AKA … Going Paperless… Kind of.
Step 1 – Find your Medium
There are so many ways to do this. Word processors. Spread sheets. Using your browser’s Bookmarks. Pinterest. Blogs.
Figure out the best way to help you keep track of your recipes.
- What will I consistently use?
- What my favored method of note taking in general?
- How many recipes do I currently have?
- Will I need categories?
Step 2 – Make your categories
Some people separate with the basics: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and sauces.
I’ve seen some broken down further by geographic area or type ( or families where there are multiple dietary needs).
When you are choosing your categories, think about how you approach making meals.
Example: I usually think of the time of day then what sort of cuisine. So I may decide I want breakfast American style.
There are at least two ways to organize this.
- By meal type and cuisine.
So I would have a “Breakfast” category with a subcategory of “American”
- By cuisine and meal type
So for this one, I would have an “American Style Food” tab and under that different sub categories for meals like “Breakfast” (lunch, dinner, snack, dessert).
Step 3 – Book mark as needed
Most browsers have bookmarks. This makes it easy to save web pages for later review. Within those bookmarks you can usually add sub categories to parent categories, making it so that if you don’t want to print it ( Yay! for having less clutter.) you’ll still be able to easily find it.
Step 4 – Add relevant data
Once you have decided on your recipe input method and you can go about adding relevant data. I suggest using a method that allows you to make your recipe edits if you are collecting recipes from other sources.
My current method is actually one that I don’t like as much and that I am transitioning from. I am going to share so I can demonstrate how our methods can vary or change as needed. Let’s walk through a quick progression as I show you how I got organized over the years.
When I first started learning to cook, I didn’t know about Pinterest. I didn’t find that till about a year later. I didn’t learn to cook till I was in college and decided that I needed a serious lifestyle change. Seriously, living off of fast food, ramen, junk, and lattes was not helping me at all. This was when I was a sophomore in college.
I starting booking marking recipes I liked and writing down my staple few in a notebook. I was a very picky eater so I only had a few pages worth of recipes.
Then I decided I was going to transition to a “healthier” lifestyle, as I still had very unhealthy eating habit and needed to be able to adjust. ( By unhealthy eating habits I mean struggling with an eating disorder, so yes it was a slow transition). Around that time I had discovered Pinterest. I started with a food board. About 6 months later I decided I was going to make a transition to plant-based ( later determined to transition to full veganism)and I realized I needed to diversify I created more boards. I made Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snack boards. I also kept my bookmarks folder for recipes that had no pictures and therefore were unpinnable.
The method I have been using for the last year is very similar. I have multiple boards dedicated to food and items I want to veggify. It’s not the worst method, but I am a picky eater so if it’s a recipe I like, I’ve also probably changed, or substituted a lot, I just like the method, which is why I keep it; or in some cases I like part of the recipe and combine multiple recipes. While Pinterest does have the ability to add descriptions to recipes, I find that method not convenient or preferred.
I’ve been in a transition of getting my recipes in order so that I stop wasting time searching and redoing recipe writing.
So here is the current updated method I have been working on.
- Step 1- Create Pinterest boards or bookmark categories I need.
I already have that completed from years of trial and error. When I find a potentially interesting recipe, I mark it using one of these methods or future reference.
I try to reduce paper use by looking for recipes I found in a magazine online. You can usually find them in the online magazine site.
If you look at my boards you’ll I’ve not bothered to make separate veggie and non-veggie boards. I just put the pin on the board it’s under and change the recipe as needed.
- Step 2 – Spreadsheet it.
Once I’ve tried a recipe a few times or found the best way to fix it. I put it in an Excel spreadsheet and note my changes. This makes it easier to search for later. Since I didn’t start by doing this, I only do this to my old recipes as I use them.
I have a lovely cookbook that my in-laws got me, eventually, I will put all my recipes in that, but I’m not touching another paper form of a personal cookbook until I have finalized my current recipes. It just invites clutter, when you don’t take the time to see what your needs are. I found that out the hard way.
Using the spreadsheet method, I will be able to note my substitutes for recipes and the changes I have made, making it easier to navigate and find recipes.
- Step 3 -Rewrite them ( or write them)
I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so when it comes to handing writing anything I try to type out what I want to say or record first if the only medium I have is used for the final draft. Like with my cookbook. It has pretty recipe cards so I’m not eager to mess these up.
Writing it down also gives you a chance to notice if there are steps you take for granted and haven’t noted.
Note: When you have recipes coming from store bought cookbooks, don’t bother transitioning them unless you are giving the books away. It’s really not worth the time you spend.
So if you have a way of keeping up with your recipes that assist in avoiding clutter and streamlines finding recipes, drop your notes in the comments.