Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Organizing Recipes from Magazines

Time to get organized on Tuesdays, I think it's a new thing I'm going to try out.  Why?  Because I love being organized, today is Tuesday, and I really want the boxes and clutter out of my house!!!
Last year, when we were getting packed up from Japan, I found a large collection of magazines I'd saved because I wanted to try a recipe in them.  I never looked at them the whole 4.5 years I had lived there!  I certainly wasn't going to let those magazines bump something of importance out of my shipment.  So, I sat down, went through the magazines and ripped out all the recipes that sounded good to me and recycled the rest of the magazine.

Every summer, when we were on homeleave from Japan, I would clean out the shelves under my parent's kitchen island.  My dad had tons of cooking magazines under there, five or six years worth of Gourmet and some Bon Appetit!  So, after my episode of magazine purging when leaving Japan, I asked my dad if I could do the same to his magazines.  Note, I decided to do this less than a week before I was moving to my new house.  Literally every night, I was pouring through, ripping out recipes, trying to lessen the load I was taking in the moving truck with me.  I think I ended up having to take about 20 magazines with me.  I got a cute little bag and carried it around with me to my daughter's gymnastics and dance classes.  While she danced, I ripped out recipes.  I went from probably 5 feet high of magazines to this:
How good does that feel?  Pretty awesome!

After I ripped out the recipes, I placed them into a folder that I carried around in the bag with me until I was ready to organize them.  When I was done with all the magazines I had at the time, I spent some time organizing the recipes into categories, meal, appetizer or side, dessert, breakfast, tips, breads.  You can organize yours however you want, that's just how I'm doing mine for now.
After school started, I bought a 3-ring binder on clearance at Target, along with binder divider tabs and the clear plastic page covers.  Those were sitting in the office collecting dust for a while.  Finally, when I got my wisdom teeth out, I was forced to sit on the couch for a few days, so what better thing to do when you can't eat, than look at all the recipes you want to try?  I slipped all the recipes into the clear page covers, put them in the binder behind the tab I wanted to categorize them in and voila- a lot less space being taken up in my house and a lot more organized recipes for me!  If I try something and don't like it, I take it out and bye bye.  If a recipe is two pages, slip them in side by side.

Be open minded when you are tearing out recipes because you can always swap out an ingredient that you don't like.  For instance, swap chicken for fish, or... swap strawberries for the rhubarb in this:
In the front of my binder, there is a nice little pocket, where I keep two very important things, paper to write my meal plan for the week on the front (grocery list goes on back) and a wish list for kitchen items I want/need to make some of the recipes.
I have already made many of the recipes in here and in fact, the buttermilk pancake recipe I pulled out of Fine Cooking is by far the best buttermilk pancake recipe I've made- and I've made it three times in the past month alone.

I was talking with my friend about this this past weekend and she said she's been doing it with cookbooks that she doesn't use that often- genius!  Except, there are some you just don't rip up, like Cook's Illustrated, Baked, Pastry Queen.

I'm using the same idea for all my craft stuff that I get from Family Fun magazine and Parents too.

This is a project I've been working on since last summer.  Don't worry, something like this is very easy, I just did it here, there, and every where, and until the end didn't truly devote myself to it.


  1. I did this project over the winter!!

  2. Anxiously awaiting the great buttermilk pancake recipe .... from an expat overseas who can't go out for breakfast ;-) For now, I have just been using the recipe from the CI.

    Also, I wanted to ask you about the cookie recipe. Do you think you really need to make the three layers because doesn't rolling them out essentially "mix" them anyway?

    1. For the cookies, you probably could get away w two, but it does seem to add more chips and just size to the cookie. I noticed when I bite in, I can see the layers- and I'm not sure I'd want to change it too much bec they are soooo good! If you try two layers , let me know what you think. Pancakes coming next week!