Foodie Tuesday: Back to School with Foodie Recipes

It’s that time of year—back to school! I used to love starting a new school year every autumn because it meant new clothes, reconnecting with old friends and a fresh start. A lot of people mourn the end of summer, though, so luckily my latest app pick will satisfy everyone by inspiring vibrant, delicious packed lunches to provide brain fuel for the whole day. Foodie Recipes releases a new cookbook each month and their latest theme is Back to School: 40 Ideas for School Lunches.

Whether it’s time to send your own kids back to school or you’d like some ideas to liven up your own workday lunch, this carefully chosen collection of recipes from popular food bloggers is guaranteed to inspire. Did I mention the app (and every new edition) is free?

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Getting Started

Launch the app and land on the front page of Foodie Recipes’ latest issue: Back to School. It’s sleek, modern and fresh looking already. Swipe the screen and an introduction from Foodie Editor Ben Rhau. His words on providing his own kids with a lunchbox filled with foods they’ll actually eat are personal, thoughtful and totally relatable for any parent.

Launch the app and land on the front page of Foodie Recipes’ latest issue: Back to School, left. The letter from editor Ben Rhau about packing lunches your kids will actually eat is totally relatable for any parent, right.

Launch the app and land on the front page of Foodie Recipes’ latest issue: Back to School, left. The letter from editor Ben Rhau about packing lunches your kids will actually eat is totally relatable for any parent, right.

The app is beautifully designed for the small iPhone screen. Tap the ever present orange ribbon to reveal the table of contents and you’ll see the recipes are grouped by Snacks; Sandwiches and Flatbreads; Salads; Entrees; Sides; and Sweets. You can also download any of the past editions for free.

Tap the orange ribbon to access the table of contents, left. Back issues of Foodie Recipes are available for free download, right.

Tap the orange ribbon to access the table of contents, left. Back issues of Foodie Recipes are available for free download, right.

Each chapter contains six-eight recipes, for a total of 40 recipes in the Back to School issue. That’s a good manageable number of recipes to get you started without overwhelming you with choices. The developers have included a smart design feature: tap the screen and you can browse through all the app’s content with a small toolbar at the bottom of the screen. It gives a nice bird’s eye view and allows users to jump to areas of interest.

The Recipes

Perusing the recipes is like flipping through the pages of a magazine. Each dish is attractively photographed and the images are perfectly sized for the iPhone’s screen. The beautiful thing about blogger recipes is that they’re creative takes on old classics and simple, cooked from-scratch techniques that seem totally do-able on a weekday. Snacks involve making your own trail mix, crackers, chips and granola bars. Actual prep time is never more than 20 minutes (often as little as five) and the oven is called in to do most of the work.

The Snacks chapter is full of quick and easy treats you can make at home rather than buy.

The Snacks chapter is full of quick and easy treats you can make at home rather than buy.

Each recipe feature the name of the blogger and their website, which you can select to view. It would be nice if the app included a one-liner to introduce the blogger as well to give the recipe a bit more context and meaning.

You can go with a classic sandwich or push your skills and try something new like sushi rolls or homemade fruit leather.

You can go with a classic sandwich or push your skills and try something new like sushi rolls or homemade fruit leather.

Foodie Recipes has done a great job of including diverse flavors from all over the globe and pushing you to step outside of your comfort zone and try a new technique. Sure, you’ll find classics like potato salad and snickerdoodle cookies, but you’ll also why not try Shirmp Spring Rolls with Hoisin Peanut Dip or Kimbap sushi rolls?

The salad recipes are a good mix of updated classics and fresh, modern recipes. Many dishes, like Chickpea salad, will improve in flavor as they marinate and taste best at room temperature- so practical!

The salad recipes are a good mix of updated classics and fresh, modern recipes. Many dishes, like Chickpea salad, will improve in flavor as they marinate and taste best at room temperature- so practical!

Salads include updated healthier versions of classic recipes (Pineapple Coleslaw, Healthy Potato Salad and Healthy Tuna Salad) as well as some sure to be new favorites like Blackened Green Bean, and Quinoa Salad and Lentil Salad. The great thing is that these dishes will only improve in flavor as they marinate in the lunchbox and taste best at room temperature.

Some of the Entrees and Sides aren’t super practical for a kid’s lunchbox because they’re best served hot (who wants to eat cold, limp asparagus?), but the hearty soups are perfect for pouring into a thermos as the days get cooler.

Some of the Entrees and Sides aren’t super practical for a kid’s lunchbox because they’re best served hot (who wants to eat cold, limp asparagus?), but the hearty soups are perfect for pouring into a thermos as the days get cooler.

A few of the Entrees and Sides are dishes best served hot, which doesn’t quite fit in with the “packed lunch for your kid” theme, but they look delicious nonetheless. The app does include a handful of hearty soups that are perfect for pouring into a thermos as the days grow cooler. Recipes such as Kale and White Bean or Roasted Carrot Soup sound interesting, but does any user really need another recipe for chicken soup?

Cooking with the App

A major strength of the recipes is that even though they come from a variety of websites around the world, all instructions and ingredient lists are standardized. At a glance you know immediately how long the dish is going to take to prepare and how many servings it yields.

The recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow.

The recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow.

You can also share a link to the full recipe with your friends via all major social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as print or email. The app is more like a magazine than a recipe utility, though, and so you won’t find a shopping list feature or in-app timer tools.

Conclusion

At this point you may be wondering who’s behind Foodie Recipes and why is it free? Glam Media is a company that brings bloggers and advertisers together to engage consumers. They are focused on working with top bloggers producing high-quality content, and work closely with content creators to maintain a high set of standards so consumers always get the same top-notch experience. This means standardized recipe formats to make instructions easy to follow and share. It also means advertising packaged content. At this time there are no ads in the Foodie Recipes app, but I wonder if and when that will change. For now, enjoy the free recipes and absence of annoying ads. I look forward to seeing what next month’s theme will be for Foodie Recipes!


Summary

Foodie Recipes releases monthly editions of themed recipe collections by popular food bloggers in a magazine-style format.

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