As a working parent, as most of you know, its super hard between picking up the kids from school, going home and figuring out what to cook dinner, realizing that you are missing a ton of ingredients, running an errand for the missing key ingredient, cooking, cleaning up after dinner, and then the ultimate goal of precious family time.
This week, a friend introduced me to an online website that has rocked my world. It has solved major parts of my "after work" dilemmas all while improving our family health and finances 🙂
Drum roll please . . . its called PepperPlate. It allows you to import recipes from various recipe sites and/or create manual recipes super easy. From there, you can plan out your daily/weekly/monthly meals and grocery lists!! Best part: ITS FREE! Amazing.
In the past, I was using AllRecipes, but what it lacked for me was the ability to import from some of my other favorite sites, so I had to copy/paste from those sites into it...it took forever. The ability for PepperPlate to allow me to automatically import it by putting in a link has saved me SO MUCH time.
I was so thrilled about this new find (thanks Sarah), I spent an hour organizing all my recipes from paper to ONLINE last night. Oh, and in that hour, I meal planned an entire month worth of food. And created a grocery list. I've still got a few recipes I plan on manually entering from some of my favorite recipe books (i.e. Gooseberry Patch).
This tool is amazing. It's almost kinda like the time when I forced Ryan to upgrade to an iPhone against his own will because he thought it was ridiculous, then hearing him tell his brother how its changed his life (because he could google while on deer stand). PepperPlate is the coolest thing I've discovered so far this month. Oh, did I mention it has an app? Yep. It syncs - so you can use it on your computer, iPad, and phone.
What I did was added the app to Ryan's phone, logged in with my credentials on his phone, and he was able to add to our weekly grocery list without pestering me about it. Not only that, it organizes the item you add to the list in the RIGHT category.
So when either of us goes to the store, we pull up the app knowing that we have a very comprehensive list of what we need to get. The first time I went shopping - I was checking stuff off my phone as I went and it took me less than 20 minutes to finish shopping for two weeks worth of groceries.
To take it one step further, I ran a report using YNAB on how much we spent eating out versus buying groceries prior to this new found discovery. It made me sick how much we were eating out. I can happily report that in this last week, we home cooked all of our dinners - and none of them was cereal or mac/cheese in a box! This is a pretty huge accomplishment for parents of two toddlers (and for parents who have a 45 minute commute to work, each way).
All in all, I have a new level of appreciation for my parents who, when we were little, couldn't afford to eat out that much, BUT they always had a HOME MADE meal ready to go. And they TOO were working parents. I'm just going to tell them that I'm going to enjoy and take the conveniences of modern day technology.
Here's to a mid-year resolution to eating out less and being more organized (in this area of my life) (imagine me raising a glass of purple juice that Ryan concocted and labeled "healthy")!