February 20, 2015

How to Make a Recipe Binder

weekly meal planning

Sounds simple doesn't it? Truth be told it really is...you just need a little bit of planning ahead of time and the rest is really just maintenance. Now I already had a recipe binder, somewhat more chaotic than I would have liked and I just didn't feel...joy, when I looked at it. Not that you really need to be joyful when you touch the darned thing but that's my obessive organizing need I suppose.

So while in OOM, I felt the need to revamp my recipe binder so it was...well...pretty! I currently only have one recipe binder, but eventually will have one for meal recipes, and another for baking. Anyways, I decided that rather than ripping out random recipes that I wanted to try and slotting them into their respective food category, I wanted everything to look organized and uniform. No more tattered pages or jagged edges shoved into a clear pocket, I demand order!

And order I shall have ;)

Let's see if I can put this into an orderly manner in which to tackle...just in case you  are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the mounds of recipe paper and books that you have laying in random piles.

1.  Find a binder. As simple as it sounds, if you are anything like me, finding the perfect binder proves to be more of a challenge...I wanted it to match my decor and color theme but be made of an easy-to-wipe material. There are literally hundreds of binders out there, so find the one that you like the best (3-ring is ideal)...maybe even buy a few for other organizing projects just so you have everything that matches. I happened to buy 10...don't judge me.

As a quick side note, that fancy little label on the spine of the binder didn't come with it, I used the Martha Stewart Metal Bookplate Labels and they work fabulously! Just a touch o' class ;)

2.  Go through your recipe pile. Toss recipes that you thought would be nice to try, but literally have not touched in over a year. Now is the time to purge people!

3.  Gather all of the recipes that you actually want to try. I find most of my recipes on the internet so I simply print out the page, I also go through my cookbooks and rip out the page from the book itself...mind you I don't have any expensive books, so perhaps skip that step if you do.

4.  Decide on the categories you want to group your recipes into. At the moment I have breakfast, appetizers, chicken, beef, pork, seafood, other, dessert.

I personally use Martha Stewart dividers because they're pretty, and they match my house color theme (I've made a home binder with a certain color theme...more on that in a future post), but you can also print out a fancy cover page if you prefer (or both!).

5.  I originally started out with putting my recipe pages into the clear page protectors that you insert from the top...and this works because it's easy to take out and if you have a spill, it's easy to wipe the page protector clean...but these particular protectors jut out further than my dividers and they just don't look very nice in my opinion. I use these ones for my "temporary" recipes (ones that I haven't tried yet and don't know if I will want to keep them).

I ended up opting for another type of page protector that you have to hole punch, but these ones are crystal clear, fit behind my tabs perfectly...and make me smile, hee.

6.  Now for the average human, that's it! You're done! Categorize your recipes, close the binder and start using it! If you want to go a step up (c'mon, who doesn't want to make more work for themselves!?), this is what I do...
  • Once all of my recipes are organized, I will pull the ones that I will be cooking according to my Weekly Menu Planner, if it's a recipe that I don't like I'll toss it, but if I want to use it again...I will take a picture of the cooked meal, manually transfer that entire recipe into my recipe template (because I'm ridiculous and like everything to be uniform and purdy), print off a copy and insert as a "permanent" recipe (the permanent recipes make it into the crystal clear page protectors).
I feel strangely satisfied everytime I go to look at my permanent recipes, they look so beautiful and as lame as it sounds...I can't help but smile.

Happy recipe organizing!