Tuesday, May 21, 2013

App Review: Pepperplate

What its for : Recipe organization, meal planning, shopping list organizing, weekly food packing.
Personal Technology: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 (app & Chrome) & HTC OneX (ICS app) & Windows 7 (Chrome)

I'm taking a little break from the Portland posts to laud the wonderfulness that is Pepperplate.

I've been looking for a menu planning app that may all my wants in a single app and this one comes the closest.

Pepperplate gives me a place to collate my own recipes, many of which only existed in my head or on random scraps of paper stuck in cookbooks, along with ones I pull from my favorite websites. Those recipes can then be organized into menus, those menus into plans and those plans into shopping lists. It makes my little organizational heart go pitter-pat.

When you are ready to start cooking, you can set several timers to help get it all on the table at the same time. I've found this a little clunky, but it's still helpful to know in the beginning of cooking a dish when you should start your sides, but if you aren't good at getting a meal on the table (like me) this isn't going to help you much.

East of access is king in this app - from my laptop (at work when I come across some awesome idea for a meal), my phone (at the grocery store while I'm shopping), and my tablet (while I'm cooking in the kitchen) has meant better meals and less frustrating shopping experiences. 

The sync feature is my largest gripe and that's pretty minimal. Occasionally, the sync doesn't complete until you restart the app, or, reverts to a prior shopping list while in the middle of a shopping trip. Annoying, but it's not enough to make me not want to use it.

Being able to make notes on recipes that came from somewhere else is helpful, since I have to make adjustments for the tastes in my household.

The applet Chrome uses on the tablet doesn't function the way the developers obviously wanted it to. You can't easily import or copy and paste. Again, annoying but until I run out of interesting things from Bon Appetit and allrecipes.com it's not keeping me from using it.

You can get the app from Google Play (or iTunes)  and from here on the Web.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Portland, Day One : Fat Girl Eats Portland

The Nerd Llama menacing the harbor in Portland. 

With a photo like this, what else was I supposed to title this post?

Several months ago, my BFF said "We're going on vacation. Where do you want to go?" The agreement was that we had to go somewhere neither of us had ever been before. Given that she is a travelling sales rep and I have traveled pretty extensively, our options for virgin meets interesting destinations were few.

Portland, OR. Tada! So, last week we were off to help keep Portland weird.

Chasing the sunset on a 747.

The upside to late evening flights heading west is that you are forever chasing the sunset across the country. We arrived at PDX at about 9pm local time, the sun had just set, but my body thought it was midnight. The only way to cure jetlag - pizza and beer.

Local brew total - 2.

Rather than staying in a hotel we used AirBnB.com to find a condo. I can tell you that unless I have to, I might not ever stay in another hotel on vacation. It was nice to stay in a place that made you feel more like part of the city, rather than a tourist.

The condo we stayed in was in a building mostly populated by college students (Portland State University was just blocks away) and older professionals. You can see the actual condo we stayed in here. It was a cute little 'bachelor pad' of an apartment but it did us just fine.

Views from the porch:
The view from above to the courtyard below.
To the west, downtown and PSU

To the east, the Williamette River, with Mt. Hood beyond. 

Day Two: Goonies, Oysters and Beer.... coming shortly.

Planting All The Sits

My cat, Obi "The Wan" Kenobi (aka the Giant Grey One), hates plants, but she LOVES to plant sits.

Via Reddit, this is not my cat, but it's close.

So far, she has removed via her not insubstantial weight: my bibb lettuce, romaine, all the wild flowers I planted on the porch in containers,  a rosemary plant and attempted to replant sits in place of some of the day lilies that grow on the side of my driveway. She's a more effective sit gardener than I seem to be at making anything edible grow.

Luckily, she hates the citronella plant near the porch (which I can understand, it really smells terrible) and doesn't seem to like the tomato plants, so those are doing nicely.

Here are some photos of the front yard in full bloom. These were taken two weeks ago or so, just before the four straight days of rain we got here in the ATL. Now, the gardenias are blooming and smell lovely. I'll take more photos this weekend.