Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Organization: Starting in the Kitchen

Hello Readers!
It's been over a month since I've posted, yet it feels like much longer. In that time, I've been to Colorado and back, Florida and back, my hometown and back, hosted a birthday party for my son, and hosted a visiting preacher and his family for the weekend. Whew! God is good. I am humbled and thankful that I've had these opportunities over the past 4 weeks. I'm grateful for the health that I've been provided and the home I have, in which to entertain. I'm hoping to get back into my "routine" this week, and thought it was about time I posted on the blog.
This week I'm going to write a few posts about organization, mainly being organized in the kitchen and pantry. I've found that keeping my kitchen and pantry organized really helps save time and energy when I'm cooking and when I'm making my grocery lists.
Recipe organization is a must for me. I'm an avid recipe collector; I think that comes with the territory of being an avid cook. I am always trying to new recipes, improving on old "stand-bys", and collecting recipes. I have quite the collection of cookbooks, cooking magazines, recipes on my Pinterest page, and  binders filled with recipes I've printed, copied down, collected from friends, torn from magazines, etc. I have an addiction that my husband is totally fine with. He has no problem with the fact that I like to buy cookbooks, for he knows the benefit reaches far beyond the cost.
Although I've always been an avid recipe collector, I haven't always been so good at keeping my recipes organized. However, a couple of years ago I decided it was time for a change and I've been very happy with the results.
This is the section in my pantry where I keep my recipe binders and cooking magazines. I bought cardboard magazine files in the Target dollar section, SCORE!, and have my magazines organized by type. 

If my house were to catch on fire, I would have a very tough decision to make: Save the kids or save my "Favorite Recipes" binder. Haha, I kid. But, my "Favorites" is one of my most valued possessions. It contains over 100 recipes, all of which have been made in my kitchen, loved by friends and family, and I've hand-written notes on each one. Below are just a few examples of the recipes I have in my binder and the notes I write on them. I've found it's very helpful to write notes on recipes because I have multiple recipes for the same dish, and I want to remember which one I fixed and if I liked it or not. Plus, dating the recipe and including a note about who it was served to, helps to serve as a type of recipe "scrapbook". I love looking thru my recipes and reading the dates and being reminded of when I served the various dishes. 

 I have 3 main recipe binders that I put together and use. Obviously one of those is my "Favorites". It includes only recipes that I've actually made or have eaten, and would like to make again. If I've tried a recipe that I've pinned on Pinterest, and it's a "keeper", I print it out and add it to the "Favorites" as well. I have 2 other binders that include recipes I've collected that I would like to try, but haven't gotten around to yet. You can see the categories for those binders in one of the pictures above. After I make a recipe from one of those binders, I either move it to my "Favorites" or I throw it away.
The tabs on my "Favorites" binder are in this order:
This is my cookbook display in the island of my kitchen. I keep the books I use most often stacked on top of each other. I also make notes in my cookbooks. Someday I will pass these books on to my children and I hope they will enjoy reading my notes and remember how much joy I found in cooking and baking for them and for others.

So, if you're recipes are in a jumbled mess, like mine were a few years ago....I challenge you to buy some 3-ring binders and get busy organizing. Buy a package of tabbed dividers and label them however will work best for your collection. If you don't have room to keep all of your cooking magazines (and I don't keep all of mine), go through the magazines and tear out only the recipes you would like to make one day. Add those recipes to your binder and throw the rest away. De-clutter. Keep a "favorites" binder so that you can easily find that trusted recipe you want to make again.
I hope this has been helpful.

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