Fall is my favorite season, but also one of fun/guilt. All of my decorating magazines are acting like hypocritical kids: slim down, but make this pumpkin fudge. Be a minimalist for the holidays, but first create this 12 step centerpiece for Thanksgiving. There are reminders everywhere about all the fall bucket list items you "should" be doing. Attending festivals, decorating pumpkins and of course, all the wonderful things you could be baking.
So this year I propose a more realistic fall project schedule. One that includes fun and responsibilities equally, like organizing recipes and writing holiday cards that don't make you want to cry. I'm calling it The Procrastinators Fall Bucket List.
This is a list of fall themed activities that you probably "should" have done already but you didn't because you have a life. A messy life that involves oil changes and book fairs and allergies. So I'm encouraging you to pick ONE fall thing to do this year and that's all. Just start there.
I'm going to pick "Get Your Recipes Organized" as my project this fall and I'll show you how below. Don't worry - I've got ideas for people who cut out magazine clippings and the digital folks as well. But first, let's get you inspired to start on your project with some fall mood-setting ideas.
Since the weekends are so crowded, I suggest picking a free weekday night (it's hard, I know) to do your project.
Set the mood with a fire in the fireplace because you are worth it. If you don't have a fireplace, stream a fireplace video on Netflix because yes, this is real thing.
Turn on some fall music, like the Fall Chill stations on Pandora. Right now I'm listening to Autumn Jazz Radio and it's like I stepped into When Harry Met Sally.
Watch When Harry Met Sally or You've Got Mail or basically anything on the Hallmark Channel right now. I seriously watched a movie called "Pumpkin Pie Wars" the other day, which was promptly followed by "Autumn in the Vineyard". My husband told me he couldn't stand it and had to request sports because his manliness was in question. It's good stuff ladies.
Which leads me to boy moms. If you are a boy mom like me, you might need to leave your home to do your fall project. So get some girlfriends together and plan a fall project party. The hostess must serve something pumpkin flavored or it doesn't count.
So now that you are in the mood, let's talk recipe organizing!
For The Magazine Clippers:
Gather up supplies like scissors, note cards, recipe boxes, and binders with page protector sleeves.
Your first goal is to dive into your box of loose pages and magazines with tabs and start trimming down the excess paper. Literally. Trim the edges, the wasted space and make the recipes as small as possible.
Only keep the ones that you truly love and are simple enough to realistically make. Continue on in your existing box or binder, getting rid of recipes that you haven't ever made.
Once you have all the winners together, categorize everything into how you cook - breakfast, lunch & dinner or possibly Italian, Mexican, Greek or even quick, date-night and holiday. Whatever works for you.
That's it! Don't try and reinvent the wheel. Just get it done so you can get cooking.
For The Techies:
Paprika is an app suggested by a friend on the Organized Joy Facebook page. I had never heard of it, but wow, am I impressed. It's a place to keep all of your recipes found online. It does meal planning. It generates shopping lists. It creates timers within your recipes you can use while cooking. It can scale recipes up and down to feed different amounts of people. And it even keeps the app open while cooking so you don't have to keep tapping the screen with dirty hands. I'm sold!
Eat Your Books is another Facebook suggestion that I'm now amazed I'd never heard of. This site keeps track of your cookbooks , magazines and blogs and indexes everything for you. So if you want to make a certain recipe or one with a specific ingredient, you just type it in and Eat Your Books tells you where to find it. I have a Nigella Lawson addiction, so not having to search through 5 of her cookbooks for her Coca Cola Ham recipe makes me extremely happy.
Pinterest is of course another avenue for digital recipe collection. If you want to go extremely low tech, just create a private board for recipes, snap a pic of a magazine page or upload a link and you'll have all your recipes in one place. It's always handy at the grocery store if you carry your phone 24/7.
For The Magazine Clippers Who Want To Be Techies:
Start by taking pics of your favorite recipes and adding them into one of the above mentioned apps/programs.
If you truly start using this new system regularly, then keep going until you have uploaded all of your recipes.
Get out of the habit of tearing out magazine clippings by snapping a pic right away of the page instead of tearing it out. Then revel in the smaller amount of paper you have in your home and start trying this technique with other parts of your life.
I'm thinking tonight is the perfect night to try out a new recipe or unearth and cook a family favorite. But it's a lot easier if your recipes are organized. Do you know where your recipes are?