The winner on the cooking/meal-planning/shopping app is MealBoard.

Let me start by saying that it’s not perfect. A lot of recipe sites have a bookmarklet tool that lets you post the recipe to just about anywhere, but unfortunately that just about anywhere doesn’t include MealBoard. That means that if your recipe site isn’t one of the sites that works with MealBoard, you’re going to have to cut-and-paste the details into the app. The app C uses (which is too complicated for my brain to handle) works with all the sites she likes and MealBoard doesn’t. Looks like we’ll be using two different shopping apps, but so it goes. I’m hoping, of course, that MealBoard will fix this in future versions.

And that said, it’s an awesome little tool otherwise. I spent most of the day yesterday inputting recipes that fit this crazy diet’s needs. To refresh: no grains of any sort, no eggs, no dairy, no nuts, no seeds, (including oils or flours made from both), no nightshades (including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant & peppers), no gluten, no alcohol, no coffee or black tea, no chocolate, candy, sugar, no soy… I’m not sure I got it all. But it’s crazy. Yesterday I got all excited because I realized I could spice food up with wasabi or horseradish–um, nope. The root of each product is fine but the oil and/or algae used in making them is not. But I found some fresh horseradish so I will be grating my own.

At last count, I had 98 recipes that either fit or could easily be modified to fit within this diet. And a meal plan for most of the week that is both organized, appeals to my tastes, and includes recipes that I approve. It’s very autumnal, which is a little odd when it feels so summery out, but I found all the ingredients easily at the store yesterday, so autumnal it is.

Today for lunch, I’ll be eating chicken-and-apple sausage patties and leftover cinnamon-and-ginger roasted acorn-squash and carrots. For dinner, Shepard’s pie with cauliflower topping. (I had to make homemade beef broth which is currently simmering on the stove–I could not find a single brand of store-bought beef broth that didn’t include things I couldn’t eat.) Tomorrow, I’ll have a chicken pesto zucchini noodle salad. Wednesday, coconut lime tilapia with beet, carrot, and horseradish coleslaw. Yum. I almost wish I could start eating now, but I ate leftover red snapper mixed in a mango, avocado, cucumber, red onion, coleslaw for breakfast and I’m quite stuffed.

Oh, but the app! It does the meal plan, the recipe storage, the shopping list, and the pantry recording, all within a straightforward, reasonably sensible interface. It took me a while to find some of the tricks–you have to be in edit mode to drag-and-drop items, but mostly once I found out how to do what I wanted to do, I thought, well, that’s sensible. Any time I couldn’t figure out something, it turned out to be done the easiest possible way, usually by holding the top-level icon down until a context menu with the option I wanted popped up.

My cooking tendency has always been to wander out to the kitchen at 5 or 6 or so and see what I can do with what’s on hand. It worked really well with C’s grocery-shopping style, because there were always more bits and pieces around then when I lived on my own. But I’m actually having fun with this process, which is nice and unexpected.

Part of it–in the good news/bad news sense–is that I’m already feeling better. I’m still allergic and my joints are still hurting more than I’d like, but I’ve got more energy and more focus. Yesterday was probably the most focused day I’ve had in months, where I actually concentrated intently for hours and hours. Okay, so it was on becoming the master of a meal app, but that’s still a good sign. Except, of course, that it means at least one food is never coming back into my life. The reading I’ve been doing strongly suggests that it’s going to be nightshades, but I am so, so, so not ready to contemplate a life without tomatoes, potatoes or hot sauce. On the other hand, back in May, life without bread seemed too hard and it only took a few weeks of feeling amazingly good to make bread seem a lot less appealing. I guess I’ll see.

Meanwhile, off I go to use this energy for good. Not browsing for more recipes, but maybe actually writing more than a paragraph or two!