I started to realize I had a small problem when it came to meal planning, that I didn't know where to begin looking! I would be overwhelmed with stacks of magazines and papers, all containing an abundance of recipes. Not to mention, cookbooks... how do you find anything in a cookbook!? It was time to streamline!
I started with my stack of food/recipe magazines.
I personally Heart food magazines because it takes a lot less time to find an appealing recipe, than in the traditional cookbook. Why? Pictures of course! If I am visually drawn to a photo of food, then I will be a lot more apt to make it, vs trying to read through picture-less recipes for specific ingredients, which is far too time consuming for this gal.
As time goes on, finding specific recipes within stacks of magazines can become more and more difficult. Not to mention, the bigger the stack, the more precious real estate they are taking up in my kitchen. So, time to go through each one, and remove all the pages that contain recipes that I would foresee myself enjoying. The rest of the magazine, heads to the recycling bin. Suddenly, the stack has shrunken tremendously.
I had decided to stick with my typical way of storing magazine articles and clippings. Hey, if it works, no shame in reusing ideas over and over. Into a binder the recipes would go!
First things first. I snagged a cute binder from my second home, Target, and added some lettering to the cover, to label the contents.
Then, I filled the inside of the binder, with plastic sleeves that contained colorful paper inserts. The sleeves will keep the recipes protected from spills and splatters. The colorful paper, is more for esthetically pleasing me, and giving me something to glue the recipes to, which creates a more unified appearance.
Then, just using a regular glue stick, I glued the recipes onto the pretty pink paper.
Next is where I ran into some trouble. I had tried using two different types of pre-packaged binder dividers, only to find out, that the tabs didn't stick out past the plastic sleeves, making them next to pointless. So back to the store they went, and back to the drawing board I went. Then, it dawned on me that manila folders contain tabs, and they are larger than standard binder dividers. So, I just cut a manila folder in half, used a three hole punch and instantly had easy to see dividers.
And then I just used my label maker to create categories, just like a cookbook (i.e. Pastas, Main Dishes, Snacks, etc...)
I also use one of the page protectors to hold take-out menus, which comes in handy when you are in a pinch for time!
Next comes the internet. The internet is an amazing way to find gazillions of FREE recipes. That's right, I said, "FREE", and that is music to my ears for sure! Once I find a good recipe website, I make sure that I bookmark it in my favorites, of course, filed in a folder titled "Recipes"
And the super wonderful part of online recipes these days, is majority of them have the ability to be printed in many different formats, to assist you in saving them in an organized way! For example, Real Simple has the option to print recipes full page (which I find convenient, and then just stick in the handy binder), or you can choose to print them in different recipe card sizes, for those of you who store your recipes as such!
And finally, not to leave out the all important cookbook. When I ventured away from my mom's nest, many years ago, I was given a few cookbooks to get me started on my own. I quickly found them discouraging, because many of them didn't contain, as I mentioned earlier, photos. I would read the names of recipes, and wouldn't want to spend the time picking them apart to determine if it would be something I would enjoy making. Therefore, I had quickly learned, that if I were really going to invest in a cookbook, it better come with some art! I definitely use the ones with good cuisine photos, mucho more often than those that don't.
And when I find a recipe that I love and want to make sure that I can find again, simple Post-It flags do just the trick!
When it comes to storing cookbooks, I have them in two different stacks in the food making room. I just Heart how they add beautiful splashes of color! My main recommendation as far as storing them, is to make sure they aren't too close to any cooking surfaces, to ensure they don't become covered in sauces and splats, which will prolong their precious lives!
All this food chit chat is making me hungry!
You getting hungry too? Do you have any good recipes you want to share with our readers? What about great recipe website or cookbook recommendations?