipe books? They've collected a layer of dust.

So using Pepperplate is natural, right? Indeed, it is! I've added 96 recipes so far. My favorites from Taste of Home, plus a heap of new ones that look so delicious I can't wait to try them. Cornmeal pancakes? Mexican quinoa? Can you say YUM?

Planning meals for the week is as easy as a click. I can search for what I have on hand, then I add it to the weekly plan. Another click adds all the ingredients to the shopping list. I thought I would be annoyed having to go through and delete the items I don't need to buy, but it's a good way to double check. I may think I have enough flour, but if I need flour for bread, pancakes, and three other meals, I may just have to buy more. Plus! (wait for it) I personalized the grocery list so items automatically fall into categories that are then organized according to my store's layout! Woot!

The final bonus? The grocery list automatically syncs with my little tablet and with Dr. D's phone. So he can stop at the store on the way home, and I don't have to worry that he'll forget something. I've resisted the whole paperless movement - I love the feel of a book in my hand - but first my e-reader, now Pepperplate. What will be next? An iPhone?