Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the Cookbook and Recipe Software reviews.
Living Cookbook is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner for cookbook and recipe software because of the many conveniences it offers in and out of the kitchen. If you find a recipe you like on another website, you can easily import it into this recipe program. You can also share your favorite recipes by email or by creating your own cookbook using this application. It also comes with several tools, such as online tutorials, to help you get the most out of this recipe software. Any foodie, professional chef or aspiring cook who strives to keep an organized and well-stocked kitchen will enjoy using this recipe program.
This recipe software has the best database we have seen for organizing recipes, menus, ingredients, pantry inventory and shopping lists. By using Living Cookbook, you can import recipes from other sources, and it provides multiple ways for you to share recipes. You can email recipes right from the interface, print them on index cards or create your own electronic or print cookbook.
This recipe software has one of the best databases we have seen. You can organize all your recipes, complete with details such as where to buy ingredients, how to prepare recipes, how much ingredients cost and where you got each recipe. You can also choose to define your own recipe categories, and you can even add multimedia files (songs, images, videos, etc.) to each dish. You can organize recipes into cookbooks, folders and subfolders. Even more impressive, you have the option of assigning degrees of difficulty to recipes as well as ratings and reviews.
Living Cookbook comes with over 8,000 ingredients in its database with full nutritional information provided by the USDA. You can easily add ingredients to the database and include nutritional information. Additionally, you can add your favorite grocery store and include the exact location on the shopping aisle as well as item cost.
Another part of the recipe manager that we like is that your recipes are organized in a recipe tree on the left side of your screen. You can browse your recipes by category and subcategory, and it allows you to search recipes by specific ingredient or by nutritional content. For example, you can search for dishes high in fiber, iron or calcium, or low in carbohydrates or calories.
The opening page of Living Cookbook is very well organized. Using a basic grid menu, you can choose the appropriate area that you want to work in. The areas of this recipe program include recipes, ingredients, calendar, shopping and the help menu. Within each area, you can drill into specified categories such as Create a Recipe. This is where you can enter a new recipe to your database. Everything you need is on the front page of this recipe program.
This recipe software has a convenient calendar and a meal planner. You can save meal plans by day, week, month or even as events. You can also add mouth-watering images to your meal planner. In addition, with each meal plan, you can include links that will take you directly to the recipes you have chosen. This is particularly handy if you are planning a special event dinner, such as for a birthday or anniversary.
Another tool that we found particularly helpful is the recipe recommender. This is where the application will scan through your recipes, compare it to what you have in your pantry and provide you a list of recipes that you can make from what you already have on hand. Of course, this means that you will need to keep your pantry list updated each time you go shopping. However, it will save you hours of time and repeat trips to the grocery store for those forgotten items.
Another feature that we really liked about this recipe program is that once you set up your favorite grocery store in the database, you can print a shopping list that is categorized aisle by aisle. Once again, this will save you precious time and energy when grocery shopping. It will also help you stay focused on what is on your grocery list and avoid purchasing items you don't need.
This recipe program is easy to use because it offers the drag-and-drop method for cutting and pasting information. It also includes many tools for easy navigation, editing and securing information. It has abundant search and filter options, a database backup tool, back and forward buttons, undo and redo, copy and paste, customized print options and much more.
With this recipe software, you can adjust serving amounts on your recipe and it will do the ingredient calculations for you. You also have the ability to print your recipe onto 3 x 5 cards, 4 x 6 index cards or legal size paper. You can also create and print your full cookbook complete with a table of contents and an index. This makes it easy to exchange hard copy recipes with other cooks. The one feature we would like to see is smartphone compatibility; it would be especially handy if you could export your shopping list to your phone.
If you have any problems with your recipe software, Living Cookbook comes with comprehensive online help files that we found extremely helpful. They offer a nice list of FAQs, as well as an extensive knowledgebase. One of the support items that we particularly appreciate is the training videos they offer. We were also impressed with their automated support system. This internal system identifies problems within your recipe database and will try to fix it before you even know it exists. While Living Cookbook does offer several help options, we would like to see them add phone support to their list.
Within this recipe software, you will find a glossary of cooking terms and techniques. This is something nice to have when you have not used a specific technique for a while and need a quick refresher course. You can search for different techniques and then compare them side-by-side. To make this even more handy and useful for yourself, you can add your own images, videos or audio files to them.
With the assistance of Living Cookbook, you can create, share and import your favorite recipes. While they do not offer a smart phone app, you can still organize an extremely efficient kitchen and well-inventoried pantry with this recipe program. Additionally, you can create meal plans that satisfy specific nutritional goals or the needs of a large party. You can also create grocery lists that can streamline your shopping trips. We really think that those foodies who appreciate good organization will really enjoy using this recipe and cookbook software.
This application offers tools that will help you to manage your pantry, grocery list, meals and recipes.
This application does not currently offer a smartphone app.
Because of the large feature set, flexibility and easy-to-use interface, Living Cookbook is the best product available.