One of our customers sent us this lovely video of a teabox we made for their family in Brazil.
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.Continue reading
Summer’s bounty of fresh vegetables is always inspiring. Some of my favorite light dinners on hot summer nights are cold vegetable soups made early in the day so the flavors mingle and meld together. I love spending time outside in the patio sipping a cup of cool soup and munching some crusty French bread (slathered with brie cheese, if I get the chance). Hey, I never said these cool summer soups were non-fat dishes!
I have several recipes for cool summer soups, but here are my Top 3 favorites: Gazpacho, Vichyssoise, and Creamy Zucchini. These cool soup recipes have several things in common: They are easy to make; They are delicious; They share some common ingredients so you can shop for all three recipes at the same time.
Try these Top 3 cool soups for summer and see if you want to include one in your own family recipe cookbook:
# 1. COOL SOUP FOR SUMMER
Even people who think they don’t like this Spanish-style cool soup like this one!
1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth (your favorite brand)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (or fresh parsley)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
Garnishes: Sour cream, chopped red onions, tortilla chips
Puree in blender the chicken broth with half the can of diced tomatoes and half of everything else except garnishes. When blended, fold in the other half of the ingredients so there is some texture and crunch. Chill well and serve topped with sour cream and chopped red onion. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 4 (or 2 little piggies).
# 2. COOL SOUP FOR SUMMER
A classic smooth and perfect-for-sipping flavorful cool soup!
1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth (your favorite brand)
1 2.5 oz. packet leek soup mix (onion soup mix will do in a pinch)
2 cups water
6 medium Russet potatoes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk leek, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
Salt & pepper to taste
Garnish: Chopped green onions and sour cream
Combine chicken broth, leek soup mix, water, onion and leek in a stockpot. Wash and peel potatoes, then slice down into cubes and boil in chicken/onion broth mixture until potatoes fall apart. Mash any remaining lumps with a potato masher. Cool 15 minutes, then slowly blend soup in batches with a little milk until smooth. Add more milk if needed, along with salt & pepper to taste. Chill for several hours. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and green onions. Serves 4.
# 3. COOL SOUP FOR SUMMER
Creamy Dreamy Zucchini Zoop
A tasty way to get your veggies in a cool summer soup!
2 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth (your favorite brand)
8 medium zucchini, cubed (can also add cauliflower, carrots, spinach, if desired)
1 8 oz. container chive & onion cream cheese spread
1 cup milk
Chopped green onions
Cook zucchini in chicken broth until tender. Remove cooked zucchini from broth, and 2 cups broth, and set both aside to cool 15 minutes. While the zucchini is cooling, dice up the flavored cream cheese and add it to the remaining still hot broth, stirring occasionally. While it melts, puree the cooked zucchini with some cooled broth in small batches until smooth. As you work, pour the pureed zucchini back into the broth with melted cheese. Add milk. Stir thoroughly with a whisk. Let cool, then refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped green onions. Serves 4.
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:
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.
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.
Collect photos of your family members and add to them to your family recipe cookbook in the People tab.
Use family gatherings to take any missing photos that you want to include.
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?
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.
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
2 doctors + 4 spice racks = Lots of organizing! We love the latest winner in our video contest. This spice rack is available here.
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
Are you looking for something special for Mother’s Day? Have you run out of ideas? Look no further, we have the solution for you.
Instead of a card this year, why not write your message on something your Mom will use in her kitchen everyday? Each time she uses one of our personalized kitchen gifts, she will think of you.
Prices start at just $7.99!
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
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?
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
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
Do you have people on your gift list that love items made from sustainable resources?
We at Cookbook People like to help Mother Earth whenever possible. That’s why we carry a range of environment-conscious “green” gifts made from sustainably-sourced bamboo. Continue reading
Springtime is an inspirational time to clean, dust, and renew all the nooks and crannies and other crevices that have been neglected during the winter months. It’s also a good time to weed out those extraneous recipes and notes in your family recipe card box or recipe file box.
Spring cleaning your family recipe card box or recipe file box doesn’t have to be a big chore. It can be done while watching your favorite TV reality show (all you multi-taskers take note), waiting for your hair-color to reach maximum tint, or riding in a car during a lengthy trip. All you really need is a bag for discards, and a small surface for sorting.Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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!