With the holidays now only days away, we are all starting to think about the true meaning of the holidays – food and drink, and copious amounts of the stuff! Whether you are in charge of the full roast on Christmas day, or just the cranberries, having a helping hand is always appreciated.
Being the lovely people we are, we have put together a list of the best apps and accessories for both iPhone and iPad that can help your holiday season be as full flavoured and stress free as possible!
To cook award-winning holiday meals, you first need to build a good bank of ingredients. Grocery IQ from coupons.com serves as your one stop grocery list app. It has a slick interface that allows you to create custom shopping lists. You can specify separate lists for individual stores, sort lists by aisle and even scan items by barcode instead of entering manually. The app has a database of thousands of items to help you along the way and as it’s from coupons.com, it also lists any available coupons for your region. It’s a free app that delivers well on what it promises.
One of the hardest aspects of cooking any meal is timing, this is even more the case when it comes to the Christmas dinner! If you are someone who struggles to remember when something finishes cooking or when you need to put the next item on, then CookIt is for you. CookIt is a cooking countdown application which allows a user to time a cooked meal to perfection.
You start by entering each of the items you wish to cook, along with their cooking time. The application will then work out when each item is due to be started. A timer and notification system makes sure you are keeping track with the schedule.
At $0.99 this app really is worth its weight in gold and might just save you from eating charcoal on Christmas day!
Epicurious is the go-to name in iPhone and iPad recipe apps. It has been about for a couple of years now and has won numerous awards including ‘Best Mobile Application 2009’ as voted by American Society of Magazine Editors. Opening the app you can really see why. The app has a clear and bright interface, clearly laid out menus and is a lot of fun to use. You can browse thousands of recipes, view seasonal menu ideas as well as create easy shopping lists from your ingredients. As it’s free, it’s a bit of a no brainer – get this app now!
Gourmet Live is made by Conde Nast; the same people behind the aforementioned Epicurious. With such a great track record they are building a strong name for themselves in the world of culinary apps. Where Epicurious is a recipe app to aid you with your cooking, Gourmet Live is a beautiful magazine to offer inspiration and new ideas. It is presented well, offering fast loading – high-resolution imagery, well written copy and mouth-watering recipes. You can save recipes for later use, and over time you can build up your own iPad base recipe book. It’s free, so well worth a look!
After eating the 3-ton turkey and the millionth roast potato, there is nothing better than a good coffee to finish the meal. Intelligentsia Coffee acts as your guide through the vast world of coffees. It offers information on flavor, growing conditions and more. The app also offers advice on brewing best practice – it even includes a brew timer! If coffee is your thing, then check it out!
Wall Mounting your iPad
I have mentioned before my love of iPad wall mounting when reviewing the Wallee earlier this year. Having your iPad just there when you are working makes the experience feel more whole. Having it on the wall also keeps it our of harms reach from splashes etc. Since my previous article, a multitude of iPad mounting solutions have come onto the market. Here’s our top 3:
1. The Wallee (Pictured) – If you like having a case on your iPad permanently, then the Wallee makes the perfect mounting solution. There are two parts to the solution: a well-fitting hard case that has a cross-shaped hole in the back and then a complimentary x shaped dock that the iPad slides onto. Once installed the Wallee works perfectly, just slide the iPad (with case) onto the bracket, turn and you are done. It works in both portrait and landscape modes.
The Wallee is available direct from the manufacturer for $49 with free worldwide shipping.
2. The PadTab – A solution comprising a thin plastic bracket that fits snugly on the back of the iPad and a companion plastic block that goes on your wall/fridge/cupboard door. A key benefit over the Wallee is that it requires no drilling and no external case. The PadTab is fairly unobtrusive and would work very well with a home audio/video setup as well as for the occasional kitchen recipe.
The PadTab is available direct from the manufacturer for $29.99 with free worldwide shipping on orders of $49 until Christmas
3. Pad Bracket – The Pad Bracket is a solution that differs from the previous two. It requires nothing to be attached to the iPad itself, only a small bracket drilled into the wall. This is a massive win in my book as it means that the 90% of the time my iPad is not on the wall it can be as John Ive intended. Another winning feature is that it will hold your iPhone too – something that none of the others can offer
The Pad Bracket is available direct from the manufacturer for $19.99 with special offers on multiple purchases.
Cooking Outside with iGrill
Here in the UK, temperatures over the holiday season are rarely above freezing, but if you are lucky enough to be somewhere warmer, your cooking routine on Christmas day might be slightly different – If you would rather barbecue than baste, then iGrill is the solution for you. It is a temperature monitor that connects to your iPhone over bluetooth and allows you to monitor how your turkey is doing without leaving your guests. IGrill also offers cooking time suggestions as well as barbecue recipe ideas. It’s a really great use of the iPhone and a clever and innovative product.
Keeping your iDevice safe when cooking
This last one isn’t really an app or standard accessory, but as our friends over at TUAW recently pointed out, the 1-gallon Ziploc makes the perfect iPad partner when cooking. Your device will fit snugly inside, protecting it from splashes, all the while still giving you control. The iPad’s capacitive touchscreen is still usable even with the bag over it.
If you are the messy or nervous type, this simple and cheap solution could save you from an expensive accident come Christmas day!
Personally speaking, the iPad and iPhone have changed the way I cook. Gone are the cookery books and reams of paper. The have been replaced by something much better, the iPad and iPhone have bought my cooking into the 21 century and when matched with great apps and accessories, they become true Christmas cooking companions.