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Autumn brings about a return to routines. The leisurely days of summer are over. Kids go back to school and life becomes busier as extracurricular activities resume: after school sports and choir practice, school plays and orchestra performances. Kids aren’t the only ones caught up in the go-go-go; parents have PTA meetings to attend, gym sessions to sweat through, book clubs to host and date nights to prioritize. As the calendar fills up and we feel stretched ever thinner, gathering over a home-cooked meal becomes more difficult. We’re too busy to plan and shop, too tired to cook, too rushed to sit down for thirty minutes as a family.

Here on Foodie Friday, the month of September is dedicated to gathering around the table for a home cooked family meal. Each week I’ll be sharing an app that makes cooking at home 5 nights a week simple, easy and fun. Look for tips on sharing the workload (it’s not all on Mom’s shoulders) and getting kids involved. Find clever ideas for prepping ahead so you can get dinner on the table in minutes. Whether you’re a busy professional couple with one child or a stay-at-home parent to four, making time to gather around the table as a family is a challenge. Make a goal this month to start a new routine, with a little help from your iPad.

Keep reading to find out more about my first pick of the series.


How many productivity apps have you downloaded but don’t really use? Productivity apps are meant to make our lives easier, but it can take a bit of work to put a new planning and organization system in place. Many of us are using our iPads like printed books, failing to take advantage of all the useful features that can make our lives more organized and efficient. I downloaded the Paprika desktop app for Mac months ago, but it wasn’t until I purchased the iPad version that I truly utilized the capabilities of this cloud-based system for recipe collection, meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking in the kitchen.

Are you tired of being disorganized in the kitchen? Does poor meal planning result in eating out more often than you’d like? Have you been using Paprika to collect recipes that you never end up cooking?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading to learn how to use Paprika for iPad to make cooking at home more organized, efficient and enjoyable.


What’s the difference between an e-book and a cookbook app? I would say it comes down to useful tools and immersive design features. In the beginning, it was OK to slap recipes and pretty food photos together and call it an app. Those are the dinosaurs — the one-dimensional cookbook apps falling by the wayside as other developers create three-dimensional cooking experiences by engaging users and providing helpful tools. It’s the difference between perusing a cookbook and actually taking it into the kitchen and using it to cook something. Gone are the days when anyone can create a cookbook app out of a collection of recipes. Today, users expect cookbook apps to deliver more, especially if they paid for it.

Are you abreast on the latest evolution of cookbook apps? Do you know what features to look for? Who’s ahead of the pack, providing better functionality to make cooking a more pleasurable, efficient and delicious experience? Keep reading to find out.


Here in the United Kingdom, we are still experiencing cold, wet, and downright miserable weather even though it is almost summer. Heck, over ten inches of snow fell at the end of April, leaving my partner and I housebound for a week!

As you can probably imagine, these conditions have seriously affected my sowing schedule, and I am now frantically playing catch up, using my iPad to help stay organized. Here, I have compiled a list of ten apps that will appeal to both new and experienced gardeners alike. Click “more” to read on.


Wouldn’t it be great if the father of modern cuisine, Auguste Escoffier, were at your side offering his knowledge as you cook in the kitchen? The Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy, with the help of the Futura app developers, want to provide you with all the tools you need to be a confident cook with Escoffier Cook’s Companion. This app aims to be a handy kitchen reference guide, timer, measurement converter and more, plus it’s free. Sound too good to be true? Keep reading to find out.


Are you interested in learning about wine, but bored with droll instructional books or turned off by elite wine-tasting groups? Maybe you’re looking to better understand the foreign words on wine labels or grasp the intricacies of pairing food and wine? The learning curve to becoming a wine aficionado may seem steep, but the creators of Pocket Wine want to change that perception. The sellers, Wine Paradigm, offer their wine knowledge and experience as a model to give you an enhanced understanding of the wine world. The result is a very useful wine reference tool for iPad, loaded with in-depth information on grape varieties, wine regions and tasting notes along with an extensive glossary of wine terminology.

This app is unlike any wine app in that it claims to give you the knowledge and guidance to make your own informed decisions about wine, rather than relying on the reviews of experts or social media. Both novices and more experienced wine hobbyists will appreciate Pocket Wine, where information is presented in terms a layman can understand, without dumbing down the content.

Wine geeks, read on to begin the journey of discovering your palate and understanding grape growing regions around the globe.


In truth, the iPad was really made with one thing in mind, wasn’t it? That’s right – recipes.

I suspect that wasn’t the first thing that sprang into your mind, but it would be fair to say that, as a device, the iPad is perfect for culinary education. You can access as many recipes as you like, get information on ingredients, and browse suggestions for recipes to try.

Or, at least, that should be the case. Unfortunately, many food apps feel like cash-ins, simply providing a vaguely more interactive version of the over-priced hardback books already available.

It would seem that legendary restaurateur Alain Ducasse and his team have set out to do something different with their app, My Culinary Encyclopedia. But does this particular entrant to the food App Store charts cut the mustard?


Are you interested in learning the art of pairing wine and cheese? The Cheese & Wine app is here to help. Award-winning wine writer Max Allen and international cheese expert Will Studd have come together to share their extensive knowledge of fromage and wine in an app that’s approachable for novice foodies and interesting enough for food and wine aficionados. Don’t be left in the dark when your dinner companions wax lyrical over a bottle of wine. Impress your friends by ordering a hand-selected cheese course for the table. Cheese & Wine delivers plenty of thoughtful pairings, helpful tips and descriptive terms to help you learn the magic behind spectacular pairings.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and keep reading to learn more.


Have you ever found yourself between flights in a foreign city with several hours to explore but no idea what to do? It’s easy to be overwhelmed and end up wasting hours standing in line with thousands of other tourists. Avoid the lines and explore the city like a local using Travel Channel Layover Guide with Anthony Bourdain’s favorite places to eat, drink and stay. This engaging app is full of videos, photos, maps and contact information to inspire you and help you plan. Don’t just stand on the sidelines and watch – create your own layover itinerary by adding timelines, photos, notes and mapped locations.

Don’t waste precious time on the touristy destinations during your next layover. Read on to learn more about making every second in a foreign city count with Travel Channel Layover Guide. (more…)

Avid amateur chefs (read: yuppies with a spatula and foodie lexicon, myself included) have long been awaiting the culinary app that combines real chefs, killer recipes and the ability to make said recipes in their home kitchens. The Kickstarter-funded (hey, Kickstarter actually worked!) app Panna is basically an epicurean’s dream iPad app. Seriously.

Read on after the jump for the lip smackin’ low-down. (more…)

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