Friday, June 8, 2012

How I Organize My Recipes

gettin organizedJust popping in for a quick post this evening on how I organize my recipes.  As some of you may have seen me mention on facebook, I am now limiting my blogging time (both writing and reading) to evenings after my daughter is in bed and all my other “stuff” is done.  This will likely mean shorter and perhaps less frequent posts, but I must put first things first.  I cant blog about being an old-fashioned housewife if Im not actually doing the thing! :)

For my fourth installment in my Old Fashioned Kitchen series, I wanted to share with you how I organize my recipes.  How do you organize your recipes?  Is your system working for you?  I realized a few months ago my “system” wasnt much of a one at all and I had things strewn about here and there, with no quick, easy, and efficient system for organizing my recipes.  
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Having recipes on hand quickly in an organized way is a very important part of being a homemaker, because meal-planning is such a corner stone of of a well-run home in my experience.  Buying, storing, cooking, serving, eating, preserving, disposing of food takes up such a large portion of our time as homemakers, and so knowing what I am gong to make and when helps keep me sane and our home running more smoothly (not to mention saving me money when it comes to grocery shopping).  Having my recipes on hand both for inspiration while meal planning as well as instruction while cooking is essential.
I resisted joining Pinterest FOREVER because I tend to drag my feet when it comes to new technology (hello.. I still dont have a cell phone and I dont tweet either!  How old-fashioned is THAT?).  But I have to tell you… now that I have an account it is incredibly helpful as a holding place for recipes I find while reading blogs or browsing online.  Instead of emailing myself endless links and then having to go back and find what I had saved, now I just pull up my Pinterest recipe board and find what Im looking for in a minute.
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I dont find cooking from an online recipe very practical, however, so eventually I like to move these saved recipes onto index cards.  My recipe book is photo album with plastic sleeves that are perfect for holding my recipe cards.  For me, this is the perfect resource to leaf through on meal-planning day to see what looks good (and matches my food stockpile) for the week ahead.
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And I still read books!  Remember those darling things?  I rarely buy new cookbooks because I find there is such a wealth of recipes available both online and in books you can borrow at the library that there is not often a reason to buy an expensive cookbook. 
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When I borrow a cookbook from the library, I read through it, and using these nifty little sticky tags I buy at the dollar store, I mark the recipes I want to save.  When Im done reading it, I go back and write the recipes Im sure I’ll try down on cards and put them in my the photo album.  This might sound time consuming but I tend to do it at the end of the day when watching a tv show with the hubs and I use a lot of shorthand when i copy them over which makes quick work of the task.

This is the system that is working for me these days.  It helps me find my recipes without much work, and allows me to meal plan well, which helps me to save time, money, and energy, and helps keep my family well-fed and my home in some semblance of order.  And those are all good things!
How do you organize your recipes?  I’d love to hear your tips!  And if you’ve done a blog post on it, be sure to post the link in the comments for our other readers to enjoy!

Happy to be linking up today with Teach Me Tuesdays at Growing Home, Tiny Tip Tuesdays over at Nature's Nurture,  Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays at New Nastolgia  Frugal Fridays over at Life as Mom as well as Link Love with the Accidental Housewife. 
The Accidental Housewife


Erica of Golden Egg Vintage said...

Great ideas! I never would have thought about checking out cook books at the library! Very resourceful!
Erica :)

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

THanks, Erica! Ive been doing it for years and its a fabulous way to save money and expose yourself to all kinds of cuisine! And if you find a book you really love, which has happened to me a fe times, then you know for sure when you do buy it that its worth it. :) Thanks for the comment!

The Kopers said...

I also transfer mine to index cards. I store them in a box from an office supply store that is full of dividers and is the exact size to hold the index cards. It is my big, purple recipe box. Steve got it for me for my birthday last year and I love it! I do not transfer a recipe into it, though until I have made the recipe once and deem it worthy of being in the box. My Pinterest account also holds my "to try" recipes and then they get to move into the box once I find the to be good.
Thanks for the fun post!

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

Thats great, Leah, thanks for sharing@ I usedto have a recipe box but I find, for me, the photo album alows me to "browse", which is nice for meal planning. BUT- I sort of miss the compact nature of the box. Theres pros and cons to each system. :) And I would love to browse through your recipe box! Maybe one day! :)

Andi said...

I have a recipe book that I got for like a buck when I worked at Old Navy. It looks like a photo album but says "The Best Cook in the World and it has dividers for meats, desserts, vegetables, etc. I love it!

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

WOw, Andi- that sound like an awesome find! And for a dollar! Awesome!

The Accidental Housewife said...

I love that a photo album would be wipe clean!

I write mine in a pocket notebook, and then add each recipe to the contents list on the front page so I can find it again. For some strange reason, the book always naturally falls open at the chocolate cookie recipe...

Thanks for linking up to our party today!

Roar Sweetly said...

What a fabulous post! I recently had a Pinterest epiphany too and have saved myself so much time simply pinning my Internet finds instead of bookmarking them, never to be looked at again. Currently my recipes are in a ring-binder folder in no particular order, but I love the idea of a photo album. I have a fancy new printer that lets me print onto 6 x 4 cards so I see a recipe organising night in my near future. Thanks

Tracey said...

I like the photo album idea! Like Mrs A, I write in notebooks, but I don't have a contents list.... Really shud get them more organised. Also might use your mini sticky note idea in my cookbooks to mark recipes I want to try browse your blog now :)

theoldmilkcan said...

I could do with tidying up my recipe collection....I've a book that I cut and stick into (or, if I'm honest, cut and jam to stick later....maybe) or write into - there is no order, index or anything but I remember all the recipes in vague order because I never get recipes I don't use....I saw a funny saying a while back that someone famous evidently pointed out - you know you are middle aged when you have collected so many recipes you've no chance of actually ever cooking them all lol I've tried to limit it but it is so hard when recipes are such a wonderful connection with others. I love your blog and have come over from Mrs A's, very pleased to meet you :)

Alana of Domestic Bliss Diaries said...

This may just be me having a "blonde moment", but I never thought about borrowing cookbooks from the library... I read that and was like, "duh! why didn't I think of that?" Insert hand smacking forehead here... LOL

Sounds like you've got a great system going. - The Making + Managing of Home

Kerry Fountain said...

I have a 3 ring binder and I place all my typed out recipes (ones that have been tried and tested) into sheet protectors. That way I can take out a sheet and take it into the kitchen with me when I go to make a recipe. The sheet protector can be wiped off and it keeps it from getting wet. I have used this system for probably 5 years and love it!

Sarah @ Natures Nurture said...

I could've sworn I commented on this already, and now that I'm making the rounds of all the links at this week's Tiny Tip Tuesday, turns out I never made it - I'm sure Baby Y had something to do with it LOL :)

Anyways, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that Pinterest is my favorite thing - EVER! And I'm glad you've made your way over to this amazing invention! But sometimes, we just need a little old-fashioned in our lives, which is where you come in :) Thanks for sharing your techniques with us, and for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday!