Pepperplate Ziplist Allrecipies Online, Oh My!

Over the weekend I got in my head to transfer all my recipes to an online recipe box and meal planning account. Here's why: I've been wanting to change our eating habits, less "comfort food" (Taste of Home) and more whole foods, Mediterranean cuisine. So I ventured to Bargain Books to find a new cookbook (I love cookbooks). I found one, but most of the recipes were things I knew I'd never in a million years make. I mean, I have four kids. Let's be realistic.

I figured I'd just find recipes online - it's what I've been doing lately anyhow. Chocolate Zucchini Bread? Something that uses beets or green tomatoes? First stop, Google! Send myself a link. Search again the next time I want the recipe and bang my head when I can't find it.

And then I had the brilliant idea: collect recipes online! "An online recipe box! I wonder if such a thing exists?" (Wow, I'm blown away by my own smartness.) Not only does it exist (imagine!), most of the programs are FREE, incorporate meal planning, and automatically make shopping lists. Oh my word, why did it take me so long to discover this? See how smart I am?

Um, yes. The big question now: Which service to use? It came down to Ziplist and Pepperplate.

The blogger Casey Watts talks about the pros and cons of each, and her post ultimately helped me decide. In case you were wondering, and I know you were, here's how I made my decision:

Things I liked about Ziplist:

--I could search and add recipes right from the page.

--Flashy options like guessing what you already have in your cupboard before adding to the shopping list, seemingly incorporated with my local grocery store (though only one of my regular stores showed up).

--Recipes on the meal plan link to the actual recipe. HANDY, THAT!

--A huge number of partners.

Things I didn't like about Ziplist:

--I had to leave Ziplist and go to other sites to get directions for most recipes.

--Format of each recipe is different.

--Bizarre navigation/slow website.

--Meal planner planned one meal each day. What if I'm hosting a brunch and serving dinner on the same day? I know, I know, two meals in one day. It happens.

Things I didn't like about Pepperplate:

--No link from meal plan to recipe.

--Shopping list is a little more clunky - adds everything from ingredient list.

Things I LOVE about Pepperplate:

--Formatting is consistent and beautiful.

--Easy to add recipes even from non-partnered websites.

--I can add categories to recipes: i.e., "brunch" or "pork."

--I can build menus (main course plus salad, side, etc.) and plan three meals a day.

The winner, if it isn't obvious, Pepperplate! Now I get to hoard recipes, too!