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A Recipe for Order

Written by Oksana V. Bellas on Wednesday, 03 August 2011. Posted in Tips And Tricks

I have memories of my mother keeping a notebook with handwritten recipes. Not once, but several times during my childhood, I had the pleasant task of rewriting the recipes into a fresh notebook, as she liked them neatly handwritten and organized. I loved reading her notes in the margins about adjustments to the ingredients, cooking instructions, or the names of the people from whom she received the recipes. Those were the days before computers and the many other handy tools now available in the home to make organizing simpler. Since I got married and started keeping my own home, I have adopted a simple method for keeping MY recipes in order. I use binders for organizing many areas of my life, including my recipes. If your recipes require some organization, try this. You will need a heavy-duty binder, sheet protectors, and dividers. Depending on the size of your recipe collection, you might require more than one binder. In fact, I have two: one solely dedicated to desserts and the other for all other courses. As you can probably tell, I have a sweet tooth (and LOVE baking!)

Use the dividers to create sections for your cookbooks: appetizers, entrees, soups, cocktails, desserts, Pesach, etc. In my desserts binder, I uhave the following sections: cookies, cakes, tarts & pies, bars, and Pesach. You can get as detailed as you wish.

Insert each recipe into a sheet protector. I love the fact that my recipes are protected in plastic. That way, when you are following a recipe, you will not need to worry about schmutzing it up. I often take recipes out of the sheet protectors and make notes about changes to the recipe that I made or what should be done differently next time (just like my mother did and still does).

Like with all good things, you need to maintain the order you create. Every time you insert a new recipe, consider reviewing what you already have and see if there are any recipes that need to be discarded.

Are your recipes organized? Tell us how!

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About the Author

Oksana V. Bellas

Oksana V. Bellas is the Founder and Chief Organizing Maven of Order Matters in Vancouver, BC. She holds an MBA and has many years of experience in the operations and management of organizations. Through organizing individuals and entities in any variety of ways, Order Matters’ goal is to bring balance and order to people’s lives. Check out Order Matters blog and LIKE us on Facebook for regular tips and inspirations for leading an organized life.

Comments (4)

  • CookMama
    03 August 2011 at 11:35 |

    For many years, I have been using the same system. Basically, I have a large white looseleaf-plastic cover that can be wiped clean with a rag. Inside, I use dividers( meat and chicken, fish, salads, side dishes, soups, cakes and cookies, challahs,rolls-all yeast items, dairy etc.. Every page is covered with plastic sleeve covers. All the recipes are typed with clear directions and I put it on a disk; every year or so, I add new ones that I collect. When my children marry, they each get a printed copy of all the recipes. A lot of these recipes are from my Mom, aunts, and a collection of 32 years of cooking and baking. All the favorites are there. Even my daughter-in-laws ask for a copy of all recipes. They love preparing for their husbands some of their favorite childhood foods. They all add on their own too. For recipes that come from magazines, there are so many today, I have the same system. I use a different looseleaf. Different color too, and cut all pages neatly and put into plastic sleeve covers. Some are over 30 years old and are fabulous and great techniques. Neat, organized, easy to decide menus for holidays and parties. For Pessach, I have the same system, except it is in its own looseleaf, separated and kept with our Pessach items.

  • lea
    03 August 2011 at 18:24 |

    My mother has been collecting recipes ever since I can remember. Aside from all her own recipes neatly written out and filed in a looseleaf, she had so many scraps of paper and puuled out papers from magazines. About two years ago I took all those hundreds of recipes and typed it on the computer usin the program "Let's Get Cookin." I printed them on index cards and placed them in plastic sheet covers that have 2 on a page; for index cards. I then divided them into small looseleafs by category; salads, cakes and cookies, meat and poultry, desserts, dairy, sides, and fish/soups. Recipe searching is now so easy and enjoyable!! All the recipes and saved and filed on this program so when my sis-n-law got married a month ago it was a great and easy gift to give her.
    Recently, I have started typing up menus and placing them in a separate looseleaf. Anytime I hear of a ood menu, be it Yom Tov, part, or just everyday dinner I add it to my growing collection.

  • dev
    07 August 2011 at 20:20 |

    Every time I see a recipe that I think I'll enjoy making and that looks really good to try I either print it or tear it out of the magazine I'm reading(Family first ,Ami living or Martha stewart...) I then put it in a plastic sheet protector and place it in my looseleaf(which I learned from my organized mother in law). This way my recipes are neat and organized and when I'm actually ready to try it out I'll just take out the protector that holds the recipe and keep it with me while I'm cooking or baking, and I never have to worry about getting it dirty because it's so easy to just wipe it clean. I have a pretty large collection by now and I always love reading through it.

  • AidelK
    29 December 2011 at 17:52 |

    Cook Mama and Lea--I want copies of your binders! Like Lea, I started adding menus to my binder several years ago. Mine are just for Shabbos, Yontif, and Sheva Berachos. It's a handy reference tool.

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