Hi folks! I’m switching it up today and foregoing a recipe (GASP, WHO AM I) so that I can share some of my very most favorite apps in the world with you. I’ve titled the list “Top 10 Apps for Food Bloggers,” but really, it could also be called “Top 10 Apps for Cooks,” or “Top 10 apps for people who like to be organized” or “Top 10 apps for people with the attention span of a fruit fly who would just really like their phones and tablets to do some of this work for them, please.”
These are apps that I use ALL.OF.THE.TIME. and they have all seriously upped not just my blogging game, but also my effectiveness at social media, the branding and outreach for this here blog as well as The SSBP, and my general day-to-day sanity. Ready? BEGIN!
WHERE HAS THIS APP BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! It’s so simple. SO. SIMPLE. Basically, it’s five timers in one. You can set different, independent timers for each burner on your stovetop AND your oven, simultaneously. This app helps me keep an eye on all of the different things I’ve got cooking.
Why it’s Wonderful: No more forgetting about that pan of biscuits in the oven because you’re busy sticking your whole face right in a pot of fresh spaghetti sauce! Thyme will let you know when to check what.
Between Life As A Strawberry and The SSBP and a few other organizations I work with, the number of social media accounts I have to look at every day is enough to make my head explode. Hootsuite lets me log in to and manage ALL of those Twitter and Facebook accounts from one easy-to-use dashboard. It also lets me schedule tweets and Facebook posts in advance, and the “autoschedule” option will choose the optimal time to post for the highest audience engagement.
Why it’s Wonderful: In just an hour on Hootsuite, I can schedule a week’s worth of posts for ALL of the social media accounts I manage without having to sign out and in and out again of multiple accounts across multiple platforms. MASSIVE timesaver. Best part: it’s totally free for up to three different social media profiles.
If you’re a food blogger, or even just a serious cook, you will LOVE this app. It’s full of video lessons on everything from knife skills to the mother sauces to fancy molecular gastronomy techniques – and it’s all taught by past Top Chef contestants. The app comes with 28 free video lessons, but you can upgrade for twenty bucks (a little steep, but for me it was worth it) to get over 200 video lessons. The biggest value for me has been in learning different techniques and getting some technical “training” – the first time I ever broke open a whole crab, I had the Top Chef University Lesson playing to walk me through it! – but the app also includes detailed recipes and cooking instructions.
Why it’s Wonderful: I can have a total pro walk me through a new technique while I’m cooking, and working through the lessons has been great for learning cooking techniques and the reasoning behind different methods.
We can go ahead and add this to the list of things I am totally and completely obsessed with. Zite is basically a super-customizable news feed: you set preferences and let it know what you like to read, and it scours the interwebs to find you new content that fits your interests. It keeps learning even after you set your initial preferences – you can thumbs-up or thumbs-down different articles to help Zite bring you the perfect collection of whatever you like. I check it almost daily, and my feed is full of food blogs, recipes, sustainable seafood news, and food security or hunger research. It’s great for keeping up with news in your field, finding new recipes, and discovering great content to share with your readers.
Why it’s Wonderful: Zite is constantly introducing me to fabulous new food bloggers and great recipes. Also, it brings the news to me – I don’t have to spend time searching for news or online content I want to read, because it’s always right at my fingertips.
I recently migrated my email list over to MailChimp, and I am SO, SO happy I did it. I have a lot more control over exactly what Life As A Strawberry emails look like whenever there’s a new post, and I also get really valuable analytics about open rates, subscription preferences, and market research that helps me make my blog emails and the SSBP email marketing much more effective. The app is amazing because I can check open rates for my latest email campaign right from my phone, and I can get real-time data about how my subscribers are engaging with my list. They also have a mobile editor app, which lets you create and send email campaigns from your phone or tablet.
Why it’s Wonderful: I can track the open rate and email engagement of SSBP and Life As A Strawberry emails all in the same place, and I can also keep an eye on campaigns to make sure everything is working correctly (which is particularly helpful when I write an email out in advance and set it to send automatically while I’m away from home).
I often have conversations with people about my blog that end with them saying “oh! I’m totally going to check it out!” but then BAM! Life happens and people get busy and forget what your website is and your blog misses out on a new friend (womp womp). Chimpadeedoo signs people up for your MailChimp email list right from your phone or tablet – no more “I’ll look it up later” worries, because you can have them sign up for the emails right then and there! You don’t even have to be connected to the internet – if your phone or tablet is offline, the app will just store any new email addresses until the next time it connects to wi-fi. It’s a bit of a pushy technique for strangers in line at Starbucks, maybe, but when you’re chatting with a good friend about your super-awesome food blog, chances are they genuinely want to see it. So sign them up and get back to more important things, like WHY does HBO only make ten episodes of Game of Thrones every season? (These are the things I spend my days contemplating. What can I say, I’m deep).
Why it’s Wonderful: I can share my blog with friends who are interested without having to put the burden on them of looking my website up later. I also use Chimpadeedoo to sign up SSBP Partners and Newsletter Subscribers at conferences and events. Super convenient!
I am OBSESSED with Afterlight. I’ve tried what feels like a million different photo editing apps for my phone, because I’ve never been nuts about Instagram filters. I love Afterlight because it has photo editing capabilities that are very similar to Photoshop – I can manually adjust brightness, contrast, color balance, you name it. It also has a ton of cropping options so that I can mix it up a bit instead of sticking to the classic instagram square. When I’m done editing in Afterlight, I click one button and it automatically opens up the edited image in Instagram for easy posting (there are also a ton of other different sharing options to choose from).
Why it’s Wonderful: It lets me give even casual phone photos a professional treatment when I’m on-the-go, which means better quality instagram-ing, more intentional content creation, and better follow rates and engagement.
Because we all love sustainable seafood! Use the Seafood Watch App when you’re out to dinner or at the grocery store to double-check whether the seafood you’re buying was raised or harvested in a sustainable way.
Why it’s Wonderful: This app makes it SO EASY to buy sustainable seafood. It only takes a second to check their list and make a choice that can help sustain our fisheries rather than deplete them – and that’s something we can all get on board with, right?
This digital version of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything is great not just because it’s full of quick, easy recipes, but because of the extensive sections covering cooking techniques and best practices for just about every type of food you can think of. Wondering about the differences between cuts of meat? How to store a vegetable properly? The basic technique behind just about anything? This app answers those and any other questions you might come up with.
Why it’s Wonderful: Having such a comprehensive reference on all things food and cooking saves me time in the kitchen, and the extensive technique sections are super helpful and informative.
Even though I had heard about how wonderful Evernote is, for some reason I resisted it for way too long. I downloaded it and let it sit all alone on my iPad for MONTHS before I opened the thing and realized it had ACTUAL.MAGICAL.POWERS. Not only can I take notes that sync across all of my devices (and I have an entire fleet of tech-y things, so that’s a huge deal for me) – I can also clip and save pieces of web pages, compile a ton of different sources when I’m working on research, manage my to-do lists, and even scan receipts. This app does everything. I think I’m in love.
Why it’s Wonderful: I can sync my recipe ideas and to-do lists across all of my devices – no more digging through piles of receipts and rummaging through sweater pockets to find that post-it with the totally great idea that I wrote down five days ago. Everything is easy to find and in one place!
What are some of your favorite apps? Let me know in the comments!