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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tips-n-Tricks {Recipe Book}

So after this post, I had a couple folks ask me to pass on some practical tips on "getting it all done" with a large busy family.  So here's just a little something something that makes my days run just a little more smoothly.  I don't know... maybe y'all are gonna think this is really silly.  But it really does make things just a little better in the chaotic busy-ness that is the Crazy 8 home.  And that's how I roll... trying to make as many things as possible a little bit easier or funner or efficient so in total each and every day is the glorious blessing God intended it to be!

Introducing... recipe book.  
When Papa and I first married, I had one of those little recipe boxes that just fit 3x5" cards.  (Did any of y'all mature mamas out there have one of those boxes too?)
It was cute!  
It had little 3x5" dividers!  
It was domestic!  
It was horribly impractical.  It didn't fit all the articles I tore out of magazines. Or the 4x6" recipe cards that my mother-in-law gave me of Papa's favorite fare from his childhood!

So sadly, I abandoned it and went to a shoe box size container and just piled recipes in there.  And it started out organized.  But in time, it was just a pile of papers and searching through them to find "it" ultimately deterred me from even looking inside.  

Then a teacher shared this wonderful system!
It's a 3 ring binder filled with dividers and plastic sleeves.  
It's easy!  
It's clean!
It's simple!
It fairly cheap!
It easily  adapts to my changing needs through time!
It spits out a single gold egg every time I open the cover!  (OK maybe it's not THAT life altering, but I still like it!)
It doesn't matter what size the recipe is, I slide it in the sleeve easily!  Sometimes there are 3-4 recipes per page and sometimes only 1.  I've even photocopied a few of my favorite recipes (the ones I go to time and time again) from my cookbooks and added them here, just so it's all in one place.  And I have a supply of empty sleeves in the back of the book should I need extra pages in that section.
This part is really optional, but it again, it works for me.  On the outside, I have a list of "go-to" meals.  It's where I start my meal planning each week.  For more ideas, I flip around inside.  (I know some of you meal plan monthly and some every few days or two weeks or never.  I do it weekly cause it seems to work for our family.)
Inside the front cover, I have the back panel of the Bisquick box tucked away in case of emergency.  
And that gorgeous sunrise pic of my house a neighbor gave me.  Not really sure why that's in there.
The back has a pic of a place setting so the kiddos can reference it if they're don't know where things go when they're learning to set the table.  Not that we use all those forks or 2 wine glasses or even 2 plates for that matter.  (The picture IS missing just where to place the plastic gallon of milk on the table.  Unless my mother-in-law is coming over, then we pour the milk in a nice pitcher like it's always done that way.)
Inside the back cover, are extra recipe cards, which I seldom use anymore as I print everything straight off the computer usually. 
And a recipe for slime.  Hmmmmmm, I wonder if that would go under salads or appetizers?
And the beauty of the system is that the sleeves are removable/re-arrangeable and you can wipe them down when you splatter spaghetti sauce on them!   We're really into muffins these days,  for snacks or breakfast or even in the kiddo's lunches as an entrée when I cut them in half and add cream cheese.  Muffins are one of the few ways I can get Tess to eat a fruit.  Today I made banana nut muffins.
There's a great recipe I'll share here later with to-die-for apple pumpkin muffins!  Canned pumpkin goes on sale cheap soon, so I'll be stocking up and making these year 'round!
And it looks as if I'm gonna have a bumper crop of sweet basil this year, so I checked to see if I had a pesto recipe make and freeze and stock-pile in the freezer.  Check!
And of course a section for all my Viet recipes.  That's why this idea is SO good!  You can make whatever sections you want!

I've had this recipe book probably 10 years now, and it just gets better and better.  I've even given a couple blank/empty ones as bridal shower gifts, complete with a couple of my favorite recipes.  And had a few friends copy this idea and love it!

Let me know if you give it a try and how it works for you!


  1. I've been planning to do this for the longest time, but I haven't managed to make it to that part of my "to do" list yet. Maybe one day. I do have one of those impractical little boxes with the cards in it, and then there's the manila folder stuffed in the cabinet with the cookbooks that contains all of our random recipes.

  2. prechrswife--Give it a TRY! After a quick trip to the store and about 30 min, it's done.

  3. I use binders for recipes too...not cute, but very practical and the recipes stay clean in the clear protector sheets...

  4. Surely you all have a leftover binder from the kids school years of supplies. I went and got one of the "I can't use this one anymore, mom!" binders, and it works great. Besides, we don't care if it's missing a little plastic or has frayed or crushed corners and edges right! Love it-thanks :o)I utilized this tip a few months back and it is wonderful.. I too have a monthly dinner menu, and YES a weekly breakfast menu-makes life easier with, I don't likes, you get what you get, and each kid gets to pick a meal occasionally :o) Keeps the shopping bill down too.

  5. i have the same binder w/ sleeves, but it has become majorly disorganized. plus i never seem to have my computer near a printer. but you've inspired me to clean it up.
    also: muffins! i feel like i've just rediscovered them! i made this recipe this weekend:
    and it was so yummy and moist and fall-ish that i think i'm going to make it again tomorrow. you have to share your muffin recipes!

  6. I totally remember this book from when I lived with you :) I think I need to make one for myself!!


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