Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making a Recipe Binder

I know, the whole 'make your own recipe binder' thing has been done like crazy on different blogs all over the internet.  I should know, I've looked a bunch of them up to get different inspirations for this one!  See, I will be moving within a few months (the lease on our current place is up at the end of July, and we will all be parting ways and going in different directions) and I'm trying to think of ways for me to lighten my load, so to speak.  One of them is to get my recipe books and all that together and organized (and paired down...)  One of the things I will slowly be doing over the next month or two is copying down the recipes that I do actually use from various cookbooks so they are all in one spot.

 As you can see, I have a lot of cook books.  This actually isn't even all of them.  And, this doesn't include the year subscription I had to Food magazine a few years ago.  Or the magazines I've gotten that are not included in that subscription.  Of course, I'm not getting rid of ALL of these cookbooks... family ones are staying.... that wonderful Feast of Fire and Ice one (that the GoT feast I did came from) and such are not leaving my possessive possession...

But yes, cookbooks will mostly be going away.  As you can see they take up a TON of space.  So, what I have been working on is my own lovely cookbook.  For a while, I've been using one of the premade binder cookbooks, the ones that you can write your own recipes on 4x6 cards, and have them all match and be pretty.  In fact, this is the one I've been using!  It was a gift to my mom from a close friend, and I've been using it (with her, but since I'm the main cook here, it kinda got inherited to me...)

 Its pretty.  I like it.  But, it didn't quite fit my needs.  See, it didn't quite have the categories that we pertinent to me, and whenever it got dropped everything would spill out and go everywhere.  Even if it was a drop from my hands onto the counter.  Besides, when you have a 16lb cat who thinks that nothing is allowed on the table, and runs in circles on it to knock everything off... well, lets just say things get knocked over fairly often.  And, I filled up all the cards very quickly, as well as all the pages.

So I finally caved and decided to make my own!  This way, I could customize it, and actually put things where I wanted them to go!  In categories that make sense to me!  Hopefully they make sense to everyone else, too.... >.<  So, without further ado, here is my new, handy dandy cookbook!  (sorry... spend too much time watching children's shows with my niece and nephews.... *images of a blue dog running around flies through my head*)
Yes, I called it Omm Nom Nom.  I couldn't think of anything else!!!
 I got a nice quality 2" notebook binder off of amazon.com (I love amazon, just so everyone knows...) and I made it pretty using scrapbook paper that I had.  I have a ton of it! Love it for different crafts and all that. I used a bunch of it to frame pictures for my mom's celebration of life.  That turned out beautiful.  Back on topic, with the binder I got two packages of extra wide dividers, so the categories wouldn't be hidden among the page-protected recipes.

I got dividers that were blank paper, so I could write and put fun things on them.  Like this!  Mom with her empty Tippy Cup (inside story) and a recipe and story about her favorite cocktail.  Of which, us kids learned how to make as soon as we could properly reach things.  Lol...  Love having a bartender for a mom, and miss her so much.
I love having the pockets on the front and back of the binder, because, like others have done when making their own, recipes that have not been tried yet can live there before being properly filed in a keep spot (in the book) or a non-keep spot (in the recycling).   Soon to be added to the cookbook:  binder pockets.  To go behind each category for miscellaneous recipes that either don't fit, or need to be filed, etc.  I forgot to order them, so they are not making it into this update....

My categories are:

  • Appetizers/Snacks
  • Salads/Dressings
  • Sauces/Gravies
  • Soups/Stews
  • Sandwiches
  • Pastas
  • Side Dishes
  • Main Dishes
  • Breads/Muffins
  • Cakes/Cobblers
  • Pies/Pastries
  • Cookies
  • Extracts/Spices
  • Beverages
  • Miscellaneous
  • Tips and Tricks

 Yeah, I know, that is a lot of categories.  And, yes, some are not usually found in pre-made recipe card books.  Thus, my initial dilemma.  Making it this way makes it very ease to eventually move half of these recipe categories (ie the baking department) into a different book when this one gets too full.  I like that idea very much, personally!  And, besides, this suits my needs right now very well.

Within this lovely cookbook, I have a few different sized pages for various recipes.  First, I got a box of 100 4x6 picture holding sleeves.  It was actually cheaper to buy the ones made for pictures than it was to buy the ones made for recipes.  Plus, the ones that I kept finding for the recipes only had two slots per page, and were not full sized pages.  So, picture album sleeves for the win!

Also, I got a bunch of full sleeve page protectors, and, yes this may seem weird at first, but give it a chance, a thing of business card protector sleeves.

Yes, I said it, business card protector sleeves.  Also, baseball card protectors would work really well, too.  Think about it, recipes that are very small (such as cocktail recipes, or spice blends) that you don't want to waste a full recipe card on, let alone the space for the recipe card!

Look at these things!  Fricken useful if you ask me! Magazine cutouts. Cocktail recipes, the little things that come of bottles of booze (I work at a liquor store, so I end up acquiring a lot of these...)  Spice blends, which to me usually taste better than the store bought ones.  Things like that!

And, honestly, I don't think I saw that idea on any other blog about making your own book.  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though!

Back to the making of bit.  With that whole stack of magazines that have been just taking up so much space. I butchered them.  Plain and simple.  I took my lovely pair of scissors, and chopped them up to little pieces.  Well, not all of them went to little pieces, some of them stayed nice and big.  And, now I can recycle the now non needed magazines, and clear up a whole area of storage.  Bonus!
 Not only did I salvage a bunch of recipes from these books, but there were a lot of useful things in them as well.  Thus my tips and tricks section of the book came into being.  And then I had fun with metallic sharpies.    And now I can keep the little techniques that they had in the book, so I would have a lovely little thing to look back on when I actually need the technique refreshed.  I actually did use the butternut squash one last time I made something with one of those.  Did not know how to properly break one down , and now that I do... so much easier!
So, this is my cookbook!  Omm Nom Nom is a work in progress, but the basic structure is built, and will be evolving as time goes on.  And, as I copy recipes from all those cookbooks and get rid of the books themselves.  A yard sale will soon be in the works, I can see it now....

Making a Recipe Binder
(aka What you need)

  • A binder.  Size depends on what it will be used for.  Maybe you want to make individual ones for main meals, desserts, beverages etc.  Then, you may want 1" or 1 1/2 " instead of the 2" like the one I used.
  • Page protectors.  Size also depends on what it will be used for.  Full page sleeves for pages printed off of the computer, or for things scrapbooked together out of magazines to make nice full pages.  Sleeves that fit the specific cards used (in my case 4x6).  Or even using the business card or baseball card protectors, for the little recipes.  
  • Dividers.  Preferably the extra long ones, so you can actually see the categories if you do use the page protectors.  Otherwise, the end of the divider gets lost amongst its companions.
  • Paper.  Yes, I know... paper?  Well, you want your book to look pretty, right?  Whether its scrapbook paper like what I used for the cover, or something awesome printed off of the computer.  I've seen some pretty cool ones out there.
  • Recipes.  Yes, I know, moot point if you're looking at this.  But still, recipes.  Could be hand written ones passed down the generations, or printed ones off of blogs like thepioneerwoman.com (love the recipe I linked... you gotta try it!!!
Put it all together, and you should get something that's awesome.  And useful.  And could be given as gifts.  Or something that just makes you hungry looking at it.  ^-^

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