Plan(ning) to Eat and liking it

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What a difference a month makes! I am busily and happily meal planning again.

Last month, I reviewed some of the many options and was going to write my meal plan old school in my bullet journal. I did that for a while, still feeling not very inspired to try new things and keep my shopping list in any kind of useful order.

More Internet research led me to Plan to Eat (affiliate link) and its free 30-day trial. I am really liking this recipe storage, meal planning, and shopping list tool. Plan to Eat lets you use the recipes you choose from online sources or your cookbooks. When you add a recipe from a blog to your “recipe book,” the blog name is prominently displayed on the recipe view with a link back to the original page. The recipes showing on the left above are from the Plan to Eat blog.

You can choose to manually add your favorite recipes from print sources, or do what I did: enter the ingredients and amounts, and in the direction section, refer back by cookbook name and page number. I’ll just add others as the time comes to cook them. I also added Leftovers, DIY Tacos, and Scrambled Eggs with no directions. I can mark entrees as “in freezer” if prepared ahead and frozen or I made a double batch.

So far I’m planning our suppers and some baking but have the option to do all three meals plus snacks daily. The notes section is very useful to remind me to thaw things!

I switched to a paid version about halfway through my 30-day trial and signed up for the affiliate program (if anyone starts a free trial through my link later signs up for a paid version, I receive a commission). An annual plan is $39, and monthly plans are $4.95.

It’s easy to drag your recipe selections onto the calendar and move them around. I have mine set up to sync with my Google calendar which in turn shows up on my phone’s calendar app, but I also set up a shortcut to the Plan to Eat mobile site on my phone’s home screen.

The automatic making of shopping lists is a favorite feature of mine. Because it’s web-based and works on mobile, you can use it on any smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you are in an area where you don’t get cell reception, you can download your shopping list before you go.

You can keep a standard list of staples so you don’t forget toilet paper or cat food, and even make separate lists for different stores if that’s how your brain works. Once you have the list, you can check off items you already have so you can reduce spending and food waste. That’s also when I think about substituting for something in freezer or pantry and make a note. Good thing, since I am behind on my January goal of emptying freezer and cupboards. I’ve changed it to having the freezer and cupboards empty by farmers’ market time, so I have a few more weeks!

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