Monday, November 8, 2010
A Gift For My Children and Their Future Families
A little over 2 and a half yrs ago I started writing down all the things I could cook. Not to make myself feel good or to see how many there were (at the time there were very few!) but to make meal planning and grocery shopping easier. I didn't write down the recipe I just wrote down the name of the dish and what I needed to make it. I was tired of walking up and down the aisles blanklessly starring at things while my brain tirelessly tried to think of things to cook. When put on the spot like that I go blank and found myself buying a lot of convenience/boxed meals and always going over budget with very little food to show for it-you pay for convenience. I figured if I had a "guide" to look at I could make a decent grocery list and hopefully save some money.
A few months after I started this I had a great idea. I decided I would start a master "Family Cookbook" and put the full recipes to all of the dishes I made inside. Even though I didn't need to look at the recipes for like 99% of them. This is partly what started me on my journey towards becoming a better cook, I wanted to fill the book up. As I experimented and found dishes our family liked I wrote them down in "the book" so that I wouldn't forget how to make them.
My intentions for the book are to give each of my kids (girls AND boys) a copy when they move out. I know it seems far off now but the day will be here far too soon. I want them to have a guide to the kitchen, a starting point, something more than I had when I moved out. Hopefully I will have taught them some basic kitchen skills before then but just in case they didn't pay attention they will have this book. I want it to be full of their favorite dishes so when they are home sick they can make something that tastes of home and it will hopefully help them feel better.
I thought I would share this idea with you all in case you would like to make books of your own for your kids. If you have older teens who will be going off to college soon this would make a great Christmas gift this year.
With my book I include ALL recipes, even the easy no brainers like Spaghetti, which in our family is just pasta-meat-jar sauce (although I would like to learn to make my own sauce). Seems simple enough but I make sure to write down the brands, types of noodles and flavors that we use. That way they can buy the same if they want it to taste like homw or venture out on their own if they choose.
For now the book is just a spiral bound notebook full of my chicken scratch hand writing. I plan to buy some 3 ring binders and some of the plastic protective covers and print the recipes out on nice paper. I want to bue some tabs so I can divide the book up into categories such as breakfast, dinner, snacks, desserts, etc. I will have 4 of the same books and add to them as we try out new things and add new books as new babies arrive-if they do that is our options are still open on that.
If you have really nice handwriting then writing the recipes down by hand would be an excellent personal touch. My handwriting looks like a 5th grader wrote it so I like to print things out instead.
I plan to take a picture of each child like the one above of my oldest and place these on the covers under their name and title the books "Teddy's Family Cookbook" (or whatever the child's name is).
I think (hope) my kids will appreciate having these to go off of when they move out, get married and have families of their own to cook for. This blog is a large continuation of my book and will provide easily printable recipes with pictures to help guide them alomg.
My book has already evolved a lot going from a simple grocery guide to a more complex gift for my children and their future families. I have a feeling it may evolve even more as time goes on. I have already started to include tips and tricks to use in cooking and to make household cleaning easier. Things like using a potato masher to cook sausage with (Thanks Rachael Ray for that!) and how to fold a fitted sheet which I plan to include pictured step by step instructions with.
Another helpful tip you can do with this:
I have also started to keep the name of all our favorite dishes on 3x5 cards with the ingredients listed on the other side. About once a week I look at these, scan what they need, see what we have in the kitchen and make my meal plans/grocery list accordingly. Really helps out budget wise as you can make a list of everything you need and you don't have to worry about buying things you don't.