We stayed put for Labor Day. It was kind of heavenly to just hang around here and get some things done and play tennis and hang/swim with friends. We made a big breakfast after which I took a good look at my recipe book sitting on the counter:2012-09-01 misc 59905 I love that thing.  My Mom gave it to me when I got married.  In it she put a ton of our favorite family recipes: 2012-09-01 recipes 60029And since then it has been added to. And added to. And added to some more. A recipe from one of our first “couple friends” who made us roasted chicken on a long, lazy day as newlyweds:2012-09-01 recipes 60026 My newly-married high school friend’s fav. that she scrawled out for me one day:2012-09-01 misc 59909 Recipes that looked good that I tore out of an awesome recipe magazine my sister got me a subscription for one Christmas years ago:2012-09-01 recipes 60012 My “Turkey Bible” I got when I made my first Thanksgiving turkey:2012-09-01 recipes 60016 Other random recipes torn from various magazines:2012-09-01 recipes 60020 …and newspapers:2012-09-01 recipes 60024 My favorite roll recipe was crammed in there:2012-09-01 recipes 60021(more detail on that mouthwatering recipe back here) And the whole wheat bread we can’t get enough of:2012-09-01 recipes 60025(more detailed instructions on that recipe here) This one I scratched out on an old bill because I loved it so much when my sis-in-law made it…it’s called “Cowboy Caviar”:2012-09-01 recipes 60023That one is a regular at our house every time I make Mexican and although we do eat it with tortilla chips, I don’t know why the word “potatoes” is scribbled there on the bottom… So many recipes I scribbled together on scraps at people’s houses when I loved something they made:2012-09-01 recipes 600282012-09-01 recipes 600132012-09-01 recipes 60031 I have no idea what this one even is…nice handwriting.2012-09-01 recipes 60033 …this is how I keep notes of what is swirling around in my mind:2012-09-01 recipes 60017…and hey, if a recipe is close, why not write it right on there?? It made my heart sad when I saw that purple “baby food” on this one:  2012-09-01 recipes 60034How the heck did I get to the stage when I don’t need baby food any more for crying out loud!?! Bottom line: this book was a wreck of good memories and sentimental collections.2012-09-01 misc 59907…and something needed to be done about it. Especially because I’m seriously sprucing up our dinner menu around here. I have thought for years that I would type everything all out all neat and tidy and print it all out, but after that many years of thinking about that plan, I decided to go with an alternate route: I took out all the recipes and things I had jumbled up in my cabinet.2012-09-01 misc 59908 And whipped up my new pride and joy that I would like to introduce: 2012-09-06 home 60129 Is that a beauty or what?  Let me indulge and take you on a little tour. I put all my recipes I wanted to keep in sheet protectors.2012-09-06 home 60134 That way I didn’t have to get rid of them, because I am WAY too sentimental for that.2012-09-06 home 60135 The dessert section is not quite proportional with the rest of the book…it’s kinda bulging, but hey, who can turn down a recipe for “warm chocolate cake?” 2012-09-06 home 60137That one is a true masterpiece my friend in Virginia passed on to me after a dinner party she hosted.  I think it’s been made for every book club meeting I’ve ever had since then 🙂 I only put the tried and true recipes in the sheet protectors.  The ones that have passed the test of being loved by our family. The ones I want to keep because they look good and I want to try them out I put in the pocket in the beginning of that section…see on the left below?2012-09-06 home 60132If those turn out to be family favorites they will earn their spot in the sheet protectors. 2012-09-06 home 60139I’m not kidding around when I say this is my new pride and joy.  I’ll admit my heart skips a beat when I pull it out when we’re ready to make something.  My kids give me the business about that little fact.  I think they’re a little bit jealous that I got such a good three-ring-binder and I only let them get the plain old cheap ones for their school work. But man oh man they sure are happy for me…and for them when they cook…and for the yummy food that’s a product of that thing.

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  1. I love that the recipe's have to earn their way into the page protectors! My binder is out of control, and my husband was just harassing me a few days ago about how it's huge and never gets used.

  2. I was so excited to see the recipe for Eggs Benedict! Your sister made that for me on Christmas day when we were missionaries together in England. I have made it a little tradition of my own to make it every Christmas morning since then. I am going to get out my recipe pile (it has yet to become a binder)and add the recipe for the sauce today! Now I can hardly wait for Christmas!

  3. That is amazing! I love the look of your old book – so many memories and delicious meals. But the new book is a combo of the best of both worlds! Fabulous memories is a really cute binder. That would motivate me to cook more:)

  4. I used to have a pile, then sheet protectors, and now, I just put them all online in blog form. They don't get dirty, or torn with all the love. HOWEVER, I can access them where ever I am, which makes making my recipes at my families house a sinch. I highly recommend it. Don't do it all at once, but start a new tab on here, or a new blog all together just for yoru MOST FAVORITE recipes. Your kids will thank you, your family will thank you, your daughter in-laws will thank you. I promise. Babysteps forward, but it's worth it. You can see mine here, it's super simple. The other great thing about it is when someone says, "CAN I HAVE THAT RECIPE?" I don't even have to type it out again, I just send them a link. I promise! You'll be happy you did!


  5. My sisters have access too, since they really are "family" recipes. They put new found loves on there too. But I don't post one unless I am CERTAIN it is a keeper.

  6. I was looking at my family recipe book given to me by my mom just the other day and thinking that it had definitely seen better days. I may have to out and purchase myself a 3-ring binder of my own.

  7. So I kept strolling down hoping to find a link where I can download a zip file of all these cherished recipes! 🙂 I'll have to make do with the ones that have been photographed and the links to your rolls.

    I put mine online in blog format so I can access it if I'm at the grocery store and need a dinner idea asap.

    Please share more recipes, specifically the healthy ones, while you're sprucing up your dinners. Love the binder! Congrats! Organization always feels so good.

  8. I’m so glad that my recipe stash isn’t the only one that looks like that! Now if only I could get it all organized like you did! I’ve been planning to type them all up, but I think I may copy you- faster and more nostalgic that way. And someday your kids will inherit your collection and appreciate your handwriting on all those crazy scraps of paper!

  9. I have kept old recipes that were written by my mom in sheet protectors too because I can't bear to part with them since she is not alive anymore! I did some re-organizing of my recipes as well a few years ago, but sadly it needs to be done again–VERY BADLY!! Maybe now I will be motivated!

  10. i use that exact same system! the exact same binder pattern and everything! i do need to get some dividers that can be seen past the sheet protectors though!
    i switched after my favorite muffin recipe was looking too strugglin' from the stains of cooking with it on the counter. now the sheet protectors keep my recipes nice and dry while i cook!
    — freya

  11. I love this post, it has motivated me to really organize! I also am trying to spruce up our family dinners and would love to see some of your tried and true recipes, I'm sick of everything I usually make and need new ideas!

  12. I love that you save the old recipes that have been handed down to you in their original form. I'm sure you're going to love looking at them for years to come, and can even pass a few favorites to your kids down the road. You may have to photocopy them or put them on the computer as you will have 5 kids all wanting the same recipe 🙂 Your new and improved system looks great and very organized.

    I created my cooking blog for my family and friends. I took a lot of our favorite recipes, as my recipe folder was bulging at the seams like yours. I also put the step-by-step photos and such so that my kids could replicate the recipes on their own someday when they move off to college etc (I really don't want to think about that yet). I may not blog forever, but those recipes and memories will always be there for them.

  13. Great idea! I have a binder that I've been throwing recipes in for the last 6 years. It's already getting crazy, but I just haven't figured out just how I'd like to organize it. I like this way. It makes sense and it doesn't require me to type them all out and worry about format and all that. Thanks for this!

  14. I am a regular follower, but I don't know if I've ever commented before. I sat down to read this post while I have my mum's lemon slice recipe in the oven and got all sentimental (it was also fun to skype my mum while I baked it!). She made me and my 2 siblings recipe albums to give us when we moved out of home. She scrapbooked all our favourite recipes (3 times over!) and put them in a photo album to protect them. Some of the recipes were my grandmothers and great aunties, some hers, some family friends, but all very special. I have added so many handwritten ones of my own and I know I will keep it forever.

  15. This is my Mom's recipe and she was an incredible cook. I have since doubled the recipe since everyone wants thirds as second helpings are never enough. I'm so not kidding. This recipe is to DIE for. Make sure you read through the whole recipe to not miss out on ingredients. Also, I used the frozen stir fry veggies with sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, etc. If you use canned mushrooms, be sure to reserve the liquid.

    Chinese Chicken
    Combine to make marinade:
    3 teaspoons corn starch
    2 Tablespoons soy sauce
    1/2 teaspoons ginger
    2 cloves fresh garlic–never use garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon pepper (I put in only about 1/4 teaspoon to make it less spicy)
    1 Tablespoon oil

    Slice 1 pound chicken & marinate 10 minutes. Use frozen veggies (sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, etc) or slice 1 cup celery diagonally to 1/4 inch thickness, Add 1/2 cup onion, diced. Add 6 oz. sugar snap peas (or snow peas)–2 cups fresh, 1 4-oz can mushrooms and save liquid.

    Drain liquid from mushrooms and add water to make 1/2 cup liquid. Stir in 1 teaspoon corn starch, 1 teaspoon sugar & 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside and be sure to stir it before putting it in with chicken & veggies.

    Stir fry chicken in 1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil in skillet for about 7 minutes. Remove. Stir fry veggies in pan until hot (frozen takes about 7 minutes). Put chicken back in skillet.
    Add water, cornstarch, salt & sugar mixture and bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute until thickened.

    Serve over rice with soy sauce. 🙂

  16. I was just looking at my recipe folder the other day and thinking I should redo it. It is in 2 small folders and they are filled with handwritten notes just like yours. I started typing them all up and printing them out once but it just wasn't the same so I am sticking with chicken scratches on the back of old envelopes 🙂

  17. My whole recipe cabinet is a jumble like that…handwritten ones, pages printed off the internet, sheets torn out of magazines. You inspire me to get it straightened out!

  18. thank you so much for sharing because i've been needing to 'spruce' up my recipes for a while, but dread the thought of typing them all or losing all the handwritten ones like you said….anyway, this is something I could totally do, and i really NEED to. thanks!

  19. Shawni, those tabs are hard to find. I've looked and looked for them cause i like the rounded tabs with the pockets. Can you tell us where you bought them or who makes them? Thanks!

  20. I did the same recipe "purge" when we moved to our new house about 2 years ago and it felt SO wonderful. I, however, had to make a whole new binder for desserts and treats, because my dinner recipes overpowered one whole book. I read somewhere that if you've had a recipe for over a year and never tried it, throw it away. That seemed a little extreme so I changed it to "If I've had this recipe for as long as I can remember and never tried it, throw it away." That felt much better and I still got rid of a ton. Also wanted to say I will never forget my mother telling me some of her prized possessions of my grandmother are her hand written recipes. In this day and age so much is printed from the computer and store electonically that I make it a point to have as many hand written recipes as possible for my own children one day. Soo…when you make your daughters their first recipe books, be sure and write down the recipes you are giving them and not type them out, they'll appreciate it I'm sure.

  21. I'm a faithful follower as well, that hasn't ever left a comment before. I just want you to know how much I admire you and your darling family! I love reading your posts!!
    I was just wondering if you could post the warm chocolate cake recipe. I can't read all of it either, and I would love to try it!
    Thanks again for being so inspiring!


  22. Hello! I just saw your beautiful binder on pinterest and had to see more. But then I saw the roast chicken recipe by your newlywed friend and I have the same friend!!! There's only 1 Robyn Froerer!! Now I must know how you are friends:). So fun!! Hope to talk to you soon!! Lisa clawson

  23. This is a great system! Regarding the Cowboy Caviar, potatoes and chips could be two different serving suggestions. I imagine it could be really tasty served in potato skins or as a topping on a baked potato. Might be worth a shot!

  24. I LOVE seeing all the scraps of paper and random things like the envelope from a bill that you write recipes on! My collection looks just the same and I even have some written on old bill envelopes too! This just made my heart happy!

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