Tidy Caramel Apples

Makes 24 slices
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cool time: 20 minutes

• 3 large Granny Smith apples (or any apple of your choice)
• 1 large lemon
• 2 cups caramel squares, unwrapped
• 2 tablespoons corn syrup
• 1/4 cup chopped pecans
• Chocolate sauce (optional)

Cut your apples in half and use a melon baller to scoop out the insides, leaving the walls intact at about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thickness.

Squeeze the juice from the lemon onto the apples and allow to set. (This will keep them from turning brown right away.)

To make the caramel sauce, melt the caramel squares in a sauce pan over low heat, with the corn syrup. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Using a paper towel, wipe your apples down, removing the lemon juice as much as possible. If the inside of your apple is too wet, the caramel wont stick.

Pour the caramel into the hollowed out apples until just below the top. Sprinkle with pecans.

Chill in the refrigerator until the caramel has set, about 20 minutes. Cut into slices and drizzle with chocolate sauce, if desired.


Love my chickens!

Having chickens in an urban environment can be a great way to get fresh eggs for all those recipes! Here are some advantages to consider when owning your own mini flock!

  • Fresh Eggs Delivered Right to your Backyard!
  • You always know how your chickens were treated (With lots of love!)
  • You know “eggs-actly” what went into making those eggs!
  • Chickens provide lots of entertainment!
  • Natural weeders and bug eaters (to help protect your garden)

Do you own your own chickens? What are some of the advantages YOU find to having them?

Here are some of my favorite Chicken and Rooster Recipe Binders:

Where is that recipe? No, that’s not it. Maybe…no, that’s not it either. Forget it. Let’s order pizza.

Sound familiar? It’s the route I often took after pawing through a pile of haphazardly folded computer print-print outs, scribbled-on notepapers, and the other odd assortment of scraps of paper that composed my recipe collection. Little did I know there was a simple solution that could take the frustration out of my time in the kitchen and bring back the fun: a recipe box.

I know…it’s not exactly rocket science. And yet we so often don’t take the time to find the tools that will make our life in the kitchen easier. A lovely recipe box and a stack of recipe cards go a long way in putting the joy back in cooking. Here’s what I love about my trusty recipe box:

No fuss, no muss

Yes, there’s a little bit of time that goes into transferring recipes to a card and organizing them in your recipe box. Just a little bit. But this little bit of time leads to a no fuss, no muss experience down the road. All of my recipes are at my fingertips. And if I’m heading out to the grocery store I can grab that card and go. The result is that I actually use my recipes, instead of just looking at them and thinking, “Someday I’ll make that delicious sounding dish.”

It’s a solution that works

I’m a fairly digital person. I have about every device on the market. And I love the idea of all of these recipe websites that allow you to create digital recipe boxes on their site. I have happily clicked away and archived many recipes. Then I leave the website and forget they exist. Why? It’s just not the right solution for the problem! When I’m in a cooking mood I’m in the kitchen, not in front of my computer. Nothing compares to being able to grab my recipe box and flip through until I come across something that strikes my fancy. So now I save the computer for emails and spreadsheets and keep my recipes where they belong.

It sparks my cooking creativity

Cooking is an art. And the kitchen is the place of inspiration. Being able to flip through all the recipes in my recipe box easily and quickly gets those creative juices flowing. It makes meal planning an adventure instead of a task. And the end result is a meal that is infused with all of the creativity, adventure and joy you felt while planning it. Delicious!

If you’re feeling inspired to ditch your pile of stained and scribbled papers, find the recipe box and recipe cards that will keep you feeling inspired.

Tips for making your recipe binder work for you

Yes, it sounds a little like something a kitchen overachiever would have; a vast collection of numbered, color coded, perfectly filed recipe binders filled with insightful, witty, precise notes on successfully executed dinner parties, wildly popular family supper ideas, and go-to instructions on everything from how to properly remove the flesh of an avocado to which method for peeling an entire head of garlic is the fastest.

A very durable leather recipe binder.

Let’s leave that image behind for a moment and discuss reality. In a real, working kitchen, you write stuff down. Whether you cover your refrigerator with sticky notes or fold down the edges of your favorite cookbooks is entirely up to you. If you’ve entertained the idea of making your culinary discoveries a bit easier to access and share, a recipe binder is probably in your future.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your recipe binder a part of your cooking life.

  • Use tabs. You know, the kind that stick out on the side of the pages. There may not be much to it at first but before long, you’ll be wishing you could hire a professional indexer to handle your out of control binder. Label now, cry less later.
  • Perfectionism will hold you back. Your binder works for you. You do not work for it. Misspellings, inexact measurements, and little notes in the margins about which kid likes which dish best aren’t all necessary to the function of your binder, but they give it character, which is priceless.
  • Go for durability. This binder is going to get dropped. You will probably spill something on it at some point. Make sure it can stand the test of time.

For more information on how to create a recipe binder that will stand the test of time and serve you well in the kitchen, please contact us.

Check for Fresh Eggs

How to Check for Fresh Eggs

#1. This is just what my Mum once told me. If you do this test and get sick and die, well, please don’t sue the Cookbook People. We sell delightful recipe binders and recipe boxes and write cookbook software. We aren’t organic biologists.

#2. That said, if you use this test, cook the good eggs immediately. Bacteria can get in through the water through the shell once you submerge them.

#3. Fresh eggs are harder to peel after boiling than older eggs.

#4. Always spin your eggs a little in the grocery store. If one sticks to the carton, you’ve got a bad egg. Nobody likes a bad egg.

#5. Please buy Free Range Eggs. They taste better, they only cost a little more, and the lovely birds shouldn’t spend their whole lives in little boxes. #6. Place this useful tidbit inside your recipe binder! 🙂

Preserve Herbs for the Winter

Another handy tip to save for your recipe box:

Freezing herbs in water causes them to crystalize, damaging flavor. Olive oil will not have this effect, but will preserve herbs by preventing contact with air. Frozen olive oil has the consistency of butter. Olive Oil easily reconstitutes when melted without loss of flavor. Simply add the cube directly to your favorite sauce!

5 Simple Steps to a Meaningful Wedding Cookbook (and the most memorable wedding favors ever!)

Wedding Recipe Binder gift

1. Include a single recipe card with each of your invitations, and a note asking that they include a favorite recipe on it with their RSVP.

2. Enter all the recipes you receive into Matilda’s Cookbook Software.

3. Print the cookbooks at Staples for around $2-$4 each, one for each guest.

4. Make one cookbook for the bride and groom that’s bound into a beautiful recipe binder.

5. Let each guest leave the wedding with a unique gift they helped create. Let the bride and groom leave with a foundation of recipes that joins two families and numerous loved ones.

Easy way to make a naked potato

potatoe peeled

Peeling a potato without a knife

This also works for tomatoes. I made a marinara sauce the other day and needed to quickly peel fourteen romas. I boiled seven at a time, never boiled for more than two minutes, then about two minutes in the ice water. I cored them first (just cut the little stem at the top out) and cut an X in the bottom so the skins would slip off easier.

This one is not quite done:

Bottle Bag Closer

This is a very clever (and green!) way to save open bags of goodies. (However, in my household it rarely happens that chocolate chips go stale.)

Be on the lookout for an updated free recipe binder printable with this in it!

Great Healthy Eating Diagram to Add to Your Recipe Binder

healthy eating plate diagram

This healthy eating diagram published by Harvard is such a major improvement over the USDA’s version, mostly because the USDA has the conflicting jobs of promoting health while also promoting the American refined grain and corn syrup industries.

I plan on including this in an upcoming free recipe binder printable (click that link to see others already available). I love a nice cherry pie, but I think when cooking you also need to keep nutrition at the forefront!

Cherry Pie Idea

A friend sent me this pic when I told her the rascals devoured my cherries before I got around to picking them to make a pie. New idea: Next May I’m setting out several pounds of sunflower seeds. Either they’ll be too preoccupied, or they’ll be too fat to climb the tree.

Meanwhile, my cherry pie recipe card goes unused for the year. I refuse to give in and go and buy them.

If you’re a cherry pie fan, you might check out this nice cherry recipe card design:

Wedding Custom Recipe Binder Gift

Wedding Recipe Binder gift

First off, yes, that is my own wedding photo. 🙂 Happy, happy day.
Now then, if you’re reading this, you like recipes and you like to organize them. And maybe, just maybe, you are lucky enough to be attending a June wedding this year. Why not give the gift of a nice customizable recipe binder or personalized recipe box that lets the happy couple add a photo to the front? The merging of two families represented by the joyous co-mingling of two recipe collections! Glorious! (The groom’s collection may only consist of  Del Monte Sloppy Joe mix and the phone number to Domino’s, but never mind. I’m trying to be romantic here!)

*Bonus* Well, nobody asked for it, but here’s my wedding party. I love this photo.

Octodog: A simple, yet questionable, addition to your recipe box

I’ve lived in America for many years, I’m a US citizen now with American children, and I’ve sold many recipe binders and recipe boxes with my little company to many lovely fellow Americans. But sometimes there’s this little doubt that creeps into my British mind that perhaps some things I’ll just never understand about this country.
This…is one of those times.

The 7 Commandments for Avoiding Muffin Armageddon: Recipe Box Tip

1. Thou shalt not filleth muffin cups more than 3/4 full. Beyond that gets you the dreaded flat frisbee top.
2. Preserveth thy pan. Put 3 tablespoons or so of water in any unused muffin cup. This keeps the pan from warping.
3. Round mound must abound. To get a rounded top on your muffin, only grease the bottom of the cup and halfway up the sides. It’s the bottom that always sticks anyway, and that upper grease-free part gives the ingredients something to “climb” on.
4. Feareth not the sticky muffin. If your muffins stick to the pan, put the hot pan on a wet towl for two minutes or so.
5. Cast false geological artifacts aside from your muffins. Your muffins have tunnels or peaks? Probably either too much mixing or liquid.
6. Go not into the muffin genesis without donning protection. Paper liner in cups make it much easier to clean up.
7. Seek ye the perfect muffin. The ideal American muffin has a rounded top, a thin brown crust with a slight cruch (add a little sugar glaze for this effect) and a nicely moist center.