Frequently Asked Questions
What is Kitchen Monki?
Kitchen Monki is a productivity tool to help you be a better cook. First, it allows you to organize your recipes in one place. Second, it helps automate preparation of your grocery list based on recipes you've selected. Third, it allows you to share easily recipes with your friends, expanding your repertoire.
What does it mean to Connect with Facebook?
Facebook has made available to sites like Kitchen Monki the ability for your Facebook profile to also be your Kitchen Monki profile. This saves having to remember multiple passwords, and also makes it easy to access your Facebook friends from within Kitchen Monki. When you use Facebook as your Kitchen Monki profile, it's easy to share recipes with Facebook friends, and to invite other Facebook friends to participate on Kitchen Monki. When friends make comments on your recipes, you'll see it in your Facebook news feed.
How do I find recipes?
Many users make their recipes public, so even if you haven't added any recipes to Kitchen Monki, you can find others' recipes. The Recipe Explorer is where you'll do most of your exploring. If you're familiar with iTunes, much of the Recipe Explorer will make sense. Here are some tips for using the Recipe Explorer:
Columns in the recipe table are sortable. Click once and the recipes will be sorted by that column. Click again and the sort order is reversed. To quickly find a recipe, start typing something about that recipe in the Quick Filter box. After a brief pause, Kitchen Monki will seek to match what you typed, searching in the title, description, instructions, and ingredients. To select a particular subset of recipes, use the controls on the left hand side, in the tabs labeled Where, Categories, and Ingredients. This is where you can, for example, select "Dinner" and "Entre" under the Categories tab and browse just those recipe types. When I find a recipe, what can I do with it?
Each line of the Recipe Explorer starts with a "+" sign labeled "Expand." When you click on that, you'll get to see more details about the recipe, including a set of buttons for actions to perform. Your most common buttons will be to View the recipe, Print the recipe, or Add to Recipe Queue.
What is the Recipe Queue?
Adding a recipe to your Recipe Queue (or simply "Queue") is the first step in preparing to shop. The Kitchen Monki Grocery List Manager will prompt you for all the ingredients required for all the recipes in your Recipe Queue. In the Recipe Explorer, recipes that have been added to your Recipe Queue appear with a yellow background in the table.
When a Recipe is in your Recipe Queue, you can also use the Meal Planner to add it to a calendar. Using the Meal Planner is completely optional. If I'm preparing to shop for one or two meals, I simply go straight to the Grocery List Manager without worrying about the calendar.
Once a recipe is in your Recipe Queue, you might want to adjust the number of servings you plan to make. By adjusting the servings, you are telling Kitchen Monki to scale the recipe up or down to buy more or fewer ingredients when you go shopping.
On the Recipe Explorer, you can click the Manage Queue button and see everything that's in your Queue. This window gives you some shortcuts to view and print, and also allows you to clear. If you've already shopped for recipes in your Queue, you'll want to clear it before adding new recipes.
What happens when I click on a recipe?
Everywhere you see a recipe name in Kitchen Monki, it should appear as an underlined link. When you click on that link, a menu of actions appears, listing things you can do with that recipe. The actions listed for that recipe may be different depending upon where you are in Kitchen Monki.
Within the Recipe Explorer, the common actions include View, Print, Edit Sharing, and Add to Queue. When you are on the Meal Planner or Grocery List Manager, one of the actions is to Adjust Servings, to make a bigger or smaller batch.
How do I add recipes?
Use the Add Recipe wizard to add recipes. In order to power the cool features of Kitchen Monki, such as automated shopping list preparation, you will need to add your recipes in a more structured format than you may normally use. This is what allows Kitchen Monki to aggregate multiple recipes into a common shopping list even when they have overlapping ingredients. We also think that our structured recipe format is easier to read and follow than what is often found in printed recipes. The Add Recipe wizard has detailed instructions available right on each screen to help you learn about using this feature. After adding a few recipes, we believe you'll get in the hang of it and never want to go back!
Are there any tips for adding recipes?
Remember that a Kitchen Monki recipe can help drive your shopping list. With this in mind, we like to make sure our recipes include everything you might possibly use for the recipe. So when we make a recipe for hamburgers, we include all our favorite condiments (e.g. ketchup, mustard, relish) so that when we shop for that recipe, we remember to check for everything. You might also, for example, include cupcake papers in your cupcake recipe so you don't forget those.
When adding ingredients, also remember that Kitchen Monki maintains a large database of standard ingredients behind the scenes. When you start to type an ingredient, Kitchen Monki will start to suggest ingredients that match what you're typing. Whenever possible, make a selection from the suggested list. This is what allows Kitchen Monki to aggregate ingredients across recipes on your grocery list, or allows you to search for recipes using specific ingredients. Kitchen Monki will allow you to use your own names, but when you do so, it won't be able to perform the detailed searches and shopping list aggregation. The same concept applies to units of measure. If a recipe calls for "cups" of flour, choose "cup" from the suggested unit of measure.
We prefer to view our recipes in a "banded" format where the ingredients used in a step are listed alongside the instructions for that step. Many recipes list ingredients in one long list and instructions in a series of paragraphs, making it hard to read. When you type your instruction steps in Kitchen Monki, you can check off which ingredients are used at that step, creating an organized, readable format.
How do I share recipes?
Recipes in Kitchen Monki can be Private, Public, or Shared with Specific Friends. Like the name implies, Public recipes will be available to all users and will be discoverable by search engines. Importantly, public recipes may also be shared with users on Facebook. We encourage users to make their favorites available to others. Private recipes are viewable only by you. You may wish to enter private recipes to help you with planning and shopping, but which may be too trivial to share. Nothing stops you, for example, from adding a recipe called "Breakfast Staples" that loads your shopping list with your favorite cereals. You can share a recipe with Specific Friends for that family secret you want to keep close, or that recipe you're still testing to make perfect.
Can I make a meal calendar?
The Meal Planner is where you can plan ahead and organize your cooking onto a calendar. When you open the Meal Planner, you'll see a table where the days of the current week are in columns and the various meals are in rows. You can navigate forward using the "Next Week" button and backwards with the "Previous Week" button. Days in the past are grayed out.
You can put meals onto your calendar in a couple different ways. First, all the recipes in your current Recipe Queue are listed in the table at the top of the page. You'll note that when you hover over one of those recipes, the cursor changes to a hand. This tells you that you can click and drag that recipe onto the calendar table for the day and meal you want. If something isn't yet in your queue, you can use the Quick Queue Add box to find it.
If you placed the recipe into the wrong box, or if you changed your mind, you can grab the recipe again and drag it to a new box. To remove it, either click on the "X" in front of the recipe, or drag it and drop it outside the box.
Some days and meals you'll eat something that doesn't require a recipe. If you plan to eat leftovers on Monday night, for example, you can click on the Note icon and type in "leftovers." Use this for meals out, too, if you want.
What is Cooking News?
Kitchen Monki allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds from your favorite food sites or blogs. RSS feeds, also called "syndicated content" on the web, allow you to create a custom page of news items within Kitchen Monki. We included this in Kitchen Monki so that all our food-related news was in one place, and we could keep separate our business, politics, and other news.
If you wish to add a news feed, you'll need to find the XML address for that feed, and submit it on the Manage Feeds page. Please feel free to suggest news feeds. Remember, however, that not all cooking sites publish RSS feeds.
What's a Quick Meal?
If you're like us, sometimes we don't make cooking plans until the last minute. Let the Quick Meal wizard help inspire you. To use the Quick Meal wizard, simply start by choosing the meal (lunch, dinner), number of people, time constraint, and the wizard will start suggesting recipes. You can hit the "Shuffle" button, and like a slot machine, you'll get a new set of suggestions.
The wizard will walk you through your entre, salad, sides, and dessert. Skip a course if you wish. Click on a recipe, and one of your action items is "Pick" to add that item to your Quick Meal.
When you're done, Kitchen Monki will format a print package that includes all your recipes and a grocery list, so you can run out the door.
What happens on the My Retailers screen?
As part of automating grocery list preparation, Kitchen Monki can keep track of all the stores at which you shop. You can even split your grocery list up across more than one store, and Kitchen Monki will print separate lists. We also let you set up more than one location, which is convenient when you sometimes shop near a vacation home or family member's home.
We have included this feature because we often shop at more than one store. In a later release, we plan to allow users to create store mappings so that your grocery list is printed in the order that you'll find ingredients in your own store.
You should first set up your locations. Every user has a default location for Home. For each location, you can use a zip code and a search term to find your store. Add those stores you'd like Kitchen Monki to remember.
How do I create a grocery list?
The Grocery List Manager is one of the most powerful features of Kitchen Monki. The basic concept is that you begin with an empty list on the right hand side of the Grocery List Manager page. You add things to that list in a variety of ways, as described below.
Most people start by examining the suggestions in the Shopping from Queue tab. On this tab, you'll see all the ingredients to make every recipe in your Recipe Queue. Suggested ingredients appear in two lists. Think of the top list as your "fresh" items that you always have to buy. Think of the bottom list as your "staples" that you normally stock in your pantry or refrigerator. In a future release, we'll let you customize your fresh versus stock settings. You can add items to the list one at a time using the Add button next to that item. Or you can add all the suggested items to your list using the "Add All Non-Skipped Ingredients" button.
How do I use Quick Add?
We know you buy stuff that's not just for recipes, though. Kids snacks, drinks, and household products don't derive from recipes. For this reason, Kitchen Monki provides three other ways to add items to your grocery list. First, above the right hand side of the page, you'll see a text box labeled Quick Add. If you start typing an item in that box, Kitchen Monki will try to complete your entry with suggested items. Pick one and press the Add to List button. You can also find a version of the Quick Add on the dashboard.
The Ingredient Search tab works like the Quick Add, but gives you a more complete list of items that matches your search term. Items found by using the Ingredient Search tab are ranked by those you most frequently add to grocery lists.
What are Archived Lists?
Another way to add items to your grocery list is to refer to Archived Lists. Every time you print a grocery list in Kitchen Monki, it saves a copy of that list, named to reflect the date you printed the list. You can rename an archived list if you want. Find your archived grocery lists on the Archived Lists tab in the Grocery List Manager. By creating a list of the items you purchase every week and giving it a name, it's easy to recall that Archived List and starting each new grocery list with these standard items.