Technology in the Kitchen

CATEGORIES: General News, Sara

I sometimes wonder what people from generations before ours would think if they could see how technology today has infiltrated our lives.  It’s all around us, and even the kitchen is no exception!  Our entire company here at Our Best Bites is centered around the focus of people reaching for technology to enhance their experiences in the kitchen so we know first-hand how awesome it is to have so many resources at our fingertips.  I’m constantly on the lookout for things that make my life easier, more productive, and well- just more enjoyable, too!  Enter the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Are you guys all familiar with the Microsoft Surface?  Even if you didn’t realize it, you’ve probably seen the catchy commercials.  Check this out:

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Honestly, I think if the Surface had feelings it might be a little offended when it hears itself referred to as a “tablet.”  In all fairness, it is a tablet, but the most amazing thing about it, to me, is that it has the power of a laptop.  It acts just like my computer.  It can do all the stuff my computer does, just in a sleeker, lighter, more portable outfit.  Jackpot.

One of my favorite things about the basic construction of this device is the built in kickstand.  No special case or stand needed, the back panel of the incredibly thin, and light device, pivots out to place it at the perfect angle.

It works in both horizontal and vertical orientations, and makes typing, reading, and general use incredibly feasible.

The large screen (it’s 12-inches, that’s really good sized) has a brilliant display and makes it easy to follow along with my favorite recipes.  As a side-note, tis the season for zucchini!  We found our very first lovelies in our backyard garden this week (which is the earliest we’ve ever seen our zucchini) so I immediately whipped up this Zucchini Gratin.  If you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your to-do list this summer!

The Surface Pro 3 has an awesome Food & Drink Section built right in, and I’ve been impressed with how user-focused it is, making it easy to get organized and feel productive.  (I’m still waiting for the app that does my dishes and cleans my bathrooms.)

You can search for recipes, including featured daily eats,

or browse through an impressive collection to find new things to try.

There are plenty of apps to download from the Microsoft Store; two of my favorites are the beloved Allrecipes, and Every Day Food from Martha Stewart.

And of course I use it to look up my own recipes.  Sometimes people assume Kate and I have all of our recipes memorized.  Unfortunately we are not human database prodigies (like, honestly I can’t even remember where my own keys are right now).  We head to Ourbestbites.com just like the rest of you!  Just the other day I had my Surface open with two recipes on split-screen, which makes it really easy to multitask if your talent, like mine, is procrastination.  I transformed our crazy-popular Whipped Buttercream Icing into Cookies & Cream Icing for an Oreo-loving birthday boy.  Can’t wait to show you this one, but yes- I still had to follow along with my own recipe!

If you want, you can even browse by chef to find your inner culinary genius.

And when you do find it, add your waves of brilliance to your customized meal plan.  Keep notes, link recipes, or enter your own and have a great overview of your week.

I may have mentioned before that I am a compulsive list-maker.  I make lists for everything.  I make lists to organize the lists I need to make.  And when it comes to grocery shopping, as I often tell my husband, “if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t happen!”  It’s the only way I manage to stay (or at least appear to stay) organized.  I love that in this grocery list I can divide it into the different stores I need to stop by, and with one simple click I can print it out to pop in my purse and take along with me.

And while we’re on the topic of lists and notes and trying to appear organized, I am in LOVE with OneNote.  Do you guys already use it?

It’s an amazing organizational notebook tool (see more of what it can do, here) but in the kitchen specifically, I use it a lot for my recipe development.  When I write recipes, I used to have a bad habit of writing them on random scraps of paper, which then often mysteriously disappear (go figure.)  I’d have these beautiful photographs, but no details of how I actually came up with the recipe!  I tried typing them in my laptop as I went along, but that proved to be difficult too, because I have a funny sort of scribble technique that just works better with a pen and paper.  Enter  OneNote.  One click of that pen and it opens right up.

I’ve tried writing with a stylus before and itty-bitty screens, and it just doesn’t work for me.  This awesome pen feels just like a normal pen, only smoother.  And since the tablet itself is the size of a normal sheet of paper, it’s so easy and comfortable to write on.  I love that I can take notes just like I would on paper, with my arrows, color coding, notes, scribbles and everything.  Only this one doesn’t get lost!

Surface Radial Pen Menu

I keep several different digital notebooks, for example one for blog recipes, and one for new recipes I’m developing for our new book, so I can keep everything in the right place.  Everything gets uploaded to my cloud so I can access it from lots of different places, and I can even convert my own writing into type.  It’s absolutely brilliant.  I also keep it separate from my husband’s stuff, because he can have his own notebooks where he often does his medical charting and notes directly on the tablet and keeps it organized.

You can even click in a colorful keyboard to really turn this tablet into a portable laptop.

It’s thin and light, but the weighted keys make typing feel like a normal computer, if tablet-typing isn’t your thing.  Plus they come in tons of fun colors!  You can easily get to work (or play) on the go, and all of the programs you’re used to from the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) are right there.

For me, that means I can easily keep up with my work, like writing proposals, recipes, or blog posts, and then hand it off to my kiddo to practice math or watch a video while I’m cooking dinner.  My husband can keep his stuff organized as well, and it’s all easily connected to the desktop PC in our office.  It’s truly a great device for families, and tomorrow I’ll show you how we integrate technology in my home to keep our kids happy, learning, and having fun!  Also, if you’re thinking there might be a giveaway involved here, you would be thinking right.  Make sure to check The Scoop tomorrow! 🙂

How many of you out there already own a Microsoft Surface?  What’s your favorite feature?  If you don’t already have one- what do you love the most from what you see??

 

 

 

 

37 comments

  1. I do not have a Surface, but I do use a Windows phone and I absolutely love it. I’ve been hankering for the Surface because I have visions of my phone, my computer(s) and a tablet all working in perfect harmony together. I use my phone when I cook all the time, which can be a bit of a pain with the small screen, so I could see the Surface working beautifully for that. Hubby just started a new job…so maybe by Christmas…..a girl can dream 🙂

  2. Holy smokes the note taking would have to be number one on my list. I am always noting important things down on the backs of receipts, dr appointment cards, whatever I grab first and then NEVER find them again. That is so amazing!

  3. Ok that pen is amazing. I’m a ” list maker” as well and love real pen & paper sort of lists but that might be the thing that transitions me to tablet life.

  4. my laptop just died – in the market for updated technology and I keep telling the hubby I need something sleeker in the kitchen than a recipe stand 🙂

  5. Oh my gosh I am totally hooked!! How is everyone not talking about this, it sounds amazing! We also just got our issue of Consumer Reports in the mail yesterday and they highlighted this and rated it best for college students, specifically double majors! Sometimes as a mom with a church calling, blogging, housework, and everything else it does feel like a double major so it totally applies to us too, right?

    1. I can see why it would rate high in that category because it functions as a laptop- wish they had something like this when I was in college. Back then my laptop weighed like 20lbs! lol

  6. I’ve been dreaming of the Surface since I saw the first commercial. The kickstand won me over 🙂 But the pen and OneNote sounds wonderful!

  7. I got my husband the surface 2 for Christmas & love it. I was/am an apple/ipad/iphone girl but could seriously be swayed over to the other side. This “tablet” is amazing!

  8. I don’t own one, but I would love to! I love how versatile it is! I would love to have this gadget along on my shopping trips or cooking crazes!

  9. I have the surface and now have to try onenote! What apps did you use for the meal planner and shopping lists on your post above? They look so clean and organzied! Please share! Thanks!

  10. I would use this so much in the kitchen for all my electrically archived recipes across the webs and the note taking would be great for knitting patterns (yes, I’m a nerd)

  11. My husband works in IT and just got a Surface Pro 3 to replace his desktop computer there. He has brought it home every night this week & I keep stealing it to play with the fun built-in apps (mostly the painting app – love that thing!). I had no idea it had this Food & Drink feature, and I’m completely enamored with the idea!! Thanks for sharing! I’m gonna need to steal it from him again and give it a try 🙂 Maybe I’ll have to talk him into buying us one for home, too.

  12. This looks awesome. I think I love the kick stand that’s built in the best. I also love that you can write on it with onenote. I’m using an itty bitty ipod, and while it’s nice sometimes, I love that the surface is so big. Random side note: I also noticed that you use a carabiner for your keys too! Mine is pink. I clip them to my belt loops, purse etc….except maternity pants totally don’t have belt loops and it’s a huge adjustment!

  13. Never heard of this tablet, but glad for the great review as I am in need of replacing my 5 year old laptop. Will have to look into this some more.

  14. My son bought one to use on college where he is pursing a degree in Computer Engineering and has just begun working concurrently on a Master’s degree. The surface has enough power to run his engineering and design programs. Pretty cool for such a tiny machine.

  15. I feel like I wrote this post. I have a surface and LOVE it, especially OneNote. I don’t know how I lived without it. We have a few other tablets in the family, but those are for the kids to play games on. The Surface is My Computer. It’s really a computer, not a tablet. I’ve written two whole novels on it, use it to work every day, and love the whole thing.

  16. Loved your post yesterday and learned about so much that I’m missing out on!=) Would love using it in the kitchen – so much better than going back and forth to my computer in the family room or printing everything off and filling up binders! The note-making abilities would be awesome! You’ve sold me!

  17. My husband bought me a Surface tablet for Christmas and I puffy heart it! I use it in the kitchen to display all my recipes (which are on Pinterest). The kickstand is perfect, and I love that it has a ton of Office programs on it. You can go into the Windows store for help, and they sell skins for these as well! You can buy a keyboard that’s sealed so you don’t ruin it by spilling, or a “traditional” keyboard with buttons. I love that you can have two windows open side by side! Run out and get one. Life.changer.

  18. The fact that it has a touch screen that I could use one handed after I have the other hand operated on is a huge thing to me. I’d so love to have one, but as a senior on a fixed income, there’s just no way. I’ll be spending a full year in splints post-op, and my computer is my lifeline. I’d still be able to communicate with my family if I had one. (I don’t like phones as I am losing my hearing.)

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