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Nesting: Our Family Cookbook

There’s a small space beside the microwave that holds all my cookbooks. For a while now, I’ve been printing off recipes and placing them in the blue binder.

(Hubs: Where they’ve been growing like bowl of rising bread dough.)

Whenever I needed a recipe, I just grabbed it from the blue binder (the pages do not remove) and clipped it to the refrigerator for easy reference.

(Hubs: They would gather upon our refrigerator until the piddly turtle clothes-pin magnet could no longer handle the sheer weight of the ream of paper, dropping to the floor in a fluttering mess not unlike a mass of crisp autumn oak leaves.)

Naturally, not all the recipes (if any) ever made their way back into the binder. Thus, finding a recipe took much longer than necessary. I do believe Hubs mentioned this a time or two. So, with all my nesting energy, I decided the blue binder must be organized. I needed to find a system that would work with what we have.

(Hubs: Because flipping through a hundred recipes to find the one you need was becoming cumbersome.)

I started by sorting the recipes. Oh my word. It was alarming how many desserts we have versus main dishes!

(Hubs: My hollow leg prefers sweet rather than savory.)

I settled on these categories:
appetizers and snacks
breakfast and brunch
etc. (play dough…)
main dish
side dish

Since the binder had 100 pages, this allotted for 12 pages per category. I gave extra pages where I though necessary: “drinks” didn’t need 12 while “main dish” could use more space.  I was surprised by how many wonderful “breakfast and brunch” recipes we’ve collected.

trash try

And then came the tough decision: what to trash and what we still wanted to try.

Trash: greek moussaka (too unlike the authentic Delphi moussaka), pickled eggs (too garlicky), pineapple upside-down cake (tasted better right-side up), bean soup (don’t ask, don’t smell) , etc.

It was hard for me to let go of some of them because I have memories of these failures. But, in the end, if I’m compiling the best of the best for our family cookbook then there’s just no room for recipes that Hubs and I thought were just OK.

Try: My Amish Friend’s Caramel Corn, Nutella Hot Chocolate, and at least 14 varieties of hamburger recipes because 1.) I do not know how to make a very flavorful hamburger

2.) When Hubs starts to crave something, it soothes him to print off a bunch of recipes.
(Hubs: Less filling.)

Here’s the finished product of the big blue binder. Recipes to try in the left sleeve. All other recipes in categories, slid in pages throughout the book.

I’ve had to book put together for a while now. I’ve been grabbing the actual book instead of the recipes when I cook. It helps that I’ve paired like with like on the opposite pages. So pizza crust is next to pizza sauce… pancakes are next to homemade syrup, etc.

As for all those desserts…

They found a well organized home in an entirely separate binder. Recipes to try are on the left while only those tried and true favorites take up space in the binder.

I broke them down into 4 main categories: cookies, cakes, pies,  etc. (Hubs: We love it. Especially the puddings. They are precious.)

Since the green binder is just desserts, I decided a most appropriate title was in order. “May I have more please?” seemed just about right.

I took the cookbooks we hardly ever use and moved them to the office. Thus, the white organizer now contains all of Schäfer’s Chinese homework, Chinese flashcards, English workbooks, craft projects, etc. The top of the refrigerator was running out of room.

I need to look through these 4 cookbooks to see if anything perks my interest. I’ve perused them several times, but found many of the recipes calling for ingredients we simply cannot get here.

Some thoughts I had while working on this project:

Will I ever finish?
This took way more than one afternoon nap time to complete. I though I would never finish sorting and finding a solution with the binders that we have. I can definitely see how a 3 ring binder with pages that can be removed are convenient. Hubs agreed that we should not go that direction simply because our paper size (A4) is different than US paper size (8.5×11).

Record the story.
As I collect recipes, I want to gather the story as well. Sometimes I have notes written beside the recipes such as who originally gave this to me, my 33rd birthday cake, the first cookies Sianna and I baked, etc.

Blog on.
Though this isn’t a recipe blog, I do enjoy posting some of our favorites because 1.) I love to share something delicious and 2.) by blogging a recipe, I am getting it from paper to a format that I can transfer into a cookbook.

I need to go through and see which photos I would want to keep and which photos I should retake. For some of the early recipes, I snapped photos without much thought because I didn’t yet have the idea of turning this into a cookbook for our kids.

Gather now. Give later.
I hope to bless our kids with a recipe collection. One of our goals is that when the kids leave the house for college they know how to cook. I don’t mean open a can of this or heat up a box of that. They will be able to cook from scratch at least 31 recipes – enough to nourish themselves for an entire month. Whether or not they choose to cook or live off the cafeteria meal plan is their choice, but we have the goal to send them off with that skill (amongst others).

As for the recipe binder, this project isn’t over. There’s plenty of blank pages inside.
It’s a long process, but at least I have a start.

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