couple holding recipe book in kitchen with title: How to Create a True Custom Cookbook

How to Create a True Custom Cookbook

On one of my internet surfing expeditions to spy on my competition (yes, I do that regularly), I was happy to see that Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software still leads the pack in helping you create a custom cookbook at home.Continue reading

gherkins with text: Easy, Crisp, Crunchy, Summer-Fresh Freezer Pickles

Easy, Crisp, Crunchy, Summer-Fresh Freezer Pickles

You wouldn’t think a medium-sized Tupperware container of pickles made in the freezer could cause a stir. But it did.

The Tupperware in question was the one that my friend Kim brought a to a social potluck at the local church many years ago.

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Garlic bread ingredients on black ground with text: Garlic Toast - Twice Broiled for Extra Flavor

Garlic Toast – Twice Broiled for Extra Flavor

Garlic toast – twice broiled? It might sound complicated, but this simple, standby recipe is sure to tickle the tastebuds!

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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. 

Cookbook People recipe binder and dividers with text: Achieved Professional Quality Cookbook Making at Home

3 Hints to Know You’ve Achieved Professional Quality Cookbook Making at Home

Just about everyone interested in cookbook making at home wants to achieve a professional quality recipe book.

But how do you know you’ve achieved professional quality cookbook? Continue reading

China cup, saucer and jugs with text Bring Back Traditional Tea Parties!

Bring Back Traditional Tea Parties!

When I think of traditional tea parties, I think of a somewhat formal, yet comfortingly familiar routine that brings sanity to the crazy world.

But, oh my, tea parties have a whole new meaning these days, don’t they?

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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.

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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