Winner of Everything I Learned…

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest for Sarah Wendell’s book Everything I Learned About Love. It was so interesting hearing the widely varied responses for what your favorite read so far in 2011 was. And I love that some of you named Carina Press books. Yay!

Without further ado, the winner of Sarah’s ARC, a Carrie Lofty book, Carina Press downloads and a book of her choice from the list in this post is Alison

Congratulations, Alison! I’ll be contacting you for details of where to send your loot.

For those of you who didn’t win, stay tuned both here and on my Twitter. I have an entire bookcase full of swag and loot I need to get cleared out of here (including three ereaders!) so I’ll be holding a ton of contests on Twitter, via my newsletter and here on the blog!

Cooking App review (and giveaway): Paprika!

Weeks ago, I was reading a review of a list of cooking apps and two iPad apps that I hadn’t heard of drew my eye. One was Pepperplate and the other Paprika. After reading the iTunes store reviews, I decided to try Paprika (side note: I hate that you can’t sample apps, especially when we get over the $5 price range. I might still like Pepperplate but now that I have Paprika, it gets even more expensive to try Pepperplate).

I must admit, I’m a sucker for cooking apps. I guess maybe it’s my love of cookbooks transferring itself to my love of gadgets and the iPad? I did thin out my cookbooks recently, for the first time in years, because I’ve found myself relying more and more on recipes found on the internet, where I can get reviews and suggested revisions. And this is where Paprika is full of awesome and comes into play.

The Paprika developer page describes Paprika as a recipe management app that “lets you manage *your* recipes”.

And it does do that, and does it quite well (with two quibbles on my end that I’ll discuss later). I’m going to walk you through some of my favorite features, with tons of screenshots.

First, the initial beauty of this app, as you compile your recipes, is tied into having wifi access, so it’s not an app that you would use immediately offline. You need to first start importing your recipes from various websites and browsers. For me, this meant opening the browser within the app and then navigating to my favorite recipe sites (of which I have many).The browser comes pre-populated with some cooking sites pre-bookmarked. You can then add your own bookmarks. I added my own site (since I have a separate recipe page I often access for my own use), Allrecipes.com, Pioneer Woman, Serious Eats, King Arthur’s Flour, Fine Cooking and a few other blogs and foodie sites I like to grab recipes from. Once I had these bookmarked, I knew I could download a bunch of recipes I use often immediately into Paprika.

So there are two options for importing your recipes (and the missing third is one of my quibbles). First, you can navigate to the website and hit the “Save Recipe” button in the upper right corner. If the website you’re on is one of the sites recognized by Paprika, it will automatically save and import the recipe, complete with ingredients, directions, picture and details into your Paprika library.

And it will end up looking like this:

The other option, if the site is not one recognized by Paprika (you can email to request a site be added. They make it easy to do) is to help Paprika define the parts and create the recipe. This is lovely because it’s all just highlighting and tapping a button. No typing required. For example, Paprika doesn’t recognize my site as one of its main sites (of course) so to import my own recipes, I simply highlight first the name, then the ingredients, then the directions and last a picture, after I highlight each section, I tap “Copy Name/Ingredient/Directions” (see below) and it saves that part

If you want to save an image to go with the recipe, you simply click on that image and it gives you the option of copying it (for insertion into the recipe) or saving it to your photo library. Once you have all of the parts copied, as you can see in the bottom area the arrows are pointing to in the photo below, you hit “Create Recipe”

Once you’ve done that, it shows up in your recipe file looking like this (plus an image if you’ve saved one. I didn’t because I didn’t have a photo of it on my site)

One of the things I like about creating a recipe within Paprika is that it saves the URL of where you got the recipe and once you’re in the recipe, you actually have the option of viewing it online again, in case you want to read the comments/reviews.

Once you have your recipe(s) saved into Paprika manager, there’s a lot you can do to organize, sort, categorize and use them. First, you can add as many custom categories as you want, and add each recipe to as many of those as you’d like, so when you’re browsing your recipes, you can browse by a specific category.Or by browsing your favorites.

In addition, you can easily edit every recipe once it’s imported, to change the recipe, ingredients, directions or to update the prep time, cook time, servings and additional information. You can also add notes to your recipes that you don’t want to appear within the recipe itself, but rather as side notes:

Not only that, but you can create a daily or weekly menu, and from that menu create a grocery list. Or, alternately, if you don’t want to create a menu, but want to add a recipe’s ingredients to a grocery list, you can do that as well. Or email yourself a meal plan. The grocery list also has some options, so you can manage that list, email it, print it, etc.

If you look at every recipe, both in a list and individually, you see they all have symbols under them. From left to right those symbols allow you to: add to menu, add a note, favorite, add to grocery list, email and delete. Tapping add to menu, favorite, add to grocery list again will remove them from those lists. And as you can see below, you can also search your recipes not just by name, but also by ingredient.

In addition to emailing yourself the meal plan, you can also email recipes from within the app. So maybe your friend Sarah is asking for your Sausage and Lentil Soup, you can email it to her!

Last, one very cool feature that I can’t screenshot, but can only tell you about, is that Paprika overrides your iPad’s normal screen lock settings. So if you’re in the middle of cutting up raw meat and have messy hands, your iPad won’t suddenly go dark because the screen lock settings have kicked in. As long as you’re viewing a recipe in Paprika, your iPad stays on. Love. This. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to swipe my screen with the back of my knuckles while cooking, because screen lock had kicked in.

There are some other random settings you can utilize, including the font size of the recipes (up to EXTRA LARGE) and doing a manual backup.

I mentioned there’s two quibbles I have with Paprika. One is a method of saving that I think is missing from Paprika, and that’s importing recipes that you’ve saved off the websites. I have a large collection of recipes I’ve saved to my computer that I’d love to import into Paprika. This missing feature is what makes Paprika a four star instead of five star app for me, because recipe management is dependent on my recipes either being on the web, to import, or me typing them in by hand (blech).

The second quibble is their cloud syncing option. In order to sync to the cloud, you have to spend another $10/year for this feature, and you don’t even get to sync to the cloud of your choice (like Dropbox or SugarSync) but their own Paprika cloud. I’d like to be able to sync to my own account on Dropbox, please, and not have to pay to do so since I already paid $10 for the app.

Regardless, despite these two quibbles, I do give Paprika 4 of 5 stars, and would change that to 5 stars in a heartbeat if I could more easily import recipes from offline. And if you’re someone who finds themselves hoarding recipes from online (as I do) I heartily recommend this iPad-only app even at the current price tag of $9.99. For interest’s sake, I’ll point out that this app gets an average 4 1/2 star rating so I’m not the only one who loves it.

Thanks to the developers of Paprika, Hindsight Labs LLC, I have a code to give away for a free download of Paprika, a $9.99 value. All you have to do to enter is tell me your favorite online recipe or foodie blog/source/forum/site. I’ll draw the winner via random.org on Friday, February 25th. Please be sure to use a valid email address when leaving your comment, because I’ll use that to notify you that you’ve won. Giveaway is open to everyone, even if you’ve won something here before. And if you don’t win, I hope you’ll consider buying because this is one awesome recipe manager app.

Because it’s Tuesday (Perfect Play giveaway)…

And Tuesdays are always a difficult day. And because we were talking about this cover today via email (again, for the one millionth time). And because Jaci is one of my best friends and I want to support her release…I’m giving away two copies of this cover…

Book Cover

I mean, two copies of this book. The book. The cover’s just a bonus. Well, I mean, the cover comes with the book, but the awesomeness of it is a bonus. What’s inside lives up to the cover quite…perfectly.

I’ll give away 2 copies, digital or print, your choice. I’ll even mail to international winners as long as the book remains available at the Book Depository (who makes mailing internationally so much easier). To enter, all you need to do is comment below and tell me, do you want digital or print (seriously, could it be any easier?)

Contest ends Thursday, February 10th @ noon Eastern. Make sure you comment with a valid email address filled in, so I can contact you. Winners will be chosen via Random.org. Everyone is eligible to enter and win, even if you’ve won something here before. No bonus points for drooling over the cover in the comments, but feel free to do so anyway.

Winner of Josh’s Birthday contest

Thanks to all of you who wished Josh a happy birthday. It created some heavy sighing and eyerolling in my direction. Exactly what I was going for! Love you, honey!

Thanks to RowFeeder, all of the Twitter entries were fed directly into a spreadsheet. I added all of the comments from the birthday post, and used Random.org to draw a random integer.

The winner of Josh’s birthday contest is…

Trish, who was the first commenter on Josh’s birthday post.

Congrats, Trish. I have your email address so I’ll arrange to get your prize to you 😉

In the meantime, if you didn’t win, don’t despair. There’s another contest tomorrow!

Happy Birthday to @themisterjoshua Contest!

For those of you not on Twitter and living in my Twitter world, @themisterjoshua is my husband. And today is his birthday. I’m not going to tell you how old he is, but I’ll be 35 next week and he’s 2 years older than me (okay, I only didn’t tell you if you can’t add). I’ve been wanting to hold a contest here on the blog, because I have a small ton of promo items and signed books from RT and RWA that I need to give away. I figured the occasion of Josh’s birthday makes for a good excuse, no?

Maybe you’re wondering about this dude we’re having a contest in honor of. That’s him, on the Magic Carpet ride with Brianna at Disney. He’s a cool dad, very fun (but still stern, he doesn’t leave the parenting to me!). If it’s a choice between Mommy or Daddy doing bedtime, Daddy gets picked hands down because he’ll have her screaming with laughter. He’s Brianna’s biggest fan and supporter. It’s obvious he loves his girl and believes she can do anything she sets her mind to.

He’s also an amazing husband. He thinks he’s not, so he’s always trying harder to be. He spoils me, he’s an excellent partner in life and he makes me laugh. A lot. Even when I’m cranky. He makes me martinis (I’m drinking one he made as I write this), he listens when I talk and he’s fun to go on dates with. It’s easy to see how we became friends and then it turned into something more. I’m very lucky to have him.

And I want to share that good fortune with you. So we’re going to celebrate his birthday with a massive giveaway. Here’s what you can win:

1) Canvas tote bag from RWA.

2) A Carina Press water bottle (really nice one, like we gave out at RWA)

3) A Carina Press portfolio and pen

4) Signed books by these authors.

JR Ward. Yes, I said JR Ward. I have a signed copy of Dark Lover here for giveaway

Skin Game by Ava Gray

Rebels and Lovers by Linnea Sinclair

Fault Line by Barry Eisler

Lessons Learned by Kate Davies.

Those are all signed by the authors!

5) Books (none signed):

The Truth About Lord Stonevill by Sabrina Jeffries

The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

The Intrigue Collection (Harlequin anthology)

The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson

There you go! Ten books, 5 signed, 5 not, plus some promo items. But wait! There’s more!

6) Carina Press free download of your choice.

7) Mickey Mouse coffee mug (in honor of our Disney trip)

There you go, a massive gift for you to celebrate my husband’s birthday. What do you have to do to win? Two ways to enter:

1) If you’re on Twitter, go wish @themisterjoshua happy birthday and include the hashtag #b-daywish (that’s the exact tag I’ll be tracking) and this link: http://ow.ly/2r2kz

example: Happy birthday @themisterjoshua #b-daywish http://bit.ly/drUuGy (you need to include the hashtag, I’m tracking entries via the hashtag, even though it doesn’t show up as a “proper” hashtag bcuz of the dash. It’s okay, I’m still tracking it!)

But, of course, you should feel free to be more creative with your birthday wishes.

2) If you’re not on Twitter, wish him happy birthday here in the comments.

Contest notes/rules: The contest will run until Saturday, August 21st and I’ll choose and announce a winner on Monday. You’ll need to come back and see if you’re the winner and claim your prize. The contest is open internationally but international winners (those outside the US) must be willing to pay shipping. I’m sorry, but experience tells me shipping for a package of this weight would be around $50 so if you’re not able to help with that, please don’t enter. Please enter only once, either here or on Twitter. Good luck!

But most of all…happy birthday to my husband. I love you!

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