brown envelope, flowers, scissors and string with card featuring symbol of plate and cutlery and title: 4 Unusual Ways You Can Use Custom Recipe Cards

4 Unusual Ways You Can Use Custom Recipe Cards

Unlike the plain old white index cards like we used in the old days, custom recipe cards feature special designs or colors and make great gifts for all sorts of occasions – from hostess to business settings.

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Family Recipe Cookbooks for Christmas: Start Now

Have you looked at your calendar lately? Where on Earth has this year gone already?

I admit that mentally I am still somewhere in late May. My phone, however, reminds me daily that we are smack on the verge of August. And that means we are turning the corner on, you guessed it, Christmas! It will be here before you know it.

If you are planning to create a family recipe cookbook as a Christmas gift, then I suggest you consider getting ahead of the game and start working now on putting your family recipe cookbook together using my Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software. You can also just assemble it using one of our recipe binders.

Here is a basic timeline to help you organize your thoughts and activities in time for Christmas:

August
Select your family recipes and type them into the software’s Recipe tab. You may also cut and paste them from other documents or websites.

September
Write any stories about the family recipes (especially funny ones), or write brief stories about the people who made (or still make) the signature recipes you have selected.

October
Collect photos of your family members and add to them to your family recipe cookbook in the People tab.

November
Use family gatherings to take any missing photos that you want to include.

December
Print copies of your family recipe cookbook on your home printer (be sure to have on hand enough ink cartridges and paper, etc.). Or, arrange to print your family recipe cookbook through your local fast printer.

One thing is for sure, creating a family memory cookbook is a wonderful way to personalize your Christmas gifts for all family members without driving all over town or stressing about what to give. Whether you include family recipes or your own personal favorites, using Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software will make it easy.

P.S. Have you worked on your cookbook today?

Happy cookbooking,

Erin

Wooden cookbook holder stand with text: You need a stand up cookbook stand

No More Messy Recipe Pages: Why You Need a Cookbook Stand

A cookbook stand. You probably wouldn’t think of a holder for your recipe book as a priority in your kitchen, right?

Yet working with your cookbook on the counter means it gets messy food stains all over it. And, especially if you’re using a larger recipe binder or cookbook, it takes up precious space needed for the many dishes you’re preparing.

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Guy grilling on BBQ with text: "Father’s Day Grillin’ & Chillin’ Menu Favorites + Muhammarah Recipe"

Father’s Day Grillin’ & Chillin’ Menu Favorites + Muhammarah Recipe

Time to dust off the grill and pull the patio cushions from storage so that Dad can have his special moments enjoying some Father’s Day grillin’ & chillin’ favorites.

I thumbed through my family cookbook to devise the menu below. Most of the tastes are strong and guy-oriented, so they are sure to please most anyone who likes bold flavors.

As a special bonus, I’ve included our particular family favorite: a recipe from a Lebanese friend for a delicious, tangy walnut & red pepper spread called Muhammarah.Continue reading

Blue computer print button with title: Tips for Printing Your Family Cookbook at the Print Shop

Tips for Printing Your Family Cookbook at the Print Shop

We often get questions from our lovely Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software users about printing family cookbooks at the neighborhood quick print shop, or one of the national chains, instead of printing it at home.

We’ve gathered a few tips to make the process easier for you.Continue reading

salad ingredients on white background superimposed with green image of hindu goddess and title: Green Goddess Salad Dressing Recipe

Green Goddess Salad Dressing Recipe

Before there was Caesar, before there was Ranch, before there was Balsamic Vinaigrette, there was Green Goddess salad dressing.

Green Goddess salad dressing was one of the most popular salad dressings in the United States at one time. The story goes that Green Goddess salad dressing originated at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923.Continue reading

Don’t Plan a Cookbook For Your Wedding. Plan a Wedding Cookbook.

Sarah Whinnaker had the stressed out look of an engaged bride-to-be who suddenly feels like six months wasn’t nearly enough time to plan.

“I’m giving up on the wedding cookbook, Erin. It just isn’t going to happen. There’s no way I’m getting it together with everything else going on.”

“Your mistake,” I replied, “is in trying to get your wedding cookbook done in time for your wedding.”

She stared at me like too many young people stare at too many old people. “You just don’t understand. There’s so much to do.”

“So why not let your guests do some of the work?”

“What?”

“Have you sent out invitations yet?”

She sighed. “Not until next week.”

“Print up a card to go with your invitations. Just a business card size will do. On it, write (in the same style as your invite, if you like): ‘The Bride And Groom wish to make a Jefferson Family Wedding Cookbook after the wedding. Please write on the attached recipe card your own favorite recipe that you think they would enjoy. Also, please mention if you’d like a copy of the finished Jefferson Family Wedding Cookbook mailed to you as a memento.”

She stared at me for a moment. “Wow. What a great way to get everyone involved! I could put your cards out on the plates at the reception, and people could fill them out then too. It’d be a great way to get people talking to each other. My aunt will be sitting next to Jeff’s sister, and they could share casserole recipes.”

“And,” I continued, “a few months after the wedding, people would be getting a keepsake in the mail that they never got at a wedding before.”

She looked positively gleeful. “I’ll take photos from the disposable cameras at the wedding and use them to decorate pages! Maybe use a formal wedding pose for the front cover!”

Her eyes fell. “Oh god! The disposable cameras! I need to get them too!”

And just like that she marched away, mumbling about Kodak and Polaroid. I guess there’s only so time you can give a bride with just six months left to get ready.

Here’s a nice story from a customer about their own wedding cookbook. Just scroll down a bit.

If you are thinking about making a wedding cookbook, please look at my cookbook software. Also, here’s the engraved wedding recipe binder shown above. 

Half page and full page binders by Cookbook People with title: Family Cookbooks: Half Page or Full Page? How to Choose!

Family Cookbook – Half Page or Full Page?

You’ve decided! You’re going to make a family cookbook. But what size should you choose? A half page or a full page family cookbook?Continue reading

Perplexed cook surrounding by vegetables with text: Vegan? Vegetarian? Gluten-free? Surprisingly easy menus!

Surprisingly Easy Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten-free Menus

Since Chelsea Clinton’s wedding reception featured vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, this kind of food is now well on the way to becoming a staple of mainstream American cooking.

But if you thumb through your family cookbook, you’ll probably find more vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes than you might have imagined.Continue reading

vintage style photo of baklava and walnuts with title: 5 Indispensable Qualities of Heirloom Recipes & Cookbooks

5 Indispensable Qualities of Heirloom Recipes & Cookbooks

Every year many heirloom recipes and cookbooks are lost. Due to lack of family interest, downsizing a home, or sadly, a family member’s death, these precious links to the past are being broken.

Yet heirloom recipes and cookbooks becoming increasingly valued and valuable. Collectors avidly search for them at estate sales and in old book stores and thrift shops.

But just what makes a basic everyday recipe become an heirloom recipe?
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Blueberry muffins with mint sprig and text: Low-Calorie Applesauce Muffins Recipe

Low-Calorie Applesauce Muffins Recipe

Some years ago I came up with this low-calorie Applesauce Muffins recipe to replace the very tempting, calorie-laden cupcakes that are available seemingly everywhere.

All it took was reading the label on one giant muffin to convince me that making my own low-calorie Applesauce Muffins would help me practice better portion control.Continue reading

Photo of spinach and garbanzos on dark plate with title: Spinach and Garbanzos - the Perfect Combo! Who Knew?

Spinach and Garbanzos – the Perfect Combo! Who Knew?

I was in the mood for vegetarian one day last week, so I peeked into the fridge and found a big bag of fresh spinach. Then I checked my canned goods pantry and found a big can of garbanzo beans in the back. (Probably intended to make hummus with them, but, well, that never happened.)

So, on to the fresh spinach and garbanzos dish I was about to create. What would make that taste good, I thought. How about adding some garlic, onion and tomatoes for some extra flavor, and a little lemon juice for sparkle? This spinach and garbanzos dish was beginning to remind me of some Mediterranean-style foods I’ve enjoyed.Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons to Make a Cookbook

There are as many reasons to make a cookbook as there are people. The 10 reasons to make a cookbook listed below are some of the top ones our readers and cookbook software users have told us:

1. Everybody loves my food.
Friends tell me I’m a great cook and that they would like to have my recipes. If I type it up once, I can print it a hundred times!

2. I need to get organized.
I’m tired of looking through 10 cookbooks, 5 drawers, a recipe card box, and under the refrigerator for all my recipes.

3. I want my mom’s ginger snaps to be enjoyed by my grandkid’s grandkids one day.
My uncle’s/grandmother’s/grandkid’s recipes need to be saved and enjoyed for future generations.

4. Feed my ego!
I have always wanted to have a cookbook published.

5. I need one more book!
My cookbook collection is too big, but I could pick out the recipes I like from all of them and then give the extra cookbooks away.

6. The handwriting is on the wall (and I can’t read it!)
I would like to take all those handwritten scraps I have in my recipe box and make them easy to find.

7. Reunion coming!
My family is having a reunion /wedding soon, and a cookbook of family recipes would be a fabulous keepsake.

8. Fundraising!
My church / company / club / non-profit does such great potlucks, we should make a cookbook and sell it to make money for projects / supplies / charity / promotions.

9. Who wants to scroll with (literal) butterfingers?
The recipes on my computer are sometimes inconvenient to use, so I want a hard copy to refer to when cooking.

10. I need to save money.
I need inexpensive gifts to give for the holidays, and I can print out 10 cookbook gifts for under $10 each.

If you are reading this page, most likely you are thinking about your own reasons to make a cookbook: fundraising, preservation of family traditions, ego, downsizing, personal-touch presents for others.

No matter what your reason is to make a cookbook, any time is the perfect time to start your cookbook making project. Be sure your choice of cookbook making software offers a variety of options.  We are partial to our own Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software, but there are many options available for cookbook makers. Be sure to choose the one you are comfortable using, suits your purpose, and is easy to operate.

Happy cookbooking

Erin

Should a Dead Dog Be in your Cookbook?

Ruth looked distressed. “Do you think Arnie should be in my cookbook?”

Arnie was her poodle. He passed on to the Great Fire Hydrant In The Sky last year.

“I should hope not,” I said. “He’d be much too stringy even to slow cook with by now.”

She scowled. “No. I mean in my Family Tree section. Should Arnie be in the Family Tree section of my family cookbook? Is that weird?”

“Let’s put it in perspective,” I replied. “Your cousin Graham. He borrowed $800 from you six years ago. Never repaid it. He hogged down half your peach cobbler last Christmas. He hasn’t said five civil words to you in half a decade. Is he going to be in your cookbook?”

“Yes.”

“Is he more family to you than Arnie?”

She smiled.

“Family,” I said, “has little to do with time or life or death or even species. Family is love, and family is forever.”

“Hmmmm. Maybe,” she said. “Now I wonder if there’s some form of slow cooking I could do to Graham that would get my $800 back….”

How to write a degree symbol in your recipe on a PC

350°F.

Jealous? Asking yourself, “How did she make that tiny little circle next to the F?”

If you have the latest version of our software, you probably know it’s easy to add with the Recipe Builder feature. If not, you can still easily make it. There are two easy ways:

A. Just copy and paste it! Click in front of the °, hold, drag across it, then right click and click “Copy”. Then right click and choose “Paste” wherever you want it to appear.

B. Use the Alt key and number pad to the right of your keyboard. Hold down the Alt key, and hit “0176” on the number pad. Let go of the Alt key and it’ll appear.

Our software will point you to this page if you want this symbol or others.

Is my photo up above a little over-the-top? Well, maybe. But that’s how I felt when I first figured it out!

Erin

7 Reasons Not to Make a Family Cookbook in Word

There are lots of really good reasons to use Word. Making a family cookbook isn’t one of them. Here’s why:

1. It’s distracting. You will spend more time worrying about formatting your Word document than you will thinking about writing Cousin Dilbert’s Peanut Brittle recipe.

2. You won’t make your cookbook in Word consistently. Sometimes you’ll remember to Bold it. Sometimes you won’t. Sometimes the picture of the recipe is above it. Sometimes below it. With our cookbook software all the consistency is built-in for you.

3. One word: “indent.” If that doesn’t make you scared of Word, how about “bullets and numbering?” At some point, you’ll try to use it in Word and things will get out of alignment, and you’ll go crazy.

4. Adding new recipes in the middle of the cookbook. You’ll want to do it, but scrolling down to find that spot will be a pain in Word. Once you are there, all the pages after it will get re-formatted. Our software lets you easily find any recipe you want, and adding a new recipe is as simple as clicking “Add new recipe.”

5. You will have to re-type the same thing over and over. With our software, you just select an author name from a menu. You can’t mis-spell it. Same thing for recipe categories (Fish, Salad, Breads, etc).

6. You’ll have to manually figure out a Table of Contents section. Unless you can figure out how to do references, creating a TOC in Word is not easy. With our software you hit a button and your Contents section prints out. It’s that easy.

7. How do you add a degree symbol (°F)? A spanish N (±)? How do I add in a Birthday Calendar? An address book? Our software makes it simple to do all these things, and more, with a few clicks.

Check out our family cookbook software. It’s extremely affordable, and it’ll save you a lot of hassles over using Word.

Erin

Preserving Family Recipes Means Being Precise

One powerful feature in using my cookbook software to preserve family cooking traditions is the ability to standardize family recipes that have been handed down for generations. Standardize the macaroni casserole so beloved by your grandfather? Sacrilege!

Not really. Let me explain.

Standardizing family recipes can be the single most important way to preserve the taste of the dishes over time (aside from creating the actual cookbook, of course).

You remember that macaroni from childhood days, but when you make it from the tattered sheet of paper your mother gave you that your grandmother wrote, you say, “It just doesn’t taste the same.” Why? Because ingredients can change as ideas about food (who thought of trans fats 50 years ago?) and new food manufacturing techniques come into play.

Take a look at that original family recipe. Does it tell you enough in detailed terms to really be able to duplicate the taste you remember? Chances are it does not. The specific brand of butter, the type of cheese, the exact cooking time, all make a difference in the final dish.

Being able to clarify both measurements and ingredients serves to improve the quality and integrity of the dish over generations rather than dilute it. (Who wants to preserve a generic family recipe?)

So, be sure to describe a family recipe’s ingredients as specifically as possible. For example, using the term 1 teaspoon of fresh baking soda suggests NOT digging out the open box that has spent several years in the back of the refrigerator as a deodorizer.

Also, add sizes to the vegetables or fruits called for in the family recipe. The juice of 3 medium lemons is better than “juice of 3 lemons.” Better yet is “½ cup of lemon juice, freshly squeezed.”

I think you see what I mean. So, when you are using my cookbook software to make your family recipe book, keep in mind that it is better to name names. Precisely!

Erin

A family cookbook is a spiritual document.

A family cookbook is more than just a compilation of recipes. It’s a spiritual document.

Go ahead. Laugh and roll your eyes. (My husband Ted did. He laughed and laughed right up until I sold the 50th copy of my software, Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software. Then he started paying attention. Now that it’s the best selling Cooking & Health software on Amazon, a lot of people are paying attention.)

What makes a family cookbook spiritual? Look into the eyese of your granddaughter. Those eyes have atoms swirling in them that were once in your Aunt Maureen’s Top Secret Cheesecake. Same goes for the strong back of your husband and a lemon-yellow lock of your grandson’s hair. The hippies were right–all things really are connected. And some things, like the food we all ate as children and the lives we live as adults, are even more connected. Not just in sight and sound and taste and smell, but in our very beings.

Maybe that’s why thousands have used their family cookbooks to commemorate a mom or grandma who passed on. A family cookbook can connect us across countries, decades…even death.

I can go online and find a thousand different recipes for meatloaf. But there’s only one meatloaf that smells like the one my own grandmother used to make. She’s dead now and the recipe died with her, and that’s a real shame.

Look at your own family recipes and think about those you love. You may have a will to cover who gets exactly how much money, but money and things are forgotten. Have you given them a way to remember how connected they are to you?

Obviously, I’d prefer it if you went out and bought my software. But there are lots of other options, whether you just write a cookbook by hand, in Word or online. The important thing is to get those family recipes written down and passed on. The recipe book you create will indeed become a spiritual document.

Much of that spirit will be yours.

Erin

Homemade family cookbook

Here’s a nice link to a homemade family cookbook. “Thimbleanna”once made with her sisters.

I really like the design. We might have to cook up a template with a similar theme for our software.

Erin