Organizing Recipes

Dear Friends,

As a cookbook writer and full-on foodie, you can imagine what my desk
must look like. Yes, it is stacked with cookbooks, food magazines and
recipes torn from magazines, printed from the Internet or scribbled
furiously on my ever-present legal yellow pad. I have recipes; oh boy
do I have recipes.

I had finally had enough of the mess and decided I did want to see the
top of my desk again. I knew I’d have to really tackle the paper and
get busy, so I put my little office supplies in order and planned my

And then, low and behold, in my email that same day are some tips for
organizing your recipes from a popular magazine. Who knew? Yeah, those
would work, if only I were born organized! So in lieu of their ideas
(although two of them I already use), I’m going to give you my ideas
on how to organize your recipes and menus. These really work—if I can
use them successfully, anyone can!

1—Search and Destroy. Pull your recipes out of all those magazines and
recycle the now-ravaged magazine. See how easy that is? Now go thru
all those recipes you printed off the Internet. If you’re SURE you
still want them, add them to your stack o’ recipes.

2—Sort `Em Out. If you have a recipe for pork chops and another for
blueberry muffins, you’ll want them to be in separate piles (unless
you eat blueberry muffins for dinner, LOL). Separate the piles in
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Special Occasion (which would be
desserts, holiday recipes, etc.). I like only having only a few
categories as it keeps the tabs down to a minimum.

3—Office Supply. It’s time to go to your favorite office supply store
(unless you already have these things—I do). You need a 3 ring binder,
some plastic sheet protectors and notebook dividers/tab thingies—you
know what I mean, and some sticky page flags (see #5 on what to do
with the page flags). My personal preference for dividers is the kind
you can write on, not those goofy windowed ones that require you
writing on a miniscule piece of paper, folding it with origami-like
precision and sticking it back into the teeny, tiny window. I’d rather
have a root canal than do that.

4—Label Maker. Now label you’re the tabs on your dividers. In addition
to the tabs named in #2, you’ll also want to have a Menu tab, Grocery
List tab and even a Coupon tab (you can use a plastic sheet protector
and put your clipped money savers in there for safekeeping.

5—Book Marker. For those cookbooks that you love and can’t live
without (gosh, I HOPE you have a Saving Dinner book in there!), use
those little page flags so you can go right to your favorite recipe
without having to flip through the whole book or spend time in the
index. You could even color code the page flags—hot pink for those
recipes you love, green for the ones you want to try and maybe blue
for the ones you might be willing to try. Then again, maybe not. I
don’t color code anything—just my closet and that’s because my sister
is coming over and we all know she’s all about orderly closets (see
Leslie’s website,

That’s it—there you have it—a fast and easy method for getting all
your recipes in order!


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