Happy Tuesday everyone!
If you’re like me, you didn’t really get alot of cooking instruction growing up. Heck, my mom cooks (bakes mostly) more now than she ever did when I was a kid. My sister and I ate mostly chicken nuggets and good ol’ mac and cheese and I remember lots of TV dinners. I cringe at the thought now but mannnn was that stuff good when I was 8. 🙂
That being said, I have been trying to navigate the cooking world for the past 3 years since I moved out of mom’s house for good. My first year away from home, my roommate cooked (if we cooked) and we experimented here and there but never enough to claim to “cook.” After that year, I moved into an apartment with just Asia, my pup. I learned pretty fast eating out is a ridiculously expensive habit, even if you’re eating the cheaper stuff. On the cheaper side, $6 a meal x 2 meals a day x 7 days a week (we’ll say I scrounged something for breakfast every day)= $84 a week. $84!
I’m not sure about y’all, but my college self and even post-college self is still not rolling in riches. I have a budget dollar amount set for everything you can possibly imagine (I even include gas as a set bill in my budget) and $84/week was definitely not a way to save money. So, I started trying to learn how to cook.
Two years later, I still wouldn’t call myself a great cook but I can manage for our household. I can also spend $150 (max) at the grocery store and feed me and my bottomless pit man every meal and go two full weeks without cracking and ordering in or going out to eat. That’s a HUGE accomplishment. If you don’t think so, I dare you to try it.. It’s tougher than it sounds 🙂
Now, I’m not entirely sure how I would’ve managed without the turn that social media has taken in the last year or so. Without Pinterest, I would just have a much tougher time of the whole cooking thing. Grocery planning takes a good amount of time for me, I go through the ads, I make my list, and I search for coupons that correspond to my list. Then I browse Pinterest and look for a few new dinner ideas to keep dinner exciting and add the ingredients not in my cabinet to the list. Part of why people don’t like to cook is that they get bored with their options. I’m always finding something new on Pinterest for every grocery trip though, the options are infinite it seems like.
So, what next? Well, this just ain’t yo grandma’s kitchen anymore. How many cookbooks does your grandma have? I’d say mine has at least 20. How many do I have? 3. Do I use a large percentage of the recipes in there? No. I will say I do have a Fix it and Forget it cookbook and it’s all crock pot recipes and I do flip through there for at least 1-2 crock pot easy meals during the two weeks before the next grocery trip. But mostly, there’s probably 5 recipes in those that I turn to in a book of 200. My solution to that was to make my own recipe book.
Pick a decent sized binder to house all of your favorite recipes. (I’m a big fan of the Green Studio office supplies and chose a binder from that brand, found at Target.)
Get some tools to organize your recipes.
I used Target Brand dividers and printed some cute and FREE labels.
I chose to cut my labels out and simply glue them to the divider and then hand write the chosen section. You also have the option of printing the labels out onto actual labels and using your computer to type in your categories if you want to be fancy 🙂
Add your favorites! This can include (and does for me) all of the Pinterest recipes that you found online and printed out as well as handwritten recipes that have been in your family or told to you by a friend.
A great feature about making your own cook book is that everything in there is a recipe that you’ve tried and loved, so it’s definitely worth having again. You don’t have to flip randomly through a cookbook looking for that one recipe you tried one time that you think you liked. You are also free to label your sections as you like. Mine include: chicken, baked, soups, desserts, etc. Also, if you like to modify recipes like I do, you can make those notes without the guilt of marking up a book. (Or is that just me?) I always make modifications. This way, I’ll remember for next time that I varied the recipe a bit.
Well, that’s it! Instead of having loose papers laying all over your kitchen (if you’re a Pinterest cooker, or have the habit of going on Kraft and punching in ingredients you have and trying to generate a dinner out of it) corral those recipes into your very own personal cookbook. Give it a month and you’ll be glad you did when you are scratching your head trying to come up with 1 or 2 more dinner ideas for the grocery trip. Tried and true recipes never fail! Happy cooking!