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The Key Ingredient to Cooking Organization: How to Create a Recipe Binder

Written by Adrienne Wolter, Community Blogger | Jan 6, 2014 2:12 PM

Staring at a blank piece of paper, you chew on the tip of your pen cap, fixated on the idea of the perfect New Year's resolution. You think to yourself, "Well, I did want to try and take the time to cook and eat healthy with my busy schedule. Also, I definitely want to impress my parents and friends, proving to them that I can actually cook. Plus, I want to finally get my kitchen in order. Hmm, but where do I start?"

binder-crafty.jpg

Photo by Earthworm on Flickr

Make sure your recipe binder is truly "YOU"! Decorate and craft away to your heart's content.

How about killing two or more birds with one stone? Get organized by creating a recipe binder that will take the chaotic shuffling and digging for recipes out of your routine. There is no right or wrong way to make your binder; however, you want to design one that is personalized to suit your needs. Before you start, check out some ideas and tips below for creating the perfect recipe binder.

Designing the Binder

Depending on your organizing preferences, there are many options for organizing your recipes. Try one of these ideas or think "outside of the box" and engineer your own recipe storage.

3-Ring Binder

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Photo by Marlana Shipley

Determine your binder needs by the size of your recipe collection.

Create a new spin on the old-fashioned way of keeping a recipe book handy. Go to the office supplies section and pick a 3-ringed binder that fits your needs. If you have hundreds of recipes, strive for a two or three-inch binder. Or, if you're just getting started, grab a one-inch binder to give you some room to grow. Make sure you pick a binder that is sturdy and will fit on your shelf or counter easily. Avoid cumbersome binders that just take up space.

One of the safest ways to preserve your recipes is by investing in sheet protectors. Typically, we place our recipe directly in the middle of our workspace, amongst messy ingredients, and yes, our hands tend to get dirty. Having sheet protectors provide easy clean-up if you chance to get food or ingredients on your recipe. Also, your recipes can easily slide in and out to constantly update your binder.

binder-cooking.jpg

Photo by Shannon Prickett

Sheet protectors will help preserve your recipes even when you're making the messiest foods.

Color code your binder with bright or funky cardstock to organize your recipe categories. Not only does this help you find recipes easily with these visual color cues, but including these pages in your sheet protectors can also make your binder a nice decoration to coordinate with your kitchen. You can take your organization a step further and buy matching tabs to create cover pages for each section.

Once you put it all together, you will have a uniform binder that will be user-friendly and cater to all of your recipe needs.

Recipe Box

If you want to personalize your own recipe box and save money, try recycling an old shoe or hat box to create a fully functional storage for your recipes. Or, you can use chipboard and other materials to create an easel-style box to match your kitchen. Have fun with the design and make it your own. Or, you could give the box as a gift and Mod-Podge fun pictures and collages onto the sides. When in doubt, search YouTube for some great tutorials for creating your own recipe box from scratch.

Digitized Recipe Collection

Maybe you are a little more tech-savvy and you need all of your counter space free. Try to take the digital recipe approach and create a word document with two cells per page to type and store your recipes in each cell. This will help you preserve your fading recipes and clear the clutter from your kitchen. Also, this gives you the option to print your recipes if you ever would want to create a book or share with friends and family. You can even create footnotes to help you with food planning and categorizing.

There are a number of apps to help you bring order to your collection, such as one called The Recipe Box that helps you organize your own digital recipe book for your iPad. For $3.99, you can view your favorite recipes with an interface that includes tabs just like a cookbook. One of its best features is the highlighting function that allows you to highlight steps and ingredients to help you follow directions easier.

Utilize Pinterest to create your own digital boards to serve as a recipe book. With its ease and accessibility, you can search the web for the best recipes and "pin" your favorites. Generate simple tabs like "Healthy Breakfast Options" or "Low-Carb Chicken Dishes" to help you personalize your collection. The beauty about this platform is that you can be as general or specific as you'd like, and you can add and delete recipes with ease.

Gathering Recipes

Use your resources and sift through different methods of gathering recipes. Search online using websites like The Food Network or Allrecipes.com for great step-by-step directions. Or ask your friends and family to share their favorites with you. For example, if you have a holiday party, tell your friends, family or co-workers to email their recipes to compile a great, functional list. Or, go to the nearest library to scan for some mouth-watering dishes.

Organize Your Binder

binder-tabs.jpg

Photo by Laura Smith

Tabs are a great way to organize your binder by whatever categories you desire.

There is no right or wrong way to organize your binder as long as it is functional for your needs. Some options can include by meal, primary ingredient like chicken or fish, or by type of foods. If you want to be more specific, you can break it down into holidays or special occasions.

Maintain a Functional Binder

Once you create your binder, make sure you continually maintain your new creation. Avoid becoming lazy when storing your recipes and be consistent. Stick to one method so that it is easy to navigate when you need it most. Every year, make time to sort through recipes add and discard any you don't use. Like an uncontested divorce, separate yourself from the recipes that you don't need without dispute. For example, if you've tried a recipe and didn't like it or it was too difficult, get rid of it or share it with a friend.

Ultimately, no matter how you create a binder, make sure it is functional and it caters to your needs. Have fun and get creative. With these easy steps, you will certainly be able to follow-through on your New Year's resolution.

Preview image by Larissa Holland

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