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Jul 20, 2010 11:32 AM

Recipe organization? Need help with wedding gift.

So my best friend is getting married and neither he nor his future wife cook very much. I got them a crockpot and want to also give them some recipes to go with it but need help in organizing them. An old-school recipe box would be ideal but I want them to actually use it later on and I fear they'll get lazy in trying to fill it with new recipes. Also his handwriting looks like caca.

Any ideas on other ways to put recipes together?

I want them to be recipes I've tried/invented myself so if anyone's got some delicious crockpot recipes, please pass them along so I can try them out!


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  1. I gave my daughter a 3 ring binder with recipes on paper slipped into plastic sleeves. You can get attractive paper and binders and the sleeves protect the pages. The binder also lies flat when open so it's easy to use.

    When my son left home I did a hand written book complete with my own hand drawn illustrations. It's pretty but nowhere near as practical.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sharonanne

      Thanks! I did think about going this route and it seems the most practical. The plastic sheets will keep any food spatters off the recipes as well.

    2. Here's a link to the Lang Companies' recipe keeping products:

      I serendipitously discovered their holiday cards nearly 20 years ago and have bought them, plus their calendars and other items ever since. They use heavy, quality paper stock, and everything is attractively bound and packaged.

      1. Start a recipe database. It's the ONLY way to go!

        I'm on a Mac so I use MacGourmet. There must be a dozen choice for PC people.

        In the end, the modest cost of database software will end up being far more useful than the crockpot. It will grow with their skills and palates and provide a lifetime of good eating.

        5 Replies
        1. re: rainey

          I'm a PC user and I love the Living Cookbook software - it's very easy to use and you can even capture recipes from the 'net in mere minutes. I'd highly recommend it.


          1. re: gansu girl

            Yup! Same with my Mac software. Epicurious, Sunset, Southern Living,, AllRecipes, LATimes Food Section, NYTimes, SanFran Chronicle, blogs. They all have recipes that import with a couple clicks.

            Even the recipes from favorite cookbooks that I have to type out all pay off.

            I carry all my recipes with my on my iPod for spontaneous shopping. I can generate shopping lists for my regular grocery shopping. I can share recipes without retyping or having to proofread for typos. I can find recipes by the ingredients. And scale them up or down without doing the math.

            I am a HUGE fan of recipe databases.

            1. re: rainey

              Oh yes, and let's not forget that you can (I'm assuming you can do this too, rainey) tag recipes to go together as menus - and there is, of course, a "notes" field . . . so you can recall easily which chicken dish you paired w/that great orzo salad, and who you fed it to, and what they thought. This might be too much for some, but for those of us who entertain regularly and make up menus from many sources, it's super-helpful!


              1. re: gansu girl

                Right-O. A recipe database is a wonderful tool that every serious cook should have. Even if the entry is as simple as a reference to a recipe/s in a cookbook/s or links on the web. For my complicated holiday menus I even have the time plan recorded from each year so that my prep is mapped out to make it as stress free as possible.

                For a new cook starting out, it would be so easy to generate a dozen recipes. For an experienced cook with hundreds of recipes, much more work but wherever you are in the equation, it's time to get started building your database NOW! It will be a tool you use everyday and a legacy to pass on to your children since it's a cooking heritage already compiled. With all the photos, tips and personal notes you care to add. You can make as many print copies or data copies as you want anytime you want.

                Oh, and did we mention wine pairing notes and nutritional info?

            2. re: gansu girl

              Thanks gansu girl for the post about Living Cookbook. I've been a MasterCook user for a LONG time, and I see ValuSoft has created a MC 11 version to work with Vista and Windows 7 (I'm still on XP on my home computer). MC 11 isn't getting very good reviews on Amazon, so whenever I do get a new PC, perhaps Living Cookbook is the way to go for me.

              I'll pass the info along to a friend who recently got a new computer and couldn't use her MC cookbook anymore with the Windows 7 OS. Thanks!

          2. Before I got married, a friend gave me a book with recipes contributed by close friends and family and she had them put together in a photo book- like the kind you can buy from Kodak online. It turned out really nice- it is a bound hardcover book and inside has the recipes, who contributed and pictures she had collected as well of my friends/family and myself that were included.

            1. I use i-photo and did up lil recipe books for my sisters (my mom's recipes). This might be nice since it's all yours in one place but of course can't add more. Also I recently bought a recipe box that has a nice flip top to put the recipe that you are using at the time on top, it stands up right so you can read and cook, prep, etc. without flipping pages, etc.