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5 apps for Thanksgiving

Whether you're ready for it or not, the holiday season is upon us. One week from today, many of us in the US will be pushing ourselves away from the Thanksgiving dinner table, sated and ready to do some serious shopping on our iPads. To get you ready for the holiday of turkey, football, and giving thanks for what you've got, here are five apps that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

iCookbook 2.0

Part of the Thanksgiving tradition is cooking up an amazing feast for family and friends. iCookbook (on sale for US$4.99) has recently been updated to version 2.0 and it's now the app to have in the kitchen.

This universal app has always had thousands of recipes for you to try out, but it's going to be your cooking buddy from now on. The developers at Publications International recently added voice commands to the iPhone version -- you can now avoid touching your iPad or iPhone screen with those greasy hands by speaking commands to move to the next step of a recipe, start or stop a timer, and more.

The app is also awesome for those who may be tired of squinting at recipes, since it now has a "Prepare mode" that provides an enhanced display of a recipe for easy viewing. Have a TV in or near the kitchen? Great, since the app now has AirPlay support as well. If you're not thrilled about having your iOS toy in the messy kitchen while you cook, you can print your recipes to any AirPrint-compatible printer.

iCookbook 2.0 provides free updates monthly as well as special recipe packs that are available through in-app purchase.

Cocktails HD

Sometimes the holidays can be a bit stressful with all of the family dynamics, and you want nothing more at the end (or beginning) of the big get-together than a good stiff drink. That's where Cocktails HD (sale priced at $0.99) comes in handy.

It comes loaded with over 600 drink, wine and food recipes, a complete guide to bar tending, and new drinks are added on a regular basis in free updates. The app can also be handy for drinking games (please drink responsibly, though!), with a "random shake" mode that displays random drink recipes with a shake.

If you do over-imbibe, do not drive. Instead, use this bonus app -- Taxi Magic (Free) -- to get a ride home or call a taxi for Uncle Bob, who just started dancing the lambada with the Christmas tree.

College Football Scoreboard Plus

It may be considered a little rude to be eating your Thanksgiving feast in front of the TV, so here's a way that you can keep up on the latest college football scores without committing a social faux pas.

College Football Scoreboard Plus ($0.99) gives you up to the minute scores of all the games, schedules of what's coming up next, news about your favorite teams, and even a scrolling ticker of scores.

It's perfect for sneaking a peek at what's happening -- just put the iPhone in your lap and keep looking pensive, and they'll just think you're reflecting on the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Black Friday by BradsDeals

While the guys may be in their tryptophan-induced daze after chowing down on a pound of turkey, the ladies are probably scheming for the Black Friday shopping on November 25. One way to plan on getting the best deals is to use an app like Black Friday (free) by BradsDeals.

The app (2010 version shown above) lets you plan out your shopping itinerary by store and product, and includes a ton of Black Friday ads for most major retail chains. Get those deals all lined up for Black Friday, and you'll be ready to get up at 3 AM to start your annual shopping assault.

Gratitude Journal

The oft-forgotten part of Thanksgiving is the "giving thanks" piece. Regardless of your religion or lack thereof, it's a good time to think about being grateful for what you have and helping those who aren't as fortunate.

A few years ago, I did a review of an app called Gratitude Journal Your Positive Thoughts ($0.99). The idea is that each and every day, you just write a short note about what you're grateful for. It doesn't have to be anything incredibly earthshaking -- maybe you're grateful that a friend called you, that you're healthy, or that you ate a really good meal last night.

By looking over the good parts of your day, this app can really provide a way to focus on the positives in your life and make you happier. Gratitude Journal also includes nice quotes that will help to keep feeling positive about life in general.



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Whether you're ready for it or not, the holiday season is upon us. One week from today, many of us in the US will be pushing ourselves...