A question I was asked recently prompted me to tell you about where I store my recipes. I had mentioned in About Me that I originally wanted a computer so I could store recipes in one place. It took me 5 years to accomplish that but once I found a program that I liked it was a piece of cake. Pun intended! I found Now You’re Cooking and never looked back. It was and still is a very inexpensive way to be able to have all of your family favorites at your fingertips.
You can download the program, install it and test if for 60 days free; that’s a good way to make sure you’re going to like it! I think it’s still only $25 for the basic version with free updates. I paid a little less but the price hasn’t gone up much in the years I’ve had it.
Many people say they create “recipe boxes” at different recipe sites online but those sites weren’t invented when I first wanted to start my own collection in a safe place. Even now I’m hesitant to say those are good options; it depends on how long that site will remain online, doesn’t it? I’d be very, very angry if a site disbanded or just disappeared and they were the only place I had my extensive collection of recipes saved! I’d rather depend on my own computer and not somewhere online that is free and capable of disappearing without warning. I’d say being free comes at a cost, one that I think I’d rather not gamble on. I want to keep my family recipes!
Pinterest is a site I utilize online for recipes that look good and I’d like to try some day. When I want to make something new I choose a pin and try it. If I like the recipe and want to save it more securely, then I enter it into my own recipe program. I know in my Now You’re Cooking program it’ll be safe! I love Pinterest but I think of it as a temporary resting spot. NYC is the real deal for my recipes!
Which leads me to one of the neatest thing about Now You’re Cooking. The program comes with a default “cookbook” that has recipes in it but from there you can add your own cookbooks! In fact you can have as many cookbooks as you can dream up, there is no limit! There IS a limit of 32,000 recipes per cookbook but that might take a full time chef a lot of years to accomplish. My main cookbook is called Audrey’s, and after 12 years I have only 900 recipes in it. I also have quite a few theme cookbooks such as Cheesecakes, Muffins, Ice Creams, Soups, Salads, German, Pasta, etc. But in my main cookbook I have a lot of those same recipes so I don’t ONLY put pastas in my Pasta cookbook. If they are a favorite I use often it is in my main Audrey’s cookbook. I’d rather open one cookbook and find all my basic recipes than open several until I find the recipe I need.
(Click on the pictures as they appear to see them full sized for easier reading)
Another neat thing about the Now You’re Cooking program is that you can add and delete catagories. I had so many recipes in my Soups category I finally created a new category, Soups-pureed, and it is quicker now to find a particular soup. It is fairly easy to figure out how to add and delete categories. If I could do it, I’m sure you could as well!
There is a search function in the program that is SO handy. Say you have zucchini to use, and aren’t sure where to find a recipe. Just search for it in the program and you can search across all cookbooks for any recipe that has zucchini in the title or ingredient list or in both, or in the main cookbook you have open. Even I forget what recipes I’ve added so that’s a very useful feature when I’m looking for a particular ingredient or recipe.
I have to admit that search function saves my patience. I will enter a recipe for something like Sweet Red Pepper Soup with Sambuca in my main cookbook, then lose it. I will remember it is Red Pepper Soup but not that it would be listed in alphabetical order under Sweet. I can search forever and not find it. So I will type in “red pepper” in the search box, tell it to find “all words” and search in “title” in my main cookbook “Audrey’s”. Bam, there are several things in the resulting list but I quickly find the darn soup I lost. Unfortunately my memory is such that I might have to do that again the next month after I’ve again forgotten that it is “Sweet”. But that’s an age thing I think.
The NYC program opens with a recipe list of every recipe in the default cookbook. You choose which cookbook is your default and it appears as the program opens. There is a category list to the left and if you click on an entry like say, Dips, the list of recipes will narrow down to only those that you have entered into the program and categorized under “dips”. As you type in new recipes you are given a list of which categories you want each recipe to appear in. If you had a chicken and rice stew recipe, you would check “chicken”, “rice” and “stew” categories. Then next time you want to make a stew, or something with rice, you can look at those categories to see what you can choose from!
There is a tab in each recipe that allows you to save a picture of the dish if you have taken one. Sometimes I’ve put pictures in that I’ve taken, sometimes I’ve put pictures from the internet in recipes I mean to try yet. That will give me an idea of what the finished dish should look like. I like to eyeball them first! This is for my own use however, I wouldn’t use the pictures online in a blog unless they were my own pictures. Often my own pictures are quick ones I’ve taken with my cell phone and are not the best quality. That’s ok, it’s just for me and I’m not trying for any awards! When I’m blogging photos I drag out my good camera, of course.
Recently I have learned how to zip a cookbook in the program. That is so I can either email it to D’Emily or throw it on a thumb drive and take it to her house and update my cookbook on her computer program. Then when she wants to make an old family favorite she can open her Audrey cookbook and bring up the recipe. It’s a nice way to share recipes among family. It’s also nice to back up the cookbooks just in case you lose a computer hard drive or your computer crashes. I don’t back it up that often, maybe every 6 months. But that’s still making sure the bulk of my recipes aren’t going to disappear forever. Another discovery I’d like to mention is when I have a recipe from an email or from a website, if I copy and paste it into the Directions part of the recipe it is easy to type the ingredients in the ingredients boxes from there rather than flipping back and forth to web pages or emails. Then when I have all the ingredients entered, I delete that part from the Directions area.
It is also very nice that the program reads the ingredients after you type in a few letters. Such as when I type “ex”, it comes up with the suggestion “extra virgin olive oil” which is probably the only ingredient that starts with “ex” anyway! I got used to only typing a few letters for most ingredients; it definitely spoils you. “van” is instantly vanilla extract, so that word appears and you hit enter and move directly to the next ingredient. Entering recipes gets very fast once you’ve done a few; you learn how it sense the words and they appear! It is a mind reading program. No, really!
There are so many more features to the program I won’t go into but you can look at them if you decide to give it a test. There are nutritional links and I think it will even calorie count for you. (I don’t use those, I use an online program when I want to figure calories). The NYC program is customizable, you can choose colors and fonts and change it to how you want it to appear. I run the default colors but have changed to pretty colors in the past. When you purchase the program you can do so and just get a registration code, or purchase a package that includes a manual and/or a cd to install the program. I just download it from the site and install my code each time I need to reinstall the program. There are free updates and I do update it regularly.
I hope you give Now You’re Cooking a try, it’s been a lifesaver to me. It had to be quick and easy if I was going to use it regularly! I’m just that lazy. I wish I could purchase a program that would organize so many other things in my life! But at least the recipes part of my life is neatly in place and ready for future generations to benefit. I’ve put all of my family recipes from my Mom and my Grandma in there (there’s a tab to enter who the recipe is from) and they are all safe.