Friday, January 9, 2009

Recipe Reorganization

I cannot resist recipes. Since college, I have hoarded torn-out magazine pages, handwritten notes, printed-out concoctions and photocopied ingredient lists. Last spring I made a feeble attempt to organize it all, deciding to stash all recipes in four binders labeled Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. Huh? Dumbest idea ever. It never got done.

But now... well, something has to. Every time I open a cookbook, scraps of paper flit to the floor. Whenever I reach on top of the refrigerator (shudder), an avalanche of paper comes sliding down. Today I found a recipe in my coat pocket. The insanity has to stop. This weekend.

So the project I've been dreading for... um... years... is about to be conquered. Get this: the temperature is expected to drop 50 DEGREES in the next 24 hours, so I'm bundling up and happily copying down recipes onto neat, pretty cards. When they're done, I'm thinking of hitting a flea market or junk sale to see if I can unearth one of those long and skinny wooden box/crates - the ones decorator people put candles and things in. Wouldn't that be fun... an extra long card catalog box for recipes? (Until I drop it, that is?) laugh

Oh yeah. And you have to see these. I'm printing them out on some leftover cardstock and using my bestest handwriting to pretty them up.

I had a crowd over yesterday before skipping off to a dinner party last night. At some point, someone asked me for my two favorite, quick recipes. I thought for a minute and then said: Mocha Hot Chocolate. If you're a coffee and a cocoa drinker, mix your cocoa mix - by the tablespoon or envelope or what have you - into a hot cup of coffee (as opposed to water or milk). It's ten times better than regular hot chocolate.

The other? You can see part of it in the photo above: Homemade Baking Powder. I go to the trouble because the commercial stuff has chemicals and preservatives and sometimes tastes metallic to me. So: sift 1/4 cup cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons baking soda into an airtight container. Keep at room temperature for 4 weeks. And if it clumps as it sits (as it might do, since it's lacking all those additives), resift before using.

Here's to recipe reorganization, free recipe cards and the little hints that make our lives a little sweeter! Enjoy your weekends, dear ones. -Brin

29 comments:

Kathleen Grace said...

The recipe cards are beautiful:>) I went the easy way and use page protectors in a 3 ring binder. It takes seconds to slip the recipe into the holder and prevents writers cramp from re-copying all those recipes! Every time I print a new one out or tear one out of a magazine, I slip it right into a page protector. Glad you're still here:>)

Kathi said...

Thank you for the tip. I too have tasted that weird taste with baking powder. I'll try it. I need to organize my recipes as well. We renovated our bathroom in our 1913 House. It turned out beautifully. I posted it on my blog if you'd like to see how it was re-done. I love your house and all you have done with it. Kathi

Michelle said...

Great ideas, Brin! I hope you find the perfect crate for all of 'em. Unfortunately since I've been using a keyboard so much my skills in handwriting have worsened. My handwriting looks pretty retarded nowadays so I better skip that part if I try this. ;) Have a wonderful day! Good things are going to happen to you very soon!

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Gee, I can sure relate, except I've been stashing recipes much longer than you! Every winter I promise myself I will organize them all, still haven't gotten to them, but I will! Sounds like a lovely way to spend the weekend!

Dinah said...

Thanks for the recipe card link Brin. I've printed some for myself already. Last week I printed some from this link that might interest you: www.annamariahorner.blogspot.com/2008/11/take-comfort-give-comfort.html
Check out that post. I love the little folder and "cooking comfort cards" as she calls them.

Sara said...

Oh my gosh! Okay, when I was single, before I really learned how to drink coffee, I used to take an envelope of hot chocolate, pour it into a coffee mug, then pour coffee over it instead of hot water! How funny is it that you do the same thing?!?! I love you! :)

Kimberley said...

Good luck, Brin. I've made many attempts, but have 20 years of yellowing and some brittle slips of paper and some very old magazine clippings. Maybe someday!

muttonfish said...

Just a word of caution -- don't be to quick to toss those old recipes! When I organized all mine a few years ago, I wanted something pretty, but I wnated to save some of those old recipes -- written down hastily on napkins at dinner parties, or on the backs of envelopes for me by my long-dead grandmother, or simply so used and loved that they were splattered with olive oil or worchestershire sauce to the point of feeling like relics from my life. So I got a photo album and slipped them in the photo slots. If the recipe had to be folded to get it to fit, I wrote alongside (in the area used to write about the picture)what the recipe was for. I did it years ago, I'm so glad I saved them now. Just an idea. :)

Donna said...

Best of luck. That is all I can say. Best of luck. I have tried to organize recipes for 30 years!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Funny...I was in recipes up to my neck today, too.

That was an excellent find at Martha's and I do like your idea for a long box for recipes...a sewing box even.

And I never knew that about baking powder...thanks so much for that tip!

Dinner parties on Thursday evenings? What's the world coming to?! ;>

Have a wonderful weekend, Brin.

Sherry said...

You are way more industrious than me! I sorted recipes several years ago (I am a teeny bit older - ahem - okay, several years older). I saved the original clipped recipes and handwritten recipes and stuck in them in the "magnetic" page photo albums. One for meat, one for vegetables, etc.

Before my son went off on his own, I typed all of the family recipes, printed it and put the pages in a binder. Each recipe has a note pertaining to the family member who was famous for it...or the family member who requested it each holiday, etc. I did some editing and also gave the binders to sisters-in-law and my stepchildren. Sometimes when they visit and eat with us, they ask, "Is this in the book?"

I have been telling people for years that baking powder was baking soda and cream of tartar with an anti-clumping agent. Can't understand why they won't believe me...all they have to do is read a baking powder can.

Sarah said...

I need to do the same thing. My recipes are out of control as well. The easy way would be to use a binder, but I love the idea of everything being uniform and in a box on my counter. I just haven't found that perfect box yet. Therefore no motivation to transfer our favorites from the print-outs, tear-outs or scraps that they're currently on.

Good luck!

Joni said...

Brin, you could try a pocket-style photo album, sort them into categories, and buy an album for each....they albums come in all sizes small, medium or large AND this has the added benefit of not seeing the copying each recipe through, and if you drop the photo album, they won't all fly out. I buy the albums that fit 4 x 6 photos, and if the recipe is written on paper, you can fold that and slide it into the sleeve and pop it out to use. Hope this helps, I was always "going to" rewrite my recipes until I came upon this idea and it saved me. If you have too many full-page recipes, then you could use a regular notebook with full size clear page protectors. They're easy to obtain in quantity at the office supply stores. Hope this helps, I had procrastinated, for years! These are all then put into my antique ice box and behind the tidy looking oak doors! Best of luck!

Julie said...

Oh, Brin!
Do bundle up (it's going to drop 50 degrees, here, in Louisiana, too!) and have fun organizing those recipes! It really is fun to find ones that you may have forgotten. Do try not to toss the handwritten ones -- whether the handwriting is good or bad, I think those are the most precious.

Oh! Please be sure to share pictures with us -- it's so inspiring to see a completed project!
Blessings,
Julie

Tracey said...

Brin, really neat idea and love the recipes,, thanks for sharing. I really love the idea for the box..I think a card catalog or candle box would be great.. but think outside the box. Maybe you already have something that might work.. look around and try to use something that you would never have thought of.. just an idea. I love to resuse/ reduce/ recycle.. have a great weekend.. going down to 10 degrees for us this weekend.. burrrrr!

Jenn said...

I was born to be a cook. I will never be the same super slim person I used to be. I blame the recipes of years gone by and the yummy gooodies of days present. You grab my heart and I know that one day soon I shall have to conquer the same feat. Jenn

Sissy said...

I have a little blue ceramic box for my recipe cards and it is jammed full. It was a gift from a friend of mine and it has the word "harmony" written in this little typewriter-y font on the outside. I love it. I think "harmony" says something about why I cook. I don't know what, exactly, but I think it says something.

Koleen said...

My recipes are in a mess too! Will organize one day. I love to try new foods, but my husband and sons like the same old stuff. Thanks for the baking powder tip. Will try it.

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

I, like Sue at Country Pleasures, have been collecting recipes since before you were born. And your pocket pie recipe really came in handy for our Dad, before he passed in October. He enjoyed them very much. I'd like to think you were the one who made his tummy happy. Thanks for always sharing. :) xxoo

Shari said...

I've done the hot chocolate mix in my coffee - yum and even better with whip cream on top - bad but oh soooo good!!

Elenka said...

50 degrees !! yikes ! I wish we had 50 degrees to play with !! It was 26 degrees when I was driving home this afternoon.
Good luck with your recipes.

Rosa said...

Organizing recipes is a good idea. I too had many recipes torn out of magazines and what have you.
While visiting last Christmas, my mom decided to help me out by copying them into a recipe book with the understanding that she could take the original recipes back home with her.
That turned out to be a mistake as some of the recipes were copied down wrong. As she was moving she had packed all the originals in an unknown box and then put it into storage!
I could see the original so clearly, but not the actual directions. Ack!
And my 16 year old son also enjoys hot chocolate coffee. :)

Meagan said...

How funny... over Christmas break I organized all my recipies by category in plastic page protectors in notebooks! My mom and I actually sat down and organized and traded together. Here's a fun idea for you (because I, too, was going to copy all my recipes on recipe cards and it got to be WAY too time consuming BUT I wanted ALL my recipes in one place, not cards in a box AND pages in a notebook). SO... mom and I got together and put my mom's brilliant idea to work: you can put a recipe card in a plastic page protecter (the NICE ones, not the economy aka flimsy ones) and then sew around them or just across the page (in coordinating thread if you're really feeling festive and creative) and then insert another card for the top half of the page protector and sew around it or across the top! Then your recipe cards can be in page protectors - spill safe in the kitchen - and ALL your recipes can be filed away together so you won't have to look 2 different places for recipes! :-)

Mrs. Pauls said...

Would an old sewing machine drawer work to store recipes? Or is that too narrow?
Just a thought.
Happy recipe organizing, let us know how it goes and maybe I'll be motivated enougth to tackle my stack!

Amy said...

I do the hot chocolate and coffee thing too. Add a splash of orange juice next time! Yummy!

Nancy said...

Oh, I need to follow in your footsteps on this project. My recipe organization (if you can call it that) needs a bit of an overhaul. Bet you'll even find some recipes that you forgot about.

thedomesticfringe said...

I left you an award on the domestic fringe. You don't need to do anything with it if you don't want, but stop by and check it out.
-FringeGirl

Jess said...

While going through your recipes, How about considering a cookbook in your future??? I would LOVE to purchase one...or two or three or four...

Sue said...

HI

I LEFT AN AWARD ON MY BLOG--PLEASE VISIT--AFTER READING YOUR COMMENTS YOU HAE ALREADY HAVE THIS AWARD, BUT THIS OK--2 OF THE SAME AWARD IS OK.


SUE