Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekend Cooking-March 4, 2012: My Recipe Binder.

I'm really excited to be participating in Weekend Cooking this week. :) It is a weekly event held at Beth Fish Reads that focuses on food-related posts. I've been eying the event with a bit of apprehension for the last year, and I finally decided to join in on the fun.

As many of you know, one of my goals this year is to work on my cooking skills. Matt and me were in a bit of a rut when it came to meals, so I have been working hard to find new recipes to work into our meal rotation. The last couple of months have been a blast!

One of the things that I wanted to do was organize the binder Matt's mom gave me for Christmas this past year. Since there are 4 of us girls on that side (Matt's two sisters, our sister-in-law, and myself), she bought us all a binder and wrote out family recipes for us each to have. I was really excited about it-since some of the recipes are family secrets-and I've slowly been trying them out. I also had a big recipe card box filled with recipes from my wedding shower. I wasn't sure how I was going to combine the two until Matt knocked the box off the counter and it broke. With recipe cards flying everywhere, and the cats batting them around on the floor and under the fridge, I decided to reorganize the binder and add in everything. After purchasing page protectors and going crazy from categorizing, I finally got it all set.

Since the binder was a set and meant for recipes only, I followed the categories that it came with on the dividers. The dividers included:
  • Appetizers
  • Soups/Salads
  • Breads
  • Main Dishes
  • Seafood
  • Pastas
  • Side Dishes
  • Desserts
  • Beverages
I think putting all the recipes in categories was the hardest part. Some of you on twitter were a huge help! I mean really, where does pasta salad go? :)

But now that the binder is all organized, I like flipping through it to decide if a recipe is going to be our next dinner. I also love that the cards come from multiple people. There is something about seeing old recipes written in others' handwriting that makes me smile. There are old family favorites, new recipes I've discovered on my own, and some clipped from magazines. Let me show you bits and pieces from the binder.

One of the best parts of putting this together was looking at recipes I got from my wedding shower. A blank card was included in with the invitations. This was a great way to get a lot of recipes for my newly wed self, and get a lot of variety! The one at right comes from my friend Kyla. I've made this one a couple of times and it is uber-delicious.

There are also a lot of recipes and things I've pulled from other places. While I'm not a huge magazine reader, I do flip through on occasion and pull out things I think might be useful in the future.

I'm starting to look for things to challenge myself with when I'm cooking. Little ideas like the marinades and toppings on this page are helpful. The casserole clipping is actually from Matt's mom. :)

Another thing I really loved about the binder from Matt's mom were the family recipes she included. I've been with Matt for almost ten years, so I've come to love quite a few of these as well!

This corn casserole dish comes from one of Matt's mom's relatives, and I've had it every holiday with them. :) It is definitely a good comfort food recipe!

 She also included the names of family members who loved some of the recipes. It was kind of neat to flip through to see everyone's favorites. I haven't made the Confetti Meatloaf yet, but knowing it is Sarah's favorite (Matt's younger sister), makes me anxious to give it a try.

One of the last things she included in the binder were recipes from her time as a profession pastry chef. She met Matt's step-dad while working at a restaurant (he was the head chef), so some of the recipes they created while working there have become some other family favorites.

In addition to some crazy dessert recipes I have to master some day, she also included some basics. I've never made bread from scratch, but it sounds like a fun experiment. :) This one, from her days of working at the restaurant, doesn't seem so bad for a rookie.

I also spent a day at my mom's plowing through her recipe cards so I could steal some family recipes from our side. My mom makes a bazillion kinds of Christmas cookies around the holidays, so I definitely needed to copy those down.

I was excited that she had some doubles in her recipe cards, so I just took the extra of a few. :) Seeing her handwriting will make the actual cookies even better. These, the Apricot Brandy Cookies, are hands down my favorite cookie. Ugh, SO GOOD. Believe me, these are addicting.

 The other cookie recipe I was happy to snatch are another favorite from my family: Belgian Waffle Cookies. These are wafer thin cookies you cook in a press over a stove. They have lots of fatty goodness in them, but egads, these are AMAZING. I can't wait to try them on my own.

There is something really comforting about having all of these family recipes together in one place. I'm one of those people who likes to hold on to memories. And knowing that I have all these in one place means that I can build on them and pass them down to my own kids. Cheesy? Heck yes! :)

I also love that I can continue to add to my binder as I learn new recipes. Already, Matt and I have tried new things found online and recommended by others. I'm sure those items will also become family favorites.

How do you organize your recipes?


  1. I have been wanting to create one of these for each of my daughters but haven't gotten around to it...our family has a few of those *uber-secret* family dishes that we have to prepare at certain events - love the way you combined all of your special recipes together! You've given me some wonderful ideas!

  2. My husband's family has put together a recipe book and we love it! Last year we added to it, and it's so much fun to cook favorite recipes from family. What a lovely project, I'm sure you'll cherish it forever.

  3. I really like that recipe book. Especially because of the full page view of the recipes from magazines and such. I really want to get organized like this, but I'm just oh so lazy!

  4. Chefs as in-laws?! AWESOME! Your recipe binder is so so cool- I have like 3 different notebooks that I just write recipes in that I find (either on food blogs, or in recipe books from the library and stuff) but your way looks a lot more efficient. I also love the 'family's favourite foods' thing- so nice and personal :)

  5. I LOVE your recipe binder! Too cool! My mom bought me a recipe book for Christmas 2 years ago and I also follow a few cooking blogs - I'm slowly becoming not as afraid in the kitchen. I'd love to have a binder though because sometimes having my laptop in the kitchen is a huge pain in the ass.

  6. This is a great first Weekend Cooking post. I can tell you worked hard on this and on the binder itself. Our family NEEDS to do this. (Come on family). Just think how cool this will be for your kids one day too! Good job!!

  7. Your recipe binder will be something to treasure. I have an old recipe book from when I was first married (long time ago) and the old family recipes in the handwriting of our parents are a very special part of our family history.

  8. What a wonderful, wonderful collection you have. So many friends and family and memories. You are so lucky to have it. I use a different notebook system, which I wrote about a couple of years ago here

  9. That is so neat! We have our recipes thrown haphazardly all over the place...

  10. What a wonderful Christmas gift! I like how she noted everyone's favorites.

  11. Your recipe binder is wonderful--especially that it's largely filled with recipes from family. That's so special! I have a stash of recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers and a bunch of printouts from online.. all in a messy pile tucked in a bookshelf. Very uncool. lol!

  12. What an absolutely wonderful gift! I am so glad you love it so much. I gave my daughter-in-law one when she and my son first married and she was not impressed at all. I doubt she still has it and she is a recipe freak like me. Oh well....

  13. Beautiful! What a wonderful gift from your mother-in-law.

  14. I'm working on a recipe folder so this post gives me inspiration :)

    It looks great!

  15. That's awesome that you finally got your recipes organized. I had been wondering about this for awhile. Having recipes be part of your wedding shower was such a genius idea!!

    Having all those recipes from different people is so cool. That must be so fun to see. And to have a list of people's favorites...I want my recipe binder to be this awesome.

  16. What a neat book! I especially love that you have so many family recipes. My mom has a small recipe box that belonged to her grandma, and it's so neat to see the recipes written out in Great-grandma's handwriting. I'm sure you will treasure your set forever.

  17. I LOVE this Allie! Ever since I organized all of my recipe clippings earlier this year I've been cooking a lot more different things. I haven't added any of my written recipes like you've done, but I should as it would make having to look at multiple sources so much easier.