Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pepper Plate

In the interest of all things awesome I absolutely have to share with you my latest find.  Initially, it was a free download on my Kindle Fire. I downloaded it, and it sat there a while.  Little did I know the organizational gem I was holding at my fingertips and failing to benefit from.

As some of you may know, I have been on a cookbook writing adventure with my best gal pal of 31 years for, oh let's just round it off, say the last 10 years.  She is a home schooling mother of six, and I am a mother of seven adult children and a now two-year-old.  Need I say more about why we have been working on this project for 10ish years?

Anyway, I absolutely love all things cooking, baking, recipe related, and the like.   This website that is totally new to me is like a creative gift.  It has everything a cookbook writing, busy mom of a toddler, Pinterest pinning, Facebook loving, Kindle Fire newbie, foodie could ever possibly want in a food planning recipe saving, menu creating, and grocery list generating website.  It's incredible and VERY user friendly.  I love it!

No, they didn't pay me to write this post.  I just had to share.  It's not too often that I get excited about any particular website, but this site is now my favorite website.  Yes, I even love it more than Facebook and Pinterest.  It's easy to use, practical, and downright fun.  I may actually get the work done I am supposed to with this little gem under my belt.

What is the site, already, you ask?  It is called Pepper Plate, and you simply must check it out!  You can manually enter recipes that you have in your own personal stash.  It's as simple as copying and pasting from Word, which is what I do, or typing it out.  You can also use the Add to Pepperplate button and add directly from any website.  It's awesome!  You just copy and paste right onto a popup screen.  It even lets you drag a picture of the recipe onto it as well.  This feature, the whole recording right from the website, is what seriously got me excited.  Do you see the potential in expanding your cooking adventures?  I love, love, love this website.  Period!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Support Local

It has been a relatively recent resolution of mine to shop as local as possible for all of my family's needs.  I do my best to support 'Mom & Pop' businesses and local stores as opposed to big chains and mega marts.  It is both not as easy at it seems and easier than it seems.

Shopping local requires a little more leg work until you've established relationships with local businesses and entrepreneurs.  For instance, we recently needed our chimney and wood burner cleaned.  I first tried to get references from local friends and family.  When that fell short I decided to look online.  Since our community is fairly small the list was short.  I made four phone calls.  Three resulted in immediate connection and price quotes.  The fourth call fell to an answering machine.  Something about that fact told me to hold out for a returned call.  I am SO GLAD I waited.  The gentleman that returned my call was friendly, helpful, informative, and cheaper than everyone else I called.  So, not only did I end up with a lifelong business relationship with a local chimney sweep.  I got premium service at a cheaper rate.  Not to mention the fact that he also believes in supporting his customers businesses, so the next time any of his vehicles need a transmission guess who he'll be calling?  Was it worth the extra leg work?  You bet!

With the advances in technology, and easy access to information, creating situations like my search for a local chimney sweep is much easier than it would be otherwise.  On the other hand you do have to have a little bit of research savvy, and some knowledge when it comes to using the internet to network.  It also helps if you are willing to wait and are not in a hurry.

When it comes to supporting our communities, I believe it is well worth learning how to navigate the local networking landscape, make connections, and keep my money close to home.  A sense of community seems to be lacking in our society, and what better way to mend that gap than by creating relationships with local business owners?

In my quest for all things local, I discovered this awesome website:

There are SO MANY resources here.  Searching is very easy, and there are even contests and sweepstakes that offer opportunities to win Michigan products from Michigan based businesses.  How cool is that?  The most recent opportunity is from Just Good Chocolate.  Enter to win a pouch of their hot cocoa and little nibblers variety pack.  YUM!

Another resource that I LOVE is Eat Wild.  It is a WONDERFUL resource for searching out local, naturally farmed animals, produce, dairy, and other wild products.

I hope these resources inspire you to seek out, find, and establish relationships with local businesses, entrepreneurs, and farms.  After all, small business is the backbone of our society.


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