For a long time now, I’ve wanted to design my own cookbook. I was motivated by the following:
- I wanted to see all our best recipes at once for inspiration when planning our weekly menu.
- We would make a new recipe, love it, but then forget about it until we happened to pass that page in the cookbook or stumble on the link.
- It was inconvenient to keep checking my laptop while cooking because it’s either in the next room or at risk of being spilled on.
- When people decide to change their eating, they invariably want new healthy recipes. It was hard for me to share mine because they were scattered.
It took months of thinking it over before I decided on something that would work for us. Yes, I’m slow.
It needed to be:
- Relatively spill-proof.
- Easily added to.
- Not require me to type up every recipe or include photos (or it would stagnate, realistically)
- Indexed by season.
- Indexed by ingredient to help me tie meals together, use leftovers, and take advantage of grocery store sales.
The irony is, the final result is so plain looking and simple. But, it works like a charm for us!
What follows is a nitty-gritty explanation of a cookbook that likely won’t matter to you in the slightest. If you have no interest in our recipes, feel free to skip the rest of this post!
My Fancy Dancy Cookbook Binder
Ok, you caught me. I’m not crafty. My cookbook is not fancy or dancy. It’s a plain white binder without even the benefit of a label.
To assemble it, I just print off the pages (2-sided where possible to save paper) and stick them in page protectors in the 3 ring binder. When I add a new recipe, I simply type it up and print it out to add to the appropriate section. Then periodically I update the indexes to include all the recently added recipes and print out a fresh copy of the indexes.
Want access to my crazy cookbook?
I make no claims to its greatness in your home, but I get asked “what do you guys EAT?” often enough, I’m happy to share our little cookbook publicly.
All that to say… you are welcome to save our cookbook. Feel free to rip it to pieces (privately, I don’t want to hear about it) and use whatever sections or recipes you want. All I ask is that you first take the time to read to the end of this post.
A few important notes about the recipes
- Some recipes are original, many of the recipes came from online sources, and a few came from cookbooks we own. I’ve tried to include the reference on each. To avoid plagiarizing, I generally only typed up recipes from cookbooks where we changed them significantly from the way they were written.
- As we use the beanland cookbook more, I will make notes on our copy of how long each recipe actually takes me to make, how many meals it lasts us, and how much oil, salt, and leafy greens I actually add. I tend to automatically reduce the oil and salt and increase the leafy greens and I’d like a future version of the cookbook to include all that so it’s more helpful to me. You can assume the quantities listed for those ingredients are flexible. As written, the recipes generally make enough for 2 meals for our (very hungry) family of 3.
- I consider all the recipes included to be healthy enough for us to eat on a regular basis. I have a second cookbook in the works for “indulgent” recipes where I’ll keep things I make on occasion (my conference cinnamon rolls, birthday coffee cake, father’s day mac & cheese, etc.). I didn’t want those recipes mingling with our regular fare because then I’d be confronted with them as an option any time I did casual recipe browsing. Not good.
- I plan on updating the cookbook periodically as new recipes make the cut and old recipes evolve. I anticipate a new edition in 6 months or so but I’ll blog about it when it’s ready (naturally).
- All the recipes included are ones we love. New recipes have to be made several times before they make the cut and fewer than a third of them do.
A few important notes about the indexes
- I realize it may seem like overkill to have three different indexes, but oh they give me joy and satisfaction. Feel free to just delete the indexes that don’t float your boat, but again, I don’t want to hear about it. La la la la la. I can’t hear you deleting.
- In many cases, I have simply referred to the cookbook page where the recipe is located or the webpage where I can find the recipe. I did this to save time typing up recipes when the original matches closely with how we make it. On my local copy, I’m putting a tally mark on the index as I make a recipe, so ones that we make most frequently I will try to include in the next edition.
- V161 means “Veganomicon page 161″ and FFF42 means “Fresh Food Fast page 42″. EP means the recipe is located on Epicurious.com under the same recipe title so it’s easy to pull up. EP* means it’s located on Epicurious.com but I have some special note about how we modified the recipe that I want to check before I cook it.
- If you don’t own the two cookbooks I refer to and have no intention of buying them, simply delete those recipes from the indexes. 🙂
- The seasonal index isn’t meant to be comprehensive. It’s just a quick list of the recipes that strike me as particularly appropriate for a certain time of year, to serve as inspiration when I plan a menu. Many of the recipes can be made year-round.
- Similarly, the ingredient index is limited to items likely to be on a specific sale or in need of being used up in our fridge. It’s not comprehensive. So “avocados” are listed there because if I have a few ripe ones I like to see ways I can use them up, but “whole wheat flour” isn’t listed because that’s something we always have on hand. Another example: When I buy fresh mint, I like to plan on using it in a couple of recipes so it doesn’t go to waste.
All of a sudden, I’m kind of self-conscious about a mile-long post culminating in such a humble offering, but here it is:
The Beanland Cookboook: Version 1.2
I used Pages to make the files, but then saved them as .doc files. You will need to fix the spacing a bit before you print to make sure the recipes each fit neatly.