hands trapped in green code matrix overlaid with cooking utensils and blank spiral notebook and title: Taking the 'Tech' out of Recipe Software so It's Easy to Use

Taking the ‘Tech’ out of Recipe Software so It’s Easy to Use

Recipe software, recipe book software, cookbook software, whatever you want to call it to make your own cookbook, the key to your success is how easy it is to use.

Nothing is more frustrating that knowing you need to accomplish something with your recipe software but don’t understand how to do it. Add a deadline, and waah! You can be in tears in no time. Continue reading

Panic-stricken woman in stripy tshirt holding clock + title: Last Minute Hostess Gift? Make a Cookbook!

Last Minute Hostess Gift? Make a Cookbook!

You are going to be late for a dinner party this evening, and you forgot to pick up a hostess gift, too.  What do you do? Solution: Notify the hostess you’re going to be late and quickly make a gift cookbook!Continue reading

Slices of red onions overlaid with text "Onions, nothing to cry about"

Onions: Nothing to Cry About, Really!

Where would we be without onions? For that matter, where would our family cookbooks be without onions as a key ingredient for homemade appetizers, entrees and side dishes?

Stuffed onions, creamed onions, onion soup, onion rings. About the only recipes I can think of without onions are dessert recipes – and I’m sure there probably are sweet onion desserts out there somewhere.

Historians say onions were first used in China, India and Egypt, and many of these cultures used onions as medicinal ingredients. Continue reading

Woman lying on sofa making notes in book superimposed on chopping board surrounded with cooking ingredients and overlaid with text: 5 Therapeutic Benefits of Making a Recipe Book

5 Therapeutic Benefits of Making a Recipe Book

You might not think it. But making a recipe book can have as many therapeutic benefits as cooking!

We’re all familiar with the therapeutic effects of cooking: We methodically measure out ingredients for the recipe. We follow a proven recipe plan, successfully combining different components and techniques. And then we enjoy the delicious outcome of our efforts.

The stages of making a recipe book can be therapeutic, too:Continue reading

Group of kids looking writing in book with text: Class Cookbook: Fabulous Memento Instead of Traditional Yearbook

Class Cookbook: A Fabulous Memento

Last year about this time, my young neighbor Jessica came to my door. She asked if she could have one of my potluck recipes for a cookbook she was making for her classmates. She was a senior, and thought it would be fun to create a class cookbook for her classmates to use in the future.

Jess thought a class cookbook would be a fabulous memento of her last days in high school. Plus all her high school friends could write their fond farewells in the cookbook.

Class cookbook instead of a yearbook

In my day, your friends wrote on the pages of your high school yearbook. I don’t know what kids do now, but back then your “status” was made by how many people signed your yearbook. You would “save” whole pages for your most special friends to write a poignant dedication you could look over throughout your lifetime.

Jess planned to get recipes from each of her friends to include in her class cookbook. But she needed a few other good, sensible recipes to round out the selections and categories. To fill out the gaps she was asking for recipes from people she felt had good taste. (Flattering to be included in that category.)

Most of the recipes Jess had for her class cookbook were not fancy or expensive. There was lots of really good, quick college dorm fare. A fabulous memento indeed!

Organizing a class cookbook

I gave Jess a few of my favorite, easy recipes to add to the ones she had already collected for her cookbook.

I also made a few suggestions on how to organize her class cookbook. I suggested she added some photos and also some information about her friends.

Jess told me she was entering all the information in Word, and she planned to make copies of the class cookbook for every friend who wanted one.

Oh my.

I just couldn’t help myself! I gave her a copy of Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software as an early graduation present. And off she went to finish this fabulous memento of her last days in high school!

Happy Cookbooking,

Erin

open book on table with title: 7 Enemies of Family Recipe Keepsakes and What to Do About Them

7 Enemies of Your Family Recipe Keepsakes

Preserving family treasures, including the keepsakes in your family recipe cookbook or recipe scrapbook, can be a simple matter if you know what you’re doing.

Ever since the Library of Congress lamented the loss of deteriorating books during the late 1980s, we’ve been hearing more and more about conservation techniques to save family heirlooms and museum displays.

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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

Photo of tape measure, spoon and apple pieces on wooden worktop with text: The Dirtiest Inch in Your Kitchen

The Dirtiest Inch in Your Kitchen

A young friend recently sent me an email. She wanted to warn me about the dangers of not washing off the tops of cans before opening them.

After all, dirt can accumulate on the cans in the warehouse or on the grocery store shelf.

And then there are the diseases carried by critters of all kinds walking about on the cans. To say nothing of reports of bugs and small rodents found in bottles and cans – ugh! (We kids always laughed at my dear Mom, who would habitually check the glass Coke bottle after she took her first sip!)

Aside from the obvious good advice for removing any accumulated dust, I remembered an even greater bit of wisdom I once heard about the dirtiest inch in your kitchen.Continue reading

7 Meatless Dinner Meal Plans to Go Veggie-tarian for a Week

More people seem to be thinking about trying a vegetarian meal plan with meatless dinners. That’s great news for all the critters in the world that get scooped up as dinner fare.  That’s also great news for the long-term health of our nation. May 13-19th happens to be national Vegetarian Week, so why not join in?

If you are trying to go vegetarian (even just a little bit) but don’t know how to start, consider experimenting with one week’s worth of meatless dinner meals to try veggie-tarian dinner cooking.  The following meatless dinners and meal plan ideas are not necessarily organic, vegan or gluten-free, but they are meatless dinner meals:

Veggie-tarian Dinner Day 1
Fresh vegetable soup (any veggie combination)
Whole-grain bread slices, Spinach-stuffed mushrooms

Veggie-tarian Dinner Day 2
Baked potatoes topped with cottage cheese and barbecue sauce
Steamed broccoli florets, Raw carrot sticks with dressing as a dip

Veggie-tarian Dinner Day 3
Chili beans made with TVP (textured vegetable protein) over nutty brown rice
Spinach salad with choice of dressing, Homemade croutons

Veggie-tarian Dinner Day 4
Roasted vegetable sandwich with chipotle mayonnaise on toasted rye bread
Homemade potato chips, Pickles

Veggie-tarian Dinner Day 5
Saffron rice, Steamed Brussels sprouts
Cole slaw, Hummus with saltine crackers

Veggie-tarian Dinner Day 6
Spaghetti topped with sliced Roma tomatoes, crushed garlic, chopped parsley and olive oil
Green salad with cucumbers, Breadsticks

Veggie-tarian Dinner Day 7
Black bean & avocado tacos (or burrito wraps)
Chips & salsa, Roasted corn on the cob

Preparing seven meatless meals in a row doesn’t seem that hard to do, given I put the above meatless meal menu plans together in just a few minutes. By the way, a vegetarian section is a wonderful resource in a family cookbook. Vegetarian eating can be very healthful and delicious!

Happy Cookbooking,

Erin

Basket of apples in field with text: Food As Medicine: Natural Nutrients as Old as the Centuries

Food As Medicine: Natural Nutrients as Old as the Centuries

Why do we say? “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Because consuming natural nutrients in the form of whole foods, instead of supplements or packaged processed foods, is much better for your health.

According to experts, this is mainly because the body can absorb and utilize natural nutrients more easily than artificially-prepared tablets that might not be thoroughly digested in the system.

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Wine rack of different types of wine with text: No Need to Whine! The Right Wine to Serve with Every Dish

No Need to Whine: The Right Wine to Serve with Every Dish

Selecting wines to go with party menus can be a bit of a challenge. To make sure you don’t whine about wine, I’ve created a simple guide to which wine best accompanies what food.

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Daughter hugging Mom in kitchen overlaid with text: The Perfect Gift for Your Mom on Mother's Day

The Perfect Gift for Your Mom on Mother’s Day

Here at Cookbook People, we’ve got some really terrific gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day – or any day!

To help you with ideas for the perfect gift for your Mom on Mother’s Day, we’ve profiled a few gift Mom candidate types:Continue reading

Mom in paper letters with flowers and title: 5-Star Mother's Day Brunch Menu to Make at Home

5-Star Mother’s Day Brunch Menu to Make at Home

Prepare a special 5-Star Mother’s Day brunch at home for your Mom with this super-easy menu.

With a home-made brunch, there are no crowds, no lines, no reservations to contend with, and no enormous check to divvy up among the kids so you everyone can make the most of the time and enjoy themselves.

Continue reading

Cinco de Mayo & Mother’s Day, Oh My

A sure sign of spring are two celebrations that are both in the month of May. Amid the beautiful spring flowers we have Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day. I often forget what they are truly about, so here is a brief history lesson that my dear friend, Ruth, gave me just the other day.

Cinco de Mayo
Somewhere along the line, Americans decided that one of Mexico’s important dates in history should parallel our own Independence Day. Maybe it was the way Cinco de Mayo rolls off the tongue, or the May 5/July 4 similarities for marketing purposes. Never mind that Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the historic Puebla battle of 1862 in which the Mexican Army tromped the heck out of Napoleon III’s occupying French Army (which, by the way, was supplying our U.S. Confederate soldiers, so the outcome of this battle also helped end the U.S. Civil War).

Well, anyway, Ruth says the holiday today celebrates Mexican pride and culture, and has a great food and drink tradition enjoyed all over the world. As for me, I see Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to chomp chips and salsa, and to (symbolically) devour French pastries.

Mother’s Day
Although some may think Mother’s Day was created by greeting card companies to boost sales, the annual holiday was championed by Victorian Era peace activist Ann Jarvis, and later her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis. In 1868, Mama Ann wanted to reunite families divided by the Civil War. Daughter Anna Marie just wanted to pay tribute to her late Mom, and to recognize all mothers for their special contributions to society. By and by, and after much to-do, the tribute day became a national holiday on May 8, 1914. It has subsequently gone internationally viral. By the way, carnations are the traditional flower for Mother’s Day, and the traditional meal is a lovely Sunday brunch (or breakfast in bed with the kids making pancakes). Gee, how about brunch at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate both holidays at once!

Come to think of it, these two holidays would be nice to include in a holiday section in your family cookbook, or if you prefer, in your recipe box with recipe cards easily made by Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software.

Now for my annual tequila shot and salt (with lime, please).

Happy Cookbooking,

Erin

12 Items Left Over From Spring Cleaning That You Can Still Do Away With

Spring is slowly turning into summer. Where has half the year gone? More importantly, did you get rid of all the items you had planned to discard during your annual spring cleaning? Or did some of them get left on the shelf to deal with another day? I thought so!

If you’re ready to freshen up the kitchen in preparation for summer fun, here are 12 items left over from your annual spring cleaning that you can still do away with:

– Stale spices and old ingredients.
– Plastic containers with microwave cooking scars.
– Dried up tubes of anchovy paste, tomato paste, or anything dried up in a tube.
– The habit of eating the same foods repeatedly because they are “easy.”
– Sample menus from once-visited restaurants that you acquired for “inspiration,” but have never looked at or patronized the restaurant again.
– Recipes that you know you’ll never try.
– Jars of “that looks interesting” exotic sauces that you haven’t used in 6 months. (Donate them to your local food bank.)
– Freezer foods that have been frozen in place for a year. (Either throw the packages away or make a strong pot of soup to share with neighbors).
– Chipped teacups and saucers.
– Dented pots or pans.
– Table linens with stubborn stains and/or tears.
– Old potholders and kitchen towels that are too thin to absorb heat or moisture.

Many of you may be thinking that some of the above-mentioned 12 items are important to keep because they may have been given to you by someone else. Guess what? Even if you let go of the stuff, you won’t lose the memories. And if you are really afraid to let some of the items go for fear of not remembering, take a photograph of them, and then give the item(s) to the local thrift store. That way the photos will jog your memory and appreciation of the items, but they will be long gone….

Happy Cookbooking,

Erin

Black plate of fritters on wooden table with title: Frittering Away Those Forgotten Veggies - Squash Fritters Recipe: Quick, Easy and Surprisingly Tasty!

Frittering Away Those Forgotten Veggies

Although I rarely fry food, occasionally I make fritters as a really good way of using those forgotten veggies I find at the bottom of the fridge. Leftover squash is particularly good in fritters when combined with cheddar cheese.

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Pregnant woman holding a paper heart in front of her belly with text: How Not to Labor When Creating a Family Cookbook

How Not to Labor When Creating a Family Cookbook

Some people think that creating a family cookbook is worse than going into labor. They obviously haven’t tried Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software. We made sure that creating a family cookbook is fun and easy and not like labor of any sort!Continue reading

young man with watermelon slice + text: Make a Family Cookbook for Single Cooks

Make a Family Cookbook for Single Cooks

My nephew Ben has a great idea to make a family cookbook for single cooks. He suggests creating a do-it-yourself cookbook using Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software.

The cookbook would be geared for solo individuals who cook for themselves. You know, bachelors, students, and senior singles — anyone who cooks for one.Continue reading

Wooden kitchen utensils on marble surface overlaid with text: Top 10 Essential Kitchen Tools to Make Your Cooking Efficient

Top 10 Essential Kitchen Tools to Make Your Cooking Efficient

Have you noticed that new kitchen tools have a habit of creeping into your kitchen cupboards and drawers?

Do these fancy doodad gadgets really make your cooking more efficient? Or would you be better off with a minimalist set of essential kitchen tools that do more than one task?Continue reading