My Cookbook

By Melissa Tosetti

At one time, I had recipes filed on my computer, bookmarked on my browser, in cookbooks tagged by dog-eared Post-it® Notes as well as random printed copies spread across the house.  Trying to find a specific one on a given day was never an easy task.

On a visit to my mom about 4 years ago, I asked her about a much-loved recipe.  She went into the other room and came back with a binder.  She opened it to a particular tab and in just two flicks of the page was able to find the recipe I asked for.

I’ve said this again and again, I am not a naturally born organized person.  Watching my Mom so easily find a recipe was like the clouds parting and the sun shining through.  It never dawned on me to create a habit of printing recipes and keeping them in a single place.

I looked at the binder and realized what my mom had done was to create her own personalized cookbook.

I have taken and run with her system and have a binder of Melissa’s Favorite Recipes that I dutifully add to on a regular basis.

My system for its care and feeding is:

  • When I decide to try a new recipe, I go ahead and print it out and leave the original page open on my computer.
  • If we decide that we like the recipe, I will three-hole punch it and put it in the appropriate tab in my binder.
  • I also save a copy of the recipe on my computer because I’ve had some pretty close calls with my binder getting soaked, or some other catastrophe. I’d be heart broken if I permanently lost all the recipes.
  • If I don’t want to repeat the recipe, it does not go into the binder. This is very important.  I only want recipes I love going in there.  Otherwise, the binder gets diluted and is no longer useful.

A few other things I do to personalize it:

  • If the recipe is from a friend or family member, I always type that person’s name on the recipe and will include the date I first cooked or baked it.
  • Taking a page from my Mom’s binder, I also started hand writing notes on the recipes such as – “This is Dante’s favorite cookie” or “Only use this frosting when making Grandma Haze’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake”.

Food is culture.  Food is family.  Adding the above type of notes truly makes my binder unique to me and a treasure to our family.

The beauty of the binder is that it also is your resource for solving the eternal… what’s for dinner question.  Over time you’ll accumulate a stack of your family’s favorite recipes, helping to ensure you don’t get into a food rut.

While writing this article I circled back with my Mom and asked her how many binders she now has.  Last time I visited, I thought I saw at least two binders on her shelf.  She told me she has six!

  1. Every Day Meals
  2. Desserts Only
  3. Breakfast Only
  4. Bread and Portuguese Recipes
  5. Instant Pot Recipes
  6. Low Carb Recipes

As you can tell, cooking is one of her favorite things to do.

She went on to tell me that each recipe is rated by stars so whoever inherits the binders will know exactly which recipes are the best.  Like me, she also throws away or tries to tweak the not as good recipes.

She also told me that if a recipe has a second page, she staples them together with writing exposed on both sides.  When she cooks, she puts the recipe in a plastic sleeve to keep it clean and can flip it over to see page 2 without taking the recipe out of the sleeve.

If the idea of organizing your recipes sounds appealing, give my Mom’s process a try.  It did wonders for me and my family!

Note – I’m a tactile person.  I prefer to handle and read a printed recipe rather than a digital copy.  However, you could easily take this process to create an online version of your cookbook if that’s what you prefer.

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Melissa Tosetti is the founder of The Savvy Life and author of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, she’s worked with over 525 individuals and families to create Spending Plans. Melissa also works with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.
If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page