Our little blog about cooking, family, and sharing recipes

We're a small business that focuses on creative kitchen gifts, with an extra emphasis on personalization.

Here are some of our more popular stories from our blog.

A new take on black forest cake



Our Recent Posts: 

20 Amazing Uses for a Spice Rack

The Multikeep Adjust Wood Shelves were originally designed to be a spice rack, but customers have taken them all sorts of weird and interesting directions! Buy our shelving system here. 

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12 Ideas: Make a Family Cookbook for Christmas

This is the second of our 12 Ideas of Christmas newsletters, and it’s about Matilda’s Cookbook Software.

The first family cookbook my mom made 🙂

When Ted and I made our cookbook software back in 2007, Mom was our first test subject. She still uses the software to publish her revised cookbook every year and hands them out at Christmas. This is the first one. 

This is from my own cookbook. My boys are a lot bigger now! (But they still love chocolate cake.)

Here’s a customer’s family cookbook that she put in one of our recipe binders. 

Here are 3 Little Secrets

Secret #1: You can print out the cookbooks at your local copy shop in black and white, with just a color cover. These will be less than $10 each, even if you get them spiral bound! Going full color throughout will cost a lot more.

Secret #2: Matilda’s Cookbook Software is the product that started our company. It’s literally the first thing Ted and I invented way back in 2007! It’s going strong because people still want an affordable, easy way to make a family cookbook at home on their PC.

Secret #3: We called it Matilda because that was the name we wanted to call our daughter if we had one. We were blessed with two boys. 🙂

I hope you enjoy making your own family cookbook!

Erin Miller
Owner, Cookbook People

P.S. Please remember Matilda only runs on Windows, and not on Mac or other systems, and won’t work on your phone. People without Windows can still put together family cookbooks the old fashioned way, by hand with our Recipe Binders.

Image of Matilda's Fantastic Cookbook Software (CD or Download)

Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software (CD or Download) $35.00

12 Ideas of Christmas: Wood Spoons!

Everyone ran out of so many things last year. We hate saying no to our loyal fans, so we’ve stocked up extra now. But wouldn’t life be easier for both you and us if we all got out ahead of the big Christmas rush? This is the very first of our 12 Ideas of Christmas newsletters.

Personalized Wood Spoons

“We’re dancing in Karen’s Kitchen.” I love that. I bet Karen does too.

These are enormous and gorgeous! 

This is our own engraved spoon I gave my Mom some years ago. She’s never used it, but hangs it in the kitchen

One of our customers combined the set with some home canning and a nice bottle of wine. 

Here are 2 Little Secrets

Secret #1: Our spoons have more than 500 five star reviews on Amazon, but the secret is that we charge a lot less for them on our own site.

Secret #2: We hear over and over that recipients think they’re getting an heirloom-quality gift worth $50 or more. It’s only $22 on our site! 

I think this is our most-loved gift, in terms of the number of my own friends who have bought it off our site and brought it up later. My best friend has literally given these to so many people she knows that she’s called “The Spoon Lady.” Love you Helen!

I hope you enjoy them too!

Owner, Cookbook People

Image of Personalized Spatula & Spoon Set - Beech Wood 14

Personalized Spatula & Spoon Set – Beech Wood 14″ Long


Buy Now

Our Kickstarter is Live for GamePhrame!

Get the Early Bird discount and save $62 on our creative new board game! Click here to check out the Kickstarter. 


All About Teaboxes

After our popularity of the Recipe Box Overview, we decided to do the same thing with Teaboxes. Check out our Teabox Overview here, or click below for specific links:

  1. Introduction
  2. History of Tea Boxes 
  3. Different Types of Tea Storage
  4. Tea Box Dimensions
  5. Personalized Tea Boxes
  6. Tea Box Gift Sets
  7. Today’s Top Tea Box Subscriptions
  8. Free Printable Teabag Labels for your Tea Box

We’ve created the ULTIMATE resource for everything Recipe Boxes

We put a lot of work into this topic, so we didn’t want to bury it in our blog. You can find the full recipe box post here, or just go to the specific section that interests you here:

  1. Introduction
  2. The History of Recipe Boxes
  3. Six Things You Need to Consider When Buying a Recipe Box
  4. How Many Recipe Cards will Fit in a Recipe Box?
  5. Materials: Wood Recipe Boxes vs The Rest
  6. Wedding Recipe Box: Make it Memorable for Everyone
  7. Make Your Own Recipe Box
  8. About Recipe Cards

Many Happy Returns on Election Night with DIY Cookbooks

With the 2020 Presidential Election just around the corner, it seems appropriate to plan some Election Night grazing to enjoy while watching those many happy voting returns.

What a perfect time to work on your do-it-yourself family cookbook!  Nothing else of consequence will be on television, or on the internet, to distract you. Why not take this opportunity to devote time to your important cookbook-making project (especially if you plan to gift your cookbook to friends and family for the holidays).

To help you spend more time using our cookbook recipe software, here are some simple Election Night menu ideas:

Election Night Snacks – H2 TEXT

These crisp no brainers get on the table fast and fill hungry stomachs quickly, so don’t refill the bowls until after dinner.  Think about Chips & Salsa, Popcorn, Pretzels or crackers & hummus dip, or Vegetables & ranch dressing.

Election Night Entrees – H3 TEXT

You’ll want something hearty and flavorful, as well as easy so you don’t have to spend loads of devoted time preparing (thus freeing your time for cookbook-making). Consider Chicken and Noodles, Hamburgers/Hot Dogs, Lasagna, Macaroni and Cheese, or Vegetarian Pizza (all winners available in your local supermarket).

Test – H4 TEXT


Election Night Desserts – BOLD PARAGRAPH
A great standby dessert on Election Night is apple pie or ice cream, but how about something lighter on your stomach, such as the favored cookie recipes of our contending First Lady candidates.

Happy voting, cookie and cookbook making!


American footballers, chicken wings in dish with text: Hot Wings: America's Super Bowl Sunday Finger Food

Hot Wings: America’s Super Bowl Sunday Finger Food

Hot wings, Buffalo wings, chicken wings, or just wings — whatever you call ’em, they are an original American snacking phenomenon that has taken “wing” across the country.

An estimated 1.2 billion of ’em are served on Super Bowl Sunday for game day grub, according to people who track that sort of thing.Continue reading

Football helmet with mug of soup and sandwich on red background + title: Superbowl Supper - Soups and Sandwiches - It's a Winner!

Superbowl Supper of Soups & Sandwiches – It’s a Winner!

Wow, Superbowl 54, here we come! With attention focused on the scoreboard and the commercials, there’s really no need to stress out over elaborate and expensive food for friends, family, or party guests. Instead serve a simple yet hearty supper of soups and sandwiches.

Instead of hot dogs, hamburgers or pizza, I’ve dug out some favorite recipes (from my family recipe cookbook, of course) and found some comfort foods that will fill up your team without stretching your budget!

Continue reading

Xmas stocking, recipe book, and gift with text: How to Connect Meaningfully This Christmas - with Your Family Cookbook

How to Connect Meaningfully This Christmas – with Your Family Cookbook!

What if you could bring your family members to life when writing your Christmas cards?

Storing family members’ addresses and photos right in your cookbook using Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software can help you do just that!

Continue reading
Preparing Xmas Deviled Eggs

Christmas Deviled Eggs that WOW!

Deviled eggs – also known as stuffed eggs, Russian eggs, or dressed eggs – are hard-boiled eggs that have been shelled, cut in half, and filled with a paste made from the egg yolks mixed with other ingredients such as mayonnaise and mustard.

This Christmas twist on this classic dish is perfect for brightening up the kid’s table – or the adults’ table for that matter!

You will need

  • eggs already boiled
  • vinegar
  • water
  • food dye


1) I didn’t have any Easter Egg dye from last year, but I did have food dye. If you want really specific or bright colors, you can hit up the food dye section at a craft store, but I just have regular old 4 pack primary kit from Target. I prepped the food dye by following the box, but it was 1 tsp white vinegar and a half cup of HOT water.

2) Cut your eggs in half and remove yokes. You can prep those anyway you like. I like mine with Hellmanns.


Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs

Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs


3) Add your already boiled egg whites into the dye mixture, leave for approx 3 minutes and then rotate up.  Once your eggs have the desired color, remove and pat dry with napkin.

Now if you find that your dye isn’t the color you want, I have to tell you that you can put a little on your finger (or a clean paintbrush), rub on the outside of the boiled shell and sit it down for about a minute. Then rinse off any excess. That is how I got this REALLY bright color for photos.

Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs

Christmas Eggs: Beautiful the Holiday Table with Red and Green Dyed Deviled eggs


Done! Check out my gorgeous Dyed Deviled eggs that are sure to WOW everyone at the holiday table.

colored deviled eggs






A French Theme for Thanksgiving

A few friends have asked what my Thanksgiving menu will be this year. As you may recall, at my house we do an international twist on traditional foods. This year the country of choice is France, and it is amazing how “normal” one can get with French food. Just goes to show how we are influenced in our daily lives by the cuisine of other countries.

Following is our French Thanksgiving menu:

French Thanksgiving

Pâte de Foie Gras aux Truffles *
Apricot Chambord Brie *
Chèvre Cheese & Crackers *
Mushrooms ala Escargot
Kir Royale

French Thanksgiving
Turkey Cordon Bleu
Cranberries Jubilee
Potatoes au Gratin
Haricot Verts Almandine w/Hollandaise
Stuffing Croquettes
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
French Baguettes & Butter

French Thanksgiving
Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Tarte Tatin *
Café au Lait

I “cheated” and bought the starred items in a supermarket. Everything else in my French Thanksgiving menu is either assembled from readily available ingredients or made from scratch, (including the Hollandaise). While a bit rich in butter and fats (in the traditional French style), this French Thanksgiving menu is not difficult and lends itself to making some dishes while watching Thanksgiving parades or football games.

Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving,


P.S. – Now we’re thinking about our Thanksgiving theme for 2010.  Maybe Thai, Japanese, or Chinese.  Hmm. Turkey potstickers, or eggrolls. Could be a winner.

Family gathered outsidewith grandfather holding cooked turkey with title: Capture Missing Family Photos at Thanksgiving for Your Family Cookbook

Capture Missing Family Photos at Thanksgiving for Your Family Cookbook

One of the fabulous benefits of Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software is that you can add photos of your family members when making a family cookbook. With a little forethought, Thanksgiving can be the ideal time to capture those missing family photos!

Continue reading
Assorted nuts on star-shaped chopping board with title: Spiced Nuts Recipe: An All-Time Classic For the Holidays

Spiced Nuts Recipe: An All-Time Holiday Classic

Spiced Nuts are one of the best all-time classic holiday recipes. These will be one of the fastest “gone” items on your holiday table or buffet!

A friend of mine loved my Spiced Nuts recipe so much, he once commissioned me to make a batch for him every month for a year, using 12 different nutmeats and seeds, and ship to him 2,800 miles away.Continue reading

good gravy!

Thanksgiving Warning: Gravy is Not a Beverage

This little advance message from me for Thanksgiving is wholeheartedly in earnest. I repeat it here because it needs to be emphasized: Dears, gravy is not a beverage.

Thanksgiving gravy is meant to be served as an enhancement over mashed potatoes, turkey slices and dressing (often to moisten the overcooked latter enough to eat). However, gravy is not meant to be slurped in a coffee cup when no one is looking.  I once discovered a Thanksgiving dinner guest taking liberties with my gravy boat after the feast was over! I guess his action was a compliment, but a rather strange one if I do say so myself.

There are three key elements that make Thanksgiving gravy good enough to drink:

Thanksgiving gravy has to have flavor and it usually comes from meat drippings. Continue reading

Get a Jump on Jingle Bells with Holiday Fruitcake

Above is my fruitcake for last year! I spent ages on those little marzipan fruits. 🙂

This post may seem a bit early for some, but serious fruitcake-makers are already eyeing ingredients for their favorite Christmas sweet/the omnipresent fruitcake everyone loves to hate.

Included with my cookbook software is a wonderful heritage fruitcake recipe called Christmas Cake (English fruitcake) that has been in the family for generations. My cookbook software also comes with quite a few of my favorite recipes, but you have the option to keep them or not, as desired, for your own cookbook. (During the software’s development process we decided to include recipes to share so users could better visualize the end product they were making.) The family recipe for Christmas Cake takes time, but the end result is stunning.

My other favorite shortcut to holiday fruitcake is more of an American style – little tidbits made into bite size morsels with lots of flavor:

Fruitcake Bon-Bons

1 package date nut bread mix
1 cup Shredded coconut
1 cup Pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup Pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup Red and green candied cherries, coarsely chopped
Bourbon (if desired)

Prepare date nut bread mix according to package directions. Stir in all remaining ingredients, one at a time, until fruitcake bon-bon batter is mostly thick and stiff. If the fruitcake bon-bon batter is too thin, add more nuts or fruit. Spoon by teaspoons into festive holiday bonbon papers, and bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  When done, the fruitcake bon-bons should be moist inside but dry outside. Lovely served with any hot beverage.



red mug, candle and roaring fire with text: Recipes for Drinkable Gifts from My Family Cookbook

Drinkable Gifts: Recipes from My Family Cookbook

I have a few recipes for homemade drinkable gifts in a special section of my family cookbook. Whenever I need an idea for a quick gift, this “Homemade Drinkable Gifts” section of my family cookbook always inspires me with the perfect solution.

Even if I don’t have all the ingredients, I can easily shop for the missing items since most recipes are made with standard measurements and readily-available package sizes.Continue reading

13 Good Reasons Homemade Cookbooks Make Great Gifts for Christmas

“Our homemade family cookbook software is going to be very popular as families buckle down for a long, cold, hard winter of scrimping and saving instead of elaborate budget-busting gift giving,” I said to Ruth a few weeks ago as we sipped a cuppa and planned our Christmas gift shopping excursions.

Traditionally, we select the same day and time each week beginning November 1 until the week before December 25 as our “shopping” day. We always try to visit a different store, mall, or shopping center for variety and to keep our gift spending under control. We like to see the holiday decorations, have lunch, and get in the holiday mood.

“Yes,” Ruth nodded. “I’m afraid it is all back to basics now with our economy what it is. Your cookbook software not only makes a great gift at a reasonable price, it also builds wonderful cookbook gifts for others, too. It’s a gift that can keep giving!”

I pondered at the wisdom of her comment (sometimes she is so smart). I asked her why she thought homemade family cookbooks created with our cookbook software could be a popular Christmas gift this year. She used all the fingers on her two hands (and then some) to explain it to me, and her reasons had nothing to do with the economy.

Ruth said that a family cookbook made with our cookbook software makes a great Christmas gift because it is a gift that is:

1.  From the Heart
2.  Personal
3.  Informative
4.  Useful
5.  A Lasting Keepsake
6.  Easy to Do
7.  Inexpensive
8.  Under Your Own Control
9.  Unique
10. Fascinating
11. Green (conserves gas and gift shopping time)
12. Printable at the last minute for unexpected guests
13. Creative

While I was thinking in terms of dollars and cents as usual, Ruth (always the more sensitive one) hit on the real importance of creating a family cookbook — the love of preserving a family’s food traditions and history.

Then our thoughts dissolved to the less fortunate, whose families may not be so lucky to have any food to write recipes about, or shelter with kitchens to warm them. We decided to do without our shopping day lunches and donate the amount we would spend on them to the local food bank.  We also resolved to give an extra child’s gift to our local community toy collection drive.

Hmm, I wonder if the local soup kitchen could use a fundraising cookbook? There is still time to make one!

Happy cookbooking,


Plate of chicken curry with tomato and coriander on blue bakckground overlaid with text "Snuggling Up with Indian Curry on a Cold Winter's Night"

Snuggling Up with Indian Curry on a Cold Winter’s Night

When the really cold weather hits at this time of year, do you know what my favorite comfort food is? Not the soups and stews of my family recipe books, but the flavorful warmth of curried dishes from India!

Indian food is one of the great cuisines of the world and I find its delectable combinations of spices compelling.

Despite what you may think, Indian curry recipes are not necessarily hot. Hot food to me is just painful without flavor, so I’m always cautious about ordering in Indian restaurants. I ask the cooks to make my dishes “tourist grade,” so I can eat them. The cooks are most happy to accommodate as they are amazed at my enthusiasm.

I’ll tell you a little story that was a little embarrassing, but was educational for me at the time:Continue reading

Cat under table with title: Avoid Thanksgiving Dangers to Your Pets

Simple Tricks to Avoid Thanksgiving Dangers to Your Pets

Thanksgiving should be a time of togetherness and good feeling. A time of sharing family recipes. The last thing you want for your holiday is an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital. Unfortunately, there are a number of dangers in the areas where you prepare and eat your food that could cause just such a scenario.

Here’s a few simple ways to avoid potential pitfalls:

  • Keep your pets out of the kitchen.  Counter-surfing (where your pet sneaks a lick of your worktop) can result in severe poisoning to your pet.
  • Don’t let friends and family feed your pets.  Make sure your guests know the house rules.  Politely inform all your guests to keep their food out of reach and to ask permission before feeding any treats.  Your pet may have food allergies they may not be aware of.
  • Dump the trash.  Somehow your dog or cat will find a way to get into it, and leftover corn-on-the-cob, yummy string that goes around the turkey legs, turkey skin, bones, moldy food, and fatty grizzle all pose a threat to your pet.

Certain Thanksgiving foods pose a particular hazard for your pets. The top 7 most dangerous Thanksgiving foods are:

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Xylitol (a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is widely used as a sugar substitute and in “sugar-free” chewing gums, mints, and other candies.)
  • Fatty table scraps
  • Bones and turkey legs
  • Onions, leeks, chives and garlic
  • Unbaked yeast bread dough
  • Alcohol

Make sure you take these few simple precautions and avoid spending your Thanksgiving in the vet’s waiting room!