For those of you who found an Amazon Echo or Dot under the tree, here are a couple of very useful ways to use Alexa (the voice assistant) in the kitchen – hands free, of course!
1. Out of the box, Alexa can help you maintain lists for shopping and to-dos. All you have to do is tell Alexa what you want to add and specify which list you want to add it to.
For example, you can say “Alexa, add eggs.” Since eggs is a noun, Alexa understands that it’s an item you would like to add to your shopping list. You can also say “Alexa, add bread to my shopping list” or “Alexa, add an item to my shopping list.” For the latter, Alexa will ask what you want to add and your response will be added as the next line item on your shopping list.
To check this list, open the Alexa app on iOS or Android or go to alexa.amazon.com and click Shopping & To-do Lists.
2. If you ask Alexa for recipe ideas, she isn’t exactly helpful. However, if you search for “recipe” in the Skills section of the Alexa app or alexa.amazon.com, there is no shortage of options.One favorite skill is Recipe Finder by Ingredients. To use it, say something like, “Alexa, ask Recipe Finder what I can make with chicken and broccoli.” You can list up to five ingredients and Alexa will provide any relevant results with a link in the Alexa app.
There are many recipe Skills available that can help you find something new and interesting to cook.
3. And because we just made it through all the holidays, if you’re not sure how many calories a food has, just ask Alexa. She may not always have an answer, but it’s a great place to start. For example, try saying, “Alexa, how many calories are there in Greek yogurt?”
Tip of the month
Useful Commands for Siri
If you want to get Siri’s attention, there are a couple of ways to do so. Press and hold the home button is one way. Another is saying “Hey, Siri” if you have that enabled. Here are a few reasons to do this:
Call or FaceTime someone. Ex.: “Call Sarah,” or “FaceTime Mom.”
Call an emergency number. Ex.: “Call 911,” or “Call the fire department.”
Check voice mail. Ex.: “Do I have any new voice mail?” or “Play the voice mail from Mom.”
Text someone. Ex.: “Tell [name] I am on my way,” or “Tell [name] I am going to the store.”
Send an email. Ex.: “Send email to [name] about [subject] and say [message].”
Hear your messages or emails read aloud. Ex.: “Read my new messages,” or “Check email.”
Set a timer. Ex.: “Set the timer for 10 minutes.” (My personal favorite!)
Check the weather. Ex.: “What’s the weather like today?” or “Do I need an umbrella?”
Check stocks. Ex.: “What’s Apple’s stock price?” or “Where’s the NASDAQ today?”
Conversions (of all kinds). Ex.: “How many cups are in a quart?” or “How many dollars are in a Euro?” or “How many pounds are in a stone?”
Calculate tips. Ex.: “What is a 20 percent tip on $68?”
Solve math problems. Ex.: “What is 234 divided by 6?” or “What is the square root of 16?”