Saturday, February 15, 2014

Recipe Organizer Giveaway in Time for Valentine's Day

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. Since your Chocolate Priestess has gotten a laptop I've been collecting ecookbooks that I can then read off said laptop while I'm working in the kitchen.  But the problems with ecookbooks are the same as with traditional cookbooks -- so many of them taking up space and questions of how to organize the recipes you use without memorizing which book has which recipe.  Add into that family recipe books and, well, the amount of book lying around can be shelf-consuming.  My house doesn't seem to be getting bigger but my cookbook collection expands with gifts and books I'm sent to review.  When I was offered the opportunity to try out this computer recipe organizer I jumped at the chance to try out this Cook'n program and see if it might help me put the various ecookbooks I've collected into a more useable order

Here's their promotional logo for the computer program since I downloaded it, I didn't get a box with a disc to use so I can't take a photo of that for you all.  When I went to download it I had two options -- PC or MAC so it is compatible with a wider range of systems.  This really pleased me because there are so many programs out there still designed only for PCs even though the MAC especially in the form of tablet computers is common these days.  I imagine having a tablet to store ecookbooks on would be even more useful in the kitchen than my laptop but also I can't test that theory out.

Getting the download was easy but installing it took a couple of steps.  First my computer needed a particular type of Adobe software but luckily the downloading process took me to that software and it was free to get.  At first my installation claimed it failed but the program started up.  Now it asked for me to join the Cook'n online program, their "cloud" to sync my recipes so I did that. The program comes with The Ultimate Cook'n Cookbook that has breakfast, dessert, main dishes, salads, sandwiches, sides, and soup recipes.  In our first screenshot you can see that the opening screen I get after installing the program and syncing it to their online database is very similar to their promotional logo.

Along with the program I got a free ecookbook and I chose the Hall of Fame Desserts Cookbook because, well, hello, we are The Chocolate Cult after all, right?  Problem -- this ecookbook could not be opened initially like the other ecookbooks I have on my laptop. It has to be imported to the Cook'n program to be used but that process was simple once I figured out how -- go to "File -- Import -- Cook'n" then choose the file.  However my ecookbooks will not import.  I tried using the scan feature which required more software to download but nope it won't read a pdf.  So the one reason I was looking forward to trying out this program is something I cannot do. Very disappointing!

I tried out the other features of the program.  I added a recipe to the database (familiarity with database entry is a huge help here) and then I used the "analyze nutritional value feature" and discovered I misunderstood the amount of served versus number of servings.  I went back and thought I fixed that problem but the resulting data made no sense -- it ranged from 33 to 748 calories per serving -- neither of which is correct, it should be around 180 per serving. As you can see in my screenshot even using a recipe that came with Cook'n 11 didn't produce a logical nutritional profile -- no one person is likely to eat the entire recipe above so the 3059 calories is not a single serving in any sense.

The database lacked a way for me to input the nutritional values for things such as Splenda brown sugar so the analyzer just ignored that ingredient.  In other words if you don't follow the recipe as it is, using the brands listed, the nutritional values aren't going to be correct.  Again disappointing since this would have helped me so much as I continue to lose weight and then when I'll want to maintain it.  My advice is to ignore it since when I tried it on the recipe I captured from the Internet (see below) it was also horribly wrong.  It needs directions to tell you how to enter the servings for the nutritional calculator because the logical way I've always seen it on recipes is apparently not the correct way for the program.

Next I tried the "Capture Internet recipe" feature and to use that you must use the Search ability on the program not a recipe you went and found yourself and have the url for... extra steps do not make this easy, folks.

You'll get back the results but some pages it found simply didn't work when I tried to capture them, others required that I highlight text and then enter it into the database and changed the layout of the program to make it "easier" which added more steps to just trying to find a recipe that would directly download.  As you can see in this screen shot the list doesn't say whether or not you'll be able to save it to the computer program, you just have to try it out.

I searched the Internet for a few more minutes then found one that would just automatically download into a recipe file within the program. Below you can see the change from website view to Cook'n View.
Page for Dark Chocolate Clusters

Dark Chocolate Clusters in Cook'n

There is a "Meal Planning" feature that I struggled with for days and still couldn't figure out how to add a few set of recipes to.  Right after not being able to include the ecookbooks I already have on this computer in this program, the difficulty of using this program is a big complaint for me.  I do not have database training and I can't say that I'm super computer savvy but still such a program needs to be very user friendly so I encourage Cook'n to think about usability more in their next version.

The final feature I tried out was the grocery shopping list maker that take the chosen recipe and tells what brands it recommends and estimates the cost to buy everything.  Of course you may have most of the ingredients on hand or find other brands for better prices (or simply not have some brands in your local stores) but organizing your recipe on a printable list is handy.  I could see it being most handy for a new recipe or when planning a dinner party with a specific budget.  This was probably the most useful feature of the program that went beyond merely being a searchable database.

Notice: I received a copy of the Cook'n 11 recipe computer organizer and a free ecookbook to try out for this article and was asked to host the giveaway of one copy of this program via The Chocolate's association with Tomoson.

If you'd like to try it you can enter to win a free copy of this program for your laptop, tablet, smart phone, or desktop computer by following this Rafflecopter entry system below.  HURRAY because the winner will be announced Thursday morning, February 19th!  When you "Like" the program's FB page please also leave them a comment saying that you found them through The Chocolate Cult and include our FB name in your comment so that I can see you've done that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Spread the word and let's push our Facebook "Likes" to 1000 so I can bring you ever better products and giveaways in the future, Sisters and Brothers.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

2 comments:

Gina Brown said...

I'd be interested to see if I could use this for my classes. Looks neat!

Lacey Burd said...

I have so many random recipes torn from magazines or earmarked in a cookbook. This would be a great way to organize everything. Thanks for the chance!

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