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The Top Meal Planning Apps of 2012

Tags: Best Meal Planning Apps, Home Life, Meal Planning Apps and Websites For Busy Parents, Meal Planning Tips

The Top Meal Planning Apps of 2012

Posted on 06 September 2012 by noelskitchen

As a busy mom,  I find that meal planning apps available on my phone are a great resource to me when it comes to meal planning and heading off to the grocery store.

Today’s guest post is about the top meal planning apps of 2012.



Mom, what’s for dinner?

Knock the kids’ socks off with the following five meal-planning apps—for the iPhone and Android. No, these apps won’t ensure the kids will gobble down whatever you make, but they will make it easier to get dinner on the table when you’re strapped for time.

1. Mise En Place ($2.99 – for iPhone)

The Mise En Place app makes meal planning easy—scheduling every aspect of meal preparation, including shopping, food prep time, and cooking duration. Think of this app as your own personal project manager for family meal planning. Plan out an entire week of meals and use it to get all of your shopping needs and food prep work done before you even step near the stove cook.

2. Big Oven (Free – for Android and iPhone]

The Big Oven application gives users access to over 17,000 delicious recipes. You can search by ingredients you have on hand, meal (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, or snacks), or keyword (i.e., chicken, vegetarian, dairy-free). You can also get some yummy inspiration from users who post their favorite recipes in the “What’s for Dinner?” section. View recipes based on what you have leftover in your fridge or pantry, and post reviews and comments on your most prized delectable delights.

3. How to Cook Everything ($4.99 – for iPhone)

The How to Cook Everything app is a cooking tool that literally tells you how to cook everything to perfection! Based on the no-nonsense advice of best-selling cookbook author Mark Bittman, this app features more than 2,000 recipes from his personal cookbook (including 400 step-by-step illustrations on cooking techniques). Search a variety of easy-to-prepare cooking categories—such as ‘Quick Dinners’, ‘Bittman’s Picks’, ‘Family Favorites’, and ‘Holiday Dishes’—for recipes accompanied by cooking timers, shopping lists, preparation information, and ingredient reference information.

4. Meal Planning by Food on the Table (Free – for Android and iPhone)

The Meal Plans – Food on the Table app will help your family save valuable money and time when it comes to meal planning. This app will give you a rundown of all sales at your local supermarkets, and match food deals with recipes that contain those very same ingredients. Before you shop for the week, you can plan your meal schedule, organize your grocery list, and ensure you’re getting the very best deal possible. My sister and I both recently got new Android T-Mobile phones and we are always trying to one-up each other on the savings we’ve found using this app.

5. The Coleman Camping Cookbook & Meal Planner (Free – for iPhone)

You plan out all of your meals at home like a celebrity chef, but what about when you go on vacation? Take precise meal planning with you on your next family camping, cottage, or RV trip with the Classic Camping Cookbook & Meal Planner app from the Coleman outdoor pros. Summers are jam-packed with beach vacations, summer cookouts, and long weekend festivities and this app can help you plan the perfect meal based on food type, cooking equipment (barbecue or open fire), category (dinner or brunch), long weekend theme (Fourth of July), and ingredients. This app will ensure you have yummy meals on deck for your entire camping trip and make certain you never forget an essential ingredient at home (i.e., mayonnaise for your famous pot luck pasta salad).

Bio: Jane Johnson is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, reviews and more.

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5 Reasons to Use Your Crock Pot More Often

Tags: How To Use Your Crock Pot, Slow Cooked Meals,

5 Reasons to Use Your Crock Pot More Often

Posted on 08 March 2012 by noelskitchen

The crock pot  is one kitchen appliance that I don’t think I could live without as a working mom outside of the home. The mission of this great appliance is to make your life easier and your meals tastier.  Today’s guest post is from Mariana Ashley. Mariana is giving us 5 Reasons To Use Your Crock Pot More Often. So come home to savor a great meal- and enjoy the extra time with your family because you didn’t have to cook.

Enjoy today’s post!


If you cook often, you have probably already discovered the magic that is the slow cooker. Don’t have time to slave over a stove? Just throw it in! Need breakfast ready when you wake up? Let it cook over night! But, as handy as it is to use our slow cookers, it’s easy to brush the slow cooker aside and stick with our regular cooking routine. With a little planning, though your slow cooker can really be your kitchen savior. If you’ve forgotten what makes a crock pot so great, read on, and get going on some of those recipes you’ve been meaning to try today!

1.      Save Time

This is the most beautiful part of using a crock pot. When you use a slow cooker, the machine does all the work for you, and you are free to do other things. If you have some busy days ahead, plan to throw a meal in the slow cooker in the morning, cook it on low throughout the day, and enjoy a warm and delicious dinner when you get home. It’s also great for stay-home moms who need all the extra hands they can get throughout the day, but still want their loved ones to come home to a hot meal.

2.      Save Money

If you plan efficiently, using your slow cooker can cut your grocery bill significantly! You can buy less expensive meat, because the crock pot will naturally tenderize it while it slow cooks. You also save energy costs if you use a slow cooker frequently. It takes much less energy to leave a slow cooker on all day on low than it does to fire up a 350 degree oven. Slow cookers also allow you to use very simple ingredients and make them taste great. All the flavors will soak together during the cooking time, and you are left with a delicious meal for much less.

3.      It’s Healthier

As opposed to frying or baking, the slow cooker is a much healthier cooking option. Meats can simply cook down in their own sauce, and veggies cook in steam and liquid, rather than by frying or baking. You can also easily create healthy meals that would take more effort on a stove top, like soups, stews and oat meals.

4.      Easy Prep and Clean Up

One of the best things about using a slow cooker is the absolute lack of complicated prep and clean up. The most you may have to do is brown meat before you put it in the slow cooker, mix liquids in separate bowls, or chop veggies or other produce on a cutting board. Also, there are no pans to clean when it’s all done.

 5.      Big Portions in a Snap

If you need a large amount of food, but don’t have the time to create a huge feast on your own, you can use your slow cooker to make full meals for groups. You can fill it to feed groups of up to 15. Or cook for your family and have enough left over for a full second meal the next day.

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

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Five Fun Baking Recipes for Kids:A Guest Post

Posted on 27 May 2011 by noelskitchen

Today’s post is from Stephen Pazyra, CEO of an online bakery that delivers premium logo cookies. Today he’s sharing how you can spend quality time in the kitchen with your kids making fun and simple recipes that are kid-friendly. What a great way to spend a day with your kids!

Enjoy today’s post!


Baking with children is a great way to spend quality time together and provide them with a fun (and sometimes messy!) experience. Whether or not the kids are your own, you’ll have a great time supervising their cooking endeavors, and these five simple, kid-friendly recipes are perfect for involving little hands in the kitchen.

·         Crazy Kids Personal Pizza
Practically every child likes pizza, so why not teach the kids in your life how to make one? This Food Network recipe is nice because it’s for a personal pizza. That means if you’re cooking with several children, each one can add the toppings he or she desires.
To make this recipe, you need a pizza stone, store-bought pizza dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella, Romano cheese, olive oil, flour and several toppings. Pizza is fun because there are so many ways to make it. You may also want to try this homemade pizza recipe!

·         Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kisses
Your children will be the envy of their friends if they make these mouth-watering cookies from the website. Perfect with a glass of milk, they’ll satisfy even the pickiest of eaters after a long day of school.
Once you’ve mixed the dough, you roll it into small balls, which kids love because they get to dig in with their hands. You bake the dough until it is golden brown, and place a Hershey’s Kiss in the center of each cookie. This recipe makes 48 cookies, ensuring they last a few days.

·         Banana Bread
Children will enjoy smashing bananas for this Williams-Sonoma recipe. Just make sure the bananas you give them are very ripe. The recipe really is quite easy to prepare. The hardest part is the 45 minute wait while it’s baking.
During this time, you can have your little bakers help wash the dishes and clean the counters. To motivate them, tell them their reward will be a fresh slice of banana bread!

·         Soft Pretzels
Soft pretzels are another fun recipe for children to make. Between mixing, rolling, and shaping the dough into a pretzel shape, kids will want to make this snack again and again. This Allrecipes recipe requires you to dissolve yeast in warm water, add a bunch of ingredients (sugar, salt butter and egg), and stir in flour.
You refrigerate the dough for a while, cut it in half, and separate each half into 16 equal pieces. After rolling each piece into a 20-inch rope, shaping the pieces into pretzels, and brushing egg over the pretzels (you can also add salt), you bake them in the oven.

·         Crunchy, Oven Baked Chicken Toes
Children will probably laugh at the funny name of this Rachael Ray recipe. But their laughter will change to pleasure when they sample the tasty treat. The first steps involve crushing corn flakes and mixing them with breadcrumbs, sugar, salt, pepper, and allspice.
Next, some vegetable oil is mixed in with the breading. After a grownup has cut chicken breast tenders into 2-inch pieces, the child can turn the chicken in flour, eggs, and the breading. The last step is baking the chicken for about 15 minutes.

Do you have any fun, child-friendly recipes that you like to make with your little ones?

Author Bio: Stephen Pazyra is founder and CEO of 1-800-Bakery, an online bakery that delivers premium logo cookies with a commitment to quality and freshness.

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