New: Share Grocery Lists and Menu Plans in your Household!

Use the free Grocery List and Menu Planner and share with other members of your household
See the latest changes your spouse makes to your family list — save time and money! Instantly share with other members of your household, and never forget another item.

Is there more than one grocery shopper in your home? Perhaps you’re at work, and your spouse is headed to the grocery store, and their idea of what to get at the grocery store isn’t the same as your own.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could all share a common grocery list, so that whenever either of you are at the store, everyone would see the list? Wouldn’t it be convenient to simply add recipes onto the household list, have all the items sorted by aisle, and just tell your spouse to simply check the free app for the list when at the store?

Starting today, you can do all that, and it’s free.

Share your list and menu plan easily.

Today, BigOven announces the immediate beta availability of shared grocery lists and menu plans for households for our mobile apps and website. This new feature allows multiple separate BigOven logins (free or Pro) to view and change a shared grocery list, once simple permissions have been set up.  This list is available anywhere, anytime.

It is free to all members and in beta now. It works across the web, iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone.

Now any home can use a common grocery list and menu plan

If you’re married, or have a significant other, or simply have one or more roommates, it saves time and money to share a common grocery list. This lets each of you add items to the list wherever you like, and then, when the other person is at the grocery store, they’ll see the full list of items. No need to call, text or go home to grab the list off the fridge. It’s right there on your phone on the free BigOven app, or your wherever the closest web browser is.

BigOven grocery lists are flexible. You can add whatever you’d like to a BigOven grocery list. Line-items don’t have to be part of a recipe, but you can also add entire recipes at a time, or generate a grocery list from a date range of recipes on your menu planner. Items are automatically grouped for you by aisle. You can add items to your list from the web and it’ll be updated on all devices that share that list.

Easily share your grocery list and menu planner across accounts
Easily share your grocery list and menu planner across accounts

Easy Setup

Household sharing is easy to set up. Simply choose someone in the household to own the master list and plan, sign into the BigOven website, and do this:

  1. Visit your Account Settings on the web (http://www.bigoven.com/account/me)
  2. Click on the “Account” tab
  3. Scroll down to “Household” and enter the email address of the person you’d like to invite.
  4. The person you’re inviting will receive an email. If they are not yet a BigOven member, they will be asked to get a BigOven account and download the app if they aren’t yet a member. You might want to separately contact them and show them the app.

Once the invitee accepts your invitation, you will all be using the same grocery list and menu plan in the apps and the website. That’s it!  You can invite multiple people to share your list and menu plan.

Add items once, see the changes everywhere

With BigOven, everything syncs and is changeable everywhere. Make a change on your iPhone and it’s available on the web. Add items to the web grocery list at work, and it’ll show up on your wife’s Android device. You get the idea.

Tips

Though you will be sharing the same grocery list and menu planner, you will not be sharing the same recipe library, favorites, folders, etc. This is intentional. You have your favorites, and the other household member may have theirs.

As of this writing, we do not send out notifications when changes are made to the list. But we could. (Would you like us to add a push notification to you when this happens? Let us know in the blog comments below.)

To see your list, simply load (or reload) the grocery list and menu planner to see the current state of the world. If you know there might be changes that have just happened (for instance, your spouse is adding items as you’re driving to the store), you should refresh your list manually before you begin.

Forcing a refresh of the grocery list:

  • On the web, you can see the latest simply by reloading the page.
  • On iPhone and Android, tug down on the grocery list to force a refresh. On Android and Windows Phone, simply navigate away from the grocery list and back to it to force a refresh.)

Unlinking Accounts

Change your mind? Move on from the household? You can easily unlink yourself from other members by clicking the “Revoke” button. This will send them an email and immediately unlink your grocery list and menu planners, reverting you each to your own private lists and plans.

We’re listening.

We want to hear from you! This feature is one of your most common feature requests. What do you think? Our goal is to be the most-used, best-loved app for home cooks. What could make it better?  Add a comment below, or jot us a note.

Troubleshooting Tips

Notice a bug? If your list is out of sync, make sure you’ve forced a refreshed the view on your device (see above). One thing to know is that the website always reflects the latest version of your grocery list, at www.bigoven.com/grocery. So first, try check the list using both logins on a web browser; they should both be the same if the accounts are linked. Check the Account Settings area on both logins (Account Settings > Account area) to ensure they’re linked. If you’re still encountering difficulties, let us know by posting in the comments below, or jotting us a note.

Get the App

The award-winning BigOven apps are free on iTunes, Google Play and the Windows Phone Marketplace.



 

 

Improved Profile Page – A Great Way To Share Your Favorites with Friends & Family

Ever have a friend ask you for a recipe? BigOven makes it simple to organize and share your favorite creations.

Every time you add, favorite (heart) or mark “try” (by clicking the paperclip) a recipe on either the free BigOven apps or on BigOven.com, the recipe is placed onto your personal profile page.

Where’s your profile page?  It can be found by signing into www.bigoven.com and choosing “My Profile” from the dropdown list (see image below.)  You'll find "My Profile" on the navigation bar when you're signed in.

You’ll find “My Profile” on the navigation bar when you’re signed in.

Your profile page has the form http://www.bigoven.com/user/{username}. For instance, mine can be found at http://www.bigoven.com/user/stevemur.  Other than a few test recipes that I add every now and then in helping to develop the BigOven platform, this page is an accurate reflection of the recipes I want to try, or that I know and love. I can look up my favorite ways to prepare mussels when they are fresh in the store.  I can easily make a Menu Plan for the upcoming week, or build grocery lists, sorted by aisle, from my favorite recipes.  And, when I get asked for a recipe, I can simply share this page with friends.

If you want to find our family’s favorite chicken recipes, simply visit my profile page and search on “chicken” (see callout #1 below). This searches just my recipes for all the chicken dishes. When I’m signed in, I can choose “Edit Profile” (callout #2) to change the header image, update my short blurb, my profile picture or other account settings.

The share icon in the upper left (callout #3) lets me share this page easily via Facebook, Twitter:

Share button on my profile page
Share button on my profile page

We’ve just enhanced the speed of this page, so searches should return fairly quickly.  If you’re a cook and want to share your own family’s cookbook, just share this page!

my-recipes-page

Chicken Teriyaki Recipes

Search Tips: Finding the perfect recipe

Part of our Getting Started with BigOven blog series

One important job we have here at BigOven is putting you in touch with just the right recipe, as quickly and conveniently as possible.  At this writing, there are over 350,000 public recipes in the archive, with hundreds of thousands more stored privately*, and hundreds more being added every day.  So how do you make sure you’re finding the best one?

You'll find the search box at the top of every BigOven.com page.

You’ll find the search box at the top of every BigOven.com page.

The short answer is that you can use BigOven like a Google for recipes:  simply look at the top of any page on www.bigoven.com, type your search term and press return, and you’ve generally got the recipe you’re looking for on the first page.  But it goes way beyond Google, since the recipe results are actionable and mobile — you can build up your own collection, store them in folders*, make grocery lists, menu plans and much more.

But it can also help to know the nitty-gritty of how BigOven recipe search and sorting works.  So I wanted to take a moment to explain that, and provide a few tips to help you locate the right recipes straightaway.

Search Tips

  • BigOven’s default search is a title search.  That is, BigOven first looks in the recipe’s title for the search keywords you enter.  In the image above, I’ve entered “chicken teriyaki”, and the keyword(s) I entered are echoed back to me at the top of the search results page (marker 1 in the image above.)
  • If you go to BigOven and type “chicken teriyaki”, it will first display a list of all the recipes that have some form of the word “teriyaki” and “chicken” in the recipe title.  This restriction is by design.  With an October 2014 update, the keywords you enter no longer need to be a precise match — for instance, a search for “stir fries” will show recipes for “chicken stir fry” in the title.
  • Our usability tests indicate that the vast majority of times, people enter (parts of) recipe titles into the search boxes, so defaulting to title-based search often yields great results right away.  But there are some searches (for instance, an ingredient or technique-based search (“oranges peanuts beef”), or an appliance/technique search (“slow cooker chicken”).  For these types of searches, be sure to click the “Broaden Search” button (marker 3) before evaluating the results.
  • The search results page will show you the number of recipes found (2) and tell you the default sort order, as well as the number of recipes in each course (main dish, appetizers, etc.) (5).
  • Noise words like “the”, “for”, “recipe”, “is”, and “dish” will be ignored.
  • You can broaden the search by clicking the “Broaden search” button (3) that lives at the top of the search results.  This will execute another search, examining the entire recipe, including instructions, title, ingredients, and more.  On that “broad search” page, you’re also offered the one-click “narrow search” option, to go back to a title-based search, so you can toggle back and forth between them.
  • Power-user tip:  You may notice that there are regular, predictable URLs that are generated for “title” search and “anywhere” search.  A search for chicken teriyaki recipes by title looks like this:  http://www.bigoven.com/recipes/chicken%20teriyaki/title.  A search for recipes with the words “chicken” or “teriyaki” anywhere in the recipe document looks like this:  http://www.bigoven.com/recipes/chicken%20teriyaki/best.
  • You can search for a particular cook’s recipes by including their username in the search, but you must click that “broaden the search” button to see them.  (And you will not see the recipes they post privately, unless you’re signed in as them.)

What about sort order?  You might think a great way to sort is simply to sort them by average rating, highest-first. In our usability tests, we find that many people, particularly those brand-new to BigOven, expect this sort order, so we’ve made it one click away (3).

However, we don’t think average-rating-descending is the best sort order for most situations.

Why not?  Well, let’s say you’re looking for Apple Pie. For one thing, we think you’d first want your Apple Pie (the one your grandmother used to make) first on your list, regardless of what the star rating is, followed by all other Apple Pies.  And then, we don’t think that an Apple Pie recipe that has, let’s say — just a single 5-star rating from one cook — deserves to sort higher than a recipe that averages 4.98/5 from 6,000+ cooks.

  • So instead, BigOven uses a sophisticated sort-ordering system to try to present you the best and most relevant recipes for your query first.  Among other things, BigOven will always first show you the recipes that you’ve added which meet your search terms first in any search result.  So, if you’ve added a recipe for grilled chicken, your grilled chicken will sort above all other recipes.  We also take into account the average review, the number of people giving it high marks, the presence of a photo, how many people want to try it, our editorial assessment of photo quality, the relevance to your keywords, and more.  These rankings are changing all the time, which over time helps bring the cream to the top.
  • You can change the default sort order, and refine your search further by clicking the “Refine or Sort” button (4) on the right hand side of the page.  Doing this will open up an advanced search filter — just enter the terms you want to apply and press Update.

Looking for a recipe that you’ve added, or marked “Try”, saved to a Folder*, or made before?  Rather than searching, you might want to head over to your “My Recipes” area, found by clicking the open book in the toolbar:

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.27.03 AM

This is often the quickest way to find a recipe you’ve added, marked favorite, try soon, or made.  On any of those sections, just click the appropriate folder and then start typing a keyword from the recipe title, as you’ll see in the brief video below:

Did you mean “Chicken Teriyaki”?

BigOven now offers suggestions for simple typos.  For instance, if you type in “chicken terriyaki” [sic], BigOven.com will suggest the correct spelling, and give you a handy link to the corrected search term:

It's not "chicken terriyaki", it's "chicken teriyaki"
It’s not “chicken terriyaki”, it’s “chicken teriyaki”

To our friends abroad — we use the generally accepted American spelling.  (Sorry mates, we had to agree on a convention, and that’s where 70%+ of our cooks are… :-))

Learn More about Ingredients and Techniques at Bottom of Page

You’ll also find links to helpful articles at the bottom of the search page — so, for instance, your chicken teriyaki search includes links to articles on chicken (storage tips, freshness tips, what the various USDA Grades of chicken mean, etc.), as well as teriyaki sauce:

teriyaki-learn-more

Bonus: Look for Related Cooking Tip at the Page Footer

We love learning and sharing cooking tips.

At the bottom of your search, you may find a tip related to ingredients in your search.  In the case of our search for “chicken teriyaki,” BigOven shares the following tip about chicken:

“Tip: For crispy chicken skin, sprinkle salt over the chicken the day before you plan on cooking it. Leave the chicken uncovered on a plate in the fridge so the air and salt can draw out excess water.”

There you have it!  A few explanatory bits about how BigOven recipe search works.  Questions or comments?  Leave them in the reply area, below.  Happy cooking!

*Private recipes and recipe folders are a feature of BigOven Pro membership, which removes all ads and unlocks special features.

 

Organize your recipes in the cloud and on your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone!

Adding Recipes: How to Get All Your Recipes Organized in the Cloud, on your Phone and iPad (Tutorial)

Part of our Getting Started with BigOven blog series

Few things are more frustrating for the home cook than the “I know that recipe is somewhere around here” feeling. Getting your recipes organized in one searchable location in the cloud gives you the power to find just what to make, whether you’re at the grocery store looking for inspiration,  planning the week’s meals, or at the kitchen counter needing a quick reminder about a particular recipe’s steps.

BigOven was built from the ground-up to be the best recipe organizer for home cooks. And it all begins with building up your personal recipe collection.

You can have fun with BigOven without adding a single recipe of your own — you can simply browse through BigOven’s 350,000+ recipes (we’d recommend you start with the Seasonal Recipe Collections, a hand-picked set of recipes from our editors) and click the paperclip icon on recipes you’d like to Try.

But every home cook has their own library of family favorites; you can add your own recipes in one of five easy ways, and we strongly encourage you to get your favorites online!

Take these Simple Steps to Organize Your Recipes

1)  First, Join BigOven:  Visit https://www.bigoven.com and click “Join”.  Basic membership is free; Pro membership unlocks full recipe organizing features, removes all ads and costs just $1.99/month or $19.99/year.  You only need one account, and Pro membership is unlocked across all your points of service.  (The mobile apps are available for Android, Android Tablet, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire and NOOK, and are all free.)

2) Add your recipes:  Click “+ Add Recipe” to bring up the 4 handy ways to add recipes:

2014-10-27_9-39-47

Adding Recipes to BigOven

You can add recipes in one of five easy ways: by (a) typing them into the form, (b) copying and pasting from Word or text recipes, (c) clipping them from one of dozens of food websites,  (d) letting BigOven transcribe a photograph of a written recipe, or (e) importing from an existing recipe software program.

Add recipes to the cloud in one of 4 easy ways
Add recipes to the cloud in one of 4 easy ways

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

a) Type Recipes into BigOven

The most straightforward way to add recipes is to simply type the recipe into the Add Recipe form, located at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/post.

b) Copy and Paste from Word or a Text Document

If you’ve already got recipes in digital format, you’ll probably find our “Copy and Paste Import” option the easiest method.  To use this method:

  • Go to the source material, select the area of text (the entire source recipe) using the mouse and press ctrl-c (on Windows) or command-C (Mac), or choose “Edit” then “Copy” from the menu, to copy the full recipe text to the clipboard.
  • Visit Copy and Paste Import at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/quickimport
  • Highlight the Step 1 box and press ctrl-v (on Windows) or command-v (Mac) to paste in the recipe text.
  • Highlight just the recipe title in the textbox and press the “Title =>” button
  • Highlight just the recipe ingredients block and press the “Ingredients=>” button
  • Repeat the above process for all the key elements of the recipe — Title, Ingredients, Summary, Source URL, etc.
  • When done, press “Save”

This method will save a lot of retyping, and recipes can generally be entered in about a minute using this method.  To try it out, visit Copy and Paste Recipe Import at http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/quickimport

c) Clip from Food Websites

BigOven’s Recipe Clipper lets you import recipes from dozens of popular cooking websites by clicking a button on your toolbar.  It’s free.

  • Get the Recipe Clipper and drag it onto your “Favorites” toolbar in IE, Chrome or Firefox
  • Visit the the website(s) with the recipes you’d like to clip
  • When you see a recipe detail page of one you’d like to remember, click the “Add to BigOven” button.
  • Review the ready-to-save information on the Recipe Add screen (you’ll be asked to categorize the recipe for later use) and click “Save” at the bottom of the page.

d) Snap a photo and let BigOven transcribe it for you

Do you have recipes in handwritten form, or magazine or newspaper clippings in a notebook, and want to let someone else do the data-entry?

You might find it easiest to pay BigOven to transcribe them for you.  Simply get out your smartphone, tablet, digital camera or scanner and snap photos of the recipes, and upload them to BigOven’s RecipeScan service.  On the web, you can visit BigOven’s RecipeScan transcription service, or, if you have one of the free BigOven recipe apps, click “Add Recipe > Import via RecipeScan” and upload it that way.

As a free member, you’re given 3 RecipeScan credits to try.  RecipeScan credits can be purchased for just $0.59 apiece if purchased in volume (100 RecipeScan credits), or $0.99 apiece in lower volume.

e)  Bulk upload recipes from desktop software (advanced)

Do you have recipes in Mastercook (MX2) or Mealmaster (MMF) format?  You might be able to use BigOven for Windows to import them locally into BigOven for Windows and then use the Cloud Uploader tool to upload them to your account.  (BigOven Pro membership required.)  To do this, download the free BigOven for Windows desktop recipe software, and then use File > Import to import recipes from MXP, MX2 or MMF format into a new BigOven recipe box.  From there, you can post the recipes (one by one) to BigOven.com, or use the free BigOven Cloud Upload tool to upload your .CRB recipe box to BigOven.  Note that if you have recipes in Mastercook binary (.MC2 or .MC) format, you’ll first need to load Mastercook and select the recipes you’d like to export, and export them to MMF or MX2 format.

Great!  Now you’ve got your recipes online.  Now what?

Once you’ve entered your recipes into BigOven, your life as a home cook is made much easier!

Just sign in to any web browser with your login, and your “My Recipes” dashboard will be right there for you.  You should also take a minute to download the FREE BigOven recipe app for your mobile platform(s) at http://www.bigoven.com/mobile or Google Play, the Apple App Store, the Amazon Marketplace, or Windows Phone Marketplace.

Consider these examples:

  • When you’re out at the grocery store, look for what’s on sale, or what’s freshest, and then search your library for recipes featuring that ingredient.  Click the grocery cart button, and BigOven will make you a list of the ingredients you need to make that recipe.
  • Recipes you’ve added will always sort to the top of your searches, whenever you’re signed in.  That is, if you’ve added your Apple Pie, that recipe will sort to the top when you search for “Apple Pie”, ahead of all other matching recipes.
  • Share your recipes with friends and family by simply sharing the URL http://www.bigoven.com/myrecipes/{your-username}
  • Plan shopping trips in advance to save time and money.  On Sundays, whip out the BigOven Menu Planner on your tablet, phone, or web (http://www.bigoven.com/plan) and drag and drop recipes from your “My Recipes” area to the calendar.  Then just click the “Make a grocery list” button, highlight the days you’d like to add, and BigOven will generate a ready-to-go grocery list for you!
  • Eat healthier. BigOven generates nutritional facts for all your recipes.  You can tailor long-time family favorites to be more healthy if you’d like.  To see the nutrition facts (Pro membership required), simply visit the recipe detail and click “Nutrition”.  For instance, a nutrition heatmap for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto looks like this (below.)  It’s easy to see where the calories, protein and sodium come from!
  • Create a folder for each member of the household.  BigOven Pro membership unlocks the Recipe Folders feature, letting you organize recipes into folders.  These folders can be organized however you like — one useful trick is to create a folder containing the favorite recipes of each member of the household that you cook for.  Then, it’s easy to make them something special when it’s just the two of you!
Nutrition for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto
Nutrition for Artichoke Mushroom Risotto
  • Take your recipes with you, wherever you go.  As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, or access to the web, your recipes are right there with you:  at the grocery store, at a friend’s house, at relatives while visiting, on summer vacation… wherever you want them, whenever you want them.

Get recipes organized as a gift for someone else!

Thinking this might be a good gift for a cook you know?  Go ahead and create an account on their behalf (using your own email address), enter the recipes, then, when the gift-giving time approaches, simply contact BigOven’s support desk, and we’ll be happy to help you transfer ownership of that account to someone else. It makes a great holiday gift: your recipient will save time, save money, and have more fun in the kitchen.