Recipe Organization – My Pink Bible

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Tuesday. One question I often have been asked is how do I meal plan? When I am out with friends we often quiz each other with “what you cooking for dinner?” One thing I have learnt that does not work (for me at least) is to turn up at the store and think that inspiration will fly out at me from the grocery aisle and say “make me.” Despite knowing this I occasionally find myself in this predicament. I do love to cook, this does not mean I am good at it, or that I love to cook all the time. I should say I love to cook when I’m organized in my life. My mother and grandmother are and were excellent cooks so they set the bar and probably started my interest in cooking . To some the idea of planning and a lack of spontaneity may take the joy out of cooking but for me it is quite the opposite, the more I plan, the more I enjoy. I have meal planned for a while and I am an avid recipe collector. I think I mentioned in an earlier blog I have a bookcase almost exclusively dedicated to cookery and baking. I do very much enjoy looking through the books in the evening and gaining inspiration. I also use websites, Pintrest and I luckily do have food magazine subscriptions. In Casa Lifestyle you will often see print outs or tear out recipes on my coffee table where something has inspired me to try it.

It was several years ago where I found I had a plastic wallet full of recipes I wanted to or had tried and very little order to them. This did not agree with my slightly organized side and my Bible was born. I mean no offense to anyone by referring to it as my Bible. It is a very important file to me. It would probably be in my top ten possessions to save in case of fire. (Fear not Mr L and Little L your above it.) It is a work in progress, I am constantly adding and editing it. It is not neat or beautiful but I think that adds to its authenticity. To me its a little like an old cookbook, I like to see splash marks over the pages it signifies love and usage, my pink Bible is like that. It is a little like me it has swelled and has had to move up a size but it is full of love and memories. I can honestly tell you that I am very proud when my family tell me something tastes delicious and Little L goes “num num num.”

The Pink Bible - special to me x
The Pink Bible – special to me x

I mentioned that my pink Bible is a work in progress. I will explain. I have ten dividers :-

Beautiful handwriting
Beautiful handwriting
  1. Recipes I want to try. If I have a new recipe I wish to try it goes in here. I aim to try at least one from this section once a week. I also cull this section regularly, if something is not a fit out it goes.
  2. Menu Plans. If I have a very successful week, where every meal has been a hit then I will add the plan here. If my week is crazy busy and I have had little or no time to menu plan, I have menus with grocery lists in here where I can grab and go get what I need. I try to use these only in emergencies because I like the discipline of creating new menus each week.
  3. Everyday Meals Meat. To make it into this section, the recipe will be tried, tested and loved. These are recipes I know how to cook and will be a hit. They are scruffy and covered in notes where I have added comments to remind me what works better. This applies to all the following sections.
  4. Everyday Meals Fish and Veg. Similarly to meat to make it to this section the recipes are much-loved. Fish is loved in this house but I am married to a carnivorous male who enjoys meat and fish, so vegetarian meals have to “cut the mustard” so those recipes are good.
  5. Everyday Meals Slow Cooker. My favorite section especially at this time of year. I have been asked lots of questions about slow cooking and I promise to do some blog posts about it.
  6. Starters. These next sections relate more to entertaining or special occasions, like the rest, a collection of recipes that work.
  7. Entertaining Mains. These recipes tend to be more complex or extravagant than everyday but they are ones I have used and work very well. This is a great idea if you have unexpected guests or recipes you can lend to friends.
  8. Desserts. Who doesn’t love a pudding, we don’t have them very often but occasionally if entertaining or on a Sunday I might whip something up and I have a much treasured collection.
  9. Baking. I actually have baking books with recipes that I am loyal too but I have occasionally found one or two that I have found tried and loved and they go in here.
  10. Holiday Cooking. This is full of recipes relating to holidays that I have tried and love. This is ever-expanding. Halloween cookies, pecan pie etc. I am including lots of my new US finds in here.

So that is how I arrange and organize my recipes. Do you do similar things? Do you have a system that works better? I will explain in another blog post how I actually plan meals. I also find that this system would benefit you, if you are a coupon lover or if you use the store flyers to plan your meals. Fresh produce can soon add up so having a collection of recipe means that you have something that works when pork loins are on special or there is a great price on fillet steak. I also enjoy the familiarity of it. I will share with you a little secret, it is my ambition to create a file full of recipes Little L loves so that when she flies the nest I can duplicate and give it to her and she can share with her family. I have several recipes in my file which belong to my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and take comfort in handing these on.

I will blog soon on how I actually plan my weekly meals.

Ta Ta for now.

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Sometimes a much-loved recipe will be typed, printed and laminated. (God I love a laminator.) This is often when I have shared it with others or it has been destroyed by my messy cooking style :0)
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An example of recipes torn out of a mag, but used and loved x

TLL x

Planning My Life – The Simplified Planner

Howdy Y’all,

So I talked about my love of Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner, it has been one of those purchases that has made me very happy. Until last week I was using this,

Simplified Planner
Sorry for the shadows folks – learning at this photography. My beautiful HAPPY STRIPE

This was her 2015 – 2016 Simplified Planner daily edition in happy stripe, which I have loved. This year Emily decided to change how her planners operated and created the 18 month planner which started Aug 1 2015- Dec 31 2016. I think this is a great idea as I often want to plan things into the new year, well before the dramatics of the festive season and this will allow for that. This year Emily also created the weekly edition which I felt would be a better fit for me. As a SAHM I do not require the daily page to write down my huge commitments and thought the weekly view would suit my lifestyle better. I was also slightly hesitant to have a daily 18 month planner. I thought it would be huge, and although my planner seldom leaves my desk I still like to travel with it. Now one thing about these planners is they have a cult following, getting your hands on one is no small task. My initial plan was to replace my daily happy stripe with the weekly happy stripe, well while on her website I procrastinated too long and the weekly happy stripe had sold out. (Yes I was very disappointed.) In the end I chose this.

Mini Dot
Mini Dot – Better get planning!

I believe the official title is Weekly Planner Mini Dot. In true Emily style, the item was shipped efficiently and arrived beautifully packaged.

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Classy package

This box is lovely, I am a huge fan of navy and it is a great way to store the previous years planner. (Which I tend to keep for the following 12 months, incase I need to check dates etc.) It is also a classy touch to package elegantly. Every year Emily always adds a thank you and information on  the planner. I think as her brand explodes it is still very clear to see she care deeply for the product and the role it plays in her life.

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Notes to accompany the planner

All parts of the product scream quality. Whether it is the gold ring binder, which is a lovelier color this year, or the gold reinforced corners which are a plus especially if you cart your planner around or have a toddler who loves to drop it. The monthly tabs are colorful, (which matches the happy stripe beautifully.) They are also reinforced so they are less likely to get damaged.  Not sure how clearly you can see them in the below photograph. The inside page has a pocket which is super for holding loose invites, coupons, stickers and other knickknacks.

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Inside Cover

I also find the monthly overview a great feature, it enables me to plan for birthdays, bills, trips and other excitements as a whole and can see where I may have schedule gaps or time off (do not be a fool!)

Monthly View
Monthly View

The weekly feature will take some getting use to, it does not have times allocated which at first I did not like and I am now beginning to love because it means the space is more productive to my schedule. It still leave the gap for meal planning which is an excellent feature, especially for a young mummy who is often too tired to consider dinner planning at 9am. I like her weekly prep Sunday checklist (which I will blog about in more detail on another occasion.) I enjoy the weekly inspirational quotes, I must confess one or two of the authors I am not acquainted with so I get educated by google in the process.

Weekly View
New Weekly View

How much can one person say about a planner other than it is a positive addition to my life. I would have loved the happy stripe but I will learn to love the mini dot and it is by no means ugly. I have lots of Emily’s products and hope to blog about those in the future. Her website is definitely worth a look and the blog section is inspiring.

Happy Planning

Ta ta for now

TLL x

August Organization- Join Moi?

Hi Y’all

Firstly sorry for the blogging drought, this week seems to have been crazy with very little reason. So who spring cleans? By this I mean who goes through the house purging, organizing and sprucing. A spring clean has always made me stop and take stock. It is a reason to go through draws and cupboards and rearrange, remove or recycle items. Living in a place where we get very hot summers, August always seems to work better for me than the spring, after all who wants to be inside sorting when you could be enjoying the outside. So for the past few years August has been my sort out month. Now before I sound all Martha Stewart, whether its August or January time is limited, if you are like me who has a toddler whose idea of fun is to wreck everything, the time to go through cupboards and draws is reduced. How am I getting round this I hear you scream? Firstly I’m going to delegate (something I sometimes find difficult.) This year I have given Mr L two of the main areas to focus his energy, mainly because their his items and I do not want to throw his stuff out, until he tries. Secondly I am having a more focused approach and only tackling achievable projects which need doing. I did this by going round the house assessing what really needed sorting. I then took the list and decided the key areas were, the garage, the office, our closet, my makeup cabinet, the larder, the top of the fridge and the laundry cupboard. These are not major projects as both Mr L and I are fairly organized people and we like our home to reflect this, however even the most organized people let things slip. It is much easier to put things away and keep your home looking well-kept if your cupboards and closets are well-arranged.

Over the next few weeks as time allows I will tackle these projects and will share the results on the blog. I am hoping that one or two of you might want to join me? It doesn’t have to be a month-long slog, but do you have a draw in your kitchen, you know a “junk draw” which holds screwed up takeout menus, the odd key (which you don’t know what it belongs to but can’t throw it out.) Screws and other odds and sods. Or maybe its a shelf stuffed with cookbook, or a broken binder with recipes coming out, or a draw full of old phones and leads. Whatever it is, why not take 20 mins, could even be while watching TV, join me and sort it out. We can all move into the Autumn with a cleaner and better organized home which always make TLL feel SO much better.

So please share with me photos and comments of you doing your sorting.

Ta ta for now.

TLL x