Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Recipe Roundup, Reprised (Part 1)

Some of you might remember that I gave my friend some pointers with her recipe project about a year and a half ago. I learned a lot from that experience and decided I need to figure out a recipe system, too.

A future installment will provide you with more detail on what I decided and how the finished product (will) look(s), but I figure I should document the current situation before I am thoroughly tired of the whole thing and don't post about it at all! I've already been working on this in the "spaces" of my days and it's been several weeks. It's not quick or easy, but I am very excited about the finished project.

So, here's the background:
  • This all started when I used up the last preprinted card for my (second) recipe box. As you might imagine, it drives me crazy to have plain index cards in with the pretty ones. 
  • I went online to order more. The recipe card/box print (Honey Bears) is a retired Lang edition and virtually impossible to find. I don't feel that I want to pay $25 for another box and 72 cards (price as of this posting).
  • These recipe boxes were purchased back before I was married (about 7 years ago). My Mom and Mother-in-Law so graciously offered to copy down some of their favorites on the cards. Now that my mother is no longer living, I definitely want to save the cards with their handwriting on them, no matter what the system ends up looking like.
  • I don't want to have multiple boxes of recipes, especially since each would have the same categories in it. This would be a problem, especially for desserts, which seem to comprise at least a third to half of my recipes :)  Yes, I did consider distributing the categories among the boxes, but one uses 4x6 cards and one uses 3x5 cards.
  • The boxes are showing wear on the outside, and the tabs are also "fraying" (or whatever you'd call paper that is delaminating and separating from its backing).
  • My husband wonders aloud, once or twice a year, whether I have a list of the things I regularly make. This is a logical response when (just like my mother) I ask, "Is there anything you are hungry for?"
  • I frequently gather recipes from online sources or tear pages out of magazines with things I'd like to try. I don't copy these onto cards until I'm sure I like them and they are worth the effort. Therefore...
  • I have a large magnetic clip full of recipes hanging on the side of my fridge with recipes to try.
  • There are also cookbooks on my shelf which contain only a handful of useful recipes.

I established several goals for the finished product:
  1. It needs to take up less shelf or cabinet space than the current "system."
  2. I don't want to spend a lot of money. My budget is $25.
  3. Since I am always trying to increase the variety of foods we eat, it must be easily expandable.
  4. A bonus would be that I can easily share the recipes with others, including the ability to pass it on to my sons someday.
Before I wrap this up, do you have any ideas or suggestions for me? I always like thinking outside the box!


  1. I cannot wait to hear about what you end up doing for this system. I've thought about making a binder of all of my recipes that I use. I would print out the recipes onto paper and slide them into page protectors. I could probably get at least 2 on a page. If you want to keep ones with your mother's handwriting, maybe scanning them. ?? However, this whole project seems so big and time-consuming. I feel like I use one cookbook for about 5 recipes and then, like you, I have magazine recipes, etc. clipped together waiting to be tried. So what system will you be using? :)

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Stay tuned. The project is taking on a life of its own, but things are coming along nicely. I hope to have it mostly wrapped up in a few weeks and will have pictures and samples to share!