For years I’ve collected recipes from various sources – cookbooks, magazines, food apps (e.g. Food Network, Tasty, The New York Times Cooking), Pinterest, and a smattering of food blogs – to be used in weekly meal planning. My husband and I habitually spend an hour on Friday evenings creating our meal plan for the next week. When we have extra time, we enjoy perusing through a handful of our favorite cookbooks, but when time is tight, I love the immediacy of an app or Google search that instantly returns multiple recipes from a variety of chefs and bloggers.
I enjoy reading cookbooks from cover to cover during leisure time, but when I’m searching for recipes online, I want results. Literally and figuratively, my own tastes have driven my approach in launching Planful Cook. I’m focused on the practical nature of meal planning and preparation for a family with food allergies and dietary restrictions. My goal is to share what we’ve learned with other people who may be facing the same struggles, and to hopefully save them time and stress by offering them recipes that are clear, accessible, and easy to follow.
Generally, my recipe posts don’t include much narrative; only one to two paragraphs. I include a brief description of the meal, a little background on how we adapted the recipe to meet our dietary restrictions, and 2-3 photos to reassure visitors of the quality of the end results. I’m not driven to leverage the website as a source of income, so I haven’t enabled ad networks, and I’m not trying to optimize each recipe post for SEO. I am an Amazon Associate, and I may earn a small commission from purchases made via links I include in recipes. I’d be delighted if these commissions covered my annual costs for website hosting. I also link directly to a few brands I love which aren’t available through Amazon – specifically plant-based dairy alternatives – but I receive nothing from those personal endorsements. With Amazon, I only link to products that may be unfamiliar to my readers or difficult for them to find at a local grocer.
Planful Cook is a food blog, not a recipe Rolodex, and I’ve designed it to include a “General Goodness” page where I can include long-form posts (like this one). Here is where I share stories of how we became a planful family; how I’ve learned to adapt recipes to accommodate my dairy allergy and a low-FODMAP diet; and tips for tidying a kitchen. In the future, I’ll be explaining why my husband and I regularly incorporate vegan and plant-based meals into our plans; how I’m learning to find balance in my life and trying to develop the courage to be vulnerable; and suggestions for improving reader’s experiences at their local grocer. This is where I post my personal narratives and informative articles; I hope you’ll visit this page when you have time to read 500 words or more.
Importantly, I’m not a chef. I don’t claim to be. I do post original recipes from time to time, but more often, I post recipes I’ve adapted from those cookbooks, apps, and other food blogs I encounter during my weekly meal planning. I always give credit to the original recipe author and whenever possible, I link directly to their blog or website. I always provide a link to any cookbook I reference, to give readers the option to review and purchase it for their kitchen. If I use a recipe without making any changes, I’ll link directly to that recipe instead of re-posting it on my site. I appreciate the effort and time that recipe authors put into their culinary creations, and whenever I find something delicious, I want to share, and give that author credit.