Can I be honest? Today's topic has to do with food, and I can barely bring myself to talk about it. That's because more than five hours after our Thanksgiving meal, I'm still full! But I'll take one for the team and forge ahead.
The past two days were a good reminder of why I wanted to cover this topic in preparation for Christmas. We all have our favorite recipes that we return to every year as well as ones we would like to try. I don't know about you, but I am terrible about keeping them in one place. So each year, it's the same routine: waste time searching for my recipes and then print off the ones that are online... again.
I would really like to change that scatterbrained tendency of mine, so I went looking for help.
I love how WCS team member Donna Jannuzzi gathers her holiday recipes. This fall, she used a Martha Stewart tutorial to make a simple but cute envelope recipe book to hold her favorite pumpkin recipes. Then she created one for her family's favorite cookie recipes, just in time for Christmas prep.
Donna shared, "The instructions call for the use of book binding tape, but I didn't have any and I didn't have time to order any (or drive to Paper Source, which is a bit far for me, to buy some). For the book I made for Christmas, the cover is made of paper and for the binding I used adhesive-backed fabric. You can also make the book entirely out of paper. The project I made for my pumpkin recipes uses entirely paper. Basically, by saying that you can make the book entirely from paper I'm trying to emphasize that you don't have to buy any special materials to make this book; you can make it from items in your stash (saving both time and money)."
And that's what we're all about this week!
Another idea for organizing your recipes in physical form is to use sheets that can go into a binder. These free printables from Organized Christmas are perfect for recipes that may be located in a variety of places, especially cookbooks. There's even one to keep track of recipes you would like to try.
(By the way, I'm a little embarrassed that I missed this site when researching for Monday's organization post. You simply must check out all of the free Christmas Planner pages that are offered there! I had to pull myself away to finish this post. ;)
And then there's the technological approach.
I recently discovered Evernote. It's a way of capturing and organizing information such as web pages, screen shots, photos, handwritten notes, etc. It even has the ability to recognize printed and handwritten text within snapshots and images, so everything is searchable. Plus there are versions for mobile devices, so if you are at the grocery store and realize you forgot to add ingredients to your list, you can just look up the recipe while shopping. Isn't that slick?
I think I may create a notebook for each holiday/season and add my online recipes, handwritten recipes, and recipes I've scanned from cookbooks so that they're all in one place. And searchable. Love that searchable feature!
Another great online option that is specific to recipes is Key Ingredient. There, you can create cookbooks and share your recipes with others if you choose. What a great place to keep all your family favorites! There's also a great Flash-based widget for adding recipes to a blog. Here's an example using my favorite sweet potato recipe. Click on the tabs to switch between info.
Online recipe collections may seem very impersonal to some, but the huge advantage is that they are (at least in theory) permanent. Just over three years ago, my brother and his family came home from a camping trip to find their house burned to the ground. As we helped them in the days that followed, the first thing my sister-in-law asked for--after pictures--was recipes. They don't just involve something to eat. They're about family, friends, tradition, and comfort.
I would love to hear from you if you have other projects or tips you have tried for keeping your holiday recipes organized. If something today motivated you to action, please share! And if you end up making a sweet envelope recipe book like Donna's, we would love to see it in the WCS flickr gallery.
I'll see you back here tomorrow for some layout ideas that will help you capture the Christmas season and traditions with a minimal amout of time and no stress. :)