Brandi Bleak

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Thanksgiving Day Dinner Planning Apps

AppsBrandi Bleak1 Comment

So this week's segment will include apps that will help make your Thanksgiving dinner planning a breeze! Whether you have all your dishes planned, are still searching for new recipes, or want to remember your favorite wine from the evening, I've got an app for you. I'm also going to Chat about how to keep your recipes organized going forward so you never have to worry about finding your favorites again.

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Here are the apps I've researched and tested out for my segment:

  • Must-Have Recipes app from Better Homes and Gardens - The app comes directly from the best-selling, more than 80 years in the making, Red Plaid Cookbook from Better Homes and Gardens that most people have had in their homes at some point. This item seems to have many of the features a great cooking app should have. You can of course search for recipes, save your favorites, and make your shopping lists. 
  • Food Network's In the Kitchen - This one comes from one of my favorite TV channels, the Food Network. The app is updated monthly with new recipes, so there's always something new from the chefs from your favorite shows. Users can search by ingredient or chef (pretty cool feature!!) For example, if you often watch Giada or love watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay, now you can see what some of their favorite dishes are and exactly how to make them. In the Kitchen also gives users a Timer, Unit Converter, and seasonal favorites in the app.
  • Craftsy - Slightly different than the other apps on my list, Craftsy includes instruction on how to make new meals as well as how to do a number of other activities like cake decorating, photography, and woodworking. Once users select the Food & Cooking category you can go deeper by selecting from a number of subcategories to define exactly what you have in mind. If unsure, simply choose All Food & Cooking, or be specific by selecting Baking, International Cuisines, or Healthy Cooking for example. I'm always supportive of sites/apps that promote lifelong learning so I enjoyed a few of my first instructional videos that were free. There's a whole section of free classes, along with others that you must pay to watch.   
  • A bon appétit Thanksgiving Manual - There's a very modern, posh feeling to this app, appropriately so. Almost so that I was put aback upon opening it. As I scrolled through, I saw plenty of meals that weren't in my realm of cooking, but what I did LOVE about the app was that the Menus are organized into categories like Southern, Modern, and Classic, for example. The Southern menu includes recipes for creamed collard greens and sweet potatoes with bourbon and maple. And the images of each dish are delightful! This one's impressive.
  • Epicurious - Created by Conde Nast, Epicurious is an app that allows you to search by category, meal type, or even what I thought was a great idea for moms, a Kid Friendly section. They also have a Quick and Easy section and Healthy Food search that could be useful. Like many of the other apps, there's a Recipe Box and Shopping List that would be useful as you begin to plan your meals. 
  • Panna - Panna is a unique, bimonthly video cooking magazine, with an integrated app available through the Apple store. Users receive one free recipe within each issue, then you can decide to purchase that issue if you want more. Panna combines beautiful HD video with the expertise of established chefs. The step-by-step instructions are given from the chefs point of view, including tips, cooking strategies, and techniques. 
  • Yummly - Yummly says they want to make it easier for "foodies" to do what they love - cook, eat, and share! With over a million recipes they are doing a great job at working towards their goal of being the largest, most powerful, and most helpful food site in the world. 
    I'm always a big fan of a clean, modern look to an app, and this one hits that mark. Easily search through the recipes to find exactly what you're in the mood for. Yummly allows it's users to find so many dishes by including  the details of the recipe from other online sources, and placing them conveniently within their app so you don't need to go searching around the web on multiple sites. 
  • Drync - I really like the idea of this app because I frequently visit the store, try a new bottle of wine, and have an opinion on it's taste. Then next time you visit the store, you can refer back to your rating and notes. Never buy a bottle you didn't love again! Additionally, you can view other users' recommendations, purchase wine directly from the app, and receive more info about the drinks you prefer. Click here for my post about Drync. 
  • Betty Crocker's Cookbook app Butterball - This app does it all. Inspired by the infamous Betty Crocker cookbook and is complete with over 15,000 recipes. You can search for meals by ingredient, meal type, or use the Surprise Me feature to let Betty pick a favorite meal for you. My favorite feature is being able to check off steps as you go through the recipe.
  • AnyList - This app is great during the holidays AND all other times of the year. Add items to your list so you and other family members have a list that syncs, stays current, and is on your phones whenever you need it. 
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - I LOVE this idea! Stay up-to-date with parade news, route information, surprise acts, and behind the scene shots. You can even create you're own augmented reality balloon of yourself! Great for the kids, or kid at hearts! 

How to organize your recipes, and everything else

In my opinion, one of the best ways to keep all the recipes organized is to create a notebook within Evernote for them. Evernote allow you to clip web articles, capture handwritten notes and even snap photos to keep yourself organized. For example, lets say you find a great recipes using one of the above apps or online somewhere. Simply pull that into Evernote within a Notebook you've created titled Recipes. After you make the dish, you can take a quick photo of your plate, upload that as well. Now you have visual representation, along with the recipe, and then add any notes or thoughts for use next time you cook. Also, if you're like me, you also have recipes that have been handed down to you from grandma, on a piece of paper that looks a little rough, that you would hate to lose. You can either import that recipe to your notebook by taking a picture or re-writing the details into the app for safe keeping!