I get a lot of compliments on my recipe book and organization from friends and family alike. Everyone has their own way of preserving their recipes. I have seen a few that I really like the idea of - such as the little box with individual cards. Though that method works best when the cards are coated in something because, I don't know about you, but I am mess when I bake and I bake a lot. About the closest I have seen to mine is the photo album idea which is pretty genius and you can really make it cute. Get a photo album and add the recipes just like you would pictures on the acid free pages. The downside to this is that the pages are sticky usually so your recipe (which may be on thin newsprint or old paper) would be ruined if you try to remove later. Your could also even do a scrap book but personally that seems a touch big to me for a recipe book. My husband used to handwrite his into a sort of small diary but the pages are fixed so messing up writing is not an option and the second you spill on it which is a given then you are back where you started.
I tried many different ways an came up with my solution which was very time consuming to set up but I am so happy I did it and I imagine any other cook would be as well. I started out with a good hundred recipes and some people have a lot more than that. I typed them all into my computer. I created a folder titled 'Recipes' which then had individual documents under it titled 'Chicken', 'Fish'...etc. I found an insane number of deserts so I did break those up under candy, cookies, cake, pie, etc. Each night I would grab a handful of the recipes and just hang out with my husband watching a movie we had already seen and typing, coming up with the format since I could fit several recipes per 8x10 page etc. Most of the work is the typing whih seems endless but you will get through it eventually. I just did a fairly rough format when I typed everything. After I was done, I then went back through, chose a font and layout for the recipes and then went through the whole thing making it look perfect.
I printed the entire recipe book on my lazer printer and bought sheet protectors which can be purchased fairly cheaply for a large box of them and they are so worth it! I sat there through another movie putting the book into the sheet protectors in order. The great part about the sheet protectors are that if you spill - you can wipe it down and if you get your page wet or damaged, you just reprint a new one and your recipe book stays looking new! Plus, all those treasured recipes are backed up on your computer so when Aunt Marge comes by and says she must have that peanut butter cookie recipe of yours, you can copy and paste it to an email with ease for her. I once needed a housewarming gift for a good friend who planned to start trying her hand at cooking but did not know where to start. So I copied a chunk of the recipe book over, reformatted it based on her interests and food tastes, printed it out and personalized it with a nice book etc - she loved it! You could even print a smaller version of some deserts with a gift basket!
There are tabs you can buy from any office store (but they are usually a special order item) to stick to the sheet protectors but I personally saved my money and just used little post it flags and labeled them. There are alot of options here as well for your creative juices to flow...or you could not tab them at all and have a touch of anarchy if that is how you roll.
It took me awhile to decide what to do for the cover of my book. I could have left it plain but I wanted something to stand out and something fun. A friend had a large stack of cooking magazines she was getting rid of and offered them to me so I could see if I found any recipes I wanted out of them. So, a lot more typing later to add them new pile of recipes to my growing book and I had the idea to make collages. I always had a special place in my heart for the collage as an art project. So I created two collages from food that we love to inspire me - the first thing I see when I take down my recipe book now is a pile of my favorite food.
I also found a little MENU in one of the magazines for the front.
Creating a collage is very simple. Go through all those old magazines or newspapers and find the food items which speak to you. Some photos work alot better than others. You will want images that you do not mind cutting chunks out of and smaller images that can be used whole and cut out etc. I just used an 8x10 sheet of copy paper and tape or you can use glue too - rubber cement would be best for that. Have fun with it!