As a lot of you probably know by now -- I'm a recipe fanatic. I have written about how to create your own computer cookbook which is about organizing recipes that you find on the Internet or in your e-mail from recipe lists. Now I'd like to write about how to organize recipe clippings (from magazines or newspapers), recipe cards, and recipes in books. I know of a few methods that may help you with your recipe organization.

The first method I'd like to talk about is placing your clipped recipes and recipe cards in a photo album. You can use any type photo album (hint: go to the thrift stores and pick up inexpensive albums) although the type of albums that you can add pages to would be best because this will help you organize the album better. You can place tabs on pages to divide the album into categories then simply place your clipped recipes into the appropriate category. This method is a great way to keep all loose recipes together. The plastic protection will help keep your recipes clean and you can simply wipe any spatters of food off.

Get an accordion-type file to organize clipped recipes and recipe cards. Label each section with a different recipe category then simply file your recipes. This method will at least keep them all
together and is quick, but you will have to sort through all the recipes in a certain category when trying to find a particular recipe.

With a recipe box, you can put different categories onto tabbed dividers and you can buy more dividers if necessary. You can file clipped recipes but it is neater if you write them onto recipe cards which is time consuming. As with the accordion file, you'll have to sort through recipes in a category to find one.

If you have a little spare time this is a great way to compile all of your favorite recipes -- including ones in recipe books. These programs are pre-formatted so you just fill in the blanks. It can get time consuming entering in all your recipes, but if you stick to entering in 1 or 2 recipes a day, you'll make some progress.

With the computer program there's a number of benefits. One being that you can easily find recipes and print them out. You can print out recipes and make homemade `cookbooks' to give to your friends and relatives. The program will figure the nutrition information for your recipes so if you are health conscious you can easily get this information. Some programs offer a menu maker and a shopping list. The menu maker allows you to plan a menu for a specified amount of time then it will figure an editable shopping list for that menu. You can also get a shopping list for an individual recipe.

Another reason I like this method is because it's easy to locate certain recipes with certain ingredients. For example, if I have ground beef on hand, I can do a search for `ground beef' and the program will bring up all recipes with ground beef in it. Also, these programs come with recipes -- so if you don't want to enter your own, you'll still have a great cookbook to use all these features on.

I use Key Gourmet and Master Cook II and I highly recommend both of them. Master Cook II has a better menu planner. I think I paid around $10 for each one and it was well worth it. You can find these programs in the electronics section of retail stores or in office supply stores such as Office Depot.

I use the three-ring binder in conjunction with my recipe programs and computer cookbook I have put tabbed page dividers into it and labeled each divider with it's own recipe category. Whenever I print out a recipe to use from my recipe
programs or computer cookbook, I punch holes in it and place it into the appropriate category in the three-ring binder. This eliminates the need for me to re-print the recipe later.

I hope you have found some help with the above methods for organizing recipes. Recipe collecting can be a fun hobby especially if it is

©, 2001, Monica Resinger

Monica Resinger is editor of Creative Home, Creative Gardening and Creative Home Money ezines. Join one or all of these fun and
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