Tuesday, October 22, 2013

meal planning made easier

I hate grocery shopping. I know, hate is a harsh word, but I really do not like grocery shopping and the meal planning that comes with it. While meal planning helps the grocery shopping go smoother and helps ensure I don't miss random ingredients I might need in the future, it still is on my least-favorite-things-to-do list.

I used to sit down once a month and fill in my calendar the meals I was going to make for supper each night of the week. I would pull out all my cookbooks, recipes and notes to get ideas on what to make for supper. Once I had my calendar filled up I would go through the recipes and make a list of the ingredients I would need. It was time consuming, inefficient and annoying. Something had to change.

I did some searching online and came across an app called Paprika. It had great reviews and I needed to try something... anything.  I purchased the app for my desktop computer (there's also an app for iPads and iPhones) and I am so happy with my purchase. It makes menu planning and grocery shopping so much smoother and efficient.  Here is why I love my purchase:

1. It makes meal planning way easier and efficient without having to pull out all your recipe books and boxes. It's all in one place and in the same format.

2. Not only does it have all your recipes in one place, it has a calendar that you can plan your meals for the week or month or however long you want.

This is calendar part that you can plan your meals. When I plan my meals, I usually pencil it in on my actual planner that I look at everyday.
3. You can chose your recipe and click on "add to grocery list" and it creates a grocery list for you. Now, if you're lucky enough to own an iPad or iPhone, you could just take that device along with you to the store and check things off the list as you go. However, if you're like me and not so lucky to own such a device, you can just print the list off and take it along with you to the store.

This is a view of the grocery list. Notice on the left column is the recipes I chose for two weeks or so and it generated a shopping list. I can check or uncheck what i need or don't need. If you click the button at the top that says "to buy" it will show the list of the items that aren't checked off. 
4. Also, if you happen to use this app on an iPhone or iPad, you could just pull up your recipe on that when you're ready to cook your meal. I, on the other hand, print out my recipe and have collected them in a 3-ring binder.

5. You can save recipes under multiple categories. For example, a recipe for lasagna I can file under the category of "Pasta", "Italian", and "Supper" which makes searching for recipes easier. When I plan my meals for the week or however long, I open my "Supper" tab and can see all my options on what to make for supper. If however, I was in the mood for some Italian food, I could click on my "Italian" tab. It's just nice to be able to categorize the recipes under more than one category.

This shows all my recipe categories and you can create as many categories as you want. The recipes shown here are in my "Supper" category. This is the category I typically look at when I'm planning meals.
6. It is so, unbelievably easy to copy a recipe from online. You know how you find a recipe on Pinterest that comes from someone's blog that's not very printer-friendly and has pictures and wording all through out the whole recipe and you go to print the recipe off and you end up with four pages of their blog? And then when you go to actually make the recipe you have to flip through a ton of pages to follow along with the directions? Well, this is one of my favorite features about Paprika. You just click on the "browser" button. Paste in the URL address from the website of the recipe you want to capture and you just highlight the name, picture, ingredients and directions and any other info and with a click of a button it captures the recipe for you in the same format as every other recipe you have in Paprika. Yes, it is really that easy.

This shows the feature that allows you to capture any recipe off the internet. For an example, I went to Pinterest and clicked on the first recipe I found and went to that website, which ended up being someone's blog. I highlighted the URL address and pasted that in the Paprika app. It pulled up the web page within Paprika. Then I would just click on the photo and it would capture the photo; I would highlight the ingredients and click on "ingredients" as shown at the bottom of the picture; I would highlight the directions and click on the "directions" button. Once I highlighted everything I wanted I would click on "create recipe" and it would create a recipe with the same format as the rest of my recipes in Paprika.
I have had the Paprika app for nearly a year and I love it.  And I think I would love it even more if I had an iPad to eliminate printing the recipes and grocery lists. The only downfall to the app is the initial set-up. I started by entering in my most-used recipes which took a few days to do. The other thing that people don't like is that you have to purchase the apps separately for a computer, iPhone or iPad. For example, I purchased the app for my computer, but if I ended up getting an iPad for Christmas (wink, wink) then I would have to purchase another app for the iPad.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

back at it

We bought our house two and a half years ago and right away got busy updating and remodeling. We remodeled the master bathroom; updated a bedroom; updated the foyer; remodeled the kitchen and dining room; remodeled the family room and turned the formal living room into three rooms. That was all accomplished in a year and a half. Then we had a baby and took a nice, long, much-needed break from any big projects or remodels of any kind. (Well, except for some landscaping this summer, which I'll get around to posting about some other time.) Now after a year-long break, we're back at it again. Next on the to-do list: the mudroom/laundry room.

Currently, this room drives both Dan and I bonkers. I'm the type of person that does not deal well with clutter and chaos and right now this room screams "clutter and chaos".  It has inefficient coat and shoe storage. Admittedly, we (I) have way more shoes than (what might be considered) necessary. But we all know that's not going to change, so there needs to be somewhere for those shoes to hide. Not to mention the coats, scarves, hats, gloves, bags, purse, laundry, laundry baskets and stuff that ultimately ends up in the laundry room because, well, quite frankly, I'm not sure where else to put it.

Now, those common-sense folks out there (like my father-in-law) might say "just close the door and no one has to see it." Good point, Rod. But that's not how we roll. This calls for an all-out mudroom/laundry room remodel. Currently our plan is to replace the flooring (which will match our kitchen flooring and will continue into the mudroom); paint the walls; replace the trim with white trim; build cabinets for shoe, coat, bag and miscellaneous storage; paint the current cupboards above the washer and dryer to match the cabinets being built and build new doors for the current cupboards to match the new ones; remove the florescent light and replace it with can lights and install a ventilation fan... wish us luck.

Monday, October 7, 2013

she still loves her brother

This video is to prove to you that we're not always so mean to Jada as portrayed in this other video. She still loves her brother...

P1030840 from Jenni Beukelman on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

jada's number one fear

As I've mentioned before, Jada does not like Koosh balls. Now, when I say she does not like Koosh balls, what I really mean is she is deathly afraid of them. Like drop-everything-and-run afraid. So, I thought I would post a couple videos to show you what I'm talking about (and to show you how mean of a mamma I am).

P1030879 from Jenni Beukelman on Vimeo.

P1030880 from Jenni Beukelman on Vimeo.