Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Birthday Present from Me

I made myself a birthday present :o)
It's a flashy new binder from Target for my recipe collection, which reminds me of the red-and-white Better Homes & Gardens classic cookbook my mom used growing up. 
And it makes me intensely happy.
This was the old binder.  Not horrible, but a little rough around the edges.
It definitely needed a spruce up.
And when I read about another blogger collecting all her higgledy-piggledy scattered recipes into a neat and tidy spot, I got inspired.
I searched everywhere (Staples, Office Max, Amazon) for just the right tabs, but was disappointed by the way they looked when I tried them out.  So I had the idea to use scrapbook paper instead--off to Archivers I went.  I cut scalloped circles from off-white cardstock (using the smallest scalloped hole punch Archivers had in their crafting basket--free!) and halved them, and scribbled the categories on in black pen.  Then I pasted them onto the 12x12 sheets in a staggered pattern, cut around them so they jutted out, cut the other end of the paper to fit the binder, and laminated the dividers at Mardel for less than $2.  
I really love the way they turned out.
 I tried to set up the binder in the most logical way for our family, and came up with ten categories:
Appetizers, Brunch, Soups, Salads & Sides, Crock & Freeze
Poultry, Meat & Fish, Pasta & Casseroles, Desserts, Holidays

To make them extra strong, I glued a full scalloped circle onto the backside of each half-scalloped tab.
I figure I'll be tugging at them a lot.
Next, I collected my favorite recipes.  Some were in the old binder, others on my computer... I even made print-outs from Pinterest recipes I'd pinned and the world's best cooks at Heartland Church's Mothers Together (loving this year's new HeartlandMoms blog, where said recipes are stored).
Man, can they cook up a mean brunch.
Check out that French Toast Brunch Casserole there.
 I even tucked in my Apples of Gold recipe card gems.

 And my freezer recipes, from the freezer meal exchange I wrote an article about in KC Parent two years ago.

 Lorelei's begging to make this little banana pudding beauty.
 There are plenty of sentimental favorites from my grandmothers, Olive and Helen.
 This is where recipes are stored that I haven't tried yet, before they get their plastic sheets.
The happiness this brings me reminds me of a fantastic conversation the other night my friends and I listened to with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.  She said that while simplicity is a good thing, there is also something to be said for enjoying our possessions.  I've been reading a very intriguing book--7: A Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker--which I am thoroughly enjoying, but it flaunts an ascetic lifestyle to the extreme as she intentionally tries to live with less and be mindful of those who have less.  Rubin's book moves me from this extreme to a less guilt-ridden middle ground.  Rid yourself of things you don't use, Rubin would advise, but engage with those that bring you pleasure. Then, be grateful for them.
And for this little cookbook--all the love tucked inside, all the ways it will spill over to bless my little family--I am very, very grateful.

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