I’m participating in The Nester’s 31 Days Challenge, so for the month of October I’ll be writing each day about 31 Days of Christmas: plan a little now to enjoy it more later. You can see all of the posts here.
I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that most people anticipate cooking or baking something during the Christmas season this year. I’ve posted a few recipes in this series (Apple Pie, Spiced Sugar Cookies, and Pie in a Jar) but today I wanted to take a step back to talk about how I organize my recipes. I definitely don’t have it all together when it comes to organizing and planning, but I’ve found a way to help make things less stressful for me so I have to share it with you.
In our kitchen, I have a few cookbooks (including the Handheld Pies book that I mentioned) and a recipe binder that contains recipes that I’ve received on recipe cards, printed from online, or cut out from magazines. The binder only contains recipes that we’ve actually tried and enjoy and it’s organized by category to make things easy to find. I’m really happy with how it works for us.
Besides that, though, I have a Google Drive spreadsheet where I store recipes. Go ahead and laugh at my accountant nerdiness…. Are you done now? OK. Seriously though, this works. Let me show you, ok?
So first of all, here’s what the Google Drive looks like –
I have quite a bit on my Google Drive because it’s nice to have files that aren’t saved on one particular computer or another so that I can access them from whatever computer I’m using. I also like quickly share files with Matt… and vice versa. I’m obviously a nerd with all of my planning spreadsheets – my 30 Before 30 list in its own spreadsheet, (I’ll have to do a post about that soon), a Gifts for Others spreadsheet that Matt and I share to plan Christmas and birthday presents, a MrsBomb spreadsheet (where I plan posts, store ideas, etc.), and the topic of today’s post – the Recipes spreadsheet.
One of the best things about Google Drive is that you can access it from anywhere that you have access to the internet – including your smart phone! I’ve got the Google Drive app on my iPhone and it’s so convenient! Here’s what My Drive looks like when I open the app on my phone –
Within the Recipes spreadsheet I have an Index tab that lists (by category) all of the recipes in the file. I don’t have all of my recipes in this spreadsheet yet, but I do have most of the ones that we make more regularly. (I realize that my categories may not make sense to everyone, but they work for me.)
Each of these recipes has its own tab that lists the source of the recipe, the prep/baking time (if I have it), the yield, the ingredients, and the directions. Here are examples from both the web and phone versions –
OK, so what good is this if I have all of my recipes at home in my recipe binder? Well, it’s very convenient to be able to access these recipes outside of the kitchen. For example, this week when I brought the pies in a jar to my coworkers, I got a question about the ingredients; I was pretty sure that I knew the answer, but I was able to hop on my Google Drive and get the definite answer in less than a minute. Easy peasy. Later in the same day, I went to the grocery store to get a few things for dinner; I pulled up the recipe on my phone and I realized that I needed onions, which I had missed when I made my grocery list that morning.
When the recipes are in this type of format, they’re not just easy to access, but also easy to share. If Matt and I share this file, then I know that he can see what ingredients we need for dinner tonight. I was talking to my brother about cooking recently and when I realized that he’d like a copy of most of the recipes that I had, all I had to do was make a copy of the spreadsheet and share it with him. (That’s the Recipes for JR spreadsheet on my drive in the pictures above.) Keep in mind that if you don’t make a copy, then everyone that you’re sharing the spreadsheet with will be able to make changes unless you make them read-only.
Another benefit is the ability to reorganize the information. Let’s say that you’re planning an event where you’ll have to make several different dishes like oh, say, a Christmas party. If you wanted to make a big, complete shopping list, all you would have to do is copy the ingredients from each recipe and paste them together into one list. Then you could take that list and store it in a Google Drive spreadsheet, print it out to take to the store, or email it to yourself or your spouse.
I know that there are a lot of apps to store recipes but I haven’t been able to find one that I like better than this method. Have any of you found one that you love? I tried Menu Planner and it was worked pretty well; it will make your shopping list for you based on the meals that you select, but it doesn’t have a good web interface so I had to type in my recipes one by one on my phone. Yuck.
Admittedly, one of the drawbacks of the Google Spreadsheets is that you have to scroll through the tabs to find the one you want. It’s particularly hard on the iPhone, but I keep the tabs in the same order as the Index, so when I see where the recipe falls on the Index, I can find the right tab pretty quickly. When I access the file on the computer there’s an even easier way. To the left of the first tab is a little button that will display all of the tabs in list form so that I can select the one that I want.
So what do y’all think? Am I crazy? OCD?
Maybe you prefer pen and paper. I get it! 🙂 I still use my paper recipes when I’m at home and I do my fair share of list-making away from the computer. I just wanted to share this with y’all because I know it’s saved me a lot of time, energy, and frustration. I’m excited to see how helpful it is this Christmas when I’m doing more baking and cooking – it should definitely make things easier! 🙂