Why You Should Be Using Your Phone's Contacts to Save Recipes

Techa Tungateja/iStock via Getty Images
Techa Tungateja/iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones do a lot to make cooking easier. Instead of scouring your cookbooks for a specific dinner recipe, or guesstimating the oil-to-vinegar ratio of a perfect vinaigrette, you can look up the information in seconds without leaving your kitchen. But things become a lot less convenient if you have to wash your hands every time you want to use your touchscreen. As The Kitchn reports, there is a way to use Siri to pull up recipes hands-free—and it involves an app you already have on your iPhone.

Food writer Adam Erace recently revealed his trick for organizing recipes in a tweet. Instead of using a dedicated app like Pinterest, Erace creates new contacts in his phone for his most-used recipes. The title of the recipe is saved as the contact name, and details like ingredients, measurements, and ratios go under the contact notes.

It may seem disorganized to save your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe next to your best friend's phone number, but the method makes sense. Every recipe you file in your contacts is sorted alphabetically and easily searchable. But the biggest benefit is that they're accessible through Siri. If your iPhone's hands-free voice activation is enabled, you can activate the virtual assistant without touching the home button. Just say "Hey Siri, show contact meatball" and it will pull up the recipe on your phone while you're handling the ingredients. Erace uses it for basic cooking information like grain-to-liquid ratios, but any recipe that's in your rotation can work.

Hacking your contacts list to make your next meal is one simple way to use technology in the kitchen. Here are some more examples of the ways tech can make cooking easier.

[h/t The Kitchn]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]