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Blog: Technology As An Organizing Tool
Using Springpad to Organize Your Recipes



A few months ago I blogged about Using a Virtual Notebook to Organize Your Ideas. Never having used such a tool, at that point I was basically sharing some of the information I'd gathered on the subject, but while writing that post, I became especially interested in Springpad, especially for the purpose of organizing recipes. I've tried many different systems over the years, and found none of them to be 100% satisfactory. Here are a few things I've done:

As a young bride, I took great pleasure from clipping recipes from magazines and putting them in binders. My collection grew so quickly that binders weren't practical, so I switched to an accordion file, sorting the recipes by category. I really wasn't very discriminating in my selections, so it didn't take too long for the weight of my collection to exceed the capacity of the file.

After that, I had my first computer, and bought a software program called MealMaster. I spent many hours entering my favorite recipes into that system. That was way back in the days Before Windows (yes, I'm dating myself here!). Later on I bought a program called MasterCook but I never bothered keeping up with the upgrades and I eventually stopped using it altogether.

When various life changes meant I was doing less cooking, I got away from collecting recipes for several years, but over the last couple of years I've been getting back to it. I took some time to sort and purge the clipped recipes I still had, a much smaller collection than in my younger days, and added to it very selectively. When I tried a recipe and wanted to make it again, I would write my comments on the recipe. Of course, if I didn't like it, I would just toss it in the recycling.

At the same time, I would occasionally find recipes online that I wanted to try, but not wanting to waste paper and ink, I would just bookmark them. I loved the fact that many cooking websites allow you to create an account where you can bookmark recipes, but having to search all these different sites would be just as time-consuming as leafing through multiple cookbooks when it's time to plan meals.

Which brings me to Springpad. Now that I've created my free account and added a Spring It! button to my toolbar, when I see a recipe I'd like to try, I can easily add it to my collection. Springpad has tons of features for organizing all kinds of information, but it's especially cool for saving recipes. When you add a recipe to your account, in most cases, it automatically copies the ingredients list, and sometimes even the directions, into Springpad. It also includes a link back to the original recipe. When you log into your Springpad account, you can add a lot more optional details, including:
  • "I want to cook this" OR "I've cooked this"
  • Your rating from 1 to 5 stars
  • Whether you've adapted the recipe from the original
  • Number of servings
  • Type of cuisine
  • What course you'd use the recipe for
  • Cook time
  • Main ingredient
  • Any tags of your choosing
  • Personal notes
  • A flag to make specific recipes stand out
Apparently you can also add photos and videos, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

I've found yet another way to streamline my recipe collection. Very often the recipes I've clipped have come from a magazine ad or product label, so now, instead of putting a recipe I've tried and want to keep back in the box, I search for it online, and then add it to my Springpad. So far it has worked every time!

You can choose to keep your recipes private or public, or share them on Facebook or Twitter, by email, or on a website. I've decided to make any recipes I've tried and enjoyed public so others may also enjoy them. To see my (as yet very small) collection, simply click on this graphic:


When any or all of your Springpad is public, other users can follow you, comment on your items, or add items to their own Springpad, combining the ability to organize information with social networking capabilities.

I don't yet have enough recipes in Springpad to use it for planning my weekly menus and generating my shopping list, but I'm looking forward to trying that too.

Recipes is not the only way I'm using Springpad. Be sure to come back to learn about some of the other ways I'm using this very cool service!

posted on: 7/30/2009 8:30:00 AM by Janet Barclay
category: Business


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Discuss This Post


by katin from springpad on 7/30/2009 9:07:06 AM:

Hi Janet - Great post! I am glad to hear that springpad is working out for you! To add a photo or a video, follow the link at the bottom of the recipe (under Add a Note). For photos, you can upload a file from your computer or right click on images from the web to copy the image location, then paste it in as a link. For videos, you can put in a link from YouTube or another site. I hope this helps! Feel free to contact me with any issues or ideas, [email protected].com

by Janet on 7/30/2009 11:44:27 AM:

Thanks Katin! It's very easy, once you know where to look. :o)


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Technology As An Organizing Tool


by Janet Barclay

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Janet Barclay is a Master Virtual Assistant and the founder of Organized Assistant. Specializing in supporting entrepreneurs in the Organizing and Career Services industries, Organized Assistant provides top-notch Internet marketing services to business owners of all shapes and sizes.

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