Do you have your own treasured recipe collection, complete with handwritten notes, spills, and Scotch-taped tears on the pages? This is recipe binder gold if you’re putting together a keepsake family recipe book.
If you cook and you love recipes, you’re familiar with how they accumulate. I’ve found mine placed inside cookbooks and crammed into recipe card boxes all over the kitchen. My favorite recipes include a time span starting with my 1973 Girl Scout recipe book through last year’s pandemic pasta specialties.
But I couldn’t tell you for certain where any of them currently are located in my kitchen.
Wouldn’t it be nice to finally get them all in one place?
What is the best way to organize recipes?
Recipes and memories – what’s in your collection?
Cherished family recipes still tell their stories, long after the relatives and friends who gifted them have passed on. I can still remember the wonderful smell of Grandma Doria’s spaghetti sauce as it simmered on the stove. And how I loved the peanut butter cookies and brownies the women from my hometown church made for youth group. As I’ve gotten older those hand-written recipes and memories on decorative printed cards have become my kitchen treasures.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, some of those older recipes can make your mouth water (in good and bad ways) just thinking about them. My stomach clenches just thinking about the smell of Mom’s liver and onions as I walked in the door from band practice.
Need a good laugh? Check out the Facebook group, Questionable Vintage Recipes.
You’ll find plenty of recipes for cooking nightmares are made of, much like those from your grandmother’s church potluck.
My point is that family recipe collections can bring back surprising and often emotional memories. I remember my Hungarian uncles cursing at family funeral dinners about exactly how their mother made cabbage rolls. Did she rinse the sauerkraut before she added it to the pot? Did she mix pork with beef? My question – how many bourbons would it take for three grown men to trade punches?
The best way to organize recipes
Do you find yourself cooking the same meals every week? Nothing can possibly be as boring to your mind or your palate as meat, starch, and vegetable for every single dinner. And what about lunch? What happened to that delicious summer salad recipe with garden veggies and a new spicy dressing you tore out of Better Homes & Gardens?
The reason we don’t cook more – and arguable, better, more interesting food – is because our recipe collection is a sloppy mess. What’s the best way to get them under control? We’ve got some great ideas for you here. I’ve found the method that works best for me — creating my own special family recipe collection binder using UniKeep products.
How to organize recipes in a UniKeep binder
Step 1 Curate your recipe collection
Parting with old and outdated cookbooks and recipes is tough. Take some time to go through all your recipes and decide which ones you will really use (now and in the future); and which ones you simply can’t part with for sentimental reasons.
Only you can determine which ones are “the ones” for your recipe organizer binder. And if you skip the curation step, that’s fine too. You can always put together more than one UniKeep recipe mini-binder.
Now you’re ready to start assembling your binder. We’ve got two ideas to get you started.
Step #2 Purchase the UniKeep Recipe Mini Binder
Unikeep’s recipe binder is a complete recipe collection starter kit in a mini case binder. It’s a digitally printed, 100% polypropylene case that stacks neatly on a shelf in a cupboard. You won’t have recipes and pages spilling out over the sides because the case snaps closed. Your recipes are kept contained, protected, and portable. Anything you place inside is protected by clear page protectors, so if you spill something on the pages, you can just wipe them clean.
All you do is add your recipes to the pocketed pages and used the smaller cards to include special notes or recipe names.
This case-style recipe mini-binder has everything you need to get started:
- 25 mini-sized recipe card page protectors
- 50 custom-designed recipe cards
- 4 tabbed divider pages to categorize your contents
As you add recipes to your UniKeep recipe mini-binder, you can add additional mini sheet recipe card protectors so you can journal about your favorite cooking memories and occasions. to include in the smaller pocket.
UniKeep’s mini sheet protectors are available in many configurations. Get as creative as you’d like and fill your recipe booklet with photos, notes, and memories.
See the complete collection of UniKeep Mini-Binder Sheets.
Step 3 Buy the UniKeep three-ring case binder
The UniKeep three-ring binder case is different because it functions like a case that snaps open and closed. Think about this for a second. If you use regular three-ring binders and page protectors, you know that when it gets overstuffed, items start to fall and get lost. This can’t happen with a UniKeep binder.
Another reason to try it? Because you can make the recipe binder the way you want it. There’s a clear overlay that extends over the front and back covers so you can insert your own artwork or a scrapbook-style page layout.
To create a customized recipe binder, you will also need:
- A decorative cover insert – create your own by hand or with an online printable
- Scrapbook paper or pretty decorative crafting paper
- Nice pens and colored fine-tip markers
- Stickers and embellishments
- Recipes – from recipe cards, food containers/labels, magazines, other cookbooks
- Photos – you and your family in the kitchen, during holidays, birthdays, etc.
- Extra recipe cards or plain paper
A customized UniKeep case recipe binder with 8 ½” x 11” and multi-pocket page protectors
More recipe binder customization ideas
Use UniKeep’s plastic divider pages to categorize your recipes and then separate the categories with tabbed dividers.
Collect all your old handwritten recipes and include a note about who provided them and when: “June Edwards/Church/1989 – her famous peanut butter cookies” and insert that into a UniKeep plastic sleeve.
Include a list of favorite pantry items – or those most needed for cooking and/or baking – in the front of your binder.
UniKeep Tip: Store your recipe cards and pages in our clear page protector sheets. These archival pages protect recipes from spills and splatters. They will also protect any photos for years to come.
Get Creative! How to personalize your recipe binder
What’s your favorite kitchen and cooking memory? Is it you with your mother, learning how to bake cupcakes for homeroom? Maybe it was the first recipe you made earning your Girl Scout cooking badge. Jotting down these memories makes your recipe binder a true keepsake.
UniKeep Tip: Try some journaling with your recipes.
By adding some personal notes and a few photos and pretty stickers and paper to your inserted pages, your personalized recipe binder can also serve as a keepsake recipe scrapbook to hand down to your children and grandchildren.
- Include photos of your kids in the kitchen as small children and as they get older. It’s also wonderful to photograph relatives who may visit and share cooking duties and add those to your binder.
- Journal about some special memories – events you cooked for, who was with you, etc. – in notes, you insert beside your recipes. Or buy some scrapbook pages and write your entries there and include them in a UniKeep protector sheet.
- Use the UniKeep 4 x 6 photo pages for your recipe cards. Just slip each one into a pocket and you’re done.
- Try a bit of scrapbooking here, too – jot down the kids’ favorite cookie cutters, sprinkles, cookies – take photos and include those on some pretty scrapbooking paper beside your recipes.
- Don’t forget “less-than-perfect” kitchen efforts! These may bring funny memories to mind in later years.
Organize your personalized recipe binder by sections
Organize your recipes in a binder according to food type. This can help make your binder look more orderly and can also help you find recipes quicker.
Add a few unique, special sections to your recipe binder
These sections aren’t based on any regular food group, such as soups, salads, cakes, and so forth. These are the unique recipes that include dishes from multiple food groups.
- Include some categories inspired by foods from different countries, such as Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, etc.
- Put all of the recipes you are interested in trying out in their own section.
- Add a few exotic themed dishes you’d like to try.
- Using a UniKeep tabbed divider page, create a special section for holiday recipes. This will make finding all of those recipes for Thanksgiving a lot easier.
Family, food, and memories just go together. You’ll discover as time goes by that favorite family recipes are the real stars of your kitchen. Keep them safe and sound in a personalized recipe binder that you’ve assembled, either in a recipe binder kit or as a customized recipe binder. They also make thoughtful gifts for reunions, weddings, graduations, and birthdays.