Monday, June 03, 2013

How do you cook?

Do you use recipes out of these?
Do you thumb through cookbooks searching for the perfect recipe? Do you have a recipe box? Are you technologically advanced and have some great app that you use to store your favorites?

 I love to cook. I plan my menus for the week on one big grocery list and shop once a week (except for a few perishable vegetables). I also make dinner almost every night and at least one soup or pasta salad a week for lunches.

I used to check two or three cookbooks out of the library every week and ponder and search for new mouth-watering recipes but over time (and diet changes) my recipes have become sourced mainly from two places: Cooking Light Magazine and vegetarian cookbooks. I really enjoy Cooking Light's lighter fare, healthy but not over-the-top eating and other good living ideas. I've been an faithful subscriber for at least twelve years and reading this magazine has really helped me change my diet for the better.

So all these loose magazine recipes created a conundrum for me. Do I glue them to an index card and kept them in a box? Do I scan them and keep them on my computer or use the latest recipe computer software?


The method that works for me is this:
My Personalized Recipe Book:
What's this? A photo album?
I went and bought myself a bunch of cheap photo albums at TJ Maxx seven years ago, indexed them and stuffed my recipes in the photo slots...
like so:

This one is my main dish/side dish cookbook.
In this book, I stuff my Momma's recipes (you can see one up there in her handwriting), newspaper recipes, online recipes, friends recipes, and anything else that catches my eye.

to actually receive placement in one of these premium photo sleeves, the recipe has to be tested, and receive the family stamp of approval.

So this is how I keep my recipes in order. I also have one for sweets and Thanksgiving:

Desserts and a section devoted to Thanksgiving
Every couple of year I take these books and while I'm watching TV I'll cull out the recipes I haven't used in awhile. This January, I took out all the Beef recipes and put them in a separate book because I'm eating mainly vegetarian now and want to avoid even looking at those recipes.

I know, I know you are probably wondering why I don't use a laptop, kindle or ipad to store all my eating information. Well someone needs to explain to me how to:

A) scroll on your electronic device with gooey fingers

B) keep your device from going to sleep in the middle of the recipe

C) upload all your favorite recipes without retyping them in ( have over 1000)

Maybe I'm missing something... please tell me if I am.

Making the Week's Menu and List:
So, every Tuesday morning before I go shopping for the week, I peruse my book and my latest magazine for something that appeals to me.  As I decide on main dishes, I jot them on my menu and grocery list. I try not to have pasta or fish two nights in a row.

Then I fill in starch and vegies according to what I need to get rid of, what seems tasty to me, what's in season or what new recipe I want to try. My Menu/Grocery List looks like this:

On the right is the week's menu.
 Commissary list is on the left
Italian grocery store is in the center
Other errands of the day on top
I have a library of old menu/list spiral notebooks after years of doing this - if I want to autopilot my week I can just pull an old week.

Added Benefit:
It's Easy to Change Your Personalized Cookbook:
When I lost fifty pounds three years ago, I made some temporary changes to my cookbook. I went through and pulled the recipes that were really diet-wreckers. I put them away for when I was done dieting. In the end I just tossed the bad-for-me recipes because I didn't really miss them but having out of my sight and temptation really helped me stay on track.

Another positive change that came from my weight loss was the fact that I had to redefine myself as  a cook. What type of cook was I?

 I thought about it. When my kids were young (and I was young... and stupid) I envisioned myself as an awesome tasty fantastic cheesy delicious cook who could bake the best cookies and pies, fry up the tastiest appetizers and meats. No one could resist eating second and third helpings... including me.

So, thinking some more, it would behoove me to overhaul that inner cook label and change the way I viewed myself as a food maker. I decided I would become The Best Vegetable Cook Ever.

I've never met someone who claimed to be The Best Vegetable Cook Ever so I thought I would focus on that for awhile. I branched out by cooking new types of vegetables. Vegetables I was scared of previously would show up on the plate, receive the family stamp of approval and go into the Cookbook. My goal was to make my indexed Vegetable section bigger than my Pasta/Potato/Rice section. Being adventurous and learning new vegie cooking techniques has beefed up my repertoire and it has also really helped our family eat better . It has also changed the way I viewed myself as a cook.
Since this past January, I'm on a new mission... to become
The Best Vegetarian Cook Ever except With A Little Chicken Every Ten Days
Baby steps, guys.


Anonymous said...

I too have the cooking light magazine I supscripe to. I also have a notebook full of recipes from my mom and you Edith. WHere as you use yours...I frequently don't open mine. This said....You are awesome hero!!
your MA IN LAW

edith said...

Your son totally made fun of this post and me... laughing at my "over" organization. That's what he called it... humph! He should just fix his own dinner for a week.