Little Pieces: Paper Management to Solve My Dinner Dilemma

To sum up the article you are about to read:

  1. Create paper management systems that work for you, and look at them critically once in a while to make sure they are still working;
  2. Regular maintenance is key to the success of any system;
  3. Binders are a great way to store papers that you plan to use again;
  4. Look critically at your practices regularly, and be open and willing to change; and
  5. Imagine different ways that new technology can make your life easier or solve a problem

Some of you may stop there, and that’s fine.  But read on for the rest of the story….

It’s almost 2014.  And my personal resolutions revolve around healthier eating for my family, and getting fit.  So I admit to you, instead of writing my blog, I really want to clean up / clear out my recipe binder. My recipe binder project is a study in good paper management

There are a few motivators working here:

  • I just placed a 3 month order for my awesome nutritional supplements (Reliv, ask me about them!)
  • I also just signed up for a “Figure Friendly Freezer Meal Party” in January
  • I need to menu plan for the next two weeks now that we’re done traveling and hosting parties
    I plowed through my reading pile over the weekend while traveling, and have a pile of new recipes
  • I have a backlog of recipes to try

I read a couple of magazines regularly, pulling out the recipes to use later.  There seems to be so much promise, so much hope and happiness in those shiny pictures in a magazine.  Years ago, I created a binder to keep my favorite recipes close at hand.  My binder is separated into categories that work for me and my family – favorites, appetizers, main dishes, baking, sides and salads.  When I collect recipes from my magazines, I tuck them in the front pocket of the binder.  When I feel like trying something new, I pick one out and we try it.  If my family likes it, I’ll file it in the right category area.  If they don’t, I’ll toss it.  I have purged the occasional cook book, too, when I go back to it for only one recipe repeatedly.  I’ll tear the page out or make a copy in my printer, and purge the cookbook.

So here are the problems I am facing:

  • The front pocket has gotten very full, and I have more to add.
  • There are recipes that have been in the pocket for months and even years, and I have yet to try them.  Which means they no longer appeal to me, and probably never will.
  • I am turning over a new, healthier leaf and many of the backlog recipes don’t fit that vision.
  • I sometimes collect recipes on-line now.

So, this evening or tomorrow, I will spend an hour and

  1. Re-file all the favorites that we’ve pulled out over the holidays (recipes for our favorite holiday cookie recipes, sugared walnuts, and a lovely sauce for our Christmas roast
  2. Grab a sheet protector, put two new soup recipes we’ve tried and loved into it, and add it to the binder.
  3. Look very critically at this weekend’s new pile and the handful of recipes in the front pocket, and ask myself some questions.  Such as:  Is it just too complicated?  Does it contain ingredients I can not pronounce or easily find at my regular grocery stores?  Will my family turn up their collective noses?  Is it healthy?  Do I already have a recipe that is very similar?  Can I find the recipe again on-line?
  4. Start “collecting” more recipes on-line, bookmarking the pages and adding a link to my menu plan spreadsheet so I can find the recipe again when I need it.  An article I read suggested using Evernote (which I love!!) to catalog and organize recipes, too.

What can you spend an hour on this week, a small project, that will reap big rewards?  Imagine, and get to it!  Happy New Year!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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