Category Archives: Easier with Evernote


Food for the Soul: A post for my grandmother

I asked her to write down her cordial recipe and she looked at me, slightly panicked, and said she can’t–her hands are too arthritic; she can’t grasp a pen very well.  “That’s ok,” I said.  “I’ll write it down and you tell it to me.”  I sat down on the floor at her feet, in front of the wood stove.  My friend Lisa, who was visiting with me, sat on a chair on the opposite side of the stove.  I opened the notebook, balanced it on my thigh, turned on the pen and pressed its tip to the record button at the bottom of the page.

My grandmother died this weekend.  It wasn’t unexpected, but it hurts.  I can still see her, sitting in her favorite chair, being hilarious.  She was hilarious, generous, stubborn and I can definitely see her in her children and grandchildren, myself included.  She was my last remaining grandparent, and the only one I’ve had the privilege of getting to know as an adult; I loved her dearly.  She was a great influence on me.


My grandmother, Frances Harris

She also made a mean cordial.  It’s a simple thing–you take fresh berries, some sugar and a lot of booze and throw them together in a jar–but delicious and I’ve associated it with my grandmother for as long as I can remember, along with a honey-whiskey toddy, freshly made lemonade, poundcake, and bread and butter pickles.

I decided one day earlier this year that I wanted to record her giving her recipe for the cordial.  I wanted more than just the memory of her saying it, I wanted to hear her long after she was gone.  Now that she’s passed, I’m so glad I did.  I only wish I had recorded more.

With the Livescribe pen, you can write and record both your writing and any audio at the same time.  Wirelessly, that gets transmitted and saved to my Evernote account, where I can share it with the rest of my family.  I can listen to the recording from my Evernote notebook, or I can tap the pen on the notebook itself and hear it.

It would have been better if she’d been able to write it herself–I always liked her handwriting.  Mine, with the notebook balanced slightly on my thigh, was not so great.  The entry certainly isn’t perfect.  Halfway through the ingredient list, she realized she was remembering it wrong– so things are crossed out and written over and messy.  But even moments later, when I climbed into Lisa’s car and opened the notebook and listened to the recording, it made me smile.  It was so very authentic and wonderful.  It made me want to do this with everybody I love.

I created a blueprint for a project I call an audio-annotated cookbook.  So far, I’ve given my Livescribe pen and notebook to a few friends and family and had them record their favorite recipes.  It captures their handwriting, their voice, and their personality in a way that I never could before, and helps me create a truly unique cookbook that is more than just the text of the recipe.  It’s not perfect–it’s messy and sometimes we stumble in the writing or over words, but that just makes it all the more dear to me.

Don’t get me wrong–you could do this in a number of ways.  You could write the recipes and scan them in and attach an audio file.  You could write on a tablet and use an app that will record audio and match it to the notes.  I liked the pen for this because it’s simple,  it can be used anywhere, and it saves the recording to a place I trust.  But I don’t think it really matters how you do it.  I just think you should do it.  I kept thinking I would have more time to record more of her recipes, but I didn’t.  You can’t really do anything about that.  But you can take steps to preserve the people and culture that you love, even in little ways.

I wish I’d thought of this project years ago.  It’d have captured so many stories, from so many people.  But I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to do this with my grandmother, to capture a moment we shared together.  To capture a piece of her.

My grandfather and grandmother

My grandfather and grandmother, Albert and Frances Harris

I’ve pasted a link below to my grandmother’s recording.  It makes me smile just to listen to it; it’s only fair that I share that smile with as many people as possible.  Just a note–I accidentally pressed ‘stop’ in the middle, so the recording is in two parts.  When the first part finishes, the second part will automatically load.  Click the play button again to get it going.

Grandma’s Cordial

Creating an Audio Annotated Cookbook Pencast



Have an Even Better Grocery Trip

I’m always on the lookout for anything that will make grocery shopping easier.  One of those things is making a more efficient list.  There are tons of grocery list apps out there with a lot of bells and whistles, but frankly, I don’t need all that.  I don’t really do the couponing thing, and I don’t need to make a list for every store I visit…sometimes I just want the easiest, fastest way to make a list so I can get to the store and get on with the cookin’.

So that leads me to Grocerytrip, the easiest grocery list app there is.  Its creator Matt is a stay at home dad who made the app to make his life easier, which is something we can all get behind.  Grocerylist is targeted at Evernote users and its beauty is that you never actually have to make a list–you just have to tag the recipes in Evernote that you intend to use with the “grocerytrip” tag and the app does the rest for you.

It detects the ingredients in the recipe and automatically compiles a list–and even separates the items by type.  Beautifully, if two or more recipes call for the same ingredient, it just adds the necessary amounts together.  You can also see which recipe the ingredient is for, so you always know what you need and what you’re making.  When you get to the store, you just open Grocerytrip and there’s your list.


I love this.  As you know, all my recipes are in Evernote anyway.  All my meal planning goes through Evernote.  It’s so easy to just figure out which meals I want to make, tag them and go on my merry way.  And if I want to be super fancy and organized, I:

– Go through my weekly grocery ads and find which items are on sale.  Go through my Evernote recipe notebook, or use Supercook, to pick recipes that use those ingredients.

-Tag those recipes with the “grocerytrip” tag.

-Filter notes by that tag.  Select those notes and  create a “table of contents” note and organize the dishes by day.  Ta da!  Menu and grocery list in one.

Grocerytrip is only available for iOS (sorry Android fans).  It won best app in the Food & Cooking category in the 2013 Evernote Devcup.  You can read more about it here or check it out in the App store.  It’s $2.99 but if you’re an Evernote fan, it’s totally worth it.


10 Ways Evernote Improved My Life

There’s an event coming up next week that’s really a pretty big deal.  It’s the Evernote Trunk Conference 2013 and I am super excited to be going.  There will be amazing talks, great tips to learn from all the awesome users who show up to meet and share with others, and of course, the fabulous rockstars behind the software.  I’m also super geeked to see some of the other Evernote Ambassadors, who are the icing on my green elephant-y cake.

I’ve mentioned Evernote a fair bit here before—it is the digital engine that fuels my kitchen organization and…well, the rest of my life.  I’ve talked about 15 ways to get recipes (or anything) into Evernote, how to use it to digitally search your physical cookbooks, and why you should be using the companion app, Evernote Food.  But now, with Evernote Trunk just a few days away, I’m gonna take a cue from the fabulous Jenni Lathrop and Daniel Hendrick, among others, and list 10 ways that Evernote made my life better.


10 Ways Evernote Has Improved My Life

1. All of my recipes and cooking notes are in one location, instead of five different websites, three binders, a bunch of loose cards and a stack of a couple dozen old magazines I think I’ll look through again but really won’t.

2. If important mail comes in, I can scan it and toss it.  No more piles of things cluttering up my kitchen counters and table.

3. Shared notebooks make it easier to collaborate with other people, both personally and professionally.  My office uses Evernote Business, so we can easily access shared meeting notes and project information.  My husband and I have a shared notebook with things like scanned bills, info from our dogs’ vets, travel notes, and general household information.

4. With premium, I can toss in files and they’re searchable.  I don’t have to spend a lot of time opening one file after another to figure out if it’s the one I need.

5. Livescribe.  I can take real notes!  On real paper!  With a real pen!  And still have it all saved digitally into Evernote.

6. I use Skitch to take screenshots for documentation and help guides in my regular job, and all of those get saved to Evernote, so I can easily access them over and over again.

7. Evernote Food means I can not only plan where I want to eat when I travel places, but I can take pictures of my dining experiences there and keep track of not just what I ate but where.

8. Re-organizing is really easy.  My productivity style changes on a regular basis; I’m always looking for newer, better ways to organize my life.  If I need to change my system in Evernote, doing so is really, really easy thanks to bulk editing.

9. When I redid my pantry, I took an image note of the space and then marked it up in Skitch.  I kept a list of all the items I wanted to build or buy in Evernote, along with links and prices.  I did the same thing for my garden beds, and I’ll be doing it for every room renovation I eventually do, too.

10. Evernote’s user community is amazingly dedicated and awesome.  Every time I talk to someone, whether a beginner or another Ambassador, I learn great new ideas.  They are the best help guide ever made.


And that last reason is what makes me the most excited for the conference–I can’t wait to meet up with people and learn some great new tips and tricks, and share my own.  If you’re coming to this year’s conference, come find me!


Check out my Evernote Recipe Notebook

Get Started with Evernote

My Getting Organized with Evernote workshop notebook

my cookbook

15 Ways to Save Recipes in Evernote

This blog post came to me in a dream last night.  Seriously.  In my dream, I created a list of 15 ways to collect recipes in Evernote.  This might be a sickness.  Or it’s a sign from God.  Or maybe in this case, Ganesh.

Organization is hugely important to me.  I like to have information in easily accessible, searchable, sortable structures and I need those structures to be sensible, flexible and, most of all, easy.  I’m very lazy, which is odd because I have a lot going on in my life, so I need the simplest solution possible.  That’s why I’m such a fan of Evernote.

I think about food all the time, and I’m always stumbling upon new recipes I want to try, new tips, new techniques, new ways of doing things—you know, information picked up from family, friends, magazines, books, the internet.  And all of that stuff means nothing if I can’t find it later on.  Hence, organization.

So here are all the ways you can pull recipes into Evernote….or any other information, for that matter.  There actually might be way more that I’m forgetting, but there are my go-to recipe-saving processes.

You can…

1. Type in a recipe.

2. Record yourself or someone else saying the recipe out loud.

3. Take a picture of a printed recipe and pull it into Evernote, or use the Page Camera in the Evernote app.  (This works for your cookbooks too!)

4. Scan in a printed recipe and send it to Evernote using a DoxieCanon ImageFormula or Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner.  (Example)

5. Email the recipe to your Evernote account using your private Evernote email address.

6. Clip a recipe from a webpage using the Evernote Web Clipper on your desktop computer.

7. Clip a recipe from a webpage using Dolphin Browser on your iPad.

8. Send recipes to Evernote using Instapaper, Feedly, Pocket or Zite on your computer or mobile device.

9. Automatically send recipes from your favorite blog’s RSS feed, your social network accounts, YouTube or your Pinterest boards to your Evernote account using an IFTTT recipe. (Example)

10. Write down a recipe using Penultimate, automatically syncing to your Evernote account, or use a similar iPad notebook app that will let you send a recipe to your Evernote account.

11. Write, or have your family and friends write, a recipe with your Livescribe Sky pen and have it automatically sync to your Evernote account.

12. Pull recipes from Say Mmm to your Evernote account.

13. Mail your massive stack of recipe tear-outs to Shoeboxed and let them scan them into your Evernote account.

14. Clip recipes from Evernote Food into your Evernote account.

15. Join recipe notebooks by your friends, family, or me!

Now…re-read that list again, only replace the word “recipe” with “receipts” or “bills” or “party RSVPs” or “documentation” or “interesting articles” or “stuff to buy” or “journal entries” or anything.

Yeah.  It’s pretty awesome.

evernote food home screen

4 Reasons You Should Be Using Evernote Food

Evernote Food is a great app that you’re not using because you just haven’t figured out what to use it for.  I understand.  Evernote is already so awesome, how could you possibly need any other app?

I myself wondered the same thing.  For a second.

And then I opened the Evernote Food app for the first time and all the cool things I could do with it came flooding to my brain.  If I hadn’t already been sitting down at a table eating dinner, I would have had to sit down at a table and eat dinner.

my cookbook

I’ve detailed four of those awesome reasons (with pictures and Skitch annotations!) on Chad Williams‘ awesome fitness site, Anthrophysique.  Pop on over and take a peek:

4 Reasons You Should Be Using Evernote Food on AnthroPhysique


New Year’s Resolution: A “Fireproof” Kitchen and a Canon Scanner Give-Away!

DSC_0001It’s almost that time again.  Out with the old, in with the new, creating resolutions that may or may not change your life, or at least your habits for three weeks.  All that jazz.  My cooking resolutions include a complete redo of my pantry, creating a full kitchen inventory system,  learning to make pastry cream, committing random acts of cupcakes, taking some more cooking classes and perfecting a barbecue sauce recipe.  I also intend to not burn down my kitchen. Continue reading

Doxie scanner sitting in a kitchen drawer

How I: Use Evernote and Doxie to Save Family Recipes {Guest Post!}

In the spirit of sharing helpful information from one home cook to another, I’m going to start a series of guests posts from home cooks talking about ways that they make their time in the kitchen easier, more efficient and more delicious.  (Are you a home cook interested in doing a guest post?  Email me.)

When Amanda (a fellow geek, foodie and Twitterer) told me about some of the ways she collects original, hand-written family recipes using Evernote and a Doxie scanner, I knew this needed to be shared with the masses.  Full disclosure: Amanda works at Apparent, the company that makes Doxie, so she knows all the best tricks to using it.  Check out her fabulous guest post below–it might inspire you to create a family recipe notebook of your own over the holidays!

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How I: Use Evernote and Doxie to Save Family Recipes by Amanda

I have various means of keeping track of my favorite recipes. I toss recipes into my Evernote “Cooking” notebook to keep track of everything. From cook books, saved PDFs, screen shots, magazine clippings, and handwritten family recipes, I like to have my entire catalogue on me at all times. As a cook, you never know when you’ll need ingredients or a recipe on hand.

Continue reading


Eating with Evernote: Auto-Send Recipes to your Evernote Account with IFTTT and RSS Feeds

As a tech-geek, I have long been a fan of the service If This, Then That (IFTTT–rhymes with “gift”).  IFTTT is a really easy way to connect the different pieces of your digital information puzzle.  It lets you automate the sending of resources and information from one source to another using easy-to-put-together “recipes”.  Recipes.  That’s a word we all know and love, right?  These recipes basically say, “If this trigger happens, then do this action.”

There are three main reasons that I love IFTTT:

  1. It’s easy to use.
  2. It connects to a lot of my favorite services.
  3. It works in the background, so quietly and smoothly I often forget it’s doing anything at all.

But it is doing something.  It’s being truly, utterly useful.  And now I’m going to show you some ways to make it utterly useful to the average home cook using nothing but variations on a single IFTTT recipe based on RSS feeds.  Simple, standard RSS feeds. Continue reading

stack of cookbooks

Eating with Evernote: Digitize Your Cookbook Collection

I don’t know about you but now that Thanksgiving is over, I am going full-speed into Christmas prep.  Why?  Pure survival.  December is a crazy month and I need to start early if I’m going to get anything done.  I mean, there’s so much delicious baking to do!

The keys to holiday success are simple: Be positive. Have fun. Stay organized.

We’re going to focus on that third one today.  I am all about an organized kitchen life.  It helps me feel more control, rather than devolving into culinary chaos, which helps me enjoy my time in the kitchen more.  Also, it means I get more cooking and baking done and that’s never a bad thing.  And I want to help you do the same thing using the best friend a home cook could possibly have: Evernote.

In this little episode of “Eating with Evernote,” I’m going to help you take one baby step towards organization, and one giant leap towards a happer kitchen. Continue reading

Evernote Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Survival Kit

Got your countdown to Thanksgiving on yet?  I, for one, do.  I have resolved that this holiday season will be my most organized and delicious ever, and I have a few not-so-secret weapons up my sleeve to help me make good on that promise.  I say, “not-so-secret” because I am gladly and wholeheartedly shouting their names on rooftops.   And I have gathered several things here to help YOU have your most organized and delicious holiday ever so you can focus on family, friends and food and not on your blood pressure level. Continue reading

Have a Stress-Free Holiday with Evernote

I know.  You’re stressed.  You’re frustrated.  You’re angry and doggone-it, you’re hungry.  The holidays are coming up and just the thought of all that planning and preparation and pie–ok, maybe not the pie–are making you fret.  Well stop biting those nails and tearing out that hair.  We are here to help.  By we, I mean Evernote and me.  We are here to help you survive the holidays.

That’s why Evernote has launched a full slate of events, tips and plans aimed at helping you navigate these busy, bustling times.  First up?  A test-run Holiday Potluck with yours truly!  (Me.  It’s me.) Continue reading

chocolate chip cookie pie

Eating with Evernote: Harvest Pie Cook-Along

chocolate chip cookie pie

chocolate chip cookie pie

The latest Evernote Cook-Along is this week and it’s awesome: a celebration of all things fall, harvest and pie.  It’s going to be amazing.  I’ve already been experimenting with caramel apple pie recipes in preparation for it, and this week I’m going to make Paul’s delectable cinnamon pie, some pumpkin pie and maybe some individual pie pops.

mini cinnamon pies

mini cinnamon pies

And I want you to join me!  The fun of the cook-alongs is two-fold: 1)  you get to make (and eat) food!  And any excuse to do that is a valid one.  And 2) you get to share what you made and see what other people are doing, and get tips, inspiration and recipes—which is the whole point of the internet, if you take away the cat pictures.

tiny heart shaped apple pies

tiny heart shaped apple pies

Plus this time there’s a contest—I’ll choose my favorite 5 recipes (the most interesting and most innovative to me) and from there the worldwide Evernote fanclub will choose the top 3.  Those winners will get prizes and the all-important bragging rights.

So join us.  Post your pies for posterity and enjoy the delicious harvest of fall with some sweet and savory deliciousness!

How the Cook-Along works
Join the Facebook Event!

My Harvest Pie Evernote recipe collection

Hashtag: #evernotelife

Celebrate the All American Burger

[frame align=”left”]a picture of a burger within the Evernote Food app on an iphone[/frame]So…what are you doing this Saturday?  If you answered, “Grilling burgers for the Evernote Burger Cookalong, of course,” then congratulations!  You’ve won the prize…of delicious flavor!

Seriously, you should join in.  I mean, after all, the Fourth of July is next week.  You have a cookout planned.  Your best friends are coming, your family, maybe even your boss, probably even a potential new girlfriend/boyfriend (if your glass is half-full) or a potential new ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend (if your glass is half-empty).  Anyway, that’s a lot of people that you’re gonna wanna “Wow!” with your burger prowess.  So consider Saturday a dry-run and try out a new recipe or two, or five.  I mean, the options are endless.  Beef burgers, turkey burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers, black bean burgers, tempeh burgers…and don’t even get me started on toppings!  This conversation will quickly turn into a scene with Bubba from Forrest Gump (“Shrimp cocktail…shrimp salad…shrimp pasta…”).

So do yourself a favor.  RSVP for the cookalong.  Pull out your best burger recipe.  Make it, eat it, and share it on Facebook or Twitter (hashtag #evernotecookalong) using Evernote or Evernote Food –and maybe you’ll inspire another burger-lover, find a great new recipe yourself…even win a prize!

But at the very least….dude.  Burgers.

[frame align=”left”]a medium-rare burger with lettuce, tomato and ketchup[/frame]

Evernote Cookalong: Everybody Crepe Now!

I’m not sure that I announced it here, officially.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might have heard.  That, or maybe you’re one of fifty million people my mother forwarded it on to.  You may have suspected from previous posts I’ve written that I am indeed a fan of obsessed with Evernote and all the ways it can be used to achieve deliciousness in all stages of one’s life.  Well now that love affair is full-on legit.  I am now Evernote’s Ambassador for Home Cooking.

What does this mean?  To my husband’s sadness, it does not mean that I have diplomatic immunity in the continental US and parts of Guam.  It does mean that I am a total guru on how the average home cook can use this program in their own kitchens and wheresoever else their gastronomical fiefdom may extend.  Got questions?  I am here to help.  We can conquer the divide between dish and digital device together.Snapshot of Evernote notebook with crepe recipe displayed

Because if there’s one thing I love, it’s barbecue.  Wait, that’s a different post.  Because if there’s one more thing I love, it’s inspiring people to cook.  That and really, really, really thin pancakes.  Thus, I invite you to join me and the worldwide Evernote community this Saturday for the first ever

Evernote Cookalong!

And the special dish of the day?  Crêpes!  Anyway you want them.  It’s a digital foodie’s dream come true.  There’s cooking, there’s crêpes, there’s picture taking, there’s drooling over said pictures, there’s prizes, there’s eating, there’s something for everybody!

You can read more about the event on the Evernote blog, or sign up on Facebook to participate.  Feel free to use my basic crêpe recipe to get started, or find your own (and share it with the rest of us!).

So come, join the fun.  Do a little dish, make a little crêpe, get down tonight.  (I promise, I’ll make better crêpe jokes later.  Or will I?  Only thyme will tell…)